WEEI Staff Going To Sensitivity Training


    When do radio’s on-air hosts go too far? When advertisers start to cancel is certainly a red flag. Every dollar is precious these days and when advertisers start to distance themselves from a station or host, that is never a good thing. In this case, WEEI is also dealing with a Boston Globe writer who’s on a mission to target WEEI’s advertisers.

    In the wake of two recent employee suspensions for insensitive comments, WEEI will be holding sensitivity training for all of its employees, Friday.

    In fact, Entercom is taking this seriously enough to pull all of its live shows off the air for the day. Here’s the statement posted to the WEEI Twitter account on Wednesday.

    The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung has been battering the WEEI, making it her mission to convince advertisers to leave the station. In her latest column, entitled “WEEI Hosts Peddle Cheap and Vile Shock. It’s Time to Force a Change.” she wrote that she’s been listening to the station just so she can track down its advertisers — one by one. “I’m truly curious: Who chooses to do business these days with a station that disparages Tom Brady’s 5-year-old daughter and mocks a well-known sports agent by speaking in a stereotypical Asian accent?”

    Leung listed the advertisers still with the station — in a clear attempt to target them about why they were still with WEEI. “Geico, Ikea, Honey Dew Donuts, Brookline Bank, East Boston Savings Bank, ZipRecruiter, Prime Motor Group, Sprint, among many others.”

    Leung states that despite the long list of advertisers still with the station, defections are on the rise, especially after she contacted advertisers asking them to explain themselves. “On Tuesday, three more organizations — Citizens Bank, the Massachusetts State Lottery, and the Massachusetts Health Connector — cut ties with WEEI. For those keeping score at home, that means at least five advertisers — including Comcast Corp. and City of Boston Credit Union — have either terminated or suspended commercial buys on the popular sports talk station.”

    One interesting question for managers reading this challenge to Entercom’s WEEI: Have you ever seen a journalist actively attempt to get advertisers to stop running ads on a radio station?


    1. For years I have spoken out on the lack of diversity on sports radio KJR here in Seattle. For years they have had a all white regular on air staff except for a few years when Jerry Brewer a African American was on the air. They have treated white sport athletes on way and African Americans another way. Currently they have ZERO regular African American hosts day and night. It is a Elks Club or good ole boy mentality at KJR. Instead of listening to my issues of mistreatment of African-Americans, hosts have put silly and stupid blocks on me via social media and email. Nothing bothers me more than hearing a studio full of white hosts TRYING to discuss issues of race and racism. The program director Rich Moore does not seem to care. He has allowed the mistreatment of African-Americans and people of color to go on and on for years. Has the all white on air staff taken diversity training like the WEEI staff will do? I DOUBT IT!! The problems at sports radio KJR here in Seattle are very serious when it comes to its all white on air staff day and night and their mistreatment of African-Americans and people of color.

    2. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

      The law of physics which applies to radio, too. There are repercussions for actions – especially these inexcusable antics – and WEEI will and should suffer the consequences as it is, bottom-line, responsible for the talent they hire and put on-the-air.

      Sensitivity training won’t solve the problem and is simply a bone thrown out to say, “We’re doing our best” which is total BS. Too little, too late.

      Listener complaints end up in the round file, as we all know well.Advertisers’ leaving costing the station money is wholly separate and suddenly the station responds. Amazing how this is always the case!

      If the station wants to clearly make a statement that these comments are not acceptable, fire the talent. That’s what these two deserve and nothing less. Advertisers that leave a station over issues like this – as was shared earlier in this thread – rarely – if ever – return.

      Sensitivity training has its place. But after-the-fact, it’s not a solution to put out the fire that’s burning down the barn …

    3. Yes, talent people have to remember that they are in people’s living rooms, not the locker room. The shock jock syndrome has poisoned radio, especially during morning drive. But I have a bigger issue with the Boston Globe’s “journalist” and her crusade. As a journalist, her job is to report the news, period. Advocacy is reserved for the editorial page. The so-called “advocacy journalism” that is all too common in many of today’s newspapers is not journalism at all…it’s propaganda.
      As for those who are offended by certain radio programming, they can always take advantage of two censorship devices that come standard on most radios: the tuning knob (or buttons) and the on/off switch.

    4. The advertiser has a choice of who they and their products want to be associated with. I’m an old fossil, I was told when on the air you are a guest in the listener’s home, car, etc. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in person.

      The talent often try to push the boundaries of good taste or forget they aren’t in the locker room. The stations should post pictures of little kids in the studio as a reminder that the kids could always be listening! Not just politically correct but family friendly. Not “The Simpsons”, more like “My 3 Sons”.

    5. The root problem is the talent screwed up. We constantly push the envelope for laughs and ratings. They went to far and are getting push back. It’s not Tom Bradys fault, the agents fault or the papers fault, its the talents fault- they screwed up. Advertisers are a luxury not an entitlement. They should be treated as such.

    6. I worked for a big broadcasting group in the 1990s early 2000s in NH and we had mandatory sexual harassment awareness training..more than once.. The problem continued despite the so called training. When the ownership/management wants to protect individuals because they are the money makers..they’ll look the other way. I’m sure that this will be the case as far as sensitivity training is concerned too. It’s not a matter of PC or not PC or whining or not whining or interference. It’s a matter of awareness.

    7. It would be interesting to investigate the possibility of a lawsuit for wrongful interference. The Boston Globe is not an advocacy group or political organization. It is a media company competing for the same sources or possible advertising revenue and, as such, it seems to me that an inherent conflict of interest exists. I’m not an attorney, but I’d be picking up the phone to consult corporate legal staff for a professional opinion.

    8. “Sensitivity”, my disadvantaged but still susceptible ass.
      This is no less than whining, PC aficionados exercising punitive tactics to advance their own brand of not-so-free speech.
      Yes, it’s real enough, but it’s still callous and superficial.
      What’s next? Regulating the web?
      Tell it to the chaplain.

    9. The problem with doing this is it’s near impossible to get an advertiser back after they’ve left. So even if the station reforms itself, the advertisers will still be gone. There are other ways to do this. But everyone wants to target advertisers. It’s not helpful to the cause.


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