Another Local Media Basketcase: WGBH-FM

While WGBH was busy building a gleaming monument to itself in Brighton, the public broadcast outfit’s FM operation continued to languish. LEED certification (a fuzzy concept to say the least) was a priority, programming, not so much.

Now, in a tough climate where donations have declined, the public television giant is now forced to pay attention to previously-ignored aspects of its operation.

WGBH-FM certainly qualifies as neglected: thanks to Arbitron’s new electronic PPM ratings system, public radio stations are now included with their commercial counterparts. And while Boston University’s WBUR-FM has fared well so far, taking seventh overall in the most recent survey, WGBH is stuck in twenty-second place, just ahead of a distant Providence-based country outlet, WCTK-FM.

Public radio stations need ratings as well, otherwise, the potential donor base becomes too small to sustain the operation. In addition, businesses making grants in exchange for on-air plugs get little for their money.

With that bleak outlook, GBH suits have decided to revamp its programming, modeling it somewhat after WBZ-AM, with news and talk, while music is generally phased out (or moved to WCRB-FM). But where does a leftist outfit acquire talk shows in this climate of conservative “hate” that fills commercial airwaves?

From WGBH-2’s boring, pro-establishment public affairs programming, of course! Yes, let’s turn unwatched television into unheard radio! The result: radio talk shows hosted by Emily Rooney and Callie Crossley.

If you’ve got two short hours to sacrifice from your daily routine, Emily and Callie will be glad to fill you in on why Mayor-For-Life Menino is such a great guy, why Deval Patrick deserves a second term and how it doesn’t matter whether Martha Coakley campaigns on any actual issues, her partisan affiliation alone is enough.

Whether WBZ or anyone else is shaking in their boots over this move is questionable, but it is interesting that WGBH sees its future in news and talk, while Entercom has so much contempt for the format and Greater Media allows WTKK-FM to experience a slow and painful death.

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18 thoughts on “Another Local Media Basketcase: WGBH-FM

  1. Another brilliant phrase:

    …”interesting that WGBH sees its future in news and talk, while Entercom has so much contempt for the format and Greater Media allows WTKK-FM to experience a slow and painful death.”

    Isn’t it amazing that the ones who have actual potential to make a difference (consequently, PROFIT) are the one who simply don’t know what they’re doing? Everyone…well, almost everyone…who posts opinions on this page can do a better job programming than the folks currently holding those positions. I would think this page would be a tremendous marketplace of programming ideas for Entercom, Greater Media, and the rest.

    BTW…Why is public radio (and TV) allowed to be so liberal in its views? They’re getting money from the government (our TAX dollars). If the fairness doctrine should be applied anywhere, it should be the main rule of PUBLIC radio and TV. Our tax dollars hard at work.

  2. What are the methods used for their screening and credentialling process? Just the location of their studios etc is a hub of liberalism.

  3. I’d rather have GBH-FM play classical music all day.

    Emily Rooney’s show would be better if she didn’t have the same retreads appearing for their “insightful” comments.

  4. Sorry, all, I didn’t even read Brian’s peice. Cable guy showed up……radio is off.

    Surprise, Cable Guy looked like and spoke like Bruce Willis. A taller version of Bruce Willis. He fixed my cable and gave me Showtime for free!

    Anyway, watching the Kennedy awards. How does Carl Reiner seem to never age? Mel Brooks is profiling right now. God, I love that man, and boy do I miss Anne Brancroft.

  5. Pirateboy.

    King of Comedy. That was the only thing that Sandra Burhard did that is worth watching.

    BTW, I feel like I am telling u there is no Santa Claus but 99% of the guests on The Phil Hendrie show are characters created and voiced by Hendrie. It is radio all a parody of talk radio.

  6. Yup- King of Comedy, and Sarah B. did do a good job in that film. I love that movie- DeNiro playing such a quirky character and Jerry Lewis was good, too.

    And wait just a minute….OK, I can believe the Hendrie schtick, but what’s this sh_t about Santa Claus?

    I only listened to that one show last night. The callers are unaware of the goof?

    And trust me, Anti, you’re not off the hook with Santa. Sacrilege!

  7. Emily takes more time off than Severin. She is on the back nine of her career and shows signs of minor forgetfulness on air. Her show won’t make any difference in Boston talk market…By mistake I tuned in the political savant Jim Broad and Mags yesterday. Their topic was “Candlepins or Ten pins: Which do you like?” They talked about this topic while airline security is on most people’s minds. Sadder still was that they had morons calling in.

  8. Rupert ….Herbert…..yeah, Cap’n you’re right.

    What a name: Rupert Pupkin. Great film.

    DeNiro as Jake LaMotta was incredible, too. Kathy Moriarty as his wife was perfect casting and filmed in black and white – yeah I’d forgotten how much I loved that movie.

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