Shattuck: Entercom, CBS merger sends WRKO, WBZ to new owners

Our new radio reality was revealed yesterday, and it’s a big deal, especially for news and talk stations and their listeners. The mega-merger of Entercom and CBS Radio meant that some stations would have to be sold or traded off to third parties. Let’s take a look at what has happened: Sports radio fans are sitting pretty as WBZ-FM has landed safely at Beasley Broadcast Group. It’s a solid operation on Morrissey Boulevard, and “The Sports Hub” will be jumping into a positive and resourceful radio culture. All good. The article you requested has been archived Continue Reading

WEEI suspends Kirk Minihane for a week after Fox pulls ads from Entercom stations following Erin Andrews disses

For Boston sports-talk radio station WEEI, it only took two strikes before it was on the outs with Fox Sports and its entertainment business. On July 15, WEEI host Kirk Minihane criticized Erin Andrews for a soft interview she did with Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright during the All-Star Game, calling her a “gutless b----.” A week later, Minihane apologized for his remarks, but took a few more swings at Andrews along the way. "I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she'd be a waitress at Perkins," he said. A letter from Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to David Field — who is the president and CEO of Entercom Communications Corp., which owns WEEI — reveals that Andrews' employers have heard enough: Fox is pulling all of its advertising from Entercom-owned stations. According to Entercom's website, the broadcasting company is made up of more than 100 radio stations in 23 markets. Translation: This one's going to hurt. Also in Friday's letter, which was obtained by Sports Illustrated and the Boston Globe, Shanks added that Fox won't allow its personalities to appear on WEEI. It seems that the radio station got the message: WEEI said in a press release Friday night that Minihane, who previously received zero punishment for his on-air comments, will be suspended for a week. Although Andrews never publicly responded to the remarks, her publicist, Lewis Kay, tweeted at Minihane: "I certainly hope you treat the women in your personal life with more respect than the way you treat them on your show." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

WEEI host won’t be suspended following ‘gutless b—-‘ rant about Erin Andrews

At Boston’s WEEI radio station, calling a woman a b--- multiple times on the air isn’t an actionable offense. The sports-talk station announced Wednesday night that it wouldn’t fire, or even suspend, Kirk Minihane for calling Fox’s Erin Andrews “a gutless b----“ who he wishes would “drop dead,” in a rant on the Dennis and Callahan show earlier in the day. Phil Zachary, the vice president of WEEI’s parent company, Entercom Boston, told Wednesday night that Minihane was “legitimately sorry for what he said and, more importantly, the way he said it.” In issuing the statement, Zachary stressed that Minihane’s absence from the morning-drive show on Thursday was due to a pre-planned vacation. He’ll also be off on Friday, Zachary said, to attend a wedding. “Some will conjecture he was suspended or terminated,” Zachary said. “That is not true.” Minihane issued his own apology Wednesday night, saying there was “no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for.” The contributor to Boston’s No. 2 morning show — trailing direct competitors Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in the ratings — ranted about Erin Andrews Wednesday morning following her softball interview with Adam Wainwright, giving him a chance to backtrack on his comments about giving Derek Jeter a pitch to hit to lead off Tuesday’s All-Star Game. “What a b----! I hate her! What a gutless b----! Seriously, go away. Drop dead,” Minihane said. “I mean, seriously what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow-up. Second of all, the guy admitted he did it. He admitted it. He told reporters he threw a couple of pipe bombs. How is that social media’s fault? I hate her. I seriously hate her so much. Social media is the reason she has Continue Reading

Hey, Fox: Lay off the regular-season gimmicks and give us the World Series

Glad to see Fox, which will pay MLB $500 million per year under terms of a new eight-year contract (try making money on that deal), is getting its money’s worth by pulling out all the stops — technological and otherwise — during its Giants-Tigers World Series telecasts. All the gizmos, the three “X-Mo” cameras capturing up to 3,000 frames per second, the two “Phantom” cameras, shooting up to 20,000 frames per second, the eight robotic cameras and 42 microphones spread over the infield, make you feel you’re being held hostage inside a pinball machine. The high tech replays, the sights and sounds are frequently, and sometimes gratuitously, delivered. We’ll live with that. Fox’s technology is the ultimate ticket, better than any seat in AT&T Park or Comerica. These great seats sometimes come with an obstructed view. That’s because Fox decides to distract from baseball’s biggest event, the World Series, with elongated, in-game, dugout interviews. They amount to squat. The Foxies are picking right up where TBS left off in Game 4 of the ALDS when Justin Verlander commandeered the microphone, turning the “interview” into a cheerleading session for the Tigers. During World Series Game 1, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver spoke with Tigers pitcher Doug Fister. In Game 2, with no score and Detroit batting in the fourth, the Foxies thought it was a terrific time to “interview” Giants de facto closer Sergio Romo. The spot lasted seven minutes and nine seconds. The game became secondary. Fox went split screen — the game in one half, the bearded Romo in another. That’s how we want to watch the World Series, right? Buck and McCarver didn’t so much ask questions as make pronouncements. Stuff like, Buck: “It has been so fun getting to know you” or “You know you’re good enough to be a big league closer.” McCarver: Continue Reading

Award-winning Daily News columnist Mike Lupica to host daily talk show on ESPN Radio, WEPN 1050 AM

Mike Lupica, award-winning Daily News sports columnist and long-time panelist on ESPN's "Sports Reporters," adds another notch to his media belt next month with a daily sports-talk show on WEPN (1050 AM, ESPN Radio). Lupica's new show, 2-3 p.m. daily on 1050, headlines a reshuffling of the station's lineup. The show makes its debut May 9. Jared Max, newly arrived from WCBS-AM, will host his own show, 5-6 a.m., then become the local sports voice for the syndicated Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic morning show, 6-10. Max will also do features and special assignments. Colin Cowherd moves to 10 a.m.-noon, followed by a new noon-2 p.m. show with Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundberg, who formerly hosted the 5 and 10 a.m. hours. Lupica at 2 will be followed by Michael Kay, 3-7 p.m. Don LaGreca will be heard on both shows and Kay will also be joined regularly, says WEPN general manager David Roberts, by baseball writer Jack Curry. Stephen A. Smith will be heard 7-9 p.m., followed by Bill Daughtry, 9 p.m.-midnight. Leaving the daily lineup will be Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney. Roberts says McDonald will move to Saturday and Sunday mornings. Roberts says he's excited about having Lupica return to the radio, where he hosted a talk show 18 years ago for WFAN. "This addition further enables us to present compelling, credible and high-impact programming to the New York sports fan 24/7," says Roberts. He also says Ruocco and Lundberg have been a strong new team. "They represent our future," he says. "They took us from 29th place to sixth place at 5 a.m. and I'm sure they will continue to expand that audience at noon." Roberts says the new lineup also gives WEPN a good balance between local and national programs. "I know some people think we should go all-local," he says. "But I can't imagine that our listeners don't also want us to draw on the resources of ESPN." This latest reshuffling of the WEPN lineup comes at a time when Roberts says "we're seeing some Continue Reading

Ron Olson leaving FM 100 after 34 years, headed to WRVR-FM 104

Ron Olson, the longtime WMC-FM 100 morning host, is moving up the dial to WRVR 104 and will again be paired with former co-host Karen Perrin.Chris Michaels, director of branding and music programming for the local office of Entercom Communications, confirmed the change Thursday afternoon. Entercom owns both FM 100 and WRVR.Olson and Perrin will start in January and fill the void left by the departure of Mike Montana and Mandy Morgan from WRVR. As part of the changes, Michelle Lewis, Olson's co-host at FM 100, will stay at that station. Michaels said they are looking for a new co-host to partner with Lewis.The change for Olson ends a 34-year run at FM 100, a career with the station that began in the mid-1970s while he was in college at the University of Memphis. He has worked at the station since, except for four years at K-97 between 1979 and 1983. More: Dave Brown, Ron Olson, Otis Sanford and others remember the day Elvis Presley died Perrin, who works for AM600 WREC, co-hosted the FM 100 morning shift with Olson for 15 years between 1993 and 2008. The show was one of the most popular in the city, and Michaels said he hopes they will rekindle that same following. He noted the two have a "great chemistry."Olson, who will continue to work at FM 100 until moving to WRVR, noted he is "only moving 50 feet down the hall.""Every 34 years, you need to rearrange the living room," Olson said with a laugh, "and that's what we're doing."Olson said moving to WRVR is a "good fit" not only because of pairing again with Perrin, but also the format at 104. While the station plays new music, there is a mixture of past hits from artists like Journey or the Doobie Brothers."It brings back stuff I played when it was brand new," Olson said.Michaels would not discuss the reason for the delay until January, but WRVR annually begins playing Christmas music this time of year. Additionally, Perrin may have to clear a non-compete clause in her contract with WREC, which is an Continue Reading

Teen says Boston radio host Reese Hopkins raped her in New York City four years ago

A Boston conservative radio host has been busted for allegedly raping a Manhattan girl four years ago when she was only 12. Reese Hopkins, 39, who had dubbed himself the "Crossover Negro" on his WRKO-AM morning show, waived extradition to New York Thursday during an appearance in a Massachusetts courtroom. The alleged victim, who is now 16, told police Hopkins raped her on Oct. 1, 2004, in his upper East Side apartment while she was visiting his girlfriend's daughter, a source said. The victim, whose name is being withheld because of the nature of the charges, kept the attack secret until this past summer, when she told her therapist, the source said. The mother immediately reported it to police. The victim's parents took her to a therapist because she had been acting out and losing interest in school, the source said. A man answering the door at the victim's Manhattan apartment Thursday refused to comment. Calls to the family were not returned. Hopkins, who now lives in Malden, Mass., was arrested Wednesday night in Boston, officials said. Up until 2005, Hopkins worked as news director and anchor for the "Star & Buc Wild Morning Show" on Power 105 in New York. Hopkins had been on the air in Boston for less than a year. His arrest comes a week after he was fired from his Boston radio gig when the stock of the media company that owns WRKO, Entercom Communications, plummeted 28% in one day. Defense lawyer Paul Mishkin said Hopkins will return to New York today to face charges of first-degree rape. "He hasn't made any efforts to avoid prosecution," Mishkin said. As he was being led from the courthouse in shackles Thursday, Hopkins vehemently denied the charges, explaining that he wasn't living on the upper East Side at the time of the alleged attack. "She charged me on Oct. 1 of 2004. I was living in Manchester, Conn. I couldn't have been there," Hopkins said, while being escorted to a sheriff's van. He insisted the victim Continue Reading

Radio sees ‘pay-for-play’ tables turns on Spitzer

One of the many gleeful Eliot Spitzer jokes circulating in radio for the last week notes that Spitzer leaned hard on radio a couple of years back with allegations of "payola," a practice wherein record labels or their promoters give a radio station "considerations" in return for their tunes getting on-air exposure. Pay-for-play, it's called, and in early 2007 Citadel, CBS, Entercom and Clear Channel coughed up $12.5 million in a payola "consent decree" that admitted no wrongdoing. So after Spitzer's hooker habit was outed, the joke immediately circulated through radio that "I guess he's in favor of pay-for-play after all." That was by no means the most pointed Spitzer joke. A YouTube video satirizes the "Real Men of Genius" ad, intoning that Spitzer's "payola" campaign cost radio tens of millions of dollars and has made it almost impossible to run once-basic contests like CD and ticket giveaways, because whenever a record company furnishes promotional items now, it might look suspicious. "Many people in radio have no warm feelings for Mr. Spitzer," says Tom Taylor, editor of the trade newsletter A top executive at one of the companies that signed the consent decree says, "It was a shakedown, that's all it was. He'd threaten that if you didn't sign the decree, he'd make your life miserable and cost you more millions in legal fees." Like many other folks, this executive says Spitzer's "arrogance" made dealings needlessly unpleasant. There are those outside radio, of course, who say that whatever Spitzer's personal style, payola was a legitimate target because it was too often turning radio airplay - still the best path to a hit record - into an insider's game. In any case, Spitzer gave radio a parting gift last week: lots of material. Sirius had the biggest gimmick, a "Client 9" channel, but WHTZ (100.3 FM) and other stations played a song cut by Kristen, his expensive playmate. Meanwhile, the man who becomes governor Monday Continue Reading

Stations are hip to tuning out offensive lyrics

Perhaps because the Rev. Al Sharpton and other activists have vowed to make hip hop's explicit lyrics their next major public campaign, local radio stations are trying not to be part of anything that might be perceived as a problem. WWPR (105.1 FM) said on the air this week that it is screening all potentially offensive content from the music it plays - though program director Helen Little said that process was already under way. She also said record companies do "a pretty good job" of providing edited radio versions of songs with graphic lyrical content. Rival WQHT (97.1 FM) says it also had been cleaning things up. "Radio standards have been seriously tightened since Janet Jackson's incident at the Super Bowl," says program director Ebro Darden. "We are always keeping a close eye on what happens on the airwaves. We've been through our share of issues." Vinny Brown, program director of WBLS (107.5 FM), said 'BLS has never walked quite so close to the edge on content as have some other stations - partly because it's aimed more at adults and partially because it's black-owned. "We're in the community," says Brown. "[Chairman Emeritus] Percy Sutton and everyone else here walks down the streets and meets the people who listen to us. There's a direct accountability you don't always find at all stations. "If people don't agree with what we're playing, they'll say so. They'll say, 'I expected better from WBLS.' "Chairman Sutton set an original standard of dignity at all levels of the company, and we try to follow it today." Brown noted that the content issue is the subject of a long-running discussion by Imhotep Gary Byrd, who is heard Sundays from 8-10 a.m. on WBLS and Sundays from 7 p.m.-midnight on sister station WLIB. Sharpton talked about hip-hop content recently on WRKS (98.7 FM), calling for artists to show more respect for themselves and their people in their songs. A number of callers agreed with him - and some asked Kiss to pressure its sister station, Hot Continue Reading


Compared to what some hosts do on the radio, Joan Hamburg's routine every morning on WOR (710 AM) isn't especially radical. She'll interview celebrities, she'll talk about food and fashion, she'll report on a new medical development. She'll suggest places listeners could go for a romantic dinner in Brooklyn or an affordable wedding reception in Westchester. She'll talk about interesting places to travel. It's a full-service talk concept that has mostly disappeared from radio today, when the prevailing wisdom is that listeners would rather hear an outrageous discussion of someone's sex life than a tip on taking a cruise. Hamburg suggests her record over 20- plus years proves there's room for both. "People love information," she says. "I help gather it for them. I'm like a Yellow Pages or a travel search engine. " That's harder than it sounds, and just how hard will be acknowledged today when Hamburg will be honored as one of eight winners of the 2006 Matrix Awards given by Women in Communications. Oother winners include actress Geena Davis, with presentations by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Katie Couric and Susan Sarandon. Ellen DeGeneres hosts the event at the Waldorf-Astoria and will herself receive a Humanitarian Award presented by Diane Sawyer. So Hamburg is walking in elite company, which underscores the impact of what she does in a medium that gets a lot more attention when it misbehaves. "I was surprised and excited when they told me about the award," says Hamburg. "I don't remember a local radio personality ever getting one before. And I also love what the organization does, recognizing women who make a difference. " Hamburg, who jokes that she got into radio and TV because she was "a failed actress," says the secret to keeping her 9-11 a. m. show fresh and her information current is never to coast. "I'm out almost every night looking for things," she says. "I'm an over-preparer. Public Radio has a zillion people to put Continue Reading