The news came suddenly yesterday, the Boston Phoenix, in business since 1966, would be closing its doors, and today’s issue would be the final one.

There wasn’t a lot of focus on the Phoenix here at BSMW, but the paper certainly had its share of sports media stories over the years, a few of which they were kind enough to call and ask for a quote or opinion or two from me.

There are plenty of tributes out there today, and I’ll pass along three from former writers of the Phoenix.

The Ashes of the Phoenix: Saying Good-bye to a Boston Institution – Charles P Pierce remembers the paper, and gives a good anecdote of how the paper was certainly different from the mainstream press in town:

In 1982, when the 76ers beat the Celtics, and the Garden erupted into a chant of “Beat L.A.!,” the great Bob Ryan interviewed Darryl Dawkins and found Michael Gee, then covering the game for us. You have to have this quote, Ryan told him, because we can’t use it. Ryan had asked Dawkins what he felt like when he heard that chant from a Boston crowd.

“Man,” Dawkins said, “when I heard that, my dick got stiff.”

If I recall correctly, that was Gee’s lead.

Boston Phoenix 1966-2013 – Gee himself also weighs in, and he and Pierce both feature the late George Kimball in their tributes.

The Boston Phoenix comes to the end of the road – Dan Kennedy, former media reporter for the Phoenix, also has a few thoughts.


Mike Salk ready to team up with Michael Holley – Bill Doyle says that Salk will make his WEEI debut next Wednesday, and talks to him about the transition.

Bruins ratings up big for NESN – Chad Finn looks at the increased ratings for the Bruins, who are beating the Celtics handily this season in that department.

WEEI sent this over today as well:

ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo and Bob Ryan will fill in for Cedric Maxwell during WEEI 93.7 FM’s Celtics broadcast on Saturday evening with Sean Grande. Russillo is co-host of the SVP & Russillo show heard weekdays 1-4 p.m. on ESPN WEEI 850 AM in Boston. Ryan is a renowned sports columnist with the Boston Globe.


18 thoughts on “Farewell To The Phoenix, And Bruins Rate High on NESN


    Boston Bruins games have averaged a 7.0 rating on NESN so far this season, on pace to shatter last year’s full-season record of 4.7. By comparison, the Celtics averaged a 3.1 on Comcast SportsNet New England during the first half of the NBA season, and the Red Sox averaged a 6.4* on NESN during the 2012 MLB campaign. (NESN)

    Any other non-Canadian market where hockey > baseball happens regularly? Chicago this year? Detroit?


  2. Oh boy…

    ‏@MikeReiss Pats aren’t planning to pick up Brandon Lloyd’s $3m bonus, but open 2 him returning w/ restructure, sources tell ESPN

    Couldn’t have timed it better. F+M must be salivating right now.


  3. Does this mean the Patriots errrr WEEI is trying to phase Maxwell out of the system errr broadcast?


  4. Interesting that Ryan Russillo will be on WEEI airwaves. How much longer will it be before they unveil the Russillo-Minihane morning show that will inevitably happen?


    1. You think they’re getting rid of Callahan too (Dennis’ departure can be assumed–maybe they’ll just move to RKO like many have supposed). I listened to Callahan and Minihane for a bit this morning, and Gerry seemed to have no energy. Either he was sick, or he’s upset that Dennis is on his way out, or he’s just not up to the task of being the primary man in a show. Minihane had to drive the conversation forward constantly and pick the poor old guy up. I was feeling a little badly for Callahan after a while.


      1. The thing about Boston media I don’t get is just how long people have their jobs on TV, radio, and in newspapers. That has started to change as people come to the market young and then leave for jobs at national publications or in other cities, but at some point, all the Baby Boomers who have been in the market since the 80s and 90s will be out of work because the profession will no longer provide the jobs they have had at the salaries they are comfortable with if they are doing little more than phoning it in. WEEI will be able to compete again when they have a lineup of hosts who are younger and cheaper than the competition


    2. Ryen re-upped with ESPN on a multi-year before he hit free agency. Part of his contract, which expanded his role at ESPN, also included re-branding of the SVP show to include his name:


      As for the morning show, Finn writes in his column:

      Dale Arnold, Gerry Callahan, and Kirk Minihane is a very
      good show. As we heard this morning, Callahan and Minihane alone (with the latter handling getting in and out of the breaks and other duties that the absent John Dennis does well) might be even better. If there was any concern before this week regarding how to repair the morning show, there shouldn’t be now. Seems to me they’ve found two solutions.

      Couldn’t agree more.


      1. So the solution is add Dale and watch as he carries yet another person to a great show. I hope Dale, if he agrees, insists on a 5 year contract.


      2. I think Callahan/Minihane/Arnold makes a good show, but doubt it sticks around. I get the feeling new Entercom Boston suit, Jeff Brown, wants nothing to do with existing or past WEEI personalities. Being a radio bigwig, he knows what Boston really wants is a dumb, obnoxious, out-of-town (i.e. cheap) personality, like a Dan Sileo or Jen Royle, shoved down our throats. Somebody ought to tell Jeff this isn’t Colorado or Virginia, or whatever other lame sports market he’s worked in. Unless someone remotely qualified starts calling the shots over at Entercom, we’ll be hearing 24/7 ESPN Radio on the 93.7FM signal two years from now.


  5. An emotional (wow, who thought he had this side?) absolutely torching Felger and Mazz on the Welker thing right now.. loving this.. I really hope they post the audio.


      1. Corrected. Thanks.

        Reiss earned himself even more respect after that. As much as I normally enjoy F+M, their worst came out this week and it got ugly. How they handled the Welker thing should serve as tape on how to not approach topics on sports talk.

        From Curran:

        @tomecurran I see @MikeReiss handed it to Silver Spoon and The Squeak today. Good. 2 guys easily bought questioning Reiss’ work? Please. #Anythingfora$

        Hope CSNNE doesn’t have social media guidelines similar to ESPN.


        1. Reiss earned “more respect”? Think he’s always been the most respected in this town when it comes to Pats talk, despite Felger’s “fifth Kraft son” belittling.

          I think this was a really, truly awful week for F+M. I usually can take or leave Felger for a few minutes but he was utterly insufferable all week, and his brainless partner — whose weaknesses seem to be amplified with every passing day — does nothing but act as a lapdog to his drivel. The two of them were like clowns, whether it was the Welker situation or hilariously opening the Friday show with a cash register because, in their minds, the Pats were “cheap” since they had the gall to wait 48 hours to make lots of signings. Mazz even said “there’s nobody left who’s any good, they’ve backed themselves in a corner waiting it out and being cheap.”

          At last, those who usually sit there and let Felger go on his soapbox finally pushed back. Even Curran and Reiss can only take so much after being called “liars” and “toadies” for the team by Felger all week long. He’s always been an obnoxious jerk but he pushed the limits this week by personally trashing the good, solid reporting of people like Curran and Reiss. But as always with Felger, only HE speaks “the truth” and has “agenda free” discussions.

          By comparison, EEI had a great show Friday with Pete, Curran and Jack Edwards — funny, insightful, and everything F+M’s transparent crap wasn’t. For all the people who want EEI to fail, this week was proof positive 98.5’s days at the top may be numbered when they put out garbage like Felger spewed all day long.

          This was a really bad week for F+M, accentuating every weakness in their pairing and then some.


          1. I wasn’t sure how to word it it properly. He had a ton of respect. He earned himself some more. I can’t think of a proper word or superlative to describe that and was trying to be brief.

            Yeah, I still have no way to word how bad it was. If, somehow, they think its some winning strategy going forward, I can’t see it going over well with listeners based on the responses online.

            Patriots fans, all the time, aren’t happy about them bargain bin shopping every year. They can also bring up the “Buddy Nix” point that if #12 wasn’t on the roster, none of this would work. However, they’re not the only organization doing this and, as Jason LaCanfora said on WEEI that morning, it’s what most of the elite/winning organizations do. The Ravens Superbowl roster was constructed the same way and it’s why many of their guys are gone.

            But, in attempts to drive the point home, manipulate and ignore the timeline that Reiss presented, Curran backed up, even prompting Reiss to call in order to defend his credibility is shameful. At one point, they seemed to even throw Bedard in this mix, without using his name. I get that some of this fortitude might come from the dissonance between local/national media on the Red Sox front but to now just assume all of that on the airwaves? I never understood why they didn’t put together a timeline or construct the chronology before going to that length of “you’re with us or against us” attitude that I thought Felger hated.


  6. From Bill Doyle’s article above:

    “Kirk Minihane, columnist and weekend co-host, has joined WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan morning show in a role greater than a sports update anchor, but not equal to a co-host.

    “It’s a great modification of that what role was,” Wolfe said, “and gives him an opportunity to shine and that’s what he’s doing.” ”

    If he’s not a co-host, but greater than an update anchor, what is he?


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