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Callie Crossley expands programming on WGBH

Shelly Runyon | 6/27/2012, 8:05 a.m.
Callie Crossley’s new radio program, “Boston Public Radio,”...
Callie Crossley’s new radio program, “Boston Public Radio,” debuts on July 9th. WGBH

As part of a major programming lineup announced last week by WGBH Radio, Callie Crossley will replace her own show with a new program titled “Boston Public Radio,” which is set to debut on Monday, July 9. The radio station recently acquired  WCRB 99.5FM, and is in the process of merging the two stations together.

“Boston Public Radio” will be a two-hour program that includes live talk between noon and 2 p.m. on weekdays with a rebroadcast Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This is good news for fans of the the popular Callie Crossley Show, which now airs weekdays at 1 p.m. on 89.7 FM WGBH. Crossley is respected in the Boston community for her intelligent and insightful analysis of news and other local happenings on air.

But with the good news comes bad, as not all formatting could be retained. “Blues on WBGH” and “Folk on WGBH” were cut almost in their entirety. Two jazz shows that will no longer be part of the Boston community as of July 13 include the weekday evening program “Jazz on WGBH with Eric Jackson,” known to many as “Eric in the Evening,” and “Jazz on WGBH with Steve Schwartz.”

Jackson’s show will be partially retained and moved to weekends, upsetting many fans. One such WGBH fan, Rob Wilson, organized a public Facebook group in support of Jackson, stating “WGBH is considering cancelling Eric’s decades-old weekday evening program. We think this would do a disservice to listeners and the greater Boston community and we’d like WGBH to reconsider.”

Since the group was created last Wednesday, nearly 2,500 people have joined in support, posting messages, commiserating over the proposed changes and providing contact information for Phil Redo, managing director of WBGH.

Fan Patricia Cronin posted, “Just received a response from WGBH about this blasphemy. I was told that 9-12 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is when the jazz audience is ‘most present.’ Are not we all present Monday – Friday? First Eric was on at 7, then 8, now 9-12 a.m. only weekends ... balderdash!”

Another fan, Lindalee Lawrence, posted a letter from Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association, in support of Steve Schwartz and Jackson.

“To cut both Steve and Eric is to lose more than voices on the air; it actually damages the great American art form in one of the hubs of its current growth ... It would be one thing if this was because the audience has lost interest, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. These men are jazz heroes, Boston celebs, educators as well as entertainers, and attractions that WGBH should not take for granted, much less devalue. Doing so, you are hurting your station as well as your community.”