An Open Letter To Glenn Ordway

With the Red Sox off last night, (playing a doubleheader today) I’m taking this opportunity to respond to some comments made by Glenn Ordway on WEEI yesterday afternoon.

Dear Glenn,

It was with interest that I listened to your comments yesterday afternoon, regarding “those media websites”  and the things that were stated on “them” about The Big Show and WEEI’s extended discussion of the pictures posted by Barstool Sports last week of Tom Brady’s young son.

I can only assume you were talking about this site, and my comments. I haven’t seen much on all those other “media websites” about the topic. In fact, I don’t know of many other sports “media websites” in the Boston area, period, although at least one other blog seems to agree with me.

Let me clear some things up for you. You seemed to insinuate that the criticism here of you and your station was simply because you were condemning the posting of the pictures and the commentary that went with them. If that is what you really think, I fear for your comprehension level. To the contrary, I actually agree with you that the posting of the pictures was a bad idea, and irresponsible.

What WEEI should have done, in my opinion, was condemn David Portnoy for the incident, release a statement that he would no longer be appearing on the station, and then drop the subject. Instead, WEEI went pretty much wall-to-wall with the topic, stirring things up, getting people agitated, driving more traffic to the posts of the pictures, and generally benefiting Barstool Sports with the added attention. It has even resulted in Portnoy making an appearance on the Howard Stern show. You can largely thank yourself for this. Instead of appearing on WEEI, now Portnoy got to go on the national Stern show. Well done.

Had WEEI just condemned and moved on, would this story have gotten as much attention as it did? While plenty of other media outlets did pick up on the story, there is no doubt that WEEI’s incessant banging of the drum increased the visibility of the story.

I heard you state that the extended discussion of the topic had nothing to do with ratings. That is a boldface lie. Everything done at WEEI is for ratings. Are you claiming that this was some sort of selfless public service you were performing here?

The way I see it, you knew this was going to be a slow day for the show in the ratings with the Patriots pregame show starting on 98.5 FM at 4:00 pm that afternoon. You saw this topic, and jumped aboard in hopes of drawing people in. It is a hot-button topic no doubt about it. I’ve gotten people posting comments on this site claiming that I must be a member of NAMBLA because of my post last week about your take on things. People are fired up, one way or the other about this, and you knew they would be.  You couldn’t compete with 98.5 just talking about the Patriots, you needed another hot topic to discuss, and this was practically spoon-fed to you. So you jumped on it, hoping for the ratings (and attention) boost. It worked, as evidenced by this post, and the one I made last week, as well as the attention from other people talking about your discussion.

I also heard you reference comments made on Portnoy’s website, and saying that “even the stoolies” were turning against him. Again the insinuation seemed to be that you believed you were being criticized simply for condemning the actions of Barstool, and used this as an example to show how everyone thought this was a bad idea, trying to muddy the waters and further indicate that I was hammering you simply for being critical of the pictures being posted. 

You are aware of course, that just because someone posts a comment on a website it doesn’t mean that they “belong” to that site? I’m guessing that a lot of people making those comments were not hard-core “stoolies,” but rather “drive-by” visitors, likely brought there after hearing you talk about the site. While some of the so-called “stoolies” no doubt did disagree with the posting of the photos, you can’t take comments from Barstool as ironclad evidence of that.

Finally, you made a comments along the lines of “these media websites have an agenda, they hate WEEI, and that’s fine, they’re welcome to go somewhere else.” That’s the type of arrogant comment that WEEI hosts could make in the past. Now? You are aware of how the ratings have been going, right? Keep pushing people away, and the ratings will continue to drop like a stone.

As far as “hating” WEEI, that’s an easy generalization to make. Anyone who is critical of the great multiple-Marconi-Award-nominated Glenn Ordway must simply be a hater, right? I’m pretty sure I must be doing a pretty good job here, because I’ve had supporters and staffers at both sports radio stations convinced that I hate their station and have an agenda against them, and are in the bag for the other station. A Tweet not too long ago accused me of being a “WEEI fanboy.”  On the other hand, I get angry Tweets and creepy Facebook messages from your buddy Mikey Adams telling me to keep sucking up to Felger. (That’s the edited, family-rated version.)

The funny thing is, that growing up in NH, Glenn, you were someone I admired greatly. We didn’t get many of the Celtics telecasts on TV, so I listened to every game on the radio that you and Johnny Most did. Those are some of my fondest, and earliest sports media memories. To get to this point, where the word “hate” is being tossed around, saddens me.

My hope Glenn, is that this letter clears up any confusion you may have had over what I was actually criticising you for last week, and to ensure you that I am not supporting or defending the actions of Barstool Sports in any way, shape or form. I do believe however, that you are responsible for bringing even more attention to this matter than it deserved, and exposed those pictures to even more people than would’ve seen them had you simply condemned and moved on.

Repeat after me – condemn and move on.

Sincerely,

Bruce Allen
Bostonsportsmedia.com

  • tl;dr

    Glenn,

    Here are some of the things that make me immediately switch from your show to the other one:
    Celebrity callers (esp Frank from Gloucester)
    More than 10 seconds of cackling laughter at something that's mildly humorous at best.
    Golf talk
    Ripping on "Pink Hats" and "Homers"

    I'm going to be fair and let you know what makes me switch back to your station from the other one:
    Rap battles
    Felger ripping the Pats with increasing volume and decreasing sanity.
    "Inside baseball" hockey talk.

    • sports fan

      tI;dr
      I believe “Pink Hats” is something Tony Massarotti term, the afternoon guy from the new station

    • sports fan

      tI;dr
      I believe “Pink Hats” is a Tony Massarotti term, the afternoon guy from the new station

      • tl;dr

        I heard Glenn talking about "Pink Hats" yesterday.

  • latetodinner

    Bruce:

    Excellent letter but I think you missed one other point. Why would a host such as Glen Ordway, who has the audience he has, and the contract he has, be concerned with what a media blogger has to say? Is he that thin skinned or insecure? More importantly, before setting up the straw man argument did he think it pertinent to fully understand what you said before reacting to it. Whereas I think this was a perfectly good topic to discuss on air…it was interesting, provocative, timely and salacious…it wasn't sports. So WEEI had to have made a conscious decision…do we discuss this or do we let it go? They decided to discuss it (98.5 decided to let it go), my guess as to why was because of the business relationship they had with barstool sports and a perceived need to distance themselves from Barstool. Once they decided to discuss it, it became a business decision…to claim otherwise is just ignorance. When the phone banks lit up they knew they had, for one day, counter programing to a Pats game. Was it intentional…maybe…was the caller reaction beyond what they expected…absolutely…should they have discussed it…sure why not…do they have any high ground to clam…absolutely not.

    In the end Ordway's thin skinnedness (not sure it is a word but we are going with it) is a far bigger sports media story to me. If a media blogger can get that under his skin, I can only imagine the pressure he is under at WEEI. His lack of professionalism in this matter is quite disheartening.

  • CBK

    Amen to that Bruce. Ordway's reign of myopia continues to increase at the same rate of his irrelevance to the Boston sports radio airwaves.

  • NutCracker

    Well said Bruce! But can Ordway read? I didn't know that knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal men were literate.

  • Fred_West_Lynn

    I thought it was nicely argued, Bruce, but let's look at the impact. You may simply be calling attention to an insignificant tantrum that would otherwise disappear of its own irrelevance, as I believe the latest ratings numbers show that BSMW and your other outlets have a larger audience than The Big Show. Anecdotal evidence is that they come from a demographic with more disposable income, too. (Compare the replacement cost of a windshield, which is zero, to the high-end toy purchases discussed on the threads.)

    In other words: why bother?

    Although I'm happy that you did.

    • Rick

      To another degree, Bruce, have you contemplated calling The Big Show to have a discussion with Glenn? One thing that bothered me about the Portnoy situation is that they never had him on the air to discuss the incident and get his point of view. I think you make very valid points that should be heard by Glenn's shrinking audience.

      • tl;dr

        Why should he bother? They'll just shout him down and then blow him up.

      • Fred_West_Lynn

        I see a delicate problem where if Bruce Allen went on EEI to discuss his assertion (a correct one, I believe) that by devoting extraordinary air time to the Barstool photo mess that EEI/Ordway merely were as sensational in its own way as Portnoy was, then he could be accused as just extending that chain.

        Apologies for the run-on-sentence, but as good as it might be to witness an Allen-Ordway debate, it would inevitably just be more churning of the Barstool controversy, and that's precisely what Bruce is decrying.

  • HubfaninPhilly

    He used to let this stuff slide, back in the day when he was number one 25-54 men by a country mile. That's not the case anymore. He's in the fight of his professional life. I think he only has a couple of years left on his current deal with Entercom. Unless he can get ratings up…he won't be renewed. I'm sure he's taken note of the situation down here in Philly….Howard Eskin, whose been doing PM drive for all sports WIP for over 20 years is being shown the door after a younger, more dynamic host on an FM sports competitor kicked his butt in the ratings. Sound familiar? Ordway is running scared…

    • Guest

      Great point. Karma is not on Ordawy's side either. He gleefully mocked Eddie Andelman when his days as the talk radio king were waning and now it is Glenn' turn.

  • Chris

    Media people LOVE mirrors; they cannot stay away from them. Metaphorically speaking, a web site like this one is a 'mirror.' It reflects what the perception is of their 'offering.' Happily and properly, WEEI has been getting bludgeoned in every imaginable way. A limp-wristed signal, boorish & rabid hosts, and inept/inbred management all conspire to make WEEI the Titanic of Boston Sports Radio. Happily, Ordway and those of his ilk will waddle to this site several times daily to see what's being written and said about them. Everyone at WEEI must be near a state of self-immolation right about now.

  • just sayin'

    Ordway's greatest sin is being dull. The AM afternoons won't have a chance with him at the helm, as the ratings bear out.

  • Lumpy

    Glen doesn't care…He was able to insert himself into a minor story and make it all about him…He was successful in what he intended to do which was bring attention to himself and he'll no doubt do it again. His goal is not to inform, enlighten or entertain his listeners but to make the Ordway brand as valuable as it can be come next contract negotiation. Expecting anything less is folly. Now turn off those radios people!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthrocoon Bob Nelson

    It is all about the ratings, and a station that now has strong competition. They leapt upon a good "water cooler topic" (or something they figured would get listeners driving home etc) WTKK had Michael Graham the next day defending Portnoy followed by Doug Meehan condemning him (in an early hour and then again at 5). As far as I know, Howie Carr down the hall just did a brief mention and that was about it. EEI did make the story a hotter topic and along the way gave more publicity to the blog as a result. Controversy can do that–religious folks protested Martin Scorcese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" and Fox's "Married…With Children" and as a result gave the film and the sitcom more visibility, and may have actually backfired by attracting people who were curious.

    The limp wristed signal: Entercom could easily solve that problem by putting WEEI on 93.7, 97.7, and or 107.3 but Mike 93.7 and WAAF/WKAF do well for them. For the dozens of people with an HD radio, WEEI _is_ on the HD2 signal of the latter 2 stations….The WEEI hosts do turn some people off and now that there's competition…

    btw in Cleveland all sports WKNR 850 is about to get competition from a station at 92.3 FM. The new station (run by CBS) has a lackluster signal but already it's being said that 850 is done for (of course Cle. isn't as big a sports market and whatever ad $ there are will float toward the new FM…in a few yrs the new sports FM might land the Browns, Indians, or Cavs and could move to a more powerful signal like, ironically, the 98.5 out THERE.) CBS knows what it's doing.

  • NASCL

    Great job, Bruce.

    How many times has Ordway said, "Whenever someone says it's not about the money it's about the money?"

    When Ordway himself says it's not about the ratings, well, any fool (except for Mike Adams, possibly) can finish that thought.

  • Nopointe

    I didn't know that Glen Ordway still had a show, is it on Hurricane radio?

  • fred burford

    Bruce,
    I disagree with you a lot. I have called you a "fanboy" more than once but great job on this letter to "fatboy".
    Well done.

  • bettyd

    I thought you were clear in the original post. I recall a scandel or two that WEEI refused to talk about so I didn’t understand why the station made this into such a big topic. We all agree it was not good idea to post the photos. Getting into arguments on the air about whether a naked baby is child porn is an argument that advertisers have been having for years on both TV and print ads. It was distasteful to hear about it on the air. Your “condemn and move on” suggestions certainly would have put them on a high road.

  • alex

    Dear Glenn,

    I don't listen to your show anymore. Ever.

    Regards,
    Alex

  • LJ Sandwich

    It's really amazing how awful the Big Show sounds these days. Not just for the content or hosts, but just having to listen to a tinny AM station makes these guys sound obsolete from the start compared to 98.5's booming FM signal.

    I listened for a few minutes yesterday and Glenn was doing his comedic bit about taking the rest of the week off. Amazing to me that all their shows are getting pummelled in the ratings but Dennis, Callahan, Ordway, and the like are going to take their quota of endless summer vacation as if they were still on top. Careful fellas…it's almost over for all three of you.

    • NASCL

      Good thing Captain Sully didn't decide to take his vacation time 90 seconds before splashing down in the Hudson.

    • alex

      Have you ever had a job from which you knew you'd be either quitting or getting fired? The first thing you do is use up all personal days. I think this is the situation we are dealing with here.

      The main difference between the two stations is that I will at least listen to Gresh/Zo and Felger/Mazz to see what they're saying. If it's something ridiculous then I just flip the channel. I don't even do that on EEI anymore. The show is literally off my preset until they bring in some young, fresh talent. Ryen Rusillo, maybe?

  • mandb97

    Outstanding letter Bruce, but it is not surprising that Ordway did not get or would not get what you were saying. I have a strange feeling he knew exactly what you were talking about but decided for "good radio" to stir the pot and call you a hater. Everything you need to know about how disingenuous Ordway is, is when he says with a not so straight face that he is not doing this for the ratings. I'm sure there are still ten to fifteen people who take what Ordway says as gospel but the majority who are clear thinkers know Ordway is completely desperate for ratings. If Glen thought the Barstool picture was so awful why would he continually tell listeners to look at the site? It was to stoke the flames and get the WEEI call letters on as many outlets as possible. The reason why Glen will not mention BSMW is simple, the truth hurts.

    P.S. As I posted yesterday, I thought Dave Portnoy was in for a rude awakening when he believed Howard Stern would be on his side this morning. As it turned out Portnoy freely admits Stern hammered him. I personally believe that Stern is the pot calling the kettle black. Stern has gone over the line many times himself. I do believe he may have some bias because of his friendship with the Kraft family. I'm not saying that he really does not like what Portnoy wrote or showing the picture but you do have to think of the potential bias Stern may have. Portnoy also did do an interview with NPR's Emily Rooney as well. Portnoy posted both interviews. They are both pretty entertaining.
    http://boston.barstoolsports.com/random-thoughts/

    And as I should have mentioned the Stern interview is NSFW

    • latetodinner

      I can't click…it means giving Portnoy and his site a hit and I am not ready to do that.

      • mandb97

        I understand.

  • EEI What?

    Hey Glenn, its joey from the north end…nah Im just messing with you
    seriously though..I dont even remember how to flip to AM anymore on my car radio. How do you NOT KNOW that your shtick is old???
    Even with the resurgence of 98.5 I used to still listen to the whiner line but even that has gotten water down – I think some of your performers are paid EEI employees

  • Classless

    My favorite part of all this is that Mike Adams sent creepy facebook messages. How he had a job in sports radio is the upset of the century.

  • Metco Gorilla

    Ordway is disgusted? It’s about time he was disgusted about something.

  • rick

    who is bruce ? what paper dose he write for ? is this the official ratings site ? dose ordway even know this site ?

  • EddieFromTheSouthEnd

    Glenn, Hi, how are ya?

    You know what would turn your show around? Chocolate pudding in the nets.

    Seriously, you’ve morphed into me. Irrelevancy is a bitch my friend.

    You spent all that time last week talking about this last week and at the same time you still claim to have never heard the METCO Gorilla tapes.

    Anyways, I’ve got Syd Diamond’s number if you want it?

    What happened to Fred & Steve?

  • Craig Jonson

    Excellent Commentary.

    Ordway is a sell out for ratings. If tatoo of Brady's son stamped upon Ordway's 4th chin could increase ratings, Ordway would be wearing the quirvering ink.

    Ordway went "on the clock" when the Holley replaced the roving band of stooge commentators. Ordway could not longer carry the ratings for a bunch of light-weights and the Holley move was imposed by management.

    Ordway is all about the ratings… all about the next contract. all about his dwindling ratings and personally, I think his time is past in Boston as the Top Dog Sports Radio host.

  • David

    I think this is a very good site that does a nice job summarizing the Boston sports media scene. It has been nice to see the ultra-cocky WEEI humbled by the Sportshub. However, while "hate" might be a bit extreme, I think Ordway isn't completely incorrect in thinking that there is a definite anti-WEEI feel to this site. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, they probably deserve it, but it's just the impression I get.

    • JES

      I think this is a fair site with criticism of ALL Boston sports media. There might be a little more sarcasm when criticizing 'EEI because they can be rather pompous with their opinions overall. But BSMW will give Kudos when deserved as well.

    • latetodinner

      While I think some people can be a bit extreme in their wording to make a point, I don't think most of the regular posters are anti WEEI. We all want the same thing…QUALITY sports radio. We have explained what we want over and over again while management ignores these thoughts pointing to the ratings saying we are in the minority. Now that competition is exposing our observations as true it is difficult for WEEI's management to change because they have denied these were problems for years. When the same problems keep manifesting themselves it seems like repetition and piling on when it reality…it is WEEI not putting its house in order.

      Let me give you a few quick examples:
      - AM signal sucks…Entercom in Boston has 3 FM signals. They refuse to move WEEI to one even though its competition is on one and hammering them ratings wise.

      - Mike Adams. I don't know how many examples of how poor a job he does we have to document before management will do something. I understand he has a family and no one wants to see someone lose a job but perhaps their is a better off air role for Mikey.

      I could go on and on listing examples from D&C, firing Dale, and from Ordway's show. My point is we just want better. In the old days the content was better. They can do better. When they do we will all be positive…well most of us.

      • tl;dr

        Bruce rips F&M all the time. Pay attention EEI lovers.

  • AFA

    Bruce is right on target, butthere si also more to this story and it is the realtionship of WEEI to the PAtriots and of course the puppeter – Jason Wolfe, the program manager.
    WEEI once had their two morning hosts refer to African American children as monkeys and they were only suspended after an outrage developed for days after their comments. So the hypocrisy at WEEI is in full bloom.
    Now back to Patriots relationship. Portnoy was let go because WEEI wants to continue their relationship with the PAtriots with PAtriots Monday and Friday beyond the end of the contract. They are playing up to the Patriots for ACCESS !
    It is great fun to see WEEI being toppled. While there are some at 98.5 that are simply terrible ( read: andy gresh ) . The format is better there. It isn't preachy radio where the host thinks they are an expert on all subjects , be it sports, politics, business ( Glenn Ordway ). It will be GREAT to see when Dennis and Callhan are gone and Ordway follows soon after. It will be a beautiful day !

    • tl;dr

      The gorilla thing happened many many years ago people. Let it go.

      • AFA

        It is not when it happened it is the fact that IT DID HAPPEN and it happened under the management of Jason Wolfe, the same guy who removed Portnoy so it is relevant in that it speaks to his management style. Your entire work's life goes into who you are and the point is that Wolfe allowed that and not this simply because he is playing nice with the Patriots for access. See the big picture……..

        • latetodinner

          As I see it big picture wise…Wolfe did not react fast enough/strong enough to the METCO comments. Contracts and amount owed to D&C probably affected how severely he could act.

          Wolfe learns from his mistake and comes out forcefully against Portnoy 15 years later. He acts decisively and voids a contract because he can.

          Seems to me you want to damn him when he does and when he doesn't and you don't want to accept that a man can learn/grow from his previous mistakes.

  • Beavis

    Hey, it's Franklin! coming over to our house!

  • Winning_

    I agree with Late, there is not WEEI hate on this site. If Ordway actually looked, he would see that Felger and Mazz and Gresh get blasted just as much if not more then he does these days, mostly because Ord is not relevant anymore. Ordway cannot comprehend that the disdain people here have for WEEI is simply constructive criticisim. He reactions remind me of a child when his teacher gives him feedback of things to work on. Rather than accept the challenge and try to improve, he reacts defensively and launches missiles at his "attackers" (BSMW, Chad Finn, Heslam, etc). Ordway doesn't understand that treating listeners that way he and WEEI has WILL drive them away. He cannot simply blow someone up and openly mock them and expect them to stay loyal. We have an option Glen!! With a better signal, and much differing opinions. As much as I may gripe with 98.5, I feel the caller treatment is like years ahead of WEEI.

    • Winning_

      Glenn is simply looking for someone to blame because he is scared. Mikey Adams is scared. I doubt Holley is, because I feel he will always be in demand. Ordway might realize internally that all the years of shouting and yelling might come back to haunt him as he lands without a job, or at least a lesser role. Mikey Adams is in the same boat. They are cornered animals looking to fight.