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

Rooney and Severin

The Herald goes public with some news that’s been brewing for a while: Emily Rooney, the host of “Greater Boston” on WGBH-TV (Channel 2), will be sparring with WTKK Radio (96.9 FM) talk-show host Jay Severin every Friday at 6 p.m., starting today. (The Herald Web site is down at the moment, but I think the story will pop up here.)

Severin thinks Rooney is a liberal, which shows that he’s wrong about at least two things: he also thinks his audience is callers are “the best and the brightest.” Anyway, Severin’s going to have his hands full unless he uses the mute button — and I can guarantee you that won’t go over well at all.

(Disclosure: I’m a paid contributor to “Greater Boston”‘s Friday media panel, “Beat the Press.”)

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An allegation of intimidation


  1. Anonymous

    Two questions, Dan.One, do you have any insight as to why Emily Rooney would agree to go onto Severin’s show–and thereby help to advertise what is actually a rather second-rate talk show (Howie’s gab fest is actually a bit better, although I realize it is little more than a comedy show)? If she’s being paid to do the segment with Severin, I wonder whether she would need the money so badly as to agree to do it.Question two, and something that I’ve been wondering about for a while, what day and time is Greater Boston’s Beat the Press episode actually taped? I’m sure that that show isn’t broadcast live. But I suspect that Severin’s show is, unless they’re going to broadcast a taped “point-counterpoint” style segment.TIA.–raj

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Raj: I have no idea why Emily is doing this, nor do I know the details about live versus taped.I can tell you that “Beat the Press” is taped mid-afternoon on Fridays, sometimes a bit later, and very occasionally live depending on the news.

  3. bostonph

    Having watched Brian Camenker walk all over Emily the other night, I think this is going to be a blood bath.In one exchange, Emily asked Brian if he were saying gay people should be denied jobs in government (bad paraphrase, but close). He replied by explaining that Daniel Grabauskas is a homosexual activist and promoter of the transgender agenda. Emily just let it go…

  4. Anonymous

    Dan,This post speaks volumes. Severin apparently doesn’t get to regard Rooney as a liberal, (compared to him, how could she not be?), but you are allowed ad hominems toward an audience (at least marginally) more interested than Howie’s in matters of substance. Everyone to your right is not a knuckle- dragging Neanderthal. You once referred to a statement that “the callers in talk radio are dumber than the listeners”. What does that say about those of us who have, (or post to) blogs? I guess some people’s opinions just don’t matter? You are capable of better.

  5. Anonymous

    Wow, what a slam dunk, cash cow bonanza of a ratings blast this is going to be for WTKK. I can’t wati! Will there be podcasts? Because I’d hate to miss one precious second.

  6. Anonymous

    File this under the “useless” dept.Having any reasonable person talk to that sc…uh…weirdo is like hitting your head against a brickwall, let alone a self-described liberal taking him on on his familiar territory with a herd of biased sheep for an audience.This is an exercise in futility. No one will be able to get an admission from him he “MAY” be wrong on anything or that there is any respect for any other views that differ from his.He is the master of the backflip as he reneged on many positions and easily jumps awya from the camps that start to become very unpopular with some assinine justifications and rationalizations to save face.He can’t stand any criticism and any caller that puts his back against the wall (which isn’t hard to do) is quickly dispatched and insulted after hanging up.Observing how paid media critics come on these types of shows, they usually have kid gloves on. There is no bite to these stints at all. Including yours, Dan, respectfully.This isn’t even a matter of civility, that people want to see two opponents insult each other on the air. No. But please don’t lay down and agree on things you otherwise wouldn’t have agreed upon in anonther setting and try to convince me this is a genuine critical exchange. I bet it won’t be.I bet she’ll be more concerned about NOT alienating him and his audience and fear sounding like a b—– to the ears of an audience who is already predisposed to dislike and smear lefties.I squirmed when a couple of months ago I read a very underreported bit of news during the election that Emily was going to do a commentary segment on his show. I don’t know if she did or not or if she got paid for it or not. I don’t listen to the garbage anymore but it was strange how it was NEVER mentioned in any forums I would have expected them to be. I squirmed not because of the unsavory nature of the radio show but because I wasn’t sure how that was going to hinder her ability to criticize the show or the station if she were to be tied to them. The show and station are likely media criticism subjects and she deals with these matters for a living on a weekly basis and is respected for it. For her to be part of it seemed very un-Emily-like, given that she is very well-liked, respected and can pretty much get any media gig in this town and would excel at it. She can be a terrific radio host and I am surprised she doesn’t dabble in radio, at least on the BUR or GBH airwaves. Very surprised. (Maybe one very incompetent Julie or Jason are listening, maybe they have one person here who can truly make their station “balanced” without alienating their “base” fans however in the minority they may be.)What I really would love to hear – no disrespect to Emily here- is Andy Rooney taking him on without any muting or hanging up/lost cell connection scenarios. Now THAT would be great radio… or spanking… whichever you’d like. In essence, Emily is too close to the scene to be effective, I think. Get me a Frank Rich or an Eleanor Clift to take him on and I would really listen then.N.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    N.: When have I ever been on the Severin show? Or any of “these types of shows”? An example, please.

  8. Stephen Stein

    I listened in the car on the way home until about 6:30. It was entertaining enough, but the engineering sounded like amateur hour. Jay was about twice as loud as Emily, and every once in a while, there was a very annoying high pitched whine for about 10 seconds ending with a “click”.I found it extremely difficult to concentrate on the content. An annoying too-long too-self-congratulatory intro, but an interesting format. It felt like Jay wanted to take it into a left/right slugfest and Emily won’t play along. They both could make their points without too much demogoguery. Until it came to Hillary. I’d like to hear them devote a half-hour to exploring Jay’s feelings about Hillary. 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    How about “Putz” Review, Dan?N.

  10. Anonymous

    Maybe Jay will win another Pulitzer for this show.

  11. hooks

    Stephen, I didn’t catch the segment, but if the audio disparity was anything like you describe, I wouldn’t call it “amateur hour”. As with so much of talk radio (politics, sports, etc.), this was very likely by design.

  12. Anonymous

    BostonPH…..What night was Camenker on with Emily Rooney?Thanks!

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