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Getaway Carr: Why WRKO should cut Howie loose
Boston Phoenix ^ | 7/13/07 | Adam Reilly

Posted on 07/12/2007 8:20:20 AM PDT by raccoonradio

Howie Carr’s jump from WRKO-AM (680) to WTKK-FM (96.9) isn’t a done deal just yet. Carr’s new morning drive-time show is supposed to begin in October. But after the Herald reported this past Monday that Carr was poised to bolt WRKO, station spokesman George Regan released a statement hinting that WRKO might take legal steps aimed at keeping Carr from leaving — or, barring that, at making his exit as unpleasant as possible.

“He is a tremendous asset to WRKO and Entercom [WRKO’s parent company] has every intention of retaining his services for many years to come,” said Regan. “Any report suggesting a change is incredibly premature.”

If the station has a case, it probably hinges on a clause in Carr’s contract that gives WRKO the right to match any competitor’s offer. But on Tuesday, Carr filed a pre-emptive lawsuit of his own, accusing WRKO of repeatedly declining to extend his contract, and arguing that any provisions aimed at keeping him from leaving for a competitor were legally unenforceable.

Whether the courts will agree remains to be seen. But even if they don’t, WRKO should think twice about mounting a fight. Carr’s relationship with WRKO seems to have been seriously strained even before this dust-up hit the headlines; now that things have reached this point, it’s hard to imagine the station and its marquee talent making peace.

One source with knowledge of the situation says that Carr — whose populist conservatism runs the gamut from witty erudition to juvenile mean-spiritedness — had accumulated a long list of grievances with WRKO. Among other things, he was concerned about the station’s declining ratings; he felt management wasn’t promoting or syndicating him effectively; and he bristled at being pre-empted for preseason Red Sox games, which WRKO began broadcasting this year in an awkward joint-broadcasting arrangement with WEEI-AM, Entercom’s Boston sports station. “Howie’s overall feeling is that it’s a poorly run operation,” this individual, who works in Boston radio, tells the Phoenix.

This casts a new light on the alleged feud between Carr and Tom Finneran — the ex–Massachusetts House Speaker who, after pleading guilty to perjury in a legislative-redistricting case, took over WRKO’s morning-drive-time slot earlier this year. In March, the Herald turned this purported beef into a cover story, reporting that Carr (who’s also a Herald columnist) was incensed after Finneran joked that he should be killed and stuffed in the trunk of Governor Deval Patrick’s car. At the time, I argued that the whole flap seemed to be a shameless publicity stunt. In retrospect, though, Carr’s stagy wrath may have obscured genuine frustration: a strong morning host would have helped Carr’s own ratings and market position by driving listeners to the station. But Finneran clearly wasn’t ready to fly solo — and hasn’t been given a reliable sidekick to help him along.

More significantly, Carr’s disenchantment and potentially imminent departure also raise questions about Entercom executive Jason Wolfe, who went from running WEEI’s programming to directing programming for both WRKO and WEEI in early 2006 and has been considered something of a golden boy in local radio circles. Given WEEI’s continued success, the underwhelming performance of WRKO under Wolfe’s watch is especially striking. Former hosts Scott Allen Miller and John DePetro are gone. Finneran is struggling in the morning drive-time slot, both in terms of ratings and in terms of establishing a compelling on-air persona. It’s still not clear how splitting the Red Sox between WEEI and WRKO helps either station. And now Carr — the station’s name-brand talent — is poised to bolt to its major competitor. (Wolfe and Julie Kahn, Entercom New England’s vice-president and market manager, did not return calls from the Phoenix.)

If and when Carr starts broadcasting from WTKK’s studios, he’ll be going head to head with Finneran, which will make the ex-Speaker’s already dicey situation even more precarious. “It’ll make for an interesting battle because of the personal hostility between the two men,” says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine. “But there’s no question in my mind that Carr is the more accomplished.” Being on the FM spectrum also stands to expand and diversify Carr’s listener base, Harrison adds: “FM talk is the coming wave, and new people might discover him who otherwise don’t hang out on the AM dial. There are a lot of young people on the FM dial, a lot of women.”

And let’s not forget the bottom line. Carr’s current salary at WRKO is unknown. But based on what comparable hosts have made here and elsewhere, it’s likely that he was at or over $300,000 — and that WTKK plans to pay him significantly more. Nice work if you can get it.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: howiecarr; talkradio; wrko; wtkk

1 posted on 07/12/2007 8:20:22 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: Andonius_99; Andy'smom; Big Guy and Rusty 99; bitt; Barset; Carolinamom; Cheapskate; danno3150; ...

Howie Carr list ping


2 posted on 07/12/2007 8:20:58 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

is he taking with him all his intellectual property?


3 posted on 07/12/2007 8:27:13 AM PDT by Disciplinemisanthropy (Dog Kills Cat, Self)
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To: raccoonradio

Never really listened to Carr to much but i guess i will be waking to him in Oct lol.


4 posted on 07/12/2007 8:28:00 AM PDT by ASH71
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To: raccoonradio

Jason Wolfe and Lady MacBeth are destroying the cradle of Talk Radio in Boston. I have said before that this was to placate the very Moonbatish owners of the Boston Red Sox. So, who’s going to buy air time at the end of October?


5 posted on 07/12/2007 8:29:12 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: raccoonradio

Bump


6 posted on 07/12/2007 8:29:53 AM PDT by Allan (*-O)):~{>)
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To: Disciplinemisanthropy
Are you referring to The Death Pool which may have a winner in the demise of lady Bird Johnson?
7 posted on 07/12/2007 8:30:22 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: massgopguy

well i thinking more like the weekly visit by menino (thank woo.) and the wizahd of ahs. i dont care about the chumpline because everyone just uses it to call howie a fat bastard.


8 posted on 07/12/2007 8:33:30 AM PDT by Disciplinemisanthropy (Dog Kills Cat, Self)
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To: raccoonradio

Nice picture, but I thought that he drives a Lexus.


9 posted on 07/12/2007 8:34:10 AM PDT by johnthebaptistmoore
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To: raccoonradio

Howard Stern spent a year promoting Sirius on his old show, when the network refused to let him leave early...You’d think the Boston station would have learned something from that


10 posted on 07/12/2007 8:35:02 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: raccoonradio

It doesn’t get much better than this.


11 posted on 07/12/2007 8:36:03 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Disciplinemisanthropy

I haven’t heard the trademark “fat bastard” or even “bastard” terms on Howie’s show in a long while, probably due to a decree from wimpy WRKO management. I look forward to Howie’s new gig with its “bastards,” “H-mo’s,” “ooh-oooh’s” and lesbian wolf howls.


12 posted on 07/12/2007 8:37:32 AM PDT by LiveFree99
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To: massgopguy
"Finneran joked that (Carr) should be killed and stuffed in the trunk of Governor Deval Patrick’s car. "

Seems that this is no joke. It is a threat of murder -- paid for by WRKO.
Why would anyone work for them after that?

13 posted on 07/12/2007 8:40:33 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
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To: raccoonradio
I think this is a great move by Howie. WRKO is dying a slow and painful death, and Carr is brilliant for getting out now.

Jason Wolfe might have done wonders at WEEI, but it's clear that he's out of his element over at WRKO. The last smart think Wolfe has done was give Mikey Adams the night-time slot over on WEEI, and that was quite a while ago.

The decision to broadcast Sox games on WRKO (and to dump Trupiano) is something I'll never understand . . .

So, my hat's off to you, Captain! Best of luck on WTKK.

14 posted on 07/12/2007 8:41:14 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: massgopguy
Jason Wolfe and Lady MacBeth are destroying the cradle of Talk Radio in Boston. I have said before that this was to placate the very Moonbatish owners of the Boston Red Sox. So, who’s going to buy air time at the end of October?

Lumbah Lickwidateahs?
Atteurnie Tawm Mullen?

15 posted on 07/12/2007 8:42:35 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: LiveFree99

“and lesbian wolf howls.”

I miss that one as well


16 posted on 07/12/2007 8:42:49 AM PDT by GQuagmire (Giggety,Giggety,Giggety)
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To: Disciplinemisanthropy
i dont care about the chumpline because everyone just uses it to call howie a fat bastard.

I used to love the Chumpline, until I discovered the Big Show's (WEEI) Whiner Line. I don't know who came up with the concept first, but the WL beats the CL like a rented mule.

17 posted on 07/12/2007 8:45:48 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: raccoonradio

As a listener I feel RKO(Entercom) has been sticking it to me constantly for the past year, I can only imaging how Howie feels. Constantly pissing on the listeners and the Cash cow is unbelievable. Why JK and JW are still at their desks is beyond me. Both of them should been shown the door 6 months ago.
Howie’s last day will be the day RKO is removed from my radios presets and favorites folder on my pc.


18 posted on 07/12/2007 8:46:07 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: mowowie

I’m kind of stuck with WRKO as far as Red Sox games are concerned—at least at work (where I work, and I work
nights, WRKO comes in well because the antenna near
the Burlington Mall is a couple towns away). Otherwise I
could pick up Sox games via North Shore 104.9

We’ve seen the inept crowd programming Air America but they
seem like geniuses compared to Hokey Wolfe and Julie Kahn-job.


19 posted on 07/12/2007 8:48:22 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

Chumpline was first. It was also there before the DumpLine
on Dennis and Callahan (not sure if they still do that).
I thought HC may have been inspired by Radio Graffiti
from Alan Colmes’ old show (though RG was/is live; I think
Hannity copies that, with “Hannity’s Insanity”) but Chumpline
is voice mail messages...so maybe not.

Howie allegedly back on today and if so we’ll see how far
he’s allowed to go in discussing this.


20 posted on 07/12/2007 8:50:39 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio
"Carr’s relationship with WRKO seems to have been seriously strained even before this dust-up hit the headlines"

With the exception of Howie's show WRKO has had changes in the format for the last few years. Even former hosts started talking "psychobabble" regarding a "fair and balanced" format. I suppose that was to attract more listeners BUT WRKO did NOT consider its audience at all in this decision. Its listeners are entrenched conservatives who probably didn't appreciate any part of liberal speak...therefore turning the dial to 96.9 fm talk.

That's what I did.

21 posted on 07/12/2007 8:52:31 AM PDT by xtinct (I was the next door neighbor kid's imaginary friend.)
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To: Diogenesis

HC filed a complaint with the judge overseeing Finneran’s
probation. He received the letter and basically said,
“duly noted”...he felt that Finneran was in no position
to even joke about something like that. What really got murdered was WRKO, and blame Finneran/Wolfe/Kahn for it.


22 posted on 07/12/2007 8:52:33 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

heh the same thing happened to me, the whiner line is pretty damn clever. alot more references.


23 posted on 07/12/2007 8:52:59 AM PDT by Disciplinemisanthropy (Dog Kills Cat, Self)
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To: raccoonradio
Chumpline was first.

That's what I thought (for some reason). Thanks for the info.

Howie allegedly back on today and if so we’ll see how far he’s allowed to go in discussing this.

I'd wager he's going to be very coy about it. I'll tune in for a minute or two, but mostly, I'll be listening to Stern on Sirius! They're re-playing the Baba Booey roast today, don't you know . . .

24 posted on 07/12/2007 8:57:28 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: raccoonradio

LOL...if the Phoenix wants him gone...I am all for keeping him on!


25 posted on 07/12/2007 8:59:59 AM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: Disciplinemisanthropy

How dare you accuse me of having no original thoughts. Why I remember quite clearly that on the day that Mark Goddard was on to push the new Lost in Space movie, Howie talked about how he would run away if he came upon a home invasion where a senior citizen was being beaten. I opined that we had found the new Dr. Smith.


26 posted on 07/12/2007 9:05:42 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

I was born in Reveah, so I understand that.


27 posted on 07/12/2007 9:07:48 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: mowowie

You know, I’ve Scotto’s cell phone number, I think I should call it.


28 posted on 07/12/2007 9:09:45 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Disciplinemisanthropy
the whiner line is pretty damn clever. alot more references.

The Robert Kraft guy slays me. "(Covers phone mouthpiece) Hey . . . Jawnathan . . ."

29 posted on 07/12/2007 9:10:06 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: raccoonradio

It is, or should be, axiomatic that whatever is written in “The Boston Phoenix” is garbage. Period.


30 posted on 07/12/2007 9:15:14 AM PDT by RexBeach
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To: massgopguy

This’ll foul up my listening habits. He takes the edge off the end of the workday quite nicely. I wonder if he will be taking some of his sound effects (”Ted”, and the “erh-erh”) with him. Damn shame if they are left behind.

I wonder how he and “Jay Severin” would get along.


31 posted on 07/12/2007 9:42:57 AM PDT by CletusVanDamme ((and any other aliases..be hung by the neck until dead. May the Lord have mercy on his soul: PROCEED)
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

Now if 96.9 can only get Rush from 12-3.


32 posted on 07/12/2007 9:46:01 AM PDT by The View From The Right
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To: RexBeach
It is, or should be, axiomatic that whatever is written in “The Boston Phoenix” is garbage. Period.

True.It's claim to fame has always been its "personals".

"M seeks foursome for..." Well,you get the picture.

33 posted on 07/12/2007 9:57:01 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: rlmorel

I’m still having a hard time relating that headline to the story.


34 posted on 07/12/2007 10:27:11 AM PDT by smalltownslick
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To: Gay State Conservative

At least one third of the paper is pornographic.

“But, hey, if nobody gets hurt, what’s the harm?”

That’s one hell of an ethic. It turned large parts of MA into cesspools.


35 posted on 07/12/2007 10:53:36 AM PDT by RexBeach
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To: smalltownslick

I know...I simply replied on the basis of the headline, but I understand the story itself...the headline is completely ass-end backwards, which is about right for the Phoenix...:)


36 posted on 07/12/2007 11:16:14 AM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: CletusVanDamme

Before getting his own show, Jay used to sub for Howie.


37 posted on 07/12/2007 12:18:28 PM PDT by surrey
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To: Disciplinemisanthropy

...but...but... he *is* a fat bahstid...

Good luck, Howie!

Kick the Felon in the keister!


38 posted on 07/12/2007 4:50:16 PM PDT by ForegoneAlternative (The cost of anything is...)
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To: raccoonradio

Howie’s only making $300K?! No wonder he’s willing to do all those book signings!

As for WEEI they should be doing Belichick and Brady’s laundry because their success is directly related to the success of the Patriots, and to a lesser extent, the red Sox. If Boston’s teams were struggling, their numbers would be a fraction of what they are today. It has nothing to do with Wolfe. Proof of that is how he manged to destroy the oldest and one of the most successful talks stations in America virtually over night.


39 posted on 07/12/2007 7:21:10 PM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

Wolfe did nothing for WEEI. That was Bill Belichick and Tom Brady with a little, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz thrown in to cover the summer months...


40 posted on 07/12/2007 7:32:26 PM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
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To: PajamaTruthMafia
Wolfe did nothing for WEEI. That was Bill Belichick and Tom Brady with a little, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz thrown in to cover the summer months...

I listened to WEEI almost around the clock until I got my Sirius satellite radio, and I'd say it wasn't so much the Patriots that "made" WEEI, but the Red Sox. While it's true that WEEI's Patriot content during the football season is outstanding and very compelling---thanks to Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie, mainly---I think it's safe to say that Sox content dominates WEEI's programming year-round. I can remember distinctly the Big Show, etc., discussing Sox off-season moves in depth while the Patsies were making their historic Superbowl runs.

WEEI still has a pretty good line-up; the exception being the terrible Dale & Holley show during mid-days. Glen Ordway's "The Big Show" is one of the best shows in Boston, and it's always a constant struggle for me in the afternoons trying to figure out which one to listen to---The Big Show or the Howie Carr show. And I think Mikey Adams is dynamite in the evenings on WEEI.

WRKO? Basically, except for Howie and the fact that I have to tune it in now for Sox games, the station is dead to me, a la Fredo Corleone.


41 posted on 07/13/2007 8:42:24 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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