Jim Braude signs on as ‘Greater Boston’ host
After searching far and wide, WGBH television has found the new host of its nightly news show, “Greater Boston,” right under the public media outlet’s own roof.
Jim Braude, the cohost of WGBH’s popular “Boston Public Radio” show, will take over in March as the new executive editor and host of the news and analysis program. “Greater Boston” has been without a permanent host since Emily Rooney left in December. WGBH had tried out a parade of guest hosts over the summer and fall.
Braude did not have a guest turn, but he was widely seen as an heir apparent, given that he already works for WGBH and hosts “Broadside,” a similar TV show on NECN. The 65-year-old political activist-turned-media-personality is one of the best known broadcast brands in the market.
Phil Redo, general manager of WGBH radio and WGBH news, said Braude was his top choice from the beginning, but the station did not think he could get out of his contract with NECN.
WGBH came back to Braude at the end of the search process and found a way to bring him on board, Redo said. Last Friday, NECN told its staff Braude was leaving after working with the station for two decades.
“He was the most obvious choice,” said Redo. “Sometimes you go all way around the world and you end up where you started a block away.”
Greater Boston was revamped a year ago with a new set design, better graphics, and more field reporting. The show has also benefited from tapping into WGBH’s growing news operation, which now includes about 70 journalists.
Redo said Greater Boston’s audience has grown year over year, and now gets 0.7 rating at its 7 p.m. time slot.
“It’s not ‘Jeopardy,’ ” said Redo, referring to the popular game show, but the ratings “have jumped dramatically.”
Expect even more changes, but Braude is mum on what he might do.
“I love Emily. We are different people with different styles,” he said. “Beyond that, stay tuned.”
One thing’s for sure: WGBH can now create a powerful platform beginning with Braude and Margery Eagan’s radio show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, then send listeners to his TV show.
Eagan is a columnist with Crux, the Catholic website affiliated with The Boston Globe. Braude is also a regular contributor to the Globe’s Sunday magazine.