Court Stalls Carr — Again

Well, this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. For the second time since Howie Carr’s old contract expired with WRKO in September, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Allan van Gestel has ruled that the Herald columnist cannot take his radio show on the road to WTKK.

Carr, obviously, can’t be pleased — especially not with the way judge smacked him around.

Before his old contract had expired with RKO, Carr signed a deal with TKK that’s reportedly worth up to $7 million. Unfortunately for Carr, his old contract with RKO had a right-to-match clause. And RKO did exactly that, matching TKK’s deal — which didn’t sit well with Carr or his lawyers. On July 10, Carr made a statement to the media that his previous contract was illegal and that RKO parent company Entercom wanted to make him a “virtual indentured servant.”

According to the Globe, Carr reportedly made $790,000 in 2006. Apparently Carr and the judge (and, really, anyone who’s ever studied history) have very different ideas of indentured servitude. Here’s the Globe’s account of Judge van Gestel’s remarks:

“Carr is not, as he argues in his brief, ‘in essence [subject to] a lifetime employment agreement’ with Entercom,” the Judge wrote. “And wherever he legally finds himself, it is of his own conscious doing. He has not, as he publicly claims, been placed into some form of high-paid indentured servitude by this Court.”

Ooooh, snap! (Sorry. There’s just something about flexing a judicial pimp hand that gets us excited.)

The question now is what does Carr do next? No doubt, his lawyers are writing yet another appeal at this very moment. But what happens if he’s ultimately denied his request to jump to TKK? Well, that’s when things get sticky (or stickier, anyway). Given recent developments over at RKO, it’s unlikely that Carr will swallow his pride and return to the station. But would he really leave $7 million on the table and give up his radio gig? That seems equally implausible.

Some people around Boston Daily headquarters have speculated that TKK parent company Greater Media will plunk down more money in an attempt to get Entercom to release Carr. I’m not sure I buy that scenario, either. Entercom is a huge corporate concern; a few million won’t matter much to its bottom line. What does matter, though, is having Howie Carr on RKO. Love him or hate him, he’s become the station’s identity. So why would they let him walk?

No, it appears this saga is far from over. In the meantime, Carr’s legion of listeners will have to find other ways to amuse themselves.