Opinion: WEEI Needs Pete Sheppard

Clearly WEEI is in a state of change, especially in the afternoon time slot. Glenn Ordway is gone, and Mike Salk is set to join co-host Michael Holley in a few weeks. Up the dial on 98.5, Felger & Mazz are killing it in the ratings and it is apparent WEEI is trying to change things up to stay competitive.

Bringing in Salk for Ordway just doesn’t seem like enough — why not bring in a solid third man/flash guy?, why not bring back long-time Big Show flash guy Pete Sheppard?

Sheppard was let go from the station back in January of 2010, which has been widely reported as being due to financial reasons. The 45-year-old has been back on the WEEI airwaves for about a year now, working mostly weekend shifts and lately filling in on The Big Show.

It would seem the station and Sheppard have gotten over what took place three years ago and moved forward. There is no flash guy to work with Holley and Salk – as Mike Adams is not the answer. As WEEI looks to get back some of its listeners, why not bring back Sheppard, a guy who has a loyal following and is entertaining?

Felger & Mazz have a solid flash guy in Marc Bertrand, who isn’t just a flash guy, and actually engages in the show, sometimes challenging what Felger and Massarotti have to say, as well as adding humor to the program.

Sheppard is what WEEI needs. Yes, he is an admitted homer, but a lot of times this creates great radio. He isn’t afraid of confrontation and often gets into heated arguments with callers. He’s had a great deal of experience in the field and is knowledgeable the hometown teams.

Everyone knows how important chemistry is in sports radio. The trio of Felger, Massarotti and Bertrand have it, and it seems from the few shows Sheppard and Holley have done together they have it too. Salk is brand new in town, so he has no experience with anyone, but why not give the three a shot? What does WEEI have to lose?

In today’s day and age good sports radio provides not only good sports talk and information, but a bit of humor and entertainment as well. This is where Felger & Mazz took it to another level over The Big Show. Sheppard could be part of the solution to close the gap.

With WEEI in a state of transition, why not give Sheppard a second chance? This is their chance to rebrand their show and adding Sheppard would give them a humor and entertainment element, which they have lacked, to go along side with Salk and Holley’s straight sports takes.

The ball is in WEEI/Entercom’s court. They are looking to improve their show and compete with 98.5, and as shown in the past few weeks they are not afraid to make big changes, so why not take a chance and bring back Pete Sheppard?

Give Ryan Hannable a follow on Twitter @hannable84

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

    Well said Ryan, though other than Bruce, there aren’t many Pete backers here. I’ve always liked Pete and thought he routinely did a better job guest-hosting the Big Show than Ordway often did when he was alone without a co-host. In the “sidekick” flash guy role, I agree, I think it would add the humor that’s been severely lacking from EEI of late, I also get the feeling they’ve gotten over whatever happened before given how many guest-hosting gigs he’s gotten over recent months — so it would not surprise me to see Pete back on the Big Show. He’s infinitely more knowledgeable and funny than Mike Adams too.

    • Mike

      Yeah, I guess I’m among the Sheppard detractors, mainly because he gets so tongue-tied and combative. When he started calling listeners “turds” because they successfully objected to his opinions he lost me. Sheppard struck me as somewhat like the live comic who can’t shut down a heckler and starts going Michael Richards on him. He can be a good complement, and perhaps just to ease the transition he might stay on the (soon-to-be-renamed) Big Show for a month or so. Maybe if EEI is looking for combativeness they could try him with Minihane once D&C are punted to the curb (unless it’s only Dennis who goes). I do feel a little badly for the guy because he’s put in yeoman’s work on the air over the years, but Pete seems to me most of the time to be not quite articulate or knowledgable enough to play a prominent role in a show.

      • Mike

        PS on the general topic of the Big Show, the sooner they retire the Whiner Line the better. Talk about a feature that’s seen better days.

      • peter carley

        Nicely and kindly said.

  • Snuffy Smith

    Nice idea, but it won’t happen for the same reason he was let go, finances. They can’t afford 3 guys for one show.

    And, how would that work? Given they have 2 bigger salaries, Holley and Salk, and one smaller salary in flash guy Sheppard, yet under your premise Pete is the one who would save the show and make it listenable. He’s the one deserving of the big money in that case, but they’ve already given to H & S.

    • Ted Sarandis

      Salk is making maybe $200k, significantly less than the bloated Big O contract. There is surely room in the budget for Pete

  • MikeInSouthie

    Not professional enough. Too many “you knows” and way to much stammering and stuttering. Too big a “crybaby homer”. Took his ball and went home when Red Sox didn’t do things the way he wanted to and became a Yankee fan. That’s not a homer. That is a crybaby.

  • DJC

    WEEI needs an image re-alignment – bringing Pete to the afternoon show simply perpetuates ‘Buffoon Radio’ and attracts the Frank from Gloucester dregs that they need to move away from. Why not try to move upscale with higher quality sports information and people with informed opinions? Vote no on Pete Sheppard.

  • Scott

    Did anyone miss Sheppard when he was fired? Did any media try to hire him? “I mean” and “you know” come out of his mouth every sentence,along with repeating words. He is an example of what listeners didn’t like. Good riddance.

    • dan

      No one missed him or wanted him. He was begging for an interview with the hub and they wouldn’t return his calls.

    • latetodinner

      This is kind of an unfair point. I know no one offered him a job…we still do not know what got him fired to begin with but perhaps it was not money related and that inturn left him kind of blackballed. Having said that, a good argument can be made that the complete decline of the Big Show ratings started when Pete left the show. There was no voice of reason/everyman on the air any more. Pete provided much needed balance to that show and without him it was sorely missing.

      People may say they did not miss Pete and his act, however I think if you are being objective you have to say the show was quite different and not for the positive once he left (or was left).

  • whitey b

    “Marc Bertrand, flash guy.” Tell that to a cop and he’ll end up in the fun house with me.

  • Me

    Worse opinion ever.

  • Bullock

    Pete is an unabashed homer, but when he hosts by himself, he sounds like he’s having fun. So whether he stammers or butchers a name, I give him credit for having a different point of view than the other sports talk radio “personalities” currently purveying the airways with doom and gloom.

    Seriously, every day has become the afternoon bitch list. I don’t have to listen to F&M this afternoon to know what they’re going to talk about:

    * Rondo’s an a-hole
    * Ainge the GM is overrated
    * KG’s contract is dumb
    * Claude
    Julien coaches to tie, not win
    * the B’s PP woes (sucks! it sucks! sucks!)
    * the Red Sox have no stars
    * Brady’s contract
    * Pats have no WRs
    * Pats have no defense

    Now, if there were actual dissection and analysis of those topics, I could deal. But all you get is four hours of sport-pocalypse from radio “personalities.” I realize it’s the sports calendar’s “dead zone” right now, so there’s going to be a certain degree of manufactured storylines. Maybe that’s why I’m listening to more music than talk radio these days.

    I’ll give Salk a try when he starts up. With baseball season right around the corner, there should be more to talk about than the standard garbage. But the first day I tune in and he’s trying to run a coach or player out of town, it’s back to Pandora for me.

    • Winning_Again

      I will say that I have been listening to more and more music each afternoon 2-6. F&M have waned on me

      • Winning_Again

        Of course, as I say that, I tune in for the first 5 minutes to gauge what kind of a show its gonna be…. Sure enough it sounds like another crap show.

        Some please explain to me why F&M feel the need to do this. Show begins with Bruins talk. Instead of recapping the play by either team, Felger decides the leaad should be to focus on this fellow media brethren, to attack those who defended Chara for not fighting Jon Scott, and then applauding him for fighting last night.

        Why is it so important for him to point this out?? Does anyone actually care that Joe McDonald or Fluto said Chara shouldn’t fight in January, but changed his tune yesterday. This is another case of Felger looking to slam his peers, in yet another attempt to say, “look at me, I’m right.”

        This reminds me of psychology class where we learned about people who try to make themselves feel better by putting others down. Felger’s insecurities rear their ugly head. 98.5 off, Pandora on!

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

          He did the same on Sports Sunday. I said this on a previous post but one of the really annoying? things he does is take whatever one media member might say, even if it reflects a small minority of fans, apply it to all, and then attack.

          The worst of Sports Sunday had to be the Cedric Maxwell segment on the Celtics. It got to the point of Maxwell asking him if CSNNE broadcast the games on the air. I’m sure people saw this because there were tweets on it.

        • Winning_Again

          Oh thanks for the info. I didn’t watch.

          I really just don’t what he chooses to make that the focal point of his show. It has nothing to do with the game. He only cares about calling out supposed frauds, and trying to make them look bad, and himself seem smart. Thats a good way to burn alot of bridges, not to mention make himself look like a fool.

          We know this already but its clear his true agenda is to be a strawman. The argument today was the ultimate strawman. Haggs even called him out on it, not surprised Parrot yarmed all afternoon, though Beetle did challenge a little.

          I just dont listen anymore, gave it 15 minutes, then Pandora time.

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

          He admitted to the “Trader Danny” (gun shooting sounds) being something WEEI created and perpetuated. I had wondered where the origination came from because I never saw any local media member refer to him as that on TV or in columns.

          Even today, when he was going off on the Chara retaliation incident for the Seguin hit, basically labeling every Bruins fan as someone who did want Chara to go after John Scott after he beat up Thorton. To “re-enforce” he went to ESPNBoston.com and had some Joe McDonald column queued up where Joe advocated for it. However, in a rare light, Tony asked him, “Mike, to be fair, has anyone called up today and said they wanted Chara not to do something?” He admitted that nobody had not. All of this stems from the obvious conflict of opinion coming out of writers who have mixed opinions on who/what/when with enforcement and Chara.

          Same thing as before. Now, we lauded and I’m assuming that quite a bit of Felger’s popularity came from his “counter” stance to what the media was either putting out or not saying (coming via the national route) when it came to the Red Sox. On something like this, he’s going to continue to get hammered here and on other local boards/social media.

        • Ghost of Bruce Shoebottom

          Absolutely……Felger learned this from the “Master of reputation-protecting”, Ordway. Except O only did it with the fans/callers, who have very little response voice, rather than local media. I remember countless “……these are the same people who a year ago were saying..(just the opposite)”. Uh, no, Glen, those were just the other half of your audience voicing their opposing view. Felger has admitted taking many aspects of Ordway’s game, apparently ignorance is chief among them

  • shineythings

    PS is unprofessional, panders to others opinions, repeats the same thought over and over, If I turn on ‘eei and hear he is on – I click off. He is terrible.

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

    Don’t look now but Dan Sileo is now a free agent:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sp

    “Sileo followed up that tweet with others calling the station “soft” and that “WQAM isn’t for me” because it feared him.”

    Jason Wolfe must be excited.

    • dan

      Your new morning show on WEEI by the summer…
      Sileo & Minihane in the Morning.

      They already got this going with the on air “feud” they had awhile back.

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

        word of more local on 1510 (yeah signal can be bad for some but there’s always tunein.com). Via @bostonradio on twitter, next week 6-8 am Sports Stamp, 8-10 Danny Picard’s I’m Just Sayin’ (hockey talk etc),10-noon another local show, Noon new time for Bawstin Diehards, and “.The afternoon drive show will be backed by a ‘sports content’ provider. Maybe CSNNE or NBC Sports.”

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

          Yeah, there was some chatter on:

          http://radiodiscussions.com/smf/index.php?topic=230522.10

          about the same thing. People there seem to think 0 competition because of a horrid AM signal.

          If you want to check reception besides the obvious attempt to get it:

          http://www.radio-locator.com/info/WUFC-AM

          I’ve never been able to get it north of Lowell in the car, and their web player sucks. TuneIn works great and I even have the plugin on XBMC at home (awesome).

          I was wondering if anyone here had heard something on that. Potential for 3 stations or their premise is that they can take WEEI’s spot as #2?

  • Jake

    I would take Pete “The Meat” over Tony “Yes Man” Mazz any day of the week. At least Pete watches the games and is willing to argue with co-hosts. I am not a huge fan of the way either treats callers with dissenting opinions, but at least with Pete, I know I am getting someone with a sincere interest in the content matter. Mazz should have his 6:00 PM baseball show and leave it at that.

  • s

    Ryan is right on point with the sheppard assessment

  • Siggy

    Pete’s hour has come round at last. I’ve been advocating for a Dale & Shep show for years. Maybe not ready for drive time but would have been perfect for midday. Dale drives the car and Pete pushes the buttons on the radio.
    Pete has passion…that counts for a ton on the radio. He’s a poor man’s Mad Dog Russo. I always thought Holley has been overrated.
    Give me a glass of water!!

  • Nutcracker

    Wolfe isn’t going to turn WEEI around by resigning old castoffs like Pete; they’d just be reshuffling chairs on the Titanic. Wolf himself may have only one more whack at it. You have to think Entercom isn’t happy with his performance. If I were him I’d take a risk and bring in a strong statement guy from outside. Pete Shepard redux will not move the needle for EEI.

  • Rick

    I don’t think Pete Sheppard can carry a show by himself. He needs an offset to his overly biased opinions. OK with him being a homer, but let’s also be realistic.

    So far, the D&C show + Minihane seems like a bust. He seems reluctant to be part of the conversation for long stretches, and is clearly uncomfortable jumping in with an opposing point at times. Sure he knows D&C aren’t really thrilled with this new setup, so I have to believe this is temporary until they dump Dennis and/or Callahan soon.

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