The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

26 September 2006

Jay Severin, Jimmy Severino, CBS Radio, Boston


Severin Loses Syndicated Show, "Returns" To Boston

After barely a year as a nationally- syndicated host, radio talker Jay Severin (real name: Jimmy Severino) has apparently lost his show and will "return home" to Boston to rejoin WTKK- FM in afternoon drive.

Boy, was that fast! We've never seen a national show bomb this quickly.

Details are still sketchy, including the exact fate of his CBS Radio talk show, but Severin's apologists were busy spinning the latest screw- up by the self- described "libertarian - libertine" (including insane assertions by his agent in the Boston Globe today that Severin had "50 stations" and that CBS Radio didn't want to let him go).

Ratings, however, were said to be at rock- bottom and few stations ever really picked up the program.

On the flip side, Boston's media outlets, especially the papers, will rejoice at the idea of their favorite punching bag returning to local airwaves.

Normally, we're sympathetic to a talker's career setbacks, but Severin's creepy, sleazy and downright dishonest background has set him apart.

Between apparently suspect behavior as Tucker Carlson's short- lived MSNBC panelist / sidekick, to lying about winning a Pulitzer prize and many other past transgressions, Jay's credibility level is below zero.

He's also had a long association with crusty morning curmudgeon Don Imus, who frequently had Severin on his show at one point.

For years, he had listeners believe he lived in Boston, until he was outed by the Boston Globe as a full- time resident of Sag Harbor, New York. Station officials swear he will move to the area this time, but it's hard to believe he will give up his spread in the Empire State.

From a ratings standpoint, however, it's hard to fault WTKK for rehiring Severin: at one point, he was beating Howie Carr in the afternoon drive period. But station staffers may need to be decontaminated whenever they get within 10 feet of the guy.

In fact, Boston remains his only career success story. But he is badly damaged after these scandals and Carr regained a lot of momentum this year with a successful book release and his 60 Minutes interview.

Severin's afternoon exit also revealed major weaknesses in WTKK's overall lineup, with a troubled ratings picture and increasingly- forgotten local hosts. Initially a strong FM talker, it seems to have peaked some time ago.

Overall, it has relied too heavily on newspaper columnists and TV anchors, who often don't fit the news / talk hosting mold. The idea was to use people with "names" in the market, but an entertaining no- namer will beat marquee value any day of the week (just ask boring Al Franken).

Whether Severin regains his position as top afternoon drive talker won't be clear for some time, but until then, let's see if he can manage to stay out of trouble.

ALSO: Here's Media Nation's take on the situation.

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  • Normally, we're sympathetic to a talker's career setbacks

    That's a joke, right? The primary purpose of this blog is to search for any possible stretch of a failure that you can find to take your career envy out on Franken and any other liberal host.

    By Blogger Jake, at 26 September, 2006 11:47  

  • Nice try, Jake, but there's no reason to be jealous of Franken and his failed friends.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 26 September, 2006 12:05  

  • Now that the Putrid "Err Amerikka" is Dead, we move on, except for the idiotleft.

    By Blogger WPDunn71901, at 26 September, 2006 14:31  

  • Nice try, Jake, but there's no reason to be jealous of Franken and his failed friends.

    I think you're jealous because you're on one radio station and Franken is on something like 50 or 60. Based on how often you cite his salary, I suspect you might have some wallet envy too. Say what you want about Air America's corporate financial state (though I would ask you to recall how many years Fox News lost money before it became profitable); but it's hard to call an individual making that much money a "failure." It does tend to be the right, after all, who defines personal success by market value.

    But hey, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on the envy point. Can you at least admit that this claim you made is absurd?

    Normally, we're sympathetic to a talker's career setbacks

    As for wpdunn:

    Now that the Putrid "Err Amerikka" is Dead, we move on, except for the idiotleft.

    If it's dead, explain how I heard it on my radio this afternoon? And, uh, how much would you like to bet that Brian has "moved on"?

    By Blogger Jake, at 26 September, 2006 16:46  

  • " Franken is on something like 50 or 60."

    And falling....rapidly

    I suspect you might have some wallet envy too

    Of course! We all do. Here, in the person of Mr. Franken, is a failed comedy writer that (almost) no one had ever heard of who is making stupid money for a job that he's lousy at. What a racket! And he keeps getting that moola even as less and less people listen.

    "'s hard to call an individual making that much money a "failure."

    Nah... it's easy to call him a failure, unless your value system only values money.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 26 September, 2006 19:20  

  • Oh - forgot to mention one small point...

    "If it's [Air America] dead, explain how I heard it on my radio this afternoon?"

    No, not dead yet. But soooon, little one, sooon.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 26 September, 2006 19:26  

  • And falling....rapidly

    He'd have to drop about 98% to get down to the number of stations that Brian is on.

    Nah... it's easy to call him a failure, unless your value system only values money.

    Actually, I was trying to make the point that, typically, its the right wing that insists that market values determine whether someone is a personal failure. I mean, the poor are the poor because of their personal failings, right? Rush Limbaugh isn't a failure because he makes so much money, right?

    No, not dead yet. But soooon, little one, sooon.

    Yea, I've heard that drone for two years now. Maybe Air America will stay, maybe it will pass. Either way, progressive talk radio is here to stay.

    In any case, I'm not here to defend Franken. Personally, I think Thom Hartmann is much better in that time slot.

    I posted because I couldn't stop laughing at this comment that Brian made:

    Normally, we're sympathetic to a talker's career setbacks

    By Blogger Jake, at 26 September, 2006 21:51  

  • Jake, this is a website, we're not here to compete with Franken, just to expose him.

    If you have the money, you could buy your way onto a network and get 50 tiny stations if you'd like. Oh, wait, isn't that what Air America has done?

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 26 September, 2006 21:57  

  • If we can get back on to the topic at hand. I had heard Severin fill-in for Neal Boortz on occassion--watching paint dry was better than this snoozer! And is it any wonder, he's with another snoozer in Imus!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 26 September, 2006 22:03  

  • If you have the money, you could buy your way onto a network and get 50 tiny stations if you'd like. Oh, wait, isn't that what Air America has done?

    Actually, that's called initial investment. Whether funded by a bank loan or a venture capital, most major businesses initially operate at a loss. To coin a phrase, "You need to spend money to make money."

    Fox News took several years to become profitable. It operated at a net loss for longer than the two years that Air America has been on the air. That's business.

    But in any case, most stations playing Air America's content are not owned; they are affiliates owned by companies like Clear Channel.

    So why don't you call out the Christian Conservative radio outlets that have been buying up Air America stations from Clear Channel and turning in worse ratings afterwards?

    By Blogger Jake, at 26 September, 2006 22:13  

  • Hey Brian, before one of the Err America fans beats you to it, you might want to point out your slight conflict of interest when talking about WRKO's competitors, having done quite a bit of fill-in work there in the recent past (which I enjoyed).

    I guess Severin can start referring to his competition as the "staticky AM station that tells fart jokes" again.

    Did you ever come up with the real reason behind Severin's quick exit from MSNBC?

    On my way home from work, it's Hugh Hewitt, with Howie and Graham (now Severin, I guess) as backups for when HH goes to commercials.

    By Blogger Dave, at 26 September, 2006 22:26  

  • Sigh -

    How many heads does the Hydra have anyway?

    At least we're now on a string of normal sounding names....

    But to the point -

    Jake, et al, you'd make a fine musican on the Titanic. Just keep playing that tune. Oh, did you notice that Air America just lost their presence in the 5th largest radio audience in the U.S.? Oh, wait. I'm overstating the case. Dallas Air America doesn't go dead until 1 October. Nope, not dead yet.....

    By Blogger Lokki, at 26 September, 2006 22:42  

  • lokki:

    As I said in my post, Air America may or may not pass as the leading syndication company for progressive talk shows. But I'm pretty certain that the progressive radio market Air America helped launch will be around for a while now. Ed Shultz and Stephanie Miller are both very profitable programs, of the same vein, but not syndicated through Air America.

    Actually, it's interesting that you raise Dallas. If I remember correctly, it was *bought* by a Conservative Christian broadcast company that will likely have worse ratings.

    By Blogger Jake, at 26 September, 2006 22:51  

  • Dave, thought my past work there had been pretty well established on this site, but thanks for pointing it out again for good measure.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 27 September, 2006 02:50  

  • Michael Graham's blog confirms he indeed will be doing 7-10 pm, right after Jay (see below). On WTKK, Jay is apparently getting a rest (Ingraham temp. move to that slot) while his other affiliates (Dallas, Philly, Wash DC, St Louis, Tampa) are prob. doing best-ofs.

    Graham's blog: "I Am Michael Graham...
    ...and I'm not going anywhere!
    Thanks to everyone for the emails about the show. I truly appreciate it. Yes, it's true that Boston radio legend Jay Severin is returning to the 3-7pm time slot that he owned in Boston for nearly seven years--which is great news for 96.9 FM Talk and fans of local talk radio.
    And starting October 9, I'll be on in the 7-10pm slot distributing heaping helpings of the Natural Truth."

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 27 September, 2006 03:14  

  • What I don't understand is: what did this Severin do to get banned from MSNBC studios in Secaucus anyway?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 27 September, 2006 08:16  

  • Fox News took several years to become profitable. It operated at a net loss for longer than the two years that Air America has been on the air. That's business

    Yes, but there's a key difference. During FOX's first unprofitable years, they were getting ratings and selling commercials. During AAR's reign of terror, ratings (if any) have been abysmally low and we've heard more from the Energy Hog and "don't eat the sand" than actual paying customers.

    By Blogger BF, at 27 September, 2006 09:11  

  • When Loki or Maloney write a best selling book, get a nationally syndicated radio show as successful as Franken's, maybe just maybe you can talk. REMEMBER BEST SELLING BOOKS means he has FANS, and people who enjoy him. Maloney; only Loki, PatriotWorld, and Bensonreport are your 'fans' you have 3-5 faithful, Franken has millions
    I will go on record, even my internet radio show has more stedy listeners than your sorry blog has readers, and you have been on NATIONAL T.V, I have been nowhere NEAR national TV. Mmmmmmm National national appearace on FOX, and you get 10 regular posters????????? FAILURE, Maloney you are a failure, 100%. I post about my radio show on Craigs list, I get 70 listeners, you go on the T.V and 10 people post???

    Franken is laughing at you, if he even knows who you are. Jealous, resentful, Indignant and bitter, so goes the misrable world of a right wing sycophant.

    Meanwhile, right wing radio hosts prove how scared they are of debating, while "libs" take the other side, every single day on the radio

    Right wing hacks defeated !!

    Tune in Monday and Thursday 10PM-Mid(EST)
    Evil Liberal Propaganda Network on

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 27 September, 2006 11:00  

  • "Monday and Thursday 10PM-Mid(EST)"

    So two nights per week on a small-listenership timeslot means the end of conservative talk radio?

    Even a dim bulb such as yourself you can't believe that. Frankly, it doesn't matter, because AA has been a financial, broadcasting and legal failure from day one.

    Ask the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls club.

    It seems that the AA supporters franticaly posting here are more interested in attacking Maloney than explaining the failure of their latest "answer to Rush."

    Such is the left.

    By Blogger Good Lieutenant, at 27 September, 2006 11:16  

  • dumb Liut

    Do not EVER put words in my mouth
    I made a point, and my point is 100% correct. Maloney goes on national T.V, on highly rated FOX TV, and musters up 10 or so regular posters. Did I say I will usher in the end of talk radio? All I said was Maloney is a failure, and Franken has a careeer, and I compared the facts, with a national television appearance, Maloney inspired NOBODY to visit his blog, I put a snaggy classified ad on Craig's list, I uptick my microscopic audience on the internet. What's the point? Maloney will never EVER have ANY success in punditry, while Franken can sell enough books to get on the TOP SELLER LIST. Maloney is bitter over Franken having a career, and Maloney being an abject failure. I'm far from a dim bumb, I can debate you or any other right wing sycophant with ease, and I do this just for fun.
    Have a horrible day coward

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 27 September, 2006 11:31  

  • I was surprised his show lasted as long as it did, it was just horrible talk. Most of it seemed to be about his sexual likes and dislikes. Fortunately for us Philadelphia most of his shows since April have been preempted by baseball games.

    By Blogger John, at 27 September, 2006 12:41  

  • Another slimey host I could do without is Tom "Liekus" (I have no idea how you spell his name and no desire to google up the correct spelling.

    How are his ratings these days. He was on in Dallas a while a few years ago but thankfully disappeared.....

    By Blogger Lokki, at 27 September, 2006 12:59  

  • Jake (and MoPpet head, while we're at it):

    Right now, no matter how you try to slice it, Franken and Air Idiot exist at the whim of Clear Channel. They own the bulk of the stations carrying their product. As long as someone is willing to funnel money into their wallet, Clear Channel will play along in this game.

    It doesn't change the Arb numbers, which have shown AAR, overall, to be an underperforming trainwreck netlet. If Gloria Steinham's "Greenstone" (?) straup shows a smidgen of promise AAR will get tossed under the CC bus.

    And MoPpet? Really, dude, how much has your self-serving free adverts here panned out when it comes to listeners to your spew?

    Toss up some numbers, skippy. Show us some verifiable numbers that you are more than five friends on a CB radio channel telling each other fart jokes.

    By Blogger TC, at 27 September, 2006 14:23  

  • Please J.D
    A.A as a whole has ok numbers, for example WLIBs last book(before switching to RL) was just a tick below shock jock powerhouse Free-FM in NYC, Free-Fm with the famous Opie and anthony scored a 1.5 , A.A with a 1.2, not bad for a barely promoted talk station on a non-heritage dial frequency. No marketing, no hype since the initial starty of A.A, a decent overall 12+ number for a station of such low stature. I bettha A.A will help WWRL appear in the ratings for the first time in 10 years! As far as our little show, we score 60 HUGE log-ins over the 2 hour period, including listeners in other countries, In Italy and Austraulia.We are proud of our 60 listeners! We are the "liberal media", juggernaut Limbaugh screams about!!! Soros pumps us thousands of $$$$ , as does Hanoi Jane and Streistand, we are the liberal media that O'riley craps his pants over!!! Wooo!!! Look out!!!!!!!
    The saddest thing about you right wingers is how I post tongue in cheek stuff and you get defensive like no tomorrow!!! It is true, every time I post on C.L, we gain new listeners, we run reports on log ins and see it. Sad, that maloney on TV cant get more than 10 regular posters. If we had a real connection and got to appear on television, we would crash our servers with listeners, because we are at least entertaining, I'm damm good looking and would entice thousands of listeners to tune in. Maybe one day, after all I have seen Internet radio hacks from the right on the TV. We don't do fart jokes either, that kind of humor goes over well with childish Republicans who scream "rag head". We inform and entertasin by taking the high road. Listen, you might just be impressed!!

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 27 September, 2006 15:41  

  • It's so difficult to try to ascertain what happened with this guy Severin and MSNBC, when what happened is referred to in such a vague and murky manner, and not a trace of info exists elsewhere on the Internet.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 27 September, 2006 18:20  

  • Somebody's sensitive!

    Do you have a "return" key on your keyboard? Are you familiar with the concept of "paragraphs?" You realize that you only need one exclamation point to indicate that you're excited, right?

    Its called syntax and grammar. Your bile and leftist propaganda would be much more ledgible and less hysterical looking that hilarious globs of left-o-rant you plop here on a daily basis if you incorporate that into your master plan.

    I know its hard to separate your thoughts so that others may follow some semblence of your, ahem, "logic." You should try it, though.

    By Blogger Good Lieutenant, at 27 September, 2006 18:21  

  • I have to say Minister has a decent internet radio show for somebody without much experience. They do their preparation, no commericals every 2 minutes, a few sound effects and audio clips.

    You freaks on the right are way too uptight. Take a chill pill and say a prayer - we know God speaks to George Bush so don't feel bad about the taxpayer-supported murder going on in Iraq.

    By Blogger Elmonica, at 27 September, 2006 20:04  

  • Yo, MoPpet? Was that rant directed at me? If so, better spend some time working your "qwerty" hand/eye drills, skippy. You missed, big time. And as far as Free-Fm: David Lee Roth beat Air Idiot's ratings when he was working for that station. And they fired his ass for shoddy performance.

    It's a music station; comparing it to the Idiot's is bullshit.

    Yo, elmonica? a bunch of guys in a garage with some jap guitars, Fender twins and a beatup Luwig kit can sound passable; it don't make 'em a band someone would pay money to see.

    By Blogger TC, at 27 September, 2006 20:14  

  • Perhaps he took a disrespectful tone to his mother, while on the phones at MSNBC?

    Perhaps he tried to pass a false coin at the MetroCard booth on the way home?

    My hope is that perhaps Mr. Severin himself can speak directly to these allegations, whatever they may be, so we may have a clearer understanding regarding factors that may have led to his downfall.

    After the bankruptcy hoax, maybe we readers can be forgiven for a healthy dose of skepticism?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 27 September, 2006 21:24  

  • hash, Think Progress, a liberal website, put forward the bankruptcy rumor regarding Air America. We refuted it. You're leaving people with the impression that the story originated here, when the opposite is true.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 27 September, 2006 21:34  

  • Uh, you certainly ran with it when you believed it was true!

    And, furthermore, since when do neocon bloggers use liberal websites as independent sources?

    Now, that's like saying the Iraq war made us safer from terrorism, when everyone knows full well it did precisely the opposite!

    Anyway, back to Severin.

    I've read a French study that attempts to draw parallels between specific commonalities in brain function among conservatives vs. liberal, progressive, freethinking and centrist participants. It showed that the conservative control group had more frequent instances of elevated serotonin levels-AND-flat affect, generally an indicator of untreated schizoaffective disorder.

    If the crypto-neocon Severin's actions seem uncharacteristic, could they not be manifestations of a more serious problem?

    And are these manifestations across American society perhaps symptomatic of the distorted thought patterns we've witnessed among those who claim to hold strong conservative opinions?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 27 September, 2006 21:58  

  • I read a British study which indicated that there is more psychotropic substance abuse among liberals than conservatives. Psychotropic substance abuse is often linked to cerebral problems like dementia, paranoia and bipolar disorder.

    Put that in your hash pipe and smoke it, hash-fanatic.

    By Blogger Good Lieutenant, at 28 September, 2006 09:10  

  • Ah, but, (patiently) you're talking about a state that is chosen, a temporary recreational mental vacation, if you would (incidentally, I disapprove of all illegal drug use).

    What I'm discussing is the manic ranting, inability to reason, or think critically, and how ORGANIC and largely permanent, constant mood disorders linked with psychotic and/or delusional symptoms seem to be so common amongst the enemy on the right.

    I'm actually coming right out and saying it's in the bloodlines, and possibly a result of unfortunate breeding choices, which I would think would be way more controversial-but certainly more telling.

    After all, I'm not even going into the weakness of character demonstrating by right-wing dishonesty!

    "Lieutenant", it's easy to see why our military under neocon administration fails at every single mission they undertake...

    Every single mission.

    I think our fighting men and women deserve better than you.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 28 September, 2006 18:15  

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