Shake-up at WEEI

Mon Nov 24 09:45:10 EST 2003

The Sox currently have a multi year deal in place at WEEI, but there is 
a clause in the contract that allows the club to opt out of the 
remainder of the deal at the end of next season if they so choose.  I 
think it might have something to do with the sale of the club a couple 
of years ago but I'm not sure.  Anyway, WEEI definitely wants to keep 
the Sox if at all possible, which is why Julie Kahn was brought on board 
as WEEI GM.  She has an extensive background in sports talk, and she 
used to run sports stations in San Francisco and Seattle.  There seems 
to be a "rocky" relationship between the new Sox brass and WEEI, so 
bringing in a new face to try and mend fences and work out a new rights 
deal makes sense for Entercom.  This move has nothing to do with the 
Dennis and Callahan/Gorilla situation.  It's all about the Sox.

Having said that, if the Sox do jump to WBZ, it's not all gloom and doom 
for WEEI.  They've put together a live and local lineup of talkers who 
do well throughout the year.  That won't change if the Sox go away. 
 Sure, the ratings will go down a bit and so will the revenue, but 
producing sports play-by play is expensive, and those are costs that 
won't be incurred any longer by Entercom.  A Sox-free WEEI would 
probably wind up being a 3 share station most of the year, which is 
still better than what most successful sports stations pull around the 
country.  WFAN, despite all of their play by play deals, only gets a 2.5 
share most of the time in New York and they are one of the highest 
billers in the market.  A three share WEEI would do just fine.

WIP/Philadelphia continues to do well despite not having the play by 
play rights to the Phillies or the Eagles, the two primary sports 
franchises in that market.  I don't know if they run the Sixers or 
Flyers games, but those sports aren't anywhere close to being as 
lucrative as baseball and football.  The local all-sports station in 
Dallas (KTCK I think) doesn't have any play by play on it at all!  The 
bottom line is that WEEI would survive and still make money without the 
Sox--they just wouldn't be as dominant in the marketplace.  Obviously 
Entercom would like to keep the Sox, but if they don't, they are 
probably working on a post-Sox contingency plan.

Mike Thomas

Hakim Madjid wrote:

>IMHO WEEI can't afford to lose the 'Sox if they can
>help it. The 'Sox are like 90% of what makes that
>However, I thought 'EEIs Red Sox contract still has
>several years to run?
>Infinity? Sox on 'BZ perhaps?
>Rumor is strong? What rumor is strong? All I've seen
>so far is speculation on various on-line forums.

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