Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter II

Welcome to the Monthly Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, and comments from your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

The last 72 hours have been pretty hectic in this space, so I decided to roll the monthly mailbag out a week early. But before I fire up some commentary, let’s take step back. Bruce Allen has provided end-to-end coverage, and I chimed in myself to answer a few pressing questions in the immediate aftermath. As the kids say in the Twitterverse, “In Case You Missed It” … here’s a rundown of BSMW’s coverage on Glenn Ordway‘s (forced) exodus:

Chad Finn Reports WEEI To Replace Glenn Ordway With Mike Salk

Ordway Confirms Exit On The Air Today

WEEI Statement on Glenn Ordway

Ordway Links

Sports Media Musings: Everything Glenn Ordway

An Appreciation of Glenn Ordway

OK — let’s get to your comments and questions.

***

I enjoyed the background info you provided. I am sorry to see Glen Ordway go but I watch “Felger and Mazz” more often.  I don’t like the yelling and insults aimed at casual sports fans ( i.e. women) that passes for fun on these talk shows,but I’m a long time Red Sox fan so I tune in to hear the latest news.

- Susan

I don’t think misogynist attitudes as a whole are being remedied here. Ordway is pretty harmless, and that’s a problem that goes well beyond the realm of sports talk radio. Though, evidently, WEEI is launching an all ladies show on weekends, featuring Jenn Royle as the primary host with a rotating cast of guests. Also, Chad Finn’s piece in the Boston Globe this morning included the tidbit that WEEI is heavily pursuing Comcast SportsNet reporter and “Quick Slants” personality, Mary Paoletti. Interesting shakeup, and a great opportunity for Paoletti, who is one of the more endearing personalities in the market.

WEEI let its success go to its head and became arrogant and crappy to the audience. I’m glad they are clearing house over there…arrogant hateful jerks. I can hear the Spors Hub going the same way now. Most of them are becoming arrogant and crappy to the audience. Next up will be loooooong monologues from the hosts on all things NON-sports related. The Sports Hub will eventually fall as WEEI rises….this cycle will go on and on.

- Marcellius

The hubris that permeated WEEI is something I don’t think we’ll ever see again. They thought their hold on the market was impenetrable, and honestly believed their “recipe” – the bloated contracts, celebrity callers, and a consistent side of condescending dialect — was acceptable, because there was no challenger. Well, though he’ll never admit it, these days, Gerry Callahan is definitely hiding under his desk.

Listen, success naturally breeds this line of thinking; but success also breeds contempt and complacency. And I’d caution a few personalities over at The Sports Hub check their own egos, specifically the midday hosts, instead of celebrating Ordway’s precipitous fall.

And remember, WEEI is still deep — like Denver Nuggets deep — and The Sports Hub is devoid of a reliable fill-in personality save for, maybe, Rich Keefe. EEI’ has  Kirk Minihane, a rising star on the radio, whose leverage is growing by the nano-second. The dude can write, too; in my opinion, he’s the best columnist in the city. And it’s not even close.

Overall, the dot com side of the business lost Paul Flannery to SB Nation this year, but still includes Minihane, Alex Speier, Chris Price, and Rob Bradford. All of those writers use advanced statistics to, you know, back up their arguments. And it’s telling that two out of the three “Sports Tonight” segments Thursday night featured Michael Felger sparring with two WEEI.com personalities (Speier and Minihane).  So, while WEEI is in a bad place, things may not be as despondent as they appear. (Full disclosure: I used to write for WEEI.com)

Great tribute and history here. Even if you weren’t a fan, it’s always nice to appreciate “how things came to be”.

- bsmfan

@bruceallen‘s rumination on Glenn Ordway’s place in Boston sports media history is respectful and extremely well done.

- Chad Finn, via Twitter

I’d say our coverage culminated with Bruce’s retrospective look at Ordway’s career. It’s an outstanding piece that even Ordway himself probably appreciates. He isn’t Tim Thomas. His legacy is cut and dry: Over time, he’ll be credited for his managerial decisions, such as orchestrating WEEI’s lineup in the mid-90s, and, more specifically, the round-table format he introduced during his own program, “The Big Show.”

That’s underselling it though, right?

As I wrote yesterday, eliminating Ordway’s voice, something that’s been embedded in Boston sports for over two decades, is jarring. It was never going to feel right. Remarkably, the hyperbolic media reaction is simultaneously both overstated and appropriate (does that make sense?). For the majority of his run, Ordway was the voice reacting to whatever was happening in Boston sports (and there was a lot happening). But, as we would later find out, this was largely due to the lack of options, and not Ordway’s own talent. In short, it’s not that we didn’t know any better; it’s that we had no other choice.

Still, Ordway was here, in our lives, talking four hours a day; suddenly, he’s gone. Now what?

Will I miss him? Personally no, not really. It’s as simple as this: I don’t think Ordway was particularly compelling anymore; candidly speaking, I’m still not sure he ever was. I never remember saying, “Hmm. I never thought of it that way” or having an epiphany during his show. If he was, well, he’d still have a job. That’s the truth.

Of course, as we have all learned, these sports talk show guys never die, they just do a little time on the ranch and resurface later on. I expect the same with Ordway.

- Dean Harrington 

I remember writing about how Dale Arnold fared well after his removal from the “Dale and Holley” show. Arnold was doing more television appearances, both on Comcast SportsNet New England and NESN, still doing fill-in spots at WEEI, and eventually landed a job hosting the Bruins pre and post-game show on NESN. Not bad. Ordway isn’t dead. And while I don’t foresee a career revitalization …  I’m not ruling it out, either.  Internet radio? A podcast? Maybe another run at a different station? It’s all in play.

(Side Note: If you have time, check out Will Leitch‘s piece on sports podcasts over at Sports On Earth.)

I think Michael Jordan is slipping a bit. He thinks Kobe has had a better career so far than LeBron?

- Fred Smerlas, via Twitter

Oh, I don’t know, and I’m just spit-balling here, but it could have something to do with the five rings.

(So, uh, remember that legacy I talked about — I won’t miss some of the personalities Ordway continually gave airtime to.)

I hope that Mike Salk brings something to the table and can quickly develop some chemistry with Holley as I don’t want to resort to listening to national sports radio and as JR states, Felger and Mazz are unlistenable.

- Josh Mar

As far as Mike Salk goes, I don’t know anything about him, but I’ll listen to find out — and that’s more than I can say about the current parliamence over at WEEI.

Here’s where I have a few problems, though. It’s a tough business — I get the “Felger and Mazz” hate (trust me, I really do. I’ve run a parody in my column making fun of their interactions, for crying out loud!). Even though I deride them as much as the next guy, I’ve to terms with what they are. I mean, you have to like someone, right? I don’t buy the spin, but, to me, “Felger and Mazz” is an entertaining program.

Sure, perhaps, Felger is too caustic and acerbic, while Tony Massarotti defers almost every chance he gets, and comes off as too self-depreciating at times. But, regardless, I listen. And that says something. I know I get a lot of crap for this, but I still say if there is ever a fictional spin off of Pardon the Interruption, entitled, PTI: Cities, I’m going with Felger to represent Boston.

Look at the bright side, even Felger detractors have to take solace that he’s not Skip Bayless, who, in typical Bayless-fashion, actually accused LeBron James of baiting fans into believing he was going to do the Slam Dunk Contest for attention. Doing something for attention??? That’s rich, coming from a dude like Bayless. I’m not sure what else to say here, but something about stones, glass houses, pots, and kettles.

With that, I’ll close things out here … Thanks for reading and hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__ or email ([email protected]).

  • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andy Dursin

    Sounds like Mary Paoletti is being courted for the mid-day show if her “addition requires subtraction” and requires more than “reading every 20 minutes.” Yet I don’t know how she’s going to fare on radio. Goodness knows a fresh take would be welcome, but at the same time, she has such a frail voice and delivery, and most of her appeal is, frankly, visual. I can hardly understand what she’s saying half the time on Quick Slants.

    Paoletti and Merloni? Not sure that’s a really compelling draw at 10-2…or do they let Merloni go instead? Neither Mutt nor Lou brings anything interesting to the table, and they are deadly during football season. She’d probably help a bit in that regard.

    • http://twitter.com/Quiddity99 Brian Shea

      If she’s brought on as sports flash girl it’d make more sense to put her on D&C due to the NESN simulcast. I hope and pray the “more than” line involves the potential removal of John Dennis but won’t get my hopes up. I can only imagine the disrespect D&C will show to a woman half their age on their show. Still, good luck to her, hope she gets it. Would give me reason to tune in.

      • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

        D+C have had a woman before. I forget her name but she was a UNH grad (was friends of a friend) that only ever did fill-in duty, but I never got the impression there would be more. She also did a lot of local voice-over/commercial work around the area. The only other recent time I can remember would be when they had Royale in doing fill-ins during the post-Meter tryouts.

        Going on your point, I thought Royale was happy to be there but it had more of a “unnatural” chemistry. If they’re going to go the female route, they need something more congruent with ages, as you said.

        • Brianwaterslocker

          Kelly Malone

        • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

          That was her. I haven’t heard her in a year, so I assume she moved on.

        • http://twitter.com/ericdennycpa eric denny

          Kelly Malone is the Bruins PA announcer during pre game and intermissions.

        • http://twitter.com/Quiddity99 Brian Shea

          Problem with going with someone closer in age to them is that it flies right in the face of what EEI and that show in particular need to do, get younger. And are there any local female sportscasters their age left anyway? Is Alice Cook still around? Can’t think of anyone else. Getting rid of at least John Dennis would make it a lot easier to solve their sports flash boy/girl woes, unfortunate that it probably won’t happen due to the contract. Anyone know if they have the ability to move timeslots on them? Fire Mike Adams and move Dennis to nights (or let him quit if he refuses)?

    • dan

      Let’s put it this way…very soon Merloni is going to wish that he took the gig with Felger.

      What a dummy.

  • Ryan

    I’d still say that 98.5 still has reliable fill in hosts, not as many as WEEI but still good. Johnston and Flynn are good as are Bertrand and Gasper.

    • Felgeyneedsanewsidekick

      Agree with Johnston, Flynn & Bertrand… but Gasper is horrid. I feel like he always has a bad read on things and there isn’t much substance there. I wish Reiss didn’t go to the 4 letter… he would be great with Felger during the NFL season.

  • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

    If you want the final Big Show segment along with the 5pm hour F+M reaction, it is here:

    http://sportsrantz.com/media/2013/02/15/glenn-ordway-signs-off-at-weei-felger-and-mazz-pay-their-respects/

    F+M had an honest reaction/sobering thoughts on it, if you’re wondering.

    Excerpt:

    FELGER: “Well, it’s not just that, I mean, things change.”
    MASSAROTTI: “Of course, they change.”
    FELGER: “Quickly; we were third last spring.”
    MASSAROTTI: “Hey, the Grim Reaper comes to get all of us sooner or later.”
    FELGER: “Being another talk show host, I don’t like that one bit. Not good news, for me or anybody else. That third place is
    suddenly bad.”

  • mikes

    Here’s al you need to know aout Mike Salk…
    Does anyone remember this guy when he was here using his parents money to pay for air time..Remember his aweful lisp? Remember him sneaking around Francona’s office to eavesdrop on player movement, and then report it as an “Exclusive” All that, wrapped up in an arrogent i’m the smartest guy in the room just as me…persona. Salk is a former Felger wanna be goffer, who went to Seattle to reinvent himself. Jason Wolfe dosent have Felger, so he trying to model one in Salk. In my opinion, Salk’s voice alone will force one not to listen. This is the wrong choice & it makes me wonder…Why?

    • Jim Ed

      I’d say using his parents’ money eventually paid for itself, wouldn’t you? The fact is that if he did reinvent himself, he must have done it pretty well. He was getting a lot of exposure nationally on ESPN Radio by fill-in hosting a decent number of nights and weekends in addition to his regular gig in Seattle. You may not like him, but ESPN and WEEI obviously did.