It didn’t really click at first, but listening to WEEI yesterday I noticed something distinctly different from what I usually heard. Mike Adams was on the radio along with Glenn Ordway and Dale Holley – but this wasn’t the 6:00 crossover; it was only about 3:00 in the afternoon. Okay, for some reason Adams is in the studio early I figured; no big deal. Then a few minutes later I hear him doing the “flash”, those brief in-studio sport news updates. Kind of strange, but then I just dismissed it as a one-time anomaly, ignoring Holley’s reference of Adams being prepared to come in to work at 3:00 to a caller later in the show.
Lo and behold today I found out that this is a semi-permanent move. The 6:00 pm Planet Mikey Show is not being axed, but because the Red Sox are broadcast on WEEI nearly every night, Adams’ show only has about a half hour of air time – not worth it for either Adams or for WEEI.
Despite this seemingly making sense for the radio station to get something for the money they are paying Adams, it does seem to me that this move is a head scratcher. First of all WEEI dumped most of The Big Show participants in part because the show was becoming so bloated with too many voices talking over each other; now they’re adding a third voice?
Next, Adams’ sports knowledge of anything other than Red Sox trivia from the ’60’s and ’70’s is nearly non-existent. Regardless of whether you love or hate his schtick, it works in an evening or overnight time slot; I don’t see it working in the afternoon. If they wanted to move him to another time slot then the morning drive time would have made more sense. Check in on the format used for morning drive times and you’ll find many of the most successful ones stray from the established format they use during the rest of the day – whether it’s sports talk radio or music stations. Unfortunately for WEEI they’re handcuffed with the contracts given to Dennis and Callahan, so that was not an option.
As for Adams reading the flash, so far it sounds like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I can appreciate that they are trying to find something for him to do, but thus far it just doesn’t sound as if it is flowing smoothly; it was almost painful listening to him try to do that.
In my opinion what made The Big Show something worth listening to years ago was the other people within the sports business that they interviewed on a daily basis – members of the national media like Adam Schefter and Peter Gammons, as well as members of local teams like Bill Belichick and Danny Ainge.
Somewhere along the line the show become very popular, and it was as if Ordway, Jason Wolfe and everyone else involved forgot how that happened. The Whiner Line was funny when it first started, but rather than focus on what made it popular – it was new and different – they focused on the Whiner Line itself. When was the last time they came up with something new and different like that which was worth listening to?
The same thing happened with the transformation of the “all star callers”. Making people like Frank from Gloucester and Dakota from Braintree essentially part of the show did not make the listening audience feel as though they could relate; instead it was a divisive line in the sand that separated the show and the audience in the same manner a snobbish clique does with the rest of their high school classmates.
It appears to me that not only are the on-air personalities full of themselves, so is management at WEEI and Entercom. They’re living on past glory and and as blinded as the Emperor with his new clothes. What’s really needed is an outsider to come in with an objective viewpoint – but don’t hold your breath because I’m sure the folks there would dismiss any outsider as not understanding the situation.
If CBS Radio and 98.5 are smart they will copy one thing that WEEI did: set up a network of simulcasts throughout New England. Right now WEEI is a dysfunctional sinking ship, and it looks as if it will be too late to fix before they notice it.
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