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Dyett backers to march, may face clash with WBZ

Frederick Ellis Dashiell Jr.
Dyett backers to march, may face clash with WBZ
Longtime Boston radio host Lovell Dyett lost his job in December as part of a round of budget cuts at 1030 WBZ-AM. Angered by his return to a diminished, non-prime-time air slot, Dyett’s supporters plan to hold a march and prayer session at the station’s Soldiers Field Road offices on Friday. (Photo: WBZ)

Three months after radio host Lovell Dyett’s termination at 1030 WBZ-AM and weeks after he returned to the airwaves in a diminished capacity, controversy is still swirling around the Boston broadcasting veteran’s predicament.

As part of the campaign to see Dyett returned to his familiar time slot on Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight, the Rev. Bruce Wall has planned a march and prayer session this Friday at WBZ’s station on Soldiers Field Road.

The outspoken pastor of Global Ministries Christian Church in Dorchester has led public opposition to WBZ’s treatment of Dyett, who, along with fellow ousted host Steve LeVeille, was brought back by the station in response to public pressure in late January.

Wall has claimed it is unfair that LeVeille, 53, who is white, has been returned to his old time slot, live on Mondays at midnight, while Dyett, 73, who is black, has been relegated to a pre-taped half-hour show airing at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Announced in January, momentum for the march and prayer session has been building in recent days. Wall said in a statement earlier this week that he expects several hundred people to attend in support of Dyett.

In response, CBS Radio, WBZ’s parent company, contacted Wall to inform him they would not permit him to hold the march and prayer session on their property.

“[CBS] is threatening us and telling us to stay off of their property,” said Wall in a press release.

Calls to Ted Jordan, WBZ’s station manager, were not returned.

Wall said he still plans to gather with other Dyett supporters at WBZ on Friday.  However, because WBZ has given him a “verbal no trespassing” warning, he said he has decided that he will be the only person to walk on WBZ’s property because he does not want to endanger his parishioners.

“We are going through with the march, but I think only I’ll step on their property so in case they [WBZ] act up, they’ll only accost me,” said Wall.

Throughout the campaign, Dyett has remained silent because he is still in negotiations with WBZ for full reinstatement. A source close to Dyett informed the Banner that Dyett “felt wronged” by his termination and that there was “no justification.”  

“It is demoralizing to know that someone with Dyett’s tenure and reputation could be told, ‘It’s only money,’” said the source.

Dyett still does not know why he hasn’t been fully reinstated, the source said.

“Reinstating Steve LeVeille fully and not Lovell Dyett raise some questions, especially about racism,” the source added.

 Even though WBZ has stated that the termination of Dyett was purely a financial decision, some suspect that his health and age may have been a factor. Close friends say that Dyett suffers from osteoarthritis, a congenital condition that causes the breakdown of cartilage in joints.  It is a condition that doctors believe to be reversible with surgery, which friends say Dyett plans to undergo in April.