June 4, 2023

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Exercise makes us healthy

A conversation with Jeff Rickard, WEEI’s new program director

Media

WEEI has been having difficulties in the ratings in opposition to rival 98.5 The Sports Hub. Jim Davis/Globe Team

Jeff Rickard is understanding the lay of the land immediately after the longtime national radio persona (ESPN, Sporting News Radio) was hired in early August as WEEI’s plan director.

“I’m just figuring out wherever bathrooms are and wherever the stairs in the back again of the making go to and that type of things,” he said Friday afternoon. “I’ll be back again up coming 7 days and we’ll hit the ground total speed.”

Rickard will have a good deal of duties on his agenda, with longtime host Glenn Ordway retiring later in the month and WEEI having difficulties in the ratings against rival 98.5 The Sports activities Hub.

In this article is the gist of our dialogue about how Rickard sees WEEI’s existing and future, edited for size:

Q. You are coming listed here from Indianapolis, but the Boston current market is not unfamiliar to you. Tell me a little little bit about your radio background unique to the Boston marketplace.

A. “We moved to [New England] when I 1st acquired my position at ESPN Radio all around 2005. We stayed listed here for 8 or 9 yrs. And then the last few of many years, I really do not know if you don’t forget CN8, the Comcast Community. I did a couple of decades of web hosting “Out of Bounds Late Night” from a studio suitable across the road from [Boston University]. I know my way all over the town. I know what’s likely on.”

Q. WEEI is a legacy model in athletics radio circles, but there has been some turbulence in modern yrs. What is it that appealed to you about this job and led you to go after it?

A. “There are some terrifically proficient men and women below. We have acquired to appear in and determine out what’s working and what we require to do superior and how we have to have to try to shift ahead in this great — I hold saying fantastic, but which is the term I would use to describe what I feel the situation is. There’s a great deal of authentic probable and option. And we have just received to make sure that we’re all executing issues that we do best and try out to do better at the matters that possibly we’re not executing so effectively.”

Q. Do you have a general or particular philosophy about what will work in sporting activities radio or does it depend on the particular current market?

A. “I consider what you have to recognize is that you cannot do the correct similar issue in just about every city. Every metropolis has obtained its very own identity and its have type of vibe and its possess rhythm. In Boston, sporting activities are a large component of the way of lifestyle below. That relationship helps make this a person of, if not the finest sports activities cities in The usa. You have to understand that, and you have to converse to them about points they want to discuss about. When you’re performing your position well in sports activities radio, you have your finger on the pulse of the admirer, and hopefully you are conversing to them in a really entertaining and compelling way. It appears very simple, and it is definitely significantly far more complicated to make it operate, but that is the aim, to do a seriously excellent job of providing them what they want.”

Q. In your viewpoint, is it wise to discuss politics, and to a significantly less contentious diploma, pop tradition? Or need to most of the discourse be purely athletics-centric?

A. “Well, initially of all, sporting activities is your bread and butter, you are a sports activities radio station. You’re advertising and marketing on your own as a athletics radio station. So I consider folks want to come right now, for illustration, to listen to what [midday host] Andy Gresh has to say about Cam Newton and Mac Jones final night. You know the to start with preseason recreation is what men and women will be conversing about, and you have to give them that. But you also believe, if I was with my buddies and my relatives, what would we be speaking about right now? I’m not a significant fan of politics in sports activities radio due to the fact I consider it’s divisive and I don’t think that does you any excellent. I believe it is Okay to make your passions and your individual viewpoints acknowledged. But I really do not think you need to have to linger on it. I never believe that sporting activities radio demands to be the position exactly where we litigate today’s political passions. It is there. You can accept it. You can talk about pop tradition. Cost-free Britney, that is excellent for a next or two. But transfer on. And let us communicate about the matters the sports lover in Boston is really intrigued in.”

Q. A few of decades back, the station took an strategy in which the reveals extra antagonized every single other in a form of soap opera way, with the morning show driving that, and the scores were strong. That seems like an approach you are not interested in revisiting, reasonable to say?

A. “Well, I really don’t necessarily mean to seem like a head football coach or anything at all, but that was before I was listed here and I never know what accurately was likely on guiding the scenes. I’m just not informed adequate to have a real belief on that. I just know what we want to do here transferring forward.”

Q. It’s been proven that two sports stations can simultaneously have tremendous good results in this market place. But WEEI’s scores have fallen about the past few of decades even though 98.5 The Sporting activities Hub has continued successful ratings intervals. How does WEEI get again to the degree where by it’s competing to gain essential demographics once more?

A. “You recognize the issues that you do truly perfectly, you detect your weaknesses, you consider to fix those weaknesses, and you just put a genuinely compelling display on the air, irrespective of whether that display is early morning, middays, or afternoons. I believe there’s a lot of expertise listed here and we’ll check out to get them to do the matters that they do actually perfectly even superior. About time, all stations adjust and evolve. Some of them discover their rock-sound lineup and they go with that. I’m psyched to see what I can find out about the crew which is right here ideal now and see where by we can go with them. But yeah, I can’t worry about what any person else does. I can only fear about what this radio station is going to do.”

Q. With Glenn Ordway retiring at the end of the month, that’s a rather major roster location opening up in afternoon generate. Have you presented any thought on how that could possibly be loaded?

A. “The very first issue I want to do is get in here and truly realize the method and how these fellas are doing work now. And I want to decide on Glenn’s brain. He’s been in this business for a very long time and definitely experienced a ton of achievement. I’m looking forward to continuing to use him in massive spots [Ordway will still host the Patriots’ postgame show] and get advantage of who he is and what he does. But I want to get a sense for what is going, and as we go forward we’re likely to obtain a way to attraction to the folks that we have to have to charm to.”

Q. Any opportunity we’ll be listening to you on the air?

A. “It’s amusing. My wife requested me that. She reported, ‘Are you heading to be Okay not becoming on the air?’ All I can say is I’ve been undertaking this considering that I was a teenager for a truly prolonged time, like a really very long time. I imagine for four a long time, although I was in Indianapolis and executing stuff at SiriusXM, I was averaging about 340 exhibits a yr. I’m exhausted. And the more programming that I have finished, the extra I’ve uncovered that I definitely appreciate assisting. I seriously delight in primary. I like radio. I’m really on the lookout forward to having my fingerprints on one thing which is 24 hrs rather than focusing on four hours a day, if that makes sense. I’m completely ready to make that comprehensive-time transition. I’m searching forward to just becoming a application director, let us set it that way.”