WUMB and Dumber

They’re taking a beating in Boston. What started as a puffy little piece about a new WUMB deejay turns into a barroom brawl in the comments section, as posters beat the UMass station head soundly about the head and neck. Sometimes words speak louder than actions . . . Read it here.

Jeff’s comment: The community comments are the very first I have read in a public forum. They prove how one person can drink the NPR Kool-Aid and drive a good station down.

From Jeff Boudreau:

Since WUMB went pop/AAA some two years ago, one of the few remaining programs worth listening to had been — now was — Barnes Newbury’s “Highway 61 Revisited.” Barnes did not do his show yesterday morning and the substitute host, music director John Laurenti, did not mention he was filling in, which is not only common broadcast radio practice, it is common courtesy. In fact, at the time of the broadcast the show’s webpage carried Mr. Laurenti’s, not Barnes’, photograph. Something was afoot.

At the show’s conclusion a prediction was posted to NEFolknRoots: “Highway 61 Revisited as we knew it since 2000 is gone. I hope I am proven wrong.”

Saturday’s show consisted mostly of horrible pop covers of horrible ‘ 70s/’80s pop songs. What these songs had to do with “the spirit of the Sixties when folk-rock and protest music ruled the airwaves” resides only in the mind of a music director trained in AAA/pop radio.

The following was on the WUMB home page:

4.24.10 | Changes with Highway 61 Revisited
After more than nine years as host of Highway 61 Revisited, we’re sorry to announce that Barnes Newberry has decided to leave. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors. We’re currently exploring options about what to do now on Saturday mornings from 8:00am-Noon, and we’d love to hear from our listeners. If you have any thoughts about the future of our Saturday morning programming, please write to us at wumb@umb.edu.

I have my suspicions why Highway 61 Revisited has ended but do not wish to speculate in public. But I will say happy trails, Barnes, your program will be missed and look forward to hearing you on another station.

How quickly do they go into the memory hole.

During yesterday’s broadcast and before his “resignation” was announced on the main page, Barnes’ image was removed from the “Highway 61 Revisited” program description. Fare thee well, Barnes, you produced and hosted a quality program that did not fit WUMB’s AAA/pop format. I am sure we’ll hear you again very soon on a station that appreciates your talents.

For more information, see the notloB site.


35 Responses

  1. Barnes Newberry will be greatly missed on WUMB. He was knowledgeable, pleasant and had a passion for this music. He was a major reason to tune in on Sat. mornings. He gave a deep background, which was very interesting, to the vibrant music of the 60’s and 70’s.
    I hope he returns to the airwaves soon.

  2. Barnes says he has a new on-air gig in the works, and he will be announcing it soon.

  3. I sure do miss Barnes Newbury!! and I’m not alone as I add my comments to this list from other fans. We were talking about this today Sat AM 1/15/11 over coffee and now I am here writing this email. Barnes if you are reading this or if someone can get this to Barnes, your show was a gem on Boston Radio anytime, anywhere. The replacements are just that . . . replacements. I hope you get on the air soon. It would be great to have a welcome back party for Barnes. Anyone game?

  4. Don, you were not alone when you received a rude and uninformative response. I am hearing that from many sources, privately and in public.

    WUMB management are UMass Boston and state employees overseen by Enrollment Management – http://www.umb.edu/faculty_staff/enrollment_services/index.html.

    It would be appropriate to notify Kathleen Teehan
    Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management of the “rude and uninformative” reply.

    email – kathleen.teehan@umb.edu
    phone – 617-287-6020
    or by mail
    Enrollment Management
    Campus Center,4th floor,Rm. 4100
    100 Morrissey Blvd.
    Boston, MA 02125-3393

    If you use Facebook, this page may be of interest – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Folk-Radio-WUMB/134195766611374

  5. I’m glad to find this site and have a chance to see that Diane and I are not alone in missing the passing of the Highway into a place we can visit no more. We listen for many years and contributed regularly. After we moved in 2009, we streamed Barnes on Saturday and still sent $. But, no more. We called and emailed and asked what happened. We were worried that maybe he’d been taken ill. It was so strange to say nothing on the air. And the reply we got was — well rude and uninformative. If folks still in Boston manage to retake the station for quality folk and bring back Barnes, we will tune in (online) and contribute again. Good luck and most of all Best wishes Barnes.

  6. I am so very sorry and dismayed that Barnes Newbury has left WUMB! Since I left Boston in 2007 for Albuquerque, NM, I have only been able to listen at work, so was unable to tune in to Highway 61. It was a great loss and I had it mind that when I finally had a home computer, I tune back in even though meant getting up at 6 on a Saturday.

    I am sad to see that WUMB is changing in a direction that discounts its core listener base. But, then, we are aging and it’s business. How glad I am that I had the years that I did in Boston and the memories of Barnes’ masterful programming. Thank you, Barnes.

  7. “I’m an Episcopal priest in the Pacific Time Zone who streamed Barnes Newberry (without whom “Highway 61 revisited” is NOT) on Saturday morning as I work on my sermon for Sunday. EVERY Saturday, I feel his absence (stopped listening to WUMB altogether because of it). Raise the sky, Barnes, wherever you are.”
    Robin Biffle

    Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Folk-Radio-WUMB/134195766611374

  8. “The reason Barnes left WUMB was because he wasn’t happy about being pre-empted for a Beatles Special.”

    A word other than “left” describes the scenario of events, but I am not free to share. But I know what you mean.

  9. It’s now September and Highway 61 Revisited gets worse and worse without Barnes. Albert O is ok, but this show is now just a pop oldies show with no edge. I blame the program director (there is now the obligatory Beatles song or cover every hour). The reason Barnes left WUMB was because he wasn’t happy about being pre-empted for a Beatles Special.

    By the way – WHERE THE HELL IS DICK PLEASANTS during the week. Just watch he’ll be the next to quit/be fired.

  10. A Faceook fan page with the tongue-in-cheek name “Fans of folk radio WUMB” was recently created at

  11. I just sent the station an email stating:

    It’s been a good effort by Albert O and others, but it just is not working. It’s time for the station and Barnes Newberry to make their peace and to bring him back. This used to be my favorite show on WUMB and I have been a very long time listener (15-20 years), if sporadic contributor. I know there is some bad blood between the station management and Barnes, but for the good of your listeners please bring back the old show.

    The show basically sucks without Barnes. I’d rather listen to my ipod than to hear the crap that is being played.

  12. That’s FOR SURE!
    The more I hear the more disheartening this whole WUMB tale is…..The have and, have had, such wonderful natural talent! Profession musical director ON STAFF??!! Well well……

  13. See the recent main page post “Play for Pay” – https://keeppublicradiopublic.com/2010/06/28/play-for-pay/

    It is an absolute waste of taxpayer money and supporters’ donations that WUMB have a professional music director on staff, sending off to conferences like Folk Alliance, when the expense could be saved by giving the remaining hired hosts the freedom to produce their own programs.

  14. I have been literally in a fog, since the major changes at WUMB. Amazed that the Folk was removed from WUMB, Folk Radio. Who would have thought!? It is mindless to think Highway 61 could be just “done” by anybody . . , easily replace Barnes with whoever might be next to do the show. MISTAKE! It is a hollow fill in . . . sorry to say. I have much I feel I do want to say about Highway 61, but also other thoughts on the changes, including how I personally feel, having donated again, but 2 weeks after that donation feeling the rug pulled out from under me. The management decisions at the station, leave myself and others scratching our heads . . .

  15. Everyone should send copies of their comments in support of Barnes’ Highway 61 Revisited to Pat Monteith’s supervisor who is the Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at UMB. Her email address is kathleen.teehan@umb.edu.
    She might have the power the fire Pat if that’s what it takes to bring back Barnes and all the others who left WUMB
    probably because of Pat’s administrative decisions. And we might get our folk station back!!

  16. If you have a Yahoo account, please post your thoughts about Barnes’ termination at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NorthEastFolknRoots/message/10193.

    If you have a Facebook account, please post your thoughts at WUMB’s http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=814915243&ref=ts (I would but it is censored and I am not allowed as a member).

  17. A strange occurrence.

    Since the original posting of this story in NEFolknRoots’ “End of the highway?” — http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NorthEastFolknRoots/message/10193 — there have been 14 posts in support of Barnes in this blog, many coming from Boston-area ex-patriots, but not one post in support of him in that Yahoo group.

  18. The best part of WUMB was Saturday mornings with Barnes Newbury. We’d play the station by streaming live, since moving to Western Mass. We’d play it loud in my kitchen while doing chores — and my husband and I would sing to the ’60s tunes. I for one am not renewing my membership next year — the station can either bring Barnes back or at least broadcast either on the air or on-line why he is no longer with the station. He was such a unique host of the station. His knowledge of the folk scene is incredible — and you were lucky to have him — is what I see. His show was really the only reason I listened to WUMB.

    Pat M. — if you have anything to do with this, and I’m sure you did. Rethink how angered many of us are in the handling of the show going off the air!

    Barnes, thank you for the years of pleasure every Saturday morning. Let us know if you choose a news station to work at!

  19. I am very sad that Highway 61 has ended. Yes, I mean ended. Because w/o Barnes there is no Highway 61. Unless you can replace him, which will be very difficult. He was a master at choosing the music that inspired us during the ’60s & ’70s. The show is now quite mediocre — I can listen to this music all week long on WUMB. In fact, if you are going to continue w/ the same music, you should change the name of the show to an ordinary name, like The Saturday Morning Show. I will continue to send my donations for now, but I will not waste my time on Saturday mornings listening to WUMB.

  20. It will be difficult not having Barnes help me through my Saturday mornings. His show (and Sandy’s show as well) were really the only reason I listened to WUMB. Between the “happy-talk automatons” they added to their brood over the last several years and the never-ending event promotions and begging for contributions, I will neither contribute nor listen from this point forward.

    They need to fire Pat M! She does not seem to understand that music radio is about good music — not DJ patter/drivel. Internet radio provides the model for the future of music radio — music with a minimum of interruptions.

    Thank you Barnes — I’m really going to miss your show. And beware Sandy — they’re coming for you.

  21. I am a midwesterner with my heart firmly planted in New England. The extraordinary music of Barnes programing every Saturday morning not only gave me a reason to get up early on my day off, it carried me back each week to New England and the music of my youth. The music, the musicology, and Barnes banter provided a transforming few hours each week that I have not found anywhere else. Thank you Barnes. God Bless!

  22. I’ve sent back a pledge mailing saying, “I don’t like the direction that WUMB has taken.” I used to enjoy listening to the station (I worked there as a new researcher during college). Now it’s just a bunch of crap that I won’t get into, but you know how I feel.

  23. I too was a Saturday listener and fan of Barnes’ show. And was a cash contributor to WUMB every year, mainly because of Barnes’ show, Sorry to hear he’s gone, all things must pass. I hope an equal to his musical knowledge and play selection is soon in place. Miss him!

  24. I began listening to Barnes Newberry a couple of years agoon via internet on recommendation of a friend . Like a good radio host, he taught me a lot about the music and artists and has enriched my life. Barnes: I miss you and your resonant radio voice — hope you find a good radio home.

  25. WUMB reception is marginal where I live, so I was listening to “Highway 61 Revisited” on an Internet Wifi radio.

    Feeling that I should pay for the privilege of listening to Barnes online every Saturday morning, I sent $100 to WUMB. Two weeks later he was gone. I won’t try to get my money back, but I won’t be giving any more money to WUMB.

  26. My wife and I began listening, and contributing, to WUMB sometime in the last 10 years. Mostly, we were drawn to the Saturday shows, Highway 61 Revisited in particular but also Mountain Stage and Dick Pleasants. From there, we began listening during the week as well. HW 61, though, was the driver for us. We are not hard core folk fans – just like good music. We will probably listen to WUMB occasionally in the future, but without Barnes and HW61 as the anchor, I suspect it will be on a much diminished basis. Our contributions will follow suit.

  27. If you have a Facebook account I encourage you to join this group and continue discussions there (as well as here).


  28. Things are going from bad to worse I feel and fear! Keep trying to give a listen to WUMB, but what was once a jewell of a folk station is GONE. It is no longer there. I am back to listening to my own CD’s. It is wrong what has occured, and it boils down to poor management decisions. Its beyond the loss of key hosts and programs. It is much deeper.

  29. To Kate and Mary Ellen and anyone else who believes that WUMB management’s decision to convert a fine folk station into another mainstream AAA not only goes against its mission statement but is just wrong, I would like to brainstorm how we get our former station back.

  30. For the third week in a row, there has been no Barnes on Highway 61 Revisited. Without Barnes the show isn’t the same, and I will turn my listening ear elsewhere on Saturday mornings.I learned about his departure here. My husband and I are very sorry to see him go. Please keep us informed if he turns up somewhere else on the FM dial. All the best, Barnes.

  31. It has been clear, that there has been a wave of change at WUMB. I began listening AND pouring what I was able financially..with Barnes Newberry and Highway 61 Revisited. Even with the last fund raiser I donated to support, my favorite show and host. The sudden departure of Barnes, has got to have some major story behind it. The fact that managment has let this host Barnes slip from the WUMB family, makes me question many aspects of the managment at WUMB. I am hoping Barnes will resurface on another station, that I can tune into, along with my co workers, all who donate, and are sitting with jaws dropped wide open. Barnes IS A TREASURE!!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: