The Globe Writes About WEEI, Continued Fallout From Rolling Stone Piece

Before getting into the Boston Globe piece on WEEI, it needs to be noted that despite the struggles of the station, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-telethon raised over $3.3 million for the Jimmy Fund. That’s outstanding. It’s just a notch below last year’s total of $3.4 million.

Congratulations to all involved. There isn’t a more worthy cause out there, and this event means so much to it.

Questionable moves hamper once-dominant WEEI

The article is fairly light in its criticism of the station, largely relying on the testimony of a few listeners to make its points. Rather than diving deeper into the business side of things, and the thinking of parent company Entercom, the article seems to place blame on the programming.

The comments from Entercom chief David Field sort of confirm my own thinking on the subject of competition with 98.5:

“We have two very successful sports stations with huge audiences that are both doing great work and are very effective for their advertisers,” Field said. “That’s really the big picture, when you frame it from a business perspective. We’re going to continue to fight for the crown, but we’re both thriving.”

In my mind, Entercom is not really interested in competing with 98.5, at least not in the ratings area. They may well be content being a smaller, second-rate sports radio station in the market, operate cheaply, get middle-of-the-pack ratings, perhaps only on AM which may be enough to keep them making a little money and their shareholders happy. Is that their plan? It’s hard to say. Looking at Entercom’s other sports radio stations, the only other really major market they’re in is San Francisco, with 95.7 The Game, but that station is number two in the Bay Area behind the powerhouse KNBR. Other Entercom sports stations are in places like Kansas City, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Wichita, and Milwaukee. What they did here in Boston with the big salaries and huge numbers in a major sports market seems to be something of an anomaly for them.

The author probably also should’ve noted that he interned for WEEI at one point too.

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On Twitter and elsewhere, camps are lined up on opposing sides of the Rolling Stone feature on Aaron Hernandez.

What Rolling Stone got right, wrong on Aaron Hernandez – Ben Volin runs down what he thinks was accurate and not-so-accurate in the story.

The points in that piece were attacked by Borges’ colleague at the Herald, Jeff Howe on Twitter today. Others in the media also came rushing to Borges’ defense, a curious move given the man has disgraced their profession on more than one occasion.

Borges is doing the victory tour on radio today, having appeared on both WEEI and WBZ-FM. He admits Frank Mendes is a friend of his. Thus the nice words and insinuations in the article.

Borges was challenged by Kirk Minihane on his repeated statements that the Patriots claim they are better then everyone else. Asked when Belichick has ever said such a thing, Borges turned around and asked how can you be sure Belichick never said it. Great debate skills there.

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Speaking of media rushing to other’s defense, we’ve got Fred Toucher rushing the defense of little Bert Breer.

Apparently Bill Belichick was a big meanie to Bert earlier this week – watch here, about two minutes in – “same thing, every day” which apparently enraged the sensibilities of the former rock music DJ to the point that he felt the need to go on CSNNE last night and rail against the bully coach.

Who the hell are you?” Toucher asked “You’re coach of the Patriots. I’m a grown man and you’re talking down to me, you’re patronizing me.”

Pathetic.

Fred likes to talk about the lodge of writers, but there is apparently one for the on-air people as well. Or maybe Fred is just upset at the treatment his Jets are getting from their local media and needs to take it out here.

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In Red Sox news:

chbThanks, Dan.

 

  • NEPatsFan

    Lots of focus on the Borges interviews and rightfully so. He made a fool of himself with Minihane. However, the other author Solotaroff, is also making the rounds and contradicting himself and talking himself in circles. In the RS article, he states about AH on draft day “a handful of teams pulled him off their boards, and 25 others let him sink like a stone on draft day, April 24th. Only one team took the bait, burning a midround pick on a guy with “character issues”: the stoop-to-conquer Patriots of Bill Belichick.”

    But, in his intervew with Zuri Berry on Boston.com he says “Here’s a guy who for all his gangster implications was nonetheless, or more or less, an honest citizen up until about 13-14 months ago, which is when everybody pegs his angel dust use beginning.”

    And then, on the Doug Gottleib show he says “And if in fact he winds up doing three years behind (bars for) those gun charges – which would be a lot in this case – he’s 26, 27, with very low mileage on those legs of his and a lot of time to heal up. My sources tell me there will be more than one NFL team pursuing him hotly when he walks out of jail in four years.”
    So let’s get this straight…the Patriots were the only team willing to stoop so low as to draft AH, even though according to the author he was “more or less, an honest citizen” at that point. But, after he has gone to prison for 4 years and accused of multiple murders and PCP use, there will be several teams interested? Huh? The guy is getting tangled up in his web of nonsense.

  • John

    What’s going on with Mike Reiss’ blog at ESPN? They turned it into TMZ Sports…

  • ben

    Outstanding work on the main page recently BA. Must read.

  • dick bupkis

    WEEI is the WBCN of these strange days, insofar as you have a group of self-promoters letting their already sizable egos go hog wild given the degree of success they’ve had. Both stations ruled not only this region, but gained national recognition as top of the heap in their respective formats. Who wouldn’t get a little greased? Of course, the comparison thins quickly because the music radio format has undergone a total sea change in the last 25 years; while sports talk is, like Rome, eternal. Look for further changes down the line when ‘EEI hardballs Dennis, Callahan, and MIke Adams and his Seventies roadshow into taking deep, deep pay cuts, or else, sayonara. You can plug in younger, hungrier, cheaper – – and reload with an audience that has a shared perspective. Right now it’s like
    the Romanovs clinging to power while the serfs are clanging at the gate. Affect regime change and let the stone throwing
    begin, with satirical slings at such obvious bull’s-eyes over at
    the Hub like Gresh and Mazz. No one’s a better target than some old geez stuffed up with his own importance. As a matter of fact, the list of the usual suspects who fit that
    description goes on until the horizon, and it’s high time for some young Turks to shake up an ecosystem that has grown
    all, all too stagnant.

  • Andy Dursin

    Pete Sheppard is currently on a rant on his 1510 show, and he’s at least dead on about the thinness and prejudices inherent in the Globe article. I agree with him it’s funny D&C is the only program that article even cites — that and Toucher & Rich. Sounds like Chad Finn’s prejudices colored the writing, even if he didn’t write it. Nothing about Mutt & lou? Nothing about Salk, who Pete mentioned is “giving people a nervous breakdown” in afternoon drive? Very odd.

  • latetodinner

    This morning on D&C (minus D but with M) in the 9:00 hour they had Callum Borchers on the air. He was the author of the article in the Globe that Bruce mentions above. It was supposed to be a business section piece that looked at the business model of WEEI and compared it to 98.5. The interview was a train wreck because Jerry Callahan could not listen to Callum. Instead he was intent on finding “gotcha” moments:
    – Callahan says…You publish in the article that WEEI has revenues of $35.5 mill, you say it is more than 98.5’s but you do not publish their number? DO you know it? (Callum replies around $17.5 mill). Don’t you think that is important? Callahan repeats this line of questioning several times in a whiney holier than thou voice…proving Callum’s assertion that the content on WEEI especially in the morning show is not interesting.
    – Callahan asks…how many ex employees/listeners did you talk to who had positive things to say? Couldn’t you have quoted one of them for balance? He then questions why Metaperil did not go on the record. Callum to his credit remained calm and tried to explain that he was reporting the general feeling of listeners who are migrating to 98.5. (as an aside, Callahan behavior tells me that there is delusion inside WEEI if they are not aware that Callahan’s tone is a major turn off).
    – Callahan asks why Callum focused on the morning shows? Callum replies because you guys have been on the air 20+ years. The other shows are new. Callahan is incredulous that Callum did not take a critical eye to Felger and Mazz.
    – Callahan asks why Callum did not disclose that he was a former intern at WEEI. His point being that Callum was a disgruntled ex employee. Callum responded that he had a great experience at WEEI, he enjoyed working with John and Gerry and that he had been an unpaid intern one summer many years ago…he was not disgruntled and the Globe editors did not think that needed to be disclosed.

    The major thing I took from the interview is how thin skinned Callahan is. It was very difficult to listen to. All the “aha’s” and snide restatement of positions. There was no attempt at a reasonable conversation…which is the central criticism of Callum’s piece. I was amazed the program director at WEEI (or whoever is acting the role while the new guy moves) was not running down the hall (ala broadcast news) to pull the plug on the interview because GC did nothing to help WEEI’s cause.

    One last thing…I have been saying for a while that WEEI is a gold mine…$35.5 mill in revenue even with declining numbers is huge. It tells me the talent is not nearly as important as the affiliate network, brand recognition and marketing.

    • NEPatsFan

      I heard the interview also. And you’re right, it was a complete and utter embarassment. Callahan made a complete fool of himself. The topic of the article was why WEEI was declining financially and ratings-wise, but Callahan thinks there should be quotes in there from people who enjoy the station? That makes no sense.
      Came off as very thin skinned- I think you nailed it with that word. It was uncomfortable to listen to, and not in a good way like some interviews can be.

    • bsmfan
  • bsmfan

    Speaking of sportstalk..

    Someone brought up the Vic Lombardi defacing NFL posters for the kickoff game. Vic was on with some Balitmore hosts today for 10 minutes of audio gold.

    From: http://bit.ly/1dvdcpJ (AA link)
    Audio link: http://bit.ly/18oiqvu

    • Trip McNeely

      I had posted about the story. Thank you so much for posting the link to the audio. That was hilarious. The only way that would have been better was if it really had happened in NE and it was Curran vs Felger.
      Great stuff.

  • smack_libs_around

    Festooned with limp wrists and thin skin, is it any wonder why sports media hacks are among the most hated class of people around?