In this week’s issue… WABC adds local overnights – Remembering Boston’s Severin, Maine’s Rogers, Springfield’s King, Delaware’s Loudell – FCC slaps New England pirates – New host named at CBC Toronto
By SCOTT FYBUSH
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: New York’s WPIX (Channel 11) is changing hands again, in a way that’s both unsurprising and also unexpected. After spending its entire lifetime in the hands of what became Tribune Broadcasting, WPIX couldn’t follow its sister stations into Nexstar ownership last year because of ownership-cap issues, and so it was instead sold to Scripps last year for just $75 million.
But the deal for the CW affiliate came with a big caveat: an option for Nexstar to buy the station back if the rules changed. And now that option is being exercised – only instead of Nexstar itself, it’s Nexstar’s arms-length affiliated company, Mission Broadcasting, that will pay $75 million for WPIX.
Assuming the FCC approves the deal, what next? We’d expect a management deal under which Nexstar will still run WPIX (just as Nexstar does for Mission-owned licenses such as WVNY in Burlington, WYOU in Scranton and WUTR in Utica). And we’d expect to see an even bigger focus on local news, just as Nexstar has been attempting at WGN in Chicago. (And will the CW affiliation stay with WPIX, or will it migrate to CBS-owned WLNY in the New York market eventually?)
*One more late-breaking story: Alex Langer has filed to take his Massachusetts stations silent as he explores options for new financial partners. The move affects Portuguese-language WSRO 650 (and its 102.1 translator) in Ashland/Framingham, R&B WZBR (1410 Brockton) and its 98.1 translator in Medford, and Portuguese-language WBAS (1240 West Yarmouth) on Cape Cod.
*Jay Severin was a fixture on the talk radio dial in MASSACHUSETTS – and, for a time, in New York – from the 1990s well into the 2010s, garnering both ratings and controversy as he jumped among stations before settling into retirement in recent years.
Severin, who died Tuesday at 69 after suffering a stroke, was apparently attempting a small comeback in the months before his death, even as he battled (and said he had defeated) cancer; while it had escaped our notice in this space, he’d been doing some Saturday shifts on WBOQ (North Shore 104.9) in Gloucester, near his home in Ipswich.
At the height of his career, of course, Severin soared much higher: after several decades as a Republican political operative, he started doing talk radio in the 1990s as a fill-in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, which led to his own afternoon shift on WOR in 1995-96.
Relocating to Boston, Severin worked the night shift at WRKO for a few months before becoming part of the inaugural airstaff at WTKK (96.9), Greater Media’s upstart FM talk challenger to the established WRKO.
Severin settled in to afternoon drive at WTKK, making appearances on MSNBC (in the days when Tucker Carlson had a show there) and surviving a suspension in 2009 after making racist remarks about Mexicans. Two years later, Severin was gone from WTKK for good, this time after defending a comment about how he’d slept with multiple interns at a company he owned. But he was back on the air again just a few weeks later, this time at iHeart’s WXKS (1200), his last local show in Boston before that struggling AM station’s flip to all-comedy in 2012.
Severin’s final full-time talk stop, from 2012 to 2016, was at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze talk network; he’d been trying to find a new on-air home on and off since then, even as he battled health issues. Severin was 69.
(And he was, sadly, just one of several important obituaries this week; read on for more.)
We have a great lineup of podcasts here on our site. While you’re catching up with your summer reading, don’t forget about your summer listening. Now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with Top of the Tower.
Our latest one features Donna Halper discussing her life in radio, from her time at WMMS when she helped Rush get US airplay, to what she learned from Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg.
Don’t forget you can still visit our store to check out our other great products. We’ll be taking preorders for the 2021 calendar soon. Stay tuned!