WEEI received the  Marconi Award for Sports Station of the Year last night at the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Awards dinner and show.

Entercom Boston’s entry beat out stations from Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit to win the award.

So WEEI is the number two sports radio station in Boston, but the best in the country. I think we’ve now figured out who voted Brandon Meriweather as a Pro Bowl safety those two years, and who vote Derek Jeter as a Gold Glove shortstop every year. It’s these people.

Seriously. After the well-documented struggles WEEI has had in the ratings department (though they’ve bounced back impressively in recent books), where they finished behind their local competition in many areas, they get the award as the best sports radio station in the country? Makes sense to me. (Awaiting defensive, passive-aggressive email from Jason Wolfe in 3…2…1…)

Elsewhere in media:

Media Roundup: Is Mike Felger Dictating Local Patriots Coverage? – Chris Gasper’s line yesterday about how Patriots fans are “expected to just nod in the affirmative, utter “In Belichick We Trust,” and walk in lockstep off a cognitive cliff” got me thinking about how many in the local on-air media do exactly the same thing to someone with a much shorter and less impressive record of success than Belichick and the Patriots.

Bruins announcers put on ice by NHL lockout – Chad Finn talks to the Boston Bruins television and radio announcers about how the lockout will impact them.

Tuning In: Holy Cross radio sidekicks astute, emotional – Bill Doyle talks to Holy Cross football radio announcer Bob Fouracre about working with analysts Tom Kelleher and Gordie Lockbaum.

NFL has lost a giant in Steve Sabol – Chris Gasper writes about the passing of the NFL Films pioneer.

Catching Up With Legendary Boston Globe Columnist Bob Ryan – Sports Business Daily has an interesting interview with the recently semi-retired Ryan, who believes newspapers are doomed, among other things.

The Patriots take on the Baltimore Ravens on NBC’s Sunday Night Football this weekend. Keep up with it all at PatriotsLinks.com.

We’re one week away from Celtics media day.


37 thoughts on “WEEI’s Marconi Award and other Friday Notes

  1. Love ya, Bruce — but this might be the most wrongheaded thing you’ve ever put on this site.

    Leaving aside that this is WEEI we’re talking about….. Quality does not equal popularity. Something can be the second-rated thing in a market — or even the worst rated thing in the market — and still be objectively the “best” in quality, which is what the Marconi award is ostensibly awarded for.

    By your logic, anyone who says “A Tale of Two Cities” or “The Hunt For Red October” is “better” than “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a Derek Jeter gold-glover… because “Fifty” is CLEARLY more popular than either of those, having sold millions of copies more, which means it gets higher “ratings” than those two. So it’s better, right?

    And you actually logically contradict your own argument with the Derek Jeter comment. Jeter wins those gold gloves because he is more popular, and not because he has superior quality, which is the point of using him as an example. But you’e also saying it was wrong to give EEI this award because they were less popular. So you’re basically saying “Anyone who votes for the less popular station for a quality award is someone who would just give the quality award to the most popular person.” So which is it? Do you give quality awards only if the subject is the most popular, or should quality awards be given irrespective of popularity?

    I despise EEI with a passion, and can’t conceive of how any sane person or organization would give them an award for “excellence”. There’s dozens of arguments to be made attacking this award on its own merits. But saying “I can’t believe they gave this award to the second-rated station in its own market” is exactly the Derek Jeter argument that you claim to hate.


    1. Whew. I read the first sentence and assumed you meant my Felger column.

      Fair enough, good points. As long as we agree it is inconceivable that EEI could win an award for excellence, I think we’re good.


  2. Great column on Felger. What gets me is how many of the media types in this town don’t stand up to him, don’t challenge his views — most, especially those on CSNNE and on 98.5, simply regurgitate the same crap day in and day out. Are they intimidated by him? Don’t want to rock the apple cart of “Felger & Mazz”‘s ratings?

    The great thing about successful radio tandems, historically, is when you put 2 people together with contrasting points of view. Tellingly, Felger doesn’t have that — he has a guy who never, ever does anything but say yes to him. If there’s a general disagreement, ever, on that show, it’s Felger mildly taking issue with something squeaky voice has to say….but the argument never goes very far or becomes very interesting.

    It’s the same deal with most of the media types. Nobody wants to challenge him. Doesn’t make for interesting conversation, that’s for sure, unless you like Felger ranting for 4 hours like white noise every day about how much everything sucks.


    1. On the “get big guests on”, haven’t we discussed before how.. inconsequential/does not move the dial the interviews are? Sure, Brady/Hoodie’s interviews wind up getting writeups by Reiss/others here, but when Rob Ninkovich or others are on, does it move the dial?

      Your point that “he doesn’t get them on because of the views he espouses”, I completely agree with. However, if the interviews are not getting them extra listeners and nothing noteworthy, does it matter in the end?


      A few posts ago, I made the list of Felger’s airtime on CSNNE. You’re over 12 hours a day, with most being reruns, but I wondered if someone at CSNNE was a little alarmed at the over saturation.

      Another thing: NBC is clearly trying to push its SportsTalk. Obviously, it’s nowhere near what ESPN has, which just partnered up with WEEI. CBS is also clearly trying to bolster up the same type of operation. CBS and NBC are also trying to bootstrap their sports networks on the TV, with NBC ahead here because of hockey (who knows where it will be next year), and Comcast having the supreme advantage of offering NBCSN for free with most cable packages and making people pay for CBS. At some point, will CBS/NBC not appreciate the “sharing” of talent? A NBC network syndicates a CBS program, which is a nice partnership, but will this ever be in jeopardy? Or, what if CBS wants its talent on its network and/or CSNNE becomes more exclusive with what it has on its networks/properties? I wondered if this would be a problem in the future.


    2. The pats wouldn’t insist on going to AM because it sounds worse and the money would end up in the same pocket and felger would still be felger. The reason there is no Pats Friday stuff on 98.5 is because WEEI has the contract for it, which was entered into before 98.5 was on the air. It used to be on 890.


      1. How would that stop TSH from declaring its Friday slate “Patriots Friday?” or would Kraft not allow them with the radio agreement for games? They could do “Football Fridays”


        1. You cannot use the word “Patriots” in reference to the football team in a commercial enterprise. It’s a violation of trademark.


    3. Just nit picking on a slow Friday…
      Can’t really see the Pats ownership and management looking to switch radio networks because of a loud mouth radio host on the flagship station. The Krafts ties to CBS run deeper with the NFL TV contract and the CBS Scene restaurant in Patriot Place for them to be concerned with blowhards who are consistently proven wrong on the radio airwaves… If we were talking about the Sox ownership then I would be in absolute agreement with you. Krafts are businessmen and the only way they jump is if it is in their best interests financially for the long term.


      1. Bingo. How many times has ESPN/CBS/FOX shown Leslie Moonves sitting next to Kraft in his box during games? I think people forget this…


      2. I totally understand how connected Kraft and CBS are from the top down. I’m just…well, surprised…that 98.5’s general rhetoric as Bruce points out is what it is, especially when much of their building block is the Patriots.

        I’m just saying, if they cared enough to dump DeOssie from their programming, surely they must, to some degree, care about how the station that carries their programming frames and portrays the team. If it’s not Gresh and Zo (who can be critical obviously but are usually fair), then it’s almost a constant stream of anti-Patriot talk on that station all day, every day. Maybe they can live with it (and will), but it’s a question worth discussing. And if nothing else it is surprising how negative the station is as a whole towards the organization.

        Perhaps if Felger “got the memo” from CSNNE that he can’t trash the Celtics every time he’s on their airwaves, he might get a note from the 98.5 powers-at-be that what he’s doing is too agenda-driven and relentless for its own good.


  3. Something about these Marconi Awards, I get the feeling that they aren’t on the “up&up” If WEEI wins “Sports Station Of The Year” that just tells me the rest of this country’s sports stations must REALLY SUCK.
    Anyway, Bruce you should win an award for that Media Roundup column. Great stuff. The Sports media world will always confuse and frighten me. I mean when ESPN the biggest most popular sports media machine in the world is still televising ..”Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable” …that about says it all.


    1. Didn’t TSH/WBZ-FM win this last year? They spent a week doing a victory lap but, looking at the finalists, it seems like they just rotate finalists between the major 15-20 stations in the nation.

      So, is the award just industry celebrating itself, a la Hollywood, or a joke like Nobel prizes have become over the past decade (see ’97 Economics and on if you don’t think so)


      We have it good here. Frequently, when discussing sports talk, I invite people in other markets to listen to WEEI/TSH. I’ve never got a “wow this station blows”. Personally, I also think that the competition between EEI/TSH keeps both as good as they are. I know everyone here has their tastes in hosts/stations/etc, but I’ll reissue my declaration that you need both to keep each good.


      1. I can tell you the sports station here in Vegas is much better. The only problem is that all but 6 hours a day is ESPN. But the local shows are very, very good. And cover important stuff, like gambling, fantasy footall and baseball, and which strip bars have the best football parties.


        1. The Vegas guys I follow on Twitter for various things always mention ESPN1100, if that’s what you mean?

          I’ve never listened but hear good things on the show. They also seem to have on the best “experts” in fields–I assume this is due to the betting culture demanding the best.

          I’ve listened to a bit of Philly Sports Talk, which seemed to have some descent shows on 941WIP. NY has ESPN and WFAN, which seem to have a healthy competition like the two do here. When I’ve listened to Chicago stuff, after Bears stuff, it was lacking. It was two “former players” who had 0 flow/host abilities. If you can’t “host” a show properly, I don’t know how you can maintain a show. However, since I don’t get exposure each day to the markets, I don’t really want to put some definitive stamp on it all being bad.


    2. Having listened to sports radio in a few different markets, I can say that most other stations really do suck. The stations in major sports markets like NYC, Boston, Philly, Chicago, etc just happen to suck a little bit less.

      I’ve developed a preference for WEEI over TSH, especially over the last 9-12 months. In my opinion, the quality and “freshness” of TSH’s programming has really gone down hill over the past year or so, (along with its ratings apparently), so of I’m not surprised WEEI won over 98.5, who wasn’t even nominated anyway.

      I know it’s been in vogue to bash WEEI around here over the past few years, but at least they’ve made some attempt at improving the product, which I don’t think you can say for TSH. Whether or not this turns into a sustainable ratings advantage for WEEI remains to be seen, but just because they haven’t dominated the Arbitron books shouldn’t disqualify them from Marconi consideration.


      1. I’m not crazy about either station but I find there’s more diversity in the collective voices on WEEI. Perhaps that’s why they’ve rebounded back in the ratings — listeners can only stand so much of the same old Felger routine on 98.5

        I also believe that WEEI’s overall line-up would be viewed much more positively if they didn’t have the black hole of Mutt & Lou between 10-2. I’m surprised they’ve stuck with that show as long as they have, because even though they’ve “improved”, it’s still insignificant and boring — which applies to both hosts.


        1. Agree 100% on that. I have yet to understand what management saw in Muttnansky to give him a full-time role on the station. Entercom needs to take these major programming decisions out of Jason Wolfe’s hands. I still think Merloni could be semi-successful with an experienced co-host to help carry the discussion, like when he was a frequent guest on the Big Show.

          I’d love to hear what a pairing of Holley and Chris Mannix would sound like in the afternoon should Ordway be saddled with a reduced role at the station once his contract is up. Mannix is a younger guy with local roots who I think was more than capable of discussing non-NBA topics in his stints as a WEEI fill-in. Not sure what his availability would be with his commitment to SI, but maybe he could still retain a columnist position similar to Callahan or Massarotti.


          1. What you’d worry about in replacing Mutt & Lou is that Wolfe is going to tap another lame personality like Minihane to take that slot. Clearly Minihane (for reasons that escape me) has been groomed for it as he’s been the #1 fill-in guy all summer on the Big Show.

            I agree with you on Merloni….his issue to me is that he seems to be better at complimenting a co-host who’s going to do more of the heavy lifting, and that clearly isn’t Mutantsky.

            As far as the Big Show — I think Holley is almost as much of a problem as Ordway. He’s a smart guy, but he often holds back opinions and seems to “coast” most of the time instead of really providing an informed commentary. There’s just way too much beating around the bush there, but like Merloni, maybe with the right co-host his game could be raised too.


  4. Speaking of the whole .. whatever you label this week in the world of Journalism .. AA did an interesting article on CFB Coaches and their coverage. Mentioned are two stark contrasting coaches, but both with the best programs (1 and 2, AP Poll) and much recent success: Saban and Les Miles. If you’re unfamiliar with Saban, he’s not only a BB buddy (both are Croats(sp), but a clone when it comes to media:


    Also, it looks like Sweden now can sign NHL guys, which might open the flood gates. However, I love how the NFLRA gets more attention than the NHL lockout. NHL does really not move the dial, as mentioned by many.


  5. I don’t get these Marconi people.
    How can a station that sends a glofirifed intern to an Apple store wth a giant cardboard head of Mr. Local Bonafides who reads the same scores every 20 minutes for 4 hours not be in the running?
    Get your house in order Marconi voters.


  6. just turned off Felger. Started on a “wingnut” rant. I hate politics in my sports talk. And I hate the use of political broad brushes. No wonder this country is screwed up…You’re catagrorized as being on one side or the other and those that put you in the other side bucket will call you derogatory names. No longer can you be independent. You disagree on one issue and you’re put into a bucket.


  7. MUCH more diversity of opinion from the hosts on WEEI.
    It’s like they all read off the same sheet of paper at the Hub.
    WEEI also get much more impressive guests.
    The guest lists are not even close.
    Can anyone tell me why Roosevelt Colvin, a retired Patriot from several years ago and one who lives in Indianapolis Indiana is a weekly guest on T & R?? Why?????????????
    The Hub’s weekend hosts are embarrassingly weak.
    Amateur hour all the way. There is zero quality depth with staff at 98.5.
    Bruce, do not equate popularity with quality.
    No question when the Hub first came on I like many others were thrilled to have an alternative and listened often. That has since waned. Tired of the same schtick and the same talking points show to show to show…..


    1. The WEEI troll continues to spew propaganda, another job well done “linda austin.” The weekend hosts are weak on TSH? Correct, Mustard and Johnson, Matt Perrault, Butch Stearns are much better options.


      1. Doesn’t this happen with every “not nice things said about” whatever station where it looks like a swarm of interns or a person with multiple accounts winds up hitting the site? As I did before with one of these, it’s easy enough to match up the text using the same thing college professors use to detect plagiarism (5th order markov chains, etc) .


      2. Yeah, I forgot to respond to this at the time.

        saturday on ‘BZ: Gaspar and Bertrand are perfectly fine, if agenda-driven and irritating. (Gaspar’s got good info, even if he’s determined to slant everything. This one epitomizes Bruce’s media roundup point.) Don’t listen to ’em much, but more than their counterparts on ‘EEI. Johnston and Flynn are actually quite good. I listen to them on purpose. Wiggins and Murray are irritating and boring and I avoid them like the plague.

        saturday on WEEI: A brief ‘Down on the Farm’ show, in which Alex Speier is a little stiff but has good info; Mustard and Johnson, who need to be off the radio; Arnold and Minihane, who are fine if Minihane isn’t feeling excessively contrary that afternoon; and Pete Sheppard, who I don’t listen to, but am glad he’s back from being frozen out. (They sometimes put Minihane with him, which helps less than I hope because Pete remains the host.)

        Sundays: Um, not sure of the official schedules, given games, but WEEI has the (crowded) football show, which is perfectly OK. BZ has Hardy and Trup, who are kind of fun. That’s a win either way.

        Oh, and then you have their Pats postgame shows, in which we all lose because they all /SUCK/.

        Advantage: WBZ, for me.

        PS — For a long time, Colvin was on ‘EEI. He’s fun.


  8. The Marconi Awards, like TV News Emmy’s, simply represent radio people backslapping other radio people. “Look at how great other radio hacks say we are.”


  9. That 3-2-1 thing that you used at the end of your WEEI/Marconi bit? It’s been beaten to death. It’s the kind of thing that teenage boys use in sports web site comment threads to pre-empt criticism of their position.

    Personally, I listen to Scott Van Pelt in the afternoon. I’d rather deal with SVP’s forays into golf and college basketball than Red Sox talk – Joe from Everett: “Let’s trade our injured utility infielder and a bag of balls for a starting pitcher with an ERA of 2.3.” I’m a sports fan, not a Boston-only sports fan.


  10. I wouldn’t even necessarily care that much about Felger dictating the discussion if he were just saying, “That doesn’t make sense, here’s why.”

    It’s when he and his cadre directly accuse other reporters of lying or being shills for the team that I really object.

    His agenda doesn’t fully encompass Zo & Gresh, and Johnson and Flynn don’t care, but DA is freakin’ ridiculous and whoever they had yesterday afternoon was boring /and/ driven by Felger’s agenda.

    (Also, I’m listening to ‘BZ for part of this game, and a) while it hasn’t reached the “I hate you and don’t want to be sitting next to you” heights of Dale Arnold and Joe Castig, I don’t think Gil is quite comfortable with Zo yet, and b) good lord has Santos mixed up a lot of receivers. I mean, I give him slack but this is riduculous.)


  11. New Orleans is 0-3 (and how they lost), Cardinals are 3-0, Steelers lose like we did … the amount of FAIL on Sunday afternoon? Where to Begin? See the Titans/Lions game? The 49ers are us this week with the loss to the Vikings. Jim Harbaugh got 2 challenges w/0 timeouts.. wow is the NFL a mess right now

    Anyone know where to begin?


    1. You’re comparing the Pats losing to Baltimore with SF losing to the Vikings?? I’m not sure that’s a valid comparison.


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