BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Sports Radio Host

Today’s category is a huge one…the Best and Worst radio host in Boston. Though Sports Radio has really grown nationwide over the last 10-15 years, it has taken off in Boston as nowhere else the last few years. At the center of each show is the host. They all have their own styles, some are confrontational, others cerebral, some cater to the lowest common denominator, while others do their best to manufacture drama on a daily basis to keep people coming back, like a soap opera.

Which styles work? Who is the best at running the show, keeping things lively and entertaining?

Here’s how you voted:

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Glenn Ordway was the winner, but not by as wide a margin as he probably would’ve liked. He picked up 287 votes and 20% of the total, but was challenged hard by a former protégé, Michael Felger who began hosting his very first radio show in the latter part of the year. Felger picked up 18% of the vote. Another surprise was Mike Adams with his third place showing, picking up 11%.

I haven’t totally figured out Ordway…some days I marvel at how he can fill a show with the likes of Steve Burton, Bill Burt, Larry Johnson and Butch Stearns, and still make it work rather smoothly. Other times, I think that Ordway purposely surrounds himself with “talent” of that ilk so as to make himself look all-wise and reasonable by comparison. Whatever he does, it works as shown by the record setting ratings success enjoyed by the station, and in particular his program. Who can argue with success?

Felger began his show making sure that he didn’t step on WEEI toes, not wanting to burn bridges, but did state that they would do some things a little differently. No “celebrity” callers. No talking for days on end about “Manny peeing in the wall”. They held to that for awhile, and still stick to a more traditional sports radio format…plenty of guests, mixed in with the callers, but occasionally Felger shows his roots of having trained at the feet of the master Ordway with manufactured drama and plot lines. Still, there’s a lot of promise there for the future.

I’m not sure what to say about Adams. I liked him over the years, but have been turned off as he has been indoctrinated into the WEEI style of angrily bashing certain players, particularly Manny Ramirez. His gag opening show, where he pretended to lock himself in the WEEI studios was memorable, but rather lame.

Reader Comments: I chose Felger as the best—I like very much how he has started on 890 and wish the signal was better….I went with Rotillo (Russillo) for “best” for his depth and breadth of knowledge and the enthusiasm he has for all sports…The best host is the currently underemployed Ryen Russillo. Felger is only as good as his co-host, which is not a criticism per se.

Now for the worst:

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Eddie Andelman, who only was on the air for about half the year, he still managed to leave enough of an impression on the minds of listeners to name him the worst sports radio host in Boston. Gerry Callahan tied him in terms of percentage (Both got 18%) but Andelman got a few more actual votes (268 to 261). It’s been a sad descent for the once-great Andelman, who was a real pioneer in the sports radio format. Andelman in his final days at WWZN was reduced to simply lashing out on old agendas (Bob Kraft, Red Sox Ownership) and bringing on the same old guests that he’s had for years. He recently started a new weekly show on WTKK 96.9 on Sunday nights and it’ll be interesting to see if the reduced schedule does him good.

I don’t think Gerry Callahan is deserving of election as the worst sports radio host. Sure, his viewpoints and attitudes can be maddening, but when it comes to sports, he’s better than most in town. Now Callahan’s partner in the morning, John Dennis, he is a guy who might be worthy of consideration in this category. He finished next, with 12% of the vote. Dennis is decent at leading the program in and out of breaks and around different segments. Content-wise, what exactly does he bring to the program? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Reader Comments: In spite of so many good candidates, John Dennis wins “worst” easily. He's everything a host and radio personality shouldn't be: pompous windbag; uninformed; bad interviewer. Finding out too much about his creepy personal life just tops it off….. Dennis and Ordway was basically a coin flip, but Dennis is slightly more execrable….The jowly, aging, racist frat boy [John Dennis] has neither depth nor breadth of knowledge, unless it's of last night's episode of 24.

Tomorrow: Non-beat Sport Specific Writers

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