Open Mic

Open Mic

"Blogosphere" boom launches Pundit Review hosts into global talk radio

By Gerry Boyle '78 | Photos by Tracy Powell

House painting was soon traded for a graduate degree in communications and a public relations job at Raytheon, the defense contractor. "That,— Whalen said, "is not a liberal culture.—

But for the guy responsible for doing the daily news clips for the company's CEO, it was a wealth of information, and soon after he left Raytheon in 2001, Whalen was posting stories, links, and his own opinions on a Web site he called Pundit Review. The word "blog,— (a neologism from "web log—) had not yet made its way into the vernacular.

Kevin Whalen ‰92, left, and Gregg Jackson ‰90 in the WRKO Studios in Boston. Their talk show, Pundit Review, is heard worldwide via the Internet.
As Whalen headed south, Jackson went west, riding on a $68 cross-country bus ticket that deposited him in San Francisco with two Colby friends. He soon worked his way into sales positions at E&J Gallo Winery, then moved to the medical equipment industry —and politically to the right.

Jackson began attending rallies in support of George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount. At one gathering in San Francisco, he was invited to address the crowd, he said. "I got that microphone, totally unscripted, and it just flowed,— Jackson recalled.

He continued to speak at political rallies and even considered running for public office. Jackson's sales career took him to North Carolina, where he continued to read and explore conservative ideas. At a get-together with Colby buddies, someone mentioned Whalen, saying, "He's a conservative like you. You should read his blog.—

Jackson did. Then he called Whalen from North Carolina and said, "We should do a radio show someday.— A few months later Jackson called to say he'd taken a job in Boston and was on his way.

Someday was approaching.

Now, it should be pointed out that this was a little like saying they should start a song-and-dance team. "We're thirty-something years old,— Whalen said. "We've got not one day of radio experience. How the hell do you get started?—

Well, if you're in sales and PR, you sell yourself. Jackson and Whalen learned that a local AM station that broadcast business news during the week was looking for weekend programming to supplement infomercials. Neither Whalen nor Jackson had been on the air anywhere. The sum of their radio talk-show experience? They listened a lot, sometimes even called. But they knew what they wanted to do.

They believe the "elite media——The New York Times, The Washington Post, network news—are practicing agenda-driven journalism with a liberal bias. As a result, the public doesn't get the whole story. "The idea for the show was the new media, the blogs,— Whalen said. "The whole citizen-journalist movement. We wanted to do a talk-radio show, but instead of Imus—the same 20 people on all the time, mainstream media, conventional wisdom—we want to bring in thought leaders from the new media. Highlight those opinions because they were fresher, more unique.—
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