Free Advice for WBZ-FM

I’ll admit, I’m a little obsessed with the idea of a viable second sports radio station in Boston. Other cities have several, (Dallas has four) so why can’t it work here?

I have to say, while I’m excited for the premiere of the new 98.5FM The SportsHub on August 13th, the early feeling I’m getting is that it is just going to be more of the same. Speaking right now, on July 28, WEEI doesn’t have much to worry about.

Let’s look at what we know thus far:

Toucher and Rich will be the morning show. I’ve listened to them a little bit since the announcement was made, to try and get a feel for what they have to offer. When I listened yesterday, the segment was about what to do when you accidentally pee on yourself. While they no doubt will talk more sports on the new station, it’s still not going to be an all-sports program. There’s some “rule” out there that says all sports in the morning can’t work. OK, say that’s true. T&R will hopefully stay away from the nasty, biting political talk that dominates D&C, and will ideally keep things pretty light in the mornings. How do the sports fit in? Will they do regular “sports flashes” or whatever they’re going to call them? What type of guests will they have? That’s going to be a big factor in whether the show can compete.

My formula for the show would be to talk at a minimum 50% sports, with guests each hour, and keep the rest of the show light. Do some humor, some pop culture, whatever. Don’t try to become the moral compass of the Commonwealth. Stay away from the nastiness.

I can see myself still listening to D&C a fair amount of the time, especially when they have guests, and on Patriots Mondays and Fridays.

——-

Gary Tanguay is going to do the mid-day show. Which Gary Tanguay are we going to get? I generally like Tanguay, except when he goes into his patented “panic” mode. It happens way too much for my taste.  He just sounds fake, contrived and generally ridiculous. Some of the Patriots pregame shows that he has done are examples of the worst radio I have ever heard in my entire life. At times during the Patriots 2007 season you’d have thought they doing a pregame show for the 2008 Detroit Lions.

(By the way, Tanguay will still be hosting the Patriots pre and post game shows on 98.5 along with Scott Zolak and Andy Gresh.)

My free advice for this program is for Tanguay to aim for more of a “Dan Patrick Show” type of feel. I think Tanguay could pull it off if he was setup correctly. He needs to talk, to inform, to entertain, not just stir things up with the aim of getting reaction. From what I’ve heard there will be rotating co-hosts on this show. I’d actually rather see the show setup so that Tanguay is the main figure, with a sidekick, to toss things off of, and a series of call-in guests. These can be local, but I might actually prefer outsiders, especially writers or radio hosts from cities that have a team playing the Boston team that day. Also reach out the local beat writers, especially for the Bruins and Patriots, to give us the latest on those teams.

Depending on how it goes, I think I’m still going to have heavy doses of Dale & Holley, which for pure sports talk, is the best show WEEI has to offer.

——–

Now we come to Mike Felger. When Felger started his show on 890ESPN, he vowed that his show wouldn’t follow the WEEI model and spend “four hours talking about Manny peeing in the wall.”  The show got off to a promising start, but when the ratings didn’t follow, he changed course and jumped back to the WEEI style, and eventually back to WEEI itself. The mistake made here was concluding that the poor ratings were due more to a horrific signal rather than to a rejection of the early content of the show.

It was reported this week, first by Ken Fang, and then by Jessica Heslam,  that WBZ-FM made a hard run at WEEI regular Lou Merloni, who after auditioning for a spot with Felger, decided to sign a deal to remain with WEEI. (Interestingly, Fang reports that CBS rejected Merloni after hearing his audition…spin?)

That’s not encouraging to me. Not that Merloni remained at WEEI, but that WBZ-FM thought that he was the guy to target. This just tells me that they’re looking to rob WEEI of “talent” and perhaps copy the model. Merloni was their top target? Why? When he first came on the air, he was a breath of fresh air, but time spent at the knee of Glenn Ordway has turned him into just another voice, especially when talking sports other than baseball. He’s good as a baseball analyst, but I don’t really want to hear his take on the Patriots defense.

After failing to get Merloni, who is Felger/WBZ-FM going to go after next? Fred Smerlas? Steve DeOssie? Bill Burt? Ron Borges?

Like the Tanguay show, this program is also supposed to have rotating co-hosts. I’d prefer a “Mike and the Mad Dog” approach to the afternoon drive. Have two permanent hosts, who can talk knowledgeably on any sports topic, and attract intelligent callers who bring something other than a tired shtick to the airwaves. This is probably a total pipe dream on my part, because the “rule” of Boston sports radio seems to be that you can only talk Boston sports. Besides, who currently in the Boston media is going to be able to do this? If they’re not willing to bring someone in from the outside, maybe the rule needs to be rewritten.

I would settle for a smart, informative show, with again, many guests. Bring in some of the beat writers from the smaller papers as call-in guests. (Much better than four hours of Fred and Steve) Get some national voices to talk about big events elsewhere. Whatever you do, don’t pound the same topic into the ground for three straight weeks. Or even three straight hours. Keep it moving.

Do that, and I might never listen to the Big Show again, which despite the ratings, is the weakest show in the daytime WEEI lineup.

———

We don’t know yet about the overnights or weekends. I don’t have as strong of opinions on these timeslots, so I’d be welcome to suggestions. Ben Maller is looking for work. He’s a national guy with a pretty big following, who was let go from FoxSports Radio after doing the overnights for quite a while. Does Ted Sarandis want to get back into the radio game?

On the weekends, would you just go national and carry as many college and pro sports events as you could get your hands on, or would you do more local programming? A show devoted to the Bruins? A Sunday morning NFL show leading into the Patriots (in addition to the three-hour pregame show)?

——–

Overall, the new station has a lot of work to do if they hope to compete with powerhouse WEEI. Some of the early moves leave me thinking that rather than competing with, they’re trying to copy WEEI. That’s simply not going to work. If someone wants to listen to WEEI, they’ll listen to WEEI, who already has their formula perfected, not to a startup that is merely trying to imitate them.

For all the criticism I aim at WEEI, I have to tip my cap to them for what they’re able to accomplish in terms of ratings. They’re very good at what they do, which as Chad Finn famously put it, is catering to the lowest common denominator.

If WBZ-FM hopes to succeed, they need to target and cater to the reasonably intelligent and informed fan base, not the just the casual fan. Bringing in Tanguay and Felger (and chasing Merloni) aren’t a promising start to that end.  Prove me wrong, guys. If you’ve got any further questions on programming, my fee is quite reasonable.

Related Links:

WBZ-FM Sports Hub Starts up in August

More On The New WBZ-FM

Boston Radio Watch on the New WBZ-FM

Will WEEI Add FM Simulcast In Boston?

You Program The New Boston Sports Radio Station

  • HamLah

    Bruce,

    Couldn’t agree with you more, seems like wbz-fm is already on its way to being another weei. If Tanguay gets the midday slot, I will def stick with Dale and Holley, although I’m getting more and more sick of Dale lately. I don’t know if you heard but JT the Brick got demoted, not a big deal but does affect EEI somewhat. and like you said BRING BACK BEN MALLER!

  • Paul

    It’s only nasty political talk if you don’t agree with it.

    • Beaker

      Yes, and everyone who criticizes WEEI is just jealous. We get it.

      • Paul

        That’s not what I said.

        I’m not a big EEI supporter, BTW. I listen occasionally.

        • Beaker

          And does the political talk inevitably devolve into “nasty, biting” discussion in no small part due to the hosts?

        • Paul

          Mostly it devolves because their producer eggs them on with some way out of left field opinions.

          Contrary to popular belief you have a political discussion without yelling…but it takes maturity from both parties.

        • Rick Mc

          So Iggy expressing a contrary opinion gives Gerry license to scream and yell, and personally attack anybody who disagrees with him? Wonderful logic.

        • Paul

          Why don’t you read my post all the way through before responding?

          I called Gerry and Iggy immature from letting their political argument devolve into a yelling match.

        • Rick Mc

          Screaming at the top of your lungs, claiming that opponents are either stupid, inept, conniving or evil is nasty.

        • Tony

          I’m sorry, but Iggy expresses his “opinions” based on what he reads on The Daily Kos, which is like taking advice about personal hygiene from the homeless guy on the street. Compared to Iggy, Callahan comes off as a Rhodes Scholar.

          That said, I don’t listen to D&C very much, except during football season when they have Brady and Adam Schefter on for interviews. When I do listen to it on other mornings, I find myself switching it off almost immediately once Callahan and Iggy get into it about politics. It’s like getting a root canal, and that’s not a good feeling before 8 a.m.

        • Dan

          Tony, you’ve betrayed your own bias with this ridiculous statement:

          “I’m sorry, but Iggy expresses his “opinions” based on what he reads on The Daily Kos, which is like taking advice about personal hygiene from the homeless guy on the street. Compared to Iggy, Callahan comes off as a Rhodes Scholar.”

          They are on two opposite sides of the same coin that is destroying this country and obviously you are too.

        • Beaker

          But your post was that “it’s only nasty political talk if you don’t agree with it.” But then you admit that it devolves due to the staff and hosts. I think you have mixed feelings on this.

        • Paul

          Bruce was commenting that the content of their argument was nasty. Just because something is loud doesn’t mean it’s nasty.

          Granted, their delivery isn’t going to win over a lot of people but they do occasionally bring up a valid point of view.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      Ummm, no.

      • Paul

        Ummm, yes.

        • Classless

          You guys are such losers. Whining to each other about the show everyone complains about on here, yet you. still. listen. Turn off the radio and get a life, rather than battling on a message board about 2 guys who hate you.

  • Bullock

    Bruce, a great piece as always.

    I respectfully disagree with two points. We will part company is your assertion that “Tanguay to aim for more of a ‘Dan Patrick Show’ type of feel.” The Dan Patrick Show is, hands down, the most boring 3-4 hours of radio. Whatever personality Patrick had during his Big Show heyday has long since evaporated. Tanguay would be better advised to try to find his own voice, energy and personality.

    I also doubt that Toucher & Rich will make a dent into D&C’s audience. I don’t care for the Grumpy Old White Men Radio Program, but Toucher & Rich is typical zoo crew morning show drivel that finds one joke and bludgeons it to death for an hour. They remind me of those two Springfield DJs at KBBL, Bill and Marty. A segment dedicated to what to do if you pee on yourself? That’s some groundbreaking comedy right there.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….

    • Bruce

      No problem.

      I do want to clarify though, that I didn’t mean to imply that I found the T&R bit on peeing yourself to be funny. It wasn’t.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Rick Mc

      I thought today’s 8 o’clock hour was pretty good, but there have been some godawful segments recently. Telling boring stories and bad questions for the caller. I still like the show, just a rough patch. You have to listen for a while because there are a lot of references and part of their act is talking about their lives, so if you know them, you will be more interested in what they are saying.

      T&R have done some changes. Crash is doing a taped “Sportsflash”-like segment, which gives the scores and some goofy news. It is god awful. They also do a live segment of sports news twice a show. Crash will read the stories and the other two will comment.

      AJ from Deadspin is appearing weekly. Amalie Benjamin was on a couple of days ago. Tanguay used to have a weekly segment. Jack Edwards was on talking Bruins during the season and they had Ward. They do a lot of sports and don’t do the boring, fawning interviews that WEEI loves so much and that Dhale has mastered. They joke around with their guests and make an effort to make their interviews different.

    • Jason Coyote

      First off, to Bruce–keep these columns coming on how to build a radio station.

      As for T&R vs. D&C in the mornings, I think it might be as simple as two shows targeting two different age demographics. I bet most of EEI’s younger listeners who find D&C dull will migrate to T&R while most of D&C’s older fans will stick with the status quo. I’m sure T&R are talking more sports now than previously, but I think when they move to 98.5 it will still be a show aiming more for laughs and what qualifies for morning show zaniness in the 21st century than any type of in-depth sports discussion.

      If Tanguay is reigned in and tries to play more of a straight man to the styles of his co-host du jour, that show will be ok. But good luck to him trying to compete with D&H.

      As for Felger, he better make sure he’s hooked people in by 5:30 otherwise anyone still hanging on will fly over to EEI for the Whiner Line. Not sure if BZ-FM should even attempt to create a segment to compete with EEI; Felger tried something on 890 and I listened to it a couple of times, but it tanked.

      As for nights and weekends, Eric Frede (currently freelancing) would make a good host who could probably pair up with almost anyone. Caught a little of him this past weekend filling in solo on EEI and he kept the show moving along.

      I read an interview with Chuck Wilson (former ESPN Radio guy) over on Ken Fang’s page talking about the new station, and he would be someone they should target as well.

      Does former EEI flash guy Jeff Joyce have any roots/ties to Boston? He left to work in DC a few years back but I don’t know if he’d have any incentive to come back here.

      How about Mike Giardi from NECN? Or the ‘Young Guns’ who have now moved their show to 890?

      There’s enough intelligent coherent talent out there, BZ just needs to go out there and pursue it. Good luck to ‘em.

      • Evan

        Jeff Joyce has a daily show on XM Radio’s baseball channel (MLB Homeplate), a channel which offers a good alternative to D & C since it talks (gasp!) baseball 95% of the time.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      I didn’t know Adolfo posted here.

  • Rick Mc

    I always looked at other cities that supported multiple sports talk stations (St. Louis has three) and wondered why Boston didn’t have more stations if WEEI did so well. I used to think that it was just a matter of competition. If WWZN or ESPN had better signals, they would have been successful because there is an audience and smaller, less fanatical cities have multiple stations.

    I have come to think, though, that Boston is different because of the success of WEEI. A competitor cannot run out syndicated programing and a bit of local, collect a 1.0, and be happy. Sports talk is just another format. But here sports talk is a beast and you have to take on WEEI, which is much tougher and much more expensive.

  • Maybe

    I wonder if they will have regular sports and news readers. Listening to D&C yesterday, maybe WBZ-FM should take a run at Kelley Malone. I also wonder if they will use the news gathering resources of ‘BZ-AM, which would be a good move.

    • Jason Coyote

      Didn’t Kelly call the Blue Jays GM ‘JJ Riccardi’ for four hours the other day? And D&C didn’t even correct her. If you’re looking for a competent female sports reporter, how about Jayme Parker (formerly of NESN and also does BC football on EEI)?

      Not much left to the BZ 1030 sports dept except for Walt Perkins and the quasi-return of Tom Cuddy. Not much there.

      Almost a guarantee Dan Roche gets a baseball-themed show somewhere on the BZ-FM’s schedule. He loves talking baseball more than all other sports combined.

      • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

        The Putt Putt Twins didn’t know his name either. Unless they’re babbling about their golf games, making racist comments, or whining about liberals, they’re pretty much non-existant.
        What is this fascination with JP Richardi in this town? The Blue Jays haven’t done anything noteworthy in years…

        • Jason Coyote

          Jon, I think the fascination with JP is as simple as he’s a Worcester boy who’s made the bigtime. Bostonians like to look out for their own.

          The only fascination to me is that Bostonians actually consider Worcester part of Massachusetts. I always thought anything west of 495 was part of NY.

        • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

          You mean it’s not?

  • E

    Yeah, I really don’t get the “unwritten rule” that you cannot talk pure sports in the morning drive time slot. I generally flip off D & C when they enter any of their “water cooler” junk that isn’t related to sports. If T & R continue with that sort of junk in the morning, I will not be tuning in.

    I understand you not wanting the WBZ start-up to poach talent from EEI, and forgive my ignorance, but are there enough sports-related talented people to fill the slots? Clearly, it would behoove WBZ to target others because who would give up their EEI slot in this economy? Moreover, I read, I think here that Gresh would be on. Is he giving up his XM show? I can’t imagine that.

    Finally, is there any information on how the segments will be structured?

  • Bobby

    Great piece Bruce, many things I agree with some I don’t.

    First on T+R, obviously T+R are no D+C but they do pretty well in the 25-54 demo, otherwise they wouldn’t keep them around, I would venture to say they might even do better int he 18-49 range than D+C. At my office (which is most young to mid 20’s) T+R is a constant even among the sports crowd. Until this switch was announced I had never really paid attention but the more and more I listen the funnier and funnier to becomes to me, though I have a feeling I am much more in the target demo, not you. However, you clearly (?) fall into what is the traditional sports radio target demographic while I am right along the younger cusp…that could be an issue for WBZ-FM.

    I think middays won’t be a focus of WBZ-FM, like you mentioned D+H is a powerhouse, no reason to dump huge cash and resources into one of the area’s you won’t have the ability to attack for awhile.

    The most likely space for competition is the Big Show. Felger can be that, he could also get smoked again. 890 had the problem that it was flipped from spanish, a station most english speaking listeners were most likely not very aware of, however all of us are aware of WBCN and Mix 98.5, if we listen or not.

    My big question is late nights and overnights, I think they are bound to go live and local…what networks could they pick up? ESPN, FSR, and SNR are all taken. They could rerun Dan Patrick (as done in say Dallas) or just go live and local like they do in New York and Philly. Here is a chance when they might be able to take some at least interest since WEEI is now on tape overnight due to budget cuts at FSR. Live and local, on FM where the night time does not screw with the signal could be a big get for this new station.

    On the whole I think WBZ-FM will work out, CBS Radio tends to know what they are doing when it comes to sports radio, hell they were on the leading edge of its development and own the marquee sports talk station WFAN (though they did not own it when it flipped originally).

    DCRTV is reporting that 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore is doing quite quite well and early reports are that 106.7 the Fan in DC has started somewhat strong, in fact so strong that Dan Synder is talking about bringing Tony K back into the fold on his ESPN 980 (the former WTEM SportsTalk 980).

    This is going to be an incredible run of radio wars and WBZ-FM is much more poised to make a run than 1510 or 890 was. 1510 ran out of money and 890 never had the money. This could be fascinating to watch (and listen to).

    I expect WBZ-FM to have a big bump in the first book with WEEI starting to reclaim some of the listeners by book two, then it will be all bets off.

    • Rick Mc

      Well put and well researched, Bobby. One thing, though.

      I think middays won’t be a focus of WBZ-FM, like you mentioned D+H is a powerhouse, no reason to dump huge cash and resources into one of the area’s you won’t have the ability to attack for awhile.

      Midday won’t be a focus because middays are well behind morning and afternoon drive on any station. I would bet Orbway and D&C make multiples of what D+H make

      • Bobby

        Oh for sure, and that is a great point.

        For example the last time male 25-54 ratings were shown to me Dale and Holley had the largest market share but D+C and Big Show has significantly more listeners, just by virtue of the fact that there are more listeners, those numbers were from a number of months ago so I don’t know if its changed with the PPM’s

        Just as side note, Washington Post confirms Tony K is back on the radio in DC

  • Ed

    Two words for WBZ-FM…Sean McDonough. Two more words for them…Ted Nation. Each of them is well-informed. Each is well-connected. Each is well-spoken. And each raises the level of discourse on the radio beyond “how loud can you yell” or “how stupid can you be”, tenets of the Big Show, Planet Mikey and Dennis and Callahan. I only listen to satellite radio now, but if you put a Boston station on with Ted Nation and Sean McDonough, I would listen.

    • Bullock

      I would listen to a Sean McDonough show not named “The McDonough Group.”

    • Kevin

      Please do not bring back Ted Nation. While he is intelligent and doesn’t yell he does degrade and talk down to his callers and in effect his listeners. I’m not a fan of the yelling and loud antics of WEEI but I don’t enjoy feeling like someone is belittling my intelligence because I don’t follow college basketball on a national level for example.

      Based on what’s I’m reading about the BZ linkup, I’m not getting too excited about it. Tanguay??? Come on, can’t we do better? Felger yes, but he needs a good sidekick. Mazz could fit the bill (although he is predominantly a baseball guy). Please BZ whatever you do, do not do weekly/daily interviews with athletes/coaches. They rarely tell us anything. I turn the channel as soon as the Patriot player interviews start on WEEI. Use national writers. I love hearing Peter King. Rick Gosselin from the Dallas Morning New may be the best NFL writer today. What I love about ESPN is the national coverage (although I can’t say I love all of their reporters). This formula could work? Who wouldn’t listen to a reporter talking about the Yankees or Mets disfunction? Or what’s happening around the NFL?

      Would love to see McDonough but I think he’s happy with TV.

      • Jason Coyote

        Kevin, it’s possible that Ted would talk down to fewer callers if all those LCDs and dregs of humanity stayed over at EEI. Working at a new station might cause Ted to revert back to his earlier days in sportsradio, when he was a lot less jaded and cynical.

  • Tom

    Good take, Bruce. I grew up in Mass. and then lived outside of the beltway in DC for nearly 7yrs, and I have to say it was refreshing to hear sports talk that revolved around things outside of Rt.128.
    I understand and agree that Boston is a much better sports city than DC, but would it kill the hosts around here to acknowledge college football? Or the rest of the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL? And while golf is admittedly not great sports talk radio fodder, it can have some good talking points/human drama.
    I have long maintained, like you and others, that WEEI owes a lot of it’s success to being the only game in town. There are many like me starving for an alternative. Other than Dale & Holley, the station is filled with morons. I mean that literally. Just dumb people.
    Finally, the morning show can absolutely be more than just sports, but there are times when D&C barely acknowledge sports other than during Meter’s flash. One morning this past spring I had a long drive to a client’s office in the morning and was looking forward to Sox spring training talk and the first day of the NCAA tournament… sadly, Obama made a joke about the special olympics at 11:30pm the night before. So much for that… I immediately turned on the music for the ride.

  • sam

    as long as wbz refers customers to out of state glass replacement companies, hawks inferior donuts, breakfast sandwiches and poorly made 1000 calorie coffee drinks, and refuses to run ads from crooked subprime mortage brokers they’ll never be successful.

  • LJ Sandwich

    A bidding war for Lou Merloni? The only two things I every pictured battling for his attention are those two warthogs Erin and Jessamy from “Still We Believe” or whatever that pile of crap Sox fan documentary was.

    I think they should try to lure away the wildy popular Andleman boys from WTKK. I know they would command top dollar, but they are just the kind of edgy “guy radio” that is about to break big here. I listen to their weekend show now and if they can make each other roll on the carpet with laughter, I’m sure they can do the same to a wider audience. Hey, it’s in their genes!!!

    I thought Toucher and Rich was the return of Mark Parenteau paired with wealthy local celebrity Ernie Boch Jr. In fact, that might be a better pairing to wake up to each morning. Imagine the prison tales ol’ “Mark-a-Rento” could tell, while Ernie Boch could spin some of his fantastic Ernie and The Automatics tunes while in between telling listeners how he spends his time pissing away his Dad’s fortune and reputation.

    • Guntfather of Sports Radio

      What about the Track Gals show? They could certainly match the weight clause needed to contend with Glen, Fred, Steve, and Pete. And since one of the Track Gals already looks like Eddie in drag it would have a sports feel.

      • LJ Sandwich

        Fantastic points as always mighty Guntfather. Imagine listening to those two heavyweights read their Tales from the Naked City live on air between bites of Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches and slurps of Coolatta’s!!! Having fun and witty callers dial in with their guesses as to the subjects of their blind items!!! Winner!!!

    • Jason Coyote

      Gotta tell ya LJ, I’m not sure “Andelman Cubed” could pull in a big audience because they’re certainly not any funnier than T&R. They only sound funny because the youngest brother laughs like a hyena at anything his older brothers say. Let ‘em stick to food shows, that’s what they do best. They have nothing in common with EGA except the genes.

      • Guntfather of Sports Radio

        Mailman’s son might disagree.

  • kk

    I think T&R will do ok in the morning. I assume they will do some coffee with the coach type thing with the Bruins and maybe a version fo the patriots pregame interview with one of the Krafts. They also have the CBS sports stable of personalities and talent to draw from for guests, as do the other shows.

    I would like to see the midday show and the afternoon drive show have someone strong to be a foil to the host. I suppose that can develop through the flash guy or whatever they use.

    I don’t have a problem with Merloni or any exjock being a regular host/cohost. Yeah they will have one sport that they are stronger in but Mike Golic seems very able to discuss other sports.

  • Guntfather of Sports Radio

    I’d like a Lew in Car Show where he basically talks to Brian Kelly over the phone for about 3 hours. He can play those wacky sound effects and be in different awkward situations. Boy can that guy do commercials.

    Sadiki on Sports- Where you get a broad view of sports from various points of view. All races are welcome.

    Mustard and Johnson 2: More Larry and Craig making hilarious jokes about the Yankees and interacting with callahs. Larry can rag Craig about being a teacher and being a lieberal from Wellesley. Craig can criticize Larry about being a suckup to Glen Ordway and acting like a lapdog everytime he’s on.

    • Tony

      Mustard should forever be banned from the airwaves until he publicly admits that his hero, Roger Clemens–the man whose departure from Boston supposedly drove him to become a Yankees fan–is a FRAUD who was completely washed up in 1996, and that Dan Duquette was right to let him go. The fact, yes FACT, that Clemens extended the “twilight of his career” by 10 years through using PEDs doesn’t make all of Duquette’s bashers right. (I’m no Duquette fan, but he was 100% correct to let the Texas Con Man walk in ’96).

      • Guntfather of Sports Radio

        Don’t you get it? What makes them different makes them great.!!

    • LJ Sandwich

      1510 the Zone is a virtual top farm system for radio talent. They are the ones that gave you not only Lew in the Car, but Dakota in the Mornin’ (…Get outta bed, no time fah yawnin’), Mike Adams and his sidekick Candy, the Diehards, etc…

      Anthony Pepe is still there chasing dust bunnies around the vacant studio and making sure that the religious programing gets aired without a hitch. He’d be a great addition to any top sports station looking for a googly eyed tard that will fly out to Vegas for a boxing match at a moments notice.

      98.5 will provide Larry Johnson with some serious leverage to get a regular timeslot back. Much like Lou Merloni, I can see a huge bidding war for the Muu Muu wearing tracer and it might just be the break Larry needs to stay closer to his strong Christian values and breakaway for the off color comments of the WEEI on air staffers. Raising of the bar if you will.

      • Jason Coyote

        You do have to give Dakota credit for one thing, LJ. While his radio show only lasted on the air for two months, I believe those two months were September and October of 2004. Let’s face it, if any of us could’ve ever gotten (or paid for) our own gig, that had to be one of the best times in Boston sports history to do it.

  • sam

    i have a hot tip for gerry callahan at the herald. does anyone know his email adress or should i just send it to gale and laura c/o gerry callahan?

  • JTK

    Great article Bruce…I think that the D&C and D&H on WEEI will have no problem beating T&R and Tanguay. I think the only chance WBZ has a shot of being successful is for Felger to have a strong show. If he tries his Ron Borgesesque act, it wont work. He needs strong co-hosts to really drive the ratings because I dont think the other two shows will help with bringing in listeners.

    Also, bring back Ted Nation to destroy that clown Mikey Adams. But Teddy needs to get off his college sports high horse. Nobody gives a crap about BC in this town. If he has a solid sport talk show with no BC diatribes, I’ll listen.

  • Chris

    The FM signal will give WBZ-FM clout that WEEI doesn’t have in the fringe areas of northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. If you’re in Boston proper, you pick based on content. The further north/northwest you go, signal strength dictates. And up here in southern NH, I’ll listen to WBZ-FM for that reason. Once we move back to Standard Time and the sun rises later/sets earlier, WEEI isn’t even an option up here outside of high noon. But WEEI will also align themselves with an FM blowtorch, which will give me two options once again. Faced with the choice, I’ll opt for content first followed by hosts that have a high knowledge-to-annoyance ratio of 10:1 or better.

  • Beaker

    I think the passage of time (and the fact that Mike Adams blows) has clouded some memories on Ted Sarandis. He was a miserable, condescending prick who couldn’t abide the pro sports fans that made up 99% of his audience. I liked to listen just to hear him seethe after the 30th Red Sox call in a row in mid-December. I always got the sense he absolutely hated his job.

    • LJ Sandwich

      He did however lead his own “Nation.” It would also allow for the great Ray from Lynn to stop trolling around playgrounds, and actually have a platform to voice his wildly overrated baseball scouting skills.

      So long as WEEI still owns the BC rights, I don’t think the Golden Greek could give up that gig, especially when his sidekick Bill Ebben let’s Teddy sniff his finger on Saturday mornings!!!

      • Bullock

        Hahahahah … Ray from Lynn. Man I miss that guy like the herp.

      • Rick Mc

        especially when his sidekick Bill Ebben let’s Teddy sniff his finger on Saturday mornings!!!

        Greatest line ever. Ummmm Paula!!

      • Jason Coyote

        Remember the golden age of Boston sportsradio on Saturday mornings, when EEI gave us ‘Ted and Fred’ (that’s what I said)? You got an intelligent less jaded Ted and a remarkably coherent non-political Fred. Did it get any better? Oh yeah, and I think you had Buckley’s ‘Quality Hang’ as the lead-in.

    • mandb97

      I could no agree more

      • mandb97

        I mean “not”

  • mandb97

    Bruce, this is an excellent article. I agree with a lot of what was written but there are a couple items I disagree with. Here are a couple thoughts I have.

    1) I believe that you can be at least 80 to 90% sports talk in the morning. If you go 50% or less like I believe T & R will be then their show will be a disaster. I have said it in other post, the wacky FM DJ shtick will not work.

    2) I do not believe that there is any way Gary Tanguay can carry a show by himself. He does not have the personality to do it. It should Tanguay and “Blank”. Keep one co-host and go with it. Tanguay will do much better with someone else. Bruce, there is some good and bad if Tanguay copies Dan Patrick. He will cure the world of insomnia but most of the people cured will be on I95, I93, and 128 causing mass carnage and death.

    3) Felger can carry a show on his own. He has the personality and the ability to express an opinion fairly thoughtfully. My guess is that he might have been asked to change his philosophy by the suites at AM 890 when they did not see the ratings increasing vs. Ordway. This may tell you how inept management at 890 is. I think he can do some serious damage to Ordway and may force some constructive change on the Big Show.

    4) I do like Ben Maller who I think can not only talk about local sports but give some national perspective. I think he can be the one host who can mix up the topics a little.

    As far as Ted Sirandis, NO WAY! He was the ultimate Doubting Thomas. I’m not trying to say he needs pom-poms but when you look at series like the 1999 divisional series and believe that Cleveland has three times the talent then you have no credibility at all. He and Eddie Andelman were two of the most vocal when it came to believe a manager was bad because he would not come on their respective talk shows.

    I believe the big winner on this can be the listener. If WBZ does some damage to WEEI then WEEI will have to make changes. If WEEI then does a better job then WBZ will have to improve their product.

    As far as the weekends I like listening to Ryder and Meggs. There is no screaming, just good conversation. If a caller is obnoxious then they dump him/her.

    I still believe that the best local sports programming is in Portland, ME on WLOB 96.3. Shoe and Joe on the morning drive-time are ten times better than D & C. Shoe can get a little obnoxious but not over the top. The afternoon drive-time show with Chris Zdenka and the guys from the Central Maine Sports Blog is a very informative and entertaining show. I will listen to them over Ordway. Both shows talk sports, are coherent, and are a very enjoyable listen.

    • Rick Mc

      Maybe Bobby can be more authoritative, but T&R hasn’t been a disaster so far. As was mentioned above, they appeal to a different group than D&C and seem to be doing well.

      One issue with them is that they have only ten months on their contracts. In other flips, CBS has eaten the money left on contracts, but this situation is different as T&R might fit in the new format. CBS may not think that T&R are the best option for sports talk, but the company is giving them a shot to save some money with the off chance that they are successful. With the introduction of the PPMs, stations will have ratings on a monthly basis and can react quickly.

      • Bobby

        The contract issue will come up for sure but look at what CBS has done at other stations. If they didn’t think the talent was worth keeping they didn’t. At WFJK in DC they dropped the afternoon drive, half the midday, and evenings. Mike O’Mera was a nationally syndicated show based out of DC. When they flipped that station to sports, adios Mikey O.

        When T+R were on afternoons they were the #1 afternoon show for men 18-44.

        Just cause you don’t listen, doesn’t mean others don’t. Radio is all about ratings, and T+R bring ‘em.

    • Jason Coyote

      Shoe actually did some weekend fill-in work for EEI a few years back. I found him to be decent and non-offensive.

      As for Ben Maller, ‘BZ might be wise to hire him for the overnight shift, but let him stay out on the west coast (broadcast from a CBS Radio sister station?) and he can talk national stuff, maybe mixing in a little Boston. Could be a win-win for everyone, as Ben gets to work a decent shift thanks to the time zone difference, and CBS Radio could try syndicating the show on some of their other sports stations.

  • Ted Sarandis

    Put me back on the air and I PROMISE that i will NEVER put Larry Johnson, Fred or Steve on my show!

    Lots of BC talk though.

  • Nopointe

    WEEI might be able to take on WBZ on it’s own. But they have to compete with WBZ and a slashed budget at the Franklin Park Zoo.

    As those cages start to fail and more animals escape to Lexington people will probably turn to WBZ. On WEEI the hosts will be suspended and the shows will be dominated by freebie makeup PSAs.

  • ozzy

    I’m extremely unimpressed with the way ‘BZ and CBS are rolling this thing out. Are they waiting for word of this station to leak out somewhow? Those two dames in Korea have gotten more press coverage. ‘BZ should already have all their people in place with a press conference for each, complete with free booze and food to attract the media swine to the events. Also, a commercial campaign should ALREADY be running on Red Sox games every night. Something youthful and clever that particularly derides ‘EEI’s bovine hosts and their troglydyte callahs. The only press the station has gotten lately is on being outbid for the immortal Lou Merloni. (Thank God)

  • billy

    good post

    find Neumie!

    give him a baseball/horse race handicapping show

  • Chris

    As long as WBZ gets Boston Globe writers on regularly and if that’s the only place they can be heard then they won’t struggle to get listeners.

    • Kevin

      The Globe shot themselves in the foot when they took their writers off the air (okay off EEI). They became less relevant and guys like Felger (before he took to the airwaves), McAdams, Mazz become much more known. While Reiss seems like a nice guy, I haven’t read anything yet by him that I couldn’t find elsewhere. He’s too chummy with the team and can’t ask the tough question or break the big story, IMO.

  • billy

    and put gordon edes on too

  • Brian

    Sorry I didn’t really know where to reply, just wanted to back up some of what Bobby and Rick MC were saying. Toucher and Rich is not a show aimed at Dennis and Callahan’s audience. It’s a smart move to put them on because they can attract a younger male listernship that D&C can’t. While I found it extremely difficult to find old ratings books, there are a number of interview pieces and instances on the show where it was referenced that they managed to beat out the Big Show in the 18-34yo male demo within one year of being in Boston.

    The consensus on this site seems to be that it would be a shame for WBZ-FM to copy WEEI. The real shame would be if the shows all followed the same tired excuse of a sportstalk show format that the local sports radio scene has had to endure the last several years. Good sportstalk doesn’t need to be nuts and bolts, stats, game reviews. T+R will still talk sports, but it’s going to come at the topics from a different angle. I personally cannot stand the cookie-cutter stuff that has been going on here, with lame “celebrity” callers reading pre-written takes (if they can read them at all), insulting listeners and shouting down callers, or ridiculous trade proposals from some schmuck in Medford (or wherever). It’s not sportstalk – its obnoxious white noise.

    Those “flashes” Crash have been doing are a good concept, but have been poorly executed and are way too long. I don’t need to know every NL score from last night. It interrupts the flow of the show.

    As for the rest of the day, I wouldn’t mind seeing some type of long form interview show. I think the interview/reporter call-in segments are the most interesting of D&C and D&H, and a number of podcasts have been successful keeping a guest on for an hour or so ata time. That type of format might help tone down some of the more annoying qualities of Tanguay.

    Felger’s 890 show was a good listen until the end when he essentially wasn’t there half the time and when he was it seemed as if he was mailing it in. He developed an amusing raport with the regulars and his producer, and at least he would admit when he was wrong every once and a while.

  • Eddie Schrage

    I haven’t listened to WEEI very much for a long time. I work nights and was tired of the monkey poop nonsense that Mike Adams calls sports talk radio. I was an avid listener of Ben Maller before they took him off the air. I would love to see Ben get a shot in Boston. He’s a very knowledgeable sports mind who knows how to get his audience involved. Bringing Karen Kay with him would be a good idea also. Just my 2 cents. I hope this station makes it. I’ll be a listener.

  • http://twitter.com/bostonradio/statuses/2908191161 bostonradio (Boston Radio Watch)

    Twitter Comment


    @bruceallen makes a good point. Chasing after Merloni wasn’t the best talent acquisition decision. Strike 1. [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Parsimonious

    Seems few of you heard Tanguay when he was on the Worcester station doing daily talk…all he needs to do on the new show is do what he did then. Give the guy a chance, and I think you will be greatly surprised

  • Peter

    This morning when Meterperel called in sick (coming back from vacation no less), Callahan kind of insinuated something by stating “Hope he’s not interviewing down the street”

    If WBZ-FM hires the annoying Meter for mid-day co-host or anything else, then it will truly be an echo and not a choice.

    • mandb97

      Meter was actually coming back from the ACC media day

  • tedlepcio

    mandb97 comments are totally on point. Ben Maller is excellent. If they go syndicated at all I prefer Kornheiser or Tony Bruno (late night). Please no Sarandis or eei leftovers.

  • HamLah

    I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again and i’ve seen it on the posts above…Put Ben Maller on the new station, he knows his stuff and is jobless right now. BEN MALLER!

  • Tony

    I can’t seem to reply to Dan in the thread about D&C, so I’ll do it here.

    Dan, I believe my statement about Iggy and Callahan criticized both of them, so your attempt to lump me in with their crowds is a tremendous example of pretzel logic.

    Iggy’s “opinions” that he injects from behind his glass booth window come directly from the Fever Swamps of the Far Left websites. No thinking person would ever espouse such “opinions”.

    Callahan’s “opinions” are inarticulate and misinformed too, but compared with Iggy’s borderline insanity, he does come off sounding like a Rhodes Scholar, which is a pretty hard thing to accomplish.

    I’m neither of those guys; I actually think before I write or say anything. Obviously, you don’t, since you think I’m part of one of the cabal’s that is “destroying this country.”

    Get over yourself, OK?

  • Mitch

    I’d like to hear Tony Massarotti on the new station. He is the top baseball writer in town, in my judgment, and his is a voice that should be heard. I particularly like the fact that he will question the local clubs when necessary.

    His columns are consistently well-written and extremely well-researched. The knowledge he would bring to the airwaves would be a refreshing change of pace.

    • Chris

      Yea totally agree on Mazz. I still hear him on the drive time show with Picard on 1120 every once in a while but it would be great to get him on a better signal. In fact I hear a lot of Globe writers on 1120 from 4-6 but the signal is tough in some areas. I said it in an earlier post that first move WBZ should make is get deal with Globe!

  • Reggie

    I hate the D&C show and think that WBZ has a golden opportunity to take market share if they just put a pure sports show no Politics or other junk… They are missing a huge chance to take a shot at EEI, Dale and Holley are safe as they are clearly the best sports show on the EEI. Not sure if any of you were paying attention when Felger and Meterperel had the show for couple of days but they were surprisingly good, very good. The Morning Drive needs a pure sports show, lets hope that WBZ is smart enough to take advantage here… if they had one chance at shaking up or taking a shot at the Power House EEI it would be the morning show…

  • Rick

    You have GOT to be kidding me… The big show is the weakest WEEI Show??? Have you listened to Dennis and Callahan???Horrible, mean spirited and much to political. The biggest mistake that 98.5 can make (is making) is NOT putting a SPORTS oriented team on the morning drive. I can’t listen to Asshole and Bigger Asshole on WEEI anymore and the 98.5 team is not much better. guess I will stick with Mike and Mike.