WBUR advances “Radio Boston” plans

Meghna Chakrabarti

Some news today about the debut of the daily “Radio Boston,” now set for Monday, May 3, on WBUR (90.9 FM). The “lead host” will be rising star Meghna Chakrabarti, although expect to hear other voices in the anchor chair as well. The executive producer will be Iris Adler, who’s returning to ‘BUR after many years at New England Cable News. And the hour-long program will air at either 1 or 3 p.m. — stay tuned for a final decision.

What follows is an internal e-mail from WBUR general manager Paul La Camera that Media Nation obtained a little while ago:

Title: “Radio Boston,” the sense being that we already have a great deal invested in this title and it says it all.

Premiere Date: Monday, May 3

Time Period: Either 1-2PM or 3-4PM. If its is the former, “Fresh Air” would shift to 2-3PM, Monday-Thursday. The first hour of “Talk of the Nation” would then be pre- empted those four days. However, on Friday, we would carry the full two hours of “Science Friday.” If we choose the latter scenario, we would pre-empt the second hour of “TON” all five days. If you have thoughts on this choice, please let us know.

Lead Host: Meghna Chakrabarti. Meghna, since her beginnings in 2002 as a producer on “On Point,” has grown quickly and formidably as a radio force and a radio voice, in just these recent days performing with skill and comfort the substitute hosting of the very challenging “Here and Now.”

Meghna will be the appropriately titled “lead host,” leaving room for many additional WBUR voices, including those of our unrivaled corps of reporters and young emerging voices lke those of Adam Ragusea and Andrew Phelps.

Leadership: We are pleased that Mark Navin will continue in his current role of senior producer and director of the new daily iteration. Mark deserves our full recognition and appreciation for how far his leadership has taken “Radio Boston” and positioned it for this major transition to a daily.

At the same time, we have created a new executive producer position for the daily “Radio Boston” and that will be filled by an individual familiar to many of us, Iris Adler. Iris is one of the most experienced and accomplished broadcast news and public affairs executives in our city. For the past 18 years, she has served New England Cable News, the nation’s pre-eminent regional cable news service, as both managing editor and executive editor. For the dozen years before that, some of you will remember Iris as a WBUR reporter, managing editor, and, from 1988-1992, the station’s news director. Iris will be joining us on Monday, March 22.

Other Staff: Weekly “Radio Boston” major players and key contributors Adam Ragusea and Jessica Alpert will be fill the respective roles of reporter/associate producer and assistant producer. And Tim Skoog will continue to apply his technical genius to the now daily production. Iris and Mark will soon be interviewing for a remaining unfilled associate producer position.

Geography: The expanded “Radio Boston” team will be housed in the current membership area next to the news department for all the obvious reasons. In turn, the membership group will move to a redesigned office area currently occupied by the weekly “RB.” This shift will take place the first week of April.

Let me also take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Jane Clayson who has been a critically important force in preparing, professionalizing and positioning “Radio Boston” for this exciting step forward. As Jane stated in her gracious and moving farewell at the conclusion of Friday’s program, her family life is simply not compatible with the demands of a daily program. However, I am thrilled to share with you that not only will Jane remain the host of “On Point” when Tom is not there but now will also be the voice who will complement Robin Young on “Here and Now.” So, even with her departure from “Radio Boston,” we and our fortunate listeners will hear Jane virtually to the same degree as we have these past few years. Simply stated, Jane will remain a very active and important member of the WBUR family.

I hope you join me in the excitement of these developments. I have been eager for WBUR to have a daily local program since I arrived at this wondrous place four and half years ago today. And now I just have to wait until May 3 for that dream to be realized.

Paul

5 thoughts on “WBUR advances “Radio Boston” plans

  1. Pingback: WBUR's new, improved "Radio Boston" - Dont Quote Me

  2. Tom Underwood

    L.K. Collins-

    Had the same thought. Music radio might be dying but public radio (at least in Boston) is looking good!

  3. Aaron Read

    I am not surprised that WBUR is unwilling to give up the Fresh air audience to WGBH. But it’s a bummer that it’s possible they’ll move it to 2pm and thus air it at the same time as WGBH. I have no problem with both stations airing the same show…but I much prefer when they air the show at different times.

    You might say that Radio Boston would end up at 3pm and Fresh Air stay at 1pm. That’s a possibility, but I would think that the 1pm timeslot is “stronger” than the 3pm slot, and thus WBUR would put their local show during their stronger timeslot. Of course, I haven’t seen WBUR’s ratings at that level of granularity, so maybe I’ve got it totally backwards…

    BTW, props to Mark Navin, who took a chance on an obnoxious Boston University junior who wouldn’t stop heckling him for a workstudy job in the production dep’t. So yes, you can all blame Mark for getting me my first real NPR job! 🙂

  4. Dana Risley

    I cannot stand listening to Megna Chakrabarti’s voice. In short doses, it was fine, but an entire hour of her? No! BUR seems to be trying too hard to redefine itself – or find itself here.

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