The legal battle over radio host Howie Carr is heating up, with the button-pushing talk jock slapping a lawsuit on his WRKO bosses even as they matched rival WTKKs contract offer in an effort to stop his defection.
(WRKO owner) Entercom is willing to negotiate my contract - as long as the bottom line means keeping me as a virtual indentured servant, Carr said in a statement. My lawyer suggested I not talk about this. What does he think, that I might say something controversial?
Ive wanted to be on FM for a long time and being on in the mornings is the greatest challenge in radio, said Carr, a Herald columnist who plans to return from vacation and get behind the WRKO microphone tomorrow.
In a reference to WRKOs morning host, disgraced ex-House Speaker Tom Finneran, Carr vowed to bring fast-paced, felon-free entertainment to morning drive on WTKK 96.9 FM Talk.
But WRKO Program Director Jason Wolfe said: We had the right to extend Howies existing deal for one year but instead we mutually agreed to work collectively towards executing a new long-term contract. As we said yesterday, we have great respect and admiration for Howie and we look forward to working with Howie for many more years.
Carrs lawyers yesterday filed a lawsuit claiming his contract with WRKO (680 AM) contains illegal provisions that prevent him from going to work at rival radio stations. WTKK has offered Carr a five-year deal to host its morning drive show.
Yesterday, WRKO matched that offer, said RKO attorney Shepard Davidson of Burns & Levinson. He would not disclose details.
We look at it as fighting for him because were not trying to fight with him or against him, Davidson said. We want him to stay. The afternoon-drive hosts contract with WRKO contains a right to match clause, which Davidson said is valid and enforceable under Massachusetts law.
Howie Carr expressly agreed in his employment contract with Entercom that Entercom could have up to 72 hours to match any offer of employment made to him by a competing broadcasting entity, and Entercom exercised its right in this regard in less than 24 hours because it genuinely wanted to retain Mr. Carrs services, Davidson said in a statement.
Carrs contract, which is up in September, gave Entercom the right to renew his contract for another year by March 19. While Carr extended the deadline three times, Entercom failed to exercise its option to renew it.
Carrs lawyer, Bret Cohen of Mintz Levin said, We would not have filed a declaratory judgment action if we were not confident of our position.
With his new lawsuit against WRKO, is it a given that he won't be returning to the AM airwaves after his vacation?
What is going on with Entercom?
1. They hire Finneran, who I do admit isn’t as bad as he’s made out to be (my opinion). Of course, I still listen to WEEI in the morning anyway. But that will be changing.
2. They are now the “Flagship Station for the Boston Red Sox”. Ok, so now Entercom has two sports radio stations?!?
3. They fire the news staff. I did enjoy Listoe Fisher’s news updates.
Now this crap with Howie. I think Howie is the goods. One thing about him: once you cross him, you are finished. Entercom has been jerking him around, now they’re out. I don’t see what they can do about Howie leaving, unless they try to pull a CBS vs. Howard Stern type of lawsuit, which was a total waste of time.
WRKO is finished. Simple as that.