By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

DePetro is dismissed

Jessica Heslam reports on the Herald’s Web site that WRKO has canned John DePetro for his idiotic remark about Grace Ross. has the statement from Entercom, ‘RKO’s corporate owner. (Via Hub Politics, which, naturally, is defending DePetro.)

I’m not going to stick up for anyone who goes around calling someone a “fat lesbian” on the air. But the hypocrisy is rank. It should be interesting to hear what Howie Carr says today.

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  1. Anonymous

    This is the same station that airs Michael Savage every weeknight?!?!?!

  2. o-fish-l

    I just received this email response from after informing them of the firing.”Yea, I am pushing the update out right now. He already hired an attorney. This may get ugly.”Dan, I’m curious as to where you see this going. While I know most contracts vary, is there general boilerplate language in all of them covering this stuff? Does DePetro have any chance of prevailing?

  3. Dan Kennedy

    I know virtually nothing about broadcast contracts. My understanding of the way it normally works is that you can be fired for any reason at any time, but the station has to pay off the remainder of your contract.I do see a potential problem for management here — WRKO could be accused of doing a great deal of damage to DePetro’s future employability by essentially labeling him as so homophobic that he had to be fired. I’m sure DePetro’s lawyer will be pointing to Howie, Dennis & Callahan et al. in order to call out management on its obvious double standards.So, yes, I could see how this might get ugly. But please, I’m not a lawyer — I don’t even play one on TV.

  4. Anonymous

    and rush, too.depetro was pretty mild compared to what goes over the air on 850 between 6 an 10, 2 and 6, and 7 and 10. if only jason paid attention to his other ‘station’?the bottom line : they wanted depetro out because he wasn’t likeable enough and was hired by previous regime. the grace f-up was good enough excuse to get him out.dan, where is your stnadard disclosure : i am still bitter and angry at entercom/wrko over losing my briliant saturday night show to new england revlution soccer?

  5. Dan Kennedy

    I did the Saturday gig a grand total of once. I was uncomfortable and didn’t think I did a very good job, and I don’t think management thought I did a very good job, either.

  6. Anonymous

    DanAre you going to try and contact Wolfe about his blatant hypocrisy?

  7. Steve

    I’m sure someone listens to Howie so I don’t have to. So what did he say?And I’ll second anon 3:32’s question – it does seem rather hypocritical to have Howie on the air and can DePetro, but they’re nothing compared to someone like Savage. I’d be interested to hear what Wolfe had to say, if he would comment at all, which he won’t. So my guess is (without knowing the ratings) it’s just a business decision – there are no decency standards for right-wing talkers, it’s just a matter of putting up the numbers.

  8. Anonymous

    >>My understanding of the way it normally works is that you can be fired for any reason at any time, but the station has to pay off the remainder of your contract.<<This all depends on the talent…and how much leverage the talent has when the contract is/was negotiated.Very few have “Iron Clad” guaranteed contracts.Most have some sort of “Morals Claus”…in case you get caught fucking a dog on the street, or molesting your neighbors kid. When the Morals Claus is invokes, the station doesn’t have to pay anything.Quite often contracts have a “negligence” or “gross negligence” clause. What would constitute gross negligence? Swearing on the air in an era of gargantuan FCC fines and crakdowns, etc. maligning some major advertiser, or some other way of affecting their business, and/or their standing in the community.It is usually the stations reesponsibility to prove the negligence. And the talent may contest it in court. Quite often the station might give him a buyout payment to avoid litigation. (i.e…Here’s $15,000…Now GO AWAY!)The station seemed to have embarked on a strategy of (slowly) improving their image as an information station. (So long as it doesn’;t cost them any money, etc.) ;-)I see that Howie Carrhas calmed down…and no longer used the words “HOMO” and “SODOMITES” on the air. And no longer uses the wold howling when the subject of a possible lesbian is used. (I heard he was ‘spoken to’ after a major advertiser (BCBS?) expressed their dismay.) Although I hear him use the David Scondras throat clearing…..

  9. Anonymous

    Amazing how a “conservative” takes responsibility for the way his own actions (making a nasty remark on the air waves) are affected by market forces (his broadcast company fires him) by … hiring a trial lawyer!

  10. Anonymous

    Personaly, I am glad that they fired him. I wish that they would go after Howie Carr for the stupid grunting sound they use after he mentions a gay man. This is far more offensive then calling someone a “fat lesbian!”

  11. Anonymous

    I don’t know if anyone caught Paul Sullivan on Greater Boston. He made what I think is the correct argument. There should be zero tolerance for f**, just as there is for n*****. That is, the mistake was in letting DePetro keep his job after the “matt incident” not in firing him now. Howie Carr should be gone as well. He only serves to embolden neo-phobes like the Margolis brothers.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 8:42: I didn’t see it, but it sounds like Sullivan made an excellent point. But the larger issue remains one of hypocrisy. Howie Carr is simply too talented and too valuable to get rid of, so we all know it’s not going to happen. If management had said of DePetro, “We’re getting rid of him because we’re sick of a guy with zilcho ratings continually getting us in trouble with his careless remarks,” that would be honest. Instead, we get B.S. about how management simply won’t tolerate homophobic remarks, when we know they do every day, not just on WRKO but on WEEI as well.

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