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

Is Jay Severin bad for business?

Looks like Jay Severin’s advertisers are having second thoughts as to whether they want the race-baiting, foul-mouthed WTKK Radio (96.9 FM) talk-show host to return to the air. No word on when — or if — Severin might be back.

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14 Comments

  1. Jeff

    I have really had enough of Jay Severin spewing his hate over the public airways. I just registered http://boycottwtkk.com and If Jay is put back on the air I will be using it to list advertisers and organize a boycott.

  2. Sean Roche

    The advertisers are having second thoughts about whether they want to continue to sponsor someone who’s been exposed in the mainstream media as a race-baiting, foul-mouthed cretin.The sponsors knew Severin’s MO and enabled him. The only thing that’s changed is that Severin’s bile is now known beyond his like-minded audience.Whoops.

  3. Dunwich

    Nice piece. It leaves the distinct impression that the advertisers are indifferent to what Severin says as long as he receives no bad publicity along the way. In other words had advocates for the “diseased Mexicans” not complained, everything would be cool.

  4. krembo

    First Jay Severin gets suspended, now Manny Ramirez…has anyone ever seen them both in the same room at the same time. I wonder….

  5. Stella

    Simply a yawn…

  6. ShelT

    Severin is a gold-plated phony “Bostonian” doing his show from NYC. WTTK and Severin’s sponsors are disingenuous for expressing shock and dismay concerning the venom Severin spewed when they were paying him to be “over-the-edge.” The issue is that his ignorant pablum stopped generating good ratings because even shut-ins who mistake racist invective for “free speech” grew tired of Severin. Sadly, talk radio has no shortage of such knuckleheads, so WTTK is likely to replace Severin with another Savage/Grant/Limbaugh clone (clown?) with a “fresh” perspective. Severin can wax pathetic in a local bar; he is not entitled to a place on the airwaves to share his misogyny and race-baiting.

  7. Peter Porcupine

    “he is not entitled to a place on the airwaves”I do not enjoy or listen to Mr. Severin. However, we are ALL entitled to the airwaves if we can find a sponsor.I am gratified that he will fade away on a commercial, rather than suppression, basis.Just like Air America.

  8. raccoonradio

    If a talk host can do a good job and attract listeners and sponsors, great; no matter what the political ideology. In Boston a group of libtalk fans are buying time on WWZN and if it succeeds, so be it. It’s called capitalism, as they’re selling time to pay themselves back. (And don’t get me started on a “fairness doctrine”)The same applies to Jay–if he ticks off enough people, so much for his job. Remember ultimately what took Imus off WFAN/CBS Radio: sponsor pullouts, IIRC

  9. Jeff

    Raccoonradio;The problem with Jay is that he routinely crosses the line in to hate speech. WTKK is granted a license by the FCC to broadcast on the Public airways. There are only a limited number of frequencies available. You can’t just get on the public airways and spew hate. If Jay had a microphone in the time of Hitler I can bet what would have been coming out of his mouth.

  10. Aaron Read

    I do not enjoy or listen to Mr. Severin. However, we are ALL entitled to the airwaves if we can find a sponsor.The Supreme Court would rather strongly disagree with your assertion, Peter. And has done so repeatedly over the years. Check out:http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/lowpwr.html#FREEDespite (or more accurately, precisely because of) the oft-cited cry that they are the “public airwaves”, nobody is ever entitled to any “right” to broadcast.

  11. Aaron Read

    You can’t just get on the public airways and spew hate.Actually, you can. As long as the speech does not incite people to commit a crime, or broadcast speech that is indecent or obscene, then there’s this little thing called the First Amendment that says the government cannot censor you for sounding like a total jackass on the air.If you think Severin’s bad, you should’ve heard some of crap broadcast back in old days, from the 1930’s to the 1950’s…there were quite a few “Heil Hitler’s” coming from the border blasters in Mexico in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Even the domestic signals had some mighty rough stuff politically up until the advent of nationwide satellite networks in the 1950’s made telecommunications into such a huge money business that political extremism became too much of a liability for many stations.Anyways, this does not mean Jay has a RIGHT to be on the air, only that THE GOVERNMENT cannot remove him. Certainly the owner of the station license can do so. And if enough sponsors yank their support, most owners will yank the offending host…that’s just good business.BTW, not to get off on a tangent, but there are rules about what is “indecent” and (especially) what is “obscene”. The rules are incredibly vague on exactly what IS indecent or obscene, but paradoxically they’re pretty good about eliminating what ISN’T indecent or obscene. I don’t listen to Severin, but the impression I’ve always had is that he’s nowhere near indecent or obscene because he rarely talks about sex. Not gays or gay marriage kind of talk about sex, I mean Howard Stern / Dan Savage talk about sex. If you stay away from sex, it’s damn hard to be hit with an indecency or obscenity charge.

  12. raccoonradio

    Well it is true that there are a limited amount of frequencies on FM and AM (though there are other media around like TV and the Net which could afford him a platform). But exactly where can we say someone crosses the line and the government should move in?But Aaron is right, the govt. cannot stop “hate speech” though if he used profanity or (sexual) obscenity they couldfine WTKK, etc. (Aaron had said:”Anyways, this does not mean Jay has a RIGHT to be on the air, only that THE GOVERNMENT cannot remove him. Certainly the owner of the station license can do so.”For those on the Left who feel someone expressing their opinion is obscene, in your opinion, beware: if they (govt.) can come after THEM, they will come after YOU.

  13. the_bunk

    I feel that if too much attention is paid to this non-entity, he will gain more power. Boycotts only make some other station look at him as a way of boosting their ratings. How many of these people have actually gone off the air as a result of a campaign?Severin is a second rate crank with a first rate contract. I’m sure TKK is using this as leverage against him. Maybe he can just go follow Mitt Romney around the country as he “solves” the economic crisis by raising money from rich donors.

  14. Aaron Read

    Boycotts only make some other station look at him as a way of boosting their ratings. Not necessarily. Depends on the talent, the sponsors involved, and the dedication of the boycotters.If the sponsors are a kind that depends on walk-in business, and the boycotters have a lot of free time to picket in front of a store(s), and the talent has said something that appears blatantly stupid to the Average Joe…then you’ve got a talent whose ass just got boycotted right off the air. Sponsors are paying to get GOOD publicity, not bad. Unlike the media, when you’re a business there is very much something called “bad publicity”, and it can cost you a ton of business.But it’s hard to boycott talent. No station ever wants to back down in the face of a boycott – it only encourages future boycotts. And when it does happen successfully, that talent is screwed. No station in a market will touch him/her for years because they’re afraid they’ll be next.And I can’t speak for elsewhere, but in Boston people have looong memories. Remember when there was a whiff that Mike Barnicle MIGHT be going to WBUR? The howls of protest over that sprung up immediately (and I would argue, rightly so) despite over a decade of time since that plagiarism mess that got him canned by the Globe.

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