Entercom/WEEI is insisting that yesterday’s announcement about the departure of Pete Sheppard is strictly for economic reasons, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the timing and details of this announcement.
Why on a Wednesday? Couldn’t get through until Friday? Couldn’t have done it last Friday before a three-day weekend?
If this move was solely economic, this was the best way they could cut costs? Why not cut the Mike Adams show altogether and just go with ESPN programming at night? How about firing Adams and giving Sheppard that spot?
If it was strictly economic, why is Curt Schilling so ticked off? He said yesterday he wouldn’t be on the WEEI airwaves until Pete was rehired, and has moved his 38Pitches Blog off of WEEI.com and back to its original domain.
The Entercom release wording seems rather final. The standard policy for WEEI is that once you leave, you’re dead. You never get mentioned again. A few who been announced as no longer being employed there, such as Bob Neumeier and Larry Johnson (after the Mustard and Johnson show was cancelled) have been back on the WEEI airwaves. It doesn’t seem like they’re expected to have Sheppard back on.
He signed his last contract in May of 2007. The article quoted below in 2008 stated that Sheppard had two more years remaining on his contract, which would have it ending in May of this year. Is he getting paid the rest of the contract? If so, why release him now? To allow him to find another job with a few months of pay still coming?
Was he flirting with 98.5 for the role that Andy Gresh was eventually hired for and Entercom got wind of it?
Will he show up in another market? In a column written by Eric Rueb in the summer of 2008 for the Narragansett Times, Sheppard talked about his future -
As each year goes by, Sheppard makes a bigger name for himself without having his own show.
He’s a second banana – a big one at that – on the Big Show, where he fills in for host Glenn Ordway when Ordway is sick or on vacation. He’s in the second year of his contract and has two more years left on it and it wouldn’t be shocking if a bigger market or even satellite looked to give The Meatman his own show.
Whether Sheppard could take that offer is another question. “I could go outside the state or the region and be OK, but it just plays to my strengths. I wouldn’t have the same passion going to Chicago and talking about the Bears and White Sox or Cubs. It just wouldn’t be the same,” Sheppard said. “But like anything else in this business or anything in this business and a lot of other businesses, you’re only as good as your last contract. The ratings have been good at the station, but there’s always a possibility but you have to have leverage. If there’s somebody else that wants me or there’s a bidding war, that’s nice, I don’t expect it.
“Let’s put it this way – I expect myself at ’EEI for a long time.”
So what’s next? Will be end up at 98.5? Chad Finn’s column this morning had WBZ-FM program manager Mike Thomas saying that he had not been in contact with Sheppard, and that they currently had a full staff.
Does he wind up at another Entercom station trying to create their own version of The Big Show? Does he end up in Jacksonville talking NASCAR?
Wow, that’s why too much time spent wondering about Pete Sheppard, but yesterday’s news resulted in the biggest day, traffic-wise for BSMW in months. Apparently people are interested in the fate of an afternoon sports radio flash guy.