Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WEEI's Minihane gets pulled off the air for a week after Fox pulls its ads from Entercom

Looks like WEEI 93.7's Kirk Minihane's second round of vitriol against FOX Sport's reporter Erin Andrews last Wednesday was enough for Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to pull the plug on all Fox advertising on Entercom's entire national radio station group. Entercom owns 100 stations in 23 markets according to its website. In Boston, it owns five - sports talker WEEI 93.7, ESPN affiliate WEEI 850, news/talker WRKO 680, rockers WAAF 107.3 and WKAF 97.7.

According to boston.com, Fox Sports' Shanks informed Entercom President/CEO David Field that all Fox advertising would be pulled from Entercom stations and no Fox Sports personalities would be permitted to be guests on WEEI. 

Fox Sports upper management - many of whom have wanted to go public with their animus over the comments - had reportedly met on Friday afternoon at the company's Los Angeles offices on how to respond to WEEI after Minihane's second set of comments. That response came Friday with Shanks' letter to Field.

While Minihane's idiotic on-air behavior was absolutely unfunny, unnecessary and way out of line, the local and national media which have been covering this story are overreacting and leaving some important facts out of it. For one, some of WEEI's local advertising accounts by far exceed the entire Fox account with Entercom's entire national portfolio.

The media reports have also neglected to mention that with WEEI taking action to suspend Minihane without pay to please Fox execs, it's also very likely that Fox's advertising would eventually return to Entercom stations.(Ed. Note : this is a standard operating procedure with these type of media boycotts. This is how big corporate execs force each other to play nice in a sandbox.).

In addition, the Globe also reported that the simulcast of WEEI 93.7's morning radio show on New England Sports Network(NESN) is coming to an end after 3 1/2 years sometime in September. The simulcast relationship between WEEI’s John Dennis, Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane will make way for some cheaper NESN-produced sports content, the Globe had learned. Obviously economics is playing a bigger role in this decision as NESN pays WEEI a fee for the right to simulcast the show from 6am and 9am but media conspiracy theorists would argue that NESN brass may have wanted a greater editorial control over content in the wake of Minihane's outburst which didn't sit well with the Red Sox who own NESN and happen to collect a big chunk of Fox's new 8-year $4 billion TV deal with MLB.

While WEEI's recent criticism of Sox's on-field product and Minihane's comments may not sit too well with Sox brass brass — the owners of NESN — and certainly might have been a factor to kill the radio simulcast, the truth of the matter is that the regional sports network has already lost quarter of its viewers compared to last season according to Sports Business Journal. And soft viwereship levels directly translate into unmet revenue projections.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WEEI's morning co-host issues a public apology 
after making a controversial on-air comment; will not be suspended

WEEI 93.7's Dennis & Callahan Show “third man” Kirk Minihanehas issued a statement saying he’s “very sorry” for his rant on the program Wednesday morning (7/16), in which he called FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews “a gutless bitch.” The comment came during a discussion of Andrews’ interview with Adam Wainwright in which the National League pitcher said he said he was merely  joking when he’d earlier told reporters he’d tossed an easy pitch to retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter during Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game (Jeter thumped Wainwright for a double in his first at bat). 

”This morning on the radio I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game,” Minihane posted at WEEI.com. “My choice of words was wrong; I was wrong to have used them. To all whom I offended — particularly Ms. Andrews — I apologize. There is no place for what was said. It was immature and completely uncalled for. I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer. Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.” 

Watch the video here.

BRW Notebook :

Sports Update : As we approach WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub's 5th birthday, the station holds a commanding leading of Boston's male 25-54 listening demographic. Boston Globe's sports media writer Chad Finn’s reports on radio ratings from this past spring survey: “The Sports Hub earned a 7.9 share in the men 25-54 demographic for the period of March 27-June 18, edging sister station classic rocker WZLX (7.8), which like the Sports Hub is owned by CBS Radio. WEEI 93.7 tied for fifth with its rock sibling WAAF 107.3/97.7 with a 5.6 share. However, the SportsHub did have a pretty rough going in the last month of the spring survey as its numbers took a massive dip according to the Boston Herald.

Take five : Sean Hannity has returned to the Boston airwaves via WUFC 1510/"Personality Radio" and is now heard from 3pm to 6pm. Hannity has joined a lineup that also includes fellow Premiere Networks syndicated talker Glenn Beck(9-12pm), FOX Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr Sports(12-3pm) and JT The Brick(6-8pm), Westwood One’s Dennis Miller Show(8pm-10pm) and GCN’s InfoWars with Alex Jones(2-6am)....Speaking of talk personalities, current WRKO 680 afternoon host Howie Carr has inked a deal with recently launched Global Media Services, to market Carr’s now regionally syndicated talk show. A National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and a regular columnist for the Boston Herald, Carr is heard weekdays from 3-7pm on WRKO 680 where he’s been part of the lineup for two decades, as well as regionally on a reported 15 affiliate radio stations across New England. “Howie Carr is an icon and legend in New England,” said Global Media Services founder and network/syndication radio veteran Denver-based Tony Garcia. “I look forward to partnering with him to bring his unique views on politics, pop culture and society to the entire nation. The possibilities are endless.” Commenting on the new alliance Carr added, “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. It’s exciting to be branching out on my own and expanding the network.” Carr's contract with WRKO ends at the end of the summer and recently he has been looking around for a new regional flagship station which would replace WRKO. That doesn't mean WRKO would totally be out of the picture. It could still carry the show as a Boston affiliate but Carr is determined to own all the rights to the show.... As of late June, Glenn Ordway’s Big Show Unfiltered is now Sirius Channel 220. It started  out on Channel 108 back in the spring. The show remains on XM Channel 206...Former Mix 98-5 morning man John Lander is being inducted into the Texas Broadcasters Hall of Fame in November according to the Houston Chronicle. Prior to arriving in Boston in early 1996(and exiting in December 2008), Lander had a very successful run in the Houston market. At Boston's Mix, Lander was replaced by the current team of Karson and Kennedy who celebrated their 5th anniversary earlier this winter.(BRW 12/11/08).

And the winner is...: The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have announced the finalists for the 2014 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Among the many finalists from the world of radio, WBZ 98.5/The SportsHub is nominated for the Sports Station of Year, WKLB 102.5 is going up for the Country Station of the Year and in the Major Market Personality of The Year, WZLX 100.7's veteran midday host and station's music director Carter Alan is up against SportsHub's funny bastards "Toucher and Rich". The winners will be announced on September 11th during the NAB Marconi Awards 25th Anniversary Dinner & Show, held during this fall’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Indianapolis. View the complete list of finalists in all categories HERE.