NESN’s Executive Vice President Is Out

Happening now, we’re just learning through Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that NESN’s Executive Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer Joel Feld is leaving after five years on the job.

Feld has overseen changes in game production with the Red Sox and Bruins as well as steering the channel towards some non-sports related programming including the horrible “Dirty Water TV”. More to follow as the news becomes available.

UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: We have the official statements from NESN including quotes from Feld and NESN President and CEO Sean McGrail.

NESN Statement:
Joel Feld has decided to leave NESN after more than 5 years of service as the network’s executive vice president of programming and executive producer.

“Over the past five years Joel has made significant contributions to NESN’s growth and success,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. “We are very grateful for the passion and leadership he brought to work every day and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Statement from Joel Feld:

“Leaving NESN is one of the most difficult career moves I’ve ever had to make. The talent and production team – behind and in front of the camera – are the best in the business. The standards and work ethic they bring to the office every day made my job a whole lot easier and more fun than I ever could have imagined when I came to Boston in 2005. I’m especially grateful to the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins organizations who provided me a professional opportunity that people dream of their entire lives. I will treasure the experience and good memories for the rest of my career and wish continued success for NESN and all the great people I’ve had the privilege to work beside.”

NESN says a search for Feld’s replacement will begin immediately. No word if anyone will fill Feld’s position in the interim.

About Ken Fang

A former award-winning radio reporter, Ken Fang lives in Rhode Island and blogs at Fang's Bites and Fang's Bites at BSMW. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. In addition to sports media, he is addicted to The Amazing Race and Mad Men.

  • Jimmy Hook

    Hopefully this means better things for the network. Right now all they are good for is game broadcasts for Bruins and Sox. Everything else is a punchline, especially the horrific Nesn Daily.

  • jason

    about time. can't stand comecast sports new england. Nesn Daily needs to go

  • exNESN

    Joel is (was) one of the good ones at NESN. He will land on his feet and NESN will be challenged to find somebody who is both capable and willing to step into that seat.

    • Joe C

      "one of the good ones at NESN?". that's one of the funniest things I've ever heard. Are you Joel's wife? He is NOT a nice guy. Treats employees like dirt with his pompous, "I worked at ABC Sports" attitude. Joel's programming line-up was THE worst in television. We know the list, Comedy All-Stars, Sox Appeal, Dirty Water TV….Hey Mcgrail, how did you let that guy by you. They called Feld 0-for-Boston. Never had anything remotely close to a hit. He is an idea stealer and never had an original ideal within a news cast or game cast. Everything was either blatantly stolen from ESPN or YES. The biggest mystery that needs to be answered is how such incompetence was tolerated for so long

  • mandb97

    <div id="idc-comment-msg-div-138980911" class="idc-message"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(138980911)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" onclick="IDC.ui.fb_wrapper(138980911)" href="javascript: void(null)" style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(138980911)">Close MessageThe new lineup on WEEI has been on for at least a month which has given me enough time to give my opinion of the new shows.

    Mut and Lou – It has not been as good as Dale and Holley but not horrible either. It has not been a screamfest which is always a positive. The talk flows reasonably well. There is no constant interrupting like Ordway still does (more on that later). The issue with Mutnansky is the occasional crudeness. If he disagrees with someone he will go "blah, blah, blah" which is frankly childish. It makes one wonder if Jason Wolfe had Mutnansky sit in on D&C and Ordway's show and would say to him, "See how superior they act with callers? You need to be a wise ass just like them. It makes great radio."

    Merloni, has good and bad days as well. A good example of Merloni coming up with good analysis is him describing why it is so bad for J.D. Drew to ask out of the lineup so late. He says the backup does not have enough time to get quality batting practice or watch film. Mentally, it is also a challenge to get up for the game. an example of bad analysis, Merloni saying the Bruins vs. Canadiens should be a great ballgame.

    The Big Show with Ordway and Holley – Today was the most I listened to the show in a while and that was because Danny Ainge was on. The show should be called "The Big Show with Glen Ordway and guest Michael Holley". Ordway still does the following:

    1) He still continually interrupts people, be it callers, guests or Holley.

    2) If you interrupt him when he is going on another soliloquy, he continually says "let me finish".

    3) He still acts like he is the President of Sports. He knows it all.

    I already get the feeling that Holley has given up on the show. Early on Holley would tell Ordway to stop interrupting him. Ordway would give Holley the pleasure of giving him an extra five seconds before cutting him off. Holley now lets Ordway yammer on without interruption. We all lose.

    Some commentors have said Holley is a downgrade. Latetodinner, who is one of the great commentors on this site, said that Holley does not bring anything to the table. I disagree. Holley has more football and baseball knowledge than Ordway. Ordway is overrated in basketball knowledge. Holley easily holds his own there. Holley is not strong when it comes to Hockey, but Ordway would not even
    take hockey calls.

    Holley has tremendous amounts of talent. The problem with The Big Show is and always will be Glen Ordway. Felger and Maz, had their "Charlie" moment with two good weeks of Canadiens talk, as well as Felger doing a better job than Pete Kendall explaining the players side in the lockout. Since then they have gone back to being the know-nothings they usually are. Their Celtics talk has been atrocious. But, because EEI still has Ordway they will never have to worry.

    The best talent on sports radio right now is someone who is rarely heard from because he is usually heard Saturday afternoons. Mike Flynn is a tremendous find by 98.5. The reason why he is so good is why he will never make it. He is level headed. In Boston, you need to outrageous and say one idiotic thing after another to be "talented". Flynn actually thinks before talking and he makes anyone he works with sound good.

    • Jason_Coyote

      Good breakdown as always, mandb. Even withouth hearing any of M&M's show you hit the nail on the head regarding Lou–good when breaking down baseball, weak at every other sport. I said it when this show was initially announced–the timing of its debut with the start of the Sox season would make it easier for Lou to get comfortable being a full-time radio host. Had this show begun in November, Lou probably wouldn't have even made it to spring training.

      As for the *new* Big Show, the elements that worked in the original incarnation (good guest panelists, Living in America and Whiner Line carnival theme music) were all removed, while the stubborn egomanic Ordway remained. Like you, I feel bad for Holley. Who knows how good or poor he really is if you barely hear him? Makes me wonder whose decision it ultimately was to shift Michael to afternoon drive. Did he threaten to leave EEI after his contract was up if he didn't get a promotion? Was Wolfie desperate to do something to counteract F&M on FM? Are Julie & Jason also hamstrung by Ordway's contract like an NBA team that has maxed their salary cap?

      • mandb97

        Thanks Jason, my guess is you are exactly right with regards to Holley. They needed to keep him. The unfortunate thing is that EEI felt the need to keep Ordway as well.

    • Jason_Coyote

      Regarding Flynn, I think him and Ryan Johnston make a pretty good team (they're actually on both Saturdays and Sundays, at least until football season). I think Flynn does stand a chance because I believe it was 98.5 that brought him up here from Baltimore, so Thomas obviously liked him enough to give him a chance. He's also occasionally filled in on G&Z during the week and will likely do more of that during the summer months.

      Also curious to hear how 98.5 will revise their Saturday lineup with Shaughnessy's departure.

  • mandb97

    The new lineup on WEEI has been on for at least a month which has given me enough time to give my opinion of the new shows.

    Mut and Lou – It has not been as good as Dale and Holley but not horrible either. It has not been a screamfest which is always a positive. The talk flows reasonably well. There is no constant interrupting like Ordway still does (more on that later). The issue with Mutnansky is the occasional crudeness. If he disagrees with someone he will go "blah, blah, blah" which is frankly childish. It makes one wonder if Jason Wolfe had Mutnansky sit in on D&C and Ordway's show and would say to him, "See how superior they act with callers? You need to be a wise ass just like them. It makes great radio."

    Merloni, has good and bad days as well. A good example of Merloni coming up with good analysis is him describing why it is so bad for J.D. Drew to ask out of the lineup so late. He says the backup does not have enough time to get quality batting practice or watch film. Mentally, it is also a challenge to get up for the game. an example of bad analysis, Merloni saying the Bruins vs. Canadiens should be a great ballgame.

    The Big Show with Ordway and Holley – Today was the most I listened to the show in a while and that was because Danny Ainge was on. The show should be called "The Big Show with Glen Ordway and guest Michael Holley". Ordway still does the following:

    1) He still continually interrupts people, be it callers, guests or Holley.

    2) If you interrupt him when he is going on another soliloquy, he continually says "let me finish".

    3) He still acts like he is the President of Sports. He knows it all.

    I already get the feeling that Holley has given up on the show. Early on Holley would tell Ordway to stop interrupting him. Ordway would give Holley the pleasure of giving him an extra five seconds before cutting him off. Holley now lets Ordway yammer on without interruption. We all lose.

    Some commentors have said Holley is a downgrade. Latetodinner, who is one of the great commentors on this site, said that Holley does not bring anything to the table. I disagree. Holley has more football and baseball knowledge than Ordway. Ordway is overrated in basketball knowledge. Holley easily holds his own there. Holley is not strong when it comes to Hockey, but Ordway would not even
    take hockey calls.

    Holley has tremendous amounts of talent. The problem with The Big Show is and always will be Glen Ordway. Felger and Maz, had their "Charlie" moment with two good weeks of Canadiens talk, as well as Felger doing a better job than Pete Kendall explaining the players side in the lockout. Since then they have gone back to being the know-nothings they usually are. Their Celtics talk has been atrocious. But, because EEI still has Ordway they will never have to worry.

    The best talent on sports radio right now is someone who is rarely heard from because he is usually heard Saturday afternoons. Mike Flynn is a tremendous find by 98.5. The reason why he is so good is why he will never make it. He is level headed. In Boston, you need to outrageous and say one idiotic thing after another to be "talented". Flynn actually thinks before talking and he makes anyone he works with look good.

    • latetodinner

      mandb…

      Nice recap. Not sure I agree Flynn is the best talent in the market right now. I think DA is but that is nit picking.

      Since you were kind enough to mention me, I wanted to make sure I was clear as to why I think Michael Holley is incredibly overrated. It starts with football. Here is a guy who has been given unparalleled access to the Patriots, Chiefs and Falcons over the past year and he has absolutely nothing insightful to say. Honestly, can you think of any "aha" moment where he imparted some insight that had you talking or even thinking in a new or different way. I can't. Same with his baseball and basketball analysis. He never says anything that isn't either obvious or generic. With the access he has we should be learning lots of new things. It never happens. Do you consider him a football expert? Think about it…he has spent 3 years inside Bill Belichick's bubble, a year in Dimtrioff's and a year in Pioli's and yet when was the last time he said something new? I can't think of any. I know many people like him because he is more level headed than others, has a soothing voice and seems hip. I have maintained for a while that Dale carried him and now I don't see him adding anything to the Big Show. For the life of me I do not see why WEEI management is bending over to keep him…he is eminently replaceable.

      • mandb97

        <div id="idc-comment-msg-div-139012677" class="idc-message"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(139012677)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" onclick="IDC.ui.fb_wrapper(139012677)" href="javascript: void(null)" style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(139012677)">Close MessageLate as much as I respect your opinion, I still have to disagree. The reason you probably have not heard anything from Holley about his new book on the Pats, Chiefs and Falcons war room is because he cannot yet due to the book not being out. My guess is that he must stay clammed up until the publisher says he can speak. I actually enjoyed Patriots Reign. It gave the first real inside look on the dynamic of those championship teams. I'll admit I did not like the Bruschi book, for whatever reason I found it dull. Holley was on equal footing with Dale in my opinion. The conversation flowed well. There was no screaming over each other and both made their points clearly. I did not always agree with both but I knew where they stood. Holley was one of the first, along with Maz to defend the Perkins trade. As an aside, I think anyone who agrees with Maz should rethink their position. He maybe the single dumbest person in all of Boston Sports Media. He may have joined Tanguay at the top of the stealing money list for BSM.

        I do like D.A. as well. The only problem is occasionally he catches Felgeritis and goes with the ridiculous conspiracy theory. Two good examples are first, the Jacoby Ellsbury ribgate situation. D.A. said that Ellsbury did not want to play because he was upset at starting the season in leftfield. This made no sense because Francona had already decided to make Ellsbury the starting centerfielder. The second example is the recent issue with the Celtics that most BSM are running with. The belief that Rajon Rando is jaking it because he is upset with the Perkins trade. This, again makes no sense because Rondo was terrific the first six games after the trade. Was there a delayed reaction by Rondo and it just suddenly hit him? It's pretty silly.

      • mandb97

        <div id="idc-comment-msg-div-139012677" class="idc-message"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(139012677)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" onclick="IDC.ui.fb_wrapper(139012677)" href="javascript: void(null)" style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(139012677)">Close MessageLate as much as I respect your opinion, I still have to disagree. The reason you probably have not heard anything from Holley about his new book on the Pats, Chiefs and Falcons war room is because he cannot yet due to the book not being out. My guess is that he must stay clammed up until the publisher says he can speak. I actually enjoyed Patriots Reign. It gave the first real inside look on the dynamic of those championship teams. I'll admit I did not like the Bruschi book, for whatever reason I found it dull. Holley was on equal footing with Dale in my opinion. The conversation flowed well. There was no screaming over each other and both made their points clearly. I did not always agree with both but I knew where they stood. Holley was one of the first, along with Maz to defend the Perkins trade. As an aside, I think anyone who agrees with Maz should rethink their position. He maybe the single dumbest person in all of Boston Sports Media. He may have joined Tanguay at the top of the stealing money list for BSM.

        I do like D.A. as well. The only problem is occasionally he catches Felgeritis and goes with the ridiculous conspiracy theory. Two good examples are first, the Jacoby Ellsbury ribgate situation. D.A. said that Ellsbury did not want to play because he was upset at starting the season in leftfield. This made no sense because Francona had already decided to make Ellsbury the starting centerfielder. The second example is the recent issue with the Celtics that most BSM are running with. The belief that Rajon Rando is jaking it because he is upset with the Perkins trade. This, again makes no sense because Rondo was terrific the first six games after the trade. Was there a delayed reaction by Rondo and it just suddenly hit him? It's pretty silly.

        • latetodinner

          mandb….

          okay…we now know neither of us sleeps well…:-).

          I wanted to like Patriot's Reign…I really did….everyone else liked it. I thought it was simple, not unlike the Bruschi book…I think it took me 4 hours to read…although it is a different sport PR was not nearly as good a read as Men at Work or Summer of 49. The difference between the two Holley books is the material for Patriots Reign was more intriguing because no one thought the Patriots would end up a dynasty. I understand that Holley might have his hands tied because of the new book…but what has he ever said on the air about the Pats or Bruschi that is insightful, heck what has he ever said that was entertaining.

          I sound like i have it in for Holley…I really don't I am more ambivalent towards him. To me he is noise. As for how much he contributed to the D&H show…Dale had three partners, his ratings were remarkably consistent regardless of co-host. He was the constant. He made Eddie listenable, he made Holley credible, he got Neumy to make a point. I do not see what Holley did for Dale?

          I doubt we will agree on this. We do agree that the team of Ordway and Holley is awkward at best, doomed at worse. They have no chemistry and Ordway is in the wrong role. I am not going to bother reviewing Mutt and Merloni because I don't believe they will be on the air in a year. No need to get emotionally involved.

          Lastly, regarding DA, I think the reasons I like him include:
          - He is a good interviewer
          - He tries hard to look at different angles of stories
          - He mixes in some irreverence but not so much it is silly (see Mike Adams)
          - He does a yoeman's job filling 5 hours of night time air without just repeating himself.

          Does he do some dumb things…like being totally in the tank for the players in the lockout…I am pretty sure he does not understand the economics nor has he made any effort to. He is not alone in that one. I just find it very unsophisticated. Having said that I think he is currently the best host on Boston sports radio (unless you count Chuck Wilson on ESPN at night…then he wins).

        • mandb97

          <div id="idc-comment-msg-div-139024413" class="idc-message"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(139024413)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" onclick="IDC.ui.fb_wrapper(139024413)" href="javascript: void(null)" style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(139024413)">Close MessageWe will agree to disagree. By the way, I have nothing but praise for Dale. I always felt WEEI should have bit the bullet and put D&H in the afternoon drive slot and moved Ordway to midday. I fully believe they would be beating F&M in the ratings. As far as Dale's partners, I disagree with you on Andelman. He had worn out his welcome a long time ago. Eddie still believed Drew Bledsoe should have been the starting quarterback in Super Bowl XXXLI. Of course, he was good friends with Mac Bledsoe, Drew's dad. No conflict there. As far as Neumy goes, it was a great show and WEEI inexplicably would not pay Neumeier. In my opinion they got lucky to get Holley.

          One criticism I have with Dale is his new show with Steve Buckley. Dale has suddenly started to sound like the typical EEI host. He talks over and interrupts callers (Buckley does as well but that is like saying the sky is blue and snow is white). Dale and Buck will be conversing while somebody tries to make a point. It's a damn shame.

          You are dead right on D.A. His show is terrific. I have been singing his praises since day one. The only thing he should do is Lysol the studio and get rid of the F&M strep. It baffles me how Mike Adams is still beating him in the ratings. Adams is as bad as it gets.

          When Chuck Wilson was the ringmaster of the Wilson, Bruno and Brown show, he was terrific. Chuck Wilson by himself, not so much.

        • latetodinner

          Dale seems to be playing out the string. When he filled in for John Dennis two weeks ago he sounded almost like he was doing an impression of what WEEI hosts are supposed to do. He made some off color jokes…did not suit him… he was abrupt with callers but worse he sounded like he was a fill-in. I am not saying he was not prepared but it is hard to explain. He sounded like he did not care.

          Like everyone else I had real issues with Eddie (the originator of look at me radio) yet the show with Dale was listenable and the ratings were strong. I am not sure WEEI would have ever made the move to Neumy if Eddie had not been pushing for a more money and a show for David.

          I have never understood the Mike Adams phenomenon. Other than the ongoing Hazel Mae schtick the show is horrid. No flow, no insight, juvenile humor. It does not seem to compliment the Celtics or Red Sox which he often leads into or follows 200+ days a year. John Ryder does a much better job when he fills in.

        • tl;dr

          tl;dr

        • mandb97

          Late I agree with everything you said.

  • jason

    bring back sportsdesk

  • Todd

    Why can't good people last at NESN? Whitelaw, Abbott, Borson, Rose, now Joel on the programming/production side. Half the sales staff recently. If the micro-managing and penny-pinching stopped, so would the defections.

    • mandb97

      Todd I guess you did not get the memo NESN is now the Linda Pizzuti network. Pretty soon Red Sox and Bruins games will be tape delayed for more Dirty Water TV, Celebrity Spotlight and After the Game, which of course will now be before the game.

      • todd

        That is something I did not know! Does she have to run everything by the Pres/GM and CFO, or is she exempt?

        • mandb97

          No, it's all her's. She just named Charlie Moore, Vice President. He says there will be more fishing shows with C-list actors as guests.

        • todd

          Maybe Linda can get more restaurateurs to do shows that have zilch to do with sports.
          On a seriouas note…does this bode well for Jack Edwards? Feld signed him to do all of the games…the next guy might have his own person in mind.

        • mandb97

          I think that is always a risk when there is new management in the media. They may have their own person in mind when they take over. No one knows for sure though what it will mean.

  • Frank Olsen

    Does anyone think that maybe the Red Sox are priming NESN to be sold? By paring payroll they can make it appear more profitable to a potential buyer.

    • todd

      Interesting notion. The Sox would make a bundle selling NESN.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      Never. NESN is a cash cow, even with declining ratings, for the Sox.

      • latetodinner

        Cash cow is an understatement…besides Tom Warner knows TV better than almost anyone on the planet. There really is no reason to have him in the ownership group if they do not own NESN. I agree they need to refocus the programming…but they are still making money hand over fist.

        • XOXO

          Tom Werner does not know TV or how it actually gets made on a daily basis. He knows how to develop scripted sitcoms. Joel Feld was a disaster, but there are plenty of the disastrous decisions of the past number of years that came from Werner as well.

  • Jack

    I'm still trying to figure out the reason for Mut's meteoric rise at WEEI. Why did he even get the weekend gig, never mind this one? Is he related to someone? Why wasn't John Ryder considered ? As someone posted, he does an excellent fill-in job for Mikey.

    Quite frankly, Mut reminds me of Larry Johnson with a better voice and grammar. He tries to be funny and it falls flat. He has no insider knowledge or experience. It's like he's trying to be one of the "cool kids". I just don't get it.

  • Joe

    Its a shame to see how irrelevant NESN has become in this market. You would think that a flagship station for two of the four major professional sports teams wouldn’t have to resort to lifestyle programming. Joel Feld took what was once a really good operation and run it right into the ground. I cant believe someone like Tom Werner allowed this. Where is the accountability?

  • Winning

    Jade McCarthy must go, so brutal! Something about her reaks of arrogance cuz Uri is gone

    • Jon

      Jade McCarthy is not the problem at NESN. I think given the right opportunity, she could be a star in this market.

  • Steven

    As a season ticket holder for UMass-Lowell, and someone who watches NESN's coverage of Hockey East games, why won't NESN broadcast all of the games in HD? It seems they only put games from the Garden (Beanpot, HE Championship weekend) in HD. Is is that hard NESN?