Skip to comments.Longtime WBZ Radio Talk Host Steve Leveille Announces His Retirement
Posted on 06/06/2012 12:19:12 AM PDT by raccoonradio
BOSTON (CBS) Steve LeVeille, longtime personality on WBZ NewsRadio 1030, has decided to retire after thirteen years of hosting The Steve LeVeille Broadcast. WBZ NewsRadio Director of News and Programming, Peter Casey, made the announcement today. LeVeilles retirement will become official at the end of the week.
Steve called yesterday and informed me of his decision. Although it came as a surprise, I do know Steve enjoys his time in Maine and had always thought that he would retire there sometime. I just didnt think it would be this soon. Steve has been a tremendously creative broadcaster and friend to the overnight audience here at WBZ, and he will be missed.
LeVeille, 57, said it had always been his goal to retire early: This is a quality of life decision for my wife, Diane, and me. We have been making moves during the past number of years to be able to do this without any particular date in mind. We have just reached a point where we said the time is right now. After spending most of our weekends and vacation time in Maine for the last fifteen years we are looking forward to making it our year round home.
LeVeille is a native of the Boston area and was familiar with WBZ NewsRadio as a teenager saying, I grew up in the Boston area listening to Larry Glick on WBZ. And as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a teenager to do the overnight show on WBZ and I am proud to be able to retire from that position.
LeVeille has worked in radio for more than 35 years and has been with WBZ since 1991. LeVeille began his career at all-news WEEI in 1977 as a news writer and producer. He worked for ABC News in New York as an assignment editor and writer from 1980 to 1986. From 1991 to 1997, LeVeille worked for Monitor Radio as a program host and news anchor on nationally and internationally broadcast programs. He was also heard frequently as a news anchor on WBUR in the 1990s. Of the awards he has won for excellence in broadcasting Steves favorite is the 1988 Associated Press Massachusetts Broadcasters award for Best Sports Commentary for pieces he did for WAAF.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is owned by CBS RADIO, a division of CBS Corporation. CBS RADIO, one of the largest major-market radio operators in the United States, operates 130 radio stations including Bostons WBMX-FM (MIX 104.1), WBZ-AM (NewsRadio 1030), WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub), WODS-FM (103.3), and WZLX-FM (Classic Rock 100.7).
CBS abruptly laid him off a couple yrs back and an effort on facebook, emails, etc. brought him back (the effort was founded by a young man inspired by the yes we can attitude of Obama. Blecch.) Now he's leaving for good.
Who will notice? He’s always on vacation.
Leveille should have shown more gratitude after his loyal listeners busted their humps writing e-mails and letters to lobby for giving him his job back a few years ago, when his program was replaced by CBS brass, in a cost-savings maneuver, with a nationally-syndicated show.
Instead, Leveille rewarded his dedicated “fans” with even more absences and vacation time, and did precious little to temper his obviously biased left-wing personality and overall grouchiness, which included being rude to callers and hanging up on them. I say now “Good riddance!”
Although Jordan Rich has the consummate WBZ “voice,” a blend of Dave Maynard, Dick Summer, and Gary LaPierre, his format is an often boring mix of discussions and guests about unheard-of jazz singers and spiritual/New Age (”newage?”) topics. He also, apparently, may not contain his tendency to discuss the Holocaust and Nazis, no doubt a reflection of his own heritage, but a snoozefest to his largely non-Jewish audience when done nearly every week.
But I give Rich at least having the interest to book guests, something Leveille rarely did except for the buffoonish local trivia hack Mel Simons. If one positive outcome may occur from Leveille’s retirement, I hope it is WBZ will never again allow the voice of Simons to be boomed through its microphones, with his disturbing & vulgar adenoidal pig snorting.
If Rich could be reined in, instructed to book more interesting guests and program more compelling and varying topics, perhaps more frequent of his entertaining roundtables about film as well, he certainly has the chops to host the overnight broadcast five days a week.
It would also be nice if WBZ could elevate the call-in contests to at least where Bob Raleigh once had them, giving away some truly rewarding prizes of concert and theater tickets (and if ‘BZ could once again become a big-time co-sponsor of locally-staged national & international entertainment, such as the former “Concerts On The Common” and Broadway-bound or national road companies of theatrical productions), instead of only some self-promotional felt pens that dry up in a matter of weeks, and ‘BZ ballcaps.
Even worse are the give-aways (like the answers to his alleged trivia questions) of perennial overnight substitute host Morgan White Jr., who from his goodie bag relinquishes promotional freebies even he doesn't see the merit in retaining.
While on the subject of Simon's and White's trivia contests, it should be noted a good radio trivia master should genuinely be an expert on the subjects about which he quizzes the call-in contestants. And I've caught both these guys giving incorrect answers on more than a few occasions. Such incompetence inspires no confidence, generally, in such persons’ intelligence. It is no great boast to say these guys know more than their average listener. That should be a given.
Bradley Jay exhibits a rudeness similar to Leveille’s, is not broad-knowledged enough to handle the position on a full-time basis. He is basically a holdover from CBS’ acquisition of Infinity, that onced owned WBCN, Boston's once predominant FM rock station that deteriorated into nothing resembling its once-vital prominence. And even then, Jay was only a part of that entity's last vestiges, never a part of ‘BCN’s heydays.
The station would probably prefer a host with some hard news credentials, as from the graveyard shift until dawn the Monday-Friday overnight host is the one “manning the battlestations,” as it were, at Boston's only all-news radio outlet. In the main, it may not be necessary to be more than light & lively, and occasionally discuss local & national current events. But when something big like 9/11 or the Blizzard of ‘78 happens in the wee small hours, that “voice on the air in the night” must also inspire confidence and handle informational dissemination until the morning news team arrives.
My vote for a replacement for Leveille would be Dean Johnson, a refreshingly energetic and enthusiastic, as well smart substitute host for Leveille of late. Like Rich, Johnson exhibits a respect for his callers, and perhaps could be clued in that part of the job includes being an overnight companion to those listeners for who that “voice on the air in the night” may be their only human contact that day or week. This is especially true of elderly and longtime ‘BZ listeners, who have so endeared themselves to the audience and hosts as to become almost extra regulars of the broadcasts. The names “Angelo,” “Generosa,” and “Glen from Brighton” come to mind.
Johnson was a longtime pop music writer, as well editor, for a few prominent Boston publications. In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to have been a staff writer for one of those publications, although after Johnson's tenure as its editor, and never knew him personally.
It is about time for a change of regime in WBZ’s only semi-entertaining, non-news-based program. So it will be interesting to see if CBS is willing to commit to a local host, in preserving a semblance of the station's heritage, or if it takes the easier and cost-effective route and just programs a nationally-syndicated broadcast.
Should Jordan Rich be hired for the regular overnight slot, it would be nice if one of the weekend overnights or even weekend prime time slots could be given to a Boston airing or rebroadcast of the syndicated “Monica Crowley Show.” Crowley's intelligent presence has been missed in these parts, especially as she is no longer a regular panelist on the syndicated TV broadcast “The McLaughlin Group” (aired locally on WGBH & WGBX), and since WTTK (Boston's FM talker) stopped airing her radio show a few years ago.
Until then, I'll BZ-ing you!
Dave Maynard in the morning
Dick Summer at 6
Juicy Brucey Bradley at 8
Jerry Williams at 11
And, for a change of pace, Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsberg on WMEX and somebody with a British accent on WPTR if the conditions allowed.
And, for yet another change of pace when the conditions were right, some station in Cincinnati that carried the Royals (basketball) with Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas playing.
Those were the days.
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