Skip to comments.Carr files suit against WRKO for trying to stop new deal with rival
Posted on 07/10/2007 9:14:03 AM PDT by raccoonradio
(under Breaking News/Herald site) A day after shaking up Bostons talk radio scene with a bombshell announcement, WRKO talk meister Howie Carr has slapped the AM station with a lawsuit, accusing them of illegally trying to block his new deal with rival WTKK-FM.
The lawsuit, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, accuses the Entercom-owned WRKO (680) of including illegal restrictions in Carrs contract designed to prevent the witty Herald columnist from jumping ship.
WTKK has offered Carr a five-year contract for his own morning-drive show. His contract with WRKO ends in September.
Without relief from this court, Mr. Carr will be unlawfully precluded from pursuing this opportunity, and will be forced to continue working for an employer whom he no longer wants to work, said the lawsuit, filed by Carrs attorney, Bret Cohen of Mintz Levin.
Mr. Carr seeks a declaration from this court that these provisions are illegal under Massachusetts law and unenforceable as applied to him, and an award of his attorneys fees and costs incurred in bringing this present action, the lawsuit says.
Carrs contract with WRKO contained a renewal option, which would have allowed Entercom to extend his contract by one year had the company sent a written letter to Carr by March 19 of this year.
According to the complaint, WRKO Program Director Jason Wolfe asked Carr to sign a one-week extension two days before the March deadline, which Carr signed. Over the next month, Carr gave Entercom two more extension deadlines for the renewal option, but the company failed to extend Carrs contract.
About a month ago, Wolfe contacted Carr to discuss his contract, and Carr told him he had reservations about staying at WRKO, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says WTKK would give Carr a bigger audience, asubstantially higher profile and morebonus potential than WRKO.
Why in the world didn’t they pull the trigger on the extension? It makes no sense at all... I’d be firing some people this afternoon for blatant incompetence.
Once it’s decided that Howie can jump to ‘TKK, expect to hear Wolfie’s been fired...at least one rumor said that Julie Kahn
would give Wolfe the heave-ho if Howie did leave. They
are frantically trying to keep him, or at least delay
him moving to WTKK (or demand he stay off air for awhile,
This is the genius that radio sites and the Globe raved about.
Hey Entercom, where’s your messiah (Wolfie) now?
“’My initial goal is to make the station more exciting,” says Wolfe, 38. ‘’When you listen to WEEI, you feel that you have to sit up a little bit in your chair. It’s not background music. I’m not suggesting that ‘RKO is background music, but if we can somehow adopt that same philosophy in a way that benefits ‘RKO, I believe we will enhance the product.”
Radio Ink named Wolfe top programmer of 2005, and Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, ‘’Jason Wolfe is to talk radio what Theo Epstein is to baseball.”
He took one of the premier talk stations in the country and in no time at all destroyed it.
Now, if D&C jump to WTKK as was rumored, or the Big O decides to take a walk, say goodbye to the whole empire. All they’ll be left with are Sox games.
“Why in the world didnt they pull the trigger on the extension? It makes no sense at all... “
Because I don’t think they really LIKE Howie Carr. He’s not really Jason Wolfe’s cup of tea. But since he has strong ratings, they can’t let a rival station have him.
Julie and Jason were probably hoping he would move to Florida.
BY SCOTT ALLEN MILLER:
...Lots of people want me to sound off on the whole Entercom/Howie/WRKO thing. I have kept my mouth shut about WRKO for a long time. Anything gracious I said would have been viewed as phony and I would have been accused of being vindictive if I said anything critical. There was a clause in my contract that allowed Entercom to match the salary of any radio station, just to keep me off the air. That clause expired yesterday. However, I am still bound by a non-disparagement clause that limits how much I can criticize Entercom and its management. I have to be careful what I say about WRKO and Entercom for fear of being sued. Please bear that in mind.
So allow me to put it this way: WRKO is done. As Bones used to say on Star Trek, "He's dead, Jim." Say good night, Gracie. Within a year, WRKO will no longer be a news/talk station, and that's sad. Boston deserves more quality talk radio, not less.
For many years, Howie Carr has been the tent pole that held up WRKO. Howie's show brought in most of the station's revenue. We're talking about millions of dollars. Those millions of dollars just packed up and drove to Morrissey Boulevard. No one -- not me nor anyone else -- can fill that void and immediately recoup those losses. It would take years and a long-term marketing investment to build a show as successful as Howie's. Entercom's shareholders don't have that much time to wait or that much money to invest.
And it's precisely this lack of a long-term commitment to building other successful programs that has left WRKO so vulnerable with the loss of just one show. Losing a successful drive time program like Howie's would be devastating to any station. But losing Howie especially hurts WRKO because Entercom has not invested in building up the station's ratings around him.
I should make it clear that this history of neglecting WRKO is not the sole fault of any one person and in fact it predates the launch of WTKK. When this new, strong competitor on the FM band backed by clever TV and outdoor advertising campaigns emerged in 1999, Entercom was content to let Howie carry the station without investing in talent, promotion, or marketing to new listeners. As a result, most of WRKO's existing audience began aging out of the 25-54 year-old target demographic while WTKK aggressively increased its share of "in demo" listeners. WRKO burned, Entercom fiddled, and now Howie is getting out while he can.
Good for him.
5. He takes the slot that Barnicle desperately wanted!
The fiction columnist didn’t want that slot.He’s too lazy to work every day.Plus his wife is the breadwinner.She’s a big wig for a bank in Boston(I forget which one)