The Rise and Fall of WEEI

Yesterday, on the Big Show, The Big Obnoxious Glenn Ordway announced that Michael Holley would be joining him as a co-host on the program starting February 28.  This was advertised as a huge announcement on the radio station all day long.  I know this not because I listen, but because Twitter kept me updated.  See, I stopped listening to WEEI a long time ago.  And this move of bringing Michael Holley, and effectively releasing Dale Arnold from his mid-day show, will not be bringing me back anytime soon.

If I did listen to WEEI over the past few months, it would be to the Dale and Holley mid-day show.  They were the only show on the station that let the caller speak without getting screamed at for no other reason then offering an opinion.  Dale and Holley embraced their listeners and didn’t shun them like the rest of the employees at the station do so expertly.  This made the sports talk radio fun.

WEEI has hammered the Boston market over the heads with the stats of being the highest rated radio show in the nation.  They fail to recognize that the only reason for those statistics is they had zero competition in the market.  By zero, I mean none, not even a high school radio club had a station going.  People only listened to WEEI because their were no other options.  If you wanted to listen to sports talk, you had to tune into WEEI whether you wanted to or not.  I would much rather (and have) listen to Michael McDonald than The Big Show, hell I’d rather listen to Kenny G or Conway Twitty.

The Big Show lost me as a listener when they released Pete Shephard citing economic times as the reason for letting him go.  This was fresh after they made The Big Obnoxious the richest man in sports radio with a $1 million a year contract.  I never understood this move and still don’t.  When Shephard filled in for Ordway, the Show was infinitely better in my humble opinion.  Instead of really saving money and dumping Ordway, they sign him to a huge contract and dump Pete.  This makes no fiscal sense and I can’t wrap my mind around it.

The best thing that happened to Boston was the birth of 98.5 The Sports Hub.  They actually talk sports with their listeners.  They don’t yell over their callers.  They don’t try to embarrass their callers.  They don’t shamelessly advertise their Steak Houses.   The only people they grill are the guests they have on their show.  I once hated Michael Felger as much as the next guy.  But listening to him everyday, I have grown an appreciation for the man who may have unpopular opinions, but backs them up.  He isn’t afraid to ask his guests the tough questions at all.  He has no hidden agendas and might very well be the best there is on the radio.

Now that WEEI has competition in the market, they are scrambling to figure out how to compete with 98.5.  Dennis and Callahan (WEEI) are neck and neck with Toucher and Rich in the morning.  Doesn’t WEEI realize that people don’t like listening to two pompous and arrogant guys, who, if you have a differing opinion than them, will scream at you? Doesn’t WEEI realize that if people wanted to listen to talk about politics, they would turn on NPR?  Why is this so hard for the powers to be at WEEI to figure out?

I can’t really speak about the mid-day show for Gresh and Zo on 98.5 as I have always been a Dale and Holley guy.  But now, with this move, WEEI is breaking up the one show that is actually winning the ratings war with 98.5.  With that being said, I really hope the best for Dale Arnold in all of his future endeavors.  Maybe he and Pete Shepherd can get a show together in the near future.

WEEI has to realize that people are sick of Glen Ordway and his cronies.  Why is Glen so tough with his callers and yells at them for not thinking the way he does, but then goes and massages Bill Belichick’s shoulders and feet while he is interviewing him.  When has Glen Ordway ever offered up a hard question to a guest?  He doesn’t.  He is a European soccer player.  He is a Montreal Canadien.  He is a turtle going back into his shell.  Michael Felger?  He goes right after his guests and hammers them with questions.

98.5 talks all four major sports all day long.  Try to call WEEI and talk hockey.  You get laughed at, scorned, and then blown up.  But wait until the playoffs come and all of a sudden Ordway and pals are experts in hockey and know everything about the state of the Bruins and his callers are mere lepers in the sports world knowing nothing about The Big Bad Bruins.

It is sad that WEEI is collapsing faster than the 2004 Yankees.  They have an easy solution right in front of their eyes and instead they decide to break up what is working for them.  WEEI can solve its problems by simply getting an FM signal in Boston.  Instead they continue to employ The Big Obnoxious and let go of the guys that allow its clientele to speak and actually generate conversation about sports topics.

The fact of the matter is 98.5 is the best station in the Boston market.  It’s hosts are knowledgeable and they understand what their clientele wants.  The sports radio population are a group of people who just want to talk sports.  They want their hosts to ask the tough questions that they would ask coaches, players, and GM’s if they had the chance.  If they wanted to get screamed at, they would sit in their boss’s office all day.  WEEI has failed to identify with their target market and they are now paying the price.

I can be followed on Twitter @ Scottientcf

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4 Responses

  1. Awesome job scottie. I for one have been a 98.5 guy since the month they came out. Mostly because I started a new job in concord nh and weei’s AM signal couldnt reach quite that far. I have NEVER looked back. I used to be obsessed with EEI but 98.5 was so easy to get sucked into that my decision was clear.

    FELGER is my aboslute FAVORITE guy on the radio too. It really doesn’t get better than him. I truly feel people who hate him are those who like to ignore the truth.

    Again, awesome job here buddy!

  2. Can’t agree more Scottie…I was always a WEEI guy…back when I used to call in, it was always with Dale and Holley, mainly cuz of the time I worked, but they were always the best to talk to, even if I was outlandish, they would listen…now I finally jumped on the sports hub bandwagon a few months back and haven’t looked back…nice to have an alternative…well written kid

  3. Toucher and Rich have been on of the best shows on radio for a long time, even back when they were on BCN in Boston they talked Bruins. Well done Scottie, and as much as I hate to admit it, I think Felger is growing on alot of people, including myself.

    Keep up the good work man.

  4. Thanks guys. I didnt realize people shared my resentment of WEEI. I appreicate your support!

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