Football Killed The Radio Star

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From Boston Globe Article: Contract tweak will benefit both Tom Brady and Patriots (Click Image to Read more)

Kill is a bit strong, I was going for an 80’s song reference. Anyway, if you’re a radio station and one of your hosts calls a footballer’s child ’an annoying little pissant’, then it’s probably a good idea to issue an apology directly to the player, and also publically. I would also suggest you fire the presenter. I mean basic human courtesy and all that. It’s probably, then, not a good idea to have your weekly phone-in with the footballer as normal. And if you expect them not to mention it or even to pretend like it never happened. That’s unlikely to happen, and the star-footballer probably won’t appreciate your laissez-faire attitude or approach.

That’s the basic story of what happened to American Football player Tom Brady, after a radio station host called his five year old daughter ‘an annoying little pissant’. At this point the station should have gone into ’apologies and damage limitation’ mode. It’s public relations team should have gone onto reputational-protection mode. They did suspended the radio host. It really wasn’t appropriate behavior from the host. The station owner-and-or-manager should have sorted it out quickly, and not let it escalate. It should never have resulted in the regular phone-in and the subsequent reaction of Tom Brady.

Alex Reimer, the radio-show-host who remains indefinitely suspened (click image to visit WEEI profile)

Admittedly, Tom Brady, the American footballer wasn’t looking for the sacking of the radio host. Even so, good PR says you ’over-react’ when the offence is caused by your organisation. You react to fix and limit reputational damage. Whilst Tom Brady didn’t ask for the guy to be fired, the station should have offered it. Then probably sacked the host anyway. So that your listeners and the wider public knew you took your reputation as a station seriously. Another consideration here is that your public here (in the US) are big fans of this particular American Football team. You as a station shoul wish to preserve a respectful and corporate-love for your ’team’ (an important stakeholder for the station). To do so would have allowed your publics to trust your station again.

Pictured: Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan, of the Kirk & Callahan Show on WEEI. The hosts that Tom Brady had his call in with. This picture is taken from an article titled “WEEI Censoring Kirk And Callahan With Station Advertisers Pulling Out” on Trifecta Network Sports (Click image to visit).

Now listeners may tune-in to an alternative station. Possibly the lack of immediate action could loose the station it’s relationship with the important stakeholder. In this case the Football team as a sponsor could pull out. Any special arrangements such as your weekly chat with the coach and star player, which brings in many your listeners, may cease to happen. In this case it probably embarrased the radio-show hosts who have the live phone-in with the star player. The morning-show hosts weren’t involved in the dispute, but were put in a position that no member of staff should really ever have been placed in. Especially if you claim to care for your staff, which these days almost everyone does.


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