By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Dennis and Callahan return

Not much to say about the return of John Dennis and Gerry Callahan to WEEI Radio (AM 850) except that Entercom executives proved to be not quite as suicidal as they sometimes appear.

Personally, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the offensive duo take a permanent vacation. But they’re ratings monsters, and it was obvious that Entercom had to do everything it could within reason to bring them back.

Even though I suspect WEEI’s morning ratings would be fine without Dennis and Callahan, Jason Wolfe and company would be foolish to take a chance.

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  1. Steve

    I was a bit surprised to hear D&C this morning. C’s voice still sounds pretty rough – it’s painful to listen to.The programming question I would have for WEEI is – what’s up with Wednesdays 6-6:30? The last couple of times I tuned in then, the “Big Show” ended a little short of 6:10, then they ran 20 minutes of commercials until the Red Sox pregame, as far as I could tell. Does Wolfe think anyone is listening to such a long commercial block? Do they actually log revenue for such a stunt?

  2. ben

    ‘EEI actually does a move that Howard Stern may have invented. Ridiculously long commercial blocks that encourage the listener to fip stations. WFAN, the country’s highest billing sports station, takes a lot of short breaks. There must be a reason to do one versus the other.

  3. Anonymous

    WEEI’s commercial breaks are intolerable and have driven me away from the station. On most Saturday’s around noon time, I am in the car, and I swear to God, the commercial break runs from 12:00-12:23 or thereabouts with a 1 minute break for a Sports Flash. Who can put up with that? Even the big nationally syndicated radio shows dont test your patience that much.

  4. Anonymous

    Now the question is…who will ‘leak’ the agreed upon salaries for D&C.I heard they were asking for a million.Not sure what they were making before….maybe $200k?Where is the Inside Track when we need them?

  5. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    OK. I admit it. I was wrong. I said the Dennis and Callahan stunt would end on Wednesday before the first Patriots game and it didn’t end until the Monday after.Best of the nonsense I’ve heard on this one is that the head of Entercom dashed into town to settle things and personally got involved to Save The Day. I repeat: no contracts for the kind of coin Callahan and Dennis are involved with are negotiated by a damn Program Director. Program directors simply do not have the authority to make five year commitments.If the day was saved, it was saved weeks ago, when the ratings stunt was concocted. Unfortunately in media reporting, much like in sports reporting, the people covering the stories like to think that because they are in the business, or because they played 9th grade intramural two-hand touch football, they have some sort of insight which excuses them from responsible journalism and the simple act of sourcing stories. Coverage of this Callahan and Dennis thing is a case study in news-by-gossip, capped off by a stunning lack of sourcing.One of my favorite angles to this story has been the notion that Entercom rushed to make a deal to buy half of WCRB to head off “another option,” for Callahan and Dennis. Closer to reality, I would suggest, is that somebody got a little overanxious in the stunt department and leaked a tidbit about a sports network involving the Nassau Broadcasting stations, with the expectation that overzealous bloggers would proclaim that negotiations were underway — and Entercom’s compliance officer suggested that maybe the publicly-held company didn’t want to get in trouble with the SEC by letting information get into circulation about Nassau when it had plans of its own already set involving that company and perhaps releasing the information pronto was a good idea, rather than wait until actually filing any required application for WCRB.A close second in the absurdity department is that CBS was considering putting the program on WBMX, a female-audience driven station with healthy billing.Third is the silly idea that people at WEEI were prepared to bolt en masse for a start-up.

  6. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    P.S. check entercom’s release.Not word as to when the deal was made.

  7. Anonymous

    What a disappointment. I was hoping somebody—ANYBODY–would replace these two ignorant clowns. Michael Holley is really the only reason to listen to EEI.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Amused: You’re a pretty sharp guy, but in this case I think you’re wrong. If this was a stunt, what was the benefit to WEEI? The station would have been having fun with this for the past few weeks, followed by the big comeback yesterday. Instead, it was all done very quietly. Entercom would have been better off if this had been resolved earlier.

  9. Anonymous

    Anon 7:20: Right on, brother!

  10. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    Dan, I may very well be wrong, and the way the station backed off on the fun and games would certain lead credence to the suggestion that I’m jumping headlong into the ranks of the conspiracy theorists. It wouldn’t be the first time, and hopefully not the last.But then, the fun-making seemed to end around the time that Entercom had to get out a public statement on the Nassau deal, so I have a hunch that HQ may have put the brakes on things. This is no Enron or MCI, but there is little tolerance for public companies engaging in untruthful public statements about their fortunes.It did lead to a bit of buzz leading into the first full work-week of traditional, if not meteorological, fall. The importance of making listening habits intuitive cannot be underestimated and there’s no better time to do it than when households are settling into the day to day patterns that will be essentially unchanged until June. Remember, ever since Whitley — a boring talk show host, but a genius at dragging listeners from one quarter hour to another and getting maximum ratings diary mentions — the people at WEEI and WRKO, under multiple ownerships, have been very astute at milking the ratings — doing things like sticking the Red Sox on ‘EEI on Wednesday night to put the call letters in the forefront of their sports audience’s mind as the diaries are being prepared for return.Maybe I *am wrong. But drama involving radio personalities, who rank below only chefs and Channel 7 street reporters on Boston’s increasingly irrelevant celebrity scale, has historically been a crock.

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