counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it.” (Luke 14:28)
If you’re a “talk radio junkie” like I am, you know that it’s a very active
time on the Boston area talk radio scene. On a sad note, popular WBZ evening host Paul Sullivan passed away from cancer just a few weeks ago. He had replaced David Brudnoy, who died from cancer in late 2004. On a happier note, Howie Carr has things hopping at both WRKO and WTKK. Carr has been in the process of “jumping” from his longtime syndicated afternoon gig at WRKO to become the morning drive man at WTKK. (Incidentally WTKK has changed it’s logo and image from “96.9 FMTalk” to “WTKK Boston’s Talk Evolution”- the new one is longer, harder to hear, and harder to remember- What were they thinking?!)
Howie, like most full-time popular radio show hosts is bound by a non-compete clause that he cannot jump from one station to another in the Boston market without a significant time off the air first (I THINK it’s 6 months in his case). Carr had hoped to start at 96.9 on Sept. 20. However, WRKO is challenging this and it’s still tied up legally. Howie says he will never come back to WRKO.
However, the station is still calling the afternoon drive program “The Howie Carr Show” with Todd Feinberg as the substitute. I have a feeling Todd may become quite a long term substitute. In the meantime Avi Nelson is the long term substitute for Todd Feinberg on the 10-Noon WRKO show. AND, Michael Graham is the long term substitute for Howie Carr on WTKK in the morning drive slot while Michelle McPhee is the late morning ‘TKK hostess, subbing for Michael Graham.
At the rate things are going, the ghost of Jerry Williams will end up subbing for someone!
The last time anything like this happened in Boston radio was when Larry Glick jumped from a very long stint at WBZ to go to (now defunct) WHDH-AM. Larry, being from the old school (in more ways than one, he’s now 85) sat out a year from May 1987 to May 1988 to honor his contract’s non-compete clause.
Radio is a funny business. Actually, the only reason we get to hear Michael Graham on Boston radio is that he got fired from a prime slot on Washington, DC area radio because he made a (ratherinsignificant) crack about Muslims for which he refused to apologize. The slot was open for him at WTKK because Jay Severin had left the station to pursue a national career..although NOW Severin is back at WTKK. I don’t even have TIME to write about how Don Imus’ stupid remark about the Rutgers girls basketball team plays into all this, but the fact is, if Imus had not been fired, much of the above stuff about Howie Carr’s moves and legal issues would not even be taking place!
Avi Nelson has been an interesting “winner” in this situation- getting a
long term (temporary?) show on WRKO after being mostly absent from the airwaves for years. People forget that Avi Nelson brought “right wing talk radio” to Boston in the 1970s, well before Rush Limbaugh, and that he was a significant “player” in the Boston anti-bussing days of over thirty years ago. At that time, he was probably the number 2 or 3 radio personality in Boston. Avi has mellowed quite a bit over the years. Today, he’s much more of a moderate Republican and much less edgy, but he’s bright and interesting. WRKO would be smart to keep him on full time.
If I were on Jeopardy and the category was “Boston Radio Trivia” I would blow my opponents away! Maybe I should be writing some kind of a column about this stuff for one of the local rags! Maybe I should be one of the “long term on-air substitutes”! Whaddya think?!