Monday, August 11, 2008

ESPN 890 offers new line-up following Felger’s exit

890 ESPN is still trying to get to where it's going on the Boston sports radio map. But the road hasn’t been easy so far. 890 ESPN opened for business as a sports-talk station a little more than three years ago, with the formidable task of challenging market’s 17-year institution WEEI AM 850 and becoming a solid alternative to Entercom’s sports radio powerhouse.

Since September 2005, the ESPN Radio affiliate had featured former Boston Herald writer and current Comcast SportsNet personality Michael Felger in its PM drive lineup. But, last month the Charlestown-based sports talker was forced to remold itself as Felger jumped ship to rejoin WEEI as part-time on-air personality and columnist on its soon-to-be relaunched website.(BRW 7/13)

Starting this Thursday(8/14), ESPN 890 will launch a new local lineup. Big change is the addition of
the Mike and Lew Show which shifts over from pay-for-time morning drive at WWZN AM 1510/The Zone to 4-6pm slot at ESPN 890. In addition, ESPN 890’s sports flasher/reporter Mike Salk and WCVB’s weekend sports/news anchor Bob Halloran pair up for a new midday show “Salk and Halloran” from Noon to 2pm.

Here’s the official announcement from ESPN 890 :

Fresh New Voices and Boston Perspectives Highlight Program Change

BOSTON - August 11, 2008 - In a move to expand local programming and help meet Boston's insatiable appetite for local sports talk, 890 ESPN Radio today announced a new afternoon and drive time program line up.

Beginning Thursday, August 14, WCVB-TV 5 news and sports anchor Bob Halloran will team with current 890 sports reporter Mike Salk for "Salk & Halloran" which will run weekdays between noon and 2pm.

A new drive time show, "Lew and Mike," hosted by the sports talk team of Lew and Mike (Lew Goldstein and Mike Vallee) will air between 4pm and 6 pm. The "Lew and Mike Show" had run on AM 1510 The Zone.

"These moves allow us to supplement our local sports talk and Boston sports news which our listeners cannot get enough of," said 890 ESPN program director Len Weiner. "Boston is America's number one sports town and ESPN is America's number one sports brand. We are excited to expand our programming and offer more new local voices along with the resources and great talent at ESPN."

Halloran's entry into the station lineup is a welcome home of sorts. Before joining WCVB's SportsCenter 5, Halloran was at ESPNews where he spent three years as an anchor and writer for He is also the author of "Irish Thunder: The Hard Life and Times of Micky Ward," published by The Lyons Press.

Mike Salk has been 890 ESPN's Red Sox reporter for the past two years, and will continue in that role. He also can be heard on ESPN's national programming.
The "Lew and Mike Show" at AM 1510 meanwhile has earned a significant response and a reputation for edgy sports commentary and news by two local opinionated and enthusiastic sports observers.

"I'm confident that 890's listeners will embrace these new shows. It's a new day for 890 ESPN, and we look forward to perhaps bringing even more local programming to the station." said Weiner.

1 comment:

jvwalt said...

The time slots seem odd to me in a couple of important ways. First, wouldn't it make sense to create a block of local programming instead of splitting it up? Second, in terms of interaction with ESPN Radio, 890 will be covering up parts of multiple shows -- an hour of Cowherd, one-half of Tirico & Van Pelt, and two-thirds of Sports Nation. 890 would be better off keeping some shows intact while completely covering others.

I suspect that the main criterion for choosing time slots was the availability of the local talent. But it's an odd schedule, and seems to indicate that 890 is not really serious about competing with WEEI.