Could Howie Leave WRKO Sooner Than Expected?

It’s no secret that Howie Carr’s career now depends on how fast he can successfully bolt WRKO’s sinking ship. With Rush Limbaugh now gone, Howie hosts the only remaining program of significance on the station, especially from a sales standpoint. When he departs, it’s officially over.

There are at least two scenarios (potentially more) that could have Carr out of WRKO sooner than anyone would expect:

— Contractual language that now allows him to leave: is Howie guaranteed a timeslot “adjacent to Rush Limbaugh”? That or any similar wording used as a safety measure to keep Entercom from banishing him to midnight could be key to a case for departure. This would be a good time to take a second look at the agreement (which I suspect he’s doing now).

— Entercom simply allows Howie to walk and folds up WRKO’s tent: it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. Without Rush, revenue opportunities are limited and the station may now be operating at a loss. We already know the far-left Field family dislikes talk radio very much (they’ve already run almost all of their talk stations into the ground). So there’s certainly no passion for the format that would overcome the bottom line.

For the sake of his future, I don’t think Howie can afford to wait for WRKO and Entercom to sink. He’s got to find a way out now and it may be easier to escape than is commonly believed.

Carr image: Boston Herald


55 thoughts on “Could Howie Leave WRKO Sooner Than Expected?

  1. As GBH posted elsewhere Howie was seen entering and leaving the Greater Media Headquarters in Braintree last week when he was supposedly in Flroida.

    In truth it was a strategy session with Greater Media head honcho, Peter Smyth regarding taking Carr’s show to WTKK.

    Entercom/WRKO had violated Carr’s contract by taking

    Rushbo out of the mix. This gave Carr a reason to walk but unlike the last time when he showed his cards too soon Howie is playing this move close to the vest.

    He will be gone from WRKO by this summer.

    WRKO is a disaster and Entercom is trying to tidy up the mess so it can dump the frequency to some unsuspecting fools. Look for another foreign language religious fundamentalists to sign a P&S by fall.

  2. Dear Brian:

    Due to the fact that I am very busy working in broadcasting I don’t have the time to pick apart your last two posts the way I would like as they may be the most inane commentary you have pumped out in years.

    I will say your analysis of Charlie Mannings show clearly illistrrates you have no idea what you are talking about and you are still hung up on the fact that your audition for an RKO talk host position was so poor that not only did that not consider you for the 9a-12noon slot you wern’t even considered for one of the several Saturday shows that were available.

    Todays post shows that in addition to grinding an ax against RKO programming you are clueless on how the staton is sold to to ad clients or a basic understanding of how talent contracts are structured.

    Iwill try and find some time this weekend to pick apart your latest posts piece by piece. Untill then, I look forward to your man crush like posts about the drug addicted windbag and the usual vapid analysis of the local talk radio landscape.

  3. Anti-BRAIN…

    You continue to prove you’re the one who’s clueless!

    Your left-wing hateful bias and your demonstrated contempt toward anything or anyone Conservative has become a virtual comedy routine and oh-so predictable. And if you’re busy working in broadcasting, it’s got to be on the slimy sales end of the business. No wonder you’re a loser.

    You’re a liberal, and you’ve got to live with the fact that NOBODY likes you. Is that what makes you angry?? A poor misunderstood, liberal with a chip on his shoulder…that’s you. What will you do when the Conservatives win the next few elections??

    Blame Bush?? You idiot!

  4. Bob:

    You may disagree with Anti-Brian’s POV, but he didn’t introduce anything liberal into his post. Are you a mind reader? Take a Xanax and a deep breath; don’t undermine solid conservative arguments by introducing the liberal boogeyman. Let the other side do that.

    As to the latest post itself, theory 1 is ludicrous. Theory 2 is possible I suppose, but based on what I hear is not imminent.

    Short of option two, Howie will be at WRKO for a good long time. In fact, I suspect he’ll be there longer than five years from the day his contract started despite his juvenile (but entertaining) rhetoric. What will all the Howie sycophants do when they realize that the Emporor (or Cap’n – hah) has no clothes?

    Do not for a minute think that Brian offers an objective view of the radio landscape. He’s been grinding his ax for so long that the blade is down to nearly nothing. Sometimes, particularly when he talks about program content, he has some really good things to say. As soon as he starts talking about sales and management his limitations are laid bare for anyone who has worked in those areas (other than Delilah, who like Brian, did not succeed at WRKO). Perhaps it sounds good to otherwise intelligent people who do not have industry experience, but just as I would not walk into a paper mill and think I can tell Bob Kraft what he should do, nor should others think that because they listen to the radio (or even talk on it in the case of some) that they know what the right business decisions are. Do WRKO and WTKK make mistakes? Sure they do – maybe more than they should sometimes, but both stations and companies are run by individuals who have had tremendous success in the business. These people know more about the radio business than the listeners do. Case in point – you all are not the customers, you are the product. Chew on that one for a while.

  5. As noted before, Howie was seen at the Greater Media Headquarters in Braintree with head honcho, Peter Smyth, last week while Howie was allegedly on Vacation in Palm Beach.

    However, unlike Howie’s fiasco a year or so ago he is playing this one very close to the vest and not showing his cards.

    Expect Carr to stay at WRKO until the end of the Spring rating book – take the summer off – and show up at WTKK in September to kick off their Fall book.

    As to Time-Slot – Severin will move to 6-10 and the “Screech-Walker” Michelle McPhee will do 10-Midnight.

    WRKO will be sold by then by Entercom to a Fundamentalist Spanish religious group who will broker airtime.

    By by, Felon Finneran, Todd “I am not Jewish” Feinburg. Charlie Manning don’t give up your consulting job.

  6. Howie will be gone the day his contract is done. simple as that.

    when is that exactly? nobody on here has the date. i’ve been told a year and a half and that he’s already been negotiating with the new talk station as well to do mornings over there.

    just give it time.

  7. He renewed for five years (against his will) in 2007. It was in July of that year that it was said he’d jump to WTKK when his RKO contract expired in Sept. (I remember I had just gotten back from a cartoon convention in Pitt. and saw the news online about Howie jumping). Howie’s last day on RKO was to be 9/19/07 and he was said to be starting on TKK on 10/1/07. A couple days before the 19th he gave an interview to Ch 4 where he talked about looking forward to the new show and new hours.

    Judge said no. He was off air for 2 months and

    got back on by mid-November of ’07. I don’t know exactly when contract expires but I’d say fall of ’12.

    “A year and a half” for now is still one year shy of his contract ending. 2.5 years. Nathan’s posts sound tongue in cheek..

    Haven’t heard too much of Manning’s show, but I’d expect it to be on at least till the end of this year what with the elections. I’m guessing Wolfe saw his options as either go syndie with something like Boortz or D. Miller, or go local and counter Rush (1200) and Graham/Severin (96.9) with local content. They will sell ads. Whether it gets ratings, who knows. I also wonder if the laying off of Pete Sheppard from

    WEEI could be because Wolfe knew Rush might/would be gone and they prob would need money for a local host…Manning as it turns out.

    In the case of WXKS I don’t know what kind of ratings they’ll get but CC/Premiere and their advertisers and no doubt satisfied knowing their spots are placed. It will place higher than the prog talk they used to run. It may not be as high as RKO or TKK–if they get a 1.5 they’d be lucky–but they’ll get the ads run.

  8. I have to disagree that WRKO will sell a lot of ads for Charlie Manning’s show. UNLESS charlie has some connections in the business world that could lead to some big sponsorships.

    Thats why they brought the felon in…he brought with him a 1 million dollar ad buy from Mass Department of Economic development. And thats why they keep him around.

    95% of mid-day ads will be given away cheap or free for those spending on Howie.

  9. Brian,

    WRKO was paying a fee to run Rush, and the magical “ad revenue” that you speak of was not there.

    While you claim to have insight and thought provoking analysis of the Boston radio market, you repeatedly fail to mention that the Tom And Todd Show is doing extraordinarily well in the ratings.

    It is true that you auditioned for a slot at WRKO, and your shtick of “No Baloney Maloney” just didn’t make the cut.

    So, blog about your short comings at the expense of someone else. You are no longer invited on O’Reilly because your last appearance was dreadful.

    You’ve been saying that the Field family is going to shut down WRKO for about two years now, with no substantial evidence.

  10. I thought WXKS was 1430AM?

    1430 used to play the old-oldies and then it went Airhead America for a while, and then it went Spanish.

  11. There is no way WRKO lets Howie walk. Why are we talking howie leaving early to go on WTTK FM. IHe has 2.5 years left, If he does,I hope it is 2-6pm. The only reason RKO does let him go, if WTTK picks up 100% of his salary. then they can sell the station. It is a shame the once powerhouse RKO died a slow death. I was also wondering how julie and Jason allow Howie to direct his listeners to the Worcester station. can’t WRKO advertisers ask for a pro rated ad rate?

  12. They switched call letters on March 1. When the original want ad went out 3 months ago (“Clear Channel is looking for someone to sell ad time on WXKS AM 1200, experience in new(s) talk a plus”)

    we said, wait, WXKS is 1430. They decided to

    switch the calls. WKOX is now at 1430.

    re: ads on Manning–well they may not sell many ads, but some will be sold. If they went syndie they’d prob have some sort of arrangement like what they do with Laura: they get to run it as long as they run THEIR ads at some point. The idea Wolfe had was that maybe getting local content would help get

    some local advertisers.

  13. President Infomercial –

    Nope, looks like you are the ONLY one who is surprised that Avi Nelson got passed over for the 12 – 3 slot.

    Listening to Avi fill in for Howie is like listening to a funeral home director explaining pre-planned funeral arrangements. I’m sure Avi is a wonderful man but his “Droopy Dog” delivery puts me to sleep every time. He is highly intelligent and well informed but on-air he is as dry as toast.

  14. Howie’s options are very limited. There is zero chance of another ABC/SuperRadio deal, he says he hates AM radio and crappy signals which would be hard for him to back away from IF WXKS AM were to offer him afternoon drive in 2.5 years, and we have to wonder if 96.9 will survive long enough for him to get there. WRKO is terminal and an organ donor, WTTK is hoping they are at the top of the transplant list for Howie’s brain.

    Does anyone know the cost of a ISDN line from West Palm to Braintree, or know where there is a Comrex Matrix box hanging around?

  15. Indeed it’s unlikely Howie would get to walk away from RKO before end of his contract. btw call letters of 96.9 are WTKK not WTTK (which was one of 100.7’s calls at one point)

    Maybe if CC could pick up another FM in town and put Rush radio there…IF. You never know though. A few yrs ago would anyone have predicted WCRB would be bought by WGBH, for example?

    Howie himself would want morning drive. I hope he stays in afternoons too though.

    I like Avi myself but agree it’s a sleepier voice.

    These days talk radio wants something a bit perkier. Hannity, Beck, and hosts like Savage or Levin who can go fairly quickly from conversational to SHOUTING!!! Those who want NPR style decorum may wish to try…NPR

    (or maybe some libtalk)

  16. John,

    Although I do not know the Tom and Todd Show ratings, I have actually come to like the show. They were talking this morning about how a woman was tweeting and had on online video while she was having an abortion and how wrong it was. It was actually good talk radio.

  17. Bob,

    I am touched that you spent the 30 minutes you get to use in the computer in the living facilities day room to respond to my post.

    FYI, back in the day when I was working as paid political staffer, I worked for Rep. Phil Crane of Illinois ( use Thursdays time to look him up) along with running several Massachusetts Republican statewide races, I served in the administration of one of our Republican Governors and worked as the Deputy Metropolitan Field Director for Mitt Romney. I am a moderate but I have never been called a liberal.

    Oh and I work in news management not sales. But the sales people are the hardest working people in the industry.

    If Howie Carr was talking to Greater Media do you really think he would drive over to Media Row for a “meeting” If talks were going on they would be between Smyth and Howies agent and any meetings would be held in out of the way locations not in the GM’s office or conference room. The guy you saw entering the GM building was not Howie it was jsut another out of shape middle aged white guy on his way into the lobby to pick up a KLB bumper sticker for his Forf Focus.

    Finally thank you John and Ad Man for adding some common sense to this blog

  18. Avi isn’t bad. Compared to Col. David Hunt, I’d listen to ANYBODY.

    oh, and thanks for the info about WXKS, raccoon.

  19. Interesting……I tried posting earlier today from my office.

    I think one was re: Avi Nelson, and I agreed w/Mr. Prez.

    One was agreeing w/Anti Brian re: Brian’s ax grinding.

    Another was re: why none of my posts were popping up here.

    I posted on other sites/blogs without any problem today. I was thinking I got banned from here, although I couldn’t understand why. Worried I somehow offended a thin-skinned fellow poster. Believe it or not, I have been banned in the past. And not my screen name- no my IP address. Which denies me access to even VIEW what’s on a site. That’s thin skinned.

  20. “I work in news management.” So. Are these the people who simply read newspapers and ‘create’ their content that way? That must be taxing work (roll eyes).

  21. Even Bob Grant’s wig looks better than that shim-raised, dislocated, oversized yarmulke-like thing atop Michael Graham’s head. Is that hovering thing ready for lift-off yet?

    Was Graham allowed to wear it while jailed, unlike Buddy Cianci?

  22. Pirate- I have been blocked from time to time as well. I think Briam or one of the twins who help run his site and Hub Politics like to try and show us who is boss now and then

    Everyone is assuming that Avi wants a fulltime gig. He told me the last time I saw him that WTKK stoped calling him for fill in work because he said no to several offers to be a regular substitute. He likes doing radio but at this stage of his life (BTW he has enough money that he doesn’t have to work) he enjoys radio on a semi regular basis.

    Chris I have told you what i do for a living what kind of work do you do? And yes I have been in the business for almost 30 years to a management level position more than 15 years ago. Sorry if that bothers you.

  23. Doc: Here’s a visual for you……get an image of that foolish looking pic of Graham the Cracker the Herald uses in your head… it? Now imagine a mini whirly-gig planted on top of him dome. Funny visual!

    Anti: Yeah, I guess Brian or someone from his posse felt I needed a litte smack down. Relax, Bri, your the boss, big daddy, okay?

    What a dope I am. For some reason it never occured to me Avi might not WANT anything more than what he has/does. Why does he never appear to age? He’s looked the same for years…..and years……and

  24. Anti-Brain,

    I’ll tell you, most of us here can’t wait for you to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to think up some witty rejoinders and post them here.

    Or better still, climb up on the tower of the radio station that you imagine that you work at and take a flying leap.

  25. This is a great site. Juist want you all to know thiss- I have the highest TSL (Time Spent Listening) in all of Boston radio for December book – one and one half hours and I think the show did a .4 to a .5 which beat TKK and most everybody else in the 35+. So why not write a column about that? This is an infomercial basically with no producer, board, intern, researcher or sidekick.

  26. raccoon, this morning at 6am again I heard the “laura ingraham weekdays at 10 followed by Charlie Manning” ad, something is brewing at RKO.

    Bill Kelly, you may have the highest TSL but it doesn’t mean people are actually listening, a lot of people have the radio on as background noise. Your program is not live for three hours, the ads are the same ads from when your program first started, “stockbrokers ordered a bunch” etc. etc. etc. it’s old, the same with the testimonials, they’re old, same old stuff over and over again. More people would listen if you got some new material. Just saying……..

  27. I have wondered about Laura Ingraham NOT being with Tom and Tod on Friday mornings anymore, unless I miss it. Anyway, I also like T & T, they have a good give and take, and they do make me laugh on many mornings. I must have missed the ad for Laura’s show not that it really matters. BTW, welcome back Pirate!

  28. Howie has masterfully used his resentment about RKO enforcing his contract (which he didn’t read before signing) as an excuse to put as little effort into his show as possible. When Howie makes the effort to be interesting, he is very good. However 90% of the time his program is boring and predictable. The program has now devolved into boring calls from Mainers and meaningless chit chat with Sandy. He complains, but I think Howie is very happy to cash his paycheck for his half hearted effort on the air and would not like to see it change. Most of Howie’s fans on this site vastly overrate his value to another radio station in the Boston market.

  29. Agreed on the senior safe money spot.

    There’s also a spot running on WRKO where a woman says the word “the” instead of “then” (given context of what’s said ‘then’ is prob the word she was supposed to say).

    I wondered if there was a typo in her script and she never caught it..?

  30. Medic: Well thanks, mate, for noticing. Seems I was tossed off the ship, left for whale bait. Apparently all the killer whales are no longer in the ocean, Sea World is training them, and (lucky for me) I survived.

    But I’m still a bit uneasy…..the 15th of the month is right around the corner…..beware!

  31. Jason Wolfe notices the ranting man at the House podium, turns off the TV, and smiles. WRKO has found its new host. Starting in January: The

    Patrick Kennedy show.

  32. LOL raccoon, on patches, afternoon drive to take Howie’s place so he can get out of his contract early! Perfect! All whackos all the time, tune in to WRKO!

  33. BILL KELLY – get off WRKO…they are going down and will soon be selling paid programming during the week. they should be paying you to be on their station. Kinda sad to say, but you have one of the best shows on the station for their demographic!

  34. raccoon:

    Does patches have a felony conviction? He might not be eligible for employment at RKO. Haven’t they reached their quota of non felons?

    If patches is a convicted felon, disregard the above.

  35. Howie just had his daily live commercial spot with Barry Armstrong of Money Matters and Howie absolutely ripped Entercom.

    Barry told Howie that, after examining some of the offerings in the Entercom employee investment plans, there were many questionable and potentially financially dangerous choices available. Howie replied that he didn’t participate in the Entercom plan because he had hopes of “working for a real company again someday”. When Barry outlined the danger of one of the investments, Howie said “at least it’s not as bad as investing in Entercom stock” (not an exact quote).

    I makes me laugh but I am amazed that he is able to make these kinds of comments about Entercom. Keep laying it on thick, Howie.

  36. Bill,

    I have caught a few minutes of your Sunday show and even heard more when you did some sort of overnight general interest program and all I can say it is not my cup of tea but if you buy the time you can do the the crime.

    TSL for a Sunday morning show is a non factor since the time spent listening out of home during that time is so small and that particularl daypart is the smallest during daytime hours.

    Back when they were playing adult standards WXKS AM 1430 had the highest TSL in the market. It really didn’t matter becasue the demo was 45+ and the cume was at best a 1.7. The only thing the high TSL ment was that the nursing home only had to buy a few spots to reach the total audience.

    a high TSL at 8:00am on a Monday is something to brag about. A high TSL on a Sunday morning is not that big of a whop.

    What is your 18-34 aqh during that time Bill?

  37. Thanks Babara. I never listen to RKO on the weekends. My mistake. The out of home listening on a Saturday is higher but not by a huge number.

  38. On March 10th, 2010 at 9:51 pm, Bill Kelly wrote:

    “This is a great site. Just want you all to know this- I have the highest TSL (Time Spent Listening) in all of Boston …So why not write a column about that? This is an infomercial basically with no producer, board, intern, researcher or sidekick.

    Hi Bill,

    Nice to see your comments. I have been listening to your show for the (?) two years it’s been on, and posted some prior comments about it to this site. I even remember your short-lived early Sunday AM call-in talk show. I was gratified to see some additional comments about the show on this thread. In particular, the real Barbara wrote:

    “Bill Kelly, you may have the highest TSL but it doesn’t mean people are actually listening, a lot of people have the radio on as background noise. Your program is not live for three hours, the ads are the same ads from when your program first started, “stockbrokers ordered a bunch” etc. etc. etc. it’s old, the same with the testimonials, they’re old, same old stuff over and over again. More people would listen if you got some new material. Just saying……..’

    I’m surprised she listened that closely, LOL. I do note that you intersperse some changing contemporaneous editorial commentary in your broadcasts that make them more timely than other infomercials. Furthermore, while I listen to talk radio almost all day long, it indeed often is a background noise. But as one who virtually tells time of day and day of week by what’s on the radio, your “background noise” to me says a pleasant Saturday morning with a whole weekend looming before me.

  39. Not only was there dead air but they were playing the WSJ out of sink………at around 7:45am the replay was saying it’s 15 past the hour…….what a bunch of amateurs at RKO.

  40. Howie doesn’t call WRKO zombie radio for nothin!

    I had a chance to listen to the last few minutes of Charlie Manning’s show Tuesday.

    Firstly, it was ponderous.

    I didn’t hear too many “umms”, “ahhs”, etc. ; but I did wonder if I was listening to an episode of queer eye for the straight guy!

    If he’s WRKO’s best choice for 12-3, the ship is gonna’ sink quicker that I thought.


  41. toukonfan, you didn’t miss anything, trust me. You must have tuned in when manning was running out of steam, he does a lot of the um’s and ah’s, it’s quite unnerving hearing this from someone who’s supposed to be a radio professional. Has the guy done radio before? Does he not realized that saying um and ah makes him sound stupid? I used to work with a woman who started every sentence with Um, she spoke like that in person and over the phone, she came across as a nitwit.

    Ok, we’re about two minutes into charlie manning’s show and he’s already said ah twice talking about tim cahill.

  42. Thanks for all of the comments, you are all intense fans or you would not be so passionate. Talk radio is the last vestige of true democracy in the world and you are all very serious about it. In about three years I will sell the infomercial and have a real show. Right now I have to pay the bills. Then, I will need all of your input and will gladly welcome you all on the air. You are all very forgiving and also very astute which means you are talk radio people!

    Bill Kelly

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