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Tom Ashbrook wants to get back into broadcasting; Jim Braude tells rival station to lighten up

WGBH's Emily Rooney interviewed fired WBUR/NPR host Tom Ashbrook, will air it on her media show on Channel 2 tonight, but tells Eagan and Braude that Ashbrook wants to get back into broadcasting, maybe starting with a podcast, so she doesn't think he'll sue 'BUR for firing him.

Braude, meanwhile, acknowledged that, yes, Boston has an NPR station besides WGBH, but says that other station needs to learn what a joke is.

His particular contretemps involves a Boston Magazine puff piece about how wonderful and must-listen he and Eagan have become that ends with Eagan joking about comments that the stuffed-shirt NPR affiliate never covers Roxbury:

“We get a lot of calls from Roxbury, actually,” Eagan says. “Because there’s nothing else on.”

The two then keep riffing on that, finally concluding they have their new slogan: "Braude and Eagan - There’s Nothing Else On!"

A WBUR reporter read the encomium and went on Facebook to ask her colleagues to offer up nice things about Meghna Chakrabati, host of WBUR's Radio Boston.

Although Carey Beth Goldberg specified she knows Braude was trying to be funny, and noted the Boston Magazine account specifies the whole thing was a joke, it wasn't:

Boston Magazine has published a big valentine to WGBH's Boston Public Radio that's problematic in too many ways to list here, but here's the one that really gets me as a colleague who sits across from Meghna Chakrabarti and watches the making of the daily miracle that is Radio Boston every day: At the end, the WGBH hosts joke, unchallenged, that they get calls and listeners because "there's nothing else on." If you appreciate Radio Boston and Meghna's brave and often brilliant takes on Boston and the far broader world through a Boston lens, could you post some kind words here, and I'll pass them on to her?

Braude, of course, couldn't just let that rest, so he ended Rooney's Ashbrook musings on 'GBH this afternoon with a rant advising Goldberg he was just funnin' and, gosh, she really should learn how to take a joke. He said that after telling listeners people might not realize just how important Ashbrook was - his show was on like 300 stations - because it aired the same time as Eagan and Braude on WGBH.

And now I've written nine whole paragraphs on all this. Bartender, another!

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Comments

Tom Ashbrook is given lots of time to talk about the unfairness of the process. Emily Rooney listens sympathetically. Unnamed low level people treated like garbage by Ashbrook will be summarily referred to and maybe given some coverage but certainly nothing like the free pass Ashbrook will be afforded.

Maybe unfair but I have the impression the WGHB on air staff think they are very important people to a much greater extent that the non-Ashbrook WBUR folks and will treat him as a bit of a victim.

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The Nice people at W God Bless Harvard aren't stupid. They knew they needed a niche when they torpedoed Ron Della Chiesa and they got smart. They hired familiar voices to Boston ears and it works.

Say what you will about Chris Lydon (a great guy), who despite being smarter than most of us, was not a jerk to callers like Ashbrook. On Point is nothing more than talk about places far and away that they can nothing about, at least J&M keep it local for most of the time. GBH isn't perfect with all of their on air personalities (You - Yes you, Emily Rooney and Irene Monroe), but gabbing about genital mutilation in Kerplakistan on BUR isn't going to accomplish anything. Talking with Mike Capuano on GBH might actually get something done.

GBH partnered with the BPL and got that studio going in Copley Square, not somewhere out along Comm. Ave. where BUR is building so you can see Megna talk about some neighborhood she has never been to while your Green Line train goes by at 25 MPH. My money is on GBH, I didn't renew with BUR for the first time in over 15 years.

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Really why should the news cover anything that can't immediately be solved by 'action' or is 'far away'? On the plus side, no longer covering mass shootings and the Middle East will free up a lot of air time for other issues.

What a mind boggling stupid hot take you've come up with here. Who knew a local news station should only cover local, actionable news. Maybe stick with WBZ traffic and weather updates - I'm not sure you're up for anything more nuanced.

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Heh, talk about 'hot takes'!

I don't see anything in John's post about only covering local topics. But at least 'GBH makes a daily concerted effort to cover Boston news in a way that's more open and broad than the tiny portions of pre-determined pablum that 'BUR offers its Boston-area listeners.

And now, as an equal opportunity grump, I will proceed to dis Jim and Margery...

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John's stated thesis is that On Point has no value because it doesn't focus on local issues and doesn't solve anything. I await a similar criticism of Science Friday for also not only covering local science stories.

It's a national program covering the news of the world and this dingdong is mad because I guess there's not enough coverage of the St. Patrick's Day parade/breakfast or something.

And yes J+M are not worth listening to - the worst of 'world class city' syndrome come to life. Of course "Here and Now' is also dreck but two wrongs don't make a right.

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Nice. Got any other valid criticisms? Dastardly Pirate? Balderdashian? You Play Baseball Like A Girl? Keep them coming.

Ashbrook cuts people off. Here and Now is radio for funeral homes. WBUR fired their best radio person; Lydon over a dispute about how to take his excellent show national. BUR thought it was them, it was Lydon who was the brains. It was an erudite show. Ashbrook talks and talks and talks. That's it.

Megna or Jane once asked Linda Dorcena Forry about how she felt about taking down a piece of the Boston Irish political establishment. Linda kindly responded that she yes got elected Senator from Dot / Southie, but was also married to the publisher of the Boston Irish Reporter. Crickets from Megna. It was like a real life version of Jane Lynch interviewing John C. Reilly in Walk Hard. She didn't do her homework.

J&M do get annoying from time to time. At least Braude has practical grey matter between his ears, and knows his stuff.

I love that only in Boston can we have a discussion about the better public radio station. I love this town.

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Ashbrook sucks but your claim that a national call-in program about global news and events was bad because it wasn't local and didn't 'solve' anything is just such a weird and bad opinion.

If you are now changing your argument and saying J&M are a better show fine but that's not the point I was responding too. Braude is a self important gasbag so pretty much Ashbrook with a better relationship to HR.

I am sorry I hurt your feelings. Truly.

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He said the phrase "genital mutilation in Kerplekistan." You think that brain of his isn't nuanced? He's the best damn commenter on UH.

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distinction for the Turkey Liberation Front.

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As I said above, I think WGBH does a better job as a source of local civic radio.

But too often 'better' doesn't mean 'good'. Half the time I listen, Braude and Eagan are making me literally grind my teeth - softball questions for pols or other newsmakers, and a disturbingly small list of forever-reoccurring guests (their echo-chamber deluxe).

And considering these two have made their careers here, they often exhibit a jaw-dropping lack of historic and current knowledge of anything outside the axis of their Brookline-Newton-Cambridge upperclass white lives.

Truth is, we Boston metro listeners deserve better from both the big local NPR affiliates.

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Voting closed 3

I don't have a strong like or dislike for either of these two people, but one day when I happened to be home I heard Marjorie quizzing a group of visiting scientists on the episode of Odysseus and the Cyclops. She asked 5 questions that were obvious to anyone remotely familiar with the episode, and after each question was amazed that the person was able to answer it. She was either being extremely patronizing or showing an appalling lack of knowledge on her own part.

Or I may be a snob.

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...you're ok. She's a frigging moron.

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I don't know how you can listen to her talk. There's something wrong with her dry mouth or something, maybe a speech impediment. I just can't listen to her, like fingernails on a chalk board to me.

I'd try to listen, but she really offers nothing at all to any conversation. How did she get where she is?

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They’re both pretty ignorant. They flap their gums for hours and seem proud to know nothing about anything. It’s like a three hour “man in the street” interview, if they happened upon a peculiarly air-headed passerby who just wouldn’t pass by. All I can figure is it must be cheaper for the station to fill up airtime with them. They are to real journalism as reality TV is to scripted drama.

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is when they stop yapping about their entirely predictable opinions on absolutely everything and let their guests speak. (I'm not saying I would be any better if I had to fill that much time live on air, but come on.) I will grudgingly listen anyway when in the car because they get some amazing guests on the show and they do tend to get a good rapport going with their guests most days. I appreciate hearing directly from local and state politicians and BPD (Chief? Commissioner?) Evans. Even when I don't agree with Baker/Walsh/Evans/etc., I'm impressed with their thoughtfulness and there is something beautifully democratic about hearing them live on local radio and being able to call in. I think the world of former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral and wish she had her own show. Frankly, she could replace both Jim and Margery and we'd all be better for it. Better yet she should run for higher office. She's incredible.

Ashbrook is a buffoon and I'm so glad he's gone. I like Megna very much. Give her some credit. (How's this for entirely predictable opinions? Oh well.)

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Yeah, why won't that ask our politicians whether they've stopped beating their wives?

They do have a small number of recurring guests, but that's their show. I find their "national security expert' particularly painful, so I tune out whenever that political hack is on. Regarding the range of topics they cover - I'd imagine they reflect that of their listening base very well - white, well off. Cambridge/Concord listens to public radio. Chelsea/Mattapan doesn't.

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"Green Line train goes by at 25 MPH" yeah buddy I wish.

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The guy worked too much from interviewees' press releases rather than in depth more thoughtful interviewing. Then there's that sing songy artifice way of speaking.

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This Braude/Ashbrook simpatico is a big part of the problem with workplace harassment and toleration of ridiculously inappropriate behavior.

The Reek of Privilege is upon them like cadaverine from a road kill.

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"Ashbrook had created a work environment that included verbal assaults, intimidating actions, consistent bullying, and unwanted touching." -- BU Today

With the demise of late night TV comedy, Emily Rooney and far-left friends are laughter gold! Rooney saying that she doesn't think Ashbrook will sue suggests that a successful lawsuit is actually an option. A lawsuit would require Ashbrook to be deposed under oath, then appear more credible than his accusers. Good luck!

The Red Sox and Boston Marathon are only two months away. Does Rooney think Ashbrook has decided on whether he'll be the Opening Day pitcher or Marathon winner? Equally absurd as Ashbrook winning a suit.

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First, a caveat: I only tuned in about halfway through her chat, so I might've missed something.

She did bring up how he got swept up in #metoo, but I didn't get the sense she was siding with him, seemed to play things evenly in reporting what he said (unusual for her, I know). Her comment about not thinking he'd sue seemed more inside-baseball stuff about how if he wants to get back in broadcasting, a lawsuit would be the wrong way to get a boss to hire him - who'd want to hire somebody who sued his last employer?

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Well, maybe far-left of Rick Santorum, but most people consider her to be a right wing trust fund baby who certainly must have learned her attitude from her mother.

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LOL that you think Em is far-left.

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And Radio Boston. Maybe because I'm closer in age to Meghna, I prefer her topic choices, interview subjects & local culture coverage much more. And she really interviews local pols, doesn't just get clubby with them.

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A perfect echo chamber of privilege and power. The Boston Globe of the Air. They represent, speak for, and kowtow to the local PC Establishment power structure and stifle any actual discussion or debate where we live. Their revolving crew of Commentariat may live here but have no basic feel for being here and being from here.

What the Hell does Juliette Kayyem know about Rozzie Square, Eastie, or Chelsea?

In the last 14 months, the show has become a Trump Derangement Syndrome clinic. Want a drinking game that will have slammed by noon, try Trump and their show.

Real ((local) issues, fughhedaboutit. And don't even get me started on Braude's $359K+ salary. (Hey, how come Marjorie makes enough less to not be mentioned in the top 10 (all male!) comp packages at "commercial free" radio?)

Crap radio for snowflakes who get ascared when anyone challenges them. And oh, Donald Trump is a BAD MAN!

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Voting closed 3

Bartender, another!

Not only did I read his 9 paragraphs, but then I (inexplicably) read all the comments, and I can't stand talk radio in any format, let alone discussions about the merits of various talk radio programs and personalities.

And then to compound the problem, I'm posting a comment about it. I guess it's Friday afternoon before vacation . . .

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... voice are extremely irritating, no matter what he is saying. I’ll be glad to ge able to tune back in to WBUR and not get a headache.

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Compare the guy who does This American Life ! https://www.thisamericanlife.org/

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Ira Glass is a legend of radio and Tom Ashbrook would have been happy to have half as many listeners so I'm not sure what point you are making.

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Ask Mike Daisey.

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I change the station.

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"but here's the one that really gets me as a colleague who sits across from Meghna Chakrabarti and watches the making of the daily miracle that is Radio Boston every day"

Tune in tomorrow when Meghna calls forth Lazarus.

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