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.


38 thoughts on “Toucher and Rich Featured in Boston Magazine

  1. So who else here goes to D&C for smart, entertaining and compelling sports talk?

  2. Due to an editorial mistake, Boston Magazine omitted the rest of Jason Wolfe’s quote.  Here it is, in its entirety:

    “If listeners want compelling, entertaining, and smart sports talk, they’re going to listen to Dennis & Callahan.  If they want to remain STD-free, they’re going to have nonstop sex with Paris Hilton and Snooki.  And if they want to stay thin, they’ll make sure to eat at least three full cans of Crisco per day.”

  3. Article was great. I wish they highlighted some of the feuds when D+C tried to claim they were #1, when it was patently false.

  4. The endless 98.5 ball-washing/WEEI bashing by many Boston media critics has grown tiresome. Sports Hub has been beating WEEI in the ratings for some time now. Congratulations to 98.5. I could do without having to hear the same recycled platitudes of praise that have been thrown at their feet for the past 3 years. 
    I get it… you didn’t like EEI’s personalities, politics, whatever and TSH is sooo much better. Can we please move on now?

    I happen to believe that much of the station’s meteoric rise can be attributed to the backup quarterback syndrome. The backup always looks great at first glance when compared to a past-his-prime veteran (see: Tebow, Tim) until you see him play over the course of an entire season. Pretty soon you realize the old veteran wasn’t so bad after all.

    Judging by many of the comments made on this site and others, WEEI no longer appears to be the last resort for sports talk that it may have been a year or so ago. Much the way people grew sick of EEI’s act, an increasing number of people seem to be turned off by the same-old shtick on TSH, including myself.

    By the way, I have a hard time classifying “Toucher & Rich” as sports talk radio. It’s more of a pop culture show that frequently discusses sports, rather than a sports show that frequently discusses pop culture (à la D&C). It’s essentially the same show they had on WBCN with a little more sports mixed in (it seems that way to me, at least). Personally, they’re not the first show I’d put on if I wanted to hear a detailed breakdown of last night’s game, but I can understand why many people like it.

    1. “Can we please move on now?”

      No.  I remember EEI tooting it’s own horn every time a ratings book would come out from about 2004 until their ratings got to be so bad they couldn’t claim to be the best no matter how badly they skewed the stats.

      You reap what you sow EEI.  If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.

      And to be honest, I don’t like either radio station’s morning drive hosts because I don’t like the “morning zoo” format of one (not to mention the sports team allegiances of the hosts) and the pomposity of the other (and Meter makes that show so much worse).

    2. +1 Guesty. I couldn’t have said it better myself. You nailed my feelings about the current state of EEI vs TSH. I still have trouble listening to EEI but TSH is starting to get a little too fat and happy as well as predictable.

  5. T&R are ok in small doses.  And other than rerunning stuff over and over and over and over again and passing it off as new it’s an ok listen. 

    I don’t understand the fascination with Jon Wallach.  You can bring in anyone off the street to scream “patriots 31st ranked defense” for 19 weeks — that’s local knowledge/bonafides? 

    I don’t see the humor/creativity in dvr’ing a Jon Gruden appearance on ESPN and than replaying it on the radio. 

    1. Still beats the “nothingness” you get over at WEEI.  They don’t even make an attempt to be creative. 

  6. I think Rich is the talent behind the show. He’s the one that puts all the bits together. Not to mention that he at least acts like he cares about Boston sports. Fred sucks. I would listen to that show way more often if he wasn’t constantly playing “the downer.” Plus he’s an effin Jets fan.

  7. Both stations are horrendous.  But you know what?  That is pretty much what sports raido is as a format – shock jock radio about sports.  The whole plan is to have the hosts say something crazy or controversial or downright stupid about the local teams and beat it to death for 4 hours.

    The Sports Hub certainly has younger personalities while WEEI is basically rolling out the same people they have for 20 years so it isn’t a surprise who is winning the ratings. 

    1. To add on to these points, the glory days of sportsradio that we fondly recall came during an era before stations were offering up 24/7 nonstop chatter.  Perhaps it’s impossible for any sportsradio station to give us the consistent, intelligent high-quality we desire when so many on-air positions have to be filled and there are factors like rating shares and ad rates that have to constantly be considered.

  8. And now.. for the broken record segment of the program, here I go again with the same things I’ve been saying for a while now: I have made this comment before and I will say it again until someone brings forth an opinion to challenge this, Sports Hub has better ratings right now not because they’re better but because EEI is public enemy number one in this town for sports talk radio. Toucher and Rich is not in the same league with D&C when it comes to sports talk but yet because of their past sins (i.e. non-stop polictical talk, and the medco story that won’t go away) we have crowned T&R as being better? Maybe for some other format but not sports. I honestly believe from listening to the guys on EEI, they sound unfazed by the Sports Hub, and I’m not saying they don’t react to certain things that come up between the two stations(See John Dennis) but I believe they know they’re ratings dipped not because they’re competition are better sports talkers but because they EEI are more hated and while they want to be number one,they seem to be okay. Thoughts on this?

    1. D&C are down in the ratings because of their smug/arrogant nature and the way they look down on the callers. Fans had been looking for an alternative to these two pompous asses long before Toucher and Rich came along. T&R are more of the “regular guy” type than D&C which is why they attract the audience they do.  T&R are fresh, creative and put prep work into their show which shows int he ratings.

    2. There is no “better”. It’s a matter of opinion. Neither morning show or station will be for everyone. Obviously right now more people prefer T&R and the Sports Hub, including myself. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “better”, just more popular.

    3. I’ll defend the editorial decision here. You have to admit that going from start->1st in ratings within a year or two is pretty stellar. Furthermore, they also took over #1 in every other spot. With the amount of other failures when it comes to sports talk, they did a great job. T+R also depart from the norm when it comes to sports talk. Are there any other stations in big markets that use two “shock jocks?” I don’t know any but also haven’t searched. Now, I can definitely say that friends of mine, all around age 30, were instantly turned on to this. Most either listened to a mix of D+C/ESPN before TSH or didn’t have sports talk on (count me here).

      1. Agreed, I thinks it’s truly amazing how fast they took over the overall ratings. My point is to a man, I believe what you will hear from most people who now listen to the Sports Hub is not how much better the sports talk is but it’s more about how happy they are about the fact that WEEI has “fallen” and that’s where TSH now hang their hats. However, it is about competition and the question still remains, who has the better sport talk, not who is a bigger jerk or who we can’t stand. Sports hub have nicer guys but can talk sports better than EEI? Question still remains. 

  9. Fred Toucher is just another in a long line of Howard Stern ripoffs.  His delivery, he personal life bits, nearly everything he does is unoriginal and derivative.  It speaks to the depths of Dennis and Callahan’s awfulness that a show centered around Fred Toucher complaining about his personal life is beating D%C in the ratings.

    My understanding is D%C stopped talking politics once they started getting killed in the ratings. Ordered from on high.  The only time I listen is when I haven’t changed the station from the night before and The last bit I heard was Callahan mocking battery disposal and mercury poisoning.  It’s all just a joke to Gerry.  The guy is a sociopath.  

    In short, sports radio blows across the board from morning until night it’s a wasteland of mind numbing blather that exists to get to the next commercial hawking hair products for men, predatory lending, coffee, and glass replacement.  That guy Rich isn’t so bad but this show is pretty terrible it’s just up against Hutu Power radio.

  10. can someone please tell me why mut and merloni are still hosting the midday show? seriously that show is so bad.

  11. I’ll summarize my own thoughts that seem to reflect a few others here when it comes to local sports talk:

    Many people here have more issues with WEEI than they do TSH, between all the shows. Felger being the #1 target at TSH. I am not a fan of certain things he does but the alternatives? Not much. WEEI seem to be fine with this or are doing a “just wait until they become too big/arrogant, you will be back” it sounds like.

  12. A winning combo for EEI is sheppard, Ryder, and Mike Adams.  They’ve been together a couple times for an hour or so before Celtics game, it’s actually really good sports radio like something you’d hear on WFAN.

  13. After reading all these comments, I’m convinced that choosing between EEI and 98.5 is akin to voting for a political candidate – it’s more a case of choosing the lesser of two evils than deciding which one is truly better.

  14. This belongs on the other post (or Game 3 thread when that comes out), but this is absolutely hilarious:

    ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty is one of the network’s best NASCAR minds,
    but it was in basketball that he originally made his fortune. Thus, the NASCAR Countdown
    studio crew handing the reins for the promo reader of tomorrow night’s
    Eastern Conference Finals game over to Daugherty was probably obvious.
    What they weren’t expecting, it seems, is for Daugherty to editorialize
    the copy, describing the matchup as “Paul Pierce and the Celtics against
    LeBron James and the officials.” Just a bored analyst having some fun?
    Or is the former Cavs stars still sore at LeBron for The Decision?


    Oops. Bet someone from Stern’s office phoned in on there.

  15. What it comes down to for me is really likeability.  When I listen to Toucher and Rich I understand I’m not getting top-notch local sports analysis but more on the entertainment level.  Dennis and Callahan have long been out of touch to my sensabilities and I’ll never understand how they survived the horribly racist Metco bus to Lexington comments.  Go Celtics!

  16. Toucher and Rich seem likable, D&C are dinks. Simple as that for me in the morning. Mut and Merloni are unlistenable in the afternoon, Gresh and Zo not much better, unless it’s football season. I used to at least check the big show to see who the rotating guests were, but since they switched to just Ordway and Holley, no reason for that either.

  17. The whole lot of them should come on down to Southie. We’d be more than happy to gut them like the dead fish they are.

  18. Play Action Sports Talk was the best. It came on Sundays at 10am on Hot97 and everything these guys on 98.5 do, those guys did it first and better! Small underground show but way better than every sports talk show out now! I know Im not the only one who knew of it? Pirate radio or not that was my show!

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