A lot has happened since the beginning of the winter ratings book on WEEI and on Kirk & Callahan. The Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady–Bill Belichick era, the Bruins fired Claude Julien (much to the chagrin of Pete Sheppard), Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Entercom and CBS Radio joined forces, there seemingly will be no permanent third host with Kirk Minhane and Gerry Callahan and Ken Laird is a father.
As per usual, K&C had plenty of highlight-reel moments in the three-month span. Here’s the best of the best with two weeks remaining in the winter ratings book:
Nobody was more excited to see Trump become the 45th president than Gerry. Not so much for his like of Trump, but for his absolute disdain for the democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Gerry basked in glow of victory on the post-election show, as WEEI.com writer and noted liberal John Tomase had to sit and deal with Callahan’s excitement for four full hours.
Gerry decided to head to Washington D.C. for Trump’s Inauguration, ran into press secretary Sean Spicer and even called in shortly before Trump was sworn in.
“He was very friendly and very short,” Callahan said of Spicer. “I said, ‘You should call in sometime. We’d love to have you on the show.’” Spicer invited K&C to the White House if the Patriots won the Super Bowl, so it’s a possibility that the guys could accompany the team on their trip.
“A block from Trump Hotel is madness,” Gerry said. “I told you I was going to stay away from the anarchists but it’s impossible. They’re everywhere. The Trumpkins outnumber the protesters so far. We’re right by the side of the Capitol. [Trump] is right near us now. We have to find a place to stand. It’s total madness. We just walked by a massive anti-Black Lives Matter protest. You want to talk about balls.”
“If a caller every called on a phone that crappy, you would’ve hung up on them in three seconds,” co-host Mike Mutnansky joked.
This was sort of a stunner, and still no one really knows the true implications of this move quite yet, but nonetheless, the parent companies of WEEI and 98.5 the Sports Hub have merged and Entercom has absorbed CBS Radio.
It seems that now it really won’t matter to Entercom whether or not Ordway, Merloni and Fauria beat out Zolak and Bertrand, because all the money and ad revenue is going into one pot, although I’d assume the hosts will continue to be competitive when it comes to their respective ratings.
“It almost sort of feels like the war is over,” Kirk said in a recent Enough About Me podcast with Glenn Ordway.
Even 98.5 is starting to acknowledge EEI, which it never did in the past, as they put themselves about the fray. Michael Felger twice has made mention of fellow afternoon host Dale Arnold and said he’d prefer an Entercom minute with Dale over the CBS Sports minutes with Doug Gottlieb and Jim Rome, and has referenced EEI as its “sister station.”
The news even made headlines in the Boston Herald:
Albert in Rhode Island has a long history of calling into sports radio shows in Boston, spewing his hot takes about how Brady isn’t a great quarterback and how the Patriots essentially win in spite of him. He even sat in on Dino’s Casting Couch back in the fall.
Albert called in at the end of February thinking he was speaking to Pete Sheppard, but instead was talking to Mut.
“Is that Mut on the set today with you guys?”
“No. It’s actually Jon Meterparel and Pete Sheppard with Kirk,” Mut replied.
“Of course it’s Sheppard. I should’ve known with his stupid voice.”
Albert had no idea it was Mut while Ken played old Pete drops that didn’t make any sense, but Albert still didn’t get it.
“I’m listening to Pete talk. What if you saw at 1 p.m. today that Brady was caught with HGH?”
After a few seconds of silence, ‘Pete’ replied, “He’s done diddly poo. Friggin’ muppet.”
“Pete has been pathetic in this segment!” Kirk said.
“How else do you explain all this stuff to some young people in your life? You’re a disgusting human being. It’s an embarrassment!” ‘Pete’ said.
“You can’t answer it! The fact they even put you on this show is an embarrassment!” Albert said.
“Wow. Pete got his ass kicked there,” Mut joked.
The guys went down to Houston for Super Bowl LI, and as usual, welcomed a cast of characters for interviews during their week on site, which featured great insight from FS1’s Jason Whitlock, Sirius XM’s Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy, Chris Simms and ESPN’s Ryen Russillo and Stephen A. Smith.
Russo was fired up about Roger Goodell not visiting Gillette Stadium throughout the 2017 season and defended Brady, saying he doesn’t need to speak out against his friendship with Trump. Portnoy was banished from Radio Row along with the rest of the Barstool contingent, so Pres had to sit in the hotel lobby for his interview. Portnoy dished on his beef with Michael Felger from 98.5 after Felger objected to his comments comparing Goodell to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.
Russillo revealed some interesting insight as to what went down specifically between he and former Dennis and Callahan co-host John Dennis before Dino left him the infamous voicemail threatening to assault him. Just another Super Bowl week.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh went on with Kirk and Gerry and defended the city of Boston, claiming that it is not a racist city despite the outcries of discrimination from ESPN personalities.
“That stuff bothers me,” Walsh said. “When I read that, I get upset about it, because in the past we’ve had problems. Obviously Bill Russell’s problems have been very well documented. Other folks’ have been very well documented. It’s another issue that we’re working on. I don’t like the label of having a racist city. I think it’s important for us to be a fully inclusive city. It’s not even about athletes coming to our city to play in the city. I think it’s about making sure that when people come to our city – I know and I feel that Boston is a world class city. One of the best cities in the world. And to have people label us? Yeah, that bothers me. It should bother all of us.”
Things got testy when Walsh was challenged by Minihane and Callahan on his plan for a sanctuary city.
“So what you’re telling us is only children will be allowed to sleep in your office, like you said, in City Hall?” Kirk asked.
“Don’t be a wise guy about it,” Walsh shot back.
“How? You just said kids and I said kids. How am I being a wise guy?”
“Because of the way you’re framing it all here.”
“Framing what?! You said kids and I said kids.”
“What are you yelling for? I’m not yelling at you. What are you getting so mad about?”
All of these really could have been broken up into their own moments, and while one of them was, it felt more appropriate to encompass all media members who ran into the wrath of and Gerry and Kirk over the last three months.
Things were kicked off with Hall of Fame voters Mike Shalin and Randy Miller, who both did not vote for Curt Schilling and didn’t have any real good excuses as to why they omitted him from their ballots when they came on the show. Political disdain and the new ‘character clause’ made this easier now than before, but it makes Schilling’s borderline candidacy almost all for naught. It’s looking more and more like No. 38 will be on the outside looking in at Cooperstown, as his voting numbers have hit a standstill.
Then came the A.J Perez’s and Dave Zirin’s and Jake O’Donnell’s of the world, who Kirk and Gerry disagreed with and slapped around after they were made fools of on the issue of race in Boston and whether or not Brady should take a stand on his friendship with Trump. Even ESPN’s Dan Le Batard got in on the action, making the subject of the Patriots v. Falcons wide receivers a race issue, then declined his invite on K&C.
Charlotte Wilder took things a step further and said that the Patriots have a ‘Trump problem’ because Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft all are friendly with the new POTUS. Wilder cited just one instance where fans are now rescinding their support from the team out in Lincoln, Massachusetts with Susan Pease, which has now become a non-stop joke on social media. Wilder was approached by Kirk in Houston and declined an invite on the show, only to go on Facebook and claim that Kirk and Gerry were hitting on her late at night in a Texas bar.
She was a perfect example for Kirk’s contention that in this climate, people can write whatever they want and they don’t really have to answer for it. Wilder was crucified on Twitter by the Patriots faithful, while many rushed to her defense and defended her story.
After ESPN’s Bomani Jones went on Around the Horn and his own radio show on the network, the Right Time, and criticized Celtics’ fans for their cheering of Utah Jazz’ forward Gordon Hayward in hopes he would choose Boston as his free-agent destination this summer, Jones insinuated that Celtics’ fans would welcome Hayward more than they would an African American free-agent because of its history of racism toward athletes like Bill Russell and Jim Rice.
Producer Chris Curtis did his best to get Jones on K&C to discuss his comments, which Jones then said were just jokes after being pressured on social media and blocked any and all users on Twitter who tweeted at him about the subject with the slightest hint of disagreement. Jones declined the invite to join Kirk and Gerry a number of times.
“I’ve lived in Boston my whole life,” Kirk said on K&C. “They’re calling me a racist, you a racist, the whole city of Boston racists.”
“We out here telling jokes about Boston being excited about a good white player [Hayward] showing up,” Jones said on his show the day after he received some backlash on social media for his comments.
After attempts to get Jones on the morning show failed, Minihane decided he’d had enough, and tried to get Bomani to talk to him about the subject on Jones’ show as ‘Kevin in Boston.’
“Let’s talk to Kevin in Boston. Thanks for calling the Right Time, Kevin.”
“Oh, did you say Kevin? This is actually Kirk Minihane from the Kirk and Callahan show.”
“Whoa, whoa, bang on this. Hang up. We’re not doing that. Kirk Minihane is the co-host of the morning show on WEEI. That’s a stunt. I’m not doing stunts, man,” Bomani said.
When informed of Pete Sheppard‘s return to K&C Thursday, WEEI.com writer Alex Reimer said Pete was “totally wrong” in his anti-Bruins ownership rant.
Upon having the sound from Alex on Wednesday’s show played back in the Thursday’s open in the 8 AM hour, Pete began to mock Alex for calling him out on his take.
“Which he was totally wrong about by the way. Friggin’ muppet. What part was I totally wrong about, Alex?”
Pete compared Cam Neely, who was in Sheppard’s path during the monologue Friday, to a “muppet and puppet” like Alex.
“When’s the last time Alex has been in a locker room or talked to anybody?” Pete said. “I’ll give Alex this, he’s a very good writer. I enjoy reading his stuff on WEEI.com. But his muppet personality with you guys? He’s a muppet! I think because he is gay he thinks certain rules don’t apply to him. If I told the story he told on-the-air, I’d be fired. If I said I was at a lesbian bar and saw the same thing and told it in nauseating detail, I’d probably be fired. That’s riveting radio! That’s great! Fantastic!”
Then Alex phoned in to defend himself and it was another epic fight ensued:
“Pete, I heard you’re calling for my job?” Reimer said.
“What job?!” Pete rebuffed. “I just said you were a good writer. It’s not calling for your job, you over-sensitive idiot. That’s typical of people your age to think your job is on the line because you’ve done so much and you’ve expressed yourself. Go on, give me some more of your muppet logic. C’mon! Can we shut the muppet down for a second?! You know nothing about the Bruins.”
Then Alex said he thinks Pete’s attacks are partially sexual orientation-driven, half-joking I’m sure, but Pete obviously denied going after Alex because he is gay, which clearly was not Pete’s intention.
“You sound like the sensitive one in the conversation,” Reimer said to Pete.
Alex criticized Pete for essentially getting the story wrong and again questioned his sources, who he claimed was Jimmy Murphy.
“Once again, muppet, it’s not my source,” Pete said. “You can’t even comment on the Boston Bruins, you know nothing about it. I’ve interviewed that team and covered those guys for many, many years. When you were watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers and finding yourself out in the real world, some of us were down there covering the team. I’ve actually been in locker rooms. What locker room have you been in? You are a muppet and you have been enabled. He’s morphed into Tickle Me Elmo.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard more genuine laughter from Kirk, Gerry or Curtis during a single segment than this one, as former co-host John Dennis reunited with his old pals Gerry and Kirk and didn’t have a whole lot to say after spending the past few months as a retiree.
After Gerry introduced himself to his former co-host for 17 years, Dino didn’t know how to react until he repeated his hilarious “Hey, my friends! Good morning!” intro.
Ken executed the Dino drops seamlessly back in Brighton as Dennis was brought to life in Fort Myers. Laird loaded up past questions from Dino during old interviews from Spring Training as Kirk and Gerry answered the questions then asked some of their own before Dino was startled and moved on to his next thought.
“You don’t think Sandoval is going to perform well this season, Dino?” Gerry asked.
“Hey, my friends! Good morning!”
Perhaps the best input from Dino was about socks, and not those kind of Sox.
“I agree with you when you’re talking about general society, but in this particular case in general society, you can wear your socks anyway you want to.”
Kirk couldn’t even finish his next thought. “Sure, I’m not sure how relevant that is to the question,” he said. “I know you’re rusty, it’s been a while, but I like the rotation and I like I do [laughter]”
A classic, hilarious organic segment that really brought out the creative juices on the final live-broadcast from JetBlue Park.
Not sure there’ll be much of an argument about this one. Conflict sells, and Kirk and Gerry do a better job of this than really anyone else in the market. Minihane has essentially made a career off of it, so it’s no surprise that their spat with then-Boston Herald Red Sox beat writer Evan Drellich is atop the winter moments.
Drellich was on K&C last summer after Kirk called out the Sox beat guys for being too easy on Boston manager John Farrell, and he defended himself saying he wasn’t like the “rest of ‘em,” who Minihane characterized as “dick-less.”
This time, Drellich was on site in Fort Myers, Florida with the rest of the Sox media contingent while Kirk and Gerry were broadcasting live during Spring Training, and 40 minutes of chaos ensued after he challenged the hosts for their coverage of Farrell:
“More people get their Red Sox news from us. You might be more plugged in, but more people get their news from us. You think people know more from listening to your Facebook videos when you and Jason Mastrodonato talk about who’s going to be the 4th starter?!” Kirk joked.
“Do you think you produced one bit of new information yesterday?” Drellich asked.
“No! Not one. Zero,” Kirk replied.
“So how does that make you a better interviewer than any of us?”
“You just criticized us for not asking about pinch-running for Steven Wright, correct?” Callahan asked. “If we had asked that, what would Evan Drellich have said? ‘We covered that six months ago! Capital letters! Old news!’”
“Evan you can leave whenever you’d like it’s fine,” Kirk said. “Walk out. We don’t care.”
“The topic is whether or not you gave a good interview or about whether or not we’re good at covering baseball,” Drellich replied.
“No. You took at shot at us, or me, for being too soft on Tom Brady,” Gerry said.
“Go back to when he first opened up about [Donald Trump]. It took you 15 minutes to get to the subject and then you almost went away from it,” Drellich said.
“You would never talk to Brady like [the way I did about Alex Guerrero]. You would do what you do with Farrell and [Dustin] Pedroia and [Mookie] Betts and massage them,” Kirk said.
“Farrell has gotten up and walked away from me during interviews before!” Drellich said. “I’m sorry you didn’t like the bullpen piece I did in the middle of spring training.”
“It’s not that I didn’t like it. I didn’t read it,” Callahan said.
“I don’t think you read ever. Sean Leahy said you could write anytime you’d like.”
“I know. He desperately needs me.”
“Get over yourselves!” Drellich concluded.
Yes, this has nothing to do with sports, but there aren’t a whole lot of times when there is such pure awkwardness on a radio show or someone’s personal life is at the forefront of a segment, and this was about as awkward as it gets.
Reimer revealed he had broken up with his boyfriend, whom Kirk and Gerry called Alex No. 2, on the mid-January show.
Curtis wasted no time in trying to get in touch with Alex and brought him on the show to discuss what went down between the two:
“I just saw on Twitter that you guys have been talking about it and I figured he’d been lying about it so I figured I’d call in and set the record straight. He cheated and lied about it for months,” Alex No. 2 said.
“That’s the beauty of being young and single. You can cheat,” Gerry joked.
“Alex is rattled,” Kirk added.
A CSNNE reporter, Trenni Kusnierek has been frequenting the Casting Couch after switching over from 98.5, and now has her own weekend show with Tomase on Saturdays.
Trenni came in during the Wilder aftermath and defended her from the Twitter crazies that were lashing out at her for her story.
After being suggested Curtis, Gary Tanguay, Dino and Mike Giardi, Kirk asked if she had to reproduce with any Boston media member who would it be. She opted for CSNNE’s Phil A. Perry.
“He’s tall, he’s handsome and he’s intelligent. He’s fluent in French. He went to Georgetown, he’s well-read,” she said.