BREAKING – Pete Sheppard Quits WEEI – On The Air

There is certainly no shortage of news coming out of WEEI these days.

At about 5:45 this afternoon, Pete Sheppard posted the following Tweet:

At the end of his shift, Sheppard then announced he was quitting the station, saying that he couldn’t do it anymore, he couldn’t stand working for the company anymore. He said that he was upset at how things had been going at the station over the last 18 months, and that it wasn’t Jason Wolfe’s fault, but those above him. (Jeff Brown in particular) He said they would not even take his calls, and that he is going out on his own terms – unlike the last time he left the station.

Sheppard assured listeners they would be hearing him again elsewhere in the near future.

Unlike past WEEI incidents (Mike Adams “locking” himself in the studio to get the job) this one was quite real.

I suspect Sheppard will not be the only person departing (of their own volition or not ) the station in the near future.

  • Linda Austin

    Good for Pete. Takes stones to quit on the air because that makes him radioactive (no pun intended – honest) within the business.
    Perhaps he’ll go the Sirius radio route with Ordway??

    • Straker

      As frustrated as he might be, I doubt he would have done it unless he had something else lined up. Some sort of role with Ordway’s new project (Sirius or whatever it is) would seem to be the most likely possibility.

  • http://twitter.com/mikey_c Mikey C.

    Well it’s nice to see that some of the on-air folks have the same opinion as me as to how that station has (d)evolved.

  • http://twitter.com/censorthis Tom Morash

    I agree Mikey. Their reactionary moves in the past 18-24 months seem short sighted and have mostly been overreactions to their competition’s success. Can’t disagree with Pete on this one. Wish him well. I also wish i had heard his show today, but online after the Red Sox their online feed was still playing ESPN so I gave up on trying to listen.

    • http://twitter.com/censorthis Tom Morash

      And I keep checking the WEEI website looking for them to post this audio but I am sure this is fruitless.

      • bsmfan

        The “reactionary” part just speaks more to the Feb 2009 article Chad Finn did about how vulnerable WEEI was. Insane how things can implode so quickly.

  • RobDX

    I’ll still listen/ But Sports Hub will go nowhere until they realize that there is Boston Sports fans Outside of Boston. That means make more affiliates, especially in Western, MA.

    • Mike

      I wouldn’t mind one in Maine. But the bears and moose outnumber us up here so I won’t hold my breath.

    • http://twitter.com/saundep PS

      Go nowhere? Um they are killing it in the ratings LOL!

      • RobDX

        In Boston, yes. That’s it.

    • APNDaveR

      Rob, at the risk of being disrespectful (which I don’t intend), your comments here seem to indicate that you simply don’t understand the economics of radio. Sports fans outside of Boston are completely irrelevant to both WEEI and WBZ/98.5, because they do not generate, and do not have the realistic potential to generate, any income for them.

      Radio, like TV, is basically a medium designed to transmit commercials to listeners, enticing them to listen by providing non-commercial programming, which is the expense element of the business. Radio and TV are also predominantly local entities, serving local communities. WEEI’s advertisers – the source of all their revenue — are largely local businesses looking to reach local ears with their ads. Listeners in Montpelier, VT or Orono, ME — or even Western MA — simply do not matter at all to the people who are buying ads on WEEI — and if they did, they’d just buy ads on a Montpelier or Orono station, which would be a much more cost-efficient way to reach those ears.

      As such, the Boston ratings are the only thing that matter to both these stations, and will always be the only thing that matters. They simply do not care how they’re playing in markets outside their primary ratings market, because those numbers do not, in any way, affect the generation of the advertising income they need to stay in business. If the Sports Hub dominates the Boston market, but WEEI has big, huge listenership over the internet in every other city in the country, or even the region — WEEI has lost, in absolute and unquestionable terms, and will suffer financially accordingly. Saying, in that situation, that the Sports Hub “will go nowhere” is kind of ridiculous. It’s like saying Mike Trout won’t be an all-star because he doesn’t hit a lot of home runs in Tampa. If he hits 80 home runs in Anaheim, it doesn’t really matter.

  • BartFromBoston

    It was amazing. I just flicked the radio on while eating supper by myself, waiting for my wife to come home, pure chance…and after 20 minutes on whether Tiger Woods should have disqualified himself, whether the latest Red Sox reliever should be given another chance, whether the Celtics are better off without Rondo or not, etc etc,, blah blah blah — all the stuff that makes Boston sports talk radio so damn boring — Sheppard’s voice suddenly changes. He’s having trouble speaking, you can hear the tension, something’s going on. Out it comes — basically a big “Screw You” to the WEEI brass, and the mixture of worry and relief that we all feel when we tell the boss to go shove it, I’m not taking this SH** any more. I was going over to the sink to wash up my dishes and put them down on the counter and gave him a brief round of applause. Nice to hear someone standing up for themselves. Hats off to you, Sheppard!

    • Mitch Allen

      Nothing became his tenure at WEEI like the leaving of it,..
      —Billy Shakespeare

  • RobDX

    If Mikey Adams leaves, I’m done hough, he brings the only flair to the station

    • LJ Sandwich

      Mike Adams is a fvking clown. Can you honestly tell me you listen to WEEi to her that a$$hat. My God.

      • RobDX

        Yes I do. Obviously we have different opinions. and different tastes. I think that’s what makes the world go ’round, the fact that people are different.

        • Mike

          Yeah, Mikey’s definitely a love/hate kind of guy. His thing doesn’t work for me at all–just like Toucher & Rich’s doesn’t–but I understand your principle completely, Rob. (And the evening guys all seem to be quirkier than their daytime counterparts. DA was a little off the wall, and Steve Somers doing his Evening Schmooze in NYC is kind of weird too. Very different feeling, much more relaxed, from the daytime. And that’s by design.)

        • RobDX

          Totally agree Mike. That’s why I like him, he is off the wall, but chill at the same time. Plus you get the older people calling that are either smart, drunk or dumb and drunk, which makes for great laughs. Plus, Email Female is great. I like to play games or maybe if I am out doing evening chores in the car, it’s very calming.

    • dan

      There are only so many times you can hear the “monkey” story and his drug habits. Cool Mikey fact is that he was the over night guy on WCCC leading right into a certain morning man named Howard Stern.

    • Bullock

      Yeah, I feel the same way. Mikey Adams brings a certain kind of insight, flair and panache you only get with a wet fart that ruins a decent pair of underwear. I can see how you wouldn’t want to lose that.

      Can you pass me some more of that glue?

      • RobDX

        Get a life, it’s a radio show. Obviously I disagree you dipstick. Why did you even bother replying?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.henry.9250 Robert Henry

    Pete has never been afraid to speak out to callers or management. Good luck Pete.

  • dan

    Bravo…Bravo!!

  • bsmfan

    Something tells me WEEI has Rose Mary Woods working right now on getting the Internet a copy of his segment.

  • Mike

    Cripes, this is worse than the Sox under Valentine.

  • Judge Smails

    “The world needs ditch diggers too.”

    • Scott

      I agree 100%. Quitting a 2 hour a week job? They don’t want him. 98.5 doesn’t want him. Desperate times——–

      • Mike

        Plainly this was (much) less about Pete than it was about giving maximum embarrassment to the station and the company. And this just one day after the Entercom chief’s morale booster. I wonder what he compared his employees to this year…flies bringing their A-games in being eaten by spiders?

  • freefromfreedom

    Good. I can’t stand Mike Salk. I gave it 3 weeks plus. It just doesn’t fit. I think he knows it too, that this isn’t permanent. That’s why his family is still in Seattle. WEEI can keep trying all they want, I’m turning the dial to 98.5

    • dan

      That station can not proceed to turn it around until those cavemen goons in the morning are removed. That is the flagship show for the station and they are a joke.
      the station would’ve been in much better shape had they just replaced the morning goons and left everyone else alone.

      • Carl

        Very true. While I was far from Ordway’s biggest fan there were many others at WEEI who deserved to be let go before he was. The Morning Racists should’ve been the first ones to go

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

      I agree, except I can’t stand F+M for more than a couple of small doses at a time. This market deserves better than both stations, no matter how gaudy 98.5′s ratings numbers are. As we’ve seen with WEEI, a ratings fallout can happen to them just as quickly as it did EEI.

  • The Ghost of Pete Sheppard

    Anyone have an air check of this???

  • MargoAdams

    I forget where I saw it, maybe Pete’s twitter, but someone mentioned they thought Red Sox ownership is pulling the strings at EEI. Telling them not to knock the team/ownership. Anyone else hear something similar.

    • Mike

      Hard to put anything of that sort past Lucchino & co., but I wouldn’t know any facts about it. The Red Sox are just about all EEI has going for it right now, so their influence over the station would be stronger than ever. Especially since nobody at EEI seems to have much of a clue about what they’re doing. I keep coming back to a point a few folks made on this board a couple of weeks ago–EEI is losing the Boston ratings battle but still doing well regionally. Why did they blow up their programming (including their outright stupid jerking around of Minihane) when they were still reasonably successful? That more than anything speaks to me of really bad management. Jimmy Dolan and Isiah Thomas bad.

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

        Nailed it Mike. WEEI management pushed the panic button way too early and has basically blown the whole station apart. At the first sign of 98.5 taking over, instead of staying the course and riding it out, they opted to go the other way and that has proven to be a huge mistake. All the things that people listened to the station for are vanishing and this boring, demographic-driven group in Mutantsky and Salk has taken over. I’m still willing to give Salk some time but he’s not wearing well so far. One thing that irks me is that he’s a basic walking “Demographic Checklist” of the 25-54 year old: mention Tarantino movies and Pulp Fiction references? Check. Mention Denis Lehaine novels? Check. So far he’s been as mild mannered as Mutantsky and that’s absolutely NOT what being paired with a middle of the road guy like Holley requires.

        • Mike

          I agree completely. In retrospect, if EEI wanted to can Ordway but keep Holley (which is increasingly seeming like an, ahem, poor choice), they might have gone the way WFAN did for the morning show a few years ago, by pairing mild-mannered nice guy Boomer Esiason with obnoxious shock jock Greg Karten. Karten knows little about sports and he’s frequently obnoxious, but that makes him a decent counterpoint to Esiason. The only way I’m going to start listening to EEI in the afternoons again is if Holley snaps some day, stops trying to be the nice guy, and starts going after Salk in their conversations on air. (Come on, Holley, you can do it!…there’s got to be a guy with actual opinions and a cutting sense of humor in there somewhere…doesn’t there?)

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

          Absolutely right. The whole issue of pairing hosts
          who reflect each other instead of contrast is the big problem locally. You look at FAN putting Mike & the Mad Dog together and it was radio gold for decades. In this town, they’re putting Mutt & Lou…F+M…Gresh & Zo….Salk & Holley….on every one of these shows, each co-host has essentially the same views as the other and roughly the same type of personality (at least as it comes across on air). It does not make for engaging radio.

          For me, Holley is unquestionably part of the problem. I think he’s a smart guy but he is far too reserved and holds back on his opinions — and it’s a HUGE issue, especially when he’s not paired with a strong personality or someone who actually says SOMETHING opposite him. I think the show needs to be retooled again, as it just doesn’t function as it is.

        • MichyMcGinley

          we will see , sometimes that’s the only course of action when ratings are in freefall

    • bsmfan

      I don’t recall anyone stating, on the record, that there was a directive from Yawkey Way.

      One theory where this might have come from:
      Felger drilled into our heads that, him/his station was the only place to get objective commentary and analysis from 2010 and on, as the team started to crumble. To bolster this, WEEI, as their rights holder, also had exclusives (outside of Henry barging into F+M) with Larry+co where the interviews were like the DPRK telling you that their citizens are perfectly happy and healthy. By the time many of the hosts became ‘critical’ it was due to the massive shift in ratings. So, it’d be easy to group them into the “being in the tank” part here thanks to this.

      If you’re referring to the PbP person and host of pre/post shows, that’s usually done by the team from my reading. The team often selects/picks/has a large say on who is on the radio for their team/sport specific stuff.

    • APNDaveR

      Of course the Sox ownership is going to complain if their flagship station is pooping all over the team, and will seek to minimize any of that. That’s common sense. The error here is thinking that this means that the Sox ownership is “pulling the strings” at EEI. Because WEEI management has EXACTLY the same motivation to suppress criticism of the team. The Red Sox are a significant part of their programming. It makes no business sense at all for part of your programming to be devoted to discussion of how and why you shouldn’t listen to the other part of the programming. I can see how this might be perceived as “string-pulling”, but there’s no need to pull strings when both parties have the exact same motivations.

      • AtticusFinch

        If the Red Sox were really trying to force WEEI’s hand on personnel and
        talent decisions, do you really think little Petey Sheppard would be in
        their cross hairs? I can’t recall Sheppard saying anything too
        inflammatory about the Sox. Even if he had, his exposure is among the
        most limited on the station. Wouldn’t the Sox be more interested in
        muting the morning Dynamic Dumbos and their inane, endless monologues on
        Jackie Bradley Junior’s opening day status?

      • latetodinner

        Dave…I agree with you completely…which makes the constant, contrived negativity of F&M towards the Pats unexplainable. I don’t get it, I don’t understand why the station stands for it, and I don’t see how it is good for business.

        • dan

          It is good biz from the stand point that they are not a mouth piece for the pats. Listeners can expect to get real unvarnished pats talk and not expect a NESN like coverage. The Hub pays for the rights to broadcast the games. They under no obligation to also be the mouthpiece for them also. they have more integrity than WEEI and ESPN who is the worst whore for this kind of thing.

        • latetodinner

          There is a difference between between honest critique and contrived, negative sh&t stirring. But to be honest today is not really the day to argue this out.

  • Dan from Danvers

    Good move, Pete. You were the worst personality on the station both times you worked there. You were an embarrassment. I seem to recall you doing an interview with a radio station in the south when BC was playing a football bowl game and couldn’t have been more incoherent if you tried. The Interviewer was asking questions about BC and you were Ill-prepared, stuttering and relying on time worn cliches to get you through it. If flop-sweat makes a sound, we would have heard it.

  • observer1

    The “overreaction” comment is spot on. When WBZ-FM “Sports Hub” went on the air – Entercomm knew that they had competition, and that they were going to experience a split of their audience. In the past they had beaten down weak AM competition without a problem. All of a sudden they get hit. The Red Sox 2012 foldo compounded the situation.

    So what do they do? What happens often in any industry. Instead of leveraging what they have to a) retain the audience they managed to keep and b) find new listeners, they decide to wreck their own infrastructure. i.e., run the ship aground.

    It’s probably not intentional — but, you can’t recover your audience or even go on at the current pace by throwing your crew overboard (or having them jump themselves).

    WEEI management knew how to deal with success. They apparently don’t know how to handle competitive set-backs.

    Congratulations to the SportsHub – 98.5. You won the battle. WEEI is waving a white flag right now.

    • RobDX

      Disagree, hardcore. There are people OUTSIDE of Boston, and that is all they have to listen to, WEEI, so ratings aren’t as bad as you think

  • nutcracker

    There is a fine line between big balls & no brains. Trashing your employer live, on-air isn’t a wise career move. He wasn’t spontaneous so Shepard obviously gave this great thought. Why? What’s his motive? Pete only works a few hours filling-in so EEI won’t be inconvenienced in any way but Shepard’s broadcast career is probably over since nobody will trust him with a mic again. I thought Pete embarrassed himself – kind of came off as being immature, bitter and unprofessional.

  • latetodinner

    I agree with Nutcracker…and I was about to make this post when I say his…so it was rewrite time. What Pete did was neither brave nor impressive. It was a planned publicity stunt that sets him up for his next gig which I am guessing is an internet radio/satellite version of the Big Show with Glenn Ordway.

    Where I disagree with Nutcracker and some others is that this move makes Pete toxic. I think he already was otherwise he would have found radio work somewhere (Providence or NH maybe). If like me, you do not believe his first go around firing was not exclusively money based, then there is something that he did that got him blacklisted.

    In the end it really does not matter. Very few people were listening. Everyone knows WEEI has issues. What continues to baffle all of us is why management still has jobs.

    • Nutcracker

      Don’t be baffled. Management still has jobs because they are only doing what corporate told them to do. Weezy Kramer must have fired Ordway that’s why Ordway was so civil and understanding to Wolf/Kahn/Brown on his way out the door. I bet she’s not finished either.

  • bholmes

    i prefer my radio djs resign professionally like jess cain, dave maynard & matt siegel.

  • AllanMylls

    This sounds insane .
    An old colleague of mine did that , and he found that his career was crushed in all of his ensuing jobs

  • MichyMcGinley

    Sad about this , but not surprised , although pulling a stunt like Sheppard’s can be a career destroyer

  • Bertolucci

    The late Rosco Mercer Quit his job on the air at WOR-FM, New York in 1967 over creative differences. Rosco went on to a long career at WNEW-FM and a voice talent on NBC TV. In the 1980s Soupy Sales quit on the air at WNBC 660 AM in New York. Now Pete landed on his feet in Boston on 1510AM week days at 3PM.

  • mike

    Where’s the audio?

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