Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WRKO woes.

Paris, I mean Boston, may be liberated soon.
by Kevin John Sowyrda

for Bay Windows.

If Boston's penultimate Gay basher, misogynist, low bowed bigot and all around obnoxious radio creature Howie Carr being caught between a rock and a hard place, shut-out from the airwaves, is not cause to celebrate like Paris did when the allies came marching in, then I don't know what is. But if for some strange reason that tidbit doesn't do if for you, then certainly this hot off the docket news from the Boston court house will. The infamous Howie Carr may be off the air for an indefinite period of time because the legal winds just aren't blowing his way.

All this simply must trigger elation deep within you soul; unless you're a member of The Klan, or simply a beer belly red neck who at age 55 still can't figure out where North America is on a map.

Yes, Howie Car is in a pickle. Right about the time on Tuesday that the Red Sox were figuring out how to recover from that so-called 4-2 baseball game on Monday night, Howie got whacked by a Suffolk Superior Court Judge who stood firm on his earlier decision that Carr can't exit stage left from his afternoon gig at WRKO AM for what the blabber of all blabbers sees as happier trails at RKO's nemesis and principal competitor, FM Talk Station WTKK. The 96.9 station is also home to the more sophisticated but similarly debauched Gay basher, Jay Severin. Birds of a feather wanting to flock together so badly, if only it weren't for those silly, little contracts.

Interestingly, Howie may finally appreciate how Whitey Bulger's victims felt - sort of that is. It's all rather ironic for the gossip writer whose made a mint scribing about the wanted fugitive from South Boston who showed his victims about as much mercy as the Judge has shown Howie these past many weeks. For Carr, it must be "murder."

Though Carr's spokeswoman promises an appeal, you don't have to be Judge Judy to figure out the ramifications of the heavy gavel that landed on Carr's thinning hairline this week. To Carr's dismay, Judge Allen van Gastel said the Herald Columnist and on-air dark-comedian must abide by the "right to match" clause in his WKRO contract. In non-legalize speak, that means Carr may be stuck at WRKO through the year 2012; a bit awkward given the fact that Carr told WBZ TV's Beth Germano in a puff piece interview that he must abandon Ship RKO because it's best to "'F' them before they 'F' you." TKK has offered Carr a sweet, seven million dollar contract, but Entercom owned RKO has matched the offer.

Well, for once in my life I agree with Howie Carr. It looks like he got, well, you know, but it was by himself and his inept agent Cary Pahigian, who clearly didn't hire the best of lawyers for this case. Pahigian is sort of the prince of darkness in the New England radio market, serving unique, duel roles as the marketing manager for a string of radio stations while also serving as agent to some of the stars. As Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy told me recently, Pahigian's working simultaneously as both a radio executive and radio agent is considered entirely unorthodox in the business.

But since when is unconventionality not the indelible trade mark of all things Howie Carr. For example, his nuclear attack against the station that made him more than just the muckraking columnist at the city's unofficial Republican Party tabloid is hardly normal or loyal behavior when you look at everything RKO has put on the table for Carr over many years. You may remember the media coup d' tat when Carr shamelessly did everything possible to take the job of his own mentor, the late Jerry Williams. Carr succeeded, and since then RKO has generously given the afternoon talk jockey more liberties to spew political venom, racist remarks and ludicrous soliloquy's regarding the Gay Community than Don Imus ever could have dreamed possible. A very timid sampling of Carr's missives is his past description of Deval Patrick supporters being, "Gay, bicycle-riding tax-hikers." Howie, don't dare go after my bike.

Why Al Sharpton isn't picketing outside WRKO by now, I'll never quite know.

But maybe it doesn't matter. The late, great WRKO is in such dire straights they may want to just call it a day and have the station simply packed away, sort of like Ted Williams was. Ratings are frozen if not melting and the paltry talent still clinging to the station consists of Tom Finneran, whose programming regularly features guest hosts recruited to shore up the timbers of the foundering morning show the former House speaker commands since his settlement with the justice department on perjury charges. If you ever want to experience pain beyond what Solzenitzen ever experienced in the gulag, just tune in any Thursday morning when Tom's co-hort is hyperactive lawyer Wendy Murphy. Picture Rosie O'Donnell, just with better dictum and without the Ritalin. When you turn the radio off, you can still hear Wendy screaming.......about nothing.

Accordingly, RKO's battle to legally maneuver for Carr's retainer is perfectly good business sense. He's all they got on the shelf. For all his warts and distortions and mean spiritedness, welcome to a city where there's sadly a big market for that sort of garbage. Accordingly, advertisers are known to be pulling their cash from RKO pending Howie's return, however disgruntled it is likely to be.

This prediction form someone who used to be in the business. Howie returns to RKO and performs so miserably - with intent - that they catapult him off the roof - from where Carr sees that WTKK has moved on to another bombastic host for their morning gig, thus leaving the King of Smear Radio with no port of call.

The cheers you'll be hearing will be from any Bostonian who long ago became beleaguered by the ugliest character Boston media has ever dared to showcase.

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