In recent months, Market Manager Phil Zachary and the Entercom Boston team have been on a mission to identify the right leadership to help maintain and grow WEEI’s position as one of America’s best sports media brands. Former PD Kevin Graham exited the station in July, and with WEEI locked in a competitive battle with 98.5 The Sports Hub, one misstep and bigger problems could’ve surfaced.
While identifying the right leadership for a storied brand such as WEEI is difficult enough, the station also had to tackle a few key on-air issues. Longtime morning host John Dennis left the morning show in August, and Jerry Thornton, who had been part of the afternoon show with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley, exited the afternoon show in November to return to Barstool Sports.
Despite those challenges, which would normally result in a brand taking a step backwards, WEEI actually improved. Strong internal leadership, and a great air staff contributed to a rise in ratings and revenue, and today that hard work has paid off for a few key members of WEEI’s internal staff.
Zachary has announced that after a six-month search for its next program director, WEEI will instead create a new program leadership team from its in-house talent bench.
Current WEEI Assistant Program Director Joe Zarbano has been elevated to Program Director. In his new role, Zarbano will assume direct oversight of all audio content for WEEI-FM, the WEEI Sports Radio Network, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and ESPN 850. He is a nine-year station veteran who began with WEEI as an intern while a student at Emerson College. He has been overseeing all day to day programming matters for the radio station since July, playing an integral role in the radio station’s growth during that period.
Working in tandem with Zarbano as the station’s new Executive Producer is WEEI Senior Producer Ben Kichen. He joined the station in 2006 from iHeart Media’s WXKS and WJMN and has been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and Dale & Holley programs on WEEI. Kichen also produces the acclaimed “Enough About Me” podcast with Kirk Minihane as well as hosting “Soccercast” for WEEI.com.
Carlson Mozdiez, who is currently the Director of Integrated Marketing Strategies for Entercom’s Boston cluster, will assume the new title of Director of Operations for Entercom Boston, with a special emphasis on the company’s digital juggernaut WEEI.com. Mozdiez joined WEEI in 2002 immediately after graduating from Syracuse University, and has held a variety of positions in promotions, marketing and digital operations.
Entercom New England VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary says the search was necessarily long and intensive. “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting. Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it. As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Joe, Ben, and Carlson. Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”