Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RIP MIKE-FM: 2006-2011

On Monday, 93.7 MIKE FM went to that studio in the sky. Now 93.7 simulcasts WEEI sports radio's AM feed.

It's a smart move for WEEI, which sorely needs to do something to re-energize itself after spending the past six months getting its ass kicked by 98.5 The Sports Hub in the Arbitron ratings.

However, two things:

1)  I'll miss MIKE FM. It came on the air five years ago as part of the trend of stations that "play everything." And, as someone who likes a little bit of every music genre myself, I like the unpredictability of hearing Duran Duran followed by Jay-Z followed by The Band Perry. It's too bad that WEEI's FM presence comes at the expense of that.

2) For WEEI, though this is a smart move it's only one small step in the battle to regain lost footing. It was only a few years ago that WEEI was the highest-rated sports talk radio station in America. But, in keeping with Glenn Ordway's rotund build, WEEI got fat and lazy and complacent. It was like the station never thought anyone else would try to challenge them, and got caught flat-footed when 98.5 The Sports Hub mounted a serious challenge.

(Shameless "I-told-you-so" plug: Back in March, I predicted that WEEI was about to lose the ratings battle to 98.5. And sure enough, in the six months since 98.5 has clobbered WEEI.)

It certainly hasn't helped that 98.5 is the flagship station for the Stanley Cup-champion Boston Bruins, since WEEI has largely ignored the Bruins throughout its history. That was justified from the late 1990s through 2007, when the Bruins sucked. But for the past three years it's been pretty obvious that the Bruins were building themselves into a championship contender and WEEI was in denial that it was happening.

Still, Bruins aside, WEEI has made some bad management and personnel decisions the past couple of years that have given 98.5 a huge opening to take over as the king of sports talk radio in Boston. The station needs to do better, because, by itself, gaining an FM presence only means more people will hear why 98.5 is better than WEEI right now.

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