Next WEEI Casualty – The Boston Celtics

As WEEI continues to circle the drain – everyday new rumors are coming fast and furious, (shutting down the FM signal and going back to AM?) today there was officially another casualty:

The Boston Celtics will no longer be airing on WEEI. From Jeff Brown:

WEEI has had an incredible run with the Boston Celtics, from being a part of their 17th Championship Banner to the end of the Big 3 era.

Unfortunately we were unable to come to terms on a new contract moving forward. We thank the entire Celtics organization for our tremendous time together and wish them the best of luck in the future.

It speaks to how bad things are at the station when you would think the Celtics broadcast rights would be trending downward cost-wise as the team rebuilds and the station still can’t come to an agreement. Broadcast rights were one of the few assets the station still had.

How the mighty have fallen.

No word yet on the new radio home for the Celtics. You’d think the 98.5 airwaves would be a bit crowded with the Bruins games airing there, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Celtics end up at that station too.

Source: Kevin Graham To Replace Jason Wolfe as WEEI Program Director

According to an industry  source, the choice to replace Jason Wolfe is likely to be current 1320 KFAN Salt Lake City Program Director Kevin Graham.

Here is a quick bio on Graham from when he returned to KFAN last summer:

Kevin Graham is no stranger to Utah Sports Radio. One of the original architects of 1320 KFAN in 1996, Kevin returns to rebuild the heritage sports talker into the dominant sports radio station in the market. After leaving KFAN Kevin went on to a successful programming career assembling and building sports stations in Columbus, ESPN Radio Pittsburgh and New York City, as well as Detroit before returning to Salt Lake to host the highly popular Monson and Graham afternoon show for five years on the old 1280 The Zone. In 2010 Kevin moved to Phoenix to program Sports Radio 620 KTAR and then left to start his own sports digital and sports radio consulting company. He is married to his wife of 18 years Amy and has 12 year old twin daughters Madie and Josie.

Graham also cohosts the Gunther & Graham radio show each day on afternoon drive.

Graham is on twitter at @KevinGrahamKFAN

I haven’t received confirmation on this, so we’ll see how things play out, but  I thought I would pass it along.

Jason Wolfe Has Been Fired by Entercom/WEEI

Entercom Boston announced this morning that Vice President of Programming for WEEI and WRKO,  Jason Wolfe, is “‘leaving the company.” They also said an announcement on a replacement would come shortly.

“Jason Wolfe has defined sports talk radio, not only in Boston, but around the country as well. There are very few people who have influenced an industry like Jason has,” said Jeff Brown, VP/Market Manager at Entercom Boston. “From his work with the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox’s historic championship run to WRKO’s engagement with politics, Jason’s behind-the-scenes work has made an impact few people will ever understand. We thank Jason for all his hard work, dedication to Entercom, and his commitment to the Boston community.”

However, in a separate letter, Wolfe stated that “Entercom has chosen to replace me because they feel it is time for a change with my position.”  (They fired me.)

In some eyes, the move has been expected for quite a while, not only because of the declining ratings of the station, but also because of the perception that Wolfe had already been deposed and that Jeff Brown was personally making all of the recent moves at the station.

Wolfe was with WEEI for 22 years, having been brought in by Glenn Ordway and then replacing him as programming chief.

WEEI Announces New Saturday Show Focused on the Celtics

From Entercom Boston:

“Celtics Summer Cooler” to Tip Off June 8

Grande & Max team up this offseason as the C’s prepare for 2013-14 

BOSTON, MA (June 5, 2013) –WEEI 93.7 FM today announced the addition of “Celtics Summer Cooler,” a new program hosted by Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell. Starting June 8, “Celtics Summer Cooler” will air Saturday afternoons from 1-3 p.m., running through Sept. 28. Grande and Max comprise one of the longest-running broadcast teams in NBA history, having called over 1,200 games between them, and have been the voices of the Celtics since 2001.

This new show will provide Celtics fans with the most comprehensive news and analysis of the team, from the draft to the summer league and right up to training camp. Listeners can expect to hear from Celtics front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists, and national media members from around the league.

“This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when Danny pulled off the big trades for KG and Ray Allen. Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max,” said Jason Wolfe, VP of Programming and Operations.

As new shows go, this one is very promising and fills a gap in the local radio airwaves. It will be great to have a show that is pretty much dedicated to the Celtics.

 

Be The Next Weekend Co-Host on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

98.5 The Sports Hub has the following announcement on their webpage:

Do you have what it takes to be a weekend co-host on 98.5 The Sports Hub?

You call us with your opinions every day, and to be honest, some are really good, some are just plain dumb. Do you think you can deliver hot sports takes on a regular basis on the radio? Boston’s Home for Sports is searching for a weekend co-host, and it could be you! Do you have what it takes?

We’re holding public auditions at a bar near you! The 98.5 Sports Hub Search is presented by Third Shift – an award winning amber lager. When beer and sports are your calling, you never clock out.

Apply below to be the next weekend co-host! PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.
Online entrants will be invited via email to join us at one of ten audition events, including the locations listed below. 98.5 The Sports Hub will be assigning the locations. See the official contest rules.

Wednesday, June 19 from 8pm – 10pm
Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill
34 Tarrytown Rd Manchester, NH 03103

Friday, June 21 from 8pm – 10pm
Jamie’s
25 High St North Andover, MA 01845

Friday, June 28 from 8pm – 10pm
Angry Ham’s
2 Beacon St Framingham, MA 01701

Tuesday, July 2 from 8pm – 10pm
Dave and Busters
40 Providence Pl Providence, RI 02903

Friday, July 12 from 8pm – 10pm
The Charlie Horse
674 W Center St #1 West Bridgewater, MA 02379

Tuesday, July 16 from 8pm – 10pm
Arena’s Sports Bar and Night Club
53 High St Nashua, NH 03060

Entrants must be 21+. Semi-finalists from the above auditions will be invited to the radio station for an interview. Four people will be chosen to compete in person at the final round event on Saturday, July 27th

I”m not sure the description is quite accurate.

This paragraph:

You call us with your opinions every day, and to be honest, some are really good, some are just plain dumb. Do you think you can deliver hot sports takes on a regular basis on the radio? Boston’s Home for Sports is searching for a weekend co-host, and it could be you! Do you have what it takes?

Should really read like this:

You call us and sit on hold for hours every day to give us your (really dumb) opinions, which plainly shows that you’re desperate for attention. Are you capable of creating faux controversies and causes for panic no matter how well things are going? Do you think you can deliver those same #hotsportztakes over and over on the radio? Do you accept Michael Felger as your Lord and Savior? Can you piss off real fans of the local teams for hour after hour just to draw attention to your show? Boston’s Home for Sportz is searching for a weekend co-host, and it could be you! Do you have what it takes to be part of the next edition of institutional arrogance?

That’s better.

Entercom Looking To Survey “employee engagement and workplace satisfaction” Today

You may have heard John Dennis and Gerry Callahan talking this morning about the survey the company is having them take today.

Here is the email sent to employees earlier this week:

Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 10:52 PM
To: BOSTON USERS
Cc: Jeff Brown; Carmela M***; Mike K****

Subject: Employee Opinion Survey

Entercom Boston Employees,  As you are aware, we have conducted employee opinion surveys in our markets in the past. Weezie Kramer, who was recently promoted to Station Group President, has requested that we do a company-wide survey.

The survey consists of questions that measure employee engagement and workplace satisfaction, that you will score on a scale between 1-7. We also have a few questions about what you like best/least about your job, along with what is going well overall and suggestions for improvement.

To expedite the process, I’ve asked Carmela M*** to facilitate the survey. You will be receiving an email from Jeff about the meeting schedule. The meetings will begin with a video message from Weezie, followed by a video message from me. Carmela will then hand out the survey and we ask that you complete it at the meeting and place it in a Fed Ex box that will be in the front of the room. The surveys will be sent overnight directly to my office.

I want to assure you that your feedback will be protected. Carmela has promised that no one will read your survey locally. She will make sure that the completed surveys stay in the Fed Ex box until I receive them. All of the feedback will be compiled into a report and therefore your feedback will be anonymous.

Thanks in advance for taking the survey and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

Corporate surveys are not all that uncommon. Companies do them all the time to gauge the morale of employees. My buddy Andy at WEEI says they’ve done them at WEEI before. The email above says so too. That’s not what Dennis and Callahan said this morning, as they said it was the first time they have ever done something like this in their 15/16 years at the station.

They also questioned why the company felt the need to do it at this point in time. Given the amount of recent departures from the station, both voluntary and involuntary, it seems obvious, which was the very point they were making. Interesting that the company is calling everyone to these meetings and having them take the survey under supervision. While this is a company-wide survey, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to guess that it is aimed specifically at the Boston market.

Another email set the times for these meetings, as management went in at 9:00 am today, and there are all-employee sessions scheduled for 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Celtics Voice Sean Grande ( @SeanGrandePBP ) To Fill In On Red Sox Radio Broadcasts

WEEI announced this morning that John Ryder has been named as the pre and post game host of the station’s Red Sox radio broadcasts, replacing Jon Rish, who left to pursue a career as a computer programmer. Ryder will also continue his duties of hosting Red Sox Review and Celtics Rewind.

In addition, the station announced that mid-day co-host and former Red Sox utility player Lou Merloni and Celtics radio play-by-play voice Sean Grande will fill in for Dave O’Brien on the game broadcasts when the latter is away for ESPN duties.

Merloni has already appeared on several broadcasts and acquitted himself quite well in a format that requires him to draw on his baseball knowledge and experience.

Grande has been the Celtics voice since 2001.

Navy Football Voice Bob Socci Is The New #Patriots Voice

Bob Socci

Bob Socci

98.5 The Sports Hub announced today that Bob Socci  (pronounced SO-See) will be the new radio voice of the New England Patriots, replacing the legendary Gil Santos.

Socci has been the radio voice of Navy football for the last 16 years and also was the lead voice

CBS Sports Network’s Patriot League college basketball telecasts.

The Navy and CBS connections surely could not have hurt Socci’s chances.

The news was first reported by Chad Finn of the Boston Globe.

Somewhere, Gary Tanguay and Jon Meterparel weep bitterly…

BOB SOCCI NAMED PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER FOR THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ON 98.5 THE SPORTS HUB

AND THE PATRIOTS RADIO NETWORK

Socci joins color commentator Scott Zolak in the booth for

98.5 The Sports Hub, the official flagship station of the three-time

Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots

Boston, MA – April 24, 2013 –  Veteran sportscaster and play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci has been named the radio play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots on 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM), the official flagship radio station of the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.  Socci will join color commentator Scott Zolak in the booth to provide in-depth analysis of every Patriots game.  Socci replaces the renowned Gil Santos, who retired after the 2012 season after 36 seasons of calling Patriots games.  Socci’s appointment is effective immediately, according to an announcement made earlier today by Mike Thomas, Vice President of Programming for CBS RADIO Boston.

“Bob has more than 16 years of play-by-play experience,” said Thomas. “We were impressed with his extensive work and expertise calling various football and baseball games and he’s a local guy with great knowledge of the Patriots.  No doubt, Bob has big shoes to fill, but we are excited about this new era of play-by-play with Bob and Scott.”

“This is the thrill of a lifetime to get the opportunity from 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Patriots organization to continue the tradition established by the legendary Gil Santos to be the play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots,” said Socci about his new role.  “I look forward to teaming up with Scott in the booth and building on The Sports Hub’s great success.”

For the past 16 years, Socci has called radio play-by-play for the U.S. Naval Academy football team. He is also the lead announcer for CBS Sports Network’s coverage of Patriot League college basketball.  Socci resides in Milton, MA with his wife, Monique Tello, and two children, Gio and Maria.

In addition to being the official flagship station for the New England Patriots, 98.5 The Sports Hub is also the official flagship station of the Boston Bruins and the New England Revolution.

Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub is owned by CBS RADIO, a division of CBS Corporation.  CBS RADIO, one of the largest major-market radio operators in the United States, operates 126 radio stations, the majority of which are in the top 50 markets, including Boston’s WBMX-FM (MIX 104.1), WBZ-AM (NewsRadio 1030), WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub), WODS-FM (103.3 AMP Radio) and WZLX-FM (Classic Rock 100.7).

#  #  #

Here is an interview with Socci talking about working the Patriot League telecasts for CBS Sports Network.

You can learn more about Socci at his personal website, and follow him on Twitter @BobSocci

Bob Socci Named Patriots Radio Play-By-Play Announcer On 98.5 The Sports Hub – CBSBoston.

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.

Source: Entercom President/CEO David Field Coming To Boston Friday

According to an industry source, in response to continued toxic atmosphere at Entercom Boston, including and especially at WEEI, Entercom Communications Corp President and CEO David Field will be in Boston on Friday to conduct a “town hall” style meeting with employees, presumably in an attempt to assuage hard feelings and improve morale. The source says the meeting is to tell employees that “everything is fine, and to enjoy the brand.”

Field is said to be taking questions from employees, but that such questions need to be submitted in advance.

With salaries being slashed everywhere in the radio business and notably at WEEI with the recent departures of Jon Meterparel, Glenn Ordway and Jon Rish, one wonders if the topic of Field’s own salary and compensation will come up.

According to documents filed to the SEC, Field’s salary in 2012 was $827,707 and on December 18th of 2012, he received a bonus of $1,008,000. In 2011, his salary was $803,599 and his bonus was $720,000.

His actual salary may be less of an issue than the fact it has gone up each year and that he also receives that annual cash performance-based bonus of up to 150% of his annual base salary. These types of compensation agreements are by no means unusual in the corporate world, but they do make things awkward when the CEO tries to motivate a disgruntled staff which has faced budget and salary cuts routinely over the last few years.

The meeting, should it take place, (EDITit IS happening)will be interesting, given Field’s somewhat odd history of attempts at motivating his staff. In January of 2012, after returning from an African safari, Field recounted the experience in a very odd and clueless email to employees, ending by urging them to bring their “A” games to work each day, just as the animals of the Serengeti do.

His father, Joseph M. Field founded Entercom in 1968.

*************

Elsewhere in the Boston sports media world today – Jerry Remy reveals he was recently treated for recurrence of cancer