Rightwing radio conglomerate reportedly plans to bring lunatic fringe talker back to Boston, a market uninterested in his invective...
By D.R. Tucker on 6/10/2015, 9:13am PT  

Back in 1989, a classmate of mine from a Christian family convinced me to listen to a nationally-syndicated radio program entitled "Talk Back with Bob Larson." The host was an Arizona-based radio evangelist whose shtick was to warn teenagers about the dangers of rock music and to perform exorcisms on-air. (I assume Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was a fan.) Larson's show was entertaining from my twelve-year-old perspective; he had a theatrical voice and was a gifted storyteller. However, I eventually grew tired of his repetitive shtick, and stopped listening to his show by early-1991.

"Talk Back with Bob Larson" was broadcast from 4:00pm to 6:00pm Eastern on 1260 WEZE-AM, a Christian radio station based out of Marina Bay in Quincy, Massachusetts. The station was quite popular among Christians in the Bay State; the line-up featured right-wing radio evangelists Charles Swindoll and John MacArthur, as well as the "Focus on the Family" program hosted by future GOP powerbroker James Dobson. WEZE-AM, as you might imagine, was beloved by those who hated the Bay State's Democratic (if not exactly progressive) political culture.

In the late-1990s, Salem Media, the ultra-conservative corporate parent of WEZE-AM, sold the station for $5 million to Radio Disney. (The right-wing Christian shows were moved to a less powerful AM signal.) Now, sadly, it appears that everything old is new again, as right-wing propaganda from supposedly Christian hosts is expected to return to this station, in an apparent desperate effort to ensure that aging agitator Rush Limbaugh still has a presence on Boston's airwaves after being rejected by another notorious Boston-based GOP grievance generator, WRKO-AM...

Boston Radio Watch reports [emphasis added]:

Salem Media Group is buying Boston's WMKI 1260 for $500,000 from Radio Disney. In an application filed Friday with the Federal Communications Commission, Radio Disney sought to assign the 5,000-watt station to California-based Salem, which also owns WEZE/The Word 590, WROL 950/The Spirit and WWDJ/Radio Luz 1150 in the Boston market. Salem Boston's operations are based in Quincy.
Ironically, Salem owned AM 1260 from 1978 until 1997 when it sold it for $5 million. The station converted to the outgoing Radio Disney format on November 21, 1997.
Salem owns about 100 stations around the country. It's widely expected that the latest Salem's local addition will result in another news/talk station in Boston and possibly become Rush Limbaugh's new local affiliate after he ends his run on WRKO 680 on July 3rd. Another Quincy-based station, WMEX 1510, which relaunched its new talk lineup this past Tuesday, declined to carry Rush locally.

Why would Salem Media even consider putting Limbaugh back on the air in Boston after it has been proven that his shtick no longer works in this market (and others)? MSNBC's Ed Schultz explained such "thinking" last year:

It's never been about talent. Ownership, which is conservative, was bound and determined to carve out a place in the media where nut jobs could find their sound based country club. Messaging was the mission, along with the exclusion of diverse voices. Profit was a side bar issue because other stations in the cluster could carry the balance sheet.
The public has figured out these occupiers in front of the microphone do not entertain. They don't do news. They only vilify thoughts opposite of their own.

Indeed, the ranters who are expected to show up on Salem's repurchased station are notorious for using our public airwaves to "vilify thoughts opposite of their own." Boston Radio Watch notes [emphasis added]:

Salem's radio portfolio currently includes its "The Answer" conservative talk brand which is carried on about two dozen of its stations. The national lineup includes several Salem Radio Network hosts, including Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt all of whom were previously heard locally on Salem's AM 1150 (currently Radio Luz 1150) signal from 2003 to 2008.

Salem Media, which effectively made $4.5 million off the sale and repurchase of this station's broadcast license, obviously has the resources to continue pumping Limbaugh's lies and Hewitt's hubris over our public airwaves. However, Salem does not have the ability to stop listeners from rejecting reactionary radio, especially when progressive alternatives have been effectively barred by ideology-obsessed corporate ownership. I'm confident that when it comes to listening, Bay Staters who grew tired of Limbaugh years ago will tell Salem's right-wing Christian owners, "Hell no!"

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D.R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer and a former contributor to the conservative website Human Events Online. He has also written for the Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe Magazine, ClimateCrocks.com and FrumForum.com, among others. In addition, he hosted a Blog Talk Radio program, The Notes, from August 2009 to June, 2010, and served as a co-host of On the Green Front with Betsy Rosenberg on the Progressive Radio Network from August 2011 to March 2014. Currently, he is a contributor to the Climate Minute and Climate Notes podcasts for the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. You can follow him on Twitter here: @DRTucker.

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