Attempting to predict the next personnel change on Boston’s sports radio stations has become a fan’s pastime in its own right, not unlike trying to guesstimate which excess outfielder Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington will trade before the start of the season.
There’s something of a formula to the predicting. Just look at the ratings and the years, months, or weeks remaining on individual contracts, and those with the low numbers in both categories are the ones who ought to have their agents atop their cellphone list of favorite contacts.
But sometimes it’s not as obvious. Consider this:
Scott Zolak and Andy Gresh have worked together for a dozen years, including a stint in Providence before they were reunited in the middays on 98.5 The Sports Hub in April 2010. Their ratings in that time have vacillated between steady and strong, with double-figure shares in the Nielsen Audio ratings often coming during the NFL season, their area of expertise.
Zolak, a former Patriots quarterback, is the color analyst on the team’s radio broadcasts, while Gresh is a host of the pregame and postgame programs on The Sports Hub, the flagship station. Their show, which finished second in the fall ratings period with an 8.5 share, might not be for everyone, but its performance has been remarkably stable.
This is why when fans and observers play that guessing game, few would suspect that the “Gresh and Zo” show will not be around much longer.
According to multiple industry sources, Gresh will no longer be part of the midday program after the Super Bowl.
Gresh, whose contract option was picked up by the station and parent company CBS Boston last January, will not receive a new contract and will leave the station.
Marc Bertrand, the third voice on the ratings-dominant “Felger and Massarotti” show, is expected to join Zolak as a cohost in the middle of February. However, his contract with the midday show is not official.
The front-runner to replace Bertrand as Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti’s cohort in afternoon drive is believed to be Rich Keefe, who is currently with the evening “Adam Jones Show.”
With Gresh’s departure, The Sports Hub will also shake up its Patriots pregame and postgame programming. Gary Tanguay, who briefly preceded Gresh as Zolak’s midday cohost when The Sports Hub launched in August 2009, also is not expected to return.
While Bertrand-Zolak has the makings of a very successful pairing, Gresh’s departure is somewhat puzzling because of the success and relative popularity of the program.
There have long been rumors of behind-the-scenes conflicts between Gresh and station management, but that’s hardly unique in the volatile world of radio.
Gresh and Sports Hub program director Mike Thomas did not respond to requests for comment.
Credit to the Boston Globe who published this article.