After 7 weeks off the air, Fred Toucher is back hosting 98.5 The Sports Hub's morning show. The long time radio personality took a leave from the station in July to attend rehab. This past Wednesday, he rejoined co-host Rich Shertenlieb, who had been holding down the fort in Toucher's absence.
"I pulled the ripcord, it looks like, just in time," Toucher said in the opening segment. "After all, I'm here and working. Everything is pretty copacetic at home, as copacetic as it could be."
Toucher then let it be known how appreciative he was of his listeners. He read all of the many messages left to him on social media and they aided him during a difficult time.
While Tocuher was in detox, he was able to read these encouraging posts from his fans on an I-Pad.
"I found them to be a sense of strength. Cause Lord knows I was crapping myself. To me, going into a place where I did not know anyone or didn't know anything that was going to happen. I'd never been to rehab, I'd never been to an AA meeting, I'd never been to anything. And for so long I had used alcohol to, you know, cover anxiety like that. That's basically why I drink was to cover up those kinds of emotions. It's like ripping away your safety net."
It was unbelievably compelling hearing Toucher be so honest and raw about what he was experiencing and feeling while in rehab. There are not many media members willing to be so vulnerable on the air. But those able to leave their comfort zones often build an incredibly loyal and rabid fan-base.
Probably not coincidentally, the strong relationship between Toucher and his audience was obvious. They poured out support to him when he needed them the most. That kind of connection is very special in media and you could tell by the tone and emotion coming from Toucher that he does not take them for granted.
A lot of times, the media and the viewers have a very passive relationship. One side gives run of the mill content countless others could provide. The other side absorbs the information without caring about who the host is.
One of the reasons Toucher & Rich has been a staple of Boston radio for over a decade now is because they have a passionate fan-base. Their listeners care about them as people, not just as performers.
With Toucher back and already giving tales from his time in rehab, that audience loyalty will only continue to grow.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones