Radio Talk Show Set to Debut in Berkshires
Sherman Baldwin, left, and John Garb are launching 'Talk Berkshires' on WBRK 1340-AM.
"We're like a couple of old married folks," laughed Baldwin last week as he and Garb, his producer, gave a preview of the banter to be expected on Baldwin's new daily three-hour talk show on WBRK 1340-AM.
"Talk Berkshires" debuts Monday, May 18, at 3 p.m. with guests U.S. Sen. John Kerry, Gov. Deval Patrick and Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto.
Touting it the only daily radio show dedicated to talking about local issues in the Berkshires, "Talk Berkshires" marks the return of Baldwin to the county airwaves since departing last year for WROW in Albany, N.Y. A deal inked with WBRK, the only remaining locally owned radio station, gives Baldwin leeway to cover the broad range of issues he thinks the county wants to hear about.
"Everything we do will have a Berkshire County focus," said Baldwin.
Garb, a close friend who's worked with Baldwin on and off for the past 10 years, said the show will always find that nugget of local impact, whether they're talking about international issues or local politics.
"The program will give unprecedented access to the political, cultural and business leaders who make decisions that will affect the Berkshires and beyond for generations to come,” said WBRK President Willard "Chip" Hodgkins III in a statement. "If you have ever heard Sherman's style of radio, you know the show will not only be relevant, but also very entertaining."
Baldwin, 49, seems to switch easily from hard-hitting questions to humorous poking, always giving the object of interrogation a chance to join in the fun.
The Greenwich, Conn., native most recently could be heard on WUPE-FM in the morning. He was working at both WROW and WUPE when the Albany station offered more of a talk-show format, similar to what he'd done in Phoenix. (Baldwin's diverse career also includes owning a restaurant and piloting a ferry boat.)
While at WROW, he co-moderated a nationally televised debate for the special election in New York's 20th Congressional District between Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican James Tedisco. The hotly contested election drew attention as the first test of President Obama's administration since the two men were vying to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who was named to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.
The winner, Murphy, will also appear on Baldwin's show in recognition of the Berkshires' media ties to eastern New York.
Despite the attention, Baldwin found himself laid off in early April, which opened the door to producing his own radio show.
"The Berkshires are my home,” said Baldwin, in a statement. "When the opportunity arose to do a three-hour talk show here — I jumped on it. I love the Berkshires, and believe that a talk show that is both pertinent and fun could really fill a void. I'm looking forward to starting the dialogue."
He plans to bring more high-profile guests, including WAMC's Alan Chartock and North Adams Mayor John Barrett III on Tuesday.
The show runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on 1340 on the AM dial. Call in by dialing 413-443-WBRK (9275).