By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Another low for WRKO

This is pathetic: Jessica Heslam flipped on WRKO Radio (AM 680) earlier today and thought it was strange that no one was talking about the explosion — until she realized the station was rerunning a show from Tuesday.

Right now Todd Feinburg is talking about what happens “if” the Boston College football team wins “tonight,” which I guess means that ‘RKO is back to live programming. Well, let’s give them all a pat on the back.

WTKK (96.9 FM), the city’s other all-talk station, already runs a lot of rebroadcasts during the weekend. It would be a shame to see WRKO follow suit.

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  1. o-fish-l

    Happy Thanksgiving Dan, but c’mon, do we really need more on the explosion? The story jumped the shark once 1) nobody was killed or injured 2) the fire was out and everyone was sheltered 3)John Kerry showed up yesterday and immediately began criticizing Romney. I’m no fan of rebroadcasts but I don’t think it’s a “new low” to have one on Thanksgiving morning. Also, was it necessary for Heslam to specify that she was listening to her “shower radio?” What’s next, “while listening to my pillow radio..?”

  2. ben

    Other than ‘BZ, I don’t think its pathetic for any radio station to run “Best of . . .” (aka replays). The entire talk radio industry does it.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Ben: The entire talk-radio industry is a disgrace.

  4. Anonymous

    EB3 hereGive Jason Some Time Here, Dan.I am letting him take a few steps backwards to turn this ship around. It ain’t easy. Especially when being a station manager is like being the manager of the Red Sox. Everyone knows how to do your job, and they don’t mind telling you. (I don’t mean you, Dan)First Jason has to get a line-up in order. Then he has to let them find their voice as he continuously tweaks it.I suspect he will create talk shows with more than one voice. Like weei and other successful programs. You can have a chief of the show, but you have to introduce others to keep it moving and create the camaraderie necessary for successful local talk nowadays.I am very optimistic as to RKO’s future.

  5. Anonymous

    EB3 again”Ben: The entire talk-radio industry is a disgrace.”That sums it up best.

  6. Anonymous

    EB3:Jason Wolfe has no experience programming a talk radio station. He isn’t qualified.

  7. man who's an npr fan

    “Ben: The entire talk-radio industry is a disgrace.”I would hope you’re not lumping NPR in there?Speaking of which, I know for a fact WBUR is staffed 24/7 with a combo (announcer/engineer) operator sitting at the board for the overnights…but last I checked it is not their job to make judgements about going to a breaking news story. I wasn’t listening, but does anyone know what WBUR did the night of the explosion? Did they break out of the BBC World Service?

  8. Brighton Boris

    When you refer talk radio industry as a disgrace, are you singling out Entercom, and more specifially WRKO? Do you include Air America in your sweeping statement? They were on tape all day today and yesterday.(Mercifully, they’ll be out of business next week). With an exception of Bruce Stevens filling in for Barnicle from 9am to 12pm, WTKK was all tape all day yesterday. WBUR has no live and local call-in talk and their NPR shows were all best of’s on Thanksgiving. So before you start pointing your finger at one radio entity, look around.Also, props to Jason for trying to get rid of some of the bad talent that former PD’s brought in and he inheritted – Scotto, DePetro, Howie. Blowing up the news dept. was a bit harsh, but it had to be done. Look at the Arbitron numbers, everyone in their cars tunes into ‘BZ at the top and bottom of the hour anyway. Even macho ‘EEI idiot liseners or NPR snobs go to 1030 for news and traffic updates. Bostonians are like Pavlov’s dogs – they are exceptionally trained. Can’t blame Entercom for throwing in the towel in the news war.

  9. Anonymous

    Hey Ben,Since “the entire talk radio industry is a disgrace”, I guess they don’t deserve a night off, unlike a certain media-oriented Friday show on ‘GBH/TV I can think of….

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Boris: The entire talk-radio industry. All of it. Top to bottom. Your labeling of NPR listeners as “snobs” shows where you’re coming from. All they do is news … how elitist!As for Air America going on tape, you might be right — but do you know that, or are you just going by what Clear Channel’s “progressive talk” stations did in Boston? (Which, I might add, run as much Jones as they do Air America.)

  11. Anonymous

    If a recent article (I forget whether it was from the Globe or someplace else) is any indication, given the precipitous decline in ratings recently for ‘RKO, it really isn’t a surprise that they are looking to cut costs. What is a surprise is that they have anyone listening to them in the desired demographic for advertising. The only thing that we listen to there is Carr’s Chump Line (which we refer to as the “Putz Line”).Talk radio has atomized so much that it is rather silly to have a 50K watt station like ‘RKO carry it, but I guess that the owners don’t have any idea what to substitute it with.–raj

  12. raccoonradio

    I wouldn’t call Howie Carr no-talent…As for Jason Wolfe not having experience programming a talk station, I do consider sports talk as talk, and he has gottenacclaim and high ratings for WEEI. As for Air America, an interesting post on’s talk board pointed out the many things they did wrong: lying about finances, putting on people withno radio experience, paying huge salaries to those people; hiring huge support staffs (which is part of their $20 million in debt), etc.AAR should have gotten talent like Stephanie Miller and syndicated them to talk stations–yes, the “conservative” ones–instead of starting their own”network”. It isn’t idealogy that attracts listeners, it’s competence and entertainment value.

  13. Anonymous

    Raccoon, sports and politics are worlds apart. Jason Wolfe thought “fag Matt” was a racial slur, remember? He’s not up to the job.

  14. Anonymous

    Talk radio is where it’s at. The ultra-liberal news people on local radio are a disgrace. Most of them are nothing but hangers-on who profess ‘shock and awe’ (Listo Fisher) at their dismissal. AS IF they shouldn’t be subject to ‘reality.’ Local news–televised and on radio–is a laughing stock. Anchors who outlive their useful life by decades but do anything to score a paycheck. Idiots like Ted Wayman–once an anchor on WBZ and now a lost-in-the-weeds radio guy doing a saturday morning show on RKO. Scott Wahle and Ed Harding are two other hangers-on, among many. The bottom line is that ‘news’ is no longer news when local radio and TV report it. They’ve resorted to an endless parade of ‘cat-up-a-tree’ stories…all under the banner of ‘BREAKING NEWS!’For radio, talk is where it’s at; news isn’t.

  15. Anonymous

    Ted & Ellen is probably the worst show on radio.

  16. Anonymous

    “NPR snobs” strike a nerve did it, Dan? Heh.

  17. Brighton Boris

    Agree with Chris. Talk is not about reading news. It’s talking about news.Racoon, when a fraud of Severino’s size comes in and kicks you in the rear book after book, I am sorry, but you have no talent. Carr still does the same old and boring topics he did when he worked at ‘HDH and ‘HDH hasn’t existed since ’94.Carr inheritted a huge talk audience from Williams when American Radio systems merged WRKO and WHDH. He then proceeded to give much of that huge audience away to WTKK and Severino. How is that for true talk radio talent?

  18. raccoonradio

    Well, we’ll see how Jay’s ratings are…he did beat him in a few books, as I’dheard. Someone on said that Jay is now arguing for Bush’simpeachment. Hmm. I still think Carr has talent, though, and for me a more pleasant voice to hear than Jay’s.Meanwhile, rumor has it that WKOX and WXKS may not be down forbreakfast on or just after Friday, with regards to progessive talk…

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