February 15, 2013

As Local Talk Radio Churns....

Marc Comtois

First the "Big O", now Ron St. Pierre. The talk radio landscape is a-changing and one wonders where it will lead. While we can appreciate what both Glenn Ordway and St. Pierre have done, it seems to me like it's a pretty normal changing of the guard. In short, out with the old and in with the new.

For WEEI, Ordway's firing is yet one more reaction to the success of 98.5 the Sports Hub, which has supplanted WEEI as the preeminent sports talk station in the region. Ordway was a pioneer, but he was expensive and his schtick just wasn't working any more. And, particularly in sports talk, younger (and cheaper...and hungrier) voices willing to offer "hot sports takes" abound. Ordway will be replaced by one such guy (Mike Salk) and there is talk that WEEI is pursuing other young talent (such as CSNNE's Mary Paoletti) to freshen up their product. What seems apparent is that WEEI is not looking to go with national shows.

As for St. Pierre, the RI Radio Hall of Famer has nothing to worry about as far as his legacy. He's just about done it all in this market. But with the money spent on Gene Valicenti for the new WPRO Morning show, perhaps such a move should have been predicted: in retrospect, keeping St. Pierre on to hold hands with the afternoon drive-host was a luxury that a local station simply couldn't afford. And all of this seems to indicate that the Mayor may not be far behind his long-time friend in exiting the broadcast center on the Wampanoag Trail. The only question is whether other hosts will follow suit, too. However, throughout the tumult, my guess is that WPRO will try to keep it local and I wonder if they'll try to woo other local hosts over to try to consolidate their strength in the market? Time will tell.

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The average listener of Buddy's show has got to be pushing 80. It's like a small-time-club act with empty tables and somebody asleep in the back row, playing on lame puns and reminiscing about days past, names and events that have long since lost their relevance. The fact that anyone feels he has credibility after his Federal corruption conviction is yet another sad statement about Rhode Island. WRKO dumped "felon" Finneran mid-2012; hopefully starting a precedent for these disgraced former politicians-turned-hosts.

The only host I ever found informative or entertaining was Dan Yorke. He always seemed to have the "hot" guests on his program. Matt Allen's heart is in the right place, but there was never enough serious content to keep me listening for more than a few minutes.

Posted by: Dan at February 15, 2013 2:07 PM

None of WPRO's or WHJJ's pseudo conservatives would make it on Arizona talk radio, right-wingers here demand a much higher level of crazy, and a lot more venomous hate speech. They do have a soft spot for convicted felons, so they might tolerate Buddy Cianci, since he has been promoted to Sean Hannity's conservative "Great American Panel"

Posted by: Sammy in Arizona at February 15, 2013 3:52 PM

Give Buddy's spot to Loughlin and I might actually listen. I was never a John Loughlin fan as a politician...(sorry if you're reading this John although you did get my vote)...but he did a great job filling in for Yorke. As bad as it is trying to listen to a felon criticize unethical politicians (pot calling kettle), nothing is worse than having to listen to said felon clearing loogies from his throat.

Posted by: Max D at February 15, 2013 6:42 PM

Gene in the morning, Dan at nine, Matt at noon, Helen at three and John Laughlin at six. Done.

Send Dipitro and Buddy on the road, with Ron as their tour manager, doing stand up comedy in empty nightclubs.

Posted by: michael at February 16, 2013 10:20 AM

"a much higher level of crazy, and a lot more venomous hate speech."

Hey Sammy-that fits you to a T [snipped-JK]

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at February 16, 2013 11:54 AM

You want to talk "crazy"? I loved Peter Van Daam on the old Wale station. Although I don't think that was so crazy at all.

Does anybody think Pro has become much less hard hitting and more pop culture lately?

Posted by: helen at February 17, 2013 3:58 AM

Peter was a Constitutionalist and activist. If it wasn't for him,I would still be one of those extremely low information voters who most likely vote for Democrats or Socialists or maybe even worse. He got me interested in the Constitution and how it affects my daily life.

Posted by: helen at February 17, 2013 4:25 AM
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