The Walls Are Crumbling Down
There’s an old phrase that explains almost everything in life. All good things must come to an end. Nothing in this world lasts forever.
In 2017, WEEI was one of the biggest radio stations in the country. They had the best morning show with Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan, and they had some of the best sports teams in the country. They would make national headlines every Monday by interviewing Tom Brady. They even acquired their competition when they purchased 98.5 The Sports Hub from CBS radio. Everything was golden.
But then, it all came crumbling down. A “trans activist” started harassing advertisers of the most popular morning show in WEEI history. Claiming that they were transphobic and bigotted. What did the parent company do? They bent the knee to this activist and started coming down on Minihane and Callahan from speaking about anything controversial. “Stick to the Red Sox” they told them. Management purposely handicapped the station by not allowing them to do what made their show great.
Unmatched in talent at the station, Minihane saw the writing on the wall and the direction the station was going. After months of trying to appease this “activist” he finally decided to leave and is now on Barstool Sports with a very popular podcast.
After Minihane left, WEEI kept Callahan, who had been at the station for the better part of 2 decades, and partnered him with popular K&C third chair Mike “Mut” Mutnansky. This was doomed from the start.
WEEi had no plans to keep Mut and Callahan on the air for very long. In the summer of 2019, WEEI refused to renew Callahan’s contract. Abandoning the long time host. This was obviously the work of the same “activist.” Callahan’s right wing views were never a secret and he was not shy to share them on air. There is no question that is what contributed to WEEI letting him go.
Callahan is now the host of his own podcast on Podcast One.
While all of this was going on, Minihane was vocal about how the current management was destroying the station. Saying if you bow down to these “activists” they’ll never stop and eventually it’ll be you on the line.
Well it turns out, Kirk was right.
After Callahan’s release, Mut was moved back to nights, and a new morning show was necessary. Did WEEI go find some new talent? Perhaps bring in an established talent from another market? Or even try something syndicated? Nope. They took their partner station WAAF’s morning show.
The Greg Hill show was a show that was on for years in Boston. The show had some success, but was floundering as a talk show on a rock station. The move to WEEI did nothing to help these ratings. In the latest ratings book, the show finished behind adult contemporary and country stations. Never mind being demolished by competitor 98.5. That being the station that WEEI parent company Entercom, opted not to keep. Even though they had the rights to the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins. Seems smart.
WEEI as a whole was getting destroyed in the ratings. Even former Big Show host Glenn Ordway couldn’t help their afternoon show. The former legend routinely gets demolished by 98.5’s Felger and Maz. And midday show Dale and Keefe was just a trainwreck from the beginning That’s why they were moved off of afternoon drive.
That is a quick snapshot of WEEI’s ineptitude.
That brings us to yesterday. The news that long time WEEI host and living embodiment of safe, boring radio, Dale Arnold is “retiring.”
Arnold has never been an interesting radio host. And actually complained about Kirk and Callahan when the station was in the middle of its most successful period. The guy is just a cookie cutter version of your typical hockey snob, radio Johnny. In fact, WEEI had let him go in the past.
In the early 2010s, Dale Arnold was let go from his midday show with Michael Holley. The station would eventually bring him back, but he had to know his days were always numbered.
If anyone thinks Arnold willingly retired, you’re quite ignorant. The station is hemorrhaging money at this point. Dale and Keefe was their lowest rated show. Which is saying something. I can all but guarantee that management came to Arnold saying, either retire, or you’re fired. You can’t blame Arnold for retiring to try and save face.
In typical WEEI fashion, this the tweet they announced his retirement in: “Dale & Keefe- Dale Arnold announces his retirement; Discussing the worst free agent signings in Bill Belichick’s coaching history.”
As Gerry Callahan tweeted in response, the guy couldn’t even get his own paragraph. Minihane also responded with a tweet commenting on the lifeless nature of the tweet.
From a content perspective, the move made sense. Dale is terrible. He is a joyless bore. The decision by WEEI came about 6 years too late, but better late than never. Their tactics were suspect but hey, good riddance to bad rubbish.
Like some, I got to thinking. Maybe WEEI could use this opportunity and bring in some new talent. Or maybe some outside established talent. Perhaps syndicate an already popular show. That sounds familiar huh?
In typical WEEI fashion, they bring in another Boston radio reject in Andy Gresh. Gresh, who has spent time at small market WPRO in Providence, is going to be partnered with current midday host Rich Keefe. They wonder why they're last in the ratings.
They got rid of one old, boring radio host, just to replace them with another. Not only that, but Gresh was tossed from 98.5 a number of years ago. That’s why he was in Providence.
WEEI used to be a Boston institution. I was an everyday listener myself. The station that used to set the dialogue for the city of Boston is now an afterthought. Getting beat in the ratings by an automated adult contemporary station that has no on-air talent. They’ve spent enough time rehashing washed up radio hosts. They had a chance to do something new, and they just did it again. It won’t be long now before the station itself is repackaged and goes either adult contemporary or country.
I’ll end with this. Kirk. Was. Right.