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

WTKK fires Severin

Jay Severin

In what I’m sure will be a surprise to no one, Greater Media has announced that WTKK Radio (96.9 FM) talk-show host Jay Severin has been fired. Boston Globe story here; Boston Herald story here.

Severin was suspended last week, apparently for making some pretty loathsome remarks about sex with interns. Standard fare for the hatemongering Severin, but his $1 million salary and his plummeting ratings made getting rid of him an easy call.

Meanwhile, Globe columnist Scot Lehigh proves that Severin lied about him recently regarding Lehigh’s reporting that Severin had lied about having received a Pulitzer. Fun piece (“lying about lying,” Lehigh calls it), though the only folks who thought Severin was telling the truth about Lehigh were the most hopeless of his sycophants. Which means they won’t be convinced now, either.

Severin has already been scrubbed from the WTKK website. Jay who? We don’t know anyone named Jay.

Was Media Nation the first to predict that Severin wouldn’t be back? You tell me.

And just think: Severin’s departure comes on the same day that we learn fading Fox phenom Glenn Beck will be leaving his daily show later this year. Beck is supposedly going to work on unspecified projects for Fox.

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  1. It would be really, really nice for WTKK to put on a Jerry Wiliams/David Brudnoy-like intellectual conversational program on the air again. I might actually turn the radio back on. And this from someone who LOVES radio and has been working in it off and on for years and years. It’s just unlistenable these days.

  2. Mike Benedict

    The fascinating paradox is how conservatives have completely overestimated last year’s elections as a referendum on the nation’s ideology when in fact, like almost all elections, it was a referendum on voters’ wallets.

    So you have the conservative “lights” burning out, elections swinging back to the Democrats, the incredible oversteps of newbie GOP governors, and the teabaggers blatantly (and some say intentionally) misreading their own tea leaves.

    Meanwhile, the GOP presidential candidates are tripping over themselves NOT to start campaigning, the Hispanics are the second-largest and fastest-growing race in the country, and no Republican has a clue as how to lead.

    It’s a good day to be a Democrat.

  3. Ken Gornstein

    Hello, my name is Jay Severin. May I speak to Jason Wolfe, please?

  4. Stephen Stein

    One hour of Michael Savage is more abusive than Jay Severin’s whole career. But I guess he’s available a lot cheaper.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Stephen: Don’t know this for a fact, but Savage’s show might be one of those that pays the stations to take it, then they sell the ads.

  5. Peter Griffith

    Interesting turn. Congratulations to Dan for calling it first.

    I’m wondering if this marks some turning point for talk radio on Boston. I agree with the poster who wondered it TKK would go for a Brudnoy/Williams type practitioner of real talk radio, I’ll throw Gene Burns in to that mix also.

    Having listened to talk seriously all of my 49 years, I’ve wondered if the increased vitriol of our times would allow for reasoned conversation.

    Even though compared to the likes of Severin and Carr, Brudnoy and Williams seemed like founts of wisdom, they could sometimes be pulled onto a bandwagon. Jerry lost it with the seatbelt issue and Brudnoy’s voice would sometimes shake with his contempt for Bill Clinton. Yet, both hosts could pull back from the abyss that today’s “Talk Masters” use.

    If some of the NPR stations were not producing some good talk, it would be a dead as the passenger pigeon. But is there a place in the commercial radio world for the wonderful media venue of local talk radio?

  6. L.K. Collins

    I am reminded, Dear Mikey, that the Republicans were so dead in 2008 that they were able to win a meaningful majority of seats in the US House and control the redistricting process in a significant number of states.

    How you doing with that hopey changey stuff, by the way?

    Aren’t Obama, Reid & Co still trying to figure out the 2011 budget?

    How you going to handle Andrew Cuomo running in the Presidential primaries in 2012?

    Come on, Mikey, lets hear some responsive answers out of you.

  7. Jeffrey Cox

    I turned to WTKK today to hear them discuss the conflict. Instead, I hear non-talk about the Red Sox liquor policy and other light talk. When you are making news, talk about it!

  8. Ben Rivard-Rapoza

    There’s still great talk radio in Boston — Dan Rea on WBZ. Dan has consistently high quality guests (local and beyond…). I wish he’d podcast all of his interviews, because they’re too good to just disappear into the ether.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Ben: Dan Rea is excellent. So are Jim and Margery on WTKK, as well as the various hosts on WBUR and WGBH.

  9. M.J.Stevenson

    “Jerry Wiliams/David Brudnoy-like intellectual conversational program on the air again.”
    David wouldn’t want to be lumped with Jerry.

    Telephone Talk radio–as opposed to NPR conversational talk– is over. The interesting thing concerning the Jay flame-out was that nobody–apparently– even complained about what he said. And why would they if this is the type stuff they listen to every day?

    I just hope TKK didn’t give him anything to go away.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @M.J.: You might be surprised. Brudnoy was a big admirer of Williams, even though their styles were very different.

  10. Mike Rice

    Glenn Beck, Jay Severin and Charlie Sheen should tour together, billed as “Three Men – All Losers.”

  11. Mike Benedict

    @L.K.: You are more obsessed with me than John Wayne Gacy was with small children.

    Let’s hope it turns out better for both of us.

  12. Ben Rivard-Rapoza

    Dan- I agree, the local NPR programming is excellent as well.

  13. @Dan: You’re correct. I talked with David a number of times about the business, as did you, and he and Jerry were not only friends but respected each other deeply.
    If anything, the old style of talk radio should still be able to work. Technology has made us all more open with our lives and communicating even more than we ever did before. As well, there are so many potential guests trying to promote things, like books, theories, agendas, etc., that it really would be an open slate. The key now is how does WTKK build an audience for that time slot? They can just throw another blowhard in there. Or, they can try something different (which, technically, isn’t different at all, it’s been done before and it was quite successful and enjoyable).
    I would agree that Dan Rea does a good show too.

  14. Peter Sullivan

    Hey Mike B. we get it, you are a democrat, why not say something relevant to the topic. If I want to hear someone spout the party line I can just read the Globe.

  15. Mike Benedict

    Peter Sullivan: Are you really whining over reading liberal points of view on a self-styled liberal’s blog?

    Get over yourself.

  16. peter sullivan

    No mike, i’m whining about reading your “look how much I like to hear myself talk about anything liberal, even if it is out of context” nonsense. Dan’s site is libral in nature, but the internet is all enclusive. Just because Al Gore invented it doesn’t mean everyone on it has to be liberal.

  17. Mike Benedict

    How is pointing to the trend — local and national — of the downfall of a certain brand (in this case, conservative) talk show hosts — and on a media criticism blog, no less — “out of context?”

    Hypersensitive and reading-challenged are no way to go through life, son.

  18. C.E. Stead

    I have a personal fondness for Tom Finneran, but his show used to be better when he started – more content, less sensationalism, which is consistent with the man himself. I’m afraid he was told he had to have more ‘sizzle’ than brains. The show was on in the wrong time slot, IMO, although I haven’t listened lately as I no longer commute 150+ miles a day.

    BTW, DK – Hard as it may be for you to believe, I really think Beck just plans to do a perpetual road show, like the ones he’s been doing with Bill O’Reilly. Financially, Fox may have been holding him back – just ask Aimee Semple McPherson.

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