SBD/August 16, 2013/Media

WEEI Morning Hosts Dennis & Callahan Assured Safety Following Wolfe's Firing

Dennis (r) said he takes Brown at his word that he and Callahan will not be fired
Boston-based WEEI-FM morning show co-hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan on Thursday said that they have been "assured that station suits want them to be 'part of the solution' to the once-dominant sports station’s ratings woes," according to a front-page piece by Gayle Fee of the BOSTON HERALD. That comes one day after WEEI Programming Dir Jason Wolfe was fired by parent company Entercom. Dennis said that Entercom VP, GM & Market Manager Jeff Brown "called him after Wolfe got the ax to reiterate that the morning show was not in any danger." Dennis said, "I take him at his word." Fee notes Wolfe was the "victim of spiraling ratings and competition" from WBZ-FM, the "upstart that stole much of the longtime sports-talker’s audience." In the most recent ratings period, WBZ morning show "Toucher & Rich" "dominated with a 13.4 share." WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" finished "fifth with a 6.0." Both Dennis and Callahan "have a year remaining on their contracts and the station’s move last February to dump longtime afternoon drive host Glenn Ordway didn’t do anything to improve numbers" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/16). In Boston, Chad Finn notes Wolfe "learned last Thursday of his professional fate." But that apparent "inevitability of it to outsiders didn’t lessen the shock to him." Wolfe when asked if he suspected it was coming, said, “Let me just say this. Over the last several weeks, I had been actively working on several projects that I had hoped I would be able to execute, that I thought would really help us. I think it would be fair to say I was surprised to have that meeting on Thursday." For all of Wolfe's success at WEEI, he was "also complicit in its recent struggles and the attitude that got it there" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/16). MLB Network's Peter Gammons wrote on his Twitter feed, "From 6 am to the web, Jason Wolfe built WEEI into a Boston media power. Few in his role can match his accomplishments" (TWITTER.com, 8/16).

NEXT IN LINE? BOSTON SPORTS MEDIA WATCH's Bruce Allen cites a source as saying that Salt Lake City's KFAN-AM Program Dir Kevin Graham "is likely" to replace Wolfe at WEEI. Graham "cohosts the Gunther & Graham radio show each day on afternoon drive" (BOSTONSPORTSMEDIAWATCH.com, 8/16).
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