We have ourselves a good ol’ fashioned media war, folks. It all started with an incendiary comment from WEEI’s Kirk Minihane, where the local Boston ESPN radio personality called out Erin Andrews for choosing not to ask a follow-up question when interviewing Adam Wainwright after the All-Star Game.
Here’s the angry rant from Minihane:
The comments quickly gained traction online, mostly because some nobody radio jockey was salty that Erin Andrews has a better job than him. In case you’re unaware of the context, Wainwright said that he threw Derek Jeter some “pipe balls” (meaning easy baseballs to hit) because it was the Yankees slugger’s last All-Star Game. Andrews is apparently a gutless bitch because she didn’t press the issue when interviewing Wainwright, because it’s so important to the get to the bottom of a non-story involving a meaningless baseball game, right?
It comes as no surprise that the comments pissed off FOX, especially since the comments came from an ESPN-operated radio station. The backlash started when FOX Sports Networks’ television station NESN pulled its video simulcast of the radio show. The channel issued a statement:
“NESN has absolutely no editorial control of WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show, and completely disapproves of Mr. Minihane’s disparaging statements. Furthermore, we feel it’s unfortunate that his comments aired on our network.”
No actions were taken against Minihane, and so the response from FOX worsened. They weren’t messing around. Instead of pulling a video simulcast that nobody cared about, this time FOX announced that it would pull advertising from all Entercom radio stations. Entercom owns 101 stations around the country, including, as you may have assumed, WEEI.
FOX Sports president Eric Shanks wrote the following letter to Entercom CEO David Feld following the decision, as reported by Sports Illustrated:
By now you are no doubt aware of the incidents that occurred on-air at your Boston station WEEI on July 15 and again on July 22, I am referring to the obnoxious comments made by Kirk Minihane on the “Dennis and Callahan” show regarding one of our Fox on-air personalities, Erin Andrews.
As we have previously stated to various media outlets, the comments made by Mr. Minihane were boorish and sexist. Further, the “apology” made by Mr. Minihane was juvenile and insincere. To make matters worse, the “apology” was posted under a banner (allegedly approved by your Boston VP and Market Manager, Phil Zachary) hailing “The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.”
I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox (which through our film and television businesses is a significant advertiser on Entercom stations). However, none of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say we are disappointed.
I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, I am writing to inform you that going forward Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.
I regret that we need to take this action, but as one of our executives reminded me, “sometimes you need to vote with your feet.”
I trust you will discuss our decision with your staff at WEEI.
I trust that he did discuss the decision with his staff, and then this happened:
Kirk Minihane had been suspended a week by WEEI and Entercom for his comments regarding Erin Andrews. Story upcoming.
— Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) July 25, 2014
WEEI released a statement on the suspension as well:
Kirk Minihane’s statements regarding Erin Andrews were offensive and deplorable. It is clear by the response from our listeners, advertisers, and employees that Kirk’s efforts to apologize and make this right have been insufficient and ambiguous. We want to make it unequivocally clear that his comments were unacceptable and do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards. As a result, we have suspended Kirk for the upcoming week.
There’s no word yet on FOX restarting advertising on Entercom’s stations, but the suspension does seem a little weak, no? Regardless, all of the drama going on here is worth keeping an eye on. Andrews has been surprisingly quiet on the situation, taking the high road instead of calling out some worthless shock jock. Good for her.
We’ll keep you updated on any and all breakthroughs in the WEEI Gutless Bitch Scandal of 2014.