WBRK radio show to have Berkshire flavor

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"Talk Berkshires," hosted by Sherman Baldwin, will occupy the 3 to 6 p.m. slot weekdays on WBRK-AM (1340), replacing a music block of time.

WBRK, the only remaining locally owned and operated radio station in Berkshire County, has for many years hosted the "Open Mic" call-in show on weekday mornings, where the emphasis has been on Pittsfield issues. This show — unique for its three-hour duration — also will take the bold initiative to broaden its scope beyond parochial borders, according to Baldwin.

Baldwin said his call-in show will take a regional approach.

"It's going to cover local issues, and national and international issues that are important to the residents of the Berkshires," he said.

Baldwin "has incredible energy," said Willard "Chip" Hodgkins III, WBRK's president and COO.

"He also represents responsible journalism, which the media has gotten away from in the 24-hour talk cycle," Hodgkins said.

Baldwin's show debuts Monday with Gov. Deval L. Patrick, U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, and Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto as guests.

Tuesday's guests are Alan Chartock, president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and North Adams Mayor John Barrett III.

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As an example, Baldwin said since Kerry is involved with small-business issues, the discussion could center around the availability of Small Business Administration loans to local entrepreneurs.

"We'll talk about economic stimulus money in the Berkshires," he said. "But then I'll also talk about a spaghetti and meatball dinner for someone who may be sick.

"So it really covers the gamut," he said. "It will be all Berkshires in one way or another."

Baldwin said he will also check in with The Berkshire Eagle during the show's final hour to highlight what the newspaper is working on for the next day's edition.

Hodgkins said he was looking for an opportunity to add a countywide-oriented talk show to the station's daily programming and decided to take advantage of it when Baldwin became available.

"National talk, what I call right-wing propaganda, doesn't work around here," Hodgkins said.

A native of Greenwich, Conn., the 49-year-old Baldwin originally came to the Berkshires from Phoenix to work at WUPE-FM in Pittsfield in August 2007. He had hosted a talk show in Phoenix, but when that opportunity didn't materialize in Pittsfield, Baldwin went to WROW in Albany, N.Y., last December.

While at WROW, Baldwin co-moderated a nationally televised debate in the contentious 20th Congressional District Special Election between Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco. But Baldwin was laid off by WROW on April 8, and decided to return to Pittsfield. Baldwin worked for both WUPE and WROW at the same time when he was first hired in Albany, and had kept his residence here.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6224.


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