A main component of a city that hosts a professional sports team is a sports talk radio station. This is exemplified in Boston with the radio station, 93.7 WEEI. A sports talk radio station is important because it gives fans up-to-the-minute analysis and sports debate while on the go. Fans are given the opportunity to call in and hear the opinions of fellow fans as well as the radio station’s hosts who have covered sports for years and even played in Boston.
However, in recent weeks WEEI has been in the media headlines for all the wrong reasons. Shortly before the Super Bowl where the Patriots played the Philadelphia Eagles, a documentary on Facebook was released titled Tom vs. Time. This would take an in depth look at Patriot’s quarterback, Tom Brady, and how he has dealt with playing football past age 40.
However, while discussing the show, WEEI host, Alex Reimer referred to Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant”. Due to his comment, Reimer was suspended from the station and Brady questioned whether he would continue weekly interviews. Only weeks later Brady’s agent Don Yee, who is a former New England Patriot and current radio host, Christian Fauria, imitated Yee using an offensive and inaccurate Asian accent. Fauria was then suspended for five days and apologized for the imitation via his Twitter account.
WEEI reacted by suspending all live programing on Friday, February 16th and took to Twitter to explain, “WEEI will be hosting an all day mandatory sensitivity training” and that “WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure our programing is never intolerant to our listeners or our city.”
According to Boston.com, the move to suspend all live programming for a day came after several large advertisers discontinued their relationship with the station. These advertisers included t Citizens Bank, Comcast, and the Massachusetts State Lottery.
The biggest professional partner of WEEI is the Boston Red Sox, and after the recent scandals, team president, Sam Kennedy expressed concern about the station. According to the Boston Herald he said there “is a growing level of concern” and added that he has “expressed that very clearly to management.”
As a listener of WEEI myself, I do enjoy the programming almost all of the time. The morning, midday, and afternoon shows all bring a different take on sports and other issues within the city of Boston. What makes WEEI so unique and fun to listen is the hosts act like themselves and provide actual opinions to the listeners. Hosts showing their personalities is a great way to separate yourself from the competition, however you need to do it in a more respectful way.
If WEEI can clean up some of these all too frequent mistakes, I believe they will continue to be a great radio station for many more years. However if not, we may see many changes that could alter the station forever.