The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

16 September 2005

New York-Based Talk Host Exposed


Boston Globe Exposes Lies, Red Faces At CBS

In Boston, Jay Severin's luck may have finally run out.

After years of questions about the WTKK-FM talk host's wild boasts and other deceptive behavior, the Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh examined his most outrageous: Severin's claim to be a Pulitzer Prize winner.

The result was a devastating piece that should shatter sleazy Severin's talk radio future.

His academic background, place of residence, even his real name, have all apparently been faked.

And the timing couldn't be worse for the self-described "libertarian/libertine" host, more on that in a moment.

The Radio Equalizer raised other questions about Severin's claims in this July piece written after his sudden departure from MSNBC's "The Situation With Tucker Carlson". NBC insiders had claimed to cable news website TVNewser that Severin's bizarre behind-the-scenes behavior was disruptive.

Lehigh examined Severin's recent on-air assertion he won a Pulitzer for "online journalism" (were such an award to exist). From his report:

...last Friday, the talkmaster positively outdid himself in setting new laurels upon his brow: He awarded himself a Pulitzer Prize. That came as part of a conversation with a caller about the declining standards he sees in journalism.

Here's what Jay said: ''But since journalism began, and up until the time at least that I took my master's degree at Boston University -- and may I add without being obnoxious, up till and including the time that I received a Pulitzer Prize for my columns for excellence in online journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism, the highest possible award for writing on the Web -- right up to and including that in 1998, you still had to practice journalism to be a journalist."

That struck several listeners as unlikely. Once I'd heard the claim, I asked the Pulitzer folks to check it out. ''We looked at the records and there is no record of him winning a Pulitzer Prize," says Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers. Nor is there a Pulitzer for excellence in online journalism. How does Jay explain his assertion?

''What I said was, there is a prize that my editor told me is the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize for Web journalism," Severin said in an interview. ''That is a hell of a caveat."

Certainly it would have been if Severin had made it. The problem is, he didn't. I read him his on-air comment.

Things only look worse for Severin as it continues:

Interesting, a Google search turns up two mentions of Severin winning a Pulitzer for online journalism. They come in student newspaper articles covering a November 2003 appearance at Boston College.

''Currently, Severin is a featured columnist on, for which he has won the Pulitzer Prize for online journalism," The Heights reported. Severin ''was the first recipient of Columbia University's Pulitzer Prize for online journalism," the Observer wrote. Both accounts also call him a graduate of Harvard Law School. He is not, Harvard says.

Joelle Pederson, who wrote the story for the Heights, thinks the information about Severin came from the person who introduced him.Now, where would anyone introducing Jay have gotten the notion that he was a Harvard Law School graduate?

''I have no idea," said Severin.

But one quickly occurred to him. As part of an arrangement made by his BU professors, he said, he had sat in on some classes at Harvard Law School, though not as an enrolled student. Perhaps, he said, whoever introduced him had heard him mention those classes on the air and arrived at that conclusion.

That's inventive, anyway. But then, there's long been an aura of self-invention about Severin.The young man known at Vassar as Jimmy Severino is now Jay Severin III.

The former B-grade political consultant would have his listeners believe he was once a top-level national strategist.

The Radio Equalizer has long tried to determine whether Severin really has the Republican campaign consulting background he claims on WTKK's website:

In addition to his daily “Extreme Games,” on 96.9 FM Talk, Severin is associated with NBC News, appearing regularly as a MSNBC political analyst. Severin also frequents The News with Brian Williams, he is a featured columnist on and has served as an American political correspondent for the BBC.

Severin’s other media appearances include: NBC Nightly News, CNBC, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, PBS, FOX News Channel, Nightline, Politically Incorrect, Time, Business Week, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and more. As a national political advisor and critic, Severin is a veteran of more than 100 major campaigns for President, Governor, the Senate and the House.

One of the Google hits mentioned above is this 2003 piece from The Heights, a student newspaper at Boston College. It appears that somebody fed the reporter a number of dishonest statements:

"Politics is like sex ... there are really only two parties." So began Jay Severin, a featured speaker for the College Republicans of Boston College (CRBC), who delivered a lecture last Thursday evening. Severin, a notably conservative Boston talk show host, lectured for the first time at BC last year and was welcomed back.

Currently, Severin is a featured columnist on, for which he has won the Pulitzer Prize for online journalism, and hosts the number one rated political talk show in Boston, titled "Extreme Games," on 96.9 FM Talk, which runs weekdays from 3-7 p.m. Originally from New York, Severin resides in Boston.

One of Severin's biggest lies has been in leading Bay State residents to believe he lives in Boston, while actually broadcasting from Long Island, New York.

In one of radio's biggest recent blunders, Infinity Broadcasting, a division of CBS, announced today they'd signed a deal with Severin to host a nationally syndicated talk show. How red the faces must have been at network headquarters!

Radio trade publication coverage predictably covered for him, leaving out the expose on his dishonest behavior. I alerted Lehigh to this earlier today.

From Radio & Records:

Infinity President/Programming Rob Barnett has signed Severin to host a show on "select Infinity stations" beginning January 2006.

The new deal reportedly does not include the Boston market, where Severin already hosts afternoons at Greater Media-owned FM talker WTKK.

However the Boston Globe reports that Severin's contract with Greater Media expires at the end of this year, and that has led to speculation that the talk host could jump ship to crosstown Infinity News/Talker WBZ or one of that company's four other Boston radio stations.

Specific Infinity stations on which the new show, Jay Severin Has Issues, might air have not been identified, but Severin's agent George Tobia told the newspaper he was assured by Infinity that they will include "several top 10 markets."
Severin was an R&R Industry Achievement Award nominee as "News/Talk Local Host of the Year" in 2004.

Severin was not heard on WTKK today for unclear reasons. Conservative rival Howie Carr, of Boston's WRKO-AM, kicked off today's show with a crack about Severin's dishonesty.

Meanwhile, liberal bloggers have begun to tie his lying to the overall conservative movement, but trust the Radio Equalizer: he ain't one of us, Jay Severin's always been a fake.

Can WTKK really afford to keep Severin's damaged goods on the air until January's contract expiry? And what could CBS possibly do with him now?


  • I've not been a fan of Severin for a long while, mostly since he, sounding like a hysterical woman, lost the faith on the War and GWB well before the election - and the opinion of the self-described 'libertine libertarian' is of no more probative value than that of a modern liberal (as both have fundamentally inaccurate materialist views of the world).

    That said, I wouldn't be quick to follow Lehigh's line on this: he's not what one would call...trustworthy. Not to put too fine a point on it.

    If you look at the original text (first few links from this google search) and not the truncated text Lehigh used, it's clear from the context that 'Pulitzer prize' was a characterization of the Columbia prize, and not the 'name' of it.

    Using the same type of truncated quotation, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the context around Severin's on-air quote recognized the difference either.

    So, I'm pretty sure this is a big nothing, made up to be something because Lehigh has it in for conservatives generally and Severin specifically (remember this dissembling, self-serving article?).

    Also, it sounds like you are gloating, which is bad form.

    By Blogger J. R. P., at 16 September, 2005 21:15  

  • J R P:

    There's not really anything yet to gloat about. He may very well get away with this, who knows.

    But there are so many lies and they've been building for so long, even he probably has trouble keeping track of them all.

    No doubt the Boston Globe has a liberal agenda. But dishonesty is still dishonesty.

    Come back for my next post. It will have a whole different angle on this.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 16 September, 2005 21:38  

  • Well, along those lines Common Sense Political Thought ( is up for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Online Journalism.

    Heck, I'll go ahead and declare myself the winner right now; that'll save a lot of time.

    By Blogger Vermillion & Pico: Our Political Website, at 17 September, 2005 20:20  

  • >>place of residence, even his real name, have all apparently been faked.

    Oh, I've known for years that he's done the show from L.I. and what his real name is.

    First time I heard Jay was when Gene Burns used to do a nationally syndicated talk show, which aired on WRKO in Boston. Burns abruptly left the show after a disagreement and the NY-based producer plugged Jay in. Then Jay did a late night show from WRKO (the station he now refers to as "Fart Radio") before he was hired by WTKK.

    After awhile I got bored of his
    pomposity and I couldn't take his
    voice--and as it is he airs opposite
    Howie Carr, a host I much rather prefer. When Jay isn't on (which is a lot, these days) WTKK simply runs Hannity live (as well as in the 10p-1a slot it's normally shuffled to). Wonder if that's a sign of things to come--will Greater Media (WTKK owner) run the new Severin show?

    I was out of town (was in southern VT) on Fri. but as I understand it
    Severin was absent again, with Hannity running live. On the same day as the piece by the columnist
    Severino calls "Scat He-Lies" ran
    in the Globe. Hmm

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 17 September, 2005 23:26  

  • I am no fan of Severin's, but I have known for years he broadcast from NY, I mean if you plan on not voting for Pataki where the hect are you. Every once in a while he broadcast from a venue in Boston. All the rest of the stuff may be correct, but his faithful listeners had to be complete idiots not to know he was in NY

    By Blogger David, at 18 September, 2005 17:58  

  • Jimmy Severino is again absent from
    the airwaves of 96.9 (Hannity instead). Let the rumors begin.
    (my opinion: his new syndie show will land on WRKO, but at 10 pm tape-delayed
    after live Howie Carr and slightly-
    tape delayed Savage.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 19 September, 2005 15:23  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 20 September, 2005 03:13  

  • s Severino already gone from WTKK?
    A post on radio-info's Boston board
    said that (the person posting) called
    WTKK, which was running "live" Hannity
    and then an hour of "Eagan and Braude" and he was told that they weren't sure whether or not he (Jay) would be back or not!

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 20 September, 2005 03:14  


    Jay Severin and Whitey Bulger are both missing in action. In the case of the former, there has not only been no response from Jimmy "Jay Severin" Severino about the accusations in the Globe column, nor is there Severin patting himself on the back for landing a syndicated show with Infinity starting in January (Boston affiliate undetermined).

    WTKK is again running Hannity live in his place (which isn't bad). Has Jay done his final show for 96.9 FM Talk or is he just going off to pick up another Pulitzer Prize?

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 20 September, 2005 15:19  

  • Famous "Jimmys" on the lam:
    Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger, since 1994
    Jimmy Severino since last week (will he ever be back on WTKK?) Yup,
    Hannity's on again for him...though supposedly Eagan and Braude, in from
    6-7 pm, are saying Severin will be back.
    Meanwhile rumor has it that Severin contacted the boston radio-info board asking threads about him be deleted. Cannot confirm.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 21 September, 2005 15:18  

  • still missing.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 26 September, 2005 15:54  

  • Jay is the biggest two faced hypocrite to walk this country! He is Cindy Sheehan with balls! All the while professing to love the troops and then craping all over everything they stand for, he is the perconfication of a liberal! A smarmy, condescending, patronizing, delussional, self-indulgent A-Whole and he will get everything that he deserves and I hope it is a swift kick in the ass out of radio, then he can go off to one of his Euro-Trash vacations forever because they are the only girls that would have anything to do with such a moniacle, narcasitic pice of garbage! Wait a minute let me tell ya how I really feel? Ha! Good riddens to that two faced jerk! There is nothing worse than a condescending, back stabbing jerk, he is the cornucopia of Clintonesque word parcing, he is all subterfuge and sophistry and if he wasn't a liberal he would be ashamed of himself but forgetaboutit! Hell I'll bet my life this piece of garbage did not even have the guts to go visit the troops on the USS Kennedy when it was in port in Boston or NY wherever he lives! But he loves ane reveres the troops right? He has called this an illegal, immoral, unconstitutional war and if that were so then he is calling the men idiots for not knowing the difference and he is also besmirching their families and all America for voting for GW for a second term, so I guess were all just stupid idiots and he is the true oricle that sees the light and we plebians are to academically deprived to see the truth? What a delussional piece of two faced crap! He's all mouth and no action! He is everything a real man isn't! He never left woodstock and he never will! He proudly declared he was a yippie and I investigated what that was and it nothing more than a glorified hippie with extemporaneous, hyperbole/academic bullshit and a pair of kaki's instead of blue jeans but their philosiphy is the same, revolt against everything and be an ungrateful, un-patriotic, un-American good for nothing, know-it-all loud mouth of which he perfected!

    By Blogger gmoney247, at 28 September, 2005 03:32  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger iowavette, at 22 December, 2005 10:22  

  • Need to enable spell check, clearly. The message is undermined by the level of literacy displayed. And, while sometimes interesting, unsupported and unsupportable issues-related passion is a liberal trait.

    By Blogger iowavette, at 22 December, 2005 10:25  

  • I am unfamilar with Severin, and he's really not what I want to talk about. After reading a host of your posts, I've noticed that your blog reads more like a tabloid.

    You're clearly intelligent and you seem to have a firm understanding of the business, yet your writing style is lacking. I got the distinct feeling that reading your blog is like reading those cheap magazines in the grocery store lines.

    I suggest you consult a web designer to help make the site less "hokey" and maybe a take a few courses in web journalism. After you did that, you would sound far more credible.

    Best of luck.

    By Blogger uh60ftrucker, at 27 December, 2005 23:18  

  • remember, severin is an entertainer, no different than bill o'reilly or doctor? phil.....

    By Anonymous bob s., at 04 May, 2009 15:33  

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