Catching Up With Some Quick Notes

Several notes from the last few days:

Will John Henry Save the Globe? – Jason Schwartz in Boston Magazine has a feature on the new owner of the Boston Globe. The feature overall is very good, an informative look at the new stewardship of Henry, and his ideas and goals for the paper.

A few points of interest:

One Monday after a Patriots game early in Henry’s reign, the new owner walked into McGrory’s office, sat down, and started thumbing through the Sports section. Why, he asked, weren’t there more ads? Soon after, McGrory and his fellow editors launched a new Patriots recap section called “Score”—with more space for big, eye-catching photos, and hopefully greater appeal to advertisers.

There’s your motivation for the special NFL section. Not to deliver a better experience for the reader with higher quality stories and features. Just more ads.

After Henry bought Liverpool FC in 2010, Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy made a habit in his column of asking whether he was spread too thin to effectively run the Red Sox (in case you’re wondering, McGrory says Shaughnessy has “the safest job in New England”). Now Henry has the Red Sox, Liverpool, and the Globe.

Well gee, I sure am glad that Shaughnessy is assured of future employment. I think that kind of says it all about the Globe and how it feels about sports and it’s readers, don’t you?

The Herald yesterday had a story on Henry looking to sell the Globe’s headquarters and move to a smaller site in the city.

John Henry to sell Globe HQ

Experts have told the Herald that Henry could actually fetch $75 million for the property. He technically paid $38.4 million for the site — which is its assessed tax value — in the $70 million deal with The New York Times.

So the rest of the paper – the “talent”, etc was worth $31.6 million? Consider that the same package was sold for 1 Billion dollars 20 years ago. A Shaughnessy just isn’t worth what it used to be, I guess.

A BSMW reader also made the following observation:

“Technically” accounting rules require that you first assign the purchase price of a business to the identified tangible assets (eg the Morrissey property), and then assign the residual to the intangible assets (eg the trade name, customer lists, workforce, goodwill). In this instance, after assigning $75 million to the property, Henry is left with something quite rare: negative goodwill. Translation – he agreed to takeover a money losing, worthless business in a dying industry in return for a 7% discount on a nice piece of real estate. Assessed value is meaningless.

He went on to point out that you can make the argument that the Boston Globe provides more value to the owner of the Boston Red Sox than it is to any other potential buyer.

In other Globe news, great to see Shaughnessy again today making himself the focus of a story, while saying that no one “hates” David Ortiz in Boston. Shaughnessy and others who say this clearly don’t listen to sports talk radio and some of the things that are said about Ortiz both by hosts and callers.

In a bit of positive news, congrats to Celtics beat man Baxter Holmes.

Holmes has been a great hire for the Globe. He’s done some great work – the three part feature on coach Brad Stevens being one – and more importantly from a reader standpoint, he does it the right way. The focus is on the story, and telling stories, and he’s been very impressive during a tough Celtics season.

*********

’EEI tanks after morning drive – Inside Track has the latest on the WEEI woes. The morning show is lauded despite dropping from 2nd to 4th in its time slot.

Tom Werner says Jenny Dell is free to leave NESN – Chad Finn has the Red Sox saying that Dell is free to seek out other opportunities if she desires.

The other owner: How Mike Gordon has become a key Red Sox figure – If you didn’t check out this feature by Alex Speier on the man who owns more of the Red Sox than anyone not named John Henry, its worth a look.

  • Bob

    Shaughnessy tells it like it is. The only one not kissing Ortiz’s a–

    • bullock

      Yeah, he’s great. I love the way I can’t tell if I’m reading a column from today or four years ago. His columns should come with a born-on date.

  • latetodinner

    So if the Inside Track is correct….Ordway passed on coming back to WEEI, there still is no real plan, and they are considering giving Michael Holley yet another show where he can destroy ratings and someone else’s career.

    If they are getting pummeled in the ratings, were rebuffed by Ordway and refuse to look at Dale Arnold…then I think going to national programming mid-day is a brilliant solution. After all the New England sports market has a long and profitable history with National Shows in the midday. WEEI has to look no further than the .1 share WEEI AM gets for airing the national ESPN lineup. The long list of failed national broadcasts on Boston airwaves includes the Fabulous Sports Babe, Imus in the Morning, the Fox Sports line up, the NBCSports Lineup and even the Jim Rome show. Going to a national show from 10:00 – 2:00 is only eclipsed in its stupidity by teaming Holley and Merloni. I could think of a dozen team-ups with in market talent I would prefer to listen to…or they could import someone. Heck throw a bunch of money at Damon Amendolara…now that would be interesting.

    Anyway…Entercom seems to have lost its way. It does not appear the new guy is any smarter than the old hated guy. Too bad. I fear we will be back to being a 1 Sportstalk station in the next few years unless someone at Entercom wakes up and gets creative.

    • bsmfan

      We’ve all discussed the “Just give Dale a show and you’ll be doing better than what’s on from 10-2, 2-6″. Does he really want a show outside of his Sunday gig and fill-in duty? I think he’s fine with the Bruins, right? They seem to be content with him. Even if you might make more $, why risk it in a more volatile industry?

      Agree on the rest of the points.

      Moreover, as it continues to be pointed out, they continue to have a nice window to give us an alternative to what the 2-6 on TSH has become… if they take advantage? who knows.

      • bullock

        I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. In my opinion, it wasn’t the knowledge or storylines or the sound effects that made Dale and Holley so good. It was chemistry and tone. You never felt like it was the Michael Holley show, featuring Dale Arnold, or vice versa. If they were pushing agendas, it wasn’t so egregious that it hurt your brain to think about. It wasn’t a show that cobbled together two radio personalities and tried to be something it wasn’t (Salk and Holley borrow so heavily from F&M it hurts my ears). Dale and Holley, complete with their own dorky uniqueness (cue “Outstanding”), that they worked very well together. They brought the best out of each other. They were the ultimate tag team, like the Hart Foundation or British Bulldogs.

        Ergo, I think we need to pump the brakes on the “just give Dale a show and jam him into the 10-2 slot and everything will work itself out.” That’s the kind of donkey-think that got them in the Mutt n’ Merloni, and Holley and Salk dilemma they’re in now.

        • bsmfan

          Unfortunately, if the “Inside Track” is right, their idea is:

          “With Ordway off the table, the current speculation is that Zachary will team up the two stronger day talkers, former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni and longtime host Holley in the afternoon drive and air some ESPN programming in the middays.”

          So, that means you’d get 3 hours of Cowherd and 1 of SVP? What does that even register now? a .1? .2?

          Lets just address the 10-2 right now. I know we can play “Fantasy Radio Station” all day but why not fight on the same level attack G+Z with something similar in terms of ‘knowledge’? NFL is now a 24/7-365day affair. There is no offseason for it. If you don’t have a person who can talk football, both NFL and college (it’s becoming more popular in the younger ranks), you don’t have much of a chance here. The one person I can think of here is Chatham. At least you’d have one-half of a guy who could easily go minute-by-minute with strong football talk. Pair up with whomever, but it’d be much better at least at this slot.

        • bullock

          bsmfan, I’m glad neither one of us worry about taking too much time from our day jobs to leave heavy posts.

          Also, can someone explain to me what Merloni’s appeal is? He’s from Framingham. He was Nomar’s buddy. He says “Damn” a lot on the air. Am I missing something here?

        • bsmfan

          I’d rather try and type something intelligent in here and have a good discussion than what consumed my day at home (roof raking), outside of the work thing.

          I’ve never understood the appeal either.

          Litmus test: Do you see or hear anyone post about Merloni often? I don’t. The last thing I saw someone here mention is that “Sam will get drafted because he’s the SEC CO-DPOY.” — which, as the poster said, is about as uninformed an opinion as you can have. (Don’t worry, I heard national hosts elsewhere say the same thing.) 1.) It means he’s paid 0 attention to what the guys who watch tape say (yes, opinions differ, but Bedard was linked everywhere and people still read him in town.) 2.) It means he doesn’t watch CFB, which I understand up here, but I’ll go back to my football point about how you need to be football (and not just NFL) strong to match-up with G+Z well.

          This can also be a good thing. He’s not on the air doing his best Felger impression, but we’ll revisit the adage about what works in this market: strong, informed opinions.

          Facetious answer to your “Merloni’s appeal”? West End Johnnies.

        • bullock

          Although, now that I think about it, Dale managed success with Eddie, Neumier and Holley, so I can see where the “just give Dale a new co-host” thing comes from …

      • latetodinner

        I don’t think Dale is fine not having his own show. I think he has adapted and made the best of the situation. I think he has leverage. He carried Eddie, Neumie and Holly all to time slot winning shows. They replaced him to “get younger and more hip” with two guys who have the sports talk acumen of Amy Lawrence and Janet Prensky. For Gresh and Zo to be crushing them tells me all I need to know when Dale and Freakin Holley were beating Gresh and Zo.

        I have long argued that 10-2 should be more long form Sportstalk…something like what John Bachelor does for politics at night. I think WEEI could be very successful with a show that cuts down on the callers (not eliminate them just cut down on them) and does a better more in-depth job of covering stories while including more national interviews and experts. I think they even have two hosts in house who could do it in Bradford and Arnold. If they are stuck on Dale being too old then pair Bradford with Minihane (although they would have to put a tight leash on him) or throw some money at Sean McAdam to get him back from 98.5.

        The change daytime needs to combat 98,5 is less callers and more/better analysis. It can be done.

        • bsmfan

          Interesting idea. Right now, besides Dale’s Sunday show, does anyone do some longer-form sports show here?

          Dale’s 9-12 (unless adjusted) is so damn refreshing. They take one call, usually from Tom Curran, or a football person, and that’s it. I get that its a weekly show so most of the guys aren’t pressed to find material. When not in the NFL season, Dale usually opens it up a bit more, but I think it depends on the day and planning for the show.

          It sounds like you find this as refreshing as I do. In all seriousness, how many people calling up either station have an opinion worth hearing? I get the ‘sports’ and ‘talk’ but most are so as uninformed as a Twitter search on ‘random’ topic. “Regulars” like Mike from Attleboro are entertaining but he posts his stuff on Twitter, so, if you like his style and stuff, it’s not like you’re missing out if not listening.

          Going back to the regulars, WEEI is stocked with talent with each individual sport. It’s not like getting some of the ‘lesser known’ guys on (thinking of Mike Loyko, @PatsCap guy, NBA guys, etc.) is hard, either (spots pay like $75-100, right?). If anything, it’d be another “other station offers something vastly different”, similar to the 6-10.

        • latetodinner

          The last radio show I remember that did any sort of long form sports reporting was “The Sporting Life” with Dick Shapp on Sunday mornings a few years ago.

          I do think a thoughtful more in-depth sports show could work at Midday. Too bad we will never be given the option.

        • DryHeave

          “In all seriousness, how many people calling up either station have an opinion worth hearing?”

          you nailed it there. I don’t listen to sports talk that much anymore and if I do it’s usually for an interview. When it’s hosts and CALLAHS the radio goes off….frankly, most of the callers sound dumber than a bag of door knobs.

        • bsmfan

          I’ve tried to find a study or someone speaking so it, but always wondered if you have to have callers, or at least a steady stream of them? I know it’s conventional wisdom but is there some proven metric where not allowing regular call-ins stops people from listening?

        • DryHeave

          The other part of it is,on the rare occasion you get an intelligent caller, if their opinion doesn’t mesh with the hosts opinion they usually get mocked or shouted down. (especially on D&C)

        • bsmfan

          Yeah, that’s a problem with the show itself. To me, regular callers like “Dave from Plymouth”, if the hosts can take it, are good callers. However, Dave apparently used to run his own show (anyone know who or what it was?), and he seems like an intelligent, rational guy, so I think its the reason he gets respect from F+M, even if he offers a divergent point of view.

        • the_other_side

          I don’t believe ESPN Radio takes callers, do they? It is part of ESPN’s ability to control the message but they get a lot of listeners nationally.

        • bsmfan

          They also can because the guest list is nothing short of impressive. Each of their shows, has, easily, their pick of the litter, between the bigs in every sport (coaches, players) to national insiders, even if not from ESPN.

          It’s been said that without the impressive list of guests, how long would a show like Mike and Mike last, even on a national level? 3 months?

          So, to me, I think it’s proven that you can get away without callers. Dan Patrick does “callers”, but 95% of them are regulars who are proven. They do have new guys on but its few and far between, and I assume they’re aggressively screened. I don’t listen to other big shows with any normal frequency, so I can’t speak to others.

    • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

      The board was joking about Holley’s reverse Midas touch –
      The Globe
      The McDonough Group/1510
      I, Max – that Max Kellerman show he was on
      Dale Arnold
      Glenn Ordway
      Mike Salk

  • bsmfan

    The Boston Magazine seemed to have good balance on the points offered. I get the impression, as I had before, that the Globe is like the billionaire who buys back some special toy they had growing up, no matter the cost. It seemed to have more sentimental value, but the “plan going forward” is basically none. As I wondered with Bezos buying the Washington Compost, it seems like its another case of a person who doesn’t live in the shoes of their customer (consumers), and is completely inept of what the consumer wants (its why you hire consultants). With all “papers”, I wonder how many can even be saved, before they’re forced to sell what they can to the only buyer, global media conglomerates, who can salvage anything with the assets (WSJ).

    I also wondered if it was a way to control 1/2 of the paper ‘message’ getting out in terms of the team(s). It’s unrealistic because of there being another paper in town, and reality of non-traditional media, and I’ve read commentary stating that MLB has rules prohibiting the amount of ‘media’ a team can own (wish I had more but I assume its because they don’t want to face anti-trust).

  • Homer Greenz

    “There’s your motivation for the special NFL section. Not to deliver a better experience for the reader with higher quality stories and features. Just more ads.”

    The selling of advertising space is THE only source of revenue for newspapers, and roughly 90% – 95% for radio stations and tv networks. Print, Airwaves, Mobile and Internet.

    Some cable tv channels that also earn distribution fees for their owners.

    http://americaninteractivemarketing.com/understanding-radio-ratings

    http://qz.com/114483/amc-is-succeeding-by-breaking-the-rules-of-legacy-television/

    http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/network-news-the-pace-of-change-accelerates/network-by-the-numbers/

  • JonB

    Sounds like the big “shakeup” coming at WEEI will be nothing more than another rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    The prospect of Merloni and Holley doesn’t excite me at all, and I don’t think they would make dent in Felger’s ratings. Although they’d be slightly more tolerable than Salk droning on and on about his hairy back and excessive armpit sweat, they’d still be just as boring and Merloni resorts to the same contrived debate topics from “First Take” that Salk does.

    I’ve gotten to the point of refusing to listen to WEEI whenever Salk is on the air, so just about any scenario that ends with his inevitable dismissal will be okay with me. Don’t think it’s a coincidence that Salk and Muttnansky are the only WEEI daytime hosts not in Ft. Myers this week. As if Phil Zachary airing his desperation to bring back Glenn Ordway in the Herald last month wasn’t enough.

    WEEI needs some new local blood, not some small market empty suit from ESPN like Mike Salk. Michael Smith keeps getting brought up as an ideal replacement to pair with Holley, but that’s a pipe dream at this point. He’d be crazy to give up a high-paying (certainly higher than what Entercom could realistically pay) and ultra high-profile job at the world’s leading sports media outlet to jump aboard a sinking ship like WEEI. And no way Dale Arnold scales back his NESN commitments to work a regular WEEI shift again – he’s too smart to let Entercom screw him over a second time.

    I’ve proposed this guy before as a more reasonable Salk replacement, but if Entercom is 100% committed to Holley, I’d pair him with Chris Mannix, a local guy that would resonate more with the younger end of the 25-54 male demo that have switched over to TSH.

    D&C, love or hate them, have acceptable ratings and can be left as-is, assuming they’ll be signing far less lucrative contracts in the near future.

    I’d like to see both Merloni and Muttnansky gone from mid-days. Replace them with Mike Giardi and Andy Hart, two guys that have some chemistry from working together at CSNNE, and whom I’ve enjoyed listening to as occasional EEI fill-ins over the past few months.

    Put Merloni on with Ryder for the evening shift since they’ll be doing Red Sox broadcasts anyway, then relegate Muttnansky to weekend/fill-in duty (same with Mike Adams).

  • nufced

    Let’s be serious, Ordway is not walking back through that door…that ship has sailed. There isn’t much talent to choose from with the likes of Mutnansky, Salk, Holley (who, by the way, seems to have accepted that his days are numbered) and Lou…although, I can see Lou being effective again as he used to be as a baseball guest host on the former Big Show…that’s it though. The first move should be to bring back Dale Arnold from 10-2 to establish continuity from D&C and pair him with a suitable partner, not necessarily an athlete, that can hold an intelligent conversation with Dale as well as with callers and interviews. The afternoon show should start fresh with the same premise as the old Big show, a qualified, articulate, host or hosts that are enjoyable to listen to as well as hospitable to callers…not the cynical, condescending narcissists that have preceded them or that grace the airwaves on 98.5, it’s okay to have an edge but not a chip. The seasonal-appropriate guest hosts should continue to provide insight and answer callers questions. This is Boston, you have fans that know their sports and teams very well (for the most part), they don’t need to be entertained as much as they want a forum to discuss Boston sports.

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      I think Dale and Chatham would be a great midday team. WEEI may not want this because it pushes the discussion away from Red Sox to Patriots, which they assume 98.5 has locked up for that time slot. But Chatham is so much better at explaining the Xs and Os of the game without getting lost in the ridiculous jargon that bogs down Gresh & Zo. Dale is pretty good on baseball and they could bring in regular baseball guys, like Bradford, Speier, (Eck?)during the season. Dale is also a pro and would help Chatham develop in a full-time role.

  • Homer Greenz

    .1 for 850 AM isn’t a rumor

  • smack_libs_around

    I’ve always laughed at the paradox that is The Boston Globe. You count them as a profit-hating, Leftist enterprise. In their world-view, everyone who has more than sustenance-level income is ‘rich’ and must be demonized. Yet here they are, lusting after ‘profit’ with a zeal that ought to be so unlike them.

  • APNDaveR

    At the risk of boring people… but this is something that’s actually right in my wheelhouse.

    With all due respect to the other BSMW reader, you can’t purchase “negative goodwill” – which is an impossibility under GAAP – and the reader misread/misconstrued the description of the transaction. Henry did exactly what the comment says: purchased a business for $70m, of which $38M was allocated to PP&E and $32M to intangibles and going concern value. The fact that the property “could” sell for $75M by itself is irrelevant — it DID sell for $38M, the purchase price allocated to it by the parties, and that’s what GAAP accounting says you allocate to it on the acquirer’s balance sheet.

    None of this means that the NYT didn’t take a bath on its purchase of the Globe. It did.

  • Brian Shea

    First off, they haven’t won the championship in 9 years. They’re a failure.

    Second, if you believe that the salary cap impacts the game in any way, you are greatly mistaken. Cap is crap! A team can sign whoever they want for however much they want. If they don’t get the player they want, they are cheap.

    Aren’t you in tune with today’s hot sports takes?

%d bloggers like this: