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'TalkBerkshires' Stifled

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — WBRK pulled the plug Tuesday on "TalkBerkshires" and its host Sherman Baldwin.

The local talk show has been airing over WBRK 1340-AM every weekday afternoon since last May. But Baldwin, an independent contractor with the station, said station President Willard "Chip" Hodgkins told him at 10:30 this morning that the show was being booted.

The press release can be found here.

Baldwin said the break up was over related coverage of recent allegations of sexual abuse against Sheriff Carmen Massimiano. The sheriff's accuser, James E. Monahan, had briefly called into the show several weeks ago, but Baldwin said the firing was prompted by an appearance by local attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo on Monday talking about libel issues regarding the coverage.

"I'm still shell-shocked," said a subdued Baldwin late Tuesday. He said Hodgkins had offered to bring the show back after a period if he stuck to national news. "It was so clear what this was about."

It wasn't about his past, Baldwin was sure. The radio jock's been in the news for good and bad recently, as his involvement with Berkshire Money Management's Allen Harris in the Berkshire Job Summit last Friday prompted interest in his past troubles with the law.

Baldwin and his producer Michael Valenti are planning to speak to the press at noon at the Crowne Plaza on the talk show's future. Baldwin said he'll also be on "Good Morning Pittsfield" with John Krol on Wednesday morning.

The primary focus of "TalkBerkshires" has been on local issues, particularly those affecting the immediate Pittsfield area where most of this listeners work or live. It's a focus that Baldwin doesn't want to lose.

"I'm not going to give up without a fight," he said.

Update: Baldwin postponed his press conference until Thursday at noon because of Wednesday's snowstorm.

Update Thursday, Feb. 25: The press conference has been canceled on the advice of Baldwin's attorney.  "I think this is best for TalkBerkshires," Baldwin wrote in an e-mail that was also posted on the Web site about an hour before the noon presser.

Baldwin wrote that more information will be released in the coming days. Baldwin and Valenti may attempt to Internet stream their program (Baldwin owns the Web site) but those plans are still up in the air.

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