Enough is enough, WEEI.
There have been many casualties at WEEI over the last couple of years. Ratings have dropped and many employees have paid the price. Blame has been thrown around. Producers have been let go. "Sports Flash" guys have come and gone, most notably Kevin Winter after a short stint with the Dennis & Callahan morning show on WEEI (a lot more about them later).
Longtime host Dale Arnold, who along with Michael Holley had the best show on the station, had his role diminished. Radio icon Glenn Ordway was let go altogether and replaced with the inept Mike Salk.
Then it was program director Jason Wolfe's turn to bite the bullet after 22 years with the company. Finally, Jeff Brown, the man many insiders hold responsible for all the recent (ineffective) changes at WEEI, "left" in September of 2013. Brown took over as Entercom Boston's vice president/market manager in Boston more than two years earlier, according to the Boston Globe's Chad Finn. Entercom is WEEI's parent company. Did Brown leave voluntarily or was he fired? No one has ever said for sure, but I suspect the parting was quite mutual.
Through it all, one employee has remained unscathed. It is the one employee who should have been on the chopping block first. You may know him from several cameo roles in some Farrelly Brother films. No? Here's his IMDb page. Still doesn't refresh your memory? Well, just listen to him in the morning on WEEI and he'll be sure to allude to one of "his" films.
He may also remind you he has won 8 Emmy awards for broadcast excellence in Boston. What he won't tell you is that he won those awards over 25 years ago-- before many sports radio listeners were even born.
His name is John Dennis.
On Saturday morning, Dennis engaged in a Twitter-feud with rival morning talk show host Fred Toucher. Twitter is a terrific forum which allows the common person the ability to interact with celebrities, or perceived "celebrities." Twitter also allows the casual follower to get some insight into the personality of a person when they are not "on." Sometimes, it is not pretty. Saturday morning was one those times for John Dennis. And it, by no means, was the first time he has embarrassed himself or his station on the social media forum, or otherwise.
The website Larry Brown Sports has a terrific recap of what transpired on Saturday on Twitter. Here are some of the lowlights:
Dennis goes after former co-worker Jon Wallach by saying, "Wallach is a little testicle-less BITCH who is paid to laugh at UGLY Toucher's lame jokes."
Dennis adds in another tweet, "(Wallach) will get his ass kicked if he shows up in my face EVER."
Dennis replies in yet another tweet, "DONE taking their idiotic s**t. Quiet for 2 yrs. no more."
One last one: "Toucher is a hideously ugly p***y w NO GUTS. SICKS listeners on me for 2 yrs. Come see me DOUCHE BAG."
He ends by admitting to a follower that he is on a cruise ship and that he is "sober as a judge."
Oh, well, there goes that excuse. For the record, the capitalizations are his, the asterisks are mine. You can fill in the blanks-- imagine we are playing Hangman.
Toucher replied: "Look at 60 year old grandpa making twitter threats. Pathetic has been Dino." (Dino is Dennis' nickname)
Toucher also ends with, "Be careful Grandpa."
As a side note, Dennis has since deleted most of his tweets from his account, although the "testicle-less bitch" one is still there.
Enough is enough, WEEI.
I have written that WEEI should have dumped John Dennis before all this, and now I feel they have no choice. Like I said, this is not the first time he has attacked people on Twitter.
Prior to the arrival of Twitter, voice mail seemed to be a favorite avenue for Dennis to vent his anger. In 2005, Dennis left Ryen Russillo a threatening voice mail which became public. You can read about it and hear it in this Deadspin article (or click the video attached to this article, but, again, you have been warned about the language).
In 2003, Dennis and co-host Gerry Callahan were suspended for two weeks by WEEI for making racially-insensitive jokes regarding an inner-city Boston school bus program.
In February of last year, Kirk Minihane was added to the D&C Show. I had suggested in an article a few weeks earlier that the acerbic Minihane, along with Dale Arnold, would have been my choices to replace Dennis and Callahan. Minihane's arrival has helped the show's ratings immensely. The result has been that Minihane recently signed a healthy contract extension.
Despite Minihane's contributions, Dennis has always dismissed him as "the man in the corner." The smug veteran still thinks it is all about him. He just can't see the writing on the wall... and don't you dare tell him it is there.
As a longtime WEEI listener, I have believed for some time now it is time to put Dennis and Callahan out to pasture. I have come around to believing Callahan is salvagable. I have heard Callahan alone with Minihane when Dennis is on vacation and they work well together as a team. WEEI would do well to go ahead with the Gerry & Kirk Show.
Dennis has gotten old. There is no shame in that. It's a fate we all must face. The problem is he is turning into a bitter old man who is clinging to the past. The bigger problem is he has found a forum (Twitter) in which he can spew his hatred and unleash his inner demons unfiltered. At the very least, WEEI should insist he shut down his Twitter account. The right option would be to distance themselves from him altogether.
I understand there is no such thing as bad publicity. It is an old ploy and one which a veteran, like Dennis, has in his playbook. I'm sure it may have been one of the first things he learned while studying journalism at Kent State University in the early 1970's. Listeners will tune in Monday morning to see how both shows respond to what happened this weekend. The difficulty for WEEI is that The Sports Hub holds all the cards. They own the ratings battle. They have taken the high road. 98.5 will come out the winner. WEEI comes off as looking like whiners.