Dale Arnold, the 20-year WEEI personality who lost his midday role in last week's stunning personnel shakeup, signed off for the final time today as co-host of the "Dale and Holley Show."
Michael Holley, Arnold's co-host since March 2005, will join Glenn Ordway as co-hosts of the afternoon-drive program "The Big Show," which has been consistently beaten in the men 25-54 demo by "The Felger and Massarotti Show" on rival 98.5 The Sports Hub over the past several months.
Arnold will remain at WEEI in a role that includes fill-in and weekend duty and occasional play-by-play of Red Sox and Celtics broadcasts. But today was his farewell to a program that developed a strong following in part because of Arnold and Holley's congenial tone.
The last hour of today's program had a sentimental This-Is-Your-Life vibe. Audio montages of Arnold's play-by-play highlights through the years were mixed in with various clips from his 20 years as a WEEI host.
Current and former guests on "D&H" as well as other prominent sports and media figures called in with well-wishes, including Ray Bourque, Tom Coughlin, Rosevelt Colvin, Doc Emrick, Joe Castiglione, Dave O'Brien, and Lyndon Byers.
Terry Francona, a regular guest on "D&H" on Wednesdays during his seven years as the Red Sox manager, was particularly gracious.
"I wanted to call and say hello and tell you that I'm a big fan and just because you may be doing something different won't lessen that any," said Francona. "I'm glad you're going to be around a little bit more [Arnold will fill in on play by play on 25-30 Red Sox games this year] because I consider you a friend and I'm looking forward to seeing you a little bit more."
As Arnold thanked him, Francona flashed his dry sense of humor.
"Michael," joked Francona, who collaborated with Holley on the book "Red Sox Rule," "I can't say that about you."
As the show wound to the final moments, with the always affable Colvin as the final guest, Arnold began his sign off with an anecdote in an attempt to explain his perspective.
"Yesterday I got stopped in Home Depot, very nice man I've never met before, said he was sorry I wasn't going to be doing the show anymore" Arnold said. "He said, 'I'm 59 years old. Thirty-three years at the same company. I got laid off. I got a kid in college, 15-year-old at home, and I'm [in trouble].' And it made me realize that people have got it a lot worse than I do. Believe me, I've thought about this guy a lot the last day.
"I'm not leaving. I am leaving this show," said Arnold, noting that he will be on the air again Sunday, March 6 and will have one week in late March in which he calls four Red Sox and two Celtics games. "It's been a pleasure."
Then, after a brief pause: "I think I'll get out of here. The Big Show is coming up next."
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WEEI still hasn't confirmed that Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni will be taking over the midday show when Holley joins Glenn Ordway on the revamped "Big Show" February 28. Neither Mutnansky nor Merloni has been willing to comment on the situation, but it has been confirmed that Mutnansky's final day on his weekday program on WGAM 1250 in Nashua, N.H. is this Friday.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer