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Bob Lobel: How We Brand Ourselves in the Media

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


You know things are bad when a guy like Bob Costas is getting called out for speaking his mind.

This brings me to my current dilemma, as I am being given an amazing opportunity, but one that I am amazingly nervous about. I am being given the chance to host WBZ Radio's overnight show from midnight until five in the morning Thursday, and I'm not so sure how to go about it.

How much opinion should I give?

I've always been known as a sports guy, but I don't want to do a sports show. I come from a time where an all-sports show wouldn't play in Boston, but just what am I supposed to talk about? Am I supposed to give my opinion on music I'm interested in? Will that affect the "image" I've constructed over the years?

I mean, who the hell listens to a show from midnight to five, and is my job to keep them awake, or put them to sleep?

My only experience in this type of radio was working briefly with the legendary Larry Glick, the man who held this overnight spot for decades and came to define late-night radio. So, naturally I'm concerned about what the show will sound like, and who I'm going to be talking to.

Maybe I can grab Alice Cook and talk about her new project with women in sports. My buddy Bill Chuck, a baseball stat whiz, would be a great choice, but again, I don't want to do a sports show. I guess that is just a comfort zone for me.

I don't want people to freak out if I give my opinion on the fiscal cliff. That's not what they expect from me, is it?

These choices will make or break my show. Maybe they will invite me back with even more freedom, or maybe they won't want me back at all. Yeah, it's a great opportunity, and I thought I would enjoy it, but now that the folks at WBZ have called my bluff, I'm torn on how I want to present myself and my show.

Does anyone actually want to hear my opinion on the Supreme Court? And, if I have an opinion on that, do I have to take on gun control the way Costas did? I guess maybe I should just talk about what I feel like and have some fun, but nobody did that better than Larry Glick during his tenure.

I remember watching Glick get inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Little did I know then that I would be filling his time slot down the road.

So that's my dilemma. I don't really know what to call it, except to say that I don't if I should push the envelope on issues, or just lay off and enjoy it. Maybe I'll fill you all in next week on how it goes. Then, there are the obvious issues of going back into that building.

I haven't been to WBZ, where I worked on the TV side for nearly 30 years, in four years now, and just going back is sure to create some psychological barrier. Well, as the saying goes, I may think I have many fears about this new opportunity, but fear itself may be the only real one.


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