A small cable TV show called “The Mass Factor” is taking on big topics and spreading its unfiltered half-hour interviews to dozens of communities, thanks to a politically minded producer, Linda Flaherty, and a well-known Boston radio personality, Todd Feinburg.
Feinburg, a Beverly resident, serves as host of the semi-monthly interview show on politics. Produced at Danvers Community Access Television’s studios on Elm Street, “The Mass Factor” is the brainchild of Flaherty, a Danvers resident who was able to persuade Feinburg to host it.
Feinburg is a conservative, but the show is not about the host’s ideological perspective, rather it is an attempt to create a dialogue with elected officials or ordinary people on topics of the day.
“My goal is not to have a left-right debate, my goal is to pull people out and expose them to the audience,” Feinburg said.
The show has hosted a variety of guests, including Barbara Anderson of Citizens of Limited Taxation and a columnist for The Salem News; Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester; former state Sen. and U.S. congressional candidate Richard Tisei; Christen Varley of the Greater Boston Tea Party; Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute; former Republican gubernatorial candidate and Swampscott resident Charlie Baker; state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers; Democratic state Treasurer Steve Grossman; Chris McKeown of Fairtax.org; and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, a Beverly resident.
The show airs not only in Danvers, but in 40 communities, from Cape Cod to the North Shore. Flaherty is hoping to spread the show to 10 more communities next month, building relationships with each community’s cable system one city or town at a time.
In the run-up to last year’s election, Flaherty, a paralegal for the Law Office of Arthur Skarmeas in Topsfield, wound up meeting and talking to Feinburg and expressing her frustration about a lack of political coverage for lesser candidates such as Bill Campbell, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for secretary of state in 2010.
“If it wasn’t a sexy race or a well-known political position like governor or congressman, a lot of these guys don’t get a lot of coverage, especially if there’s no ethics violations,” Flaherty said.
Feinburg, who has worked at WRKO for eight years, did some election coverage in town last year. After the election, they revamped the show to take on topics of the day.
The goal of the show is “to expose people to conversations with people we don’t normally see or hear,” Feinburg said.
When Feinburg interviews Grossman on his morning radio show, he does not step outside of his role as state treasurer.
“You walk in here, he sat down and it was loose, and he was funny and fun, and it was a whole different personality,” said Feinburg, who does not work from a set list of questions, but conducts the show as if he and his guests are discussing topics over a cup of coffee.
“I want to put people in front of the camera and peel the layers away so we get to know who they are a little bit,” Feinburg said.
Feinburg does not expect to grow the show to local broadcast television. Instead, he would like to keep it on cable and grow the number of cable systems where it is being shown.
One of his guests on the show last week, Joe Paru, 22, of Newburyport, chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, likes the idea of the show, because it brings attention to people who often do not get a chance to get their message across in the media.
Does the North Shore have anything special about it that makes it unique politically?
Feinburg, who grew up in Lexington, has not lived here long enough to tell, but he has become a fan of the area.
“I love living on the North Shore because of its geography,” Feinburg said.
Also seen in Salem News.