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

The numbers tell the story

Jay Severin has been disappeared from the WTKK home page, though you can still find his blog if you know where to look.

The Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam has the numbers, and they tell a gruesome story. During the first quarter of 2009, Severin dropped to 14th place among 25- to 54-year-old listeners, the most demographically important group. Severin’s WRKO rival, Howie Carr, was in sixth place. Severin had a 3.6 share; Carr, 5.2.

Heslam notes that Severin’s plunge came as radio stations switched to a new method of measuring audience. What’s unclear is whether the old system was artificially inflating Severin’s numbers; the new system is artifically hurting him; or people are just sick of listening to his race-baiting rants.

I love this:

Sources within Greater Media, which owns the station, have told the Herald that management has been dissatisfied with the “hateful” tone his show has taken. One source said Severin had been warned in the past.

So when was this magical period when Severin’s show was not “hateful”? No doubt Greater Media executives thought Severin sounded a whole lot less hateful when he was beating Carr every day. I’m sure one thing they really hate is paying a reported $1 million-plus a year to a host who’s coming in 14th in the ratings.

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7 Comments

  1. Brian Flaherty

    Too bad for Howie, sure he would love that slot.

  2. Amused

    I’d suggest that the story about corporate HQ taking a dim view of Serino’s words has credibility. I vaguely recall that when the family-owned Greater Media came to town in 1980 or so by buying the final incarnation of WBZ-FM, there was chatter about how straight-laced the company was.As it is, shock radio is not something they do. The group is light on syndicated shows and the programs it does carry are fairly mainstream — an ESPN sports talker in Detroit, Imus in Boston and Limbaugh and nightime talkers on WBT, Charlotte. Most of Greater Media’s stations are adult in both format and approach — save for a couple of mammary-obsessed rockers aimed at adolescent males who do tend to think of little else. There is an absence of Stern-wannabees on its payroll.Greater Media’s only other talk station is WBT,Charlotte, which fired one-time ‘RKO host Jeff Katz after complaints about hate-filled speech aimed at Muslims, blacks and immigrants (he recently turned up at WRKO as a fill-in for Carr.) The company inherited Katz from previous ownership and even when they gassed him, the General Manager and Program Director pulled a three-hour air shift to explain it and take questions. WBT is genuine local talk, more on the order of WRKO in the O’Brien/Jeghelian, Burns, Williams, Brudnoy era avoiding “shock talk” during the day (the closest they come is Limbaugh which they have to carry lest the 800 pound gorilla of talk radio provide a competitor with a ratings foundation.)Blowing out Severino seems to fit well with Greater Media’s approach to talk radio. IT almost looks like they hired him (and his alleged political credibility) to be a conservative talker and he increasingly ran with it in a direction with which the company simply isn’t comfortable.

  3. Amused

    Whoops, the Greater Media sportstalker is in Philly.

  4. Rick in Duxbury

    “The company inherited Katz from previous ownership and …they gassed him…”Whoops indeed.

  5. Amused

    Well to be more specific: A subsidiary of Greater Media acquired WBT from Lincoln FinancialMedia Co. in January 2008, the application was filed in November, 2007.. Katz was hired in August 2006, and was blown out around December 1, 2008.

  6. Michael Pahre

    It’s not just that Jimmy Severino has disappeared from the WTKK homepage, they have deleted most references to him and his shows from the archive. Save, of course, that blog that you noted (and know a priori where it is located).That WTKK is wiping Severino (nearly) clean off their site tells me that he ain’t coming back. Ever. Anybody providing WTKK with the shampoo?

  7. raccoonradio

    I did hear a pre-recorded liner today: “Jay Severin at 3:00; Michael Graham, right now!” But who knows.Still no resolution to Jay situation; VB filling in today.http://www.bostonradiowatch.comrelaysGreater's statement:””WTKK and Greater Media value an open and vigorous dialogue, but we also strongly adhere to basic principles of civility, common decency and respect for all cultures. We believe Jay’s suspension is the best way to uphold both of these corporate policies. WTKK Management met with Jay Severin and his agent today. He will continue to remain on suspension until further notice.”

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