WGBH adds 2 shows to radio lineup

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / December 29, 2009

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WGBH unveiled the centerpiece of its new full-time news radio station: two talk shows hosted by well-known Boston TV personalities.

“The Emily Rooney Show’’ - Rooney also hosts WGBH’s “Greater Boston’’ - will start at noon on Jan. 11 on 89.7 FM. The one-hour show will focus on local news and public affairs and feature a segment called “What are YOU hearing?’’ with commentary from local experts and analysts. It will be followed by “The Callie Crossley Show,’’ which will center on current events and regional arts and culture.

“Emily’s is a today show, responding to what is happening in the moment on any given day,’’ Crossley said. “My show is a these-days show. I might respond in the moment, but I may broaden it out to examine other issues.’’

The new shows are part of WGBH’s efforts to reinvent 89.7 FM as Boston’s newest full-time news and information radio station after WGBH bought classical music station WCRB-FM 99.5 for $14 million in September.

That purchase enabled WGBH, a National Public Radio affiliate, to move its classical music programming to WCRB to preserve that station as Boston’s major full-time classical outlet. It also allowed WGBH to change 89.7 to all news and talk to compete with WBUR-FM 90.9, another NPR station, and WBZ-AM 1030.

Since its switch to all-news earlier this month, WGBH has added two NPR programs to its schedule, including “Fresh Air with Terry Gross’’ and “The Diane Rehm Show.’’ WGBH had already been airing NPR programs “Morning Edition’’ and All Things Considered.’’

On Dec. 19, WGBH also began broadcasting a Saturday afternoon radio version of its weekly Boston TV media discussion program, “Beat The Press,’’ which also features Rooney and Crossley. WGBH last month said Rooney and Crossley would get their own shows in January, but did not give details at that time.

“What they are both good at will translate well for radio,’’ Donna Halper, a radio consultant and media professor at Lesley University, said about Rooney and Crossley.

“They will bring a very sane perspective to the coverage of current events.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at