Comments for: MPBN pulls plug on ‘Memory Lane,’ ending 30-plus year run

Posted Nov. 29, 2012, at 1:53 p.m.

BANGOR | Bing Crosby will no longer croon from your car radio on Friday afternoons. The Andrews Sisters will no longer harmonize, and the mellow sounds of Kay Kyser and His Orchestra will be muted. Maine Public Broadcasting Network has canceled the “Down Memory Lane” show, hosted by Toby …

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  • Anonymous

    A terrible decision. I listen regularly, and while I’m too young to have been around for most of the music played, I appreciate Toby’s masterful voice and commentary. I will not contribute anything to MPBN beyond the bare minimum because of this cancellation. Diane Rehm is an excellent host, but can’t one have a substitute for two hours each Friday? Apparently not. Pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Toby, you will be missed for sure…

  • Anonymous

    Diane Rehm drives me nuts, but perhaps listeners want to hear more about current topics than what was in the BDN in 1952?

    • Anonymous

      Diane Rehm is like listening to a more painful version of Susan Collins speech pattern……horrible raido voice

      • Anonymous

        She has a medical condition that causes her voice to be like that. I remember when MPBN asked listeners to vote between “Talk of the Nation” and “Diane Rehm” and I voted for TofN because I couldn’t stand her voice. But then I really started listening to her and wow. She’s the best. I got used to the voice problem real fast, she’s so good.

        • Anonymous

          She’s very good.
          People in show business joke about having “a face for radio.” Diane Rehm doesn’t have a voice for radio, but she has brains.
          Still, “Down Memory Lane” has been a great respite from all of the talk, talk, talk the rest of the week.

          • Anonymous

            Diane Rehm is a beltway hack who regularly has on 2 Republican mouthpieces to 1 Milquetoast Democrat, when that slot isn’t taken by a reporter who is supposed to be nonpartisan. If she wasn’t on the Cato Institute might not regularly get to get its hacks on what is alleged to be a news program.

  • I’m so sad to see “Down Memory Lane” go. I have loved the show since I first discovered it about 8 years ago. I love listening to the older music and thinking, this is what my Great-grandaparents might have danced to (or my grandparents, or my parents). This is such a loss. Sure I can listen to music in other ways, but I won’t know the context that Toby provides, and, for the older stuff, I won’t even know what to search for.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t say I’ll miss it. More news please.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll miss it. Less news please. Sometimes we need a break from all of the political talk.

      • Anonymous

        The tidbits from the BDN provided a unique glimpse back at Maine’s political history. When you hear about “Dickey-Lincoln” or a deep water port in Searsport (oh, wait, that’s still a hot button issue), you get a sense of how this state was shaped. There’s no substitute for that. I’d listen to an hour of Toby reading just the news. I surely hope there can be a spot on line for this program, even if they were rebroadcasts.

      • Anonymous

        I always say to those who chide me for not being interested in Steven KIng and the like: If I want “horror,” I turn on the news…

        • Anonymous

          So true!
          :-)

  • Anonymous

    I agree this is a terrible decision. Mr. Leboutillier’s show is and has been such a wonderful change of pace to my day through the years especially compared to all the other “stuff” that is on the radio. Besides what’s wrong with local programing – it is suppose to be MAINE PBN that I give money to support. I like local programing. I will not give any more money to MPBN – instead it will go to WERU.

    Mr. Leboutillier – thank you for all the pleasure and relaxation that your show has provided me over these many years.

    Sad, just plane sad…

    • Anonymous

      Yes, “Down Memory Lane” has been a wonderful show based on a great idea — sharing the music of 100 years ago this week, and then moving forward in time in ten year increments. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Mr. Leboutillier has done an amazing show, and I will miss it tremendously.

      You can get plenty of talk, talk, talk on other afternoons on Maine Public Radio.

      A few years ago station manager Charles Beck made a previous decision to move “Down Memory Lane” to an odd spot late on Sundays, and listeners protested so vigorously that he gave in and moved it back to Friday afternoons. Beck has wanted the Friday afternoon slot for more talk for a long time. I get the impression that he is a stubborn guy who has decided what MPBN should be, and the listeners be damned.
      Although Diane Rhem is better than your average talk show, Beck is replacing a unique and valuable show with what is essentially commonplace talk radio. “Down Memory Lane” has helped MPBN stand out from the pack. Now we will get more of the same old same old.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sad, but times do change. If you like that kind of music you could always go to a free streaming provider like Pandora. Just create a couple radio stations with Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters and it will give you a mix of artists. Hope that helps some.

    • Anonymous

      Following my own advice, Interesting, who is this “Perry Como”?

      • Anonymous

        You must be kidding.

        • Anonymous

          Yes of course I was kidding. More a jab at people who don’t know who Perry Como is and showing the need for a show like DML. Complicated I know.

          • Anonymous

            Sometimes I can’t tell. When I was a high school teacher in the 1980s, a student told me that she had just found out that Paul McCartney had been in another band before Wings.
            :-)

    • Anonymous

      You don’t get it. It’s not just about the music, it’s about the show. Toby is a true professional and a great radio personality (not to mention a great radio voice.) His show is fun, but also a very interesting look at the musical history of the 20th century, putting the music in historical context as well. And yes, times do change. That’s the point of DML.

      • Anonymous

        No, I do get it, I was just offering up something that might help some people feel better.

    • Anonymous

      Pandora? What if you cannot get a fast enough internet connection to stream? what if you cannot afford the computer needed? what if you cannot afford an internet connection?

      RADIO: cheap to own, free to hear. Everyman’s entertainment and info source.

      • Anonymous

        I agree they should keep the show, news and talk is easy to find elsewhere. I was just offering an option that might help some since it seems that it’s going to happen regardless of anything we say on here.

  • Anonymous

    Goodbye, Toby! Now if they would run Diane Rehm’s show in the morning so we could have a chance to participate that would be extra nice. But, just having her on at the same time every day is a plus. And I didn’t even know about the Friday “week in review” show. Hers is a different level of ‘talk show’. She’s actually intelligent, asks great questions and doesn’t let her guests get away with much.

    I do understand how this will affect people. Hey, my first letter to the editor was in the fourth grade when the local station cancelled the 4:30 reruns of Robin Hood (with Richard Green).

    • Anonymous

      Yes, Diane Rehm is very good — but Toby Leboutillier’s show is unique and wonderful. Charles Beck is cancelling an excellent show to replace it with a very good one. That’s a step down.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Beck refers to Pandora and other internet sources as an alternative for Toby’s fans. He is correct. Why put up with the insufferable Ms Nance- the “I never speak in simple sentences, I must hear my own voice” diva- when one can “do Pandora” all year for less than 40 bucks a year. Besides, when your classical genres wear thin, there is always Willie, Waylan and the boys, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline or the magnificant Kate Wolf. Who needs public, corporate radio. RIP Toby, and thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I feel badly for Toby but I’m thankful there will be more informative radio to listen to. Once a month I drive to upstate NY and I am entertained by NHPR from Dover to Brattleboro and then pick up WAMC. On my way back, in the mid afternoon, I only have the Diane Rhem show I listened to on NHPR. Now maybe there will be more of that quality show. Makes me glad I signed up to donate each month.

    • Guest

      And there you have it. NPR talk listeners open up their wallets; Toby’s listeners don’t. And that’s the bottom line, the only thing Maine NPR (er, MPBN) cares about.

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps not the only thing MPBN cares about but keeping the bottom line black is rather important.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, we do…or did. I’ll be cancelling my evergreen friend membership. If all we’re getting is national programming (and btw, the recent changes reduce the number of locally-produced music shows to 3, all of which are utterly replaceable) I’ll give directly to NPR instead, or to the stations that actually produce the shows I like.

  • Anonymous

    Go ahead, take the M out of MPBN and see what you have left……just another generic form of entertainment that is not entertaining. Be careful there management, maybe they won’t need you anymore once things are sanitized. It seems like some kid in NY could run that station from a laptop once it all national feed…. This is a poor decision, I have listedn and enjoyed Toby’s show for years. I still miss the Humble Farmer too. Too bad he had his own opinion about things and was not afraid to say what most people in Maine are thinking. Good thing we can still find something to listen to at WERU (Real Maine Radio!)

    • Anonymous

      Absolutely right — when Charles Beck gets rid of shows like Down Memory Lane and the Humble Farmer, he is taking the M out of MPBN. Such a shame!

  • Anonymous

    I only listen to Public Radio for the music and this cancellation will be a huge loss. I’m in my 70s and I do remember much of the music covered in Down Memory Lane. Guess I can’t multitask since I can’t do anything else meaningful while listening to any speech going on. Programming music limited to 3 hours in weekday mornings (although classical is my favorite genre) is a big comedown after living in states with classical music available all day including one state where public radio had two stations, one for music, the other for all the NPR and local talk shows. I don’t donate to MPBN for these reasons and I surely won’t now.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. L . I am so sorry. It must all have gone In one ear and out the other. It seems that the jive right now means more than what yesterday has already taught.

  • Anonymous

    What a terrific show, sorry to see it end.

    Thanks for the “memories,” Toby.

  • Anonymous

    MPBN needs to be shut down for good. Sell all the equiptment today.

    • Anonymous

      Really? I’m an R, and an MPBN member. I like it.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a Democrat

    • Anonymous

      Poor Republicans.

      A people out of time really.

      They would have been much happier in the political climate of Germany in the 30’s. Or living under the economic rules of Victorian England.

      A society that shares and is open to diverse opinions in an anathema to them.

  • Anonymous

    MPBN’s decision on Down Memory Lane stinks. They should not dump local content for national content….

  • Anonymous

    This was a great program.
    Well presented, diverse.
    If they wanted to get rid of something, I wouldn’t miss some of the classical, or the horrible atonal jazz that they play on late night when you want to hear something relaxing, or at least coherent.
    Talk radio bites. Especially Diane Reams or whatever her name is.
    Models should be attractive.
    Athletes should be strong and coordinated.
    Talk show moderators should not have speech impediments.

  • Love Silents

    I have listened to this show for 2 decades – I love it. I love the old old music (which should be heard – it’s great stuff) and the vintage bits of news. WBACH has disa peared for 24 hour classical music and now MPBN has gone all reality show. The world doesn’t need any more talk – we need music! I hope another station hires Toby. I won’t be listening to MPBN. Toby – thanks for your great show!

  • Anonymous

    Memory Lane was the one MPBN show I would usually switch off. Kind of like Victorian furniture. It has its place but too much of it soon suffocates.

  • Anonymous

    MPBN — Keepin’ it Not Local !

  • Anonymous

    Truly a guilty pleasure at work where a friend and I received merciless razzing listening to it, especially the stuff from 80-100 years ago. Sorry to see it go.

  • Anonymous

    What a terrible decision! This is the highlight of my week, My entire office tunes in!

  • Anonymous

    Never liked the show. Still, I hate to see it go. It was one of the few remaining things that made Maine Public Radio unique and “Mainey”.

    Every time Beck makes a decision like this my family’s donation to MPBN goes down. Soon to be zero.

  • Anonymous

    I like this show, I enjoy it, but Friday afternoon was a ridiculous time to run it. The end of the work week, when people are heading home, is not the time for a nostalgia show. Fortunately, at home (everywhere but the car, really) I could just switch to other NPR “streams”. And that’s the big risk for “radio”. As soon as mobile internet access becomes common, the captive market that radio stations (including satellite) had will disappear. I can (and do ) listen to the BBC 24/7 when I want. But I prefer NPR… when it isn’t killing time with classical music, that is :-)

  • Anonymous

    The management at MPBN have been trying to go all-talk with a vestigial local presence for the last couple of decades. Next to go will be the classical music on weekday mornings which has been made so predictable and vapid that only someone uninterested in music could listen to it. Robert Skoglund, who knew how they operate from personal experience, predicted this kind of thing was coming.

    In places in Maine that can tune in WGBH or New Hampshire Public Radio MPBN is superfluous with this move. I don’t support it any longer, I suspect lots of other people have stopped listening as well. MPBN is intentionally being turned into a cookie cutter NPR relay station. Apart from emergency notices it’s got little to offer to a Maine audience.

  • Anonymous

    LOVED his show. Us old fahts especially enjoyed it.

  • Anonymous

    Not only are the musical selections great (I’ve heard many songs for the first time on Leboutillier’s show), the the news tidbits provided a way for listeners to learn about events of years past, and how oftentimes the human condition doesn’t change much over the years.

    Good luck to you Toby! I for one will miss your show.

  • Anonymous

    This is what happens when you have a Governor and a Congress threatening to cut public radio from our national budget. Business decisions have to be made and this was a business decision.

    If you want to keep the backwoods, folksy feel of public radio, tell your Congressman. Otherwise, accept that this is what happens when Congressmen like Doug Lamborn (R Colorado) say: “There are so many media outlets available to people we don’t need a government-sponsored media anymore.”

    • Anonymous

      But it’s not actually government-sponsored. MPBN gets 17.4% of its income from the state, and 14.9% from the federal government. That’s a big hunk of money.

      Still, the majority of their income, about 68%, comes from sources other than the state and federal governments, most of it from pledges and corporate sponsors.

      Their total operating budget is over $11 million annually.
      MPBN could survive without any government funding, although the quality would almost certainly go down.

  • Anonymous

    A sad day it will be without Tony — one of the few great music afternoons I will miss very much – just re-inforces my choice NOT to donate to MPBN

  • 1happyguy2

    Toby: Go ahead and sign off with real gusto. If you know what I mean.

  • Anonymous

    What a bad decision. I have been listening to Toby’s show since it began. His knowledge of the 78RPM era was the best. To loose this program for the addition of another “talking head” show is beyond belief. Don’t we get enough of that stuff all day long on the commercial channels? Is MPBN trying to compete with WVOM? I sincerely hope that another station will pick Toby’s show up if he is willing to continue.

    One less reason to tune into MPBN now.

  • Money talks.

    The volunteers who made Maine Public Radio was it was have been sent packing.

    Many have asked what is Maine about Maine Public Radio?

    Remember that what is aired on the radio or television or printed in the paper is not necessarily what people in their cars and in their homes or on their boats want to read or hear. It is dictated by money pressures and executed by a program manager or editor.

    The humble Farmer

  • Anonymous

    Knowing Toby and the program, I think it’s extremely short sighted for MPBN to not bring him in to do a podcast of the program. If he’s volunteering anyway, it would take very little in the way of resources to produce and would make a lot of people happy.

  • Anonymous

    Now I have no reason to set my car push button to any of the taxpayers supported M.P.B.N. stations. Lets face it government radio is usually boring.

    The Lubec public access station run by Bunky Tinker (on the other hand) is a delightful inspiring music fest. Of course Bunky does this for free.

  • John L

    I hate this decision. I will pull the plug on my donation.

  • Mike

    Shame on MPBN.. This was one of the key reasons that I contribute to MPBN.. I do NOT need another talk show centric station. There are too many of them already and this program is a breath of fresh air.

    • JLRLY

      Really? I miss being in NH because I could get both NHPR and WBUR and all of their high quality news shows including Canadian and UK content. I barely listen to MPBN because they seem to always have classical music when I want content. so I have to podcast the shows I like.

  • JLRLY

    88.3 out of Yarmouth does these old songs commercial free. I listen to them all the time. http://www.wyar.org/

  • Anonymous

    Every Friday afternoon for the past 28 years I have ended my busy work week by listening to “Down Memory Lane.” Thanks for the memories, Toby. You will be sorely missed. I still feel the same way about the Humble Farmer after all these years. Charles Beck, who are you?

  • Anonymous

    The good news is that Toby will in fact continue doing his show. It will now be online only, broadcast at the same time from the same studio. Better than nothing, and he seemed almost gleeful at the chance to really curse when his equipment fouls up without worrying about the FCC!

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