Public radio’s new local focus

Good news for fans of quality local radio: WBUR (90.9 FM) is expanding its “Radio Boston” program from one day a week to five. Along with Emily Rooney‘s and Callie Crossley‘s new shows on WGBH (89.7 FM), that’s three hours a day of local programming on the city’s two largest public radio stations. Adam Gaffin has the news, and Adam Reilly has more.

WBUR’s other news and public-affairs programs, “On Point” and “Here and Now,” are excellent but lack a local focus, as they are both nationally syndicated. By going daily, “Radio Boston” plugs a hole at WBUR that was left in the 1990s, when Christopher Lydon‘s legendary program “The Connection” went national.

My disclaimer: I am a paid weekly panelist on “Beat the Press,” a WGBH-TV (Channel 2) program of which Rooney is the host and Crossley is a regular.

Public radio listeners will be the winners

Best of luck to my “Beat the Press” colleagues Emily Rooney and Callie Crossley, whose hour-long programs debut today on WGBH Radio (89.7 FM) — Emily at noon and Callie at 1 p.m.

Rooney is competing with one of my favorite people in radio, Robin Young, whose “Here and Now” is broadcast on WBUR (90.9 FM) from noon to 1. Crossley is up against syndicated fare on ‘BUR except on Fridays, when “Radio Boston” airs.

So I’m hoping the public radio audience expands and everyone wins. Including the listeners.

Ted Koppel may anchor ABC’s “This Week”

Ted Koppel

My “Beat the Press” colleague Callie Crossley has the best idea for George Stephanopoulos’ replacement on ABC’s “This Week”: Gwen Ifill, who would have been a far better choice to succeed the late Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” than David Gregory — predictably — has proved to be.

But if an Ifill hire isn’t in the works, we might get the next best thing. The Politico’s Mike Allen reports that ABC is negotiating with legendary “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel, now in busy semi-retirement, to moderate “This Week” three Sundays a month.

Koppel was one of the finest broadcast journalists of his generation — the successor to Murrow and Cronkite to a far greater extent than any of the folks who have anchored the network evening newscasts in the post-Cronkite era. He’s a tough interviewer and would bring unparalleled gravitas to the job. Ducking a question from Ted Koppel is not the same as ducking a question from Jake Tapper, Terry Moran or anyone else.

I do have one reservation. After Russert’s death in 2008, I thought retired anchor Tom Brokaw was an excellent choice to fill the moderator’s slot on an interim basis. Instead, Brokaw seemed cranky, sour and bored.

The Brokaw lesson is that it would be great to have Koppel back — but only if he’s prepared to bring his “A” game.

Photo (cc) by Tim Brauhn and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.