So, I'm sitting in the back seat of my buddy's SUV this morning at about 2AM when the conversation turns to WEEI - mostly in an attempt to keep ourselves awake. I'm not going to name names, but one of the people in the SUV works in the local sports media so he had all sorts of fun stories to tell about our local "celebrities". Suffice to say, he had very few positive things to say about WEEI. For those of you who do not live in the Boston area, WEEI is the top sports radio station in the area. They also carry the Celtics games, Boston College basketball and football and the occasional Red Sox game during the season.
When i was young, I enjoyed WEEI immensely. The station carried to the Red Sox games and if I'm not mistaken, they carried the Bruins as well. The shows were entertaining and the hosts had the ability to talk about sports in general. At some point, while I was in college, this changed.
When I graduated from PC, WEEI suddenly lost the ability to discuss the Bruins and Celtics. Of course, both of those teams were horrible so this kind of made sense. Unfortunately, this became a permanent feature of the station. The next thing to go was college sports. The station carries - and continues to carry - live broadcasts of college athletics, but don't even try to discuss those sports on the air. This ability apparently ended when Ted Serandis was booted from the 7PM to midnight shift. Ted wasn't popular guy on the station but at least he gave college athletics a fair shake. He lost points by being a shill for BC basketball and being good pals with Tim Welsh (for some reason) but he could at least discuss them.
But the real problem with WEEI is politics. I have no idea why WEEI decided that they had to emulate WRKO, their sister station. WRKO is one of those useless right wing talk stations that actually managed to find an equally moronic and unlistenable left wing host to "anchor" their morning shift. Add in the completely irrelevant Rush Limbaugh and the agonizing repetitive shtick of Howie Carr and you have Jon kryptonite. Well apparently, WEEI decided that this crap was such ratings gold that they exported it to WEEI. Now, while we're hearing about Spring Training and Kevin Garnett and the weekly interview with Tom Brady, we're also deluged by lame right wing ranting. Great.
The callers actually seem to be getting worse. First off, they seem unable to call BS on any of the silly political/sports crap they hosts are spewing. Secondly, the cult of the "signature caller" has resulted in an influx of nimrods who get on the air every day and add NOTHING to the conversation. And last of all, I point to the existence of "the whiner line". Ugh.
So let's recap: no hockey, politics, and a sea of jackanapes waiting on hold. Gee, sign me up. The fact that this crap was unlistenable during the Red Sox run to the World Series AND the Patriots abortive run at a perfect season AND the Celtic's new found competence is absolutely tragic.
Here are my alternatives to irritating sports talk radio:
-NPR: Yes, I am a public radio geek. I draw the line at "Prairie Home Companion", but I love "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me," "Car Talk," "Sez You," and whatever jazz or blues program they have at night. I can't stand the endless pledge drives, but that's a small price to pay. And I'll argue against NPR being a haven for left wing propaganda until the day I die.
-WFAN: For some reason, while Boston sports radio irritates me, I'm amused by New York sports radio. At any given point in New York/New Jersey, there will be about 5-7 miserable fanbases. Yes, Giants fans are very happy and Mets fans aren't far behind, but what about the Knicks? See, endless fun. Plus, Mike and the Mad Dog haven't annoyed me yet. And Steve Sommers is the greatest radio host ever.
-WFNX: I'm not a huge fan of the "new" alternative scene, but I'm starting to like "The Sandbox."
-WBCN: Ah, my dark secret. I like "Opie and Anthony" better than any other morning radio show. The musical selection throughout the day is just okay. But I am endlessly drawn despite common sense and my own snobbish good taste to the goofy mess that is the "Toucher and Rich" show. And I hope that one day in my travels throughout Boston, I will be able to donate a couple of million eights to the Chili Guy who is, after all, a state police officer in days and years.
As I promised, tomorrow I'll compare the Beanpot teams to the GLI teams as I attempt to bridge the East coast/ West coast bias and make fun of Harvard in the bargain!