Why The Sports Hub is kicking WEEI’s butt

It’s been talked about for a while in media circles and with today’s Boston Globe article it has become official common knowledge:

The mere year-old sports station 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) is beating WEEI 850 AM in the ratings for key the demographics for sports radio (men 25-54).

According to the article, The Sports Hub beat WEEI in morning drive, mid day and afternoon drive ratings in August.

In human language, it means that Toucher and Rich, the morning show brought over from rock station WBCN in the great CBS radio shuffle in Boston last year, is beating the decade-old Dennis & Callahan show.

In the afternoon, the widely despised Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti are taking it to The Big Show and its legion of talking jocks.

In between, Gresh & Zolak are running circles around Dale & Holley (smart people say D&H is the best sports show in town, I think it’s boring as heck).

The Sports Hub has four things going for it:

1) It’s more fun.

2) It’s harder working. I don’t care for Pink Hat Trivia or some of the other bits they do on Toucher & Rich, but most of the effort they put in pays off for the listener. By contrast, Dennis & Callahan have gotten away for far too long with doing just the easy stuff like “here’s the hot topic of the day talk amongst yourselves.” In that regard D&C reminds me of David Letterman, who undoubtedly is The Least Working Man In Showbiz.

3) The signal. WEEI’s AM signal was tolerable when it was the only game in town, but next to The Sports Hub’s glorious FM signal it’s audio torture. Hopefully WEEI will soon switch to FM, as I expected them to do last year.

4) It’s fresh. Vocal area sports fans had for years been clamoring for a serious competitor to WEEI and there was, I think, a willingness among listeners to give the new station a shot. The Sports Hub, in turn, has truly counter-programmed against WEEI and done it so successfully the latter has changed its programming.

A great example of The Sports Hub mentality is Massarotti who really laid it on the line for listeners by doing the voice for the enjoyable Naughty Massarotti bits. When an established and rather earnestly serious writer like him goes out on a limb like that you know you’re dealing with a station that’s trying to entertain.

WEEI has its work cut out but having Tom Brady and Bill Belichick as guests every Monday during the football season will make life that much easier for the station.