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Imus sidekick draws fire: To be WRKO "guest"
Boston Herald ^ | 5/19/07 | Jay Fitzgerald & Jessica Heslam

Posted on 05/19/2007 7:16:11 AM PDT by raccoonradio

Some WRKO advertisers were jolted yesterday upon hearing news that the Boston radio station is giving Bernard McGuirk, the controversial sidekick of disgraced talk-jock Don Imus, an on-air tryout next week on Tom Finneran’s faltering morning drive show.

“I’m not in agreement with bringing him in,” said Richard Charpentier, owner of South Shore Environmental Services, an ’RKO advertiser.

McGuirk, the longtime producer of Imus’ nationally syndicated talk show, was canned a week after Imus because of their now infamous “nappy-headed hos” banter about members of the Rutgers female basketball team. McGuirk got the ball rolling by referring to the players as “some hard-core hos.”

Charpentier spends about $10,000 a month on ads on WRKO-AM (680). As to whether he’ll continue advertising if McGuirk is hired, he said he’d “give it thought.”

“Generally, I don’t like how he and Imus operated,” Charpentier said.

Don Smith, a partner with Saxton Real Estate Partners, another WRKO advertiser, said he’s not familiar with McGuirk’s role in the Imus scandal. But he said he would “reconsider” his advertising at the station if he learns more about McGuirk’s past and if he’s hired.

Still, not all advertisers were upset.

“If Al Sharpton has no problems with this man, neither do we,” said George Regan, an outside spokesman for SBLI Inc., a WRKO advertiser, referring to the controversial black clergyman who harshly criticized the Imus remarks but later said the two ultimately apologized and were punished. Regan’s public relations firm also represents WRKO.

Julie Kahn, vice president and market manager for station-owner Entercom, said WRKO is only looking at its options and bringing McGuirk in as a “guest” for three days next week to see what might possibly work in the future.

Asked if WRKO was backing down from prior suggestions that it was giving McGuirk a specific tryout for the Finneran show, program director Jason Wolfe said he never said McGuirk was auditioning for a job, though he said WRKO eventually wants to find a co-host for Finneran.

Meanwhile, yesterday several local black leaders expressed concerns about McGuirk being on Boston’s airwaves.

Leonard Alkins, former president of the Boston NAACP, said he planned to contact WRKO owner Entercom to “get a clear understanding of where they’re going with this and what their intents are.”

“There are many more qualified folks here in Massachusetts that could fill that position. I don’t think that we should be hiring people for the purposes of provocative statements or appearances,” Alkins said.

The Rev. Bruce Wall of Dorchester said black community leaders need to talk with WRKO management or McGuirk himself to find out “if he has changed systemically.”

“Boston is a city that has racially been divided,” Wall said.

TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: bernardmcguirk; imus; wrko
Have to admit, advertiser pressure can be huge. There's the case when outraged viewers contact advertisers because they object to a show they sponsor being offensive. Or advertisers might object for same reason (one reason WRKO fired John DePetro, for his "fat lesbian" comment which was on top of 1 or 2 previous incidents). In some cases advertisers SUPPORT an embattled show: Opie and Anthony advertisers are doing that now that they've been suspended by XM.
1 posted on 05/19/2007 7:16:12 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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