Skip to comments.Carr Wars: Legal fight brews as Carr leaves WRKO in radio daze
Posted on 07/10/2007 12:05:07 AM PDT by raccoonradio
WRKO appears set to launch an all-out legal battle to stop Howie Carrs defection to its FM rival, but lawyers for the star talk show host say station executives bungled a key chance to keep him.
Carrs contract, which is up in September, had a renewal option that gave Entercom the right to renew his contract for one more year by March 19, according to Carrs attorney, Bret Cohen of Mintz Levin.
Cohen said Carr agreed to extend the deadline three times but Entercom failed to exercise its option to renew his contract.
Carr, a Herald columnist who has hosted a highly rated WRKO afternoon-drive show since 1994, stunned station executives yesterday when it was revealed he is jumping to WTKK 96.9 FM Talk.
All they would have had to do was send us a letter saying we agree to extend his personal agreement for another year, Cohen said. And theres likely not much we could have done about that. They frankly dragged their feet on that issue.
Carr struck a five-year deal with WTKK to host the stations 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. show. He is slated to debut Oct. 1.
But WRKO AM 680 spokesman George Regan insisted in a statement, Howie Carr is under contract to Entercom.
He is a tremendous asset to WRKO and Entercom has every intention of retaining his services for many years to come. Any report suggesting a change is incredibly premature, Regan said.
Reached last night in Florida, where he is vacationing, Carr declined comment.
A two-decade veteran of WRKO, the local host known for his attacks on politicians and public-sector hacks, and his own run-ins with James Whitey Bulgers mob henchmen will move from aftertoon-drive to the morning-drive slot, where he will replace disgraced syndicated host Don Imus.
Sources said WRKO program director Jason Wolfe was so angered by the news of Carrs exit yesterday that he smashed a glass award sitting on his office desk.
Carrs contract with Entercom contained both a non-compete and right of first refusal or right to match provision. The non-compete clause prevents Carr from going to work at any other radio or TV station within WRKOs city-grade coverage area for 90 days, according to Carrs lawyers.
The right to match provision purports to give WRKO the right to meet a competing salary offer within 180 days from any radio or TV station within WRKOs coverage area. If Entercom matched an offer, Carr would have to stay at WRKO with the same undisclosed compensation as offered by WTKK.
But Cohen said both provisions are illegal and unenforceable under Massachusetts law. Cohen said theres a state statute that prohibits the enforceability of non-compete agreements and other post-employment restriction against individuals in the broadcast industry.
If it comes to it, we are prepared to litigate this issue, Cohen said.
Kirk T. Schroder, an entertainment lawyer based in Virginia, said the deck appears stacked against WRKO. As a general proposition, courts are loathe to prevent a person from pursing their livelihood and these types of provisions are given careful scrutiny, Schroder said.
The move puts Carr head-to-head with his nemesis, former House Speaker Tom Finneran, whose morning show on WRKO has had dismal ratings.
I cant speak for everybody at WRKO, but I think there were some people who were kind of caught maybe a little bit by surprise by this, said Finneran. I dont see it as a feud. I dont see it as a battle. I am going to do my show, and I think the results will speak for themselves.
Yeah ... his job just got a whole lot more difficult, not to mention less secure.
Rush is all they have left : )
Don’t they have some morning show... Felon’s Forum, or some such?
I like your idea, Especially the D+C part. RKO and EEI would be playing Spanish music within a month. lol
Yea, I hope Sandy stays. Bring Trish back!!!
No offense Sandy, I imagine you read this stuff.
I just signed up to listen, so I’m not sure.
And, if you believe all the stuff coming out about WRKO's management, they are trying to eliminate any and all non-liberal, non-democrat, anti-corruption voices at the station.
For WRKO to hire Finneran, an untried radio personality, and newly convicted felon, to a multi-year contract that supposedly killed the budget for a local news staff, is beyond business sense.
And letting both Carr and Finneran take swipes at each other couldn't have pleased the advertisers. Or sales people.
And Julie Kahn comes from sales?
Where'd Wolfe intern at? At CBS under Les "Let's drive away our most profitable radio talent, and while we're at it, let's see how fast we can kill off the news division at the largest possible expense" Moonves?
I usually run "talk" recordings through a time compression utility, myself.
I miss Brudnoy. I remember him on WRKO, maybe WHDH, talking about how great P-town was.
That was before I understood what P-town was...
Seeing “Dr. Laura” and “Howard Stern” together at #4 on the list is kind of funny to me for some reason. I also find it ironic that Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh share the same birthday.
He's got to lick his cancer because he's got a life in radio after 2008!
Actually, you can now listen to Howie Carr’s “subs” and not Howie Carr, himself, on WRKO.
Sandy is a “leftist” and also a lawyer who far too often rudely interrupted Howie’s show over and over again whenever Howie is trying to talk! Very annoying, and very rude! Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandy also hosts her own radio show very soon on WRKO as well as sub for Howie Carr very soon.
Yeah, if most of his former listeners forgive him for that "destroy the country amnesty" fiasco he was going around lying about.
Job or no job, it was unseemly.
The only job he's good for in media nowadays is getting me to change the channel or station when he comes on.
And I use to like his FNC Weekend broadcasts.
VB got so fed up with her interruptions during his guest hosting one day, that didn't he tell her not to speak unless he played a bell or some other sound effect?
Sandy’s frequent interruptions of Howie Carr have always annoyed me. When there truly was something of importance that Sandy needed to interrupt Howie, then fine. But Sandy interrupted Howie over the littlest of reasons sometimes, and she got into the habit of interrupting Howie frequently over anything and everything. VB did have problems with Sandy’s interruptions as well. Very annoying.
I do like Sandy’s laugh, and, like I said before, I do see her hosting her own radio talk show very soon. Howie was nice enough to have Sandy host for him at least three times if not more. Everyone here wants to know what happens, if anything, to Sandy with this latest move by Howie?
Limbaugh never lets his staff on air. And here I thought it was just his ego, not good management of his show.