WEEI confirms John Dennis is leaving the station’s long-running morning program

Health reasons cited for long-time host taking a smaller role at station.

John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were partners on WEEI's morning show since 1997.
John Dennis (seated) and Gerry Callahan were partners on WEEI's morning show since 1997. –Courtesy WEEI

COMMENTARY

John Dennis, a mainstay on the Boston media scene since the late ‘70s and a co-host of WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan morning program since 1997, has stepped down from the program, effective immediately.

The station confirmed Dennis’s departure from the show, the pending nature of which was reported here last week, in a press release Thursday evening.

The statement said Dennis, who has been on vacation since early August, has been advised by doctors to reduce his workload but will continue in “a moderated capacity” with the station.

Kirk Minihane, who joined the program in 2013 and has had an often contentious on-air relationship with Dennis, will join Gerry Callahan as the co-host after the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, August 29-30.

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Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary said that the station intends to have a third host in place by October.

“John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward,” he said. “To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.”

In his new capacity, Dennis, who came to Boston as a Channel 7 sports reporter and anchor in 1977,  will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. He will also be part of the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.

According to sources, Dennis, whose contract is up in September 2017, threatened to quit two weeks ago after a Twitter war of words regarding Minihane. WEEI management wanted him to stay on because of his appeal to certain advertisers and sponsors.

“Pardon the cliché, but like most morning radio people, I’m really looking forward to finally sleeping in,” Dennis said in a statement.

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