The Globies: Minor League Players?

Yesterday’s release of semi-annual newspaper circulation figures is remarkable for what isn’t included: The Globies anywhere in the top 25.

That’s right, the daily edition is no longer as important as publications in Portland, Oregon, Cleveland, St Petersburg or even Newark, New Jersey. How’s that $1.50 cover price working out?

Oh yes, the “Internet” argument – if that’s going to save The Globies, then why are other publications moving behind pay walls?

Meanwhile, the scrappy Herald is still alive and kicking. The establishment is not amused.

As for the latter paper, “less bad”, meaning a smaller percentage loss in print readers, isn’t good enough. Sunday circulation is especially alarming.

It’s time for Herald ownership/management to meet with readers and determine how to proceed from here.


Herald Ambushes The Felon, Other Boston Media Silent

The same Hub media outlets that were positively giddy in covering the fishy suspension of Howie Carr last week are silent as one of their oldest friends, Felon Tom Finneran, is under fire for calling Carr producer Nancy Shack a whale on the air.

But that’s not discouraging the Herald from doggedly pursuing the former Democratic House speaker, right down to a Guest Street car park ambush earlier today. Photographer Mark Garfinkel (who took the above picture) and reporter Jessica Heslam were waiting as the sleazemeister headed to his vehicle.

And what does The Felon have to say for himself? Almost nothing.

Clearly, Entercom’s lawyers are running this show. What’s next for Carr’s camp?

Even For Dysfunctional Entercom, This Is Unbelievable

We already know that Entercom (NYSE:ETM) is notoriously dysfunctional, placing managerial ego ahead of ratings and profit, to the point where looking frankly silly in public is disregarded.

But with Howie Carr mysteriously under suspension (for doing absolutely nothing wrong that we can tell) while Tom “Jumping Whale” Finneran remains on the air, the latest situation clearly tops them all.

True to form, the company is up to its usual tricks: employing PR flakmeister George Regan (doesn’t he host a show on a competing station?) to deflect unpleasant media questions, keeping the Herald at bay while The (senile) Globies ignore the matter altogether.

Yesterday, “former co-host” Wendy Murphy was brought in to defend The Felon for reasons that seem transparently self-serving. Looking to return to WRKO, Wendy?

But today, onetime Green / Rainbow gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross (once the target of a now-former WRKO host’s weight-related dig) is speaking out and isn’t backing the station.

The bottom line:

1) the ball is in Nancy “Sandy” Shack’s (Howie’s producer who was the object of Finneran’s pathetic personal dig) court. She can’t expect the company to help her, only a legal team can get the attention of Entercom, otherwise, they will laugh this off.

2) A decent gentleman wouldn’t wait to be compelled by the company to apologize, he would do so on his own. Only a moron treats women that way. Thanks, Felon, for making your true nature clear for all to see.

WRKO’s Implosion Has Only Just Begun

*** BREAKING ***

Faster than outsiders have been aware, WRKO’s internal situation is rapidly imploding. It’s now so bad that staffers favored by management have taken to taunting others in the building, with this caught-on-tape example as Exhibit A:

Here, The Felon is clearly heard making a reference to Howie Carr producer Nancy “Sandy” Shack’s weight, with a tie-in to “click on the jumping whale”, a slogan used in an ad they’ve recently been reading live on the air.

Amazingly, it was CARR who was suspended later in the day, NOT THE FELON!

Nancy had better be careful, Entercom will load up on lawyers as it always does and turn her into the evil-doer.

Short of a quick change of ownership and management, WRKO is absolutely beyond help at this point.

WRKO Yanks Carr Off The Air

With their station near death, WRKO managers have decided to pin the blame on Howie Carr, absolutely the only thing keeping what’s left of 680 AM afloat (other than perhaps Michael Savage, speaking from a ratings perspective).

They’ve apparently decided to yank him from the airwaves for a week, simply because thin-skinned, bitter, failed executives hope to shift blame away from their collapsing operation. From The Globies late this evening:

Conservative talk radio host Howie Carr of WRKO 680 AM has been suspended for a week, effective Friday, for publicly and repeatedly using his program to bad-mouth the station, a company executive said.

Julie Kahn, vice president and marketing manager for Entercom Boston, which owns the station, said Carr’s behavior toward his employer has become increasingly caustic and intolerable.

‘‘His behavior and his anger at the company is unacceptable because he denigrates the company, the medium, the station, the signal, and he’s a highly, highly, highly paid employee,’’ she said.

She declined to comment publicly on the exact trigger for the suspension, or its terms.

But a source with knowledge of the situation said the contretemps with Carr, which dates back to a bitter contract dispute in 2007, has escalated markedly in recent weeks and included verbal attacks on station managers.

(The Globies later added a second version of the story to their site)

Attacks on station managers? SO WHAT! What about ratings and revenue?

Or the other affiliates that carry Howie’s show throughout New England?

This is beyond pathetic, first, from the standpoint that The Empress, Coffee Boy and other corporate suits could still have their jobs after destroying Entercom’s (NYSE:ETM) Boston cluster, but also to think that the one person they choose to punish is their remaining lifeline to solvency.

Howie needs to find a new home and fast. WRKO is finished.

For their part, WXTK-FM, WGAN and the other Howie affiliates had better start thinking about a Plan B, another show to fill the slot, as I don’t believe Carr’s will be airing there much longer.

Obliterating Entercom’s Rush Excuses

So much for Entercom’s claim that it doesn’t need Rush Limbaugh- just look at what El Rushbo just did for a composer who’s been dead since 1977!

An album by Waldo de los Rios, a long-forgotten Argentine composer, has rocketed up the charts today thanks to the airing of a brief selection during Rush’s show yesterday and subsequent mention today. It’s now in first place at Amazon, ahead of new releases by Jimi Hendrix and Sade.

This underscores the power of effective talk radio (not the garbage WRKO airs based on who has curried favor with local management). Besides Oprah, who else could pull this off?

If Entercom (NYSE:ETM) couldn’t sell Limbaugh’s program, that’s a reflection of weak sales management, not a problem with Rush himself. The pathetic excuses simply don’t hold water.

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