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Thoughts on 98.5 FM – One Week In

Aug21 – 2009 – Courtesy of:  Boston Sports Media Watch

hub-weeiThe new 98.5 The SportsHub has been on the air for a week now, and it’s time for a few knee-jerk reactions and thoughts on how they’re stacking up to WEEI.

Toucher and Rich vs. Dennis and Callahan

Right now the best things I can say about T&R is that they’re trying, and that they’re not D&C. The show is clearly a work in progress as they make the transition to more sports talk. I like that that they usually have several guests over the course of the morning, and make the effort to talk sports.

It seems like I don’t fit either demographic for these shows right now. I’m too young for D&C’s bitter, angry old man act and target audience, and a bit too old for the fratboy humor attempts by T&R. Some of their comedy bits have been painful.

I haven’t settled on one show or the other just yet. My listening habits for the last week have pretty much been whichever show is talking sports at the moment, or is having an interesting guest or discussion. It’s nice to have that option.

Advantage: Push.

Tanguay and Zolak vs. Dale and Holley

I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that Gary Tanguay has been everything I feared he would be on the radio. It’s true. He’s dreadful. Whether he’s wondering “whether Tito has the BALLS to put right lineup on the field” or how long the “leash” is on Francona and whether or not he’ll be fired. It makes my ears hurt, which is too bad, because I really like Zolak. He’s likable, and not prone to saying stupid things just for reaction which is Tanguay’s calling card.

Dale Arnold certainly has his critics among the readers of this site, but I’ll listen to him over Tanguay everyday. It’s not a contest.  This week Holley has been out, but Tom Caron and today, Christopher Price have made the shows much better than Tanguay’s mock indignation.

Advantage: Dale and Holley.

Felger and Massarotti vs. The Big Show.

Felger is Felger. He also loves to make stupid comments (”Josh Beckett is mentally weak“) and take unpopular stands just to be a contrarian. That’s not good radio. Glenn Ordway does a lot of the same things, which make sense because Felger learned his radio craft in the ample bosom of Ordway. However, what makes the 98.5 show more tolerable is that Massarotti is willing to challenge Felger’s comments and stances, whereas Ordway surrounds himself with yes-men sycophants who agree with everything he says.

For the most part, I really like Massarotti on the radio. There isn’t a lot of the fan-insulting, condescending arrogance that comes across (intentional or not)  in a lot of his Boston.com columns and blog entries. (Today’s column about the Yankees farm system is an example. He actually talked this subject on the radio, and it didn’t come across in the neener-neener way it does in the column.) On the radio he seems to deal more with facts, and as mentioned, isn’t afraid to take on Felger’s dumb comments. They talk sports, not Fred Smerlas’ tailgate venture or steakhouse, and mix the topics up a least a couple of times in the course of the show. They also bring on guests to break things up a little, which is something The Big Show rarely does. The Big Show will hammer the same topic for four hours without a break, while F&M try to introduce new topics in the course of the show. This makes F&M a more worthwhile listen than The Big Show. Except for the whiner line.

Advantage: Felger and Massarotti

Damon Amendolara vs. Mike Adams.

This one is simple. Do you want to hear about and talk sports, all sports, or do you want to hear Adams getting an Orlando Magic tattoo on his ass and bitching about Manny?

Amendolara has been the single biggest pleasant surprise on the new station, which is huge. There was a lot of skepticism out there about bringing in a kid from New York who grew up rooting for the New York teams and is a huge soccer fan, who had most recently been doing a show in Miami to come here and do Boston sports radio. He’s been great. Amendolara is knowledgeable about what’s going on, not just locally, but all across the nation in big time sports. He’s also hard working, having done all the weeknights, plus a show each day of the weekend.

Advantage: Amendolara.

It’s early yet, but there’s some good things going on here, and at the very least, we can say it’s nice to have an alternative to turn to and get a different topic and take.

Bruce Allen has over 50 Comments posted on his SPORTS RADIO ARTICLE.

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