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

WTKK suspends Jay Severin

Jay Severin’s ratings must really be slipping. WTKK Radio (96.9 FM) has suspended him “indefinitely” for making derogatory remarks about Mexicans, according to the Boston Globe’s David Abel. As anyone who has listened to him over the years knows, he couldn’t possibly have been any more offensive this week than he’s been for the past decade.

You have to wonder if this is really about ‘TKK trying to get out from under a contract that makes no sense in the current economic environment. So what did Severin say? Anyone hear it?

At least for the moment, Severin is still featured on ‘TKK’s Web site. (Thanks to Ron Newman.)

More: The Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam doesn’t have Severin’s offending remarks, either, but she does report that ‘TKK was actually using those very same sound bites as promos. That tends to confirm my suspicion that this is all about money. Prediction: If Severin ever returns to ‘TKK, it will be with a new contract for substantially less money. It’s a different world now.

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The latest on the Globe


Are these the Severin sound bites?


  1. Brian Flaherty

    Yeah, this is nothing more than a ploy – either for ratings or, as you say, money. Howie Carr is killing him in ratings.

  2. Ken

    Dan,You may remember I wrote you about six months ago predicting that Severin would self-destruct within a year. Chalk one up for me.Now, let’s work on ridding the radio world of the other three TKK racists: Graham, McPhee and Sliwa.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Ken: You were right, assuming Severin doesn’t come back.

  4. Dunwich

    Which “suspension” was more authentic? The Depetro or the Severino? Jay hasn’t been the same since Imus threatened to shoot him.

  5. Tim Allik

    I listened to the audio that the Globe posted on today and didn’t hear anything that I thought was any more offensive than usual (although I still find Severin to be a boring, repetitive, intellectually compromised meglomaniac).I occasionally listen to Severin (along with Howie Carr and WBUR) on my 45 minutes to 1.5 hour commute on Rt. 128 each day (God help me). I’m a fan of WBUR and I think Howie – like him or hate him – is a genuine talent, but Severin is a one trick pony. I noted that yesterday Severin bashed Don Imus and told his audience that he “knew something” about Imus that he “couldn’t tell” (hee hee).It was a truly weird to hear the afternoon guy openly slam the morning drive guy on the station that pays them both. I don’t know if Severin’s Imus comments had anything to do with his suspension, but I wonder — especially since what Severin said about Mexicans seemed mild compared to the bile that typically spews from his narcissistic, neurotic, (and yes) rodent-like mouth.

  6. Brian Flaherty

    Tim, you said:”It was a truly weird to hear the afternoon guy openly slam the morning drive guy on the station that pays them both.” Howie bashes Finneran everyday!

  7. Aaron Read

    To potentially go off on a tangent, supposedly WTKK received a lot of complaints about this particular Severin rant.To me, this is just more evidence of why the FCC should get the hell out of the content regulation (i.e. indecency) business. Severin is perfect proof of how your audience should really be what decides whether or not you’ve crossed the line. If you cross the line, and it pisses your audience off, they howl in protest, your advertisers are offended and threaten to pull their sponsorship (or actually pull it) and the station management backs down as needed.BTW, Severin is on 3-7pm, which does have some overlap with the call-in talk show Talk of the Nation on WBUR. On that note, I’ve often wondered if NPR could use a call-in talk show for afternoon drive, to be an alternate/complement for All Things Considered.

  8. Dunwich

    I doubt any of Jay’s regulars complained. They probably want and expect this kind of programming. That’s what makes the suspension seem so lame. It’s pretty obvious groups have his show monitored. Latinos actually listening you could probably count on one hand. But that doesn’t mean they have to allow him to get away with this –“the world’s lowest of primitives”– stuff.

  9. Johnny

    Is this the same Jay Severin (James Severin/Jimmy Severino):''IT'S about time we had a place on the Upper East Side,'' James Severin was saying Tuesday night over the recorded sound of early 60's pop tunes. ''We've got to stay ahead of the G.U.'s,'' Mr. Severin added. G.U.'s? ''Geographic undesirables, the bridge and tunnel types,'' he explained. Mr. …

  10. tim

    Dan What is the beef with Jay and Imus when Imus got canned I thought Jay was one of his staunch defenders and if they try to fire Jay he will probally still get paid ( Imus did )it will be hard for them to say this was offensive but the other million times were not.

  11. Rio

    I am not a Jay Severin fan, but freedom of speech is very important, If you agree with a person or not, their opinion should be heard. Liberals (like myself) should consider freedom of speech a right, irregardless of political bias.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Rio: Are you telling us that freedom of speech is threatened if Jay Severin doesn’t have a drive-time talk show and make $1 million a year? Really?If you want a talk show and a big contract and no one will give you one, are your free-speech rights threatened?

  13. Dave

    If you don’t like what Jay says don’t listen to him!!! At least he has the stones to say what most people are thinking. TKK should step up to the plate for Jay ASAP!! They are the ones loosing money now!!

  14. Raj

    I remember once jay said that if someone threatens him on he will shoot him. But when Imus threaten him he took one-week vacation. This guy is phony one.He wrote a article on Herald that why Obama can not be a president. With his 25 years experience (Ha Ha Ha ).

  15. bengipc

    I think Jay Severin says what many people think, poor illegal aliens get no respect from jay.. WHAA whaa he hurt their feelings. All you libs and socialists think illegal aliens have the right to come to this country, break our laws, bring in diseases, use our health care system for free, pay little or no taxes, take social welfare benefits… it’s all good… shaft anyone who speaks out. Jay should get back on WTTK and get a pay bonus!

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