How Are Stations Handling Suspicious Devices Story?

Once again, WRKO’s bizarre decision to terminate its entire newsroom staff has left it in a terrible place during a major developing news story.

With WRKO now in no position to cover these events with reporters live from the scene, listeners instantly head elsewhere. It’s WRKO’s gift to WBZ and WTKK!

It’s astounding to think the former newsroom budget has now likely gone to bail out a sleazy, convicted felon like Tom Finneran. What were Kahn & Company thinking?

Where did you turn for radio news coverage today: WBZ, WTKK, or another station? Leave a comment below.

UPDATE: with major developments breaking on this story in the late hours of the day, it was a great opportunity for news-talk stations to feature live and local programming.

Instead, WRKO was running yet another Celtics game, as the team attempts to achieve 13 losses in a row. Wasn’t this story big enough to warrant dumping sports and going with extra talk programming? Of course it was.

ALSO: I’m covering this in depth over at the Radio Equalizer.

Why Force Talk Stations To Carry Unpopular Teams?

For news-talk fans, it has long been a major annoyance: the tendency by corporate owners to force play-by-play coverage onto local stations, whether or not it’s a good fit for the established audience.

Yes, the Red Sox do generate big ratings, there’s simply no doubt about that. WEEI was built on its game coverage, but more recently, has successfully kept the Celtics, college and third-tier professional teams off of its airwaves. That prevents WEEI’s sports talkers from losing precious airtime.

Getting the short end of the stick is WRKO, which has been saddled with a steadily-increasing amount of audience-killing sports content. And they’re not alone: WBZ has a contract to carry evening Bruins games.

If any of these teams (beyond the Red Sox and Patriots) had a chance in the world of winning a few games, it might not be such an issue. But the Celtics have just blown 12 in a row and only one more consecutive loss will tie a team record.

Meanwhile, the Bruins seem eager to follow their basketball counterparts into the Hall Of Sporting Shame.

News-talk stations are forced to carry these teams because it’s what sales departments demand. Unfamiliar with the challenges of selling controversial political programming, some push for the easy way out. But with these teams performing so poorly, it’s hard to imagine much interest from potential clients.

Given their dismal performance, it could very well now be easier to sell Michael Savage than the Celtics to local business owners.

Finneran Losing Law License

At least for now, convicted felon Tom Finneran will lose his license to practice law, according to the Boston Herald late this afternoon:

BOSTON РFormer House Speaker Tom Finneran’s license to practice law has been temporarily suspended after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying about his role in a redistricting plan that diluted the clout of minority voters.

Constance Vecchione, bar counsel to the state Board of Bar Overseers, said Tuesday that Finneran agreed to a Supreme Judicial Court order issued last week that suspends his law license temporarily.

Vecchione said temporary suspensions are routine following felony convictions. She described it as an interim step that is taken before a final punishment is decided.

Finneran could now request a disciplinary hearing before the Board of Bar Overseers, or he could reach an agreement with the board on how he will be disciplined.

Vecchione said if Finneran requests a hearing, the board would make a recommendation to the Supreme Judicial Court, which would ultimately decide the sanction.

“There’s a lot of possibilities, depending on whether an agreement is reached and how many appeals are taken, Vecchione said.

Remind me again of this guy’s talk radio appeal?

Curt and Todd

Though Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has now made it clear he will not be running against John Kerry anytime soon, WRKO interim mid-morning host Todd Feinberg managed to get a shot in the arm for kicking off the debate.

And funny enough, it was the first instance in recent memory of WRKO actually playing to its strengths, rather than the recent, deadly trend of fighting and undermining its audience.

While generating a rare wave of positive publicity for the station, talk of Schilling running for the US Senate as a Republican was far more in line with what has made WRKO successful in the past than where it has recently been heading.

There’s no doubt you won’t be hearing this kind of sentiment expressed during the “Finneran and X (insert sidekick here) Show”.

At the same time, because Schilling was clearly wrapping up negotiations with the team, WRKO really didn’t go out on a limb with this discussion. Had there been a real threat to the partisan Democrats who own the Red Sox and their favored political regime, Feinberg likely would have been shut down in record time.

Not Interested

We’re hearing that Finneran’s sidekick will most certainly not be Doug “VB” Goudie, as he has apparently signed a new deal to remain with FOX 25’s local morning show.

Hey, why give up the comforts of FOX 25 for a radio show that may not last six months, especially when it would be your job to prop up a novice host?

No matter what WRKO offered VB, this was an easy call.

How Do You Catch Rush And Howie?

Depending on where you live, WRKO isn’t necessary in order to catch Rush Limbaugh and Howie Carr.

From my Cape Cod Bay perch, WRKO is really not an option, whether one likes the station or not. Instead, two choices in this area are WXTK 95 FM from Hyannis, and 560 WGAN-AM out of Portland, which sends a powerful signal across the water.

Both stations feature local news and talk programming. Quite frankly, they sound a great deal better overall than WRKO circa 2007. For one thing, staffed news departments make a huge difference.

What station have you turned to for these shows?

In Denial Regarding Liberalism

Isn’t it funny to see Boston’s dominant political- media establishment types so reluctant to admit to their obviously liberal ideology?

First, we were forced to endure press coverage of the “conservative” Tom Finneran, simply because he’s a moderate on a few social issues. Never mind his efforts to undermine the will of voters on cutting our state’s income tax to 5% and his professed love for Deval Patrick.

Now, we’re to believe WGBH’s Emily Rooney also isn’t on the left, even though it’s clear after mere moments of watching her show. Rooney’s in the news because she will be teamed up with WTKK’s Jay Severin for 30 minutes each Friday during his program.

In today’s Herald, Rooney herself makes the case she could “surprise people”. Then why hasn’t this independent streak emerged on television?

Here, Dan Kennedy backs up Rooney’s silly assertion.

Even if Rooney can successfully make the case that she’s a moderate, or whatever else, her greatest vulnerability is a reputation for defending the stodgiest elements of the mainstream media. That could make her easy prey for Severin’s audience.