Broadcast veteran Bert Baron speaks candidly about WCTC of Central Jersey
The award-winning broadcaster provides a daily dose of ‘honesty, truth and transparency’ to the legions of loyal fans in central Jersey
Central Jersey NewsBreak, MLK Holiday Weekend
Here’s what’s happening this weekend. STAFF VIDEO BY JOE MARTINO
- Veteran broadcaster Bert Baron hosts the talk show “Jersey Central with Bert Baron” on WCTC (1450 AM) every weekday morning from 6am to 9am
- Baron got his start on local radio stations WDVR (“Delaware Valley Radio”) and WJHR (“Jersey’s Hometown Radio”) in the 1990s
- In June 2016, Baron became the youngest member to be inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
- “I’m all about connecting the community,” Baron said. “Anything I can do to help people and have a positive impact on their lives is what drives me”
It’s 3 a.m. and Bert Baron is just starting his day. In the quiet hours before most central Jerseyans even think of getting up, the veteran broadcaster makes the 45-minute journey from his home in Hunterdon County to radio station WCTC AM in Somerset, where he will arrive before 5 morning hours to start putting the jigsaw pieces of this morning’s program together.
Once on the air for his 6-9am talk show, ‘Jersey Central with Bert Baron’ – heard in the station’s geographic ‘sweet spot’ in Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties as well as by listeners as far afield north as Newark and as far south as Belmar — it will feature a mix of current affairs, weather and traffic updates, contests and interactive opportunities for listener commentary.
It’s a winning formula that earned Baron not only solid ratings and a loyal following of tens of thousands of local listeners, but also his induction into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame last June. , a rite of passage reserved for the most renowned players. In the field.
Despite these accomplishments, the lowly Baron remains a dedicated public servant with a singular mission.
“I work for people and I have a responsibility to them,” he explained, “and I share information that you can take to the bank – straight in the middle, no slander. I like to pay attention to the ordinary person who wants honesty, truth and transparency, because they deserve someone watching their back.
Currently celebrating almost two decades in the industry, the 48-year-old from Andover and Netcong says his radio career didn’t start until well into his twenties.
“I had listened to good radio in New York and New Jersey growing up, but I didn’t set foot in a radio studio until 1998, but when I did, I felt very comfortable. comfortable,” he said of his Hunterdon County debut. station WDVR (“Delaware Valley Radio”), where he read the news on the newswire, pulled selections from the music library, and helped host a two-hour polka show on Saturday nights.
Shortly after, “someone stopped by the station to see the program director, who wasn’t there, and by chance mentioned to me that there was an opening for a late-night DJ at WJHR. (“Jersey’s Hometown Radio”) in Flemington”, a position Baron eagerly held from 1998 to 2000. As an affiliate of Trenton Thunder, “the work offered opportunities to generate playlists, run commercials and supporting sports broadcasts and was a great training ground for radio,” he said.
When the station converted to the talk show format in 2000, Baron became a producer on its morning talk show, where he worked with many industry professionals and honed his broadcasting skills.
Baron joined WCTC (2:50 p.m.) in 2002 as a production assistant, where he wrote and produced commercials for use during Rutgers football games, provided other off-air support to WCTC and the sister station Magic 98.3 FM, and served as weekend deejay in Dover. -rock station based on WDHA.
His “big break” as a talk show host came in 2010 with the launch of WCTC’s “New Jersey Today with Bert Baron”, a live local talk show airing weekdays from 1-3 p.m. .
“It was a great opportunity to work with and showcase an array of outstanding local leaders and businesses across the board, much like a ‘Who’s Who’ in New Jersey,” he said of of the program, which eventually morphed into its current morning show. , “Jersey Central with Bert Baron”, in 2013.
man of the people
“To me, ‘CTC’ call letters mean ‘connecting the community,’” said Baron, who works around the clock to connect listeners with daily news and updates relevant to them; he also travels extensively to personally cover various events throughout the state and stubbornly remained on the air during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene to provide the public with traffic, weather, news and call-in opportunities. continuously.
“I feel honored to be in the position I’m in and I’m committed to using it for good,” he said. “Anything I can do to help people and have a positive impact on their lives is what drives me.”
His passion and commitment to the craft did not go unnoticed by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, which inducted Baron into its elite Hall of Fame last spring.
“Bert is the youngest member to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since we created him seven years ago, and he’s in great company,” said Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New 70-year-old Jersey Broadcasters Association, whose other Hall of Famers include radio heavyweights such as Bob Levy, Pinky Kravitz, Bob McAllen, Jim Gearhart and Casey Kasem. “Bert is incredibly civic, so willing to reach out to the community and pay it back, and just a terrific steward of the industry,” Rotella said.
“He’s a legendary broadcaster and we’re very proud of his success,” he added.
Dan Finn, a thirty-year industry veteran, senior vice president and regional market manager for WCTC parent company Beasley Broadcasting Group and himself a New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Famer, echoes that sentiment.
“Bert is a tireless worker and dedicated professional who does everything from on-air work to programming, production, promotions, newscasting, live appearances, and more,” he said. declared. “Bert wants to be live and local and keep the community informed in an entertaining way, and he has taken our station to a different level. The Hall of Fame induction is a tremendous recognition from the industry and Bert is fully deserving of this award. Finn said.
Despite the presence of a growing number of unconventional players threatening terrestrial radio and the once-dominant AM frequency, Baron argues that live, local, instantaneous programming will be the savior and long-term survival of AM radio.
“Streaming mediums like Pandora and Spotify are threats, but the fidelity of our digital medium is strong and has leveled the playing field across all the different platforms, creating great opportunities for talk radio today. “said Baron, whose listeners tune in via radio, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and allow the shows to live beyond each day’s three-hour show. “Overall, the uniqueness of AM content cannot be matched and I believe AM radio has an even brighter future than FM.”
Optimistic about the horizons of talk radio, Baron is proud to be a media ambassador and an advocate for the general public.
“When I got into this business, it wasn’t to be celebrated or to win awards,” he said of a role he loves. “For me, if I can make a difference in someone’s life, be a lifeline for information or a source of inspiration, that’s the best award I can ever win.”
For more information
WCTC (1450 AM), part of Beasley Broadcasting Group, is at 78 Veronica Avenue in Somerset; call 732-249-2600 or visit www.wctcam.com.