By: John Molori
May 23, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Andelman acquisition?
- Lauding Lobel
- "Desperate" for football

Flipping through a busy sports media scene

A source close to WWZN AM 1510 midday host Eddie Andelman has told Media Blitz that the veteran talker has indeed put in a bid to purchase AM 1510 from Sporting News Radio. It was reported in Media Blitz in July of 2004 that Andelman was interested in buying the station. The source states that Andelman is now just waiting for a response.

Speaking of Andelman, it is clear that he, Ron Borges and Dan Shaughnessy have become the most despised sports media figures in Boston. Is it because Andelman is no longer a huge ratings draw and has helped his family achieve success in media? Is it because Borges has a penchant for criticizing the beloved Patriots? Is it because the ubiquitous Shaughnessy openly speaks his mind? Or, is it because none of these men are in the WEEI-Boston Herald-Fox Sports Net (FSN) loop? To be sure, Andelman, Borges and Shaughnessy have their faults, but being out with the in-crowd is not one of them.

WEEI's Gerry Callahan has gone overboard in his immense love for Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino. This past week, a caller asked Lucchino whether the Red Sox got value in acquiring Edgar Renteria and David Wells. It was a good question. When the caller mentioned salary numbers, Callahan yelled, "(Lucchino) knows the contract!" When the caller discussed player performance, Callahan again interrupted and yelled, "(Lucchino) knows the statistics!" Callahan then screamed, "What's the question?" Callahan's constant coddling of Lucchino is embarrassing and it's pretty sad when a show's listeners ask tougher questions than the hosts.

In direct contrast to Callahan is WEEI's "Dale and Holley." Their weekly interview with Red Sox manager Terry Francona is a must-hear because they consistently ask tough questions about roster moves, player issues and strategy without becoming insulting or distasteful. Francona is sometimes audibly upset at the questions, making for fascinating radio. Dale Arnold and Michael Holley are sometimes derisively compared to the female hosts of ABC's "The View." Maybe the so-called edgy morning guys should be wearing the skirts.

Sunday's "25 on 4: The Bob Lobel Era" on WBZ-TV was the best sports retrospective that these eyes have seen in quite a while. The show didn't merely focus on Lobel's quarter-century as Boston's most visible sports anchor, it emphasized the events that shaped our sports landscape and, in turn, shaped Lobel. Bob Ryan and Bob Neumeier provided in-studio commentary. The Boston sports media is littered with wannabes and never-will-be's. Lobel, along with Ryan and Neumeier, is the real deal.

The NFL Network's Solomon Wilcots recently said that Tom Brady's success is due to his teammates and that Brady should not be called a great quarterback. He also stated that the Patriots do not have a great defense, that the team will definitely drop-off this season and that the Pats have yet to fully prove themselves. Criticism is fine, but Wilcots' comments are simply wrong. Colleague Glenn Parker was visibly exasperated by Wilcots' ignorance placing his head in his hands and mocking Wilcots on numerous occasions. Parker, incidentally, picked the Patriots as the best team ever based on their success in the free agency era.

In terms of national coverage and interest, the Patriots are victims of their own philosophy. Their professional conduct and attitude just don't make for headlines. To wit, a recent Sports Illustrated cover story featured moody Raiders wideout Randy Moss, while the two biggest stories of the NFL off-season have been Terrell Owens' selfish demands to renegotiate his Philly deal and Ricky Williams' imminent return to the Dolphins. Clearly, a social misfit, a loudmouth punk and a witless pothead are more interesting than a three-time Super Bowl champion.

"Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria is the number one woman in my heart, but that's an issue for Eva, my therapist and me. More to the point, Longoria's ABC show is the number one program on television. Just wondering how the ratings battle for Sunday night will pan out come next fall when NBC's NFL broadcasts go head-to-head with the "Wives." Hmm, Bob Costas in studio or Longoria in lingerie? Sorry Bob!

Speaking of Costas, I wanted to like the premiere of his new "Costas Now" program on HBO, but it was difficult. The show was highlighted by an interesting Tony Conigliaro feature and lowlighted by a forced roundtable featuring Costas, John McEnroe, Charles Barkley and Cris Collinsworth. In addition, HBO Sports genius Ross Greenburg has got to give Costas some fresh talent. Collinsworth and Armen Keteyian are talented guys, but keep them on "Inside the NFL" and "RealSports" respectively. If "Costas Now" is to make a mark, it has to do so by being original, not an amalgamation of other HBO offerings.

Providence's AM 790 The Score and frequent FSN guest Andy Gresh is working the 6-10:00 p.m. shift at WFAN in New York on Memorial Day, his second such stint. So, who will scoop up this emerging talent first, WFAN or WEEI? "Anyone who is a name in the Providence market will be entertained in conversation," said WEEI GM Julie Kahn in February regarding potential talent for WEEI FM 103.7 in Providence. Gresh has increased his profile and it's only a matter of time before his hard work pays off somewhere.

Chris Collins' regular column in "The Improper Bostonian" is a good read. His recent piece on the Red Sox Ring Ceremony had the right mix of fact, opinion and personal glimpses. The NECN anchor cleverly writes, "Wouldn't it have been great if (former Red Sox Dave) Roberts took the ring and bolted for second base in a dead sprint?" While most writers are adding TV to the resume, Collins is entertainingly taking the opposite route.

After last week's "Media Blitz" regarding coverage of the New England Revolution, CN8 "Sports Pulse" host Ed Berliner checked in to say that Thursday's show will feature several Revolution players and that soccer insider Joe Cummings will be in-studio next Tuesday to discuss the MLS. In addition, "Sports Pulse" is now calling its sports update "New England Extra" and is tweaking the segment to include only New England stories.

WNDS-TV 50 in Derry, NH, once a bastion of local sports coverage, is experiencing severe cutbacks. Shooting Star Broadcasting took over the station in September touting more local coverage. Since then, they have dropped the Noon and 10:00 p.m. newscasts, replacing them with periodic news cut-ins and a seven-minute 10:00 p.m. newscast with no sports. Sportscasters Mike DiBlasi and Ted Panos file occasional feature stories but game highlights and scores are non-existent. Both men are under contract until September.

John Molori's columns are published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, The Salem Evening News, The Newburyport Daily News, The Gloucester Times, Patriots Football Weekly, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, The RemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonSportsMedia.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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