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

Has Howie surrendered?

The trade publication All Access reports that the Howie Carr will return to WRKO (AM 680), an admission of defeat following the courts’ refusal to let him jump to WTKK (96.9 FM) in violation of a provision in his now-expired contract. Brian Maloney of Save WRKO and Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald have the details.

Maloney thinks Carr has been “humiliated.” I disagree. But it is an admission on his part that he got incredibly bad advice in his attempt to shift to ‘TKK’s morning drive. As “Amusedbutinformedobserver” correctly points out, if Carr had simply let his contract with ‘RKO run out, he could then have done anything he liked. Instead, the shift to ‘TKK was announced while he was still under contract, and a provision that allowed ‘RKO to match any other offer kicked in, to his detriment.

It looks like Boston radio could soon be back to the same as it ever was. I’d guess ‘TKK will return to its previous schedule by picking up the new Imus show for morning drive and moving Michael Graham to a shift where no one will run the risk of actually hearing him.

About the only change in the offing is for the worse — Imus’ loathsome former sidekick, Bernard McGuirk, remains at large, and could wind up at WRKO.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


A better


Pay for play


  1. Anonymous

    So much for the politically-connected “superlawyers” at Mintz-Levin. It would appear Howie got some really bad advice..

  2. Anonymous

    Actually, Howie could not have “simply let his contract with ‘RKO run out [and] then have done anything he liked.” As written, the right-to-match provision was in effect for 180 days after the termination of Howie’s employment contract. This was one of the provisions — along with the covenant not to compete — that J. van Gestel struck down. Thus, in July, when Howie reached the deal with WTKK, WRKO had the right to match until March 19, 2008.Those (including J. van Gestel) who say that Howie simply needed to wait until Sept. 19 to contract with WTKK presuppose the following: Howie, in July, should have predicted that the Court, in September, would invalidate the postemployment portion of the right-to-match provision, so that this right would expire on Sept. 19, not March 19. This logic may very well hold up on appeal, but the options available to Howie back in July were not as clear cut as is now being reported.

  3. Anonymous

    Don’t buy that McGuirk/WRKO stuff. That was invented by Heslam and Maloney who combined are a few cards short of a deck (though they are a couple of jokers).

  4. Anonymous

    To the first anonymous, sometimes a lawyer has an ass for a client, and tries to make the best argument he can for what the client wants. We’ll never know what advice Mintz Levin gave to Carr, so I wouldn’t blame them for what has transpired.–raj

  5. Frank

    Regardless of the office politics, I’ll be glad to have Howie back on the air. Having Bernie replace Tommy-Taxes would be a great move…Dan York has beenkeeping me amused…It is time for him to move to a big pond.

  6. Bill Toscano

    Oh, hey, on a related topic, I started a new job yesterday, which will give me — if I choose — a half-hour of Scott-o every morning.He’s been wading right in. His first show, a Friday night, included at least one Congress member and got pretty hot and heavy at points.

  7. Anonymous

    raj,good point but lawyers are allowed to quit if their client wants to lead a march off a cliff, are they not? Sure hope Cameron Kerry didn’t say “trust me”…

  8. Sean Roche

    I don’t really believe McGuirk is much of a likely presence in Boston. He used to fill in on ‘TKK every once in a while. Whatever appeal he had as Imus’s sidekick is completely lost in translation to lead. (And, I happen to think he’s a comic genius. Offensive, but hilarious.)As a host, he’s terrible. If he gets Finneran’s slot, he won’t last a quarter. Ratings will plummet.

  9. Anonymous

    Mr. Carr, may I suggest a large side order of humble pie and perhaps with some crow compote with that plate of full belly clams?? Happy!!! Come on … is Ted Knight in the house??!!!

  10. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    I think Anonymous 5:17 fails to recognize that by not waiting until after Sept. 19, Carr blew any chance he had of claiming that Entercom did not have the legal right to match his contract following its expiration; he put things in play too early — while he was still under contract, triggering the right to renew while his deal was in effect thus rendering a challenge to Entercom’s post-expiration rights moot.Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the death watch in Wingo Square. Five will get you ten the Herald won’t make the next gubernatorial inauguration. What will Howie do?

  11. amusedbutinformedobserver

    P.S. Greater Media’s decision to throw in the towel during Red Sox negotiations is instructive — here is a company that knows when to fold ’em.

  12. Aaron Read

    What I find consistently remarkable here is how LITTLE attention is being paid to the fact that WRKO is an AM signal vs. WTKK being an FM signal. By which I mean in regard to Entercom’s right to “match” WTKK’s offer.This aspect was often noted by radio geeks on the message boards when the flare-up first happened but I have yet to see any mention of it in the MSM or any court reports.Similarly, no mention that Howie gets pre-empted for an hour every time the Sox are on WRKO, which means he loses an hour of his show usually three or four times a week.I suppose there’s an argument to be made that a big radio station is a big radio station, and that the average listener does not much distinguish between AM and FM as long as they can get the signal in their car with a minimum of fiddling. But on the other head, Imus made a huge deal out of his jump to WTKK several years ago; I distinctly remember the “Now you hear me when you drive under a bridge” line bandied about quite a bit. And with the explosion of small electronic devices (and their chargers) in recent years, the AM band has taken a real hit in signal quality as the “noise floor” gets louder and louder. This admittedly is something really only radio geeks understand…but I think many Average Joe listeners have probably noticed that AM stations (even big signals like WRKO) are slowly getting harder and harder to tune in.And certainly even Average Joe’s understand that AM just doesn’t “sound as good” as FM, period.Seemingly the FM advantage of WTKK would be a provision that WRKO could never match (unless they simulcast Howie on WMKK 93.7) but for some reason that argument doesn’t seem like it was even floated by Howie’s lawyers. Much less accepted by the judge.I wonder if there’s legal precedent for the AM vs. FM question?

  13. Anonymous

    i’ll take that bet from the amusingly ill-informed observer, who is clueless ab. the finances of the herald or it’s survivability for a good decade. dan can hold the money, amusing. wait – dan despises gambling. phooey.

  14. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 11:53: I’ve been playing the same Megabucks number for 25 years. I don’t mind a little gambling — it’s casinos that I don’t like.As for the Herald’s survivability … people have been predicting its demise since the ’70s. They’ve all been wrong. It’s very possible that the paper has gotten small enough to break even.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén