By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

A leftover from the Zone’s demise and a friendly reminder that Shots will be sharing corn flakes and muffins with the morning crew over at NECN on Tuesday during the 8:30-9:00 a.m. block. It ain’t Reege and Kelly, but wouldn’t you just love to see Shots baggy-ass-eyes following a 9 p.m. kickoff? Keep the children watching The Wiggles, if you would, or family services will be called in. (Another in the long line of self-promotional riffs that anger a good two-thirds of my viewing public, AKA, THE HATERS)

The New Vet

The rumblings were there. Were they ever. But if you got caught listening to them, you would have lost your focus. Your “reps” would have suffered.

So you, and the gang, plowed through. New rumors every day, instability joining your coffee as daily rituals. And when ESPN Radio Boston 890 AM launched? Church bells played a death march. But you forged ahead. Enjoyed one last trip to Vegas. Watched your old boss head down the dial to 890 and saw a former Zoner get some on-air time. You knew IT was coming.

Really, by the time the official word came, you were partly numb to it. The phone had been ringing for a few days already. The guys who never covered you before were starting to take interest. Your cell phone number was suddenly a hot commodity.

And when the dust had settled and the last office light was turned out, you were left to think about it all. Your co-host and co-seller (Anthony Pepe) was there too. And the engineer (Brad Parsons). And about the only other familiarity was the glowing, neon THE ZONE sign. It should be turned off, you had probably thought. Turn it off for now, anyway. Out of respect.

Luckily for your sake, when the Boston Globe wrote the partial obit for the station, they got your name right. The engineer didn’t fare so well. Somehow a ‘Parsons’ became a ‘Roberts’ during the station’s funeral. Even that seemed perfect.

Funny, wasn’t it? The so-called “industry media” guys barely noticed you when The Zone was up and running and when they finally did pay attention they butchered the story. The callers were the same way. Pepe even joked about it on the “Farewell Diehards”:

CALLER: “Long time listener. . . Sorry to hear you guys are going off the air. . . .Loved the show.”

PEPE: “Thanks buddy. But WHERE you been?”

That brought laughs. But the giggles only hid the frustration. You had your run, you got in your “reps” and can claim a nice little “reel” to show off your body of work. So can your buddies. Everyone that truly wants it, always find a place to do it. ‘You’ll bounce back,’ was the common refrain. But you didn’t want to hear it right then. Or now, even.

And just think – this is how it feels when you’re one of the guys keeping his gig (albeit in a different capacity). Ten of your buddies weren’t so lucky.

***

Jon Anik is green no more. He’s still on, what he called, “the good side of 20,” at 27 and he’s still employed. He realizes this and that alone means he’s on his way to veteran-of-the-biz status.

You’re still green in the gills if you haven’t felt your heart drop into your ankle upon news that YOU weren’t part of the layoff, but 10 OTHERS were. And they are all your buddies – The Boys; paying dues, getting air time, doing anything and everything to keep it going. To keep the thing running.

Truth is, you’re not a capital vee, Veteran, in The League, until your team has been dismantled around you and the franchise has been thrown into complete turmoil. And until you take a soft shot at the leader, WEEI 850 AM: “I still think this market can be had, there’s room for more than one (all sports talk) station in this market.”

“I’m loyal to WWZN, but I can’t let the momentum (we’ve gained through The Diehards) slide away,” said Anik, who, along with Marketing Director, Anthony Pepe and Engineer Brad Parsons, make up the entire, remaining, full-time WWZN staff. “With radio, you’re cautioned during your indoctrination to the business that there could be days when you’re completely caught off guard.”

A couple of Thursdays ago was one of those days.

And he’s right – in more than a few ways. There was momentum from that show (even if this space questions just how much). Enough so that Russillo should land softly somewhere soon and the rest of the non-Eddie crew will all bounce back and onto the air somewhere (depending on how far ERB delves into local programming over the next year).

The other guys – the behind the scenes folks like production manager (Chuck Morrison) or the producer (Rob Touzet) will get gigs too. Morrison’s already been working on Pats games, in fact.

But that’s talk for another day. Today, a couple of Fridays ago now, you’re saying that you’re missing something. It’s the day after Boston College got its ACC ass beaten by Virginia Tech, you wish you had “the chance to bury (BC QB) Quinton Porter.

“Nothing can replicate the repetitions,” Anik said. “There’s no substitute for actually doing a three hour show.”

And then, as soon as your final Zone three hours are up on Thursday, “literally, all my friends” are, on Friday, scouring the copy room to find empty boxes or large, green, trash bags to toss their desks’contents into.

And you find yourself saying things like: “The company line is putting the focus back on the network”. . .

When you’re going from behind-the-mike to on-the-phone

When you’re wondering what’s next?. . .

Well, then you’re a Vet. If not a wily one, an astutely aware one named Anik.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shots@bostonsportsmediadotcom