Friday, December 14, 2001

Sheppard tops listto replace Andelman

By John Molori
Eagle-Tribune Correspondent

In the aftermath of Eddie Andelman's abrupt departure from Sportsradio 850 WEEI, thoughts have turned to where the Boston radio legend my turn up next. Conventional wisdom has Andelman signing on with AM 1510, WWZN The Zone, but there is another interesting option.

A source close to the situation said Andelman will land at 96.9 FM WTKK alone or alongside Mike Barnicle. Andelman's WEEI contract officially runs out on February 28, 2002.

"I haven't chatted with Eddie," WTKK program director Paula O'Connor told me, "But he is friends with Mr. Barnicle and the two of them have thrown around ideas in the past."

O'Connor states that WTKK president Peter Smyth has also spoken to Andelman, but stresses that she is content with the current state of the station. "I love Eddie Andelman, but that is not the direction that we want to take right now," she says.

WTKK recently acquired longtime WBZ staple Calling All Sports. Sportswriters Will McDonough and Dan Shaughnessy also have a strong presence on the station.

On Thursday morning, calls were placed to Andelman's longtime WEEI partner Dale Arnold and WWZN general manager Mike Kellogg. Both men responded to the calls later that afternoon.

"I can't comment on Eddie Andelman coming to WWZN because he still has a contract with WEEI, " Kellogg said. "We are interested in putting together the very best team possible. Eddie is someone who has a wonderful resume. He is the Godfather of this business."

As for Arnold, the departure of his partner was a surprise. "I had no idea," revealed Arnold. "Eddie called me (Wednesday) night. I think he felt it was time for a change."

While sources at WEEI maintain that Arnold and Andelman did not get along, Arnold disagrees. In fact, he was audibly upset when e-mailers informed him of a Butch Stearns, FOX25 report saying that he and Andelman were at odds.

"Eddie always treated me and my kids wonderfully," he explains, "Off the air, we are very similar guys with the same value systems. Our differences were on the air. It's just a stupid radio show for crying out loud."

Both Arnold and Andelman were apprehensive about teaming up at first. Arnold says that both men eventually warmed to the situation.

"He wanted to do more horse racing. I wanted to do more hockey," says Arnold, "But both of us recognized that the show was working."

As for a successor, Big Show regular Pete Sheppard is among the leading candidates. Arnold has little trepidation about moving forward without Andelman. He states, "The station has assured me that they'll talk to me about a replacement. There is some fear as to how the fans will perceive the show without Eddie."

And what of the prospects of going head to head with his ex-partner? Arnold relates, "If he's on when I'm on, I'll never hear him. I won't know what he's doing. We'll be going after each other in terms of the time slot, but ultimately, it's not about the hosts, it's about the marketplace."

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