It’s Almost Over. Maybe

Hard to believe, but Herald columnist Howie Carr has been off the radio airwaves for more than a month now. The legal dispute between WRKO (Carr’s old station) and WTKK (the station Carr longs to work for), has kept him in a kind of multi-media limbo, preventing him from working for either outlet and rendering him little more than a bored, run-of-the-mill newspaper scribe.

All that could very well change today, though. A hearing is scheduled to consider a motion that could liberate Carr from WRKO’s clutches. Back in July, Carr signed a deal with TKK that’s reportedly worth up to $7 million. Nice work if you can get it. But therein lies the problem. Carr’s old contract with RKO had two troublesome provisions in it. One was a non-compete clause that a judge recently ruled unenforceable. The other was a right-to-match, which is how this thing got so sticky; RKO did exactly that, matching TKK’s deal and staking its claim to the curmudgeonly talker. Naturally, the Herald is all over this story:

WRKO executives matched WTKK’s offer, and say that because they did so, the popular radio host is obliged to work for them until 2012. ast month, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Allan van Gestel said the non-compete clause in Carr’s WRKO contract was illegal but the provision in the contract that gives the station the right to match a competitor’s salary is valid.

The judge didn’t rule on whether Carr is obligated to stay at WRKO for another five years, however.

That ruling obviously didn’t sit well with Carr or his lawyers, who immediately filed an emergency motion for reconsideration. That motion will be heard today.

And thank god. Another day without Howie Carr on the air is like a day without sunshine. Or something.