BSMW Awards Recap – Sports Media Story/Scandal

The Red Sox and Blue Jays wrapped up their quick series at Fenway park last night. You can get the local coverage on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

Get the Toronto stories from the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail.

Today we’re looking at the top stories and scandals for 2005 in the Boston Sports Media.

1470 votes were cast in this category. 2005 was another wild and crazy year in the Boston sports media. One sports radio station folded, while another came on line. Both the Globe and Herald had staff reductions which impacted their sports departments. The local media outlets also went through their own “blog” craze, with many newspapers and even television stations adding blogs to their websites on a variety of topics.

Despite new competition in the market, WEEI continued to crush the competition in 2005. Their unprecedented ratings dominance coincided with the huge interest in the Red Sox and Patriots championship teams of recent years. WEEI did lose their longtime evening host, Ted Sarandis, who resigned from the station.

Here’s how the voting broke down:

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The launch of ESPN Boston got 454 votes for 31% of the vote. The station, which has as it’s flagship show “The Drive” hosted by Michael Felger, achieved a bit of success by registering in the ratings book almost right away. The ESPN backing of the station perhaps gives the station a bit of legitimacy in the eyes of viewers, as well as the football talk and knowledge of Felger and such guests as Mike Reiss. Ron Borges and Nick Cafardo have also been frequent guests on the program. Perhaps as a sign of continued future growth, the station recently replaced their original program director Doug Tribou with Len Weiner, who had led an ESPN radio station in Chicago to ratings success.

Reader Comments: I went with the Herald and Globe staff reductions. The newspaper industry is definitely in big trouble around here, especially with so many people hooked into the internet. I went with 890 starting up. The emergence of a true alternative to EEI is a godsend to sports fans in this market….1510 stops local programming: If a station that no one listens to stops local programming, does anything really change? At least they still have the Larry Lee Lewis Sports Comedy Hour.

Now, let’s look at the voting for the scandal of the year:

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John Dennis’ sneering, threatening, just plain creepy voicemail left for Ryen Russillo is the winner. The funny thing is, according to people who have worked with Dennis in the past, this sort of thing is a regular occurrence for the WEEI morning co-host.

Dennis’ voicemail got 468 votes out of 1468 total for 32%. The Red Sox media “cartel” – a phrase which was coined by former Herald columnist Howard Bryant – received 338 votes for 23% of the total vote. Bryant was roundly mocked by media members and outlets portrayed as being part of the “cartel” such as the Globe, NESN and WEEI. The premise of the cartel is that the Red Sox use media outlets which they have power over either through an ownership stake or through broadcast rights to disseminate information which is spun to their liking and advantage and to crush and humiliate the reputations of those who may end up on their bad side.

Reader Comments: I don't know what the long-term impact will be, but nothing was more fun than the incoherent, threatening voicemail John Dennis left on Ryen Russillo's answering machine….I couldn't care less about [John Dennis's] drunken tirade. Much more concerning is that 'BCN would take an intelligent and informative pre- and post- game Patriots show and turn it into "Big Show Lite"….I went with the "cartel" for the simple fact that all of the others will be largely forgotten in a few months (I had already forgotten about the Gee/sloe-eyed sabra issue). The effects of the (real or imagined) cartel will impact Sox coverage going forward for the foreseeable future.

Monday: Best/Worst Local Studio Analyst.