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?