It’s official now. On a 9:00 am conference call, Jason Wolfe, WEEI Director of Programming and Operations, announced that Michael Holley will be the new co-host of the 10-2 midday show alongside Dale Arnold. Effective March 1st. They have agreed on a multi-year contract. Holley said that he is: “Very happy to be joining WEEI and the Dale & Holley program” noting that he’s sure to give Dale top billing. “Not going to a show that needs a tremendous amount of help, the show was number one before I got here and hopefully I won’t mess it up too much. Going to be a great program, Dale is great at leading the ship. He never seems flustered on the air.”

Dale said that he had a great time working with Neumy, he was humbled and honored by the names that wanted to replace him. Michael was at the top of the list. Feel that the the station has “debunked a myth about sports radio” in this town, the myth that people only listen when they want to be miserable or complain. Since the championships, they’re getting “goofy golf” numbers.

Jason Wolfe: Holley was at the top of the list from the start. Brings great credibility, name recognition.

Dean Johnson (Boston Herald) asked Holley what about radio appeals to him: “I like Boston. When I went to Chicago briefly in 2001 as soon as I got there, I realized I didn’t want to write about talk about sports in that market. I love talking to the Boston fans. Out of all the mediums, newspaper, TV you don’t know who you’re talking to, on radio you can talk directly to people. Just love sitting around and talking about sports.”

He added that this is not a reclamation project here. He doesn’t want to take the show in a different direction. The show will just naturally be different because his personality is different from Neumy.

Dale said that “Jason has never tried to steer anyone in the direction they should do their show.” Michael brings a comfort level to his (Dale’s) type of conversation. Holley added that Dale doesn’t do the trumped up sports talk where each side takes a opinion and they make a show out of it. He doesn’t like that type of radio.

Background on Holley – he is 34 years old, grew up in Akron Ohio, (Same as Lebron James) started at the Akron Beacon Journal 1992. Moved to the Boston Globe in 1994, covered Celtics for 3 1/2 years. He started writing columns in 1998, left briefly for Chicago in 2001, returned back to the Globe, left again in 2004. His last column for them was covering Bruins/Canadiens game 7.

Arnold on show prep: A lot the night before, watching TV, then come in and go through the papers, go to Tries not to do the show between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning, better when it’s spontaneous.

How important was it to add a person of color: Wolfe – not at all, just wanted the best person, it has nothing to do with it. Now that he’s here all it means is that the station continues its practice of hiring the best person. Never crossed his mind that he was a person of color.

On the naming of the show: Dale and Holley has a bit of an easier flow than Dale and Michael. The idea behind names of shows is to just make it easier to remember. (And for ratings people to put into their diaries)

Like to add a Dale and Holley element that’s unique to the show.

Bill Griffith asked a side question: Is there a new contract in place for Pete Sheppard? (pause) Wolfe: This is all about Michael Holley.

Onto the links:

The Celtics led for most of the night in Los Angeles, but faltered down the stretch and fell to the Lakers 104-95. Shira Springer has the game story of the loss, which pushed the Celtics back down to the .500 mark. Last night was the first time Gary Payton played against the Lakers since being traded to the Celtics last summer. Steve Bulpett has a piece on Payton’s thoughts on the return. Springer’s notebook looks at former Celtic Chris Mihm, who is fitting in quite well in LA. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce expressing disappointment in Kobe Bryant for telling tales out of school.

Manny Ramirez is the topic of the day from Spring Training. (Sorry, it’s CVS Spring Training now) Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox slugger, who has found a comfort zone in Boston – something many thought impossible. Steven Krasner looks at Manny’s media session and some things he found out about his swing in the offseason. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox new Mr. Congeniality. Dan Shaughnessy also files a piece on the happy Ramirez. David Borges looks at the transformation of Manny from “Howard Hughes to Howard Stern”. Karen Guregian also has a piece on the “New” Ramirez. He was also a guest on Dennis & Callahan this morning, and was every bit his carefree, likable self.

Chris Snow has a look at the Red Sox first full squad workout of the spring, in front of a couple thousand fans. Jonathan Comey isn’t a big fan of how the Red Sox have conducted themselves since winning the World Series. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on the woman who handles the Fenway Park switchboard during games and some of the crazy calls she gets. John Tomase has a look at Red Sox prospect Brandon Moss, an outfielder who had a monster season in “A” ball last year. Karen Guregian looks at Bill Mueller, who is working to get back from knee surgery as soon as possible. Gordon Edes talks with former Red Sox team doctor Bill Morgan about the issue of steroids in baseball. Morgan says that there was no evidence of steroid use among Red Sox players during his time here. He realizes that Canseco was using while here, but didn’t see it. Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a column on the Yankees trying to forget about the Red Sox and focus on their own team and success. One note – Howard…what’s up with calling Gary Sheffield “one of the most outspoken and coolest cats” around? Snow’s notebook has Mueller ahead of schedule in his rehab. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the ongoing issue of the Rings. Krasner’s notebook has more on Mueller. Borges’ notebook has Mueller and Johnny Damon hoping to sign new deals with the Red Sox.

As expected, the Patriots slapped the franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri yesterday, the second time they have done it to the kicker in his career. New Globe Patriots beat writer Jerome Solomon reports on the move. Michael Felger also reports on the move and has a number of other Patriots notes. Tom E Curran has more, and gets into the contract status of Ty Law and Tom Brady a little bit as well.

FSN has Celtics/Nuggets at 9:00. ESPN has Providence/Seton Hall at 7:00 and Rockets/Spurs at 9:00. ESPN2 has Duke/Georgia Tech at 7:00 and Boston College/Villanova at 9:00.