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

Lehigh on Severin

Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh, who’s tangled with Jay Severin before, weighs in with a terrific column on Severin’s suspension from WTKK Radio (96.9 FM). I love this:

From the start of his talk-radio career, Severin was just bright enough to be an accomplished charlatan, clever enough to coat his gut-level biases and bigotry with a thin veneer of analysis. But he was neither smart nor knowledgeable enough to add much of value to the public discussion.

On “Beat the Press” this evening, Emily Rooney expressed the view that Severin will be back. Perhaps she’s right. (The segment should pop up on the new BTP Web site over the weekend.) I believe that was Curtis Sliwa I heard filling in for Severin this afternoon, which suggests that management didn’t even have a Plan D in place, never mind a Plan B or C.

Still, I find it hard to believe that management is happy about paying Severin a reported $1 million-plus a year only to lose the ratings battle to WRKO (AM 680) host Howie Carr — who, after all, would now be ‘TKK’s morning host if only he hadn’t signed a contract with ‘RKO that would make Curt Flood weep.

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  1. krembo

    It is somewhat ominous that the station has excised Severin from their audio archives, they have their entire lineup on display sans Severin ( If this is just a quick suspension why the politburo treatment?

  2. O-FISH-L

    Since Severin’s comments were routine and his ouster appears to be a pretext, I wouldn’t be surprised if Michele McPhee was behind his removal and somehow slid into the afternoon drive slot. Much like Reese Hopkins on WRKO after John DePetro, WTKK could hire McPhee for about 1/20th the price of her predecessor and the ratings can’t get much worse.With the success of the Bruins this season, McPhee has (by default) attracted a larger audience since Dan Rea is preempted by hockey on WBZ. McPhee also seems to have a way of advancing her own career agenda at the expense of her colleagues, regularly popping up on the front page of the Herald in an apparent freelance capacity, even though she supposedly left the paper ages ago. Is there any doubt that she would just as quickly commandeer Severin’s space?I tend to agree with Charlie Pierce, that she sounds like someone yelling from the back porch of a triple decker in Revere. I’m also tired of her “I know everything about being a cop and fireman” act, but I predict she will be in Severin’s slot soon, at a discount for WTKK.

  3. Nial Liszt

    Dan gets to mention his two favorite radio talk hosts in one post- Sliwa and Howie. Can you at least give them the fact that they both possess bigger journalistic nuts than Joseph Pulitzer’s favorite chestnut tree in their past coverage of LCN?

  4. Steve

    krembo – For what it’s worth, I noticed that Sliwa was still calling it “The Jay Severin show” yesterday afternoon.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Nial: My attitude about Howie is far different from what I think about the Severins and Grahams of the world. Howie is a huge talent. I’d like to see him clean up his act and work his show (and his column) harder, but he is not someone I want to see go away. I’m actually something of a conflicted fan.Sliwa? Please. Unlistenable. I’ve literally never been able to give him more than a minute or two before I have to change the station. I couldn’t even tell you what his politics are other than assuming that he’s a conservative.

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