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WBZ radio drops several on-air veterans

Deb Lawler celebrates 35 years on WBZ NewsRadio 1030

News is breaking that WBZ Newsradio's owner, IHeartMedia, has let a number of long-time on-air employees go.

Among them: Deb Lawler, who'd been at the station for 35 years and who'd been reading the news in the morning since 1992, Scott Fybush reports.

A station insider says she was called into a closed-door meeting this morning and that was it. Just last month, the station posted the above celebration of her 35 years at the station.

Jon Keller reports the station told him today his commentating service were also no longer needed, after 30 years, although presumably, he still has a job at WBZ-TV, which is still owned by CBS.

Also getting the axe: Overnight talk-show host Bradley Jay and sports anchor Tom Cuddy.

A poem for Deb Lawler.

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Comments

Deb is excellent and just celebrated a massive milestone. Why are they getting rid of these long-time personalities?!

I imagine it's a salary thing + perhaps going for a younger voice, but Deb was great. Bummed to hear.

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Voting closed 64

When is someone going to realize that, yes consolidation is terrible but some of these folks are past their prime. I know that WEEI tried to mimic the Sports Hub success of Toucher and Rich, but bringing over Greg Hill who does the "I'm a cranky old man liberatarian" but literally sucks Trump's asshole every chance he gets, is a climate change denier and tries to couch his ignorance and bias as 'uh but I don't get it I am also fat and have small hands and there is a war on Xmas" really isn't worth whatever they paid for him. The show is much funnier when they don't spend half of it on politics or pandering to the obvious intersection between sports, blue collar and ignorant. Give people some credit - not everyone outside of metrowest is a bud drinking townie who is anti-progressive.

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Voting closed 18

Kim Kerrigan ran a morning talk show. She was jovial,,interesting and perceptive. I believe her and VB hosted. I could feel the lapse of engaging platforms with her dismissal.

She has been picked up by another local station for the news but also has hosted splendidly.

It was the transition of I heart implementation that rippled throughout the industry nationally,that caused a big shuffle of personel with it's inception and crass broadcast of it's brand name, I've become aware of the minimal choices available as most businesses merge to become fewer selections.

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Voting closed 16

I have always enjoyed hearing Deb Lawler's great voice delivering the news. Very unfortunate decision on her. But I'm glad at least Dan Rea will still be around---Don't Retire, Dan !

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Voting closed 4

Deb Lawler and others make wbz great. After wondering what was going on and listening to Dan Rae sell any snake oil he can even boasting how good you’ll feel during the pandemic with his oil I hope things Change I hope they change for Dan too I did enjoy his show before he started shilling for anyone and anything

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Voting closed 0

I suppose the corporate types want someone who sounds younger and perkier, like Tina Gow (who always says it's "breezy" out, even in a flat calm). I hate iHeart, and its constant self-promotions.

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Voting closed 65

Every time I hear Tina Gao mispronounce something (which is constantly), I have to fight the urge to bash my head against the dashboard. One memorable instance was when she described Michael Flynn as "an avisor to Present Tromp."

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Voting closed 27

It's always hilarious when someone from New England dumps on someone else's accent.

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Voting closed 13

I have no problem with Tina Gao. She does a fine job.

That said, a Tina Gao "Windy" Drinking Game could be fun - if it didn't start at 5:30 AM.

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Voting closed 6

This is what happens when large companies gobble up local stations. Apparently iHeart is getting rid of local radio staff all over the place. Bleh.

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Voting closed 51

That station keeps getting worse. Found other places for the news. It use to be my main source. Now i turn it off after 5 minutes. Loved her.

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Voting closed 34

They are dumping the old folks.

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Voting closed 27

If they're dumping the old folks, they should have added Dan Rea to the pile

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Voting closed 56

I vote for that. The only reason they haven't done it yet is because of the prominent time slot Danny Boy occupies.- for the moment. Considering iHeart's goal is consolidation - which means national news and next to no local coverage - there isn't much point in their current business model to maintaining costly local personalities for local markets.

That, and Dan Rea couldn't attract new advertising to his program even if he... stopped trying. Personal endorsements have been known to be the least effective form of advertising since the 1950's yet Dan Rea just drones on and on about all his "good friends" at the bank, at the window place, his pillow buddy, his really bad analogies about financial services, he's a dieting guru...

Based on the moves iHeart is making they sure as hell know this and need better advertising dollars than you get from a local financial advisory firm etc. being endorsed ad nauseam by their "good friend" on WBZ.

I don't like what iHeart has turned WBZ into. But I sure as hell won't miss Dan Rea darkening the door of the air waves either. It's just a matter of time.

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Voting closed 41

I used to think that Dan was fair minded and a good listener, but I see him now as becoming far too conservative. He seems unwilling to listen to others' views and he often misconstrues reports. He sometimes spends a large part of his program on unimportant items which have become blown up out of proportion. He also spends too much time praising his advertisers.

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Voting closed 11

Dan Rea has a loyal following on Night Side. He well spoken, well read, calm and courteous to callers. I think he's the voice of reason. What do you have against him?

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Voting closed 18

Well for one thing, Dan Rea must have some sort of unrequited love jones for Elizabeth Warren because he can't seem to stop talking about her. In the greater scheme of political topics out there that could be discussed the number of time slots he has dedicated to Ms. Warren borders on obsessive and creepy weird.

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Voting closed 12

The golden days of 1030 are behind us. Just glad we have the memories of Larry Glick, Bob Raliegh, Steve LaVeille, and Norm Nathan.

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Voting closed 16

And we should add Bob Raleigh, Steve Leveille and Bradley Jay to that list.

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Voting closed 9

Wbz great! Gil Santos!

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Voting closed 0

Eventually "local" news, traffic, and weather could just be AI generated copy "read" by a text to speech computer and most people would never even notice.

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Voting closed 27

Interject the self-serving and snarky attitude of Keller....

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Voting closed 45

...I bet it could. :(

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Voting closed 14

hmmm.... pondering.... How would you modify Asimov's Three Laws in order to have Kellerbotics?

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Voting closed 12

Both WBUR and WGBH have invested heavily in local reporting in recent years.

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Voting closed 80

Probably the reason the commercial news station is all but gone.

Sorry for the people gone but glad radio news is alive and well in Boston.

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Voting closed 11

Tony Cennamo playing jazz and James Isaacs' soul shows on WBUR, instead of most of the navel-gazing NPR crap that took over there.

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Voting closed 29

Is the overnight talk going away altogether, or are they just letting Bradley Jay go and giving the show to someone like Morgan White Jr.?

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Voting closed 61

They still have Dan "Awaken 180 will make you feel so good about yourself that you'll immediately hire Window World to remodel your house" Rea.

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Voting closed 69

If the Olympics were held for jumping to conclusions (from a minimum amount of data) Dan Rae would surely be on the team!

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Voting closed 35

Wait, isn't Dan Rea the voice of REAson? Why is he still on the air?

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Voting closed 19

Every day Dan wakes up and goes to Prolo Therapy. Then he goes for a weigh in @ Awaken 180. Next he travels to Century Bank before stopping in @ The Commonwealth Advisory Group. He then goes to Window World to buy windows. At then end of the day he is exhausted so he lies down on his My Pillow.

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Voting closed 4

But I bet it will be some syndicated nonsense from out of town. Boo-boo-boo!

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Voting closed 21

Looks like it's going to be Traffic, Time and Temperature all night, with the occasional mention of a headline or two.

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Voting closed 17

Please reconsider your decisions about Deb Lawlor, Bradley Jay and Jon Keller. They are three of the best reasons to listen to WBZ.

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Voting closed 77

Morgan is great, and he would be great on the overnight...and just as a great in the 8pm to 12pm slot

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Voting closed 25

BRING THEM BACK NOW!!!!!

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Voting closed 40

I like Morgan but two nights of him are enough he has the same boring guests like Dixie ugh. I like hearing live talk during the night not just news! Dam IHeart!!

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Voting closed 30

I hope he is not taking over. He doesn't even have anything to say. Its just a lot of really, really and let's seeeeee. Stalling for time. Condescending. Can't strand it. I'd rather listen time news.

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Voting closed 14

I had a feeling, when I tuned in the other night, that something was up! All that was on was news....I am probably not alone in saying Who Wants to Hear News all night long??? Not me! I will no longer be tuning in to WBZ. "IHeart" radio took over and things have gone downhill. The main reason that perhaps Dan Rey is still there is because he "leans" to the far right, politically, and the other announcers are much more open minded and intelligent about what is really going on in our country! Sad news for people all over the country. Bye WBZ!

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Voting closed 31

I hadn't known about the layoffs until I heard continuous advertisements, repeated news and tinned comments during the overnight hours. I think WBZ will lose many faithful listeners. I have decided that I will move away from this station also unless there is a resumption of talk hosts.
Bradley Jay often had stimulating, informative guests, but he talked too much about his walks and his work history.
Morgan is a pleasant guy, but he doesn't have a lot to impart on his audience. Some of his guests are interesting, but many are boring. I could do without wrestling, gambling, LasVegas and football personalities, especially when on air for most of the program.

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Voting closed 4

WBZ announcers are being used for news reports on AM 680 and 1200. iheart incessantly pitches their podcast inventory, wouldn't be surprised if they use it for BZ overnights and weekend programming. Unless 680's current morning and mid-day programming is really low cost for them, they are good candidates for replacement by corporate iheart content.

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Voting closed 16

Commercials?

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Voting closed 22

Wait, what? Bradley Jay is still around? I haven't heard his name in decades.

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Voting closed 27

Has (had) a great overnighter with a whole cast of regular callers. Some of the raps are spectular!!!

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Voting closed 80

It was getting to be like a lonely hearts club. However I will miss the live talk.

Wonder if Morgan will keep his spot?

I wouldn't mind if Dan retired though, lol

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Voting closed 19

I'm a WBZ fan so sad news but terrestrial radio is obsolete given all of the other options. As I've noted before, look how many once privately employed news people have turned up as six-figure "spokespersons" for the various city and state publlic agencies, including the quasi-public PBS outlets. The weekly "Beat the President Press" Friday night show is unintentional comedy gold as the program focuses on bashing the president and the one network that dares to break from the 90% negative coverage. Ch. 2 has become a make-work for liberal "journalists" scheme much like the old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that Roosevelt created to provide work for the unemployed. If the Globe goes under with Henry's Red Sox cheating scandal, Sesame Street might be in jeopardy as all of the air-time will be needed to provide jobs for journalists. Say goodbye to that in Trump's second term. No wonder they all despise him.

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Voting closed 28

I think Bradley jay is awful, lame, and boring.

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Voting closed 38

Bradley Jay was awful, lame and boring back when he was on WBCN in the 90s, not to mention stupid and arrogant. I can't imagine he's improved with age.

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Voting closed 31

On his 'BZ show he had a tendency to go off on political rants and then when he'd get enough counter-arguments from callers, he'd eventually announce that he was done with politics and forbid political topics for a period of weeks. Then the cycle would start again.

In the past year or so he started to have on woo guests like astrologers, "psychics", "mediums" and various other mystical nonsense and a "Doctor" who claimed things like cancer could be cured by hitting a doll with a hammer.

It was still better than the same time, traffic and temperature plus headlines repeated every ten minutes.

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Voting closed 20

Improved? Nope.

What century are we in? - Bradley Jay had a vernacular stuck in 1960's Stoner-ville. Man, like it's a bummer dude! Getting fired is so not cool!

Drove me nuts when he went there - which was often.

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Voting closed 6

Radio is so obsolete that conservative talk radio succeeds on the medium?

Oh, right. You don't believe that radio counts as a medium for conservative expression.

Radio makes MONEY, dum-dum!

It makes more money when you don't care about local broadcasting and just relay syndicated content and national advertising and can dump on-air talent, producers and studio engineers, traffic departments (selling local ads), and janitorial staff and maybe rent some of the unused rooms after that dead wood gets jettisoned.

Stop being such a baloney brain!

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Voting closed 9

Computer-generated voices reading text are just as effective as on-air talent.

End of message

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Voting closed 10

It looks like the layoffs, which happened across the country, are clear evidence of iHeart's move to eliminate the local elements of radio.

From the first link above (Rolling Stone):

Daryl Ledyard worked for over a decade at WBBS, a country outlet which he says was Number One in the Syracuse area year after year for two decades. “To take all the local DJs off the radio in the Number One station, that says a lot,” Ledyard notes. “[iHeartMedia is] very much convinced that the local aspect of radio is no longer important.”

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Voting closed 18

Running tally of iHeart layoffs. In addition to Lawler and Bradley Jay, Boston layoffs include:

  • Program Director Ginny Brophey, Country “101.7 The Bull” WBWL.
  • WBZ commentator Jon Keller and sportscaster Tom Cuddy.
  • Midday host Kahleil ‘Maverik’ Blair of Rhythmic CHR “Jam’n 94.5” WJMN.
  • Jackson Burnes as the Executive Producer for “Karlson, Mckenzie and Heather” at Classic Rock 100.7 WZLX.

Others in the area:

Cape Cod

  • Dan Mahoney and Stephanie Viva exit mornings at Hot AC 106.1 WCOD.
  • Marylee Kelly departs as Cape Cod Production Director and afternoon host at Classic Rock “Cool 102” WCIB. Kelly has previously worked in Boston, Los Angeles and across New England and can be reached at 617-842-8321.

Providence

  • Night host Geoff Charles is out at Rock 94.1 WHJY, as is weekender Pete Silva, after 30 years with the station.

Springfield

  • Morning co-host Kera Burk is out at AC “Mix 93.1” WHYN-FM.

Worcester

  • Program Director Tony Bristol exits News-Talk WTAG 580/94.9 and AC WSRS 96.1.
  • WSRS morning co-host Greg Bedard is also out.
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Voting closed 17

Thank Bill Clinton for signing into law the almost-complete deregulation of the industry.

This allowed the consolidation of multiple local outlets by a single corporate owner like this. The previous statute, in place since Roosevelt's New Deal, would have only allowed iHeart 1 FM license and 1 AM license in the Greater Boston market. And it kept license entry policies (ie low wattage / daytime only licenses) in place which encouraged more small local and minority-owned ownership of radio stations.

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Voting closed 28

Twenty people griping about radio news/talk programming .... on the internet.

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Voting closed 10

And one to gripe over them all.

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Voting closed 16

General subject local talk radio has been eliminated.
People discussing the Internet on the radio happens as well, though.
And don't get me started about letters columns in magazines that discuss new media. They even use printed digital photography on billboards sometimes!

Do you think you can limit topics to the media it is distributed on?

I really don't get your drift.

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Voting closed 9

One person's griping is another person's analytic commentary.

Good day, SIR/MADAM!

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Voting closed 11

I miss listening to Bradley Jay on my 2 hour commute home from work!! He always had great informative guests and was quite insightful and interesting himself; certainly kept me awake!!
I vote to bring him back!
Gail,
Gilford, NH

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Voting closed 5

Pretty disappointed about this. I can not think this is better. My location is North Carolina. The new format is very robot. There is nothing attractive here now. The change truly slaps the northeast. WBZ was a "go to" station for me, a regular on my multiple radios scan stops. I'm going to remove it and fill the slot with another. You guys up there, you had something. Sorry.

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Voting closed 8

Tommy, you are absolutely correct. WBZ is a part of the Boston landscape and IHeart is ruining it.
I'm not going to rehash all the wrongs, because the other posters have mentioned all those points. I have family in NC so I was glad to see that someone else outside of the New England area, feels the same way.

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Voting closed 0

This new format has me listening for just a few minutes, instead if all night, then switching to music.

Please bring back Bradley Jay, Jon Keller, Tom Cuddy and Deb Lawler.

Thanks.

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Voting closed 6

A Brief Poem
Replace Dan Rea with Bradly Jay

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Voting closed 0

Miss her... WBZ not the same .Grew up on Carl DeSuze and Dave Maynard. !!! ( I'm 73) I only listen now to the overnights. and early mornings..Why wait til Deb celebrated 35 years to can her.. That is dirty !!!! You lost me....

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Voting closed 0