Entercom’s Propaganda Campaign

In an attempt to neutralize their company’s battered reputation, Entercom insiders are working overtime to publicize a new survey which ranks the firm among the country’s “most trustworthy” corporations.

Of course, what they’re not pointing out is that the survey, published in the latest issue of Forbes, is based on the rather mundane issue of accounting transparency.

Great job, guys, those quarterly reports are always filed on time! Your shareholders thank you for that.

Of course, what it didn’t look at was the company’s dismal recent track record, which includes a listener contest that killed a young mother, a major payola bust in New York State and its peculiar habit of hiring felons (Tommy Tune Out, WRKO) and other employees who would later be accused of murder (a now- fired WWL host) and insurance fraud (a now- former KIRO/ Seattle talker).

Recently, a rival firm even accused Entercom of functioning as “a criminal enterprise.” Here at SaveWRKO, we have previously covered all of these points.

In this highly selective memo sent to employees today, however, Entercom / Boston has encouraged them to spread the word:

Great News! Entercom is at the top of the list of “America’s Most Trustworthy Companies” as reported by Forbes this week. Let’s take full advantage and make it a headline in all your communications as it brilliantly reinforces our differentiation and positioning.

America’s Most Trustworthy Media Companies:

Entercom, Hearst-Argyle, Playboy and Washington Post are on the list of the 100 American companies that show the highest degree of “fair dealing to stakeholders,” according to Audit Integrity, an independent Los Angeles firm that does research on corporate governance best practice.

Congratulations to all of us!

If Entercom expects us to forget all of these recent flaps simply because it hires well-regarded accountants, it must really believe the public is stupid.

Celtics Deadweight Moving To WEEI

With the team’s horrible record this year, it’s a wonder why any station would want to carry Celtics games. Nonetheless, coverage moving to WEEI is a tiny victory for WRKO’s remaining listeners.

Here’s the release:

Boston Celtics Broadcasts Moving to WEEI

Celtics Games to make switch from WRKO beginning with the 2007-2008 season

BOSTON (March 28, 2007) ‚Äì The Boston Celtics and Entercom Boston announced today that they will move the broadcasts of Celtics games from Boston’s Talk Station, AM 680 WRKO to Sportsradio 850 WEEI beginning with the 2007-2008 season through the term of the current agreement. For the past two seasons Celtics games have been broadcast on WRKO.

“While we have enjoyed a fantastic partnership with WRKO, we couldn’t be more pleased about moving our broadcasts to WEEI,” said Rich Gotham Celtics Chief Operating Officer. “WEEI is the number one sports talk station in the country and provides an ideal flagship for both our game broadcasts and Celtics talk for our loyal fans.”

Both Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell are expected to remain as the play-by-play team. Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and Head Coach Doc Rivers will continue to make their weekly appearances on WEEI during the season. In addition, the Celtics and Entercom will continue to promote the team’s games across Entercom Boston’s network of stations including WRKO and WAAF and the WEEI New England Network made up of WEEI FM 103.7 in Providence, WVEI 1440 AM in Worcester, and WVEI FM 105.5 FM in Springfield will serve as regional affiliates of the broadcasts.

“I’m very excited about the return of the Celtics to WEEI,” Jason Wolfe said, Entercom Boston Vice President of AM Programming. “We have developed an outstanding partnership with the team over the last two years on WRKO and I’m looking forward to continuing that great work next year and in the years to come.”

Undermining Howie

Nothing fills up my email inbox faster than the panicked notes that arrive whenever Rush Limbaugh and Howie Carr have been pre-empted for sports coverage.

Initially, it appeared these changes were part of a calculated business decision to maximize revenues from recently-added sports coverage.

Now, however, longstanding suspicions that these moves are part of a ideologically-based campaign to undermine WRKO’s conservative image have been reinforced.

Case in point: yesterday afternoon, when WRKO broke away for sports coverage, it also cut Howie’s show from its Internet streaming.

According to several Radio-Info.com posters, the station instead streamed network programming featuring Keith Olbermann, of all people. In addition, this isn’t the first time it has happened, they say.

Empress Kahn has made it more than clear that because Howie doesn’t fit her own political ideology, she intends to make his life as difficult as possible. Ratings and revenue be damned!

Meanwhile, while WRKO implodes, the competition must be thrilled!

Trouble Generating Calls?

Is Tom Finneran still having trouble generating calls? Here at SaveWRKO headquarters, that’s what we’re hearing.

While there is generally no direct, short- term correlation between call volume and the number of people listening to a talk show, in the long run, a lack of public participation can reflect badly on the host.

By now, Tommy Tune Out has had quite enough time to establish an audience bond and heavier call volume ought to be one result of that.

In addition, his show is heard during primetime hours, usually the easiest time to generate them.

Is this a reflection of the show’s failure to catch on with WRKO’s listeners? We’ll deal with that in a subsequent post.

The Sales Game

One reason why many of us on the programming and content side of radio could never survive in the sales department is that even when the product on offer is substandard, one must put on a happy face.

Those of us used to shooting off our mouths for a living probably wouldn’t be able to hold back our disgust when compelled to sell the likes of Tommy Tune Out.

As it’s a job requirement, therefore, I’m not terribly surprised to hear that some of WRKO’s salespeople are still talking up Tune Out inside Shoe Central’s well-balanced hallways.

How do they feel in private, however? That’s where the real truth comes out. Get a few of these guys into a corporate event with a hosted bar and it should be fun to hear them let loose.

In the meantime, pro-Tommy talk in the corridors is little more than sucking up to Kahn’s ruthless regime.

Howie Bashing Tommy Tune Out In Promos

Though he probably wouldn’t get away with it on WRKO, outside of Boston, Howie Carr is actively utilizing Tommy Tune Out as an on-air punching bag.

According to radio insider Bob Nelson, a frequent SaveWRKO comment poster, Carr is having a bit of fun at Finneran’s expense:

Listening to Howie on WCRN due to Sox being on ‘RKO and there’s a pre-recorded liner by him saying “You’re listening to Felon Free Radio, WCRN Worcester”

In addition, there’s an extended discussion just below his comment. See it here.