Can Curt Schilling End The Curse (of WEEI)?

The Boston Herald reported last night that the struggling sports station had talked to former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling about a regular role on the afternoon drive show of Salk and Holley.

Could Curt Schilling pitch in at WEEI?

Entercom Boston boss Jeff Brown is quoted as saying that no offer has been made, and that no changes are expected to the show.

While that might be true, it could be that the station is looking to cover its bases so to speak, by gauging the interest of Schilling in taking the job should Michael Holley decide he’s had enough of working with Mike Salk.

It doesn’t seem to be a secret that Holley would love to get out and jump over to ESPN. He appeared last week on his buddy Michael Smith’s show Numbers Never Lie, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind jumping into the spot opened by the recent firing of Hugh Douglas. Holley could slide in as the replacement. He’s got established chemistry with Smith.

If that were to happen, perhaps Schilling could be a good fit. It might work better for Salk, who worked with a former athlete very successfully in Seattle. Schilling could bring immediate credibility to the baseball talk on the show, and would put that show eons ahead of its competition on that subject in that timeslot.

Perhaps nothing will come of it, but it’s an intriguing idea.

The alternative, according to the Herald article is Joe Haggerty.

  • bsmfan

    Herald Article mentions this but has anyone heard Schilling’s commentary on sports outside of baseball? I have not. While WEEI still carries the Sox and it’s their “primary” sport the “go-to” sports in town are clearly NFL (Patriots) and NHL (Bruins). If you want to replace someone, and they can’t talk either of those well, why bother at all? I know WEEI finally got its “Sox boost” in the August books but I think when the September books come out, it’ll go right back to where the numbers were. If you can’t get a guy who can be a strong voice on the two sports that fill 6-9 months of the year (NHL+NFL), why bother?

    • agramante

      Yeah, on Schilling leaving ESPN and coming to EEI it might be a “let’s-trade-Mallett-for-Larry-Fitzgerald” type of discussion. I do think he’d be a good addition, for three reasons: (1) he knows baseball; (2) he has a strong personality; and (3) he has a lot of energy. Good radio hosts are entertaining to listen to whether you agree with them or not. My politics are pretty different from Schilling’s, and I did chuckle once or twice at how he bungled 38 Studios so badly, but I think he’s been pretty forthright about what he did and about the aftermath. I respect a guy who’s willing to speak his mind and admit mistakes. I think that’s a basic condition of Schilling’s personality: he has to speak his mind. He’s compelled to. It’s congenital. He’s like Felger that way and I think that’s a good trait for a radio host. Cagey guys like Holley and nondescript people like Salk are worse than boring. (I think Holley will do much better on something like ESPN, where bland takes are bread-and-butter, and the segments are much shorter.)

      It will be a huge transition to go from “Curt in the car” to Curt in the chair, and it’s possible he might not do well with so much on-air exposure. But as long as EEI isn’t pairing him with John Dennis I think he’ll be fine.

  • latetodinner

    Let me start by saying…Anything that rids of Michael Holley is a good thing! Schilling would bring a unique voice to a Sports talk show. he clears knows baseball and his presence would immediately counteract Maz. If you have listened to Schilling in the past he is pretty adept at talking football as well (Another Steeler’s fan if I remember correctly). With baseball and football covered you can skate on the other two. Hoops talk right now is non existent in Boston (and with WEEI loosing the Celts I doubt they will put any emphasis on reviving it) and hockey talk right now is a fad that a “third man in” could easily cover.

    If you move Schilling into that spot you still have the issue of Salks utter blandness coupled with his lack of knowledge but Eddie Andleman made a lot of money for a long time knowing nothing about what he was talking…so who knows.

    Put me on record as saying that Schilling would be a much better get than Joe Haggerty…although as I think about it…a Haggerty/Schill show would be better than anything with Salk.

    • Jon

      Generally agree with your points, except that hockey talk is a fad. 98.5 has proven that it’s anything but a fad and WEEI’s “dismissiveness” of hockey was one of the many factors in their downfall. Plus, the Bruins are set up to be good for the next several years, so I think hockey talk is going to be prevalent on both stations.

      • latetodinner

        We will have to agree to disagree. I think Hockey talk is very difficult to do on a day in day out basis. Intelligent X and O talk is basically impossible as most casual fans do not understand the game. So then the talk reverts to hey I like player x…hey I don’t. It gets old fast. 98.5 for all its “hockey talk” still manages majority Pats and Sox talk even in the middle of the winter. Its not even close. WEEI ignored hockey for years with no detriment. The issues at WEEI had a lot more to do with the amount of radio time Butch Sterns and Steve DeOzzio we getting than whether the station talked enough Bruins.

        I suggest that if there is good baseball or football talk in Feb/March…it will make for a more compelling and better talk radio show. WEEI and 98.5 know this. The issue was filler…for 25 years the Celtics made better filler talk. For the last 3 it has been Bruins. If we could get Football season to end on the day in Feb that pitchers and catchers report (not on the day the equipment truck leaves) there would be no need for Hockey or Basketball talk.

        • Andy Dursin

          I agree the flaw in your analysis is your “fad” description of hockey. You are basically on point on everything except that. Boston is a “hockey town” and the only thing that held it back for years in terms of public discussion was the performance of the team and its relevance. That, plus EEI didn’t have the rights and had no vested interest in promoting it for years.

          Now that they have reestablished the brand (so to speak) and become a bona-fide championship caliber team, it’s not going to go away anytime soon unless they implode again. Celtics are going to be the 4th man on the totem pole for years to come; even if 98.5/CBS buys the rights, they will be below the Bruins (the B’s arent going to be bumped for Celtics games) in terms of prominence on the airwaves and certainly you won’t hear Fleeger & Spaz give them the time of day either.

  • jtmgolf

    haggerty and salk – my god shoot me now

  • Bob

    Anyone is better than Holley

  • Andy Dursin

    This would be a very wise move by WEEI if it happens.

    Holley is a lost soul on the Big Show and brings nothing to the table, as has been said time and time again. What’s more, he’s been getting weaker and weaker over time, and it’s deadly paired with the mild mannered Salk. To be honest, I think Salk might not be godawful if he had a strongly opinionated partner with him — Holley, obviously, does not fill that role. He’s sounded like a passenger on that program for a long time, doesn’t inject any interesting points — it’s almost sounded like he’s been phoning it since Salk took over. Fans obviously have a love/hate relationship with Schilling but he’s an intelligent guy, regardless of how you feel about him, and I think that would be a big asset.

    That said, I’m done if Haggerty takes over. The guy is so full of himself I can only take him in small doses. I wouldn’t mind if they put him on with Merloni from 10-2, and get rid of Mutantsky, who is still the most useless person on the EEI airwaves.

    • Kamandi

      Salk is mild-mannered? He has a somnambulant radio voice, but he is relentless in pushing his own ill-informed opinions and never misses an opportunity to bring his own quirks (he can only live in a small range of temperatures and climates; is afraid of rain, etc.) and fears (rodents, insects, crowds, beer … the list goes on and on) to the fore. He has little sports knowledge and apparently can only talk about Boston sports events that happened before he left town after high school. He is as self-absorbed a person as this town has ever seen. He makes Ed Harding seem self-effacing. It’s hard to tell if Holley has checked out — he was barely there when teamed with Ordway — but Salk is insufferable.

  • Kamandi

    I don’t think Schilling could do four hours a day five days a week successfully. He’s much better as an occasional guest. Godspeed to Holley if he wants to leave, but the core problem with that show is Salk. Opinions without knowledge; self-centered to a pathological degree.

    • bsmfan

      I had similar thoughts below. He’s used to doing the typical “30 seconds to share a point or debate the others” not holding down the fort for 4 hours. I think the two “skills” are entirely different and most people who do one cannot do the other well.

    • latetodinner

      The problem with Salk and Holley is both of them. this is not an either or situation. They both are horrible. Holley has nothing to say and Salk is just as you correctly identified dumb, self centered and pathological..

      Having said that…I think Schilling could do 4 hours a day and do it well. I think he is a family guy, likes structure and would relish a regular gig. He needs the money and he seems like he has a strong work ethic. I also think if they were to bring him in then they could replace Merloni because they would not need 2 baseball “guys”. If I were programming that station I would push hard for Schill. He would bring a new and different type of credibility quickly and he would bring in new listeners.

  • OnTheAir

    I would MUCH rather them get rid of Salk, but if it’s time for Holley to move on, c’est la vie. They never should have split him and Dale…they were easily my favorite combo on WEEI. However, I always thought that they should try to pair Holley with his boy Michael Smith. They have tremendous on-air chemistry, and it would obviously be something different from everything else on the station…and in the market.

    Jemele Hill was on Numbers Never Lie prior to Hugh Douglas’ departure. She isn’t a temporary co-host, as she has recently moved to Connecticut from Florida. In addition to Numbers Never Lie, she and Michael Smith host a podcast called “His & Hers,” which Holley was recently a guest on. Perhaps the three of them together for that hour was a preview of things to come.

  • Trip McNeely

    Agreed, plus I think Haggerty has even more thin skin than Simmons, and that’s saying something. Can’t see him having to deal with callers.

  • Winning_Again

    While it would be a breathe of fresh air to have Schilling on air, wouldn’t that be a little overkill of having MUTT and LOU followed by SALK and SCHILLING. Baseball talk will be good, but what about the other three sports?

    Unless Mutt and Lou go byebye?

  • DTBobB

    Boy – you’ve got that right – lower than low.

  • TheHey

    Schilling would be an interesting addition especially during the playoffs and as an affiliate ESPN wouldn’t have an issue with keeping him on as an analyst. But if FOX comes calling to replace McCarver he’s gone.

    Still, Afternoon is still not ‘EEI’s station’s biggest problem. They need to bite down hard and eat the remaining contracts of D&C. I think the NESN simulcast is the only thing keeping Kirk M. from reaching over the stomping Dennis’s head.

  • Snuffy Smith

    Jeff Brown is showing he’s no better than his predecessor. Heard a few seconds of Mustard and Johnson the other weekend. Why are they still on the air? If he can’t fix that train wreck, how’s he going to do on the big issues there.

  • Doug from Woburn

    Salk is the absolute worst. Schilling would be a great addition, but as long as he is with Salk , no thanks. Salk’s favorite topic is …himself ,enough already.
    The strength of Big O used to be the rotating co- hosts. I wanted to hear what Buckley, Fred and Steve ,Curran, Max etc. had to say. Too bad , it used to be great radio.

  • DryHeave

    Be worth it to bring in Schilling just to hear him bash Shaughnessy on a regular basis….better yet, have Shank come on his show as a guest….RATINGS GOLD!

  • CappyM

    Salk is horrible and, as long as he’s involved, the show will remain horrible no matter the co-host. I actually miss Ordway. Ah well–Felger and Mazz are going to continue to dominate that slot no matter what WEEI does. And I agree about Mustard and Johnson. WHY are they still on the air?

  • Dave

    Who the F is John Haggerty?

  • HomerGreenz

    Mikey is bar none, the best host on WEEI. Says crazy shit, but doesn’t take himself seriously. Major homer. I love it.

  • nufced

    Schilling would be a great addition to the afternoon drive but nothing will boost the ratings at WEEI until that black hole from 10:00-2:00 is addressed. With the Bruins success and probable long run as Cup contenders Dale Arnold should be back in the midday slot, he handles all four of the major sports well but is great with Bruins/hockey talk. Let Holley go to ESPN, replace Salk with someone that can go toe to toe with Schilling and jettison M&M…

  • alex

    It couldn’t possibly be any worse than felger and maz

  • nufced

    I tuned into F & M after Ordway got canned, I tried to give it a fair, unbiased chance but all I could think of was how it reminded me of a bad episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philly”…

  • WhaleBelly

    I hate to admit it but I miss Fred Smearlas.

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