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Radio Talk Show Set to Debut in Berkshires

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Sherman Baldwin, left, and John Garb are launching 'Talk Berkshires' on WBRK 1340-AM.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The back and forth between Sherman Baldwin and John Garb isn't so much a conversation than two men playing catch — with each tossing the ball back with a slightly different spin.

"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).
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Letter: Support for Lynette Bond for mayor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I'm writing this letter in support for Lynette Bond as mayor of North Adams. I've known Lynette for nearly 10 years through my previous work at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. She organized one of the first teams when we launched the Mayor's Fitness Challenge, she and her family participated in our Downtown Bikearounds, and she attended our yoga in the parks events.

Lynette was also the lead organizer to help move forward Smoke Free parks and playgrounds throughout the City of North Adams. She believes and understands how important recreation and fitness is to a community and supports the work to get us there.

Lynette was instrumental during the planning for the  city's Vision 2030 Plan as a resident and planning board member. Throughout the Vision 2030 plan was a theme of "nonmotorized and active transportation." This means that we safely connect people to places for work, school, services, outdoor recreation, and improved health. (North Adams Downtown Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, City of North Adams).

A shared-use path to connect with the Mohawk bike and pedestrian path in Williamstown and the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Adams was listed in this Plan as High Importance. I couldn't agree more and I know Lynette shares this thinking. The pedestrian/bike path is the single most important project that provides nonmotorized transportation to the residents of North Adams, with transportation being one of the leading challenges for some of our residents, having a safe way to travel by bike can help to overcome the barrier of transportation.

Lynette understands the intricacies of this project because she worked for the Town of Adams and helped to facilitate the rights of way and other items that needed to happen for the extension of the bike path from Hoosac to Lime Street. A bike path through North Adams is an important way to connect neighborhoods and allows our residents to safely bike and walk within the city and to our neighboring towns.

Along with transportation, residents of all ages can enjoy physical recreation and the health benefits that walking and biking provide. These activities reduce stress and improve the mental well-being of a community. I know Lynette will work well with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the Towns of Adams and Williamstown, MassDOT, and engineers because she has already demonstrated and succeeded in working collaboratively with these partners. She has the experience of working on the Rail Trail extension in Adams and has the passion to ensure we move forward with this critical project for the City of North Adams.

I ask you to vote for Lynette Bond and ensure that the work to advance bikeability and walkability within our city continues.

Amanda Chilson
North Adams, Mass. 

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