Sports Media Musings: On “Big Show: Unfiltered”, Baby Boomer’s C-Section Comment, & More

The Patriots bringing in Johnny Football for a pro day, then re-signing Patrick Chung was The Hoodie at his best. This has been the most interesting offseason since, um, the last offseason (the Brady paycut [Which somehow was criticized? God, I love the sports media!], Welkahpoloooozzzzah, Everything Gronk, and finally Aaron Hernandez, double murders, and Angel Dust … Unreal.).

Wait, Angel Dust was part of last year’s offseason discussion??? OK, OK: 2013 > 2014

Before some media takes, let me serve up a quick self-promotion alert: I wrote about the Bruins and Peak Talk for the Metro today. Read it.

OK – onto a few media notes. Feel free to say hello on the Twittersphere, @Hadfield__

*****

Early thoughts on the “Big Show Unfiltered”: It’s OK. And OK may be enough for Glenn Ordway & Co. – much to my surprise, I willingly listened to commercials, which truly distinguishes the program from, say, a podcast. I felt like I was listening to a radio. Only on the Internet.

INTERNET RADIO.

Anyway, about the commercials, which, before going any further, need to be discussed …  Because Connecticut School of Broadcasting is still a thing!! I’ll be completely honest, for the longest time I thought it was a joke, a scheme, or even the basis of the movie “Accepted.”

(Side Tangent: “Accepted” is a B- Comedy featuring Justin Long (Drew Barrymore’s old BF, also the guy in the Apple commercials), Blake Lively (before she was BLAKEEEEE Lively), and Lewis Black.

And, yes, even two-time Academy Award nominee, Jonah Hill.

Good stuff. Hollywood is the greatest. But, yeah – I 1000000% believed GO CSB was a fictional place where dreams go to die.)

OK, back to “Big Show: Unfiltered.” This iteration is basically a DIY, rough cut version of the original “Big Show.” Can they grab enough momentum to simulcast beyond Sirius? I’m not sure. I mean, clearly, there’s an audience for Pete Sheppard, Ordway and the guy that does the great Terry Francona impression, I’m just not it.

(I know, I know – this is despite Sheppard’s abrasive Tony Massarotti impressions; if nothing else Pete’s going for it … whatever “it” is.)

*****

“Sometimes it takes some time to remember where you were headed in the first place and the people you intended to go there with.”

For me, early questions about “Dale & Holley” Part Deux mostly revolved around whether bringing back what was never really broken as an admission of past failures …  or just WEEI’s acceptance that they are, for the time being, the alternative – as opposed to the FLAGSHIP STATION! …?

One thing’s for sure: It’s not the sexy move, or a game-changer. This play for WEEI is a means to survival through reliability. And, all things considered, with the revival of “Dale & Holley,”  the Boston sports fans are winning here.

(Yes, that’s right – I’m going positive, which almost feels borderline crazy to do in terms of media analysis.)

Look, upon conception, our hope for “The Sports Hub” did not necessarily circle around a precipitous demise for the men of Entercom (although, in some circles, seeing hubris wilt and decay was a nice byproduct). All told, reasonable sports fans just wanted WEEI to be better, and, typically, competition breeds excellence or, at the very least, improvement in quality.

Well, it took longer than expected, but, finally, mercifully this has happened.

Think about it: The morning at WEEI is better. I still can’t believe “Dennis & Callahan” made it through the storm unscathed, although who knows, maybe, at times, the two hosts were “hiding under their desks.” Either way, their improvement is palpable; heck, you could argue it’s undeniable. Kirk Minihane has proven himself a worthy foil to John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, and it’s kind of compelling radio.

(An aside: This will sound like I’m an ageist, but I could do without the obsession over Johnny Manziel’s girlfriend. Really, guys. You’re old, and it’s weird. But seriously, try harder.)

The afternoon, meanwhile, over on ‘EEI is a relic in the best possible way, and a sound option for audiences to check out instead of their counterpart, “Felger & Mazz,” which has evidently decided to become a different show than when it began its run. Dale Arnold, almost immediately, has rediscovered his rapport with Michael Holley.  Something Holley never could harness with Ordway, or what we can now the Misguided Mike Salk era.

(Another aside: Consistently adding a third man to the “Dale & Holley” rotation is a nice twist, too. But how about less Christian Fauria and more Matt Chatham, please. Thanks.)

Up on the dial, “Toucher & Rich” didn’t land the Torey Krug-80s hair metal voice over segment, at least not as much as the comparable “Rad Marchand” skit from a few years ago, but the fact they’re still churning out stuff like “Motley Krug” is a good sign. It’s what they do best.

And the duo poking fun at Johnny Gomes’ “Just PUSH PLAY, the story is already written” comments was perfect. To their credit, they absolutely nailed the Ultimate Warrior-Haxsaw Johnny Gomes comparison. The dialect is eerily similar.

*****

Speaking of “Toucher & Rich”, I thought Fred Toucher’s take on Richard Sherman’s column about DeSean Jackson’s release from the Eagles on Peter King’s Monday Morning QB site was not only thoughtful, but poignant.

In the piece, Sherman argued about, well, a few things: 1) That saying DJax is affliated with gang is irresponsible; 2) You don’t turn your back on people you grew up with; 3) Jackson’s teammate — Riley Cooper, earning an extension, a year after his racist remarks at a country concert went viral; 4) The Jim Irsay free pass.

Toucher’s main contention is that you do turn your back on friends at some point, basically, because if you hang out with shit for long enough, you’ll start to smell like it, too. It’s a fair counter; measured and realistic.

I didn’t agree, however, with Toucher’s co-host, John Wallach, when he said Sherman, who is no stranger to media relations, will have to learn to pick his battles. If we’re enabling the nonsense floated out there from time to time in sports media, then I have zero qualms dealing with Sherman going off the rails. Dude’s a top cornerback with a unique perspective to offer on the matter. I don’t have to agree, but I’ll certainly be interested.

*****

“Everyone is just waiting for their next Wikipedia Edit.”

“I’m much more offended by Gerry Callahan’s gay-bashing.”

Those were my initial thoughts about when reading reaction to Boomer Esiason’s comments regarding Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave (which fell on opening day):

From CNN:

During a conversation on his radio show with co-host Craig Carton, Esiason, a father of two, said he would never have done what Murphy did.

“Quite frankly, I would have said C-section before the season starts,” said Esiason. “I need to be at Opening Day. I’m sorry. This is what makes our money. This is how we’re going to live our life. This is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I’ll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I’m a baseball player.”

I don’t have children, I’m turning 28 years-old next week, which means I’m really only 23 years-old (Someone, I don’t know who, just decided it was totally acceptable for 20somethings to act like kids even as they broach their 30s. I won’t fight this. Thank you, mystery man.) But I have three sisters; I get the complications around reproduction, and can attest that Boomer is stating stupid words behind a stupid premise.

But you know what? PEOPLE ARE STOOOPID.

Rich people are stoopid. Everyone’s stoopid. Fuck, that ignorance – you know, being stoopid – is just as much a part of ‘Merica as saying ‘Merica!

We live in a world where athletes, not just college athletes, pro athletes, with a kajillion dollars, get Catfished! Yes, by Catfished, I mean keyboard romance gone awry, someone conned by an idiot imposter on an online dating site.

(Moreover, that “Catfish” is actually a television show – yes, a television show – is mind boggling. Knowing Nev Schulman has been out there, fighting to the good fight, trying to illuminate what is, in fact, real love, and what’s not, for over three seasons all because the South have yet to figure out how to do 12 seconds of Internet research through Google Images search, could be the most American thing ever.)

So, we’re all stupid, from time to time anyway. Then, let’s ask ourselves, why are talking heads, most of who are former athletes, the subject of this type of scrutiny? Even Callahan, a fantastic writer, whose views on the radio have become increasingly acerbic and forced, has a right to be stupid. Again, ‘Merica!

To that end, who cares what Boomer Esiason thinks about this topic? Like, really, this is what we’re going to get upset about.  If you’re an ardent listener to his show, that’s one thing; but it’s almost as if the Internet pushes OUTRAGE Button, and all chaos breaks loose.

And Boomer, predictably, issued a subsequent apology, because apologies are part of the news cycle in 2014.

I’m all for calling an idiot out for saying idiotic shit on the radio, but where do you guys stand?

*****

Memo to Danny Picard: Keep Going

Dig Radio Boston flounders; Danny Picard’s show, “I’m Just Sayin’”, keeps on keepin’ on. If nothing else, Picard hustles. In the past, his show has been simulcast on CSNNE.com, 1510 Boston, among other outlets. But now he’s back to hosting solely on his website and iTunes.

Earlier this week, Picard had an interesting rant about the move away from Dig, other subjects in the media (like the Jerry Remy-NESN story) earning too much attention, and even went on a tangent about his distaste for sharing a co-host during his weekend appearances on WEEI.

As a fellow writer, with much less success and longevity compared to Picard, I can sympathize with his frustration with breaking into sports media. There are very few Xander Bogaerts’ in the media. Youth is quelled by barriers. Hustle and passion are part of success – and, sometimes, the journey to prominence is better than the destination itself – but, at some point, you have to break through.

I still think Picard will. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. This is a town where Mike Adams has had a daily radio show for the better part of a decade.

*****

As always, thanks for reading. @Hadfield__.

  • srh

    “Then, let’s ask ourselves, why are talking heads, most of who are former athletes, the subject of this type of scrutiny?”

    Seriously? Uh, because they have radio shows that reach millions of listeners? Because their antiquated views about how men should “MAN UP!” are pretty pathetic in this day and age? Because while he has a right to be “stupid” (and I would argue that’s a pretty generous label for these comments) I also have a right to be outraged on the internet.

    Here’s a better question- why give a take on this topic if this was the best you could come up with?

  • Leo

    This Red Sox ring ceremony sounds like a royal wedding! PBS in charge?

    • bsmfan

      I was surprised that Kate and William weren’t there.

  • latetodinner

    Ryan:

    A few thoughts…let’s see how they go over.

    – On Boomer’s comments. The real issue which is being lost in all the name calling, grandstanding and apologizing is prioritizing what is important in the modern world. I wonder what Boomer’s thoughts would have been in regards to Sandy Kofax missing game 1 of the 1965 world series to honor his commitment to god and be in Temple for Yom Kippur. It seems to me Boomer’s point was the business of baseball is more important (because of how much a player is played and the reliance on the player by the team) than the once only birth of a specific child. The idea that we even have to debate this tells me a certain segment of society has their priorities all wrong. The fact that an ex athlete, who has a special needs child that he has raised millions of dollars to help both the child and other’s like him needs to be reminded about what is important in life and what isn’t seems beyond stupid to me. Lastly, that MLB and the MLBPA did not come out with a strongly written statement in support of Daniel Murphy is also puzzling to me.

    – On the Big Show Unfiltered. I think we are going to have to disagree. I have listened a few times and the production value sounds like it was produced in someone’s basement. The commercials are a real problem (I wrote about that the other day) and the quality of the guests is bad. But I think the real problem and I touched on this the other day is that the show thinks it is an extension of what is taking place on other Boston shows. As such it comes off as amateurish. “Look at us…we can talk about the same things as WEEI and 98.5″. Unless they are picked up by terrestrial radio in the next 6 months it will not make it. There is no substance to it. There is no compelling reason to listen.

    – On Dale and Holley redux. My feelings on Mike Holley are well covered. I think Dale carries him when they are together. I think the show will do respectably in afternoon drive, because if Dale could carry Eddie Andleman he could carry anyone. Having said that F&M is a much better show. Perhaps the lasting effect of D&H as direct competition will be a forced change in the F&M tone away from screeching hot sportztakes and back towards measured intelligent observations that often but not always go against the BBWA, The Patriot Toadies, The Green teamers, and The Globe’s hockey coverage.

    – On Danny Picard. I don’t see it. Not in the Boston Market. I have tried to listen a few times on the weekend and it is like talking sports with my 10 year old nephew. He knows a lot of facts but has zero insight. If Picard were smart he would go to a small market somewhere else (Seattle, Omaha, KC, Jacksonville, or Minneapolis) and really learn the business. That means developing contacts, developing relationships with players and management. Developing a voice that does not sound forced to be objective. Lastly, learn how to interview…either a guest or a caller.

  • Homer Greenz

    Yes it is deniable. Dennis & Callahan (and Kirk) is a terrible radio show.

  • Homer Greenz

    Classic Tony Mazz tonight in the post game show after the loss to the Brewers. His phony contrarianism is happening on a deep psychological level. We finally have evidence of this. I give you the Tony Mazz Hindsight Bias:

    Mazz said that Farrell should have walked on to the field and discussed with the umpires, the Middlebrooks non-tag at third base in top of the 9th inning. The point being, even if the umps don’t review the play, this stoppage could alter the course of history. In other words, Tony Mazz thinks that Farrell can predict the future. I am not kidding and Mazz obviously had no what what he was doing when he said this.

    He incorrectly cited the concept of the butterfly effect (again, giving Farrell the powers of prediction), stating that if Farrell had “shaken things up” and caused a different course of history, than perhaps Mujica would not have thrown the meatball later in the inning.

  • smack_libs_around

    Whenever I think of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting I think of insufferable Jack Edwards.

  • bsmfan

    This would be interesting:

    http://boston.com/sports/football/patriots/2014/04/06/report-jacobs-family-could-buy-nfl-buffalo-bills/Qqmbw3BiNW9jqB3WE8unJN/story.html

    Jeremy Jacobs might buy the Buffalo Bills? A division rival? And own the Bruins?

    He’s not allowed to, under NFL rules about owning more than one team (including non-NFL), but could easily do what Stan Kroenke did where he either divests himself of the Bruins or has a son buy it, but obviously using his money (3.1b net worth).

    Boy, would that ruin every ounce of good will he’s earned himself over the past five years. He’d go right to last, well beyond FSG, on “detestable ownership”, even if it was a family member. I can’t even imagine the media bleepstorm if this were ever to happen.

    • APNDaveR

      He’s earned good will????

  • nufced

    With D&C(&M) regaining steam and Dale back on with a rejuvenated Holley WEEI desperately needs to address the gaping crevasse from 10-2. You can almost hear the radios clicking off when M&M open their abysmal torture of the airwaves. I may be reaching here but the short-lived Sheppard and Zook show on nbc revealed a promising host in Darwin Zook. He’s is familiar with Boston sports and did a great job with Pete Sheppard… (not an easy task). Team him up with someone like Bradford or Minihan from 10-2 and you might have something…

    • latetodinner

      Zook is not the answer. He is not ready for the big leagues. Midday has always been a problem. It has significantly less listenership than Morning or afternoon drive. Stations program it the same way only with slightly less expectations. There is a reason WEEI tried the Fabulous Sports Babe and other syndicated shows in that spot over the years. They relegated Eddie Andleman there after his afternoon show started to shed listeners. The real solution to the mid day slot is a different format. One that is less caller oriented and more guest/expert oriented. A show that does more long form exposition on topics. If they continue to leave the format as is…they will continue to struggle because the people listening to midday are less likely to be getting in and out of cars (as they are morning and afternoon) and more likely to be at their office desk. They do not want the repletion you get with morning and afternoon drive.

      • nufced

        I enjoyed listening to Zook much more than listening to Mutnansky. I listen in my office from 8:30 to 5 every day and while I agree that more substance and fewer callers from 10-2 is the way to go I want to an intelligent, well-spoken host like Dale Arnold. I like Zook’s delivery, he is more along the line of Dale, team him with another qualified anchor and I think he’d do a good job.

      • bsmfan

        I know we had a few threads going back that suggested it. Quite a few of us were in favor here, esp. if Dale was hosting, which looks like that won’t happen. To me, his strength is the longer-form stuff, or anything w/less callers. I’d be interested to see how that would do going up against G+Z. It’d be, again, an almost 180-degree opposite to what SportsHub offers, similar to the 6-10 spot, where you might bring along a loyal following. But, on the host, if they’re using Dale 2-6, who would host it there 10-2?

        • latetodinner

          I think there are people who could do more long form interview stuff both inside the market (Tom Curran, Mike Reiss, Bob Ryan, Joe MacDonald, Rob Bradford, Ryan Johnson) and outside the market I am sure there are a host of people who we do not know who do good investigative work that would translate into good radio if they did not have to deal with callers.

        • bsmfan

          True. I forgot to think that if you had a more ‘long form’ centric show lacking callers, I think that the ‘host’ part is less on the traditional side, so you have more options.

          Would it work here? I think of kids younger than me, which FM tries to capture, and do they have the interest, let alone attention span, for it to work? I know the < 30 isn't all of the "younger demo" but I wonder if we're past the point, culturally, where this would work? (IE: Do you have to F+M it at every slot?) It works on Sunday in the 9-12 Dale slot, but have they ever counted ratings there and can you just 1:1 that over? I'd love input from someone in the industry.

  • http://batman-news.com Blumpkin

    Now is the time for WEEI to strike back and make a push in the afternoons. Anecdotal, I know, but many people I know, in the last few months, have been turned off by F&M’s direction. Not all Boston sports fans are dumb and unable to see past the uber-contrived takes. (We voted with our ears to deport Salk, right?) I would like it of on eof you guys could count thenumber of times during teh F&M Show we hear these words solo or in together – “Mike,” “look,” “like.” Mazz has become a 15-year-old girl – “Mike, look, like, I think NESN has a decision to make. Like, Jerry Remy, blah, blah..”

    • Andy Dursin

      Mutt & Lou need to exit. True middays dont mean as much as afternoon drive but if D&C and now Dale & Holley have a bit of momentum — at least compared to where the station has been — then it’s pertinent that EEI scrap Mutt & Lou. They’re painful, especially Mutt.

      • agramante

        Yeah, Mutt isn’t cutting it. He comes across as a juvenile who doesn’t understand or much care about sports. (Like John Saucier, who’d rather talk about his drinking exploits than anything to do with sports–why does he even have a job at that station?) Lou I think is a good second man. He’s been lovingly mocked with the old baseball moniker Utility Lou, but I do think he brings a mild, even-keeled temperament to any show (I think he’d’ve been a dynamite pairing with Felger, in no small part because he’d do a better job of maintaining his own identity than Mazz does). Even though the media role of “former athlete” is frequently mocked, not only does Lou have a well-spoken way of describing a locker room, but he does his homework. He can speak with knowledge about teams and sports other than the Red Sox and baseball (unlike, say, Zo). I’d be sorry to see Lou go. The problem is, who would they bring in to replace Muttnansky? I have no suggestions. I can only suppose that Felger is pulling every string he can reach to keep Beetle at the Sports Hub.

        • oldguy

          >The problem is, who would they bring in to replace Muttnansky?

          Hopefully Kirk Minihane. I always thought him and Lou would work well. At least I did before he started on D&C.