Michael Graham is gone as WTKK rumors swirl

Michael Graham has left WTKK Radio (96.9 FM), according to AllAccess.com. I certainly won’t miss him, but his departure, unfortunately, would appear to presage Greater Media’s rumored decision to relaunch WTKK as an automated music station. Here’s more from Radio Insight.

Talk radio, as we all know, is not what it used to be. But if WTKK is taken out of play, I wonder if Entercom might decide to reinvigorate WRKO (AM 680), which has all but disappeared except for Howie Carr’s afternoon-drive show. If Jim Braude and Margery Eagan are out at ‘TKK, then they deserve a slot somewhere.

Meanwhile, Dan Rea continues to do well evenings at WBZ (AM 1030) with a talk show that is as conservative as any on the air — but that is also intelligent and respectful of its listeners. Is there a lesson in that?

17 thoughts on “Michael Graham is gone as WTKK rumors swirl

  1. Glen Bergendahl

    I don’t believe anyone at ‘TKK has a place on the airwaves.
    Dan, you say Egan and Braude deserve a slot but you won’t miss Michael Graham. I’m just wondering if your statement is based on the fact Egan and Braude had high ratings versus others or if they deserve a slot because they are in line with your politics?

    Merry Christmas to you, yours, and your readers.

      1. Glen Bergendahl

        Dan, just as I thought, you dodged the question. Do Egan and Braude deserve a slot based on comparable morning drive time ratings – or is this about feelings?

        Still wishing you, yours and your readers a Merry Christmas.

      2. Dan Kennedy Post author

        @Glen: You asked me if my plug for Eagan and Braude was based on my politics, not my “feelings.” I responded that my esteem for Dan Rea showed that I was not basing it on politics. Question asked, answered.

        Overall, WTKK’s ratings are low, and WRKO’s even lower. I don’t know what Eagan and Braude’s are specifically. Those numbers are hard to come by unless you pay for them. I’d be curious.

        I always thought Eagan and Braude started way too late for a morning drive show. I think it’s at 7, and it should be 5:30, or 6 at the latest. It’s kind of an old-fashioned show that used to work well in this market. I’d like to see someone give it a better time slot and some promotion to see what might happen.

        Merry Christmas to you as well.

  2. Aaron Read

    Is there a lesson in that?

    Yes, that the only viable AM signal in Boston for a mass-market format is WBZ.

    If WTKK can’t make talk work on its market-covering FM signal, I find it hard to believe that WRKO…with it’s AM signal (and a seriously deficient night-time signal)…will do much better.

  3. Scott Lazarowitz

    “Meanwhile, Dan Rea continues to do well evenings at WBZ (AM 1030) with a talk show that is as conservative as any on the air — but that is also intelligent and respectful of its listeners. Is there a lesson in that?”

    No, there is no lesson in that, given the history of Boston talk radio. During the 1980s, liberal Jerry Williams took one call after another, many of which were of opposing views. There were many great conversations back then, even arguments, between Jerry and callers, discussing the issues, discussions that at times were very heated, yet respectful of one another’s views. However, plenty of times Jerry had the ability to elicit a caller’s mean streak, he was able to get a seemingly pleasant caller’s viciousness out in the open. There were plenty of times that he addressed a caller as an “old biddy” and a “Nazi,” etc., and those are what added further entertainment value to his show. Many times he cracked me up. During the 1980s Jerry Williams was the #1 radio show in Boston much of the time, despite the “lack of respect” he showed for callers at times.

    But now, no, talk radio is hardly what it used to be. If 96.9 stays on the air, I hope Graham will be replaced by someone with actual conversational abilities, such as Jim Braude. And I have no idea why Howie Carr is on WRKO. Carr replaced Jerry Williams in 1994, and I can’t believe he has lasted this long. Nowadays, they rarely get callers from an opposing point of view, and they just get booooooring. I think that’s a general reflection of our society. All the intolerance by liberals who don’t want to hear a different point of view (such as Piers Morgan who silences gun rights advocates), the political correctness censorship not just from the Left who call “deniers” those who question the “Global Warming” religion but those on the Right who call “terrorist sympathizers” those who question the legitimacy of the so-called “War on Terror.” And so the talk radio forums and other “current events”-related forums of the general electronic media have really taken a dive intellectually and culturally in the past 20 years or so.

  4. Laurence Glavin

    Yikes…the “Global Warming religion”? It’s a characteristic of religions that they are not falsifiable. it’s close to impossible to budge a true believer from indefensible positions with ANY proof or logic. On January 1st, the year 2012 will be another year when “Jesus Christ” did not return. This will be true of EVERY January 1st while humans remain on Earth, but there will still be those awaiting parousia even if they’re last people on Earth. On the other hand, if the ice pack strengthens, the oceans subside and temperatures drop, scientists will report thos facts and draw verifiable conclusions from them.

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @Nial: Both very low. Interesting that according to those figures, WTKK was ahead of WRKO in August, but had fallen behind by November. As I posted earlier, WTKK was 15th in the market and WRKO was 22nd as of last May.

      1. Nial Lynch

        Dan: Increased fluff and mostly Air America Lite didn’t help ratings as WRKO pulled ahead during election season. Probably sealed it — ironic, considering the Dem tsunami around here. WRKO is just more entertaining.

  5. James Harvey

    I won’t shed any tears for anyone if tkk and rko go the way of the dodo. There’s a big difference between the civil disagreement on wbz and the hatemongering on wtkk or wrko. The world is better off without their thinly veiled bigotry, and I consider wtkk’s impending demise (and the demise of angry-people-yelling as a popular radio format in general) a positive sign.

  6. Kam Malnati

    The demise of TKK is most likely a direct result of their abrupt switch to an all Democrat, all the time, format. They fired Severin, & I was OK with Graham in the mid morning slot. But then they moved Graham to evenings, and filled all the daytime slots with severe lefties, or moderate lefties pretending to be Republicans. (wow, I was really fooled by that – NOT). I quit listening altogether when they moved Graham to evenings. I’d bet I’m not alone.

    I’ve occasionally listened during the day, when on the road, and even the ads went from high end custom cabinetry to relentless penis enhancement ads, so I suspect all the intelligent listeners left when I did. Hmmm, I wonder if that’s an indication of the tastes of the listeners to Air America style radio? Must be, because every radio station that tries to foist their political correctness down our throats goes down in flames.

    “Angry is NOT over”, we just stopped listening to your station. You switched from people being legitimately angry about how this country is going off the rails, discussing how we could fix it, to relentlessly snide remarks to/about each caller that doesn’t fall in line with the acceptable thought-police dictates. How’s all that Calm discourse working out for ya?

    Not only will I not miss you, I won’t even notice you’re gone, because I stopped listening long ago. Just like the rest of us, who don’t need the thought police to tell us what our opinions should be. Sayonara, baby!

  7. Stephen Drew

    ‘TKK used to be worth listening to.

    The now ruined talk-station started it’s downward spiral when it manufactured a reason to fire Jay Severin back in April of 2011, after which, the station seemed to lose its way. The program director at WTKK didn’t seem to realize what its dedicated listenership wanted/needed to hear. As the station continued to move away from local, on-air talent, it sealed its fate in the talk-radio format. Quasi-liberals from out of town and plain-vanilla-blah was passed off as interesting talk… we aren’t that dumb, in the end, Graham was the only voice worth listening to. The more weak-kneed the station got, the fewer regular listeners it drew.

    The hilarlity is: WTKK is to be reborn as a “rythmic oldies” station… just what the Boston area needs, another radio outlet playing watered-down rock music !

    I got hooked on talk-radio driving an AM-only radioed car, in the evenings doing a particularly mundane job when I was a kid. The culprits ? David Brudnoy & Eddie Andelman – they handled vastly different subject matter, yet the two divergent talkers were both very skillied at entertaining the listener.

    I wonder how long it will take WRKO to go all elevator music, all the time ? I will miss talk radio.

  8. Nate Jardin

    ‘@Nial: Both very low. Interesting that according to those figures, WTKK was ahead of WRKO in August, but had fallen behind by November.’

    Talk 1200 folded and Rush Limbaugh’s broadcast returned to WRKO at the end of August 2012. That would be the bump in WRKO’s ratings after August. I’m not trying to be snide, but ignoring Limbaugh’s impact in the above article and subsequent conversation is kind of like debating the reasons for the rise in popularity of the NBA in the ’90’s but ignoring Michael Jordan

    1. Dan Kennedy Post author

      @Nate: Yes, the return of Rush Limbaugh boosted WRKO’s ratings from really, really bad to just really bad. A regular Michael Jordan is he. Not saying he’s not huge in the rest of the country, but Boston has always been a terrible market for him.

  9. St. James Harrell

    There was nothing thinly veiled about the bigotry on TKK. The bigotry of al kinds, political, racial, etc., often hindered true logical discussion. TKK was a bastien for the ditto head followerd for the likes of Severin and Michael Graham.

    Asit related to Dan Rea, I started ti listen as I thought his show would bring a good balance to the airwaves. As long as you agree with him he is civil if you disagree he will insult you and then talk about you for the next hour…”Like John from Dedham…” mocking the caller. He’s a cordial bully. Rea also insists that you call law enforcement personnel “police officers” and not “cops” and then opens his show with a whine about political correctness ruining discussion (incidentally his brother is a police officer). I am doing an old fashioned jig at the news that TKK is dead. NOw where to go for good talk radio. I wish someone would bring back Margerie Claprood, and some other more conservative host to brings some spark to the Boston airwaves.

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