New midday show, Night Ryder's out as WEEI goes thru yet another personnel shuffle
WEEI 93.7 said Monday it will shuffle its local lineup later this month, pairing former Patriots player Christian Fauria and former Red Sox utility/bench player Lou Merloni with a Pittsburgh sports radio import, Tim Benz, in the midday slot(10am-2pm).
In a domino effect, Merloni's current co-host Mike 'Mut' Mutnasky will shift to Sox pre-game and post-game host role. Station's 16-year vet John Ryder who held that role was dismissed as part of this latest shake-up. Ryder was also host of Celtics pre and post-game coverage when WEEI held team's radio rights. He moved into the Red Sox host role last spring when Jon Rish was forced to quit in a budget squeeze(BRW 4/13/12). Highly-respected Ryder, 39, 1997 Northeastern University grad, started at part-timer at WEEI in 1998 and became a full-timer in 2006.
With Ryder's departure, Mutnansky will shift to nights when the new midday show debuts. For now, weekend/fill-in host Chris Villani will cover nights(10pm-Midnight) and Red Sox host role.
As for WEEI's latest on-air addition, Boston-born, CT-raised, Syracuse University-educated, Tim Benz has been a sports radio/TV personality in the Pittsburgh market since 2001. Prior to his tenure in Steel City, he held sports media jobs in Syracuse, Salt Lake City and Columbus, OH. He and WEEI's current content manager Kevin Graham worked together in Columbus and Pittsburgh in the early 2000's where Graham was Benz's program director at The Fan 1460/Columbus and ESPN 1250/Pittsburgh.
Benz was the morning show co-host at Clear Channel's modern rocker WXDX/105.9 The X for eight years. This past February he left the morning show at the X to take a role as sports director for Clear Channel's Pittsburgh stations. As part of that transition, he began hosting a midday show on The X's sister station WBGG/ESPN 970.
He has no firm start date at WEEI because as The X is Pittsburgh Penguins' flagship station and the team is currently competing for NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Benz' will stay in Pittsburgh until the Penguins' playoff run is completed.