Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Entercom Fued with MSG

This is one of those silly arguments that people look back on and say, "Can we all just be adults here, please?" The broadcasting company Entercom, one of the biggest in the country, has been banned by Madison Square Garden, which also owns the Chicago Theater here. Tom Taylor's NOW column has the explanation...

Entercom’s at war with James Dolan and Madison Square Garden. Hasn’t Entercom had enough controversies around its sports stations? There’ve been blowups in Boston (several times), San Diego (with the MLB Padres) and now a nationwide feud with New York-based James Dolan. Last Summer, Maggie Gray of Entercom’s sports “Fan” WFAN-AM/FM New York (660/101.9) called Dolan “a vile piece of trash.” She reacted to a song released by Dolan’s side-project, a rock band named “JD and the Straight Shot.” The song was “I Should’ve Known,” and the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand says it was “perceived to be about Harvey Weinstein, Dolan’s longtime friend.” Marchand says Maggie Gray “thought it was hypocritical, in light of the Garden having been found liable for a hostile work environment” in 2007. Last week she apologized, but the damage was done. MSG says “Entercom aired a hate-filled rant…They chose to take no action to remedy this until the start of this season.” MSG reportedly was disappointed that Entercom didn’t reach out after Gray’s rant in August. (She wouldn’t be the first New York-market radio personality or sports-writer to criticize Dolan or the Garden.)

Entercom is frozen out of Madison Square Garden properties – and players. So in New York, no interviews with players or staff of the MSG-owned NBA Knicks or NHL Rangers. Same (says the NY Post) with anything connected with the company’s Radio City Music Hall, or New York Beacon Theatre. And MSG’s “refusing to do business with the radio company in any of its markets, including Chicago and Los Angeles.” MSG has The Chicago Theater, The Forum in Los Angeles (Inglewood) and the Wang Theatre in Boston. The MSG P.R. person says “Only after learning that they would not receive special access to players and coaches did [Entercom] elect to offer an insincere, half-hearted apology.” Then this – “We wish them no ill will. However, we decline to carry on a business relationship” with Entercom and “will continue to afford it league-mandated access only.” The Knicks and the Rangers air their games on WFAN’s format rival, ESPN-operated/Emmis-owned WEPN-FM/98.7. Maggie Gary’s apology included this line “I really didn’t want to cause the pain that I did cause...Name-calling isn’t okay.” In August, she addressed Dolan, saying “You let Isiah Thomas call [Anucha Browne Sanders] the b-word so many times she sued your ass, and she won. And then what did you do? In 2015, you brought Isiah Thomas back into the building to run the Liberty of the WNBA. You are a human embodiment of an online troll.” At the time, she predicted “I might never get back into The Garden...and I don’t give a crap.” Now Entercom itself may not “get back into The Garden” – over a beef that perhaps could’ve been quelled at the market or corporate level.