Fixing Finneran

Friendly advice
By ADAM REILLY  |  February 15, 2007


Dear Tom,

Starting a new job is never easy. But judging from your first two days as a WRKO-AM talking head, your adjustment could be more challenging than most. Don’t despair, however; as soon as you’ve kicked a few nasty little habits, you’ll be a whole lot easier on the ears. My suggestions:

BE BRAVER During Monday’s debut, you landed former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe as a guest. Nice work. Unfortunately, while you happily dissected McAuliffe’s pro-Hillary spiel with guest host Holly Robichaud afterward, you treated him with kid gloves during his interview. Then, on Tuesday, you gave Boston mayor Tom Menino an on-air tongue bath that would have made Charlie Rose blush. This stuff might fly at the State House, but it makes for some boring-ass radio. Pick some fights already!

TALK LESS Halfway through Monday’s show, a guy called in and said, basically, “I never thought I’d be calling in to Tom Finneran, but here I am, and I like the discussion you’re having about Iraq.” You answered with a long soliloquy: we’re all entitled to an epiphany moment; I spent 26 years in the Massachusetts legislature; I was the most conservative Democrat ever; blah blah blah. Then you tried to bring the caller into the conversation — but he’d either hung up or been cutoff. Yeah, you’re the star attraction, but unless Entercom is paying you by the word, some verbal economy would be nice. Also, it’s actually okay to have a moment of silence every now and then.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK During your first interview, you asked the Globe’s Steve Bailey about Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s new president. Bailey said she was a good hire. You replied that while you didn’t know that much about her, you hoped all the excitement wasn’t just about her gender. Lame, lame answer, Tom. Faust’s hiring was huge news; if you’re going to bring it up, you’d better have something incisive to say.

GET A CO-HOST Granted, this is out of your hands a bit. But as a radio neophyte, you don’t need a revolving door of on-air compadres, no matter what Jason Wolfe and Julie Kahn may be telling you. You need a regular sidekick who can teach you the craft and become an effective sparring partner. Jim Braude would have been nice, but that’s not happening; now you’ve got to pressure the Entercom brass until they find you a good co-host.

Think it over, and good luck . . .

Related: The player, Grand new party?, Extreme makeover: Globe edition, More more >
  Topics: Media -- Dont Quote Me , Steve Bailey, Politics, U.S. Politics,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BULLY FOR BU!  |  March 12, 2010
    After six years at the Phoenix , I recently got my first pre-emptive libel threat. It came, most unexpectedly, from an investigative reporter. And beyond the fact that this struck me as a blatant attempt at intimidation, it demonstrated how tricky journalism's new, collaboration-driven future could be.
  •   STOP THE QUINN-SANITY!  |  March 03, 2010
    The year is still young, but when the time comes to look back at 2010's media lowlights, the embarrassing demise of Sally Quinn's Washington Post column, "The Party," will almost certainly rank near the top of the list.
  •   RIGHT CLICK  |  February 19, 2010
    Back in February 2007, a few months after a political neophyte named Deval Patrick cruised to victory in the Massachusetts governor's race with help from a political blog named Blue Mass Group (BMG) — which whipped up pro-Patrick sentiment while aggressively rebutting the governor-to-be's critics — I sized up a recent conservative entry in the local blogosphere.
  •   RANSOM NOTES  |  February 12, 2010
    While reporting from Afghanistan two years ago, David Rohde became, for the second time in his career, an unwilling participant rather than an observer. On October 29, 1995, Rohde had been arrested by Bosnian Serbs. And then in November 2008, Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were en route to an interview with a Taliban commander when they were kidnapped.
  •   POOR RECEPTION  |  February 08, 2010
    The right loves to rant against the "liberal-media elite," but there's one key media sector where the conservative id reigns supreme: talk radio.

 See all articles by: ADAM REILLY