Sports radio giant WEEI 850 AM announced a major shakeup of its lineup Tuesday as current mid-day co-host Michael Holley will join "The Big Show" with Glenn Ordway in the afternoon time slot (2-6 p.m.) starting on Feb. 28.
The move comes after 98.5 The Sports Hub FM, which began broadcasting on the Boston airwaves in August of 2009, started to match and, in some cases, even surpass WEEI's stellar ratings. Former Big Show sidekicks Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, in particular, have given the FM station quite the afternoon jolt.
There are many questions surrounding the moves by 'EEI, such as: Who will fill Holley's slot on the mid-day show (The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Dale Arnold may be relegated to "fill-in" status going forward)? Is The Big Show's cast of rotating guest hosts coming to an end? And have we seen the end of the "Whiner Line?"
Just last week, local archbishop of the airwaves, Frank Iacono, was heard hollering in the background of The Big Show's broadcast from Hurricane O'Reilly's prior to the Celtics showdown with the Lakers. It was your typical Big Show scene, with Cedric Maxwell and Ordway having raucous conversation/shouting matches with Frank and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck. Is that all too familiar "Big Show scene" coming to an end? Iacono is cautiously optimistic that it is not.
"As long as the 'Big O' is there and he's doing most of the talking it'll be alright," assured Iacono, who described 98.5's ascent to the top of the ratings as 'a house on fire.'
"I know the Big O will carry Michael Holley on that show and the Big O will do most of the talking. The Big O is still number one on my list."
One of the rumored personalities to fill Arnold's shoes is former Red Sox utility man Lou Merloni, who has done a considerable amount of radio work for 'EEI over the past several years. That move would certainly be OK by Frank.
"I love Lou, I like him because he knows what he's talking about," said Iacono. "I like Lou, I like (Gerry) Callahan, I like (Steve) Buckley and Mikey Adams is crazy and he's a nut."
Still, WEEI's somewhat dramatic changes over the past few years haven't gone unnoticed by Frank and, in some cases, he doesn't like the direction in which the station is going.
"The station's screwing up when they get rid of (former flash boy) Pete Sheppard and (former Big Show producer) Brett (Erickson)," said Iacono. "But when the Big O goes, the station will go."
As for the "Whiner Line" that ends every Big Show, Iacono reassures everyone that the segment is going nowhere.
"They know I'm the number one caller and there will always be a Whiner Line because that's what makes the show."