Thoughts on 98.5 FM – One Week In

hub-weeiThe new 98.5 The SportsHub has been on the air for a week now, and it’s time for a few knee-jerk reactions and thoughts on how they’re stacking up to WEEI.

Toucher and Rich vs. Dennis and Callahan

Right now the best things I can say about T&R is that they’re trying, and that they’re not D&C. The show is clearly a work in progress as they make the transition to more sports talk. I like that that they usually have several guests over the course of the morning, and make the effort to talk sports.

It seems like I don’t fit either demographic for these shows right now. I’m too young for D&C’s bitter, angry old man act and target audience, and a bit too old for the fratboy humor attempts by T&R. Some of their comedy bits have been painful.

I haven’t settled on one show or the other just yet. My listening habits for the last week have pretty much been whichever show is talking sports at the moment, or is having an interesting guest or discussion. It’s nice to have that option.

Advantage: Push.  

Tanguay and Zolak vs. Dale and Holley

I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that Gary Tanguay has been everything I feared he would be on the radio. It’s true. He’s dreadful. Whether he’s wondering “whether Tito has the BALLS to put right lineup on the field” or how long the “leash” is on Francona and whether or not he’ll be fired. It makes my ears hurt, which is too bad, because I really like Zolak. He’s likable, and not prone to saying stupid things just for reaction which is Tanguay’s calling card.

Dale Arnold certainly has his critics among the readers of this site, but I’ll listen to him over Tanguay everyday. It’s not a contest.  This week Holley has been out, but Tom Caron and today, Christopher Price have made the shows much better than Tanguay’s mock indignation.

Advantage: Dale and Holley.

Felger and Massarotti vs. The Big Show.

Felger is Felger. He also loves to make stupid comments (“Josh Beckett is mentally weak“) and take unpopular stands just to be a contrarian. That’s not good radio. Glenn Ordway does a lot of the same things, which make sense because Felger learned his radio craft in the ample bosom of Ordway. However, what makes the 98.5 show more tolerable is that Massarotti is willing to challenge Felger’s comments and stances, whereas Ordway surrounds himself with yes-men sycophants who agree with everything he says.

For the most part, I really like Massarotti on the radio. There isn’t a lot of the fan-insulting, condescending arrogance that comes across (intentional or not)  in a lot of his Boston.com columns and blog entries. (Today’s column about the Yankees farm system is an example. He actually talked this subject on the radio, and it didn’t come across in the neener-neener way it does in the column.) On the radio he seems to deal more with facts, and as mentioned, isn’t afraid to take on Felger’s dumb comments. They talk sports, not Fred Smerlas’ tailgate venture or steakhouse, and mix the topics up a least a couple of times in the course of the show. They also bring on guests to break things up a little, which is something The Big Show rarely does. The Big Show will hammer the same topic for four hours without a break, while F&M try to introduce new topics in the course of the show. This makes F&M a more worthwhile listen than The Big Show. Except for the whiner line.

Advantage: Felger and Massarotti

Damon Amendolara vs. Mike Adams.

This one is simple. Do you want to hear about and talk sports, all sports, or do you want to hear Adams getting an Orlando Magic tattoo on his ass and bitching about Manny?

Amendolara has been the single biggest pleasant surprise on the new station, which is huge. There was a lot of skepticism out there about bringing in a kid from New York who grew up rooting for the New York teams and is a huge soccer fan, who had most recently been doing a show in Miami to come here and do Boston sports radio. He’s been great. Amendolara is knowledgeable about what’s going on, not just locally, but all across the nation in big time sports. He’s also hard working, having done all the weeknights, plus a show each day of the weekend.

Advantage: Amendolara.

It’s early yet, but there’s some good things going on here, and at the very least, we can say it’s nice to have an alternative to turn to and get a different topic and take.

  • Guntfather of Sports Radio

    I like the fact that T/R make fun of Tanguay non-stop. They had two bits today that were funnier than anything Gustin has done in forever.

    • http://none John

      Neither Toucher nor Rich are from Boston and care for the Boston teams (franky they root against them). Rich doesn’t even like sports. Makes 0 sense that they have this show except that CBS owes them for the remainder of their contract and will keep them until they find a replacement.

    • Aaron E.

      As long as you bring up GUSTIN. His bits are lame. There I said it. Seems like a nice guy but all of his bits are the same and rarely funny, ironic or produced very well.

  • Mike

    I’m sorry, but F&M is too much like the Big Show, except Felger is far more unlikeable.

    I just think I won’t listen to sports talk from 2-6.

    FREE ZOLAK!

    • Bruce

      No apologies necessary. Yours is a perfectly reasonable stance.

    • ben

      Try Van Pelt and Russillo if you can get pull in the signal.

      The hiring of Tanguay calls into question the ability of whoever’s in charge to ever be successful in operating a sports radio station. While some might not dislike him, who actually has ever liked him?

      • Paul

        Van Pelt? Linus or Lucy?

      • Jack Edwards

        This is the hidden gem on the radio in Boston. Van Pelt and Russillo are excellent.

      • Jason Coyote

        Sadly the signal is what’s hidden, and they are only on until 4:00 (which doesn’t help us at work with no radio/net access). After that you still have to decide between the Big Show, F&M and 890′s drivetime panel of Winter, Vallee & Lobel.

  • Bullock

    Wait a minute … you can talk about more than one topic for four hours in the afternoon? That seems like the double-edged sword of a catch-22, right Big O?

  • Hal

    Thanks for your thoughts, Bruce. I’ve wondered how others have perceived the new station. My thoughts mostly echo yours: T&R is a “maybe”, “T&Z” would be much MUCH better without Tanguay, and I’ve been an unabashed Felgerphile as long as I remember. But please please please get Mazz out of there. While I agree he does challenge Felger (as did Kevin Winter on 890), Mazz thinks he’s still on the Big O’s show, where everything is at screech level. A more rational sidekick would make me stay on BZ-FM instead of flipping to ‘EEI or Van Pelt (XM) during Mazz’ rants. Oh, and though I don’t mind Mike Adams, I agree that DA is refreshing and the kind of one-man show that makes listening a pleasure.

  • Jason Coyote

    FWIW Bruce, I don’t think Felger takes unpopular stands just to be contrarian. I believe he is genuinely contrarian by nature, tends to shoot from the lip and believes in what he says, regardless of how ridiculous it might sound.

    I tend to disagree with a fair amount of Felger’s opinions, but I agree with you that pairing him with Massarotti provides a good counterbalance. I like their on-air chemistry, and I think they’ll get even better together once Patriots season is in full gear.

    You must be about the same age as me Bruce, because I feel the similar to you regarding T&R vs. D&C in the morning. I did like Toucher’s Favre rant the other day, even though it was a rerun of Felger’s the day before.

  • LJ Sandwich

    I notice Bruce doesn’t get into the weekend battle and I can’t say as I blame him. It’s a no-brainer…With the return of Mustard & Johnson, WEEI is the clear kings of weekend sports talk. It’s amazing that all it took was a little competition for Jason Wolfe and Killer Kahn to realize their collosal mistake of exiling the Teacher and The Preacher, and come to their senses by inking Johnson to a long term deal that pays him in Dunking Donut Flatbread sandwiches weekly and a large Shaw’s birthday sheet cake annually. Mustard works for free…he just likes the opportunity to listen to his own voice and tell you how educated he is.

    • Guntfather of Sports Radio

      You wish old friend. Phantom Gourmet is #1 on my list. Plus the sports huddle where you hear Eddie regurgitate his food from the past week. WTKK is #1 for douchy talk on the weekends. Lock the thread!!!

      • LJ Sandwich

        They need to simulcast the New Sports Huddle on the Wild West Channel, or whatever that cable access outlet is called that shows Imus. I hear Billy Fairweather hand feeds Eddie boneless spare ribs from the Kowloon during breaks, and it’s Steve Sweeney’s job to make sure Eddies bib is secured tightly.

      • Billy C.

        Say Gunt, are the Phantom boys still at war with Lavanchy or have they found another ex-sports-turned-news anchor/D-list celebrity to berate? TVD rules with a platinum plate!!

        • Guntfather of Sports Radio

          Are they at war with him? I thought one of them had a crush on him.

    • Bullock

      LJ, I miss hearing you on the Big Show asking the cawllahs how they feel about things. That’s some reviting radio. I also don’t have the internet at home anymore, so I can’t go online and enjoy the hilarity and social commentary of your art.

  • Bill C.

    I agree 100% with your review. Especially the point about being between age mindsets on T&R vs D&C. The one show that I really tune out and was hoping would face competion was D&C. Can you imagine the arrogance if their show doesn’t suffer a rating hit from T&R.

    • Gina Marie

      “Can you imagine the arrogance if their show doesn’t suffer a rating hit from T&R.”

      ITA. I would pay people to listen to T&R so D&C will take a hit, then maybe they’d take that chip off their shoulder.

      But as someone said above, I feel *exactly* the same about the demographics for the AM shows. I am a 40-something mom/sports fan, and while I’m not offended by their humor in the least, (I even laugh at most of it. Pink Hat Trivia was a hoot) I fear they really won’t make a dent in D&C’s ratings because they really aren’t competing for the same type of listener.

      I don’t mind the Big Show. I think Lou has been a huge addition to that crew. The other day when he was on with Schilling was a good show. And I think I’m the only person who likes Butch, but it’s because he tends to add more humor to the mix since he ends up being the butt of jokes.

      Maz and Felger always annoyed me on EEI, so, FWIW.

      Nice site, good thoughts and input here. I was searching around to see if there had been any write ups on the new station. :)

  • Gerry Nutter

    I to must be in the grey area because T&R just hurt my ears. They need to be a little less sophmoric and a little more sports driven. I’ll stay with D&C

    I Like Tanguay and Zolack, Tang keeps the pace moving and is what he is. Better than Dale and Maine stories

    Felger is Felger who I always liked and Tony is good everyday, not as schrill as I feared. Up to the time for the Whiner Line I listen to them.

    DA is 100 times better than Adams who when he sticks to baseball and sports is decent but has taken the Big O route and become a cartoon character.

    Trop and Hardy are good on weekends, better than the Teacher & Preacher.

    • BSF34

      T+R maybe be sophmoric, but I’ll take than over the Angry White Golfers any day. They might not have the experience talking sports but at least they seem to like sports.

      • napatree

        I blame Obama for Tanguay….

  • Snuffy Smith

    One thing missing from 98.5 so far is the incessant plugging of restaurants who are sending free over to people who easily could afford to pay for their own. Do some good and donate it where it’s needed, not give to the fat boys at ‘eei.

    I think it goes to show how out of touch the ‘eei egos. Do there really they are so important that people have to feed them??

    And, how ’bout ‘ol Billy Burt pimping for his favorite Northshore seafood restaurant every time he was in studio. It shows what you “bring to the table” matters (as long as it’s food). You can forget about sports knowledgeable, insightful guests on ‘eei.

    They’ve become a self serving, good old boys club.

    • Jon

      I wouldn’t want to eat at any place run by Adolfo Gonzalez, would you?

    • Classless

      Agreed. Every show on that nitwit station promotes some hole in the wall restaurant and claims “it’s got the best XXXXX in the city!” If I got free food, I’d rave of it’s awesomeness.

  • Jinky

    I’ve been listening to T&R just because I can’t listen to angry/miserable Republican chat any more. I’ve stuck with Dale & Holley on midday’s and have been listening to Felger & Mazz in the afternoons since I’m tired of Ordway’s pontificating and boo-ring co-hosts like Sterns, Johnson, Smerlas, Burton, etc.

    Hopefully the competition will keep EEI on its toes and they will finally be motivated to address the flaws of D&C and The Big Show so I won’t have to turn the radio off so often.

  • Joe

    Regardless of which show is better, I’m just happy we have a choice on the radio now. I’ll never listen to just any one show exclusively, so it’s great to finally have a choice of topics and personalities.

    Felger is Felger and I accept him for what he is. My only concern is that 4 hours of him on the radio plus another hour of him on CSN is going to wear out even his supporters.

    • Jason Coyote

      I’m still trying to figure out how Felger finishes his radio show in Brighton with Mazz at 6:00 and then gets to the CSN studios in Burlington by 6:30 without any TV prep, unless Felger does his half of the radio show from CSN. But it sure sounds like that he and Mazz are in the same studio.

      I think you’re going to eventually see Felger only anchor the 10:00pm CSN Sports Tonight show and Tanguay only anchoring the earlier show at 6:30. Saw NECN’s Mike Giardi fill in at CSN once, he’d be a natural fit to co-anchor with each of them.

      Today 98.5 has their first remote broadcast this afternoon with F&M down at Game On, while the Big Show is also live at Fenway.

      • Joe

        I was wondering the same thing. I don’t see how he makes it there in time. It’s atleast a half hour drive. I emailed him and asked him but he never addressed it.

        • Gerry Nutter

          Don’t tell anyone but…They Broadcast the show from Burlington..same as when Felger was at ESPN,

  • Felger

    The highlight for me with 98.5 is the guests they’ve had. Hopefully they can keep it up.

    I like T&R. I like their perspective on sports and it’s nice that they allow John Wallach to talk.

    Agreed on D.A. What a revolutionary idea – hiring someone who knows a lot about sports.

  • LL

    Whatever it is, I want to hear less about Ordway’s ample bosom.

    • Frank

      Done and done.

  • Nopointe

    Have to disagree on T&R. They’re a clear winner over Dennis and Callahan.

    Toucher and Rich are already far more sports driven than “watercooler radio” with D&C.

    I also haven’t heard Toucher and Rich attempt to cover their lack of knowledge by using the old “you tell us what to talk about caller, YOU CALL IN AND SAY TALK SPORTS BUT CAN’T SAY WHAT WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT” attack
    Just like in golf tournaments, Brad Faxon can’t make the cut to appear on Toucher and Rich. BIG plus for T&R.

    If Toucher and Rich are already this much better than D&C, things aren’t looking good for D&C once the next election rolls around and they spend every morning bitching about everyone but Romney.

    Just wait until the next time there is a current event involving a political scandal or race. D&C will be talking about how the liberals caused it all. Toucher and Rich will be trying to put on an entertaining show about sports.

    • Bruce

      No question about it…the very second D&C start talking anything other than sports, I turn them off. Occasionally they can have a decent sports discussion, and I’ll listen to Boomer and Brady on Monday mornings. When there is a non-sports topic being beaten to death, I’m really glad to have a non-angry option.

    • Jason Coyote

      It’s not ‘watercooler radio’ Nopointe, it’s sports and ‘water cooler TOPICS’ (because everyone rips the Dems while at work while filling their water bottle dontchaknow).

      I absolutely abhor hearing Dennis read that promo while listening to Red Sox games on WRKO, it blows to a faretheewell.

      Right now all of SportsHub’s shows are a breath of fresh air. It still amazes me you can have sports dialogue without screaming or talking over each other…what a concept!

  • Peter

    It would be nice if WBZ-FM would put something up on iTunes. As of this morning, you have to download any interview directly from their website.

    I understand that WEEI did pretty bad in the last ratings period with those new personal people meters or whatever they are called. I can only imagine they will continue to lose both drive time audiences against a station with an actual signal this time around.

    • yuppiescum

      Yeah, I just haven’t been as amped to listen to EEI lately (aside from D&H). And I must imagine that a lot of the younger demographic, such as myself, have been intensely turned off by Callahan’s right wing trolling. T&R are a very good alternative to that, even when they were on 104.1. And I think they’ve improved markedly since the move, getting some great guests and a Sports Flash.

  • Rick

    Here’s my breakdown:

    Morning – Neither. I end up listening to 890. Mike and Mike is significantly better than either D&C or Toucher and Rich. I really wish WBZ-FM had hired a legitimate sports team for the morning. If I was 17 I might find Toucher and Rich listenable, but I’m 29.

    Midday – Mostly Dale and Holley with some Van Pelt and Rusillo mixed in, simply because of Tanguay. As with everyone else I just cannot stand Gary and I question why a station making a splash would give him an important role. If it were anyone else I’d keep it locked on WBZ-FM.

    Afternoon – Felger and Massarotti. It’s such a breath of fresh air from the Big Show. My only gripe is that Tony occasionally sounds bitter and angry for some unknown reason.

    Evening – DA all the way. I honestly don’t even think I need to explain why Amendolara is preferable over Mike Adams.

    • Rick Mc

      You prefer Mike & Mike? The most contrived and milquetoast radio BS ever. You should listen to T&R a little more closely. They are quite clever and funny.

  • mandb97

    Bruce, as usual, a nice article. Here is my take on the new 98.5 vs. WEEI battle royal.

    1) T&R vs. D&C
    I actually have liked the bits by T&R and I have laughed a few times while listening. They have had good guests and do an all around good job. This is a lot better then “The Get Off My Lawn” radio that is D&C. They are simply too smug to listen too. D&C are two of the smartest people on the planet and if you don’t believe me, just ask them.

    The winner: neither
    I still prefer the Morning Jab with Shoe and Joe on WLOB 96.3 in Portland, ME. It is still a good mix of sports, comedy, and talk. It is a very good show. You can listen to them online, live at http://www.thebigjab.com. Toucher and Rich though are a very close second. D&C are a distant, distant, distant third.

    D&H vs. T&Z
    Bruce, I can not agree with you more on this one. Tanguay, who I thought was pretty good on WBZ AM, has been dreadful thus far. Today he was calling everyone who was satisfied with the wild card for the Red Sox losers. I guess all those Red Sox fans in 2004 are losers as well. Zolak tried to explain that the significance of a division title is not as great in baseball as it is in football but ol’ Gar thought shouting even louder helped improve his point. D&H is usually just good solid talk in which it is usually calm, thoughtful talk with some good interviews.

    Winner: D&H by a mile. I feel bad for Zolak who has done a good job but has to deal with chicken little.

    The Big Show vs. Mike and Mazz
    Talk about a no win situation here. Ordway is still Ordway which is loud, obnoxious and no substance 95% percent of the time. I have been extremely disappointed with Felger who got off to a great start with good talk, moving of topics, and good entertainment. But now it is screaming, hollering and being contrarian just for contrarian sake. I think Felger has believed his press clippings in that he needs to be different. It seems phony to me. No doubt Mazz actually carries the show.

    Winner: neither
    I will listen to the PM Jab on WLOB 96.3 with Chris Sedenka. Again, like the Morning Jab it is solid sports talk with decent interviews and no shouting. They do not have a call screener so some lunkheads do get on but they are quickly removed. It is just easy on the ears.

    Adams vs. D.A.
    You know what’s funny, if WEEI had Ryder and Meggs on instead of Adams it just might be a halfway decent show, but alas, it is the Planet Mikey Show so we have to deal with tattoos on the ass for our “entertainment”. D.A. has been a breath of fresh air. He has had good topics and moves a five hour show well. Maybe having a different voice has made it refreshing. The only two things I would recommend are:
    1) He should try not to repeat himself.
    2) He should know who John from Medford, Steve from Fall River and Craig from Rockland and block their numbers.

    Weekend:
    I have been pleased with all the shows on the weekend, yes even Mustard and Johnson who have toned down their stupidity. I like the Baseball Show, the new Jerry Trupiano Show and Holden Kushner is very good.

    Winner: push

    • mandb97

      If you couldn’t guess D.A. an easy winner over Adams.

  • Kevin

    T&R doesn’t do anything for me. Not enough sports and while I like sophomoric humor I just haven’t found them funny. I listen primarily to Mike & Mike in the morning. I enjoy the national coverage especially this time of year – football season.

    Tanguay is terrible.

    I’m a Felger fan, and think he and Mazz are terrific. Love the guests like Cashman today. The big show would be wise to do the same thing – other then Patriot coaches and players. If I could give 98.5 any suggestions it would be to continue with the guests.

    DA is strong.

    I recently changed my alarm clock radio from WEEI to 98.5. It’s been on EEI for over 10 years. I live in N.Chelmsford and for some reason EEI comes in poorly at night. I’m glad that I have another night time option, although I don’t like having to wake up to T&R.

  • Steve

    D.A. has been the best of both stations so far. I like Zolak as well as others but Tanguay is a shrieker; God forbid Zolak takes a day off and we are force fed Andy “Moe” Gresh!

    • Yeah

      Yaeh, Tanguay could be the weakest link, a little man with a big voice. I haven’t minded him, but go crazy when he laughs, his laugh sounds like whooping cough (say it with me, “Whouahh, Whouahh, Whouahh . . .”)

      • mandb97

        lol, that’s perfect

  • sam

    there is no ‘turner diaries’ callahan, there are no ads for corrupt mortgage brokers, no ads for 40 oz coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches premade in a warehouse in chelsea and microwaved to order at a location near you, no giant glass millionaire begging me not to hire carpet baggers when my windshield breaks. however there is gary tanguay.

    the ipod, am 740, and 88.1 all win this round of the urine vs. feces -aka wbz vs. weei- war.

    • Classless

      Best post so far.

  • mandb97

    Bruce, completely off topic, have you heard anything from David Scott about his book on “Saint” John Calipari. I ripped him for writing about a coach who is simply dirty. He already had one program’s final four taken away now he is two for two. He is trouble and an AD killer. Watch out Kentucky, you are next. I guess it never dawned on him to ask why Derrick Rose took his SAT in Detroit when he lives in Chicago.

    • Bruce

      I haven’t talked to Dave since we parted ways on the site here.

    • Jason Coyote

      Unfortunately for DS, he might’ve hitched up his financial horse to the wrong pole. In light of the recent Rose SAT news I can’t imagine this book will even sell, since people would only want to buy it if there was anything about the latest Coach Cal scandal.

      And unfortunately for me mandb97, I’m in MA and can’t get the Morning Jab on my radio. For now it’s T&R over D&C, but I’m sure there is going to be some more tinkering with the SportsHub’s morning show.

  • Ted Sarandis

    Even though no one hired me for the Sports Hub, I can still be objective.

    Tanguay is horrific. Does not belong on the radio. Only slightly better than Butch Stearns, who is possibly the dumbest person on air.

    Mazz and Felgie are good, they need some more time to gel, but I like what I hear so far.

    Lastly, Larry Johnson is by far the WORST personality on either station. He is a master of stating the obvious and aside from his artistic talent, does not have a creative sports bone in his body. How they signed this guy is beyond me. Thoughts out there on LJ?

    • marc

      Someone thinks LJ has artistic talent? Is tracing an artistic talent?

  • Petes4thChin

    How can you possibly not like the Big O?

    Pete Sheperd, Billy Burt, Steve Buckley, Paul Perillo, Lou Merloni, Steve DeOssie, Fred Smerlas – talk about murderers row and with football season about to start where else are you going to learn about EIGHT IN THE BOX or COVER 2?

    The Doobie Brothers this week at Twin Rivers that’ll move some steaks, eh Freddie?

    Tanguay is the one thing that I can say has been a drag on the station – he’s a drip.

    It’s hard to believe they could not find someone better (Ryder would have been a nice get) to fill GAREBEAR’s designer glasses.

    At least, they have’nt thrust Steve Burton/Dan Roche on us. (YET)

    • Classless

      Seriously, John Ryder? He has the personality of a dishrag and an always present slight contempt of callers.

      • Jason Coyote

        If you want to measure caller contempt on a 1-10 scale, I’d say that John Rider only measures about a 5 (although I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with the personality remark).

        If you want true contempt, listen to John Rish during the rain delay editions of Sox talk (or in previous years when he hosted the postgame show), he rates about a 49. You can actually hear his eyes roll to the back of his head.

        • Rick Mc

          Rish’s contempt is warranted. He is the only guy on the station who realizes that he is dealing with nitwits and drunks.

    • Rob

      Pete Sheppard? Seriously?!? Part of a murderer’s row? The guy is a homer idiot. His only real function on the show is to lower the intelligence of Fred Smerlas and occassionally Steve DeOssie and Glenn Ordway during football segments. Pete Sheppard is one of the biggest reasons I hate listening to the Big Show. He is a homer who makes grandeous statements with nothing to back it up. He is a cartoon character. It is embarrassing listening to him interview Belichick with his long rambling questions where he many times answers the question for Belichick.

    • Rob

      Oh, yeah. And Bill Burt?!? The same guy who wrote a column about Jerome Bettis talking trash about the Patriots on the Letterman show the Friday before the AFCC eventhough unbenounced to him it was a repeat from several years back and he was talking about another team all together. Bill Burt is waaaaaay out of touch. Only Perillo and sometime DeOssie are worthy guest hosts when it comes to football (and Tom Curran when he is on which isn’t much anymore).

  • http://sternplanet.com Alex

    mornings: t&r in the mornings by far. although to be honest, i’ve listened to them for a while now and find them pretty entertaining. if i want a news update i flip to 90.9 and if i want a music break i flip to 88.9.

    10-2 i’ll go with a mix between the two stations….it will pretty much come down to how loud gary is yelling vs. how high dale’s horse is on that particular day. i must say that zolak has been MUCH better than i expected. if only there was a way to pair him with holley.

    3-7 no contest for me. massarotti and felger have been great. i stopped listening to the big show after the espn personalities (gammons) were no longer allowed on non espn shows

    nighttime: duh.

    i’d also add how great it is to hear some out of city guests call in to the shows on 98.5. they had a rangers beat writer on last week during the bos/tex series…i don’t remember who exactly but just hearing about the wild card race from a non boston perspective was refreshing

  • napatree

    i always listen to D&C so that i know who is to blame for all of my problems…cuz it sure can’t be my fault…

  • http://www.verysimplegame.blogspot.com hc

    I tried Toucher and Rich on Monday. The first thing they did was to say they did was to insult fat 50-somethings (that’s me) who like Tiger Woods. Then they went on to try to discuss people or teams you refuse to root for. An idiot calls in and says that he hates to root for cancer survivors.

    These guys are beyond hideous. I hate EEI, but I won’t listen to the new station after that.

    • Rick Mc

      [b]An idiot calls in and says that he hates to root for cancer survivors.[/b]

      That was a joke about the whole idea of “hating” athletes. People miss so much of T&R’s humor by taking them literally.

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

        I’m really starting to wonder at how people don’t “get” Toucher and Rich. It’s wacky morning time radio. Their most popular skit is having a 350 pound production assistant interview a homeless scalper who claims to own the entire world. What’s to “get”?

    • http://rumorsontheinternets.org Alpine McGregor

      Funnily enough, I heard that show as well and thought it was irreverent and hilarious. Granted, I’m 29.

      T&R have been surprisingly good so far – I expected not to like them, but they’re winning me over.

      Dale and Holley are still the best in the midday, Tanguay is a doof and Zolak is a little too pumped up for my taste.

      Felger and Mazz rule the afternoons, and the evening is no question, I almost feel bad for Mikey and his tired act at this point.

      WBZ for the win.

  • Listen

    I’ve been listening to Tanguay and Zolak, only because I think Dale and Holley have come to the end of their run. Michael Holley was great and energetic when he first started, but now has a “Little O” attitude about him, cutting off callers if he doesn’t agreee (Hol’e up, Dog, I’m talking!) and Dale seems like he’s just there for the paycheck. Dale seems to be washing up, losing his Bruins and Red Sox gigs with no real future for him in the booth.

  • Rob

    Damon Amendolara is easily the best thing that has happened to local sports radio in a long time and I ain’t exaggerating. Apparantly he didn’t get the memo that to be a Boston sports talk show host that he needs to speak over and insult his callers, make grandeious homer or contrarian statements that aren’t back up with facts, and just beat hotbutton topics into the ground. The guy knows more about all the local sports teams than many of the guest hosts on the Big Show who have been in this market for a decade or more. I even heard him take a call from John from Medford and instead of just ridiculing him, he actually took on his points point for point.

    As for the rest of 98.5, they have been a mixed bag. I like Zo. He knows a lot of about football. I like Felger more than Mazz. I felt they both have toned their act for the most part (the Felger Favre rants excluded). I can listen to Toucher and Rich, but I can’t listen to Dennis and Callahan either.

    Personally, I hope they move DA to one of the daytime slots soon. This town is in desperate need for intelligent sports talk with out all the grab ass or extreme homer or contrarian views. DA does the type of intelligent, straight sports talk that attracted me to Sirius radio.

  • Pingback: Media Nation » Assessing the sports-talk competition

  • http://offysports.blogspot.com Mike Travers

    To be fair, the Sox have been on the road for most of the past week and a lot of T&R’s best segments are done after Sox games (or other sporting events). Sure, making fun of trendy fans may get old eventually (personally, I never see it happening), but Pink Hat Trivia was one of the funniest things that I’ve ever heard and I’d welcome it after every home game. Heck, tape extras for when the Sox are on the road. I also loved hearing how the Patriots preseason was important because if the Pats didn’t win they wouldn’t make it to the season from a fan coming out of the last Pats game. Great stuff.

    It’s comedy so there’s going to be some swings and misses, but these guys already did a good amount of sports when they were on a rock station and I like having a little bit of other topics spread out through the show. At least you know it’s going to be there unlike tuning into Dale and Holley for a week and hearing nothing but talk about the Harvard Professor. That was the week that turned me off from WEEI for good.

  • JohnnyApps

    Bruce,
    You honestly think 985′s T&R morning show is a push with D&C so far?! wow. Any serious sports fan would listen to D&C over T&R every time…period. I gave the T&R show a shot several times last week and i found it almost unlistenable with their college/frat boy schtick and just plain stupid attempts at humor. I can respect your opinion that D&C can come across as bitter or intense in the morning (although i think that opinion is in itself becoming tired and redundant)…but i don’t know how you can call that a push.

  • Jim

    Well I think two weeks is really too small a sample but a couple of comments on the new sports station.

    1) the new morning guys don’t even compete to D and C and I think EEI has nothing to worry about there after that though..

    2) Dale is a professional radio guy but his routine is getting old and I think him and Holley don’t work well together anymore-Zolak has gotten much better since his days in Providence and I think that show could get better-Tanquay can get better

    3) The Big O has gotten fat and bloated over the past couple of years-and this rank of co-hosts (Merlon and McAdams being the exceptions) are god awful. Larry Johnson and Fred are unlistenable and I think they will lose a lot of listeners to Felger and Mazz. Felger does push buttons but that is his role-Mazz plays a good foil to him and they both know multiple sports topics much better than anyone on with the Big O. Ordway always loves playing fantasy music to the callers but between now and the Patriots opening game how many more times do you think they will all go through the schedule and “predict” the final regular season record?

    4) I like Mikey and haven’t listened enough to the new guy but I could see that being a push. Mikey is whacked but he does have some interesting guests that other shows don’t get.

    Overall its good to see a station more interested in sports talk rather than making stars out of their callers. I think EEI should be concerned this station won’t go away soon and will probably get better.

    • mandb97

      Jim, well written article and your right maybe two weeks could be a little early to judge but I will disagree with you on D&C. They are similar to T&R in that they do not talk sports all the time either but grumpy old man, I’m right your wrong, radio is just tiresome. I will take a good laugh any day over that.

      I agree, if Tanguay could improve and not be over reactionary then he and Zolak could give D&H a run for their money.

      I would agree with you on Felger if I actually felt he believed what he was saying. I think he says things just to get a rise. I do not think he actually feel what he says which makes him a fraud. Since the Big Show is full of frauds then that makes it a push.

      I think Mikey has a bad case of A.D.D. He barely listens to callers and has become a dreadful listen. D.A. has been fantastic and I believe he will do a number on Adams ratings wise.

      What I am hoping for is 98.5 can make a dent in WEEI’s ratings so that EEI must improve their product. The listener will be the winner.

      • Jason Coyote

        Agree on your final point mandb97, but we agree to disagree when it comes to Felger. I think he believes every opinion he puts out there, he just happens to have one of those personalities (which he’s admitted to many times on the air) that grates on people. His apprenticeship under Ordway has made Felger sound so good at being contrarian that it’s easy to think it’s all an act, but I don’t think he ever takes a side just to generate phone calls, he’s just wired differently than your average guy.

        • Jim

          I’m with you regarding Felger-he is most definitely wired differently and I think he believes everything he spouts. Fact of the matter I used to hate him on EEI when he first came on the air but unlike guys like Larry Johnson, Bill Burt, Smerlas he has gotten better and most of all he will listen to criticism without going off on the caller. His pairing with Mazz is perfect and will be interesting when he get deep into the football season.

          Final thought I forgot to mention on 98.5 that is a welcome relief is that they get rid of callers the old fashioned way they hang up on them. I long ago got tired of all the blowing up of callers that is done on EEI-its overdone and its insulting to the listeners.

        • mandb97

          Jason, I think a year ago I would have agreed with you on Felger. He would give thought to his opinion and even if you did not agree you could not argue that there was reasoning for his belief. Now he just screams and spews without any thought which is Ordwayesque. If he could go back to that same person that was around a year ago, he would do serious damage to Ordway and possibly force a format change on the big show in which all listeners win. Right now he has not given any reason for the Big Show to change.

  • http://sonicoverload.moocowrecords.com Al

    in a nutshell, here’s how the stations contrast while listening for a bit just before 7 PM. DA is discussing the Red Sox rotation and whether or not Beckett might need a bit more rest. Mikey is talking about how he hopes CC Sabathia strains his ass and then posits that he thinks his ass weighs 80 lbs. Brilliant sports talk.

    DA is the best new sports radio host in this area in a long time.

  • Jason

    T&R has been the biggest disappointment, because I LOVED their old show on WBCN. Wish they just did that, and left sports to the updates. But will still listen more than to D&C, which is fine until they delve into wingnut politics (without a dissenting opinion, of course)

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

      Two things:
      1. T and R was better on WBCN. Especially during afternoons. Part of the problem is that the Chili Guy has apparently gone back to Kentucky Alabama and they’re missing the great interviews they used to have with Kadolfo. Secondly, less Adolfo. He’s comedy gold when you used correctly, unlike John Wallack who adds a lot sports content wise, but isn’t a comedic whipping boy. Third, I don’t know how you get the Gunner to call up drunk at 7 in the morning. I see signs of them breaking back into form. A day dedicated to Crash’s awful lifestyle today was just what the show needed…

      2. D and C’s lame Hannity/Hannity impression is not as offensive as their absolute hatred of Boston sports and it’s fans. I tuned them out permanently when they started whining about the Pats running up the score and late NBA start times. Wah wah wah… go play 18 holes and shut the **** up.

  • JayCee

    A lot of people will be checking out 98.5 this Thurs & Fri when EEI goes into telethon mode. It could be a perfect opportunity to reel in some new listeners if they’re smart enough to exploit it.

    • Jason Coyote

      JayCee, if someone hadn’t brought this up I was planning to.

      While I’m sure most would agree that the Jimmy Fund Radiothon might be the best two days of the year to tune in to EEI, it’s not if you’re yearning for plain old sports talk. The SportsHub will have a good opportunity presented to them later this week, and I hope for their sake being ‘smart enough to exploit it’ simply means they have their two best days yet on the air (not some bizarro marketing campaign where they put down EEI for what they’re doing).

      I think the producers and hosts of 98.5′s Thursday/Friday shows should work hard to get interesting guests and create entertaining (but not contrived) sports discussion. Of course they’ll also get some help from the Patriots-Redskins preseason tilt Friday night.

      Gotta love T&R continuing to goof on Tanguay. I wonder if they are reading any of these comment boards.

  • Brendan in R.I.

    98.5 has been a breath of fresh air so far. I am proud to say that I have not listened to WEEI for sports talk in nearly three weeks now.

    Toucher and Rich have been great making the transition from Rock Radio to Sports Radio. As a past WBCN listener of T & R, I can say that anyone who follows the Bruins will find that Toucher and Rich are big supporters of the Bruins. How can people not find “Dating on Demand”, “Pink Hat’s”, “Drunken Red Sox Recaps” and “Rich’s Movie Review” to be funny? My mornings are now free of the Right Wing Propaganda!

    As for the other shows, WEEI has become extremely stale. So any alternative is refreshing. I am not the biggest fan of Tanguay, Felger, or Massarotti. However, I do find them to be more intelligent than the Big O, Pete Shepherd, or the dumbest of the dumb “Smerlas and DeOssie”. I love the DA show, and Trupiano and Hardy are great. I also have not had to hear that moron know as “Frank from Gloucester”. Ciao!

    • ChewBAKKa

      You are right. 98.5 is WAY BETTER!! They are fresh, interesting, and do not try to make everything controversial, in the sense that you are an “idiot” if you don’t agree with Holly, Callahan, or Big-Blow…..