New FM Talk Station for Boston?

( – promoted by EaBo Clipper)

Is another talk radio station in the works for the Greater Boston area?

There’s speculation that CBS Radio may change one of their Boston-area FM stations to an all-talk format to compete with WTKK-FM and WRKO-AM. While one does have to be concerned about market saturation, a third talk radio station in the region could gain traction if it avoids the mistakes of the other two major talkers.

Let’s face it: the talk radio market in this region is not nearly as compelling as it was ten years ago. Major names have either left the region or passed away. A commitment to excellence, to intelligence, to ideas is sadly missing from this area.

There is absolutely no reason for listeners in the Boston area not to have a series of compelling, intellectually stimulating talk radio shows. As the Don Imus controversy has proven, shock for shock’s own sake has a short shelf life.

Talk radio has declined in this market for a number of reasons, but one explanation in particular stands out: an increasing reluctance on the part of programmers to appeal to the intellectual listener. There’s nothing wrong per se with jokes about the Democrat establishment and humorous sound clips: I enjoy those jokes and clips myself. However, what about the listener who desires more?

There is still an audience in this region that desires a skillful, serious dissection of the issues from educated, erudite hosts. There is still an audience that wants to hear discourse instead of diatribes, reason instead of rage, wisdom instead of whining.

The discriminating listener has been sold short in this market. For years, talk radio in Boston featured hosts who educated as well as entertained, hosts who challenged the political establishment instead of merely condemning it. Where are those hosts today? 

If a third talk station in Boston is to succeed, it will only do so by finding hosts who can live up to the high standards set by some of the region’s most legendary talk figures. That will not be an easy task. In fact, it could be quite hard. However, it is not impossible, and once it is accomplished, the financial, political and intellectual benefits to this region could be tremendous.

About D. R. Tucker