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slides: Who Will Replace Michael Graham?

Monday, April 21, 2014


Massachusetts politics and media changed this past week when Michael Graham announced he was taking his talk radio show to Atlanta, Georgia.

Graham, a major media voice and voice of conservatives sat down with GoLocalWorcester and answered a range of important questions about his role in media and some of the issues the Massachusetts voters need to track.

The question of who will take Michael Graham's position is one that GoLocal explored - SEE THE SLIDE SHOW BELOW.

Regarding the role Graham played in elevating the discussion on politics, Graham said he got an interesting reaction when he announced his departure, "An astonishing number of liberals and Democrats have contacted me to say they agree, that they’re embarrassed by the attacks on diverse opinions from the Left. Brandeis’ decision to strip Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali of her honorary degree and ban her from speaking at graduation is another current example.

Here’s what’s interesting: when I say to these concerned folks on the Left “Why don’t you speak out?,” their answer is often “Because I’m afraid, too.” Or “I don’t need the hassle—these people will really go after you.

Massachusetts’ culture of political and ideological intolerance isn’t just embarrassing—it’s dangerous," said Graham

Here are a few questions Michael Graham answered for GoLocal:

1) What is it that you will miss most about doing talk in MA?

As I said on the show all the time, “I’m the luckiest guy in America. I get to do talk radio….in MASSACHUSETTS.

Every day I would just wake up and find that my topics had been chosen for  me: $24 million in taxpayer-funded “bonuses” for obsolete tolltakers; a Lt Governor “examining storm damage” at 4am and 100 mph; A Worcester rep taking pictures of his “Lil’ Legislator” and posting them on the state website; Ed “I vote Present” Markey, Liz “Fauxcahontas” Warren; the pants-wetting school bureaucrats of Lunenburg who shut down an entire football season over a hoax.

The list goes on and on…

I will also miss some of the smartest, funniest and most challenging callers in talk radio.  The biggest challenge every day was being more interesting on the radio than my listeners are sitting around a cup of coffee with their friends.

2) What are the important issues MA residents should be paying attention to in this year's elections?

A general answer: Math.  Taxpayers have no idea how big a hole Gov Patrick and Beacon Hill have dug for them.  There’s a reason why Patrick was pushing for a massive $1.9 billion tax hike last year—they need it to cover all the massive increases in spending.

Since Patrick took office, the average household income in Massachusetts is up by less than 3percent. But state spending has gone up from $26.8 billion to $36.4 billion in eight years– a 36 percent jump in spending. In other words, the state’s been getting raises TEN TIMES FASTER than the taxpayers.

There’s other math, too: We’re reaching the point where half of all state tax revenue goes just to welfare and health care. That’s not going to leave much for local aid, schools, roads, etc.

We just added almost $13 billion in new transportation debt, even though a) we have one of the highest debt loads in the country and b) we’ve just had a series and tax and fare hikes to cover current MBTA/Big Dig debt.

On a specific level, the topic I’m most passionate about is the case of Justina Pelletier.  How this sick, then-14-year-old mitochondrial disease patient ended up taken from her parents and trapped in a psych ward for nearly 15 months is a story every media outlet should be covering.  The most horrifying part is that, as a parent, nobody will tell me what the Pelletiers allegedly did wrong. According to the judge, the ONLY claim of “abuse” came from Boston Children’s Hospital who decided that following Tufts’ care was a form of “medical abuse.” If the Patrick administration can get away with labeling “I did what a respected hospital told me” a recognized form of child abuse that puts your parental rights at risk—we’re in big trouble.

3)  Is talk radio in decline in MA?

I came to Boston specifically to work at an FM talk station, WTKK. Today there are NO FM talk stations in Boston (other than government radio). And no plans for any on the horizon either. ‘Nuff said.

4)  What other talk folks in New England and MA did you listen to?

I’m a Howie Carr fan. Also, back when I worked afternoons and wasn’t so busy prepping in the morning, I used to love Dennis and Callahan in the morning when they’d mix sports, politics and local news.

As long as the talk radio brand is as badly damaged as it is today, there’s not much hope for the traditional talk format.  What’s happening is that sports talk is having many of the conversations local talk radio used to.

The new format to watch, in my opinion, is business talk or “money talk”—doing the kind of compelling talk about our jobs/money/financial lives that sports radio does about sports.  The Barry and Kim Show (heard on AM 830 WCRN) is on the frontier.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael Graham will be able to be listen to via his Web site.


Related Slideshow: Who Will Replace Michael Graham in Worcester?

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Rob Eno

Eno is experienced through his work with RedMassGroup.com, as an expert commentator with NECN and as a MINDSETTER with GoLocalWorcester.

He knows politics and is articulate at voicing conservative messages.

Wired into key conservatives in state and in DC, Eno would bring a broader perspective than Polito.

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Dan Yorke

The Providence-based radio host used to work in Western MA. Today he hosts afternoons on WPRO AM, but he is the lowest rated on the station behind former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and egmanic John DePetro.

WPRO's parent company, Cumulus, has announced that they will be cutting 7% this year. Worcester might look good to Yorke.

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Jennifer Roy

Jennifer Roy is Worcester's favorite girl-next-door.

She was recently the winner of the Jet Blue video contest.

She is connected to everyone in Worcester and the former local cable TV news reporter would be a big improvement with the likability factor.

But, the big question is, do WTAG listeners was likability?

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Joe O'Brien

Joe O'Brien Former Mayor and City Coucilman Joe O'Brien left the city council at the end of his term in 2013.

O'Brien is smart and has some big ideas - he attended Fordham, Harvard and knows Worcester.

Talk radio could be the perfect transition from City Hall to civilian life.

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Chris Pinto

Bam! Pow! Boom! Chris Pinto is an officer in the City GOP and co-host to the cable political show, Activate Worcester.
Pinto is never shy about hardcore conservative issues. Think the Worcester version of Chris Christie.
Listeners will love him and others will love to hate him.
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Matt Allen

Matt Allen is another Providence talk radio host, but he is the techno model. He is digitally savvy and has built a younger audience than the norm.
He is a social media pro and stays in contact with his listeners 24/7 leveraging Facebook and Twitter.
Libertarian in view point, Allen would align well with the discussion in Central MA.
Prev Next

Tom Finneran

He has been one of the most influential MA politicians of the past 25 years. A big time player since leaving the State House, Finneran knows all angles of the issue.
He hosted Boston talk radio for years - he would bring a Boston and beyond perspective to talk radio in Worcester.
Prev Next

Peter Blute

The former Rep Congressman from Central Mass has done time behind the mic. After a stint with the MA GOP and a brutal outcome in 2012 with Senator Scott Brown losing and Richard Tisei unable to grab a congressional seat, it might be a good time to jump.
Blute knows central MA. He is Worcester born and lives in Shrewsbury.
His big blemish was the iconic hit piece by the Boston Herald - Booze Cruise.

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