I really don’t know what to think about this whole situation. Part of me firmly believes that at sometime during the Jimmy Fund Radiothon at the end of this week, there is going to be a WWE-like return of Dennis & Callahan to the WEEI airwaves. Another part of me says that they’ll drag this out until the first week of September, just as the Patriots season is ready to start, with the media attention increasing with each passing day as the situation is played out in the newspapers and on the internet blogs. The third possibility is that there really IS a contract dispute going on here.

I’m not all the way convinced that this whole thing is a ratings stunt, but if I were, here are some of the reasons I’d cite:

  1. The constant jokes from other programs on the station. The Big Show has been making incessant mentions of being “locked out” and giggling like they’re on the inside of a big joke. If this was real, wouldn’t there be a company-issued gag order in place here? (Much like discussing Callahan’s illness.)
  2. Along those same lines, for months we’ve heard nothing about Callahan’s illness, or about the status of their contracts. Now, all of a sudden there are moles all over the place, eagerly feeding the likes of myself, David Scott and the Herald.
  3. The line from George Regan, spokesman for WEEI and parent company Entercom Communications: “It’s a great time for a vacation, and it’s a great time to walk the beaches of Cape Cod to relax, reflect and think” – just seems way too casual for what the situation is purported to be. If it is revealed that this was just a stunt, then Regan’s quote suddenly takes on new meaning.
  4. They’ve done this before. (See Adams, Mike.) The station would like nothing better than to make their critics look like fools. If they can “use” certain people to further the sham, all the better. It’s the bully mentality, which has in part, made them so successful. With the WWE tactics, they’re aiming to grab the attention of the casual fan, while knowing that the smarter fan is probably going to come back and listen even if they’re ticked off by the antics in the short term.
  5. If this drags out, can’t you just imagine the daily updates on the situation and the attention it would bring to the station. Then in the end, it all just works out and the station has their ratings AND their top ranked duo, with Callahan back to work after his courageous battle.

Other items to consider:

If this situation is real, then somewhere along the line, Callahan changed his absence from a health-related one, into a labor-related one.

I can’t believe they’d mess with the Jimmy Fund Radiothon. It seems both sides might be using this huge charity event as part of the negotiations. In the sparse quotes that have come from both John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, they have mentioned the Radiothon, you can be sure that Entercom and WEEI are using the Radiothon on their end as well to pressure the duo. Rather than bringing attention to the Radiothon, they’re actually causing a distraction from the more important cause.

If D&C are really broken up about missing the Radiothon, nothing is preventing them from visiting the kids on their own or writing out their own checks to the cause.

And as a BSMW reader points out: “The hosts at the station should not accept any credit for, or otherwise feel good about themselves during, the Radiothon. They are simply showing up for work and getting paid for talking into a microphone, as they are contractually obligated to do. The only difference is that for this one day, the boss man tells them to talk about cancer-stricken kids instead of sports. They are not sacrificing a thing.”

The Jimmy Fund Radiothon is all about the listeners who donate the fund to reach the goals and about the patients who need the support to continue treatment. It’s not about the hosts, but that is what WEEI is trying to do. There is always plenty of back-patting among themselves for this event, and if Dennis and Callahan come riding in on the white horse during the event (with Callahan having a cancer survival story to tell) it will reach new heights.

Patriots Friday will be back on 890 ESPN this season, and it was announced today that Troy Brown, Matt Light, Ben Watson and Mike Vrabel will be the Patriots Players on the Mike Felger-led show this Patriots season.

We’ve got a new staff member over at Patriots Daily.

Mike Reiss checks in with another edition of the Ask Reiss Mailbag

Eric Wilbur notes that Jon Lester faces a really nasty challenge on what should be “his” night at Fenway.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Barry Bonds’ new legal team looking to sue those who make unproven accusations against the Giants’ slugger is “directed at (Curt) Schilling more than anybody.”

Gregg Easterbrook has another edition of Tuesday Morning Quarterback, including a section on the Patriots.

Peter King mentions Asante Samuel’s situation in his Tuesday edition of MMQB.

Tom Verducci picks his All Time MLB team.

Sean Deveney looks at the top remaining NBA free agents.

Sports Media Journal has an interview with New York Newsday sports media columnist Neil Best.

WFAN announced their new morning show – Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.

7:00pm, NESN – Devil Rays @ Red Sox