Infobox Radio Station
name = WEEI
branding = "Sports Radio 850 WEEI"
slogan = "The Sports Station" and "We're the number 1 sports station in all of (east, central or western) Mass"
airdate = 1930 (frequency, as WHDH)
frequency = 850 (kHz)
power = 50,000
class = B
facility_id = 1912
Red Sox Radio Network Providence College Boston Celtics Fox Sports Radio Boston College New England Revolution
webcast = [http://wmc1.liquidviewer.net/weei Listen Live]
website = [http://www.weei.com/ www.weei.com]
callsign_meaning = Edison Electric Illuminating (original owner of 590 kHz when it was WEEI)
WEEI is a sports
radio stationin Boston, Massachusettsthat broadcasts on 850 kHz from a transmitter in Needham, Massachusetts. The station is one of the top rated sports talk radio stations in the nation. Studios are located in Brighton, Massachusetts.
WEEI's local programming is heard on a network of stations that broadcast throughout the
WEEI traces its roots to its original owner, Edison Electric Illuminating (hence the call letters). Edison placed the station on the air on 590 kHz in 1924. ["Boston Globe", article, "Edison Co Opens New Station, WEEI", September 30, 1924, page 6] In 1926, WEEI became a charter member of the
NBC"Red" radio network and remained an NBC "Red" affiliate until 1937, when the station was purchased by CBSand became an affiliate of that network. Until 1960, WEEI, through CBS Radio, was the last Boston radio station to devote a large amount of its program schedule to "traditional" network radio programming of daytime soap operas, comedy shows, variety shows, and similar fare.
For the remainder of the 1960s, WEEI was New England's first talk-radio station and home of such hosts as Howard Nelson, Jim Westover and of course,
Paul Benzaquin, one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in Boston history. The '60s also saw the daily "WEEIdea" feature that presented cleaning and cooking tips from housewives.
Although its talk radio format was popular, the station went all-news in 1974, following the lead of several other CBS-owned stations. At first, WEEI wasn't 24/7 all-news; the station's late-night schedule featured the "
CBS Radio Mystery Theater", an attempt to revive radio drama, as well as a local overnight talk show with Bruce Lee (no relation to the martial-arts actor), a holdover from the previous format. But by the end of the 1970s, WEEI was all-news around the clock.
In 1982, CBS sold WEEI to Helen Broadcasting, which retained the all-news format. In 1991, the station was sold to the Boston Celtics, and became a sports station. Upon the change to all-sports, WEEI featured the Andy Moes show and "Glenn (Ordway) and Janet (Prensky)", a short-lived experiment in bringing a "Bickersons"-type format to sports radio. Also part of the roster was Boston sports talk pioneer
'The Voice of Sports,' WHDH-AM 850
In 1994, WEEI was acquired by
Back Bay Broadcasting, which sold the call letters and all-sports programming of WEEI to American Radio Systems. ["Boston Globe", article, "Celtics Sell WEEI for $3.8m", by Jack Craig, March 17, 1994, Sec. 1. pg. 41] ARS then placed the intellectual property of WEEI on the 850 kHz frequency that was previously home to WHDH-AM.
WHDH 850 had a long history, along with its rival WBZ-AM 1030, as one of Boston's leading full-service radio stations. The station featured the legendary comedy team of
Bob and Raybefore they departed for national fame in New York, then for 34 years was anchored by morning personality Jess Cain, along with other preeminent air talent such as Norm Nathan. It played jazz, big band, MOR and, in the mid-1970s, Top 40music. It also featured talk radio programs hosted by Avi Nelson, and, later, David Brudnoy. But while WHDH-AM was never "all sports," it was easily Boston's top sports station during the 1950s through the end of the 1960s. It called itself "The Voice of Sports."
For 30 consecutive years (1946-75), WHDH-AM was the flagship station of the
Boston Red Sox, featuring play-by-play announcers such as Jim Britt, Ford C. Frick Award-winning Curt Gowdy, Ken Colemanand Ned Martin. Prior to 1951, it also broadcast the Boston Braves, the city's National Leaguebaseball club (the Red Sox and Braves then only broadcast home games, thus the teams shared the same announcers and did not have schedule conflicts).
During the winter months, WHDH and WHDH-FM (now 94.5
WJMN-FM) were the flagship stations of the Boston Celticsof the National Basketball Associationand the Boston Bruinsof the National Hockey League, employing such legendary announcers as Johnny Most, Fred Cusickand Bob Wilson. For a single season, Jim Lang was the announcer for Bruins games and brought unprecedented candor to the job. WHDH also was the radio home of Harvard Universityfootball in the autumn.
In addition, the original WHDH-TV (Channel 5) was the flagship station of the Red Sox TV network from 1958 through 1971, while WHDH-AM produced an early weekly sports roundtable show, also called "The Voice of Sports," featuring baseball writers from the Boston Herald-Traveler (which owned the station until 1974), various figures from Major League Baseball, and longtime WHDH-TV sports director Don Gillis. No calls were taken during the show, which featured lively debate among the writers. In 1972-73, "The Voice of Sports" became a daily, afternoon drive telephone-talk program hosted by longtime Boston sportscaster Leo Egan, but it failed to take root.
WHDH-AM began to lose its valuable properties in 1969, when the Bruins and Celtics were wooed away by WBZ. Then the Herald-Traveler Corporation's license to operate Channel 5 was revoked by the
Federal Communications Commission, effective March 19, 1972. Stung by the loss of its highly profitable TV station, the Herald-Traveler Corp. was put on the market, and acquired by the Hearst Corporationin June 1972. Less than two years later, WHDH-AM and its FM sibling (by this time called WCOZ-FM) were sold to Blair Radio, a national radio station advertising representative. WHDH then lost the Red Sox after the 1975 regular season; it would not carry their games again until 1983-85. The station's last major sports property was the New England Patriotsduring the late 1980s.
In early 1990, WHDH-AM was sold to local businessman
David Mugar, whose New England Television owned Boston CBSaffiliate WNEV-TV Channel 7. By that March, with the sale already complete, Channel 7's call letters became WHDH-TV to correspond with WHDH-AM, and NETV became NETV & Radio. Mugar was hoping to bring back a main competitor to Boston's perennial WBZ television and WBZ radio duopoly, with a renewed emphasis on a news and straight talk format. Some sports programs remained, but news and talk were main priorities. Among the personalities to arrive in the early 1990s were mostly talents from within NETV, including TV newscaster Ted O'Brien. However, by 1993, NETV & Radio was already in trouble due to increasing debt, and when Mugar announced WHDH-TV was being sold to Sunbeam later that year, the days were numbered for WHDH-AM. The radio station, after WHDH-TV was sold off, remained the last property under Mugar's company, and received a one year stay of execution. By the following spring, it was announced that WHDH-AM would vacate the Boston airwaves entirely, and give the 850 AM dial position to another company. Back Bay Broadcasting earned the position at that point. WHDH-AM's final broadcast, in August 1994, was the death of a beloved heritage radio station in Boston, but had its void filled well by the eventual success of WEEI on 850 AM.
The Rise of 'Sportsradio 850 WEEI'
With the Red Sox coming to WEEI in 1995, they returned to the 850 kHz frequency. ["Boston Globe", City Edition, article, "Change in the air for WEEI", by Jim Greenidge, December 16, 1994, page A4]
In 1998, American Radio Systems was acquired by CBS. As a result of the merger, the combined company was forced to sell several of its Boston stations. In late 1998, Entercom announced plans to acquire WEEI, along with WAAF,
WRKO, WVEIand WEGQ, from CBS for $140 million.
The station is popular with fans of the Boston
professional sportsteams, especially the Boston Red Sox. WEEI calls itself "the #1 rated sports radio talk station in America," in terms of the percentage of the area radio listening audience tuned-in. WEEI isn't alone in providing 24/7 sports radio in Boston; local competition includes WAMG- ESPN 890 Boston and WWZN- 1510 The Zone.
WEEI was awarded its first
Marconi Awardin September 2006 for [http://www.rwonline.com/dailynews/one.php?id=9776 sports station of the year.] WEEI was also named large market station of the year.
WEEI is the co-flagship station of the WEEI
Red Sox Radio Networkwith sister station WRKO, where all Red Sox radio broadcasts originate. It is also the flagship station of the Boston Celtics, beginning with the 2007-2008 season. In addition, WEEI broadcasts games of the New England Revolution(with conflicted games airing on WRKO), and Boston Collegefootball and basketball teams in season. Sports talk shows such as Dennis and Callahan (6-10 a.m. Monday through Friday), Dale and Holley (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.), The Big Show (2 p.m. - 6 p.m.), Planet Mikey (6 p.m. - 11 p.m.), and Red Sox Review(11 p.m. - 1 a.m.) air on weekdays. The programs are hosted, respectively by John Dennis and Jerry Callahan-Flash boy Meterparel (produced by Chach and Ian), Dale Arnold and Michael Holley (produced by Rene' and Jimmy Stewart), Glenn Ordway- flash boy Pete Sheppard (Produced by Andy and Brett), Mike Adams- flash boy Jon Ryder (produced by Jason Pothier and Joey the Fish) and Jon Rish. On weekends the signature show is The Mustard and Johnson Show with Craig Mustard and Larry Johnson (9 a.m. - 2 p.m. in most cases). When local programming isn't on WEEI, usually Fox Sports Radiowill air. WEEI is Fox Sports Radio's highest rated station and was an ESPN Radio affiliate for several years before switching to Fox.
In April 2005, WEEI began streaming its broadcasts live online by way of a free membership at its official site (or at this link: http://wmc1.liquidviewer.net/WEEI or http://webclust1.liquidcompass.cc/entercom/audio_player.php?id=WEEI). The exception is for Red Sox and Celtics games, as these are streamed only through the team and league websites as part of subscription packages.
The station has an ongoing feud with the
Boston Globe. In 1999, the Globe's executive sports editor, Don Skwar, banned the newspaper's sports writers from appearing on the station's afternoon "The Big Show" after columnist Ron Borgesused a racial slur while on the air in reference to New York Yankeespitcher Hideki Irabu. Two weeks later, the ban was extended to WEEI's Dennis & Callahan morning show. WEEI retaliated by banning Globe staffers from all its shows. Nevertheless, WEEI host Michael Holley is a former Globe columnist. [ [http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/dont_quote_me/multi-page/documents/01230893.htm Don't Quote Me | ] ]
The Red Sox on WEEI
Red Sox broadcasts were a daily feature of the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network slate from March through October. Each broadcast consists of:
* A pre-game show; The Pregame show is recorded from an air studio inside Fenway Park right next to gate c in WEEI air studio
* The Inside Pitch, a segment with a member of the local sports journalism establishment;
* "(optional)" A pre-game interview with the general manager ;
* A pre-game interview with the manager (currently
* The game intro itself, a compilation of great moments in Red Sox broadcast history;
* The game itself, with
Joe Castiglionebroadcasting with either Dave O'Brien, Dale Arnoldor Jon Rish. Previous to the 2007 season, Castiglione was partnered with long-time co-broadcaster Jerry Trupiano.
* A post-game interview;
* Post-game statistics (called "totals");
* A highlights clip for those who missed the early part of the game;
* A roundup of out of town scores;
* and a signoff tag.
During game broadcasts, WEEI is also made available through the Major League Baseball Web page (for a fee), and (for home games) on
XM Satellite Radio(as part of the standard service) for those outside the Boston listening area. The entire 162-game Red Sox schedule also may be heard on an extensive radio network throughout the 6 New England States. Many of the smaller stations have always aired the Red Sox Network regardless of what Boston station originated those broadcasts.
The Boston Red Sox recently signed a 10 year radio deal with sister
WRKO-AM (also owned by Entercom) for the broadcast rights for the 2007 through 2016 seasons, worth a reportedly $13 million a season [http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20060508&content_id=1443455&vkey=pr_bos&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos radio deal] . About 30 Red Sox games a season, including all games on Wednesday nights and all weekly day games will still be heard on WEEI as part of the deal.
The Boston Celtics on WEEI
Sean Grandehosts the Celtics Tonight pregame show before each Celtics game on WEEI in addition to providing the play by play for the game. Cedric Maxwellprovides color commentary during the broadcast. The broadcast duo calls themselves "Grande and Max." Currently, John Ryder hosts the halftime show and the Celtics Rewind show following the game.
Dennis and Callahan- Featuring hosts John Dennis, Gerry Callahan, flashboy Jon Meterparel, executive producer Steve "Chach" Ciaccio and producer Ian Meropol. Airs 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on weekdays. It has featured a variety of special guests during different parts of the year including Curt Schillingevery Tuesday and Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchinoevery Thursday during the baseball season, as well as Tom Bradyand the NFL Network's Adam Schefterevery Monday during football season. The program also features a daily news headline feature, in which Callahan, a neo-conservative, often spars with Dennis, a conservative.
* [http://www.weei.com/pages/235643.php Dale and Holley] - Featuring hosts
Dale Arnold, Michael Holley, flashboy Jon Wallach and producer James Stewart. Plays 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on weekdays. Red Sox manager Terry Francona is a weekly guest during baseball season.
*The Big Show - Featuring host "the Big O"
Glenn Ordwaywith two rotating co-hosts and flashboy Pete Sheppard. Sheppard and Ordway are the only permanent hosts of the show, which takes on a roundtable-type format. The producers are Andy Massua and Brett Erickson. "The Whiner Line" closes every show and is generally the highest-rated segment. The Big Showplays from 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Planet Mikey- Featuring host Mike Adams and flashboy John Ryder. The producers of the show are Jason Pothier or J-POD and Joey "the Fish" Zarbano. Plays from 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Regular co-hosts on the show are Lenny Megliola from "The Metro West Daily News" and Steve Bulpett from "The Boston Herald."
*"Red Sox Review" - Featuring host Jon Rish. Program follows Planet Mikey on weekday nights (11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.) when a Sox game is featured. During weekends Red Sox Review immediately follows the Red Sox postgame show.
*Mustard & Johnson (often called "Yankee Talk" originated by Glenn Ordway) - Hosted by Craig Mustard and [http://www.weei.com/Article.asp?id=112410&spid=5385 Larry Johnson] . Craig Mustard was a part of the original WEEI lineup in 1991 when it switched to all sports. Along with
Tom Doyle, Mustard co-hosted WEEI's morning show from 1992 - 1993. Larry Johnson is a syndicated sports cartoonist, formerly of the Boston Globe and The National. Johnson is also a regular co-host on The Big Show. Mustard & Johnson can be heard from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. On Saturday August 30, 2008, during the last hour of the program, Craig and Larry announced it would be their last show. The two said they will continue to work for WEEI, but will no longer have their own show.
*Butch Stearns - Fox 25 Sports Anchor Butch Stearns regularly hosts a Saturday afternoon show, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
*Mike Mutnansky - Mike Mutnansky regularly hosts a show on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, usually from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., although time often varies. Mutnansky is a regular personality on
WGAMin New Hampshire.
*Red Sox Baseball Today (aka The Baseball Show) - Runs every Sunday during baseball season, moving to Saturday once football season begins. Generally can be heard from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Hosted by
Bob Neumeieruntil 2005, when Neumeier left WEEI. Greg Dickersonhosted in 2006. Mike Adamshas hosted the show since 2007. Up until 2008, Steve Buckleyof "The Boston Herald" and Sean McAdamof "The Providence Journal" served as co-hosts. In '08, Buckley and McAdam have alternated weeks co-hosting with Adams.
*NFL Sunday - Runs on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. during football season. Hosted by
Dale Arnolduntil 2006. Co-hosts included Kevin Mannixof "The Boston Herald," Ron Hobsonof "The Patriot Ledger," and Steve Nelson. For the 2006 NFL season, Paul Perilloof "Patriots Football Weekly" and Tom E. Curranreplaced Mannix and Hobson as co-hosts. Doug Brown replaced Arnold as host. For the 2007 season, FOX 25's Butch Sterns took over the host duties. Paul Perilloand Steve Nelsoncontinued as co-hosts.
*Real Postgame Show - Hosted by
Pete Sheppard, and former NFL stars, Steve DeOssieand Fred Smerlas. Runs after each Patriot game during the NFL season.
* [http://www.weei.com/pages/233377.php Jon "Meter" Meterparel]
* [http://www.weei.com/pages/235649.php Jon Wallach]
*Fred B. Cole - "Carnival of Music" host - (1946-1967) [cite news |first=Bryan |last=Marquard |url=http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/obituaries/articles/2007/12/11/fred_b_cole_92_mouthpiece_of_big_band_era/ |work=The Boston Globe |date=2007-12-11 |title=Fred B. Cole, 92; mouthpiece of big-band era]
Eddie Andelman- (1991-2001)
Bob Neumeier- "Dale & Neumy Show" - (2002-2005)
Ted Sarandis- "Ted Nation" - (1992-2005)
*Dave Shea - co-host on "The Big Show" - (1995)
Dennis and Callahan controversy
The station was home to a major local controversy in October 2003, when morning hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan had the following exchange about a photo of a gorilla that had escaped from the
Franklin Park Zoo:
Callahan: "They caught him at a bus stop, right -- he was like waiting to catch a bus out of town."
Dennis: "Yeah, yeah -- he's a
Callahan: "Heading out to Lexington."
Initially, it was believed that Dennis had said the gorilla was "probably a Metco gorilla waiting for a bus to take him to Lexington" and Dennis was suspended for two days. The radio station attempted to immediately cover up the incident, claiming that recordings of the comments had been lost. However, after mounting public outrage, the two hosts were given longer suspensions, sent to multiple rounds of sensitivity training, and forced to apologize. WEEI also agreed to provide free advertising for the METCO program on the radio station.
Both the station and the hosts have tried their best to put the controversy behind them, going so far as to mute on-air callers who attempt to mention the incident. Regardless of the damage they have done to the hosts' and station's reputation, the comments by Dennis and Callahan have not been shown to have had any long-term negative effect on the ratings of the morning show.
A number of other stations in the
New Englandregion carry most of WEEI's local programming. The stations are branded as "WEEI Sports Radio", and many carry call letters similar to the Boston flagship station.
WEEI's sports play-by-play broadcasts are generally distributed separately, though some games originated by WEEI may air on some of the other affiliated stations by way of a separate deal. Some of the stations have picked up play-by-play rights in concert with WEEI after their conversion to the simulcast.
*WEEI-FM 103.7 FM,
Westerly, Rhode Island
WVEI1440 AM, Worcester, Massachusetts
*WVEI-FM 105.5 FM,
WPEI95.9 FM, Saco, Maine
*WGEI 95.5 FM,
WAEI97.1 FM, Bangor, Maine
*WABI 910 AM,
WEEY93.5 FM Swanzey, New Hampshire
Entercom's initial plan to syndicate WEEI programming was to place it on stations owned by
Nassau Broadcastingin 13 more markets, but the deal between the two companies ended up collapsing. [cite news |title=Entercom-Nassau Deal Falls Through |url=http://www.radioink.com/HeadlineEntry.asp?hid=140600&pt=todaysnews |work= Radio Ink|date= 2008-01-04|accessdate=2008-01-14 ] WEEI's eventual affiliates began airing its programming in September 2008. [cite news |title=WEEI to air in Maine September 1|url=http://news.mainetoday.com/updates/031753.html |work= Portland Press Herald|date= 2008-08-19|accessdate=2008-08-19 ] [cite news |title=WEEI Sports Radio Network expands to Portland, Bangor & Keene |url=http://imgsrv.weei.com/image/weei/UserFiles/WEEINorthNetworkPressRelease81908.pdf |work= WEEI|date= 2008-08-20|accessdate=2008-08-20 ]
* "The pitch is looped towards
shortstop. Petrocelli's back. He's got it! The Red Sox win! And there's pandemonium on the field! Listen!" -- Ned Martin's call of the final out of the 1967 Boston Red Sox "Impossible Dream" regular season (station was WHDH AM 850)
* "The Red Sox win the pennant! They have beaten the Oakland A's three in a row!" -- Martin's call of the final out of the
1975 American League Championship Series(station was WHDH AM 850)
* "The Red Sox have come from two games down to beat the Cleveland Indians!" --
Joe Castiglione's final call of the 1999 American League Division Series
* "Swing and a ground ball, stabbed by Foulke. He has it. He underhands to first. And the Boston Red Sox are the World Champions! For the first time in eighty-six years, the Red Sox have won baseball's World Championship. Can you believe it? " --
Joe Castiglione's final call of the 2004 World Series
Kyle Ortonwill be a Pro Bowl player. Mark it down." -- Pete Sheppard
Notes and references
* [http://rope.weei-am.fimc.net/podzinger.htm Search the WEEI Audio Vault]
* [http://www.weei.com WEEI homepage]
* [http://www.weeifm.com WEEI 103.7 FM homepage]
* [http://www.petesbits.com Pete's Bits (Comedy Bits on WEEI)]
* [http://www.bostonradio.org/stations/1912.html The Boston Radio Dial: WEEI (AM)] : for history of the 850 AM frequency
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