- BSMW Network Post: When A Tweet is Not A Tweet http://tr.im/uwrP #
- RT @mikesofine: Francona disappointed in his $102 million man: http://bit.ly/11mnOE #
- Gordon Edes – Boston adds Buchholz to Halladay offer: http://tr.im/uttG #redsox #
- Stop the presses, MUST-LISTEN radio: RT @weeisports: Lenny Clarke will join Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning at 8:10am. #sarcasm #
- BSMW Network Post: Our Tuesday Links http://tr.im/urGB #
- BSMW Network Post: Free Advice for WBZ-FM http://tr.im/urpc #
- BSMW Network Post: Today In Patriots History – Victor Kiam Agrees To Buy Team http://tr.im/urp6 #
- RT @celticsblog: Rosen calls KG overrated, front runner, and choker – http://bit.ly/b70Lr #
- BSMW Network Post: Season’s Greetings – the Tight Ends http://tr.im/upXp #
- BSMW Network Post: Tuesday’s Viewing Picks http://tr.im/upB9 #
- RT @PaulESPNPR: Gems from BBTN research group 3: Daniel Bard hit btwn 99.3mph and 99.8mph 5 times last night. #
- BSMW Network Post: Beckett Has A’s Well In Hand http://tr.im/uoZo #
- BSMW Network Post: Season’s Greetings – the Offensive Line http://tr.im/uoP3 #
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.
Time to give you the megalinks.
The Weekend Viewing Picks are here.
I also have my latest edition of Follow Friday.
Ok, let’s get to your links.
Starting with Michael Hiestand of USA Today, he writes that ESPN is denying that it judges news coverage on its relationships with sports leagues.
Michael also writes about the NFL Draft expanding to three days and two nights.
Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Pearlman talks with CBS Sports reporter Lesley Visser.
SI’s Stewart Mandel says the SEC’s new TV deal puts it light years ahead of other college conferences.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if more teams will simulcast their TV game broadcasts on radio.
Darren breaks down Lance Armstrong’s new deal with Radio Shack for next year’s Tour de France.
Darren writes some current and past Yankees have bought memorabilia from the old Stadium.
Darren tells us that despite his legal troubles, Ben Roethlisberger’s new Dick’s Sporting Goods will still run on TV.
Joe Favorito says Army is looking to become New York’s football team.
Alex Weprin of Broadcasting & Cable looks at the NFL’s expansion of the Draft for next year.
John Eggerton of B&C writes about Comcast and Golf Channel’s new documentary on the challenges of those who tried to break professional golf’s color barrier.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says the Big Ten Network’s signature studio show will go on the road in August.
The Sports Media Watch feels ESPN’s explanation on its coverage of the Ben Roethlisberger civil lawsuit is not good enough.
However, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban felt ESPN used the proper restraint.
Michael David Smith of Fanhouse writes that ESPN had to pull a report about Michael Vick after the NFL debunked original reports on Twitter.
In the Sporting News, Dan Levy of On the DL feels columnist Jason Whitlock went overboard in his criticisms of the Erin Andrews situation.
Steve Lepore from Puck The Media may have figured out the TSN Wednesday Night Hockey schedule.
Maury Brown from the Biz of Baseball has the new logo for next year’s MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim.
I put this in Follow Friday, but I’ll put here as well. You have got to check out the 24 Hours of StarburyMarbury marathon on Ustream. It’s so funny and compelling to watch.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Chad Finn from the Boston Globe writes that ESPN executives are hiding under their desks in regards to the Erin Andrews and Ben Roethlisberger stories.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram notices NESN’s silence in regards to Jerry Remy’s return to the booth.
But then today, Barstool Sports caused an uproar by citing “sources” that Remy was going to return tonight.
I e-mailed Gary Roy, a NESN spokesman and he replied, “I was just told about this rumor by three different people in about a 5 minute span.
“The answer is no, Jerry is not returning to the booth tonight. At this point, Jerry has not yet set a date for his return.”
So there you have it officially from NESN. No timetable for Jerry’s return.
Newsday’s Neil Best writes about ESPN banning New York Post’s reporters from TV and radio after the paper published pictures from the Erin Andrews peephole video.
Neil writes that the Mets are slowly fading into oblivion.
In his blog, Neil says ESPN is paying for its too cautious approach to the Ben Roethisberger story. Neil explains why the Erin Andrews story remains in the forefront of many newspapers and newscasts. And Neil points out that the move by the NFL to expand the Draft into primetime on Thursday and Friday has annoyed some West Coast fans.
Of course, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News takes the opportunity to jump on ESPN on the Big Ben issue.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post says we’re hearing too much from athletes’ lawyers.
The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with YES analyst Ken Singleton about the Yankees’ improved play since the All-Star break.
And Justin has five questions for new NBC NFL studio analyst Rodney Harrison.
Jack Bell of the New York Times talks with Fox Soccer Channel analyst Christopher Sullivan who’s been calling the Gold Cup.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says televised poker is not leaving us anytime soon.
Pete says in a span of 12 hours, we got to hear the best and worst in baseball broadcasting. And Pete writes that the four major sports leagues are in court to fight Delaware’s attempt to start legalized sports betting.
Dean Jones, Jr. of the Baltimore Sun says ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt will get his own bobblehead this Sunday.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner has his weekend viewing picks.
Tim Lemke of the Washington Times talks with ESPN soccer analyst Alexei Lalas about the sport’s popularity in the U.S.
Jennifer Harper of the Times says one of her colleagues is joining the ESPN Radio DC affiliate.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the NFL is trying to create more buzz by expanding its Draft to three days.
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times says the Erin Andrews and Ben Roethlisberger stories brought ESPN some unwanted attention.
David Moulton of the Naples Daily News feels ESPN has had one big bad week.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that some decisions will be made soon at a local sports radio station in regards to its lineup.
Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News wonders when a decision will be made on whether to bring back Texas Rangers TV voice Josh Lewin for next season.
Barry has some thoughts on the recently completed 4th and Long reality show.
Mel Bracht in the Daily Oklahoman writes that ESPN hopes to end the trend of falling NASCAR TV ratings this year.
Brad VanFossen of the Cleveland Leader has manlove for ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd.
In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob Wolfley culls some Packer tidbits from the new NFL Kickoff Information Guide.
Paul Christian of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says a local sports radio station is up for a national award.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a sports radio station has spun off its FM unit.
Dan writes that the local WPS team is a ratings dud.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News feels the mtn. botched coverage of the Mountain West Conference’s media days.
Joe Santoro of the Lahontan Valley (NV) News says ESPN represents everything wrong in sports (calling Erin Andrews a “bimbo” is very harsh).
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks forward to one particular NFL Network show.
Jay Posner in the San Diego Union-Tribune says a local sports talk show host returns to his former station and finds many of his colleagues gone.
The North County Times’ John Maffei hopes the new Shaquille O’Neal reality show will be must see TV viewing.
Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times writes that a group of Time Warner Cable customers never got to see Manny Ramirez’s pinch hit home run on Wednesday. Oops.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has his take on the Erin Andrews story.
Howie Stalwick of the Tacoma (WA) News Tribune talks with ESPN’s Cindy Brunson about the Erin Andrews story.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail looks at the Erin Andrews story as well.
And Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star agrees with Jason Whitlock’s take on Erin Andrews and how blogs are to blame for Global Warming.
Lots of links today. That’s it. See you later.