Jan 05 2009
By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch
While his agent, his employer (Entercom) and undoubtedly his lackeys who ride his coattails are rejoicing over the news of Glenn Ordway’s re-signing with WEEI 850 AM, the move is far from the “landscape” altering event Ordway’s agent George Tobia would like us to believe.
Instead, it means there will more of the same juvenile, inane and insulting sports talk radio that Boston listeners have been subjected to for much of Ordway’s lengthy tenure. The only saving grace may be that since Entercom opened the purse strings for Ordway that they may be cash-poor to retain the collection of meatheads that populate the WEEI studio during afternoon drive time. But even that is a longshot because the Pete Sheppards, Fred Smerlases, Steve DeOssies, Butchie Stearns and Brian Daubachs of the world know better than to bite the hand that feeds them, lest they be exposed as the frauds they are. Those elephants would work for peanuts because no other circus would be foolish enough to pay them.
As for those who continue to think Ordway was able to get a deal on par with what John Dennis and Gerry Callahan finagled last year from Entercom, I’d ask you to look no further than the Entercom stock price. On Monday, it was trading near a buck-and-a-half and has plunged to as low as half-a-buck over the past 52-weeks. There is no way a sane-thinking business person could ever suggest that Ordway didn’t have to take some kind of “hometown discount” because of the current fiscal crisis facing the nation. Ordway and Tobia read the tea leaves and knew there was no sense in playing hardball with a media company dangling by its frayed wires and they decided to get the most they could without ever seriously risking Ordway’s Big Chair spot.
In fact, there’s probably even some respect that needs to be paid to both Ordway and WEEI for not milking the re-signing as a way to temporarily boost ratings (although with the fill-ins available, that would have been a risky proposition). [Interestingly, Shots is told that Dale Arnold was the fallback plan to take over for Ordway if he bolted.] The D&C saga last year had a whole lot of contrived elements and anything of similar odor would have been frowned upon – even by the dolts who continue to fawn over Ordway and his assemblage of blabberers – especially with layoffs and cost-cutting affecting even the most rundown of regular WEEI listeners.
Shots is also told by well-placed Entercom and media sources that the reported $1 million per year is more of a “max-obtainable” figure than what Ordway’s base pay will be. While he will continue to hit ratings incentives, the insiders say, it will be difficult for Ordway to reach other performance-based thresholds, especially any that pertain to TV and/or the Web.
Still, whatever the lofty six-figure amount of money Ordway will be paid, it will, without question, make him the country’s highest-paid babysitter. If Ordway were ever able to silence his peanut gallery for good, then – and only then – would he achieve the “legendary status” of which Jason Wolfe gushed about.
• As for the TV component, we’re just not seeing how four hours of watching feeding time at the zoo is going to play for Comcast SportsNet or anyone else. (We strongly doubt snafu-suffering NESN is a serious player in the “Big Show on TV” sweepstakes and if there has to be any investment at all made by the McGrail/Feld group, it’s a non-starter.)
The WFAN simulcast that is so often cited worked because Mike and the Mad Dog were intelligent, entertaining and informative. None of those words come to mind when thinking of Ordway’s posse. A couple of options that may work would be a one-hour live-simulcast (maybe in the 5 to 6 hour) when the day’s premier guests could be featured and/or a one hour “Best of” re-cap later in the evening. (Heaven help the producer who has to mine for 50 minutes of gold from that show on a daily basis).
Similarly, we’re not seeing how well a web video simulcast would work unless there are in-studio guests that will be featured.
• Some housekeeping to tend to. . .
No, the return of Shots over the past week is not an indication that I’m back in full service operation of Scott’s Shots or it subsidiaries. I had promised at least one more 2008 post and I delivered it. (Wow, am I starting to explain myself in Simmons’s tone? Yikes.)
Then, NESN made a major mistake during the course of broadcasting an unexpected national story (BC’s upset of No. 1 UNC). I couldn’t just stand by and not delve into that a bit.
[As a minor follow-up to our earlier reporting on the incident, a national Fox SportsNet spokesperson had not heard of the situation, even after NESN had posted its Monday, "blame-FOX," non-explanation.
Shots' early afternoon phone call was, according to the spokesperson, "the first I'm hearing about it." As of the close of business Monday, FOX Sports Net was still looking into the matter.]
. . . Big ups to the Herald Dave Wedge’s better half, (Jessica Heslam), who did a nice job of cobbling together a NESN flub sidebar for the Monday print edition of the Herald. The sidebar drew heavily on Heslam’s prompt Sunday night post and included official comment from a NESN spinster.
. . . I will say it’s been nice to realize that some of you really do miss having us around. Okay, not “some.” But at least “one” of the crowd. Keep the clean comments coming and thanks for being there. I’d forgotten how passionate some of us are.
That said, some random observations:
• The ESPN.com re-design is solid. Nothing more. Put it this way, the one thing that I needed (Monday’s PTI episode) was no where to be found from the home page. Come on, People. You have a great product with PTI and you consistently under-promote it. Ride those two the way that Cardinal rode his pardner on Saturday night.
• Enough with college football already. Saturation point passed about a month ago with that whole traveshamockery.
. . . Then again, the Texas-OSU finish was compelling – except for you know, the non-compelling part where it didn’t mean a damn thing.
• Mariotti? One trick pony and he used his lone trick in the first column for AOL. I’ll never understand the recylcing that occurs in the business, but I do acknowledge there’s no stopping it. Lots of guys owing lots of other guys favors from wars gone by. Never gonna change in coaching and never gonna change in sports journalism.
David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.