Fox Broadcasting Company deserves credit for standing up for its sports reporter, Erin Andrews, by pulling its ads from all Entercom-owned stations in retaliation for WEEI host Kirk Minihane’s infamous “gutless b----” rant against her. Unfortunately, that seems to be the main reason Entercom decided to suspend Minihane for his “offensive and deplorable” comments, in the words of CEO David Field. Neither the company nor its station management took action before they started losing ads, which only makes them seem as clueless as Minihane. They not only employ an offensive host; they threw him under the bus only to kowtow to an advertiser.
Minihane made his comments July 16 on the “Dennis and Callahan” talk-radio program, angry that Andrews didn’t press pitcher Adam Wainwright during baseball’s All-Star Game as to whether he grooved pitches to retiring superstar Derek Jeter. Then, a week later, while ostensibly apologizing, Minihane claimed Andrews was so unqualified to be a reporter that she would be a roadside diner waitress if she weighed 15 pounds more. In a letter to Entercom, Fox Sports president Eric Shanks accurately called the comments “boorish and sexist,” and pulled the network’s ads. Only then did Entercom step in.
The “Dennis and Callahan” show is already notorious for a 2003 incident in which the two hosts, John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, compared an escaped gorilla from the Franklin Park Zoo to a METCO student “heading out to Lexington.” (METCO students are predominantly black.) Both were suspended two weeks. But the lesson has been lost. Minihane’s original rant was enabled by Dennis and Callahan, the latter of whom added his own b-words, bimbo and bubblehead. Entercom should pay attention — and not wait until an advertiser raises a stink.