Thursday, March 6, 2008

WRKO should be ashamed

WRKO which prides itself as being Boston's 'talk' station fired long time (25 years) host Moe Lauzier a couple of weeks ago. He was actually informed of this while he was on the air by his producer as the program director Jason Wolfe apparently didn't have the guts to do it face to face.

This is how Lauzier signed off on his last show.

The Herald on Thursday looked at how this was handled.

Entercom also fired 57 year old WEEI producer Rene Marchando who had been with the station since it became all sports in 1991.

Moe then receieved 2 emails from the boss at WRKO/WEEI, Julie Kahn about how the situation was handled.
Dear Moe,
I am sorry it took me a bit of time to respond to you. I was out of town on the week of the incident, so I had some 'research' to in order to be brought up to speed.
In keeping with the times, we have been asked to cut back on expenses. Nothing surprising there. Sadly, your tenure and talent had you earning a higher hourly wage then all other part time on -air talent. We simply could not afford to pay your rate vis a vis the revenue that the show and day generates.
The regrettable part is that there was some misunderstanding between Jason and Thomas regarding their having a conversation with you. Thomas thought it was his responsibility and it was not. It was clearly Jason's and it is a sad conclusion that such a great, loyal employee was at the center of a mistake.
I truly feel awful about it and all parties have real embarassment for the way this naturally tough situation was handled. You deserve better. I am being thoughtful as to how to answer your listeners. I have had quite a few e-mail me. Is there anything else I can do to help you in any way?
Cordially, Julie

then to add insult to injury she sent another e-mail
Here is the note that Jason asked me to forward you.
>>> Jason Wolfe 3/4/2008 12:59:11 PM
>>>Dear Moe,
I wanted to write to you directly to again, express my apologies to you with respect to how your personal situation was handled. I understand that you've written a letter to Julie and I can appreciate that given that she is the Market Manager and oversees everything here.
I didn't want our phone call to be the last contact we had. I realize, certainly, that at the time we spoke, you didn't have much to say to me and didn't want to meet with me. If I were you, I probably wouldn't have wanted to do that either.
My intention when it comes to these kinds of situations, are always to deal directly with the talent. I did not do that in this case and however I feel about what Tom did, in the end, is irrelevant because I am responsible for the operation of the programming department and any changes we may make in it.
My decision to make this change was simply about our current business climate. Times are tough and in addition to trying to generate ratings for the station, I am responsible for helping to drive revenue as well. We do have several companies that are willing to spend extremely significant dollars to take over certain hours on the station, and that, nothing more, was the reason I chose to go in this direction.
It was not personal. We didn't work that closely together, but from a far, I had a great deal of respect for your work and for what you've accomplished over the years and I am truly sorry for having treated you this way. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I wish you nothing but the best in all your future endeavors.
Sincerely, Jason Wolfe
VP AM Programming

Moe on his blog is buying none of this.

So Entercom (WRKO) is in effect telling what remaining listeners they have to listen to infomercials instead of local talk and the issues of the day on weekends.

The radio business across the country is not doing well. Music stations have lost listeners by the millions to IPods and satellite radio. Local stations everywhere have responded by cutting news staffs at stations like WRKO and WLS in Chicago even though it was local programing that made them an alternative to the satellite.

Entercom also vastly overpaid on a new 10 year deal to carry the Red Sox that started last year. It is rumored to be in the vicinity of 14-16 million a year and it was obvious last year that the station was having trouble selling ads at the prices they wanted. It was also compounded because Entercom split the games between WRKO and WEEI depending on the day of the week.

Moves like this will not bring listeners back.

For more background on WRKO check out

Here is some more background of radio cuts across the country

NorthEast Radio Watch: This Week's Bloodbath: Citadel

Slaughter at WLS cuts news from 'news/talk'

1 comment:

Maureen said...

As someone who grew up with Jerry Williams and Gene Burns I can not believe the sewer that WRKO has become.

Are Julie Kahn and Jason Wolfe so thickheaded to not understand that most people in the Boston area are turned off by the right wing gasbags on that station?

I live in Newton and refuse to listen to the games on WRKO and instead listen to a station in Worcestern WCRN that puts in a very clear signal. I will not even have WRKO on my preset in the car as I don't want my 9 year old to be exposed for a second to that Michael Savage who is disgusting.

I wasn't a fan of Moe's politics but he wasn't a windbag. I don't mind hearing views I disagree with if it is presented in a rational way as David Brudnoy did better than anyone.

Jerry Williams must be turning over in his grave.