The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

18 March 2006

Jay Severin, MSNBC, WTKK, WRKO, Boston, Baltimore


Severin's Astounding Admission, Rush In Baltimore

What in the
world is Jay Severin thinking?

Apparently, between 60 Minutes, CNN and FOX News, crosstown rival Howie Carr of WRKO-AM isn't getting enough publicity these days with the release of his new book, The Brothers Bulger.

So the CBS Radio/WTKK-FM host thought he'd lend his competition a helping hand!

In a bizarre Boston Herald interview, Severin was clearly looking to pump up his own self-importance by pointing out Carr's recent ratings boost. The increased audience figures for WRKO came after Severin left his WTKK afternoon drive show last year.

Sadly, the comments backfired, causing snickering by New England broadcast types on Friday. In radio or television, how often is praise heaped at the competition?

Now syndicated by CBS Radio, the longtime Friend Of Imus (FOI) remains on WTKK in an evening slot.

From the Herald story:

Controversial radio host Jay Severin says Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney would make a “great president” and admits that former rival Howie Carr is the most influential voice on Boston radio.

“To be honest, I’d have to say Howie, now that I’m in a different time slot. There’s no question that Howie’s the big dog in local Boston radio,” Severin told the Herald during a trip to the Hub. “He’s a Boston legend.”

His show is heard in 44 states and big parts of Canada and Mexico. Locally, he’s on WTKK-FM (96.9) in Boston.

Severin was in the final year of his contract with WTKK last year when he struck a national syndication deal with Infinity, now CBS. Once Greater Media Inc. learned he’d be nationally syndicated, they took Severin off the air.

If he had anything positive to say about his own WTKK, it didn't make the story.

As for the "44 states and big parts of Canada and Mexico" claim, that seems unlikely. So far, only a small number of stations, mostly CBS-owned, have picked up the show. Perhaps distant signals drift into those areas at times, but there certainly aren't local Severin affiliates across North America.

Given Severin's dubious past, the Radio Equalizer still wonders what CBS radio thought he could do for their company.

For falsely claiming an "online journalism" Pulitzer Prize (there's no such award), he was nailed by the Boston Globe. And, for reasons that remain cloudy, he was booted off of Tucker Carlson's MSNBC talk show.

In addition, Severin for years led listeners to believe he was broadcasting from Boston, even though the show actually originated from his home in Sag Harbor, New York. Also revealed recently: his real name, Jimmy Severino.

With this history, it's a wonder why Boston newspapers believe a word he says.

In Baltimore, what's going on with Rush Limbaugh? As to why his show is leaving longtime home WBAL-AM, speculation remains rampant.

From DCRTV, a regional broadcast news site:

Clear Channel To Start FM Talkers? - 3/16 - A very reliable source tells DCRTV that we're full of s**t about the rumor about Rush Limbaugh going to WCBM (above newsblurb).

He says that Clear Channel, which owns Rush Limbaugh syndicator Premiere, is giving very serious consideration to putting news talkers on the FM band in Baltimore and DC. The numbers we're hearing are 104.3 and 100.3. And that Limbaugh will soon be heard in FM stereo in the Charm City market. Stay tooned.....

We will.

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Severin photo: Stuart Cahill, Boston Herald

Disclosure: Brian Maloney has a professional relationship with WRKO-AM


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