Sports Radio Boston News – WRKO on the Way OUT???

Entercommies Ditching WRKO?

by Brian Maloney, September 1st, 2009 at 04:53pm

It’s no secret that Entercom CEO David Field and talk radio go together like oil and water. With his white guilt-based fringe political views, conservative news-talk listeners probably seem like they’re from Mars.

We also know that his family’s embattled company isn’t afraid to shed its talk outlets when other firms show an interest in acquiring them. This occurred in Seattle not too long ago, when KIRO (similar to WBZ, but with more talk and several conservatives in the lineup) and KTTH (conservative talk) were traded away for music stations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Together with their
most recent actions in Boston, I believe Entercom may be gearing up to unload WRKO, mostly because they couldn’t give a crap whether it lives or dies.

What actions? Take a look:

— First, the sudden
yanking of Red Sox games away from WRKO in order to return them to WEEI. Given new competition from WBZ-FM, this was done in a panic to strengthen their flagship sports operation.

But it also takes away their sole reason for owning WRKO: to have a place for play-by-play coverage without interfering with WEEI’s talk lineup. As WEEI’s ratings tanked and WRKO’s weren’t particularly boosted, that approach failed miserably.

— The almost total
elimination of WRKO’s staff. This type of window-dressing often occurs before a sale, as it makes the station appear more profitable. New owners often aren’t interested in acquiring a large headcount, as it may differ with their own plans for the outlet.

— The sudden switcheroo
of WRKO and WEEI’s studios, which leaves the former now occupying WEEI’s tiny, dirty, smelly, dingy dump (did I mention disgusting?) while the sports talker has seized control of the larger rooms with views of the Mass Pike and city center buildings.

Clearly, Entercom no longer cares what visiting guests (that sometimes include senior political leaders and local celebrities) think of WRKO’s appearance.

— A staff meeting
with Field scheduled for next week. Could be one of his occasional rah-rah events, but major announcements are sometimes made in this setting as well.

It’s tough to sell
stations in this deteriorating media environment and I have no idea who might be interested in owning WRKO. But I do believe it’s safe to say that Entercom has no longterm desire to keep 680 AM in its lineup.