Boston still has "radio personality"
If you read
the Boston radio chat room messages, you'd think the radio consultants
"ruining" our radio stations were part of the Manson
family. Curses to them for their evil plot to ruin Boston radio,
the nay sayers spout!
spontaneity might be gone with tighter playlists, very specific
formats and a sound that is identical to stations in other cities,
but look more carefully and you'll find some great quality announcers
on very good stations -- or, at least, making the best of a format
that could be better.
We must remember
that radio is a microcosm of our society. If radio has become
too predictable and standardized, take a look at the rest of
the world -- around the corner you'll see one hour photos labs,
drive through fast food chains, and strip malls.
we come upon that special person, place or thing, it makes it
all that more special. With that in mind, let's take a look at
the top Boston area announcers who have risen above a generic
medium. They are the Hall of Famers, those broadcasters who are
the top of their profession and who carry the spirit of the great
older generation of radio professionals who put Boston on the
map as a great radio town -- Jess Cain, Dave Maynard, Larry Justice,
Norm Nathan and of course, the great late David Brudnoy, to name
a few current personalities that might have been hall of famers
a few years back, but have been left off the list due to lack
of recent"hall of fame" performance. Please keep checking
the list, however -- it is sure to change!
It must be
noted that radio is such a subjective medium -- one man's station
or personality is another man's poison. With that said, we bring
you what we feel are the best radio personalities that natives
and visitors should find appealing (with some personalities from
perimeter stations included, as they can be heard in the Boston
and Wally --WROR-FM, 105.7, Boston, Mass. -- Loren (Owens) and Wally (Brine,
son of the late, legendary Providence, R.I. radio/tv personality
Salty Brine) have been around more than 20 years and know radio
like the back of their hands. Fortunately, they don't take that
for granted and bring us all the silly jokes, bad puns and great
comic timing you'll ever need. Remember when radio used to make
you laugh? Loren and Wally do that and save us from a radio nation
of jokes without punchlines and high school losers taking their
frustrations to the airwaves. Sidekick Tom Doyle brings a real
zany edge to the show with his song parodies and one heck of
a Tom Brokaw imitation. Hank Morse brings traffic reporting to
the next level with a personality-filled voice and sharp sense
of humor, and Sue Cope is a great news reader.
-- WZID-FM, 95.7, Manchester, N.H. -- The funniest man on radio. A quick
wit, great jokes and puns, down to earth personality and terrific
repoire with his callers, Morin is a big-time personality in
a medium market. A great, logical successor to the very popular
and wonderful Charlie O'Brien, who left WZID-FM for Los Angeles.
Once got susupended at another radio station for telling his
audience the tall ships were coming to Lowell, Mass. -- an inland
city. People came all the way to Connecticut to see the alleged
(Matty in the Morning), WXKS-FM, KISS 108, Medford/Everett, Mass.
with a fine command of the English language and a quick wit,
Matt Siegel could be a fine radio talk show host, but has chosen
for many years to stay at KISS 108 showcasing his considerable
talents on a contemporary hits station (and a former "disco"
station). He's upbeat, up-to-date on current events and has terrific
interviewing skills, noteworthy on a music station that plays
Madonna and Britney Spears.
WBZ-AM 1030, Boston -- The esteemed chief voice on the all news morning
show, LaPierre has been on the air in Boston since the 1960s,
thus making him one of the most familiar voices in Boston radio.
That voice -- seasoned and resonant -- is a delight to listen
to. He also has an attitude, which can be heard on his "LaPierre
on the Loose" segements -- he sounds like a more well-rounded
Bill O'Reilly, with his conservative/common sense observations.
Carlo, WCRB-FM 102.5 ,Waltham, Mass. -- Carlo doesn't sound like your
stuffy, pause-for-five-minutes-in- between- words classical radio
personality. She sounds more like a "lite rock" personality,
with an upbeat delivery, but never too terse. She is a broadcasting
pro, having been on WCRB-FM for many years. Her personality,
alone, has recruited radio listeners who might not have tuned
into WCRB-FM in the first place.
WODS-FM Oldies 103.3, Boston --Not the out-of-control wacky radio
DJ he was during his heydey on legendary top 40 rocker WRKO in
the 1960s and 70s, Dorman is now a consumate professional, intuitive
in his presentation and affable, as always. He has a nice repoire
with the talented June Knight (newscaster) and still has plenty
of energy, some leftover silliness from the 60s and a lovably
nasal, distinctive voice. He came to Oldies 103.3 after an illustrious
20-plus years at KISS-108. He was also the voice-over at the
end of Gilligan's Island and other high quality shows many years
ago at Channel 56 Boston! He is an inductee into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame, and is, by, all accounts, a truly nice guy
according to those on the inside.
Allen Miller, WRKO AM 680, Boston -- Miller is for the most part,
a fair and balanced talk show host with a deeply developed thought
process and a slight chip-on-the-shoulder atttitude. The new
rigid morning format somewhat impedes his vast talents, but Miller
stands out on this landmark talk radio station.
WMJX FM 106.7, Magic 106.7, Boston -- Addams, since his glory days
at top-40 WRKO AM 680 in the 1970s, has always been a natural
with his livewire voice and engaging personality. Still sounding
youthful, the "Exciting Mike Addams" is part of an
airstaff that brings life to a longstanding light rock format.
Kudos to Magic 106.7 for hiring great radio personalities and
extra kudos to Addams for choosing to be a radio personality
as a career choice -- he is a household name in the Boston area
to those who regularly listen to radio.
WAAF FM 107.3 Worcester, Mass. -- Hill has done so much for charity
that even if he was terrible as a radio personality, he would
still be admired. The reality is Hill has worked hard the past
15 years to turn himself into a great radio personality on this
hard-rock station. With a hint of "shock jock" in him
and a wiseguy personality, Hill's "wink-wink" delivery
makes him comes off as loveable rather than obnoxious; the twinkle
in his voice is infectious. The combination of being a solid
radio jock and helping those in need have made Hill a local legend
of sorts in many circles.
Street, WODS FM, Oldies 103.3 -- Bright, cheerful and flawless in
her presentation, Paula Street is a Boston radio institution.
She is consistent, professional and knowledgeable of the Oldies
format, which she has been doing on this great radio station
since the late 1980s. Longevity counts in this profession, indeed,
and Paula is to be commended for that and her sunny personality.
and Michael Holley, WEEI, sportsradio 850 Boston -- The veteran broadcaster
Arnold and superb sports writer Holley mesh well, both knowledgeable,
professional and full of interest statistics. The conversation
is lively without being disrespectful to each other and their
callers (when compared to the loud morning and afternoon shows
on WEEI, that is). Holley is new to full-time sports radio, but
has grown by leaps and bounds in just a few months (he succeeded
the great Bob Neumeier). His writing skills have no doubt translated
well to the microphone. Arnold is a steady force, hard-working,
articulate and with great radio timbre in his voice.
WMJX FM 106.7, Magic 106.7 Boston -- For women interested
in entering the broadcasting profession, the best lesson plan
would be to listen to Nancy Quill on a daily basis. Easy-going,
humorous and conversing as if she was in your living room, Quill,
like Magic 106.7 morning man Mike Addams, is a natural at her
profession. Intuitive thoughtful and blessed with a great voice,
she may be the most solid woman radio personality in Boston.
WXRV FM, 92.5, Haverhill, Mass.--A former journeyman has found a home
at this alternative rocker. Stuart always seemed to be filling
in for somebody 20 years back, but now has established himself
with his distinctively warm, personal voice and a surprisingly
knowledgeable alternative music base. He's come a long way from
half heartedly announcing Barry Manilow songs. Now he sounds
thrilled to announce Robyn Hitchcock, Weezer and Tori Amos songs.
We certainly are, as the station's fresh format and great personalities
like Stuart make radio worthwhile again.
WKLB, 99.5, Boston -- Sure, it might be annoying to hear
pop music creeping into country songs, but Steve Kelly is a real
throwback. He has an announcer's voice -- as opposed to bad voices
with an attitude (Nick Carter, the former WBCN source of irritation)
-- gets goofy and has a great repoire with the traffic announcers.
He might have been average amidst the highly talented pool of
the 1960s and 1970s, but today he sounds better than most. It
really does feel good to hear a fine voice and announcer with
great instincts -- knowing when to break, talk over songs, and
tell a joke or two.
Sean Casey: WPLM, 99.1, Plymouth,
Mass -- Another legend from the 1970s (at the old WHDH),
Casey has brought his deep, classic announcer's voice to a station
that isn't afraid to play Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom Jones, Herb Alpert
and Bertie Higgins ("Key Largo"). With DJ joke book
in hand and a nice easy going personality, Casey brings announcing
to an artistic and technical level -- he could probably do this
in his sleep.
Ordway (The Big O), WEEI AM Sports Radio 850 Boston -- He's loud, obnoxious,
belittling and quite often annoying, but make no mistake about
it, Glenn Ordway is one of the best sports radio personalities
in the nation. Easily one of the top interviewers of any format,
Ordway is incredibly perceptive and cuts to the chase like no
one else. He also has a gift of making those around him sound
better, sort of like the Larry Bird of radio.
Bridges, WCTK-FM 98.1 New Bedford/Providence -- Although young,
Bridges is a throwback to top 40 DJs from the 60s and 70s. He
has a livewire voice that comes jumping out of the airwaves and
his enthusiasm confirms his love for the profession. His top
40 leanings actually help the country format, by bringing in
new listeners who wouldn't normally listen to country music (much
like Laura Carlo does at classical music station WCRB-FM, Waltham).
Carr, WRKO AM 680, Boston --Almost didn't make it due to a slip
in energy, consistency and too many lightweight topic segments.
Still, Carr is one of a kind, a Boston wiseguy who knows local
politics better than anyone on the Boston airwaves. He also had
some recently hilarious moments during Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.)
run for president (saying he doesn't like what Kerry stands for
is an understatement). We'd like to see more of his political
observations and less of the lowbrow stuff.
WMJX FM 106.7, Magic 106.7 Boston -- The man with the happy voice has
found a long-term home at Magic 106.7 FM. Hard work at several
radio stations throughout the years has paid off for Justin as
he honed his craft and really started to come into his own in
the late 1990s. He now works at one of the most respected radio
stations in the country. Justin is a delight to listen to, and
really seems to enjoy his work.
Nowlin, WZLX 100.7 FM, Boston -- Nowlin has a working-class, regular
guy-type personality. Nowlin's relationship with his audience
is terrific -- here's a radio personality who really seems genuine.
A staple at the classic rock WZLX, Nowlin is the right man for
the afternoon drive, keeping things alive and flowing well for
the drive home. Humorous, glib and self-effacing, he's has great
appeal -- you feel like you know someone just like him.
Callahan, WODS FM, Oldies 103.3, Boston -- Callahan brings a fresh edge to a
landmark radio station. With great diction, pleasing timbre and
a walking encyclopedia of musical knowledge, Callahan counts
down some very popular oldies while not being afraid to play
a few more obscure ones. He has the potential to go national,
as there is something "extra" in his voice and presentation
-- hard to pinpoint exactly what, but the special sound is definitely
Adams, WEEI AM Sports Radio 850 Boston --
It was a shame that former nighttime host Ted Sarandis left WEEI
under, reportedly, unhappy circumstances, but Mike Adams carries
on the great nighttime radio tradition at this station, albeit
from a slightly different and somewhat twisted perspective. Sort
of a cross between a wacky top 40 disc jockey and an entertainer
out of the Robin Williams college of comedy, Adams is loud, witty,
outspoken and sometimes obnoxious, but those traits have little
to do with the loud, obnoxious, outspoken and sometimes witty
format of WEEI. Unlike some of the other staff, Adams is good-natured,
listens to his callers, is respectful to his colleagues, and
acknowledges all points of view. He is not mean-spirited -- the
opposite of the morning show crew. Like the Monkees, he's "too
busy singing to put anybody down."
Still, Adams fits in with
the format by maintaining the energy, passion for sports, and
an instantly identifiable personality -- like all other WEEI
talk show hosts. He also has a gifted way of playing with the
English language which results in great puns, jokes and other
moments of inspired insanity. With all the cookie cutter, assembly
line radio out there, it's nice to hear someone not afraid to
be himself and not fit in the "mold."
It should be noted that Adams
never quite fit the mold, having been employed as a car salesman
at a metro Boston car dealership while also working at WEEI.
He was also the guy who replaced Howard Stern on WCCC-FM Hartford,
Conn., when the king of shock radio found slightly more success
in New York City. Adams also had an Emmy award-winning sports
show on New England Cable News in the 1990s, complete with snoring
sound effects on his "Sports Snooze" segments (rugby,
field hockey, lacrosse results, etc.), footage of wild animals
running in the background (from seemingly floor to ceiling) while
reporting Red Sox scores, having his mouth full of food when
talking sports, and mugging for the camera better than Oliver
Hardy, Benny Hill and George Costanza combined. It's too bad
the media could not have found a full-time spot for him since
then, but WEEI has taken the chance and is to be commended for
going "against the wind."
We believe Adams will be
great on WEEI. We hope he creates a long-time presence listeners
can build a relationship with -- much like Sarandis did, but
in a very different way.
Sarandis, WEEI AM Sports Radio 850, Boston -- Studied, serious
and very smart, Sarandis is a man of principal sticking to a
previous generation's way of conducting a sports radio show --
much like the legendary Guy Manilla, of WBZ-AM, back in the 1960s
and 70s. This is a considerable challenge, given WEEI's juvenile
sports format. Sarandis is as much a sports expert as Stephen
Ambrose was a great historian, and that depth of knowledge comes
out of the radio in almost three dimensional fashion every night.
He doesn't have a great sense of humor on-air and if you disagree
with him on the radio, watch out -- he can get unpleasant and
sarcastic, but most of the time it's justified. He asks a lot
of his callers, and for the most part they hold up their end
of the bargain with a high level of quality conversation. It
should be noted that Sarandis is a strong supporter of the local
community, including our brave men and women serving in the U.S.
military -- an indication of his big heart and high ethics.
|Editor's note: We wish Ted the
best. He is a person who I have personally known to be an individual
of decency, honesty, passion, intelligence and authenticity.
What happened at WEEI is up to speculation, but, in my opinion,
he clearly stood out from the crass offerings on a station fortunate
to have a good signal and broadcast Red Sox games; otherwise
WEEI might just be another radio station with ratings challenges.
Ted can stand tall, knowing he did a great job at WEEI and stuck
to his morals and by not selling out. He will land on his feet,
as most talented, decent people do. Best wishes, Teddy, and thanks
for all the great years of "Ted Nation."
WBZ AM 1030 Boston -- A newspaper columnist by trade (Lowell Sun),
Paul Sullivan made the transition nicely several years ago to
talk radio with his Boston-accented wit and command of local,
national and international news. Recently, he moved from his
late night shift to early to mid evenings to replace the late
David Brudnoy (the epitome of a radio hall of famer). Sullivan,
who is recovering from a brain tumor, appears to be in good health
in his new time slot -- a true bonus for radio listeners from
38 states listening to this chock-full-of-personality radio talk
Allan Boucher, WMJX FM "Magic 106.7" Boston --The king of mellow
for many years at Magic 106.7, David Allen Boucher could probably
calm down "Extreme Homes" host Ty Pennington with just
a half hour of listening to this local, legendary soft rock show.
Boucher has a deep, soothing voice that never tires, ironic in
the fact that it will make you tire. But that is why he has been
a staple at Magic 106.7 for three decades -- he can cast a sandman
spell on the most uptight corporate yuppies needing to unwind.
He has a distinctive, methodical style and can introduce a Roberta
Flack or Peabro Bryson song than probably anyone in the country.
WWLI "Lite 105.1", Providence--Very much like David Allan Boucher,
except with a more pedestrian voice and better interaction with
his audience. Spencer is smooth, genuine and seems to really
enjoy his job. He is a staple in a market that has seen many
changes through the years.
WODS FM,Oldies 103.3 --His superb baritone voice and enthusiasm and
knowledge of music makes him a local legend. Many years ago,
Wright was part of the memorable top 40 format at WRKO-AM (now
a talk station). The jingles, the dramatic phrases, wacky contests
and catchy music made radio fun. After a successful stint for
many years at KISS 108 (contemporary hits), Wright formerly commanded
the afternoon shift at Oldies 103.3 and now takes on the overnight
position playing the best of the 1960s and 1970s. It's a tour
de force of music, with a great announcer to match.
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