Monday, March 12, 2007


Howie Carr is a "fat phony, fraud hypocrite and cry baby." No doubt, many Bay Windows subscribers would embrace that sentiment about the Hub's most acerbic and socially right wing commentator, however less than diplomatic it may be. And it's purely ironic when this delicious declaration of war comes not from the usual suspects but from the airwaves of Carr's own crow's nest, WRKO AM 680.

You can attribute the verbal blitzkrieg to Carr's eternal nemesis, former Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran. The freshman talk-master explained on the air Tuesday morning, "we're havin a little feud heeaah at aaahko." So it was actually Finneran who lectured us on Carr's girth and other shortcomings. This was after Carr had delivered an endless soliloquy on Finneran's moral shortcomings and Carr's view that a convicted felon - Finneran - has no place hosting the coveted morning drive time slot at RKO.

Even presidential candidates don't get this down and dirty and we'd be remiss not to cover the nuclear exchange between two of the most prominent - and shameless - Gay bashers in Boston; who, if we're lucky, will prove true the Cold War theory of mutually assured destruction.

First, a brief history primer for those of you who've been sunning and getting buffed in South Beach. Finneran is the newest addition to the ultra conservative line up at RKO, having been fired from his lucrative gig at the Bio-Tech Council. The council unceremoniously dumped the speaker after the Mattapan Democrat did an about face and pled guilty on perjury charges involving a long forgotten legislative redistricting case. Like most convicted fellons, Finneran went into radio. If it works for Oliver North and G.Gordon Libby, why not he?

Finneran's retainer at RKO is reminiscent of when the Boston Herald sheepishly hired deposed Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnacle, after having made a cottage industry for vilifying the street savy, broad sheet writer over a period of years. On the RKO airwaves, Finneran was similarly demonized with regularity, with Carr as the cheerleader-in-chief. Hence, Carr's welcome matt to Finneran has been imbedded with land mines and Finneran is fighting back, like the scrapper he is.

When Finneran recently jested with Governor Deval Patrick on the RKO airwaves that they should both take "Howie Carr for a ride," and return without him (sounds like a Mario Puzo plot line) the gloves were off and an obvious publicity stunt ensued. In what's the most ridiculous stunt follow-up I've seen in Boston journalism history, the Boston Herald actually ran a front page story that Carr, their coveted columnist, interpreted the jesting between Finneran and Patrick to mean that he'd soon be sleeping with the fishes. Carr even penned a letter to Judge Richard G. Stearns, who would have jurisdiction concerning Finneran's probation. The Herald had the audacity to imply in a news article on Tuesday that the judge was taking the matter under advisement. Please!! "I'd call it a stunt and I wouldn't even call it a giant stunt," said Boston Phoenix media critic Dan Kennedy, who teaches journalism at Northeastern University. "This is just Howie being Howie and the Herald having fun with it."

What will all this fun do for the ratings? About as much as all the other Hail Mary passes have done for a station which once defined civilized talk radio - something that isn't necessarily oxymoron if you are actually smart enough to hire talk show hosts who aren't morons. The once, great WRKO is being managed just like the Titanic was navigated and it's increasingly hard to remember that this is the place on the dial people once flocked to for real, substantive discussion on the issues of the day courtesy of Gene Burns, Paul Benzaquin, Jerry Williams and other adults who behaved like adults.

Here's how I see the feud of the homophobes playing out. Given Carr's uncontrollable propensity to incessantly utter slurs about Gay men and women (am I the only one to notice that Howie Carr and Ann Coulter have never been seen together at the same place?) and Finneran's on-air incest with the anti Gay lobby - these groups grow like mold on the political careers of the Finneran's of the world - I predict the giant stunt will shortly leave both careers in further ruin. And the radio station which loves to hate Gay people will soon be garnering Arbitron ratings second only to those of the campus station at Westfield State College (and I mean no disrespect to the great scholars at Westfield State).

The only thing that could make this episode even sweeter would be for 96.9 FM radio entertainer and homophobe Jay Severan to jump into the frey. Time will tell.

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