Isn’t workplace drama always interesting? Especially when it has nothing to do with you and is happening on a very public scale.
That’s what we have here in the Boston area radio scene.
It was announced this morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub that top rated morning show Toucher and Rich is no more. Troubled host Fred Toucher went on this morning saying that co-host Rich Shertenlieb will not be back on the show and a “new show” will start in the new year.
The hosts have been feuding for some time after as we’ve discussed here before. All of that seemed to settle down for a few months, but then all of a sudden Rich changed his Twitter account that was labeled as the show account and swapped it back to his personal account. This was strange. A source told BO Blogs that both Fred and Rich were in the midst of contract negotiations. Then Kirk Minihane said on his show that Fred had resigned with the company but Rich had not.
That seemed bizarre because Toucher has had his issues with substances and illnesses, while Shertenlieb was there more often and really righting the ship while Fred was out.
Then there was another strange Twitter post where Rich directed people to his personal account from the Toucher and Rich official account. People speculate that the Twitter account was Rich’s property and was becoming part of his negotiations.
Then the announcement came this morning. Former Barstool Sports producer and current freelance real estate infomercial guru Dave Cullinane posted the announcement on Twitter. Cullinane claims to have known on Tuesday that the break was coming. The message was then passed along by former WEEI night host and current BO Blog competitor Mike Mutnansky of Mutst*ck.com. Meanwhile, Boston Globe media reporter Chad Finm was, by his own admission, “asleep” when the biggest story in the media breaks. Typical Globe.
In the announcement, Fred Toucher said he has no “hard feelings” toward Rich, and that he “knew nothing” of what was going on with Rich’s contract. To me, if there weren’t any hard feelings, I feel like RIch would have at least made his co-host aware that the show might not be in the best of shape. I’m not a huge listener to the program, but from those who have heard, the two were very rarely on the radio at the same time, and when they were, it was awkward.
I don’t know what the real situation is, but it seems impossible that this was a simple business decision. The two of them clearly despise each other. Fred claimed that there was no “ultimatum” declared by Rich saying either him or me. Yet again, this seems like bologna. If there were no ultimatum or demand made, Rich would have gone on to do his own farewell show, instead of Fred doing it. They also claimed that even Rich didn’t know yesterday was his last show. Again, that is very hard to believe. Rich clearly knew his contract situation and didn’t want to tell his coworkers.
If I were one of these guys on the show, if I wasn’t already mad at Rich for playing games, I’m furious with him for not giving us some kind of a heads up. I mean you do what you need to for yourself, but you need to notify the show that this may be a possibility. That’s an asshole move. I wish they had the balls to let these two go on and hash this out on air. Instead they took the move of making the announcement and then moved on to boring football talk. Fred then made a joke about the show having “money to spend now that they freed up a bunch of room.” A guy who is shocked about his co-host with whom he had “no hard feelings” leaving the show. I don’t know what all the lying is about. If you don’t like someone, just say that and move on promoting the new show.
Now the speculation moves to what this new show is going to look like. I think everyone does not want John Wallach to slide into that spot. He is terrible so if they do that nobody will listen. Names like Joe Murray who hosts the night show at the station. He seems to be the leader in the clubhouse. A caller to the show mentioned perhaps having Kirk Minihane in for an hour. Fred rightly mentioned that management wouldn’t allow that. That same caller then floated the idea of Mutnansky of Mutst*ck.com. Toucher laughed and said, “yeah why not.” The last name that got put out there was the potential for the return of Adam Jones from WEEI. That is unlikely.
As for Rich, I think if WEEI doesn’t take a shot for him they deserve what they’re going through even more. Nobody believes EEI has the money that Rich is going to ask for. Toucher was clearly the talent on that show, but Rich will demand a big number. He probably has something lined up, or told 98.5 that he did to try and leverage his position, but they didn’t budge. Wherever he goes, he’ll pop a quick rating on his first show with people wanting to hear his reaction to the whole thing. In my opinion, he’s an insufferable douche nozzle, so he won’t tell his side and try to just talk about sports. People will realize he stinks, and turn off his show.
The real story here is that the number one morning show in America just broke up and 98.5 will still destroy WEEI in the ratings. Fred Toucher will continue the show with all of the same guys he had, which really tells you they all hate Rich, and nothing will change. Rich will try something, go the way of Adam Jones, make some money and do a putrid show. It’s that simple.