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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

This ends the discussion.......

Wolf, Finneran, and Kahn


Regarding my attempts to get some sort of explanation from WRKO as to why I was released I received the following two emails from the email address of Julie Kahn, Marketing manager of WRKO (the boss). It was in response to a question I asked last Friday. As was the case in a phone call I received from Jason Wolf the day after I was fired by WRKO (I forgot the WRKO word for firing is relocated or some such nonsense), a producer is blamed for the fiasco created by WRKO management.

I received the call as the family was having breakfast. Because I had food on my fingers I answered the call on the speaker phone. The voice identified himself as Jason Wolf. I had never spoken with Wolf, ever. He opened with an apology. I’m not certain what he was apologizing for.

The two points made by Wolf were 1 – the manner in which everything was handled was the producer’s fault. As the call went on he 2 – blurted out I was not supposed to be told until after I was off air. I guess what he was sorry for was the reception he received because of my comments at the very end of the show. I spoke only twice during Wolf’s call. Once was to say hello and at the end where the conversation ended with a “yup” from me after Wolf told me he would just have to tough it out. I guess in Entercon language that means finding a fall guy.

Someone posted the remarks on You Tube. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VPnpobKG_4

If someone in a management position had merely called to release me this entire heartburn caused by a lack of fortitude could have been prevented.

This is it for me. The letters are even more infuriating. They almost sound as though the same person wrote both, possibly a company lawyer fearful of a repeat of the problems they have in their Kansas City operation. I suspect most of what has happened there including the massacre of the entire news department (what, really is WRKO News, there’s no one there.

Enough is enough. Here are the two emails, please judge for yourself. There will be little in the final chapter of my book, “The Rise and Fall of a Great Radio Station.”

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 there’s the following received from the Julie Kahn email address:

Here is the note that Jason asked me to forward you.
Julie
>>> 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


Two points:

1 --- I never, repeat, never refused to meet. It was never offered. I’m sure that’s faulty memory.

2 --- Wolf says we didn’t work closely together. In a way that’s true. The nearest thing to pass for a conversation I ever got from was a grunt when I said “hi” as we passed in the hallway.

I have wondered if all this would have happened had the station not pushed so hard to have AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) decertified.

You will see no further on this subject in Issues of the Day. I’m bored to distraction by all this as I am sure you are.
It is my hope this satisfies the hundreds of you who have called and/or emailed me. I apologize for not answering my home phone for a few days. There were a couple hundred calls. There is no way humanly possible to respond to your emails or phone messages. I hope this suffices.
God Bless you and thank you for being there these many years.

Ciao…….Moe

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