New station shows promise, needs polish
The comedy of the coincidence did not elude Michael Felger.
No more than 15 minutes into the maiden broadcast of live local programming on WBZ-FMs 98.5 The Sports Hub, Felger, who is joined from 2-6 p.m. daily by co-host Tony Massarotti, went to the phones to take the first call from a listener.
One who happened to have a familiar first name.
Interestingly enough, lets go to ... Glenn in the car, laughed Felger. Wouldnt you know it?
Alas, the voice was not as well-known as the name, and the far-fetched notion that it might be Glenn Ordway on the line to chat with his one-time co-hosts turned legitimate competition was proven as false as logic suggested it should be.
But it was an indirect acknowledgment of what The Sports Hub is up against, given WEEIs strong signal and established presence as the sports-radio superpower in the Boston market. During his opening comments yesterday which sounded like a mission statement Felger threw a few more jabs at WEEI.
Success has changed [the media], Felger said. There are fewer media people who will go after teams. There are more media people who have relationships with coaches and general managers and teams. That has changed the media coverage here. And if theres one thing about this show that I would say ... its that we wont have those relationships that pretty much anywhere else youre going to hear around this town.
If Felger hadnt already cost himself a spot in Fred Smerlass Patriots tailgate tent, he certainly has now.
A few other observations from The Sports Hubs debut:
All in all, an encouraging if hardly flawless debut, an assessment Felger seemed to confirm.
Day 1 is in the books, he said. No blood in the water. Ill give it a 4.5, which for me is good. Ill take the 4.5.
Exhibition of strengthIf you require further evidence that the NFL has surpassed baseball as the national pastime at least among television viewers consider the following:
ESPN was quick to trumpet its 3.5 rating from last Sunday nights Red Sox-Yankees game (4.7 million viewers) as the most-viewed MLB game on the network in more than two seasons.
Impressive numbers, in the context of the sport. But not so impressive when compared with the most-watched sporting event of the week: the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, which aired Sunday on NBC. That matchup between the Bills and Titans drew 7.9 million viewers and a 4.9 rating.
Did we mention it was an exhibition game?
Tiants taleThe lives and times of some ex-Red Sox players have made for compelling television recently, from HBOs unyielding look at Ted Williams to, on a smaller scale, NESNs engaging half-hour Jim Rice retrospective. But the best of the bunch is The Lost Son of Havana, a tear-jerker of a documentary on Luis Tiants return to Cuba and his reconciliation with the friends and relatives he left behind in 2007, after 46 years in the United States. The film, which debuted at the 2009 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, premiered in English on ESPN Aug. 10. Keep your DVR on alert ...The Red Sox will have a hard time providing a goose-bump moment this season that surpasses the one Wednesday night, when beloved analyst Jerry Remy visited the NESN booth for the first time since taking a leave of absence May 6. The standing ovation from the 35,000-plus in attendance was the greatest confirmation yet of his standing as an icon among New England baseball fans. Theres no date for his full-time return, but it is expected to be announced on his website, remy.trufan.com, in the next several days ...Considerably shorter commercial breaks, timely starts to segments, and even the occasional traffic report? What has gotten into WEEI lately? If you didnt know better, youd think they were concerned about some competition.
Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com.