Five Boston Shows On 2013 Talkers Top 100

Talkers Magazine released it’s annual top 100 sports radio shows this week, and five shows from 98.5 and WEEI made the list.
Mike Francesa is listed as the top show in the country.

Here are the Boston entries:

felger-and-massarottitoucher-and-richdennis-and_callahansalk-and-holleymut-and-louMut and Lou are on here, but Gresh and Zo aren’t?

“Most Listened To” vs “Highest Rated”

The summer ratings are out, and once again, 98.5 defeated WEEI pretty soundly.

The morning show battle is interesting. Toucher and Rich (10.8) again came out on top, but Dennis and Callahan got a nice bump finishing second with a 7.2.

(Let’s get this out of the way – when I listen in the mornings, I find that I listen to D&C more often simply because, even though I find their personalities incredibly unlikable, their sports content is generally better than what is on Toucher and Rich. I do go back and forth though, as I suspect many do.)

John Dennis however, wants all to know that his program is the most listened to morning sports show in New England.

And on and on…

What Dennis is claiming here, of course, is that if you take all the WEEI affiliates across New England, plus their television audience on NESN, then more people in New England are listening/watching Dennis and Callahan than are Toucher and Rich.

I don’t have specific numbers on this claim, but I suspect that it is true. If you add them all up, they’re probably more than what Toucher and Rich get only in Boston.

The problem is, this is the argument that D&C used to bash Imus (or Stern) with back in the day. Imus had more outlets, and was thus getting a larger audience. D&C would attack that claim. Now, when it suits their argument, they’re using it for themselves.

The funny thing to me is, all those years when D&C were winning the morning ratings handily, we never heard about these other affiliates. They started to lose, and then all of a sudden there was an emphasis to include Providence in with the Boston numbers, and now, apparently they want to include Providence, NESN and all of their other affiliates across New England.

Seems like moving the goalposts to me. They can’t beat Toucher and Rich in Boston, so let’s make it all of New England, where we have stations, and they don’t. It becomes more about reach than about how they’re actually doing.

A few points on this argument:

  • If 98.5 were going against WEEI in all the areas that the latter has affiliates, does anyone think they’d lose there? 98.5 is not losing to WEEI anyplace they are competing.
  • It seems logical then, that since 98.5 is beating WEEI handily in places where they go head-to-head that they would beat them elsewhere, too.
  • Advertisers don’t care. Boston advertisers do not care that there is a WEEI affiliate in Keene NH, or Portland Me. They care about what the numbers are in Boston, and that is largely why the ratings numbers exist in the first place.

D&C were celebrating their new boss this morning, and that the handcuffs have been taken off, which presumably means a return to politics and current events (read: sex scandals) and less sports talk.

Whether it turns into ratings success remains to be seen. Otherwise, they will just have to remain happy with being the lower-rated-but-most-listened-to morning radio show in New England.

Entercom Boston Announces Phil Zachary As New VP/Market Manager

Just announced:

Boston – Today Entercom Boston announced that they had hired Phil Zachary as their new Vice President and Market Manager. The Entercom cluster in Boston includes WEEI-FM, ESPN on WEEI-AM, WAAF, WRKO and The Boston Red Sox Radio Network.

This represents a homecoming of sorts for Zachary, whose first paid radio job was as a part-time, on-air announcer at WAAF. Zachary, a 41-year radio veteran, is a Connecticut native and graduate of Holy Cross. He began his radio career in Worcester followed by stints in Providence and Boston. While in Boston, Zachary served as Operations Manager at the old WITS 1510. There his role included direct oversight of both Red Sox and Bruins play-by-play.

Zachary comes to Entercom from Curtis Media Group in Raleigh, N.C. There, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the company’s entire slate of radio stations, networks, digital and interactive divisions and print publications. Prior to joining Curtis Media in 2002, he was VP/Market Manager for CBS Radio in Washington, D.C. Zachary has held similar senior executive positions for HMW Communications and Voyager Communications in Raleigh and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in New Orleans.

Entercom Station Group President Weezie Kramer said, “Phil is the right person at the right time for Entercom Boston. He is a leader and a listener. He understands the challenges we face but he also sees the tremendous opportunity we have. Phil believes in the strength of our brands, the dynamic nature of our content and the true potential of our team.”
“The only reason to leave a great job in radio is for one of the absolute best jobs in radio,” said new Entercom VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary. “Make no mistake—WAAF, WEEI and WRKO are not only some of the greatest call letters in Boston radio history, but some of the best brands in our industry. This amazing opportunity brings me back to my New England roots and the place I started my radio career. There are great challenges ahead, not to mention best of-class competition, but I look forward to it and can’t wait to get started.”

Zachary will begin at Entercom Boston on October 21st. In the meantime, the company announced they had retained the management consultant services of Joel Hollander to assist in the transition. Hollander is the former CEO of both Westwood One and CBS Radio. He will act as the Boston market manager until Zachary can start work full time.

Zachary is incredibly active in his community, volunteering his time and being part of organizations, including The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, Wake Technical Community College Board of Trustees and the North Carolina Children’s Hospital Board of Visitors.

He has also been an advisor to the communication departments at Elon University, Appalachian State, High Point University and North Carolina State University. Zachary currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s national leadership and advocacy organization.

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WEEI, CSNNE Shaking Things Up

Things continue to be unsettled at WEEI, where Entercom Boston Vice President Jeff Brown departed yesterday for a similar position with Cumulus Media in Atlanta.

Brown and Entercom say that this decision to leave was Brown’s alone. I had heard last week that Brown was interviewing for a position in Atlanta. But sources inside WEEI and in the industry insist Brown’s exit was not of his own choosing.

Regardless, Brown’s exit has caused much joy within the halls of WEEI, where Brown was seemingly disliked intensely by many. Brown was the man behind the firing of Glenn Ordway in February, and of Jason Wolfe in August. He also brought in current afternoon host Mike Salk, a move that is still unpopular among some staffers there. The station has lost many of its top sales people

Chad Finn says that Entercom is expected to name a replacement today, a move that suggests they knew this was coming and had the replacement lined up.

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

Comcast SportsNet New England announced their Celtics coverage plans for the upcoming season, and there are several major changes among the announcement.

Gary Tanguay will no longer be the studio host for the telecasts, Greg Dickerson is out as sideline reporter, and Donny Marshall will not return as studio analyst.

In their places will be Kyle Draper (studio host) Abby Chin (sideline reporter) and a rotating panel of studio analysts, not dissimilar to what NESN does on the Red Sox broadcasts.

Mike Gorman and Tom Heinsohn return on the game call for home games. On the road, Gorman will be joined by several different analysts over the course of the season, including Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge – an interesting arrangement, though not quite like having Red Auerbach in the broadcast booth. Others include Dave Cowens, Cedric Maxwell and Chris Herren.

Replacing Tanguay is a good move. His love for manufactured drama and outlandish statements just for attention are more suited for his Sports Tonight role. Donny Marshall had been viewed as a rising star with the network at one point, and perhaps may be on his way to a more national role somewhere. I feel worst for Dickerson, who battled health issues, but loved the game and his job and did it well.

Here is the full release:

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO TELEVISE EVERY CELTICS GAME

FOR FIRST TIME IN NETWORK HISTORY

Broadcast Duo Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn Return for 33rd Season;

Dave Cowens, Cedric Maxwell, Danny Ainge and Chris Herren to Provide Road Color;

Kyle Draper and Abby Chin Join Telecast Team

CSNNE.com to Provide Social Media Experience Tailored for Celtics Fan and

the Most Online Video and News Reporting

BURLINGTON, MA – For the first time in network history, Comcast SportsNet will televise every single Boston Celtics game during the 2013-14 season. The Celtics regular season tips off on Wednesday, October 30, in Toronto with the debut of new Coach Brad Stevens in his first regular season NBA matchup.

Comcast SportsNet’s schedule is highlighted by now Brooklyn Nets’ Paul Pierce’s and Kevin Garnett’s first game against the Celtics in Brooklyn on Tuesday, December 10, as well as the pair’s first visit to the TD Garden on Sunday, January 26. The schedule features 90 total telecasts – eight preseason and 82 regular season games.

In addition to the Stevens debut and Nets matchups, Comcast SportsNet also has games against former coach Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, December 11, and Wednesday, January 8, among other highly anticipated games.

As part of every Celtics telecast, Coach Stevens will talk exclusively with Comcast SportsNet before the start of every third quarter and immediately after the game.

Comcast SportsNet’s first Celtics telecast will start with the preseason opener on Monday, October 7, which will mark the beginning of Brad Stevens’ tenure as coach and his TD Garden debut with the Celtics.

In addition to a full game schedule, Comcast SportsNet will return this season with an experienced team that features new talent. For the 33rd consecutive season, broadcast duo Mike Gorman (@celticsvoice) and Tommy Heinsohn (@CSNTommy) return as Comcast SportsNet’s primary telecast team. The tandem, the longest running telecast team in American sports and multiple Emmy winners, will call every Boston Celtics home game. This season, Celtics legends Dave Cowens and Cedric Maxwell; Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge; and Fall River native and former Celtic Chris Herren will join Gorman for road games.

Kyle Draper (@kylerdraper) and Abby Chin (@TVAbby) will join the Comcast SportsNet telecasts in 2013-14 as studio host and courtside reporter, respectively. Draper, who joined the network in 2008 as a Chevrolet SportsNet Central anchor, will host Celtics Pre-game Live presented by Ace Ticket, Halftime Live presented by McDonald’s, and Celtics Post-game Live presented by New England Ford. Chin joined Comcast SportsNet in 2013 as a reporter and anchor after serving as Comcast SportsNet Northwest studio host for the Portland Trailblazers from 2011-13 and will be courtside for every game.

Joining Draper in-studio will be Heinsohn, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Cowens, former Providence College coach Tim Welsh and others.

“Mike is widely respected as the best in the business and absolutely no one is more passionate about the Celtics than Tommy. It is an honor to have them return for another season. Kyle and Abby are familiar faces to Boston sports fans through their work on SportsNet Central. They are exciting additions to our team,” said Bill Bridgen, Comcast SportsNet president and general manager.

Social media will be a big part of CSNNE.com’s coverage of the Celtics. The online home to Comcast SportsNet will feature Celtics Pulse, which is the best way to track all the in-game social media chatter on the Celtics, including Tweets from CSNNE.com Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely (@sherrodbcsn), reporter Jessica Camerato (@jcameratoNBA), @CSNTommy and all Comcast SportsNet talent. Celtics fans can share their comments on Celtics Pulse by using #CelticsTalk. In addition to Celtics Pulse, CSNNE.com will feature all of Blakely’s and Camerato’s reporting plus video news coverage from Chevrolet SportsNet Central and UNOs Sports Tonight.

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.

CSNNE, WEEI Unveil Patriots Coverage Plans

Both WEEI and CSNNE announced their plans for Patriots coverage this season. Both will have similar programming to years past, with a few minor changes.

Comcast SportsNet Announces 2013 Patriots Coverage

Some of the highlights of the CSNNE coverage are as follows:

  • Logan Mankins will appear in Postgame Live after every game (Wes Welker was the guest last season)
  • Troy Brown and Ty Law return to Patriots Wednesday Live (Brown only) and Pre/Postgame Live
  • Mike Flynn joins the rotation for Pre/Postgame Live

The same format of a two-hour pregame show along with a 90-minute postgame show will be used this season. New England Football Night returns on Thursdays with New England Tailgate at 7:00pm, Patriots Football Weekly at 7:30pm and Quick Slants in its new time at 8:00pm.

WEEI will once again offer Patriots Monday and Patriots Friday, along with NFL Sunday with Dale Arnold, Chris Price and Matt Chatham (and weekly call-ins from Tom E Curran.) and The Real Postgame Show with Butch Stearns, Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas.

Entercom Announces Hiring of Kevin Graham as WEEI “Brand Manager”

Here is the release from Entercom:

Entercom Announces Kevin Graham to Lead WEEI as New Brand Manager

Graham Will Direct Entire WEEI Ecosystem from On-air, Online, Mobile, Red Sox Play-by-Play, and the WEEI Regional Sports Network

BOSTON, MA – Entercom Boston announced today that it has hired Kevin Graham to lead WEEI as their new Brand Manager. Graham comes to WEEI from 1320 KFAN in Salt Lake City, where he served as Program Director and afternoon drive co-host. Graham will begin work at WEEI in early September.

One of the original architects of 1320 KFAN, Kevin Graham went on to a successful programming career assembling and building sports stations in Columbus, Pittsburgh, ESPN Radio New York City, Detroit and Salt Lake City. He returned to KFAN again in 2012 to re-launch the station serving as Program Director and host of the Gunther and Graham afternoon show. Graham also has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building ArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the Founder/Editor of SportsMashup.com.

“WEEI is more than a radio station; it is an entire sports ecosystem. From our on-air talent to Red Sox play-by-play to WEEI.com, where we had 1.4 million unique visitors just last month, WEEI is a more complete sports brand than ever before,” said Entercom General Manager Jeff Brown. “We are thrilled to announce today that Kevin Graham will lead WEEI as our new Brand Manager. His background both in front of and behind the mic, along with his years of digital sports experience made him the best choice to lead WEEI. Kevin will bring a fresh perspective to the entire WEEI team and our complete package of digital sports assets.”

“I am honored and excited to join the WEEI team. WEEI is one of the most recognizable and powerful sports radio brands in the country,” said WEEI Brand Manager Kevin Graham. “With great resources, amazing talent, and one of the best digital brands in sports, the sky is the limit. I can’t wait to get started, especially with the Red Sox in the midst of such a great season.”

OK then. We’ll see if Graham can save the WEEI “ecosystem.”

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.