New Sturgeon WTBR Show Shelved Amidst Complaints

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The debut of a recently announced new WTBR talk show featuring popular local radio host William Sturgeon has been postponed indefinitely.

The show, slated to begin Tuesday, May 29, would have from run 8:30 to 10 a.m. to follow established local morning show "Good Morning, Pittsfield" on the Taconic High School station.

The show had been given approval by the program director as well as Superintendent of Schools Howard "Jake" Eberwein, but a last-minute decision to hold off on its launch was announced over the weekend.

"The debut of the Bill Sturgeon show on WTBR has been put on hold. Possibly for good," said station manager Larry Kratka, in a post in WTBR's Facebook group. "There are apparently some officials in Pittsfield government who are terrified of what Bill would do to them."

"Bill and I know what kind of show he was going into," said Kratka. "Even Superintendent "Jake" Eberwein and School Committee Chair Alf Barbarlunga agreed with my vision of the kind of show it would be. No phones ... interviews only. For this, I thank them."

Sturgeon had offered to provide an interview show for WTBR, following his departure from his popular program on WBRK radio, which ended in early May following what the host described as a breakdown in negotiations.

Speaking on WTBR's "Good Morning, Pittsfield" on Tuesday morning, Sturgeon said he was told there had been comments from several parties concerned about the show, including Taconic Principal John Vosburgh.  The exact nature of these concerns has not been made known, though Sturgeon suggested that some individuals objected to the idea of the student-run show being overshadowed by adult radio talent.

"Bringing more people into a studio isn't going to decrease the opportunities for kids," said "Good Morning, Pittsfield" host and Ward 6 City Councilor John Krol. "It's going to provide more diversity for them to be able to learn more from people who've had different experience in the past."

Krol was invited to host the early morning news program "Good Morning, Pittsfield" in 2006, when the station nearly lost its FCC license because of a lack of programming and too much dead air time caused by student turnover.

Krol pointed out that the budget at WTBR consists of an approximately $6,000 $1,000 stipend paid to Kratka to run the station, and $6,000 for equipment and technical upgrades.

Sturgeon said the decision of whether to proceed with his show will now rest ultimately with the Pittsfield School Committee.

Tags: radio,   WTBR,   

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