Liberal talk network sold to new investors

Bob Nelson
Thu Nov 20 13:21:50 EST 2003

--- Bill O'Neill <> wrote:
> It's even more than that. It was here in the Boston
> area that talk cut its
> teeth.  It was in the spirit of activism, vox
> populi, and the medium is the
> message that the phone and the radio merged. 

The late Jerry Williams got his audience involved
in the fight against the New Braintree prison,
tax increases, Congressional pay hikes, "the Big Dig",
etc. He was assisted by the likes of Ralph Nader,
Barbara Anderson, and a certain Herald columnist who
later wound up with Jerry's time slot (but does not do
the same "activist" radio), Howie Carr. (You don't
hear Howie giving out phone numbers of politicians'
offices, organizing rallies, etc.)
That still may be seen today, though, in that
talk radio can put pressure on everything from
the media (with the CBS "Reagans" movie) to
politics (though often it's more like "you can
change things with your vote" than "change things
with phone calls and e-mails", etc. There isn't the
active push from the talk host, though; instead,
callers offer their own opinions and sometimes
people will take action based on what the callers
have to say. 

Jerry called himself a classic liberal, IIRC,
and also a populist. Liberals of the past (like
in JFK's time) may have felt differently about
military strength and taxes than those of the
current times do (though I know Jerry wasn't
exactly a rubber stamp for the Vietnam War). (I
understand there was a time when it was the
Republicans who supported higher taxes, and the
Democrats went for leaner government and less
intrusion in our lives.)

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