Toucher and Rich Declare Spring Victory

Public ratings are out tomorrow, but Toucher and Rich are already celebrating. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the lineups do, considering how May went.

Update: Gresh and Zo are declaring victory over WEEI:

Toucher and Rich Featured in Boston Magazine

98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich are profiled in the latest issue of Boston Magazine, in a feature by Alan Siegel.

Revolution Radio

While the column mostly focuses on the rise of Toucher and Rich, (and all of 98.5) and their backgrounds, it also looks at the fall of WEEI.

A quick sample of the arrogance of T&R’s direct competition:

When asked about Toucher and Shertenlieb that summer, Gerry Callahan — their direct competition — said he’d never heard of them. “I am speaking to you from under my desk right now because I am so scared,” he told the Herald’s Jessica Heslam. “I’m afraid to come out.”

Then, to close the feature, after T&R had beaten D&C in four quarterly ratings periods:

In March, I asked WEEI program ­director Jason Wolfe about ­Toucher & Rich’s bomb-throwing.

“Sticks and stones…” he said in an e-mail. “If listeners want compelling, entertaining, and smart sports talk, they’re going to listen to Dennis & Callahan.” For his part, Callahan declined comment via e-mail. It’s unclear if he did so from under his desk.

Way To Go, CSNNE.

This is the star that the Television home of the Boston Celtics has attached its wagon to:

He is on their airwaves for about 8 hours a day, between the simulcast of the Felger and Mazz radio show, and UNO Sports Tonight and the repeat showings of that program.

While most “green teamers” can switch the radio during Felger’s show over to WEEI for semi-intelligent Celtics talk, CSNNE viewers. many of whom tune in to see the Celtics and programming related to them, have no equivalent alternative in that medium. NESN pretty much ignores the Celtics altogether, beyond cursory highlight packages.

The Celtics apparently, are OK with this arrangement.

“Green teamers” apparently occupy an even lower slot than “footy pajama Patriots fans” when it comes to Felger’s contempt. Not sure where the “Texas Tough Guy” fits in when compared to those two.

January Numbers See 98.5 Still Riding High

Thanks to Chad Finn (on vacation this week, but he still posted this to his blog) we have the Arbitron radio numbers from January.

The trend continues.

Morning drive: Toucher and Rich: 12.0 share. Dennis and Callahan: 8.6.

Midday: Gresh and Zo, 11.8; Mut and Merloni, 6.0.

Afternoon drive: Felger and Mazz, 11.0; The Big Show, 7.3.

Chad doesn’t mention whether this includes the Providence numbers for WEEI. (But honestly, how much difference could they make here?) Is this WEEI AM and FM against 98.5? or just one? Update: Chad checked in with me to clarify that the WEEI numbers are for both 850 and 93.7, Arbitron combines them as one. The numbers do not include Providence, but as I said, it’s not going to make much difference here.

I’m just wondering so we’ll know when can we put the FM argument to rest.

Does it mean anything that Felger and Mazz is 98.5’s lowest rated daytime show?

I’d like to go back to when it was announced that 98.5 would be coming on the air, and WEEI management was asked for comment.

From Finn on July 17th, 2009:

On Tuesday, Julie Kahn, vice president and market manager of Entercom New England, told the Globe, “This is the third effort to come after us at ‘EEI. The best content will win.”

I’m not sure it’s really about the best content…

From Don Aucoin on July 15th, 2009:

Jason Wolfe, vice president of AM programming for Entercom New England, which owns WEEI, voiced confidence the station would withstand the challenge. “It doesn’t change what we’re going to do,” Wolfe said. “We’ve dealt with competitive situations before, and we’re fully prepared to deal with it again. . . . We have the largest audience, and we know what it takes to maintain that audience.”

Apparently, they didn’t know what it took…

Thinking About The Patriots Radio Situation

We’ve got a long ways to go until August, when the Patriots will play their first preseason game and debut what is almost certain to be a new broadcast team.

It will be a topic of interest until the official announcement is made. Boston Globe media writer Chad Finn has said that long-time analyst Gino Cappelletti has almost certainly done his last game in the booth. He’s also said that play-by-play man Gil Santos would like to do another season.

The pair has done 28 seasons together, 21 of those consecutively. However, as Finn noted in a December 23rd column, the time has come for changes to be made in the radio booth.

Finn’s column was met with one of two reactions – agreement, or anger. The suggestion that these two broadcasting legends, who have called so many great (and some not-so-great) moments in franchise history, would no longer be on the air, is not an easy one to take. The genuine affection between the two of them is palpable, and almost familial.

It is certainly more noticeable with Cappelletti, as the Patriots AFL legend struggles to keep up and get his thoughts on the game across. Santos has attempted to cover for him, and you could even hear it in pregame talks with Bill Belichick in recent years, that the coach too was making an effort to make things easier for Cappelletti.

As for Santos, he’s still got the great voice, even after 35 seasons of calling Patriots games. No one is going to dispute that. His call of the missed kick by Billy Cundiff to clinch the AFC Championship for the Patriots last month was classic Santos. He still paints a great picture and has the strong voice. However, he sometimes struggles with the action on the field, such as whether a ball is caught or dropped, and which player made the play. I don’t know the situation in the booth – would he benefit from a strong spotter, to assist him with some of these things? I’d like to find out.

Bringing Scott Zolak into the broadcasts this season as the sideline reporter was a very good move. His enthusiasm and ability to see the field as a former player gives him some good insight into what’s happening, and he’s able to convey that. Bringing him into the booth is a no-brainer. I would very much like to see what a Santos/Zolak pairing in the booth sounds like, perhaps with some more help for Santos as well. (Maybe he already has it, and still struggles, which would be very depressing.)

But how long could that pairing go? It seems like Santos might have one season left. Then what? The rumor over the last few years was always Gary Tanguay as Santos’ successor, some have even suggested that the carrot of that role is why he didn’t kick up a bigger fuss when he was replaced by Andy Gresh alongside Zolak on the 98.5 mid-day show.

I’ve heard Tanguay do Celtics games from time to time, while his voice is strong and prototypical for a sports announcer, honestly, I don’t want him doing Patriots games. Tanguay in the role may not be a foregone conclusion, however. This season momentum seemed to be picking up for John Rooke, ( @jrooke0722 ) who currently does the PA work at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots and Revolution and is a veteran play-by-play announcer and radio broadcaster.

Some have asked about Sean McDonough. While the former Red Sox voice has the pedigree and name recognition to be a strong candidate, he’s currently very busy with ESPN, being the voice of the Monday Night Baseball telecasts, and doing a ton of college football and basketball as well. I’m not sure what the logistics could be with bringing him in, but it seems a longshot at best.

With Zolak going to the booth, it would seem that doing that would take him off of the pregame show. Who should replace him there, alongside Tanguay and Gresh and the rest of the cast? I think 98.5 has the perfect candidate in Mike Flynn, who played his college ball at Maine, and had a strong 11-year run with the Baltimore Ravens, finishing up his career in the training camp of the Patriots in 2008. Flynn is very good analyst, oftentimes a voice of reason. He’d be the best fit for that role.

Could Flynn also be used in the sideline reporter role that Zolak had this season? It would depend on whether the Patriots Radio Network wants to keep that position. They may feel that it was just created for Zolak to get him involved with Santos and Cappelletti this season and sort of ease the transition. If they keep the role, I’d like to see Flynn give it a shot.

If you want a real longshot candidate for the play-by-play role in the future,  you could do worse than Flynn’s usual partner on 98.5, Ryan Johnston, @RJVoice who has done some fill-in work on the Boston Bruins radio broadcasts and has very good chemistry with Flynn.

So what we might see for next season is this:

Play-by-play – Gil Santos
Booth Analyst – Scott Zolak
Sideline reporter/analyst – Mike Flynn

Pregame: Gary Tanguay, Andy Gresh, Mike Flynn.

Of course, I’d love an entirely new pregame show, but as Jonathan Kraft apparently loves to have his franchise torn apart on its own flagship station’s airwaves, that’s probably not going to happen.

Depending on how Santos does this season, could he do more? Perhaps Zolak lifts him up a bit and he can get another couple years in? That’s hard to say. I wouldn’t mind it, given the likely alternatives at this point. As far as I’m concerned, Santos can have the job as long as he can keep doing it. Unfortunately, that day is likely to come sooner, rather than later.

Change isn’t always easy, but sometimes it just has to happen.

Bringing Out Friday Megalinks

The last few Fridays, I haven’t been able to provide you with the megalinks. I have to do some today otherwise you’ll stop visiting me.

We begin as always with the Weekend Viewing Picks and there are quite a few for this snowy weekend in Southern New England.

Now to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks with Fox Sports’ Terry Bradshaw about Tim Tebow and the upcoming NFC Championship.

Jason Fry, part of the ESPN Poynter Review Project hears sideline reporter Holly Rowe’s side of the story regarding about her now-infamous incident where she shoved a Sugar Bowl staffer away to get an interview with Michigan coach Brady Hoke.

Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter looks at HBO’s new unscripted series on boxing trainer Freddie Roach.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Eric Deggans has a review of the Freddie Roach series in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center.

John Eggerton at Broadcasting & Cable says Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has written a letter to the FCC asking the agency to get involved in the Sunbeam-DirecTV dispute which could affect how viewers in Boston see the Super Bowl.

John says Comcast is seeking a reversal of a Federal decision that ruled in favor of Tennis Channel in their dispute.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says DirecTV has signed a rights deal to distribute Big Sky football and basketball games.

Anthony Crupi of Adweek says History Channel has purchased a longer ad to promote its series, “Swamp People” during Super Bowl XLVI.

Brian Steinberg from Advertising Age tells us who’s buying what in Super Bowl XLVI.

AdAge looks at the 12 ads that changed Super Bowl marketing forever. Three guesses on number one and the first two don’t count.

Brian says marketers are going longer with their Super Bowl ads this year in an attempt to stand out.

Finally, Brian writes that even though we’re not thinking about next year’s Super Bowl XLVII, CBS already is and has been working on getting an early start on ad sales for that Big Game.

Inside Radio says all of Cumulus’ Bay Area radio stations will simulcast Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

From across the pond, Amy Lawrence of The Guardian in the UK says Fox airing an English Premier League game live over the air is a big deal.

Kevin Iole of Yahoo looks into NBC Sports Network’s first foray into boxing.

Dan Levy at the Bleacher Report wonders which network can muster enough former NFL talent to drum up a flag football game.

Mac Nwulu of ESPN’s Front Row PR blog has an inside look at the preparation of Sunday NFL Countdown.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing chronicles this week’s Twitter feud between Sports Illusrated’s Richard Deitsch and CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

Speaking of feuds, The Big Lead looks at an internal ESPN squabble between college basketball analyst Jay Bilas and insider Andy Katz.

Sports Media Watch notes that ESPN is making a major scheduling change for the WNBA this year.

SMW has a look at some local NBA and NHL ratings.

Tennis Channel laments not being picked up by Cablevision.

Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group takes a look at CBS’ and Fox’s preparation for the NFL Conference Championship Games.

Sports TV Jobs has an interesting graphic of sample camera positions at various stadia and arenas.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn from the Boston Globe talks with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Mike Flynn.

Bill Doyle at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette interviews legendary Patriots radio voice Gil Santos.

Newsday’s Neil Best says local TV is gearing up for the NFC Championship.

Neil talks with former New York Giants running back and NBC analyst Tiki Barber who makes his return to TV this weekend.

George Vescey at the New York Times looks forward to seeing Sunday’s English Premier League game live on Fox.

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick is not a fan of the NFL replay review process.

Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for CBS Sports’ and WFAN’s Boomer Esiason.

The Albany Times Union’s Pete Dougherty has some NFL TV analysts break down the four quarterbacks still playing for a shot in the Super Bowl.

Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record has Fox’s Troy Aikman talking about the NFC Championship.

Ken has more from Troy in his blog.

Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com notes in Press Box that last week’s Texans-Ravens game set a local ratings record.

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun attempts to get answers from CBS on having Subway endorser Ndamukong Suh on last week’s NFL Today postgame show.

And David has former Ravens QB and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer opining on Ed Reed’s comments on current QB Joe Flacco.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says the Nationals are hoping to get more money from MASN as the sides negotiate a new contract.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with the radio voice of the Wizards about his busy schedule.

South

Keith Jarrett at the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times says the Big South may have to move its Conference Championship Game venue which could effect ESPN’s scheduling.

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (AL) News says SEC partners CBS and ESPN want better scheduling for next football season.

Jerry Tipton of the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader writes that the SEC’s basketball coaches aren’t happy over the scheduling-for-TV moves this season.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says the Texans’ flagship radio station hopes to build on the team’s momentum when their new contract kicks in next season.

David has some news and notes that didn’t make his column.

Nancy Sarnoff of the Chronicle says NBC Sports Group is looking for a new facility to house the Comcast SportsNet Houston regional sports network which launches later this year.

Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman notes that the Texas Rangers will have multiple appearances on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says HBO continues its string of acclaimed sports documentaries.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says don’t expect NFL Conference Championship Sunday to change its format for the foreseeable future.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune feels Fox Sports North just cheerleads for Minnesota teams and won’t criticize them.

Paul Christian from the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin looks at Fox Sports North’s Hockey Day in Minnesota schedule.

Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has CBS Sports President Sean McManus wanting to keep the status quo for NFL Conference Championship Sunday.

West

John Maffei of the North County Times looks at MLB Network’s first-ever game show which premieres next week.

Jim Carlisle from the Ventura County Star says CBS was hoping to get Tim Tebow for its NFL Today pregame show on Sunday, but he declined.

At the Los Angeles Daily News, Tom Hoffarth profiles Fox Sports West host Patrick O’Neal and has his list of best and worst local sports anchors.

Tom has a bit more on O’Neal.

Canada

Bob Weeks in the Toronto Globe and Mail notes that CBC has gotten out of the curling business, a sport it has televised since 1962.

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail says the Raptors may be suffering on the court, but not on TV.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog looks at the International Olympic Committee throwing out CTV/CBC’s joint bid to air the 2014/2016 Games.

And that is it. Glad to be able to provide the Megalinkage for you.

John Henry Speaks Out On Felger and Mazz

Red Sox principal owner John Henry made a surprise visit to the Felger and Massarotti show this afternoon, after taking exception to how he and the organization were being characterized by the duo.

The interview was contentious at times, with the hosts asking very pointed questions of the Red Sox owner, and not always allowing him to finish an answer before moving to the next point. In the end, Henry stayed on the show for 90 minutes, and took every salvo launched at him.

The item that most will grab onto from this interview is Henry assertion that he did not support the move to sign Carl Crawford, a statement that has to have the outfielder feeling warm, fuzzy and wanted by his team.

This interview further cements Michael Felger’s spot atop the sports media landscape in Boston, and having Henry come to their studio instead of going to the flagship station of the Red Sox (WEEI) is a major coup as well.

 

Felger And Massarotti To Be Simulcast on CSNNE Starting This Fall

98.5 The SportsHub and Comcast SportsNet New England announced this afternoon that the Felger and Massarotti show would begin a daily simulcast on CSNNE beginning sometime this fall.

The exact date that this will start is not known yet, as a studio is being completely rebuilt/refurbished for this show. Felger said in the announcement that they wouldn’t just be throwing black drapes over the windows – an obvious shot at the WEEI/NESN arrangement – but that they would be “doing it right.”

This further cements the 98.5/CSNNE relationship, and Felger also said this has been in the works for some time, as during the early days of the station, they actually broadcast for a time from the CSNNE building while their studio was readied.

More and more, sides are being drawn, WEEI and NESN, 98.5 and CSNNE. It’s interesting to watch things develop and wonder where they might come to a head.

One thing I appreciated about this announcement was that they said they would have an announcement at 3:00 and they actually announced it at 3:00. Not 3:20, but actually at 3:00. Imagine that.

Friday Megalinks Just For You

Let’s do some linkage.

The Weekend Viewing Picks give you everything to you need for your viewing pleasure.

Let’s do this.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that primetime is the right time for college football.

Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Daily reports that ESPN has sold out its ad inventory for its new NASCAR non-stop initiative which will allow fans to see continuous race action while commercials run.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says NFL Network used some creative methods in Boston to promote its Bill Belichick documentary.

If you watched the Belichick documentary, then you probably know about the best scene which was the coach yelling at the Baltimore Ravens’ Derrick Mason who was trash talking. Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has the video.

Brandon Costa from Sports Video Group notes that Sports Illustrated has released a new Football Rivals mobile app.

Sports Media Watch says ABC is doing well with college football in its first two weeks of the season.

SMW notes that last Saturday’s Notre Dame-Michigan game on ESPN in primetime did better than the previous week’s Fighting Irish game on NBC.

SMW says last week’s NASCAR race in Richmond garnered a four year ratings high for ABC.

Tony Manfred of the Business Insider Sports Page says sports bars got hit the hardest by DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket technical difficulties last week.

Steve Lepore from Puck The Media has NHL Network’s preseason schedule that begins next week.

Joe Favorito says sports brands are now jumping into the corn field maze craze.

Awful Announcing has this week’s network TV on-screen typos.

Parade talks with ESPN’s Erin Andrews.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn from the Boston Globe writes about some ex-Patriots players who have made the transition to TV.

Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald talks about 98.5 The Sports Hub winning the prestigious Marconi for Best Sports Station in the country over a former winner, WEEI.

Bill Doyle at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette praises the NFL Films documentary on Bill Belichick.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir looks at a rare film that followed the late Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto and other ex-Pinstripers to Austria for an exhibition game in 1994.

Daniel E. Slotnick of the Times writes that former New York Jet and broadcaster Sam DeLuca has passed away.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with statistician Steve Hirdt about his career and getting to work a “home” game for this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.

Neil says SNY is fortunate to have the Jets as a partner to help viewers forget about the Mets.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is angry at everyone.

The Post’s Justin Terranova has five questions for YES analyst Ken Singleton.

Jerry Barmash in Fishbowl NY writes that MSG Network brings back its signature hockey studio show for another season.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that local sports anchor Andrew Catalon gets a call-up to the NFL on CBS in October.

Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record talks with MLB Network’s Brian Kenny about why he left ESPN after almost a decade and a half.

Ken has more with Brian Kenny in his column.

Ken is tired of NHL Network rerunning last season’s playoffs.

South

Serena Moyle of the Tallahassee (FL) Democrat profiles ESPN’s Erin Andrews as she’s in town for the Oklahoma-Florida State game.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says you watched the NFL in droves last week.

David says ESPN is treating Longhorn Network differently than its other entities.

Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman writes that Longhorn Network will pick up one Oklahoma State basketball game.

Mel has some news and notes.

Gina Mizell of the Oklahoman says ESPN is keeping a close eye on Oklahoma State and Texas A&M for a potential College GameDay visit.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Fox Sports Ohio expands its pregame show tomorrow to air highlights of Johnny Bench Night.

John says a local radio station has fired a long-time sports reporter and other parts of its staff.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with a long-time Division II college football radio voice.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says some local Time Warner Cable subscribers will have access to this Saturday’s Wisconsin game.

Bob explains why the Wisconsin game isn’t on TV.

Bob says the Brewers’ Prince Fielder will be seen in a profile on TBS Sunday.

Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says all of the Blues games will be televised for the first time ever.

West

Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune writes that ESPN’s deal with BYU has now become a recruiting tool for the school.

Matt Solinsky of the Desert (CA) Sun says the NFL Network documentary on Patriots coach Bill Belichick is definitely “must see TV”.

John Maffei from the North County Times tries to discover what the holdup is for the San Diego Padres’ TV and radio rights.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star says Time Warner Cable has signed a long-term deal for California’s high school championships.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times talks with the Fox NFL Sunday crew.

T.J. Simers of the Times writes that Vin Scully can cause trouble at home.

Also from the Times, Eric Sondheimer has details of the Time Warner deal with the California Interscholastic Federation.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Jay “The Rat” Mariotti is determined to get the last word on his tumultuous year.

Tom has some media moves that didn’t make his column.

Tom says MLB Network will air a special on statistics.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says an 8 year delay will help Steve Moore in his lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the NHL stemming from an incident in Vancouver.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada has finally made some moves to fill some personnel holes.

And that’s going to conclude the links for this Friday.

2011 Approval Ratings – Rich Shertenlieb

Rich Shertenlieb is the co-host of the Toucher and Rich show mornings on 98.5 The SportsHub.

After 10 years as the front man of the punk band Miller’s Tale,  Shertenlieb started his radio career at Atlanta alternative station 99x, where he first met Fred Toucher. After a few years there, he was offered a job with the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning show, a nationally syndicated program. In 2006, he teamed up with Toucher for the Toucher and Rich show on WBCN in Boston. In 2009, the duo made the transition to sports talk radio when 98.5 The Sports Hub came on the air.

Rich is best known for his comedy bits on the program, which include bits such as “Ask A Pink Hat”, “The Drunken Red Sox Recap” and “Naughty Massarotti.” He has had bits featured on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The CBS Nightly News and Dateline. He made national headlines for asking Delonte West at Celtics media day to set the record straight about LeBron James’ mom.

Rich is also the President and co-founder of The Miracle League of Massachusetts, a baseball league for children with special needs.

Rich Shertenlieb 2011 Approval Ratings
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