LARRY KRATKA: Only he can say for sure.


PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012) — Pummelin’ Pam Malumphy, identified by THE PLANET‘s investigation as the “political type” behind Larry Kratka‘s decision to cancel the Bill Sturgeon’s show on WTBR, sent THE PLANET another poison e-mail. It is notable now, in two e-mails, that Malumphy has not denied that she’s the hidden force at work here.

We are the first to say that this story  has been complex and many-faceted, and only Kratka knows for certain the culprit. He, however, hasn’t given up the ghost, and so we can only attempt to put the pieces of the puzzle together and to the best of our abilities attempt to identify and explain the picture. Kratka, still gripped by an icy fear only he comprehends, refuses to talk. In caving to political pressure, this “newsman” sealed his fate as  journalistic whore, for sale at the right (or wrong) price.

In today’s Boring Broadsheet, our good friend Clarence Fanto delves into the subject. Our relentless pursuit force the BB‘s hand once again. Kratka repeats the incredible, incredulous claim that he felt enormously pressured, he doesn’t know by whom! Fanto, following BB policy not to mention PLANET VALENTI, only refers to “the blogosphere.” We accept the back-door compliment.

Kratka and Kratka Alone Pulled the Trigger

Let there be no question: Kratka — not Pam Malumphy, John Vosburgh, John Krol, John Wayne, Ralph Kramden, or Babe Ruth — is the man most responsible for the mess he created at WTBR, which came to a head with his actions on Bill Sturgeon. Kratka, alone, could have told those pressuring him to bug off. He didn’t. He acted in a such a jellyfish manner, THE PLANET wonder if he’s contemplating a run for public office. We also make this offer to him: If he wishes to confront us face-to-face on this issue, we shall be only too happy to appear with him live on the air, and take it up there.

Rosanne Frieri and Melissa Mazzeo, in conference.

In her second e-mail to THE PLANET, mailed late Sunday night, Malumphy denied she pressured WBRK or WBEC or had anyone do that. O.J. also denied killing his wife. She said she hadn’t talked to Rosanne Frieri since Bill Sturgeon left WBRK. She did not deny talking to or pressuring Kratka. In fact, she admitted doing that to Bill Sturgeon. She did not deny advocating on behalf of Frieri after veterans began speaking up about the poor job being done by the local veterans’ agent. She did not deny that she sees this story as a personal attack.

Malumphy then concluded in sad, typical fashion, hurling a personal insult of the “You mother wears combat boots” vintage, saying, to paraphrase, she did not think I was a good person and that she “and Franz” did not want me in her life.

All of a sudden, Pam has apparently obtained from Woody Allen the ability to look into souls and make moral judgments. Well, as they say, with enemies like that, we’d rather stick to friends. We celebrated her insult with Dom, ’82, for we have long learned since our days in college as a champion debater that when the other side results to name calling, you’ve won.

Being a Horses’ Rump Should Not be Mistaken for ‘Power’

People speculate on the source of Malumphy’s “power.” In fact, she has little. What she does possess, however, is the ability to nag and nip with bizarre personal attacks to the point where it makes a lot of people shrink away and not want anything to do with her. Why she is this way, we don’t know. We can’t imagine, though, that having lost her last four bids for public office (council, state rep special election, mayor, state rep) has done her confidence much good. We the People don’t want her, don’t like her, and apparently she can’t handle that. In public, she can put on a convincing “nice girl” act, but Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have seen through that moth-eaten act four times in a row after having been fooled once.

A YAPPING MOUTH, CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF CIVIC NAGGINGPam has chosen to take our reportage on The Great WTBR Flip Flop Starring Larry Kratka as a personal attack. As we’ve tried to make clear to Pummelin’ Pam many times, we write about events as the events and actions lead us. We have no personal loyalties or disloyalties to pursue in politics, whether it be local, regional, state, national, or international. This, incidentally, makes us the ideal candidate to look where “They” don’t want us to look, all on behalf of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, the prototypical Little Guys.

We went into the Betrayal of Bill Sturgeon (aka “The Great WTBR Flip Flop”) knowing nothing except that Sturgeon wasn’t on the air at the appointed time for his debut. The situation oozed a clammy rottenness, and when Kratka clammed up, the red flags went up, all over the city. There was obviously more to this story than anyone imagined. We decided to probe. Again, we had no agenda except to venture where the evidence took us.

Durned If We Do, Durned If We Don’t (So We Did)

Prior to these latest e-mails, THE PLANET hadn’t heard from Malumphy in more than a year. She told us then never to contact her, and when we tried in pursuit of stories, she refused to answer. We therefore finally respected her wishes. We find it more than odd, therefore, that in her second e-mail, she expresses anger that we did not contact her directly. Then when we do, she gets mad at us for that.

The simple reason we did not dial her cell phone, which you shall see was passed to us as a go-between by Melissa Mazzeo doing Kissinger-like shuttle diplomacy, is that we wanted our exchanges with Malumphy in writing. We have learned from past dealings with her to get it in print. That way she couldn’t mischaracterize what was said, as she has done in the past with our conversations.

THE PLANET, in reply to her this time and in the past, has always tried above all to be respectful, professional, polite, logical, dispassionate, and have even offered to meet, in person, to try to mend the relationship. She has refused.

Apparently, Malumphy cannot take the emotions out of policy matters, and she insists on seeing everything as personal. She has trouble separating the emotions from the logic,  and she wants to make fights personal. Men tend to butt heads then get over it. Malumphy’s shrill, everything-is-personal, emotions-out-of-control PMS firebrand has not only only become tedious and tiresome but stands as an insult to every professional woman. It is women such as Malumphy who give women a bad rap in politics.

Biology is Destiny

We can’t help that in politics, biology is often destiny, and we have learned in our decades performing colonscopies on the body politick that we must take politicians and officials as they present themselves to us and not try to fashion them into any other image. For our part, we shall remain open, honest, and above board, trying our best to remain accurate and truthful in our reporting and commentary.


Frieri, incidentally, did not return out request for comment.

We say the same thing about her: THE PLANET has nothing personal in mind with our expose of the feelings of the local veterans’ community on their agent. Let us not forget the vets in all this. They are the ones being short-changed by poor service from their local agent. This isn’t THE PLANET saying this. Rather, it comes from the mouths of Those Who Served, the veterans themselves, and THE PLANET will take a back seat to no one when incompetency once again tries to rip off these heroic men and women. Sturgeon, too, was a loud advocate for veterans, and that’s what set the wheels in motion for his assassination by Kratka.

We simply began our probe, determined to go where the evidence took us. Like Poe, Bierce, and Mencken, THE PLANET realizes you don’t get into this business expecting to make friends every time out!



We received this e-mail from councilor-at-large Melissa Mazzeo, responding to our story on WTBR from yesterday. We share it verbatim:


     I felt that I needed to correct a number of inaccurate statements that you made  in today’s Plane …
1. I attended the Berkshire Veterans Coalition Meeting where there was discussion on the Mayors proposal of a Veterans Advisory Board…I DID NOT SPEAK at this meeting only Mayor Bianchi and members of the various veterans groups spoke. I was just there to listen.
2.I met Rosanne Frieri after she was the Veterans agent, we met through mutual had nothing to do with WHEN
3. To my knowledge I have NOT had a falling out with Bill Sturgeon about the Veterans Board or any other matter…we just agree to disagree and are still friends.
4. Lastly..I have NOT talked to anyone at WBRK,VOX,WBEC,WTBR,PCTV or any other media outlet to have anyone fired. 
I was in Washington when you sent an email and I did give you Pam’s cell # to call and said she would talk with you, I do not want to talk for anyone else but myself. On one last note. I may be friends with many people and they may be friends with many people too. who is to say that we all have to like or get along with each others friends? should we stop being friends with someone if we don’t like one of their friends? Life is too short..


We thank Mazzeo for maintaining a courteous, professional, and productive working relationship with THE PLANET. That, Pummelin’ Pam, is how it’s done. As for the points, 1-4, we say:

1. We stand corrected.

2. Yes, that’s why we had “WHEN” in quotes.

3. A disagreement, then. Reasonable people should be able to disagree and still maintain friendly relations. Sturgeon told us the same thing.

4. I can’t find anywhere where I wrote that you made calls to any media outlet to have anyone fired. I reported that sources indicated that Pam, through surrogates who were not named, made calls. I never mentioned you in this respect nor anyone else, for that matter.

TO MELISSA: Yes, you did pass along Pam’s cell phone number. As we said above, we wanted to have our exchange with her in writing, however, so neither side could misconstrue or misunderstand what was being said. I would hold our relationship — that of Melissa Mazzeo and THE PLANET — up as a model. Press and politician will always be on opposite sides, but productive relationships are not only possible but required for the communal good. You understand that and so does THE PLANET. This exchange is a perfect example. You gave me your input, for the record, and we published them for the record. We both acted in a polite, friendly, and productive way.

Malumphy send her remarks not for the record, acting in an insulting, hostile, and non-productive way. That’s how a person loses four elections in a row.



A couple weeks ago, we credited Jonathan Levine for breaking a story that, as far as we know, never appeared in the newspaper formerly known as the Berkshire Eagle and now better recognized as the Boring Broadsheet. Levine reported that Greylock Federal Credit Union experienced a $3.8 million operating loss in 2011.

MARILYN SPERLING, Greylock Federal Credit Union

In a noble attempt at damage control, Marilyn Sperling, president & CEO of GFCU (successor to “Tell ’em Angelo Sent You”), responded to Levine’s reporting (Pittsfield Gazette, May 24, 2012 issue). As spin, Sperling’s explanation would make a dervish top envious.

Spinning Sperling accused Levine of reporting the loss “without providing sufficient context, background, or explanation.” Of course, it’s always the press’ fault. She makes the point that Greylock remains well-capitalized and says the loss “was not surprising in light of the recent recession.”

She went after Levine for calling GFCU “silent” and “insular” in not sharing news of the loss, Greylock’s first ever. On that note, given that this was the first time in its 77-year-history that Greylock posted a loss, one would think the only local daily newspaper might deem that newsworthy, given that GFCU is the largest financial institution in the county. Ah, but no. The news wasn’t “good newsy” enough.

Spinning Sperling: ‘Our Board is Fantaskalicious’

Sperling goes on to praise her Board of Directors: “Our Board has consistently acted with complete integrity in guiding Greylock through a turbulent economy and through other challenges.” THE PLANET loves that “through other challenges” bit. Do you think Sperling was referring to “Tell ’em Angelo Sent You” and all the good his dalliances caused Greylock? Do you think she had in mind the “integrity” of the Board when it failed to discover for almost six years that “Tell ’em Angelo Sent You” had been busted in Maine on child prostitution charges, even though Angelo’s great buddy, Clifford “Cliffy” Nilan, served on the board and as head of probation in Berkshire County Superior Court, where York County ordered Angelo to serve his year of probation?

All in a day’s wondering here on THE PLANET.



In the abstract, reviewing a municipal charter that hasn’t changed or been looked at in 80 years sounds like a lovely idea, but in the city of Pittsfield, the abstract and the reality rarely coincide.

When my Right Honorable Good Friends on City Council debated this issue, they disagreed to disagree. At issue: who gets to appoint whom to the charter review commission? Mayor Dan Bianchi, natch, wants the mayor to have appointment rights to all nine positions, subject to review by the council. The council wants an 11-member board with seven of the members chosen by the council.

The battle comes down to politics. The city charter, as solicitor Kathy Degnan said, gives that power to the mayor. Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop claims that power doesn’t apply to an ad hoc commission (as opposed to a standing board). Barry Clairmont and John Krol agree with J-Lo. Melissa Mazzeo, Chris Connell, Kevin Morandi, and Churchill Cotton back Degnan’s interpretation.

‘It Seems Like We’re Just Going Around in Circles’

Ward 7’s Tony Simonelli, quoted in the Gazette, says he sees merit in both views, but “it seems like we’re just going around in circles.”

Well said, Tony, and doesn’t it seem that everything does in the City of Pittsfield?

As co-governors, per the city charter, councilors would seem to share in appointment powers, but charter makes clear the mayor has that responsibility. The argument can then be made that a board created to review the charter need not follow the charter for its constitution, since it can be definition be seen as outside the purview of the charter it is reviewing. None of this will matter, most likely. Can anyone imagine the mayor and 11 councilors to be able to debate the nature of city government in a productive and timely manner. Should the debate go that far, look for Bianchi to try and push a “stronger mayor” form of government and the council to back a charter that gives them more power than the mayor.

Of course, the council wants to hire a consultant to guide its charter review. Sound familiar? Another $50,000 or so will be wasted to produce a thick report no one will read.



Herman Alexander’s, the dive and alleged drug den on Lyman Street, is now in the 22rd day of the 60-day suspension of its liquor license. That penalty came after the city licensing board unanimously voted to suspend the dive’s liquor permit. The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, meanwhile, has begun its own probe. It will conduct a hearing this month.

"We'll blow that door down." The cops did, but they didn't find "the goods." Wonder why?On April 27, police and other law enforcement agencies raided Herman Alexander’s. The raid came after a six-month investigation into illegal activity there. No drugs were found at the bar. The story persists that a police dispatcher got wind of the raid and sent advanced notice to the tavern, so things could be cleaned up flush prior to the raid.

Police, as reported in the Pittsfield Gazette, say:

* They are still looking into alleged drug activity at Herman’s.

* They moved in for the raid after their probe showed the bar was a “retail center for cocaine distribution.”

* The investigation included testimony from informants, controlled buys of drugs, and wire taps.

* Police allege illegal gambling, operations after 2 a.m. closing time, customers drinking alcohol outside the bar, and

* Repeated urination on the front steps.

Why is there air? Why do fools fall in love? Why is Herman Alexander’s still open?






  1. Still wondering
    June 12, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    The blogmaster doth protest too much, methinks.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    June 12, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    I think the suits call it prior inconsistent statements
    The Gospel version to Dan Valenti …. Provided by Kratka
    Saturday,( Sturgeon) he emailed me asking me for a simple YES or NO to his being on the air. I said NO
    The spin version to Berkshire Eagle….. Provided by Kratka
    At that point, he related, Sturgeon wondered if the project should be abandoned, and Kratka agreed.
    “ They don’t pay me enough to go through that.” Larry Kratka

    • danvalenti
      June 12, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      One wonders, Ron, then how much do they have to pay Larry to go through that, since he’s shown he has his price.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Pummelin’ Pam
    Spinning Sperling
    journalistic whore

    “for we have long learned since our days in college as a champion debater that when the other side results to name calling, you’ve won.”

    Very true words

    • Four in one
      June 12, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      ambrose, oyu didn’t read Dv carefully, yet again!!! He has explained many times that when that’s all one does, name call, it shows the argument is over. When you presents cases, evidence, and show what can onyl be caleld brilliant reporting, the name calling has been earned.!!! Read what the guy writes.

      • Ed Shepardson
        June 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

        I believe Mr/Ms Ambrose was trying to point out that the name calling has originated from Planet Valenti.

        • danvalenti
          June 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

          Thanks. Appreciate the fact that you use your real name, knowing as we both do that such a strategy does not suit all.

      • danvalenti
        June 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

        Yes, it is as you say. Scorn, when well established by argument and logic, may be superfluous, but so is a cherry at the top of a sundae.

      • bobbyd
        June 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

        “for we have long learned since our days in college as a champion debater that when the other side results to name calling, you’ve won.”

        Very true words

        He has explained many times that when that’s all one does, name call, it shows the argument is over.

        I haven’t been lurking all that long so perhaps there is a historical context I’m missing, but a simple reading of the text does not support your interpretation of “when that’s all one does” (emphasis added).

        While I’m sure Mr. Valenti meant to say “resorts” to name calling rather than “results,” perhaps the privately communicated names by Ms. Malumphy were the results of some very public harangues.

    • danvalenti
      June 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      Again, we agree, Amby, though not in the way you think!

      • Ed Shepardson
        June 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

        It appears to me, with all due respect, that you, Dan, may have misconstrued Mr/Ms Ambrose’s comments. I think he/she was taking you to task on your thoughts about name calling. Didn’t you call Ms. Malumphy a name before she called you a name? Pummelin’ something?

        • danvalenti
          June 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

          This is not calling her a name. This was her “nickname” that we tagged her with back in the day, when she was one of the worst councilors ever to serve on that Body August. Chris Berman on ESPN, a long-time friend, copied our nick-naming in the same vein.

      • ambrose
        June 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

        Why do you think you know what I think or if I think? “Cogito ergo sum ” but I don’ know about domus accurro.

        • Ed Shepardson
          June 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

          Mr/Ms Ambrose,
          My Latin is pretty weak. I hope you’re not pissed at me. You’re almost my hero.

        • bobbyd
          June 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

          I don’t understand the rebuke. Were you attempting to be obtuse in your prior post? I assume you meant for it to be read and understood.

          And what’s with the cryptic reference to “Home Run”?

  4. Ed Shepardson
    June 12, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Ambrose, if I could get you to use your real name, you’d be my hero.

  5. Home Run
    June 12, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Ed- you have a very low bar for Hero Worship!

    • Ed Shepardson
      June 12, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Home Run, good to hear from you. How’s your 3 man anonymous march on city hall coming along? Here’s the perfect slogan for the 3 of you.

      • levitan
        June 13, 2012 at 8:19 am #

        Good one, Ed.

        Reminds me of the album title, “50 Phil Oches fans can’t be wrong”

    • danvalenti
      June 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm #


  6. Jonathan Melle
    June 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Dan Valenti attacks Pittsfield politics Good Old Boy club of corrupt and insider politicians. Pam Malumphy has stood up to Mayor Jimmy Ruberto and other GOB’s throughout her political career. I support Pam in Pittsfield politics.

  7. Scott
    June 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    What about the cops that were there when the place was raided??? I heard from a very reliable source in the sheriffs department that they had not only cops but jail guards in the raid and surveillance. Watch this go away and they’ll pay a fine to the state on the illegal gambling. Dan they can stay open just can’t serve alcohol but that’s nothing a few 30 packs won’t fix the establishment can’t sell booze but people can bring their own.

  8. joetaxpayer
    June 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    EX.Mayor Ruberto,the Curt Schilling of Mayors.Hey your out of the game nobody cares what you think.Enjoy retirement,and take Deval with you.

    • Ed Shepardson
      June 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      Speaking of baseball, anyone know if the Colonials owe Pittsfield money or the Planet?

      • danvalenti
        June 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

        Speaking for THE PLANET, the Colonials paid their bill in full.

    • Scott
      June 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      Well put

  9. Heyjude
    June 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Dan, Please dig a bit deeper before stating “facts.” I found the URL with the article regarding Greylock “as reported by the Berkshire Eagle quite easily..

    • leekwriter
      June 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      ha. published may 25. beat by over a month.

  10. Just A Thought!
    June 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I believe Ted Hendereck is shedding serious tears right now in heaven. He would be appalled by the way this VA position, which he held for 35 years is being dragged through the mud. 15 years after he retired people still called him for assistance and legal advice when attempting to help veterans. In my opinion, he was the last person to hold this position who was capable and actually did something for the veterans.

    June 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Dan: Just read Melissa Mazzeo’s reply. All I can say she has “class” Maybe Pam and others can take lessons from her. Thanks Melissa, again you impressed me.

    • danvalenti
      June 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks. Agreed: Melissa can engage in dialogue. Pam can only get “emotional.” The first is our equal. The second give shame to every woman of substance.

  12. nomorebill
    June 13, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    I would really like to know why Dan Valenti is so OBSESSED with Larry Kratka? The obsession appears to be at the point of being unheathy. And now the Eagle has taken up the cause. What is it that Bill Sturgeon is holding over these people’s heads?
    Bill Sturgeon is probably the worst talk show host I have ever had the displeasure of listening to. His daily rants, and endless INFOMERCIALS, were nothing short of sickening. His backdoor attacks on the Veteran’s Service director, and Mayor Bianchi. His 200 year career in everything from Soup to Nuts. Enough is Enough. If Sturgeon needs a platform, let him buy his own station. A school station is not the venue for the likes of him.

    We owe Larry Kratka a debt of gratitude for having the foresight to cancel the show , before it started.
    MOVE ON !

    • danvalenti
      June 13, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      We don’t agree with nor do we contend your opinion of Bill as a talk show host. As a listener, that is your sacred privilege. As to your question, our interest in Larry comes from a professional standpoint. We have never witnessed a journalistic colleague so personally known to us cave into political pressure so timidly. He stained the profession, and he is not worthy of his calling. Thanks for your input.

    • joetaxpayer
      June 13, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Nomore,regardless of what you think of Mr.Sturgeon,I think you are missing the point.When one person has the power to censor someone,that is as Obama would say unAmerician.Not to mention Mr.Kratka has a conflict of interest.I think it might be time to replace Larry and put in some new blood. Also some cut and dry regulations on what can be put on the airwaves at WTBR.Lets make it simple so poor Larry won’t be stressed out trying to make a decision on the next show.

  13. nomorebill
    June 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Actually, both Valenti, and joetaxpayer are wrong. Mr Valenti, please tell us who WE is . Larry Kratka censored no one. As far as that goes, Sturgeon played that CENSORSHIP game on his failed program, and many times. If Larry Kratka caved to anything, it was DECENCY. Again I ask, Why is Valenti obsessed with Kratka? Could it be he’s looking for a job on WBEC? Could it be someone else is looking for Kratka’s job?

    You rant about the ” Good Old Boys “. Are you any better than they are ?

    • danvalenti
      June 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      We assure, the last thing we would want is a job in local radio! I don’t think anyone else is looking for Larry’s job, either. Who wants to work 60+ hours a week for peanuts? The simple answer to you last question is “Yes.”

  14. nomorebill
    June 14, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    The simple answer to my question is thqt you are no better! Sturgeon is no better, and neither is John Krol. You all have an agenda

    You call yourself a ” PROFESSIONAL ” . A true professional would realize that Sturgeon is not a ” PROFESSIONAL ” If you really paid attention to Sturgeon, you’d know that he wants to use his free speech at the expense of those he does not agree with.

    Again, who is ” WE ” ?

    • danvalenti
      June 14, 2012 at 6:18 am #

      “We” is “We, The People” — Read the founding documents of the United States of America.
      If your definition is that anyone who has “an agenda” is no better, than yes. My agenda is simply pursuit of the truth. My opinion of Bill as a talk show host or as a “professional” is a non sequitur.

  15. nomorebill
    June 14, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    You don’t speak for me, I speak for myself. Bill Sturgeon speaks for himself, and not for me. Again, you claim to be a “PROFESSIONAL” , but professionals would see Sturgeon’s weaknesses. He is not a talk show host.And again , he uses his RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH to silence those who oppose his point of view.

    You keep refusing to address that part of the issue. Therefore, Sturgeon’s silencing is beneficial to those who truly respect the rights of others to speak their opinions. He does not deserve to host a radio show funded by the taxpayer!