The Death of WEEI

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As a follow-up one of my more ranting articles, The Last Days of WEEI, posted almost a year ago now, I thought I’d share some recent developments that I thought were interesting concerning the current state of sports talk radio in Boston. As reported by the Boston Herald, WEEI is now being thoroughly thrashed in the ratings by upstart 98.5 The Sports Hub almost across the board in the key demographics of 25-54 year old males and 18-49 year old males. WEEI is the home of the Red Sox and Celtics broadcasts while The Sports Hub hosts the Bruins and Patriots.

What is tells me is that I am not alone in my distaste for the way WEEI has chosen to conduct themselves in recent years. Old fart radio with a clear, heavy political bent versus hardcore sports talk with a younger, hipper, funnier approach (and an FM signal on a highly recognizable station) is obviously winning out.

Decidedly.

It’s how it should be. When a listener such as myself, loyal to the station for nearly 20 years, decides he’s has enough and leaves you for good, you know you’re doing something essentially wrong to the format that, for so long, was so successful. Whoever it is that allowed the right wing politics to permeate the airwaves and diluted the sports talk (if indeed they haven’t already been fired) must now see that the Writing Is On The Wall. Listeners like myself have jumped ship in droves and continue to do so.

And guess what? There’s no going back. After listening to 98.5 for an extended time, any brief switch back to WEEI feels like going back in time to something old, worn out and stale. The stench of death is in the airwaves.

Amusingly enough, the only WEEI daytime show still beating 98.5 is the Dale and Holley Show, the least political, most balanced and most informative show on their airwaves. There’s a message there, if anyone at WEEI is bright enough to understand it.

As the current trend has revealed, that seems to not be the case.

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3 Responses to “The Death of WEEI”

  1. nightfly Says:

    Spot on, Ken. Keep the politics out of it. Some of my favorite sports blogs and columns get nearly ruined for me when the author decides to suddenly lurch off into half-baked politics. Even if I agreed with them, I wouldn’t want to hear it. It usually brings everything to a complete halt.

    Columnist Jay Nordlinger calls it “the death of safe zones.” It’s harder and harder to simply enjoy a hobby or activity for its own sake, without somebody injecting an opinion that has nothing to do with the topic – or worse, demanding that the activity in question is actually political, or must be (and of course, must agree 100% with his or her own opinion, or be completely invalid as an activity for any decent person). It ruins whatever you were trying to enjoy in the first place.

  2. gonz Says:

    Situation is worse here in Cincinnati. The Reds’ flagship station is a hotbed of political idiocy. There’s no local sports talk here, we get ESPN radio. Not that we have a lot of sports to talk about with the Bengals and a minor pro Hockey team.

  3. Ken Socrates Says:

    WEEI is paying the price in ratings for their choice so there is a certain justice. It’s something I’ve always had a gag-reflex aversion to. Politics and Sports just should never mix in my mind. Sports is what I use as a healthy distraction from those unpleasant realities.

    Curt Schilling is a good example. Here’s a guy who helped break an astonishing championship drought for the Red Sox and bring joy to the heart of millions but somehow managed to taint it all with his media-hog personality and his decision to use his celebrity to become a political mouthpiece. It’s not that I think the man shouldn’t have opinions or express them. It’s his right and if that’s his choice then so be it. It’s just I can’t stand how it interferes with my enjoyment of my sports. I don’t want to have to look back at the World Series of 2004 and think “Ugh. Schilling.”

    There are a lot of places to find political debate if you want it. The ball field, the arena, the court. These are not the places. I think the wisest atheletes just keep it private, keep it separate.

    I never want to know how Mike Eruzione votes. I never want to hear Cam Neely’s opinion on immigration policies. Dwight Evans, don’t ask don’t tell.

    Line combinations and pitching rotations. Those are the debates for me.

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