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(Not) Howie Carr thread week of Apr 17-25, 2010 ^ | 4/17/10 | raccoonradio

Posted on 04/17/2010 1:04:05 AM PDT by raccoonradio

Howie thread for the week--note that Howie Carr has been suspended by WRKO/Entercom for the week of Apr. 19 due to his badmouthing the station. Various fill in hosts. If there are any Howie columns they will appear here.

Things have gotten ugly at the "sneaker building" (the New Balance bldg in Brighton where WRKO is) as WRKO management has finally had enough of Howie's on-air digs at him. Stay tuned here for commentary on this, the usual fun, and so on

TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: howiecarr; suspended; talkradio; wrko
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To: raccoonradio; Andonius_99; Andy'smom; Antique Gal; Big Guy and Rusty 99; bitt; Barset; ...

Is there more to Howie’s suspension?
April 17, 2010 at 8:44 am

by Dan Kennedy:

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. So maybe Howie Carr’s suspension from WRKO Radio (AM 680) is just a suspension. But let me inject some uninformed speculation into the matter. The once-great station has been running on fumes for some time. Maybe its corporate owner, Entercom, has decided to force an end game, let Carr out of his contract and turn ‘RKO into an outlet for, oh, let’s say Spanish-language infomercials.

The Boston Globe’s Erin Ailsworth reports that Carr was suspended for a week for badmouthing the station on the air — something he has done continuously since he was forced into staying in 2007. (Apparently it’s gotten worse lately.) Carr is said to be unhappy that Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated show recently moved to Clear Channel’s WXKS (AM 1200), part of a national “Rush Radio” network.

Funny, but I thought one of the reasons the station replaced Rush with Republican political consultant Charley Manning was that Howie and Manning are buddies, and that Charley might keep the petulant star more or less in line. I don’t have any numbers in front of me, but Boston radio observers have long noted that this is one of Limbaugh’s worst markets. The idea of not fighting to keep Limbaugh and going with a local show struck me as pretty smart, even if Manning’s show is a work in progress.

Carr does seem to be wallowing in bitterness lately. For instance, he recently wrote in his Boston Herald column that President Obama wouldn’t have made it through college and law school if he weren’t black:

“Of course, no one expects Barack Obama to really know anything. We understand, all too well, exactly how he got through Columbia and Harvard Law. He had certain … intangibles, shall we say.”

That’s pretty rancid even by Howie’s standards. No, I’m not leaving anything out — the ellipses are his, not mine.

Back in 2007, Carr tried to jump to WTKK (96.9 FM), which wanted him as its morning guy. Unfortunately for Carr, he turned out to have a contract more restrictive than Curt Flood’s, and he was forced to stay.

What’s not known is whether Greater Media, which owns ‘TKK, still wants him. Morning drive is now ably helmed by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan. Would ‘TKK move Jay Severin out of afternoon drive to make way for Carr?

Moreover, given the changed economic climate, it certainly seems unlikely that Greater Media would still be willing to pay Carr $7 million over five years.

The other mystery factor is how much Entercom really wants WRKO to succeed. There’s a lot of audience overlap between ‘RKO and another Entercom station, WEEI (AM 850), a sports-talk outlet that also carries the Red Sox. No doubt the company wants WRKO to make money, but not at the expense of its more-valuable sports station.

Carr is a legitimate talent, but it’s been years since he’s showed more than an occasional glimmer. His suspension comes at a time when he probably has little leverage. Maybe he’ll be back on the air in a week as though nothing happened. But you have to wonder if Entercom executives have finally decided it’s time to do something drastic about its faltering talk station.

Note: what about Clear Channel? Howie could jump to Rush
Radio if let go. Maybe not at a huge aalary but who knows/.

21 posted on 04/17/2010 8:30:54 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

wow, I will have to go silent next week....

thanks, RR

22 posted on 04/17/2010 8:38:53 AM PDT by bitt ("WE THE PEOPLE"
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To: raccoonradio
That’s pretty rancid even by Howie’s standards.

It also happens to be the truth.

23 posted on 04/17/2010 8:39:35 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro
“It also happens to be the truth.”

Zero's records are in the lock box and we know nothing. If he was a good student the narcissistic braggart in the White House would never shut his purple lips about it.

24 posted on 04/17/2010 9:34:04 AM PDT by mickey finn
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To: raccoonradio
The Globe report cites sources that say Carr’s been growing increasingly unhappy with the most recent developments involving WRKO’s programming decisions. The station lost Rush Limbaugh’s show to new conservative talker WXKS AM 1200/Rush Radio in early March.

I don't think that WRKO had any real chance to keep Limbaugh. As I understand it, the whole "Rush Radio" concept is national, and creating local stations built around Rush is something where WRKO had no choice in the matter.

25 posted on 04/17/2010 9:56:39 AM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: raccoonradio
Carr does seem to be wallowing in bitterness lately. For instance, he recently wrote in his Boston Herald column that President Obama wouldn’t have made it through college and law school if he weren’t black:

“Of course, no one expects Barack Obama to really know anything. We understand, all too well, exactly how he got through Columbia and Harvard Law. He had certain … intangibles, shall we say.”

That’s pretty rancid even by Howie’s standards. No, I’m not leaving anything out — the ellipses are his, not mine.

Howie says what everyone, including Dan Kennedy knows in their heart and he's "rancid".

26 posted on 04/17/2010 10:57:13 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The naked casuistry of the high priests of Warmism would make a Jesuit blush.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Dan Kennedy’s a lib. If Obama were white where would he be?

27 posted on 04/17/2010 1:47:02 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

Here are a couple interesting commentaries on Howie and the WRKO situation—sorry if they’re a bit inside radio (literally). Both are written by people who are in radio
and come from the comments at

Aaron Read writes:
Entercom’s biggest problem is that WRKO is that it’s directional pattern at night means for half the year, they’ve got zilcho signal over the lucrative Metrowest market during prime drive-time hours. So it’s too “small” a signal to really be competitive against FM signals.

But it’s still a 50,000 watt Class B signal that covers a huge number of people and puts a solid signal over most of the core Boston/Cambridge area.

So it kind of demands that a “major format” be put on WRKO, not a “niche format”.

The two major formats for large AM stations are still news/talk (mostly right-wing) and sports, two formats that WRKO can’t win with because WTKK 96.9FM and WBZ 98.5FM, respectively, have vastly superior FM signals with. Worse, WRKO can’t really do sports because it detracts from the meal ticket (WEEI 850AM).

So WRKO is kinda screwed, in part by Entercom’s own success with WEEI.

Worse still, Entercom could put WRKO on one of their other FM properties (WMKK 93.7 and WAAF 107.3/97.7) but neither of those signal pairings is equal to (much less “better”) than their chief competitors’ FM signals. And they’d be substituting a struggling product for a successful, profitable product in either case; WAAF does pretty well overall, and WMKK costs so little to operate that it rakes in the cash.

If WGBH hadn’t gone news/talk, then a strategic partnership with WBUR to make WRKO an outlet for alternative NPR news/talk programming almost might’ve worked. Emphasis on “might’ve”. But that option is effectively off the table now.

Honestly I think Entercom really only has two options: muddle along with WRKO as it is…and try to reduce costs to the point where lower revenues are still viable revenues. Or bite the bullet and switch to a niche format that lets them slash costs to the bone (a la “Mike” or a leased-time ethnic/foreign-language) and accept the huge drop in revenue because your costs have dropped equally.

Of course, neither is exactly a palatable solution.

I dunno. What the hell, put a Haitian/creole format on there. There’s tons of Haitian pirate radio stations, maybe they’ve figured something out?

Tony Schinella writes:
I don’t know if Entercom is thinking about getting rid of Howie. However, I have caught his program recently and nothing I heard him say seemed any different than the past. So, why is it a big deal now? I don’t know. Maybe they just were getting sick of it and decided to hit him where it hurts or where it matters to him, in his wallet.

For those of you who don’t know how radio works, here’s a quick, admittedly simplistic view. Most stations run about 12 to 14 minutes worth of ads an hour. They set the price based on what they can get and what they have to make for the quarter. They take the amount they need to make for the quarter and divide it by the number of spots in that same quarter, which gives them a rough idea of the rate they need to get. It gets a bit stickier when you have big “talent” like Howie because it throws the math off. But, the formula is still the same.

In order to understand just how much money Howie makes – or how much money they lose on Howie – follow this math. Let’s say WRKO has 12 spots an hour, just to make the math easy. That’s about 12,500 ad minutes. per year for Howie’s four hours. To break even on Howie, WRKO needs to sell every single ad during his program for at least $96 ($80 to pay for Howie, with 20 percent, a guesstimate, going to the sales people). That’s breaking even on just Howie, not counting any other expenses to run the station. But for the example to understand the money, let’s just use this formula.

There are other billable things, like live reads (“The Chump Line is sponsored by Lumber Liquidators …”), promotions, sponsorships, non-traditional revenue like the Web site, and other things, that bring in money to a radio station. But like ads in the print edition of the newspaper are the bulk of their money, so are spots for radio.

Anyone listening to Howie’s show knows that it’s not sold out. There are PSAs running throughout the hour. Endlessly. So, the spot price is much more than $96 I would bet. In addition, Howie has a network deal, since the show is syndicated on a bunch of New England stations. So, the spots that air on multiple stations make a lot more money. At the same time, I have heard rumors over the years that the network spots have been difficult to sell. If you’re in Boston, you don’t care about some tiny audience in Maine or Keene.

Back in the heyday, Howie was billing a pretty chunk of change. When I called to get an estimate for a potential freelance client back in 2004, it was $300. I seriously doubt that it is $300 now. But, it might be. I don’t know and I don’t know anyone who is buying spots on WRKO now so I couldn’t even guess.

But, in many of these cases, it is about the money … $1 million is a ton of cash. It might be money for Entercom. In fact, as they have seen with their horrifically amateur, unlistenable paid programming, quality doesn’t really matter. Whoever pays plays. As advertising has dried up for everyone, they could be looking at other options.

Here’s some other math to wonder about, especially when considering this situation. WRKO could easily get quality talk show programming that could potentially be more profitable for a lot less money. There are a lot of talk show hosts out there who can do it for them that won’t get $1 million. Here’s how that math would work.

Say, for example, that Entercom is selling all of Howie’s spots for $100 each. They figure, well, we’re selling all the spots, paying Howie, and making $50K a year in profit (again, ignoring the other costs at the station, just to make the math easy).

However, they could get another talk show host, say, Tony Schinella, who will do compelling air, build an audience beyond just those people who are knuckle-draggers, and he’ll do it for say $100K. Well, sure, Tony won’t be able to bill $100 a spot. But, could Tony bill $20 a spot? Probably, in the Boston market on a station like WRKO. And Tony would kill himself to make it work, let me tell you that right now …

So, WRKO hires Tony for $100K, sells out all his spots at $20 a piece, and makes more money with Tony – $150K in profit instead of $50K with Howie – returning more revenue to the station’s bottom line and to shareholders.

Now, I admit, this is a stretch of an example. I’m not going to replace Howie on WRKO and very few other people are either. But this is how they could be looking at it. Better to get a cheaper person and sell the rate for less money but make more money than to have an expensive person and play PSAs.

In many cases, WRKO isn’t going to lose a ton of listeners for most of their shows. Sure, they will lose Howie’s rabid following. But studies done by Scarborough Research show that talk radio listeners rarely switch the station unlike music listeners who hear an ad and then flip the station. They have talk on all day long, even liberals, in the background, in the car, and are not often swayed to switch by the actual hosts. Sure, they can go to WTKK. But some won’t switch. There will always be listeners on WRKO no matter who is on. Will they be the same as Howie’s numbers? No. But there will be numbers there.

On Howie calling Obama out for being an affirmative action success story, personally, I don’t have a problem with that. From all that I have seen, including an amazing Frontline documentary on Obama, this rings true. Throughout his career, Obama has used his race and oratory skills to dazzle guilty, white progressives into thinking he is one thing when, in fact, he is quite another, as shown by the way he governs. That is where the “messiah” stuff comes from. The list of his “accomplishments” before becoming a senator were weak and limited when compared to many other statesmen and women of our time. The fact that he was able to win the primary against Hillary still shocks me to this day. However, it does show that, yes, anyone can grow up and become the president, especially when given many helping hands along the way … Of course, the fact that anyone can grow up to be president is a good thing.

28 posted on 04/17/2010 6:43:35 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio; Andonius_99; Andy'smom; Antique Gal; Big Guy and Rusty 99; bitt; Barset; ...

Sun column ping

Mansfield pulls the same old spring tax scam
By Howie Carr | Sunday, April 18, 2010 | | Columnists

This is how you know it’s spring in Massachusetts - the first town threatens to shut down the high school football program unless the voters agree to a property-tax hike.

It’s as predictable as the Boston Marathon gridlock tomorrow. It’s right out of the playbook - the teachers’ union playbook.

This year the town of Mansfield seems to have opened the season. All the stories run together after a while: one side (the school committee) insisting that “this is not a ploy” while the other side (the board of selectmen) scoffs, saying it’s just a “chess game.”

Usually, the selectmen fold, and a Prop 2 override goes onto the ballot. It’s . . . for the children. The hard-pressed taxpayers vote it down in the spring and in some towns they just reschedule a second vote - in July, on a Saturday, when everybody’s at the beach.

Of course, sometimes the school committees and their union pals overplay their hand. For instance, it’s always a bad move to be grabbing state building funds - say, $3 million - to upgrade the high school football field while simultaneously claiming you’re about to eliminate the grid program. That grift has been tried in MetroWest.

The Mansfield School Committee committed a tactical error this week by upgrading the acting high school athletic director to permanent just before they started talking about eliminating athletics.

It’s always important to describe the cuts as “unprecedented,” which, of course, they’re not. Here’s a headline from 1989: “Athletics, clubs get the ax at schools.”

The rationale is, these towns have “fixed costs.” That’s what they call them in the public sector. You and I call them “union sweetheart deals.” None of these municipal workers wants to go into the less Cadillac-y state health insurance plan, and changes are usually negotiable under their contracts.

In the Dreaded Private Sector, you know how such an impasse would be handled. The bosses would say: OK, if you want to keep those nice bennies, we’ll have to start laying you guys off from the bottom of the seniority list. We’ll have to hit everybody who’s been hired since, oh, 1998.

Which in the towns might mean that 60-year-old teachers would be back working as lunch monitors in the cafeteria. Pretty soon, a 5 percent increase in health premiums wouldn’t look so bad.

But in the towns, it’s so much easier to run around crying “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

The local pols begin this annual rite of spring by going after services that matter to voters. If they threatened to lay off three assistant deputy associate senior human-resource administrators and take away their cars and gas credit cards, the taxpayers would rejoice.

Instead they make ominous noises about closing a police station or a firehouse. They reduce the hours at the dump or end garbage pickup altogether. Most of all, they threaten the football team.

If this happened on Thanksgiving, the refs would throw a penalty on the town hacks. For unsportmanslike conduct against the taxpayers.
Article URL:

29 posted on 04/17/2010 9:33:26 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

Herald finally wrote about it.

Carr: Suspension ‘no big deal’
By Jessica Heslam | Sunday, April 18, 2010 | | Media & Marketing

Suspended WRKO host and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr said yesterday his weeklong, unpaid suspension from the radio station is nothing to get all lathered up about.

“I’m off this week anyway, fleeing the Marathon, so it’s no big deal. I’ll be back soon, finishing my time, as always the happy warrior of AM radio,” Carr told the Herald in a statement.

Carr hasn’t hidden his contempt for the Entercom-owned station since he unsuccessfully tried to jump ship to rival WTKK-FM (96.9) three years ago. On Friday, the big-money host’s fed-up WRKO-AM (680) bosses told him he was being suspended for a week without pay, the Herald confirmed.

Julie Kahn, vice president and market manager of Entercom Boston, and WRKO program director Jason Wolfe didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment yesterday.

Radio analyst Brian Maloney suspects Carr is “attempting to head to another station and they know and they’re not happy.”

Maloney also said he strongly suspects there’s some effort being made to sign Carr at new conservative talk station WXKS-AM (1200), which recently swiped Rush Limbaugh - who preceded Carr on the air weekday afternoons - from WRKO’s lineup. “There’s some real bad blood between Carr and Entercom at this point,” Maloney said.
Article URL:

30 posted on 04/17/2010 11:03:12 PM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

RKO site says Avi Nelson in for the suspended/vacationing Howie Carr today. Max Robins as usual

31 posted on 04/19/2010 5:48:58 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

avi is in today wed and fri - he announced he was sitting in for HOwie about two weeks ago, this past Sat he said mon-wed-fri! Wonder who will be sitting in tues and thurs - the col?

32 posted on 04/19/2010 6:00:08 AM PDT by rockabyebaby (We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed!)
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To: raccoonradio

I’m going to miss the “Prisoner of Entercom” this week. I was really hoping he’d get one of his minions to corner Mayor Menino with a microphone and ask him what he thought about that Icelandic volcano, just to see what happens when Mumbles tries to pronounce “Eyjafjallajökull”.

33 posted on 04/19/2010 12:15:34 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: rockabyebaby

Yes. Avi, Col, Avi, Col, Avi

And on Tue and Fri they go off (RKO only) a half hour early for the Very Exciting Red Sox Pregame. With C’s playoffs
(Howie isn’t the only guy who’s suspended, so is Kevin
Garnett) on WEEI, Sox get bounced to RKO

34 posted on 04/20/2010 7:11:11 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio; Andonius_99; Andy'smom; Antique Gal; Big Guy and Rusty 99; bitt; Barset; ...

Howie related ping (btw Max wasn’t on yesterday due to a personal emergency)

(I have emailed Jason “Hokey” Wolfe at WRKO to express my displeasure, not that it’ll do any good.)

Tom Finneran’s whale comment makes waves
By Jessica Heslam | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | | Local Coverage

WRKO honchos are looking into a disparaging remark that morning-drive radio host Tom Finneran hurled at Howie Carr’s longtime producer - the same day the Herald columnist was suspended for bad-mouthing the station.

Finneran, co-host Todd Feinburg and producer Bill Cooksey were yakking about nail clippings Friday when the on-air exchange went below the belt, according to audio obtained by the Herald.

“The Kowloon’s crunchy today. Nancy! Nancy! What’s with all the toenails?” said Cooksey, referring to Carr and his producer, who goes by the alias Sandy on the air but whose real first name is Nancy.

“You mean Sandy his producer?” Feinburg asked.

“Or whoever. Whatever she calls herself today,” Cooksey said.

“Click on the jumping whale,” said Finneran.

A laughing Cooksey told Finneran his whale comment wasn’t “right” - yet he repeated it when Feinburg asked what his co-host had said. “Cooksey’s been saying that for six months,” Finneran shot back.

Julie Kahn, who runs station owner Entercom Boston, told the Herald last night the station is “handling it internally.”

“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean, it’s a big deal if it’s a problem but we’re handling it,” Kahn said. “None of this stuff is acceptable. We’ll do the right thing as always.”

WRKO-AM (680) fired host John DePetro in 2006 for calling gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a “fat lesbian” on his show.

Carr declined comment. Finneran did not return messages left at his home last night. Carr’s producer could not be reached. Cooksey declined comment.

If you can stand Finneran’s guffawing for 2 minutes, here are the comments
(look for youtube video)

35 posted on 04/20/2010 7:14:29 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

Hey Entercom, I bet you won’t want me to mention that there are other shows people could listen to instead like Jeff Katz on the new Rush Radio 1200. (And if you want something to hear 3-6 pm while Howie is on suspension, try 1200 for Sean Lobster Gram Ruth’s Chris Three Hours A Day That’s All We Ask You’re A Great American Buy My Books Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled Hannity...

36 posted on 04/20/2010 7:23:02 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

I’d rather listen to static than hannity - as for howie, well he may be “suspended” but he was off this week anyway - he takes all the school holidays off now. Anyone know how long the felon’s contract was renewed for and for how much? What a waste of airtime.

37 posted on 04/20/2010 8:04:46 AM PDT by rockabyebaby (We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed!)
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To: raccoonradio

Man, that’s ugly.

I’m not a big fan of Sandy/Nancy, but that was uncalled for.

38 posted on 04/20/2010 8:14:45 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:(~)
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To: rockabyebaby

I thought the contract was to expire a couple months back but maybe Finneran got an extension (but they didn’t say anything in media) or he could be working w/o contract for now.
Finneran began in Feb of 07 (the same yr Howie tried to jump to WTKK, around summer/fall of 07) and it was supp to be for two years; last yr he was probably renewed for 1 yr, so that takes us till Feb of ‘10...what now?

39 posted on 04/20/2010 8:48:10 AM PDT by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

I just wish he’d go away, I can only take him in very very small doses, he’s anuseating the way he sucks up to his fellow dem hacks,,,,and his fav saying is....he’s a good good guy, yeah right! What a bleepin’ hack!

40 posted on 04/20/2010 10:43:01 AM PDT by rockabyebaby (We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed!)
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