Toucher and Hardy: The new 98.5 morning show

HarvardSqr

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Dec 18, 2023
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I know the general audience loves Mike Gorman, but I thought he was only "eh" as a guest the past couple of years. No disrespect to him, but as he aged he was more difficult to understand as he mumbled quite a bit on the radio.
I agree 100% about Mike being difficult to understand on the call in segment. I'd have to be wearing headphones to follow it. His low fi phone connection is most of the problem. He doesn't have the sort of voice that can overcome that. A lot of guests that "call in" to shows now do so in ways that results in better audio.

Outside of the interviews, I'm looking forward to giving Rich's new show a shot.
It'll be interesting to hear what it's like. I didn't listen to ZLX for extended time during mornings, but I assume they do play music, so I guess there will be less time to fill than on talk radio.
 

BigJimEd

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Been going into the office quite a bit the last few weeks so gave the show more of a chance but just couldn't get into it. Probably more me though as I also tried Jones and Mego or whatever it is called and found that unlistenable as well.
 

8slim

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Fred is still a great interviewer, so I'll try and stay tuned for the regular guests that I enjoy (including Bob Beers, who is on now). Beers, Fluto (quasi-regular), Jaffe, Andrew Callahan (I think he's a great guest), and Breer on Fridays.
This is why I keep tuning in most mornings as well. The interviews with team experts are very, very good.

It's funny, the reason why I enjoyed the show so much when I first started listening was because T&R did a sports show that didn't feature any of the contrived, hot takey, reactionary nonsense that caused me to abandon the sports talk genre years prior. And the non-sports stuff was typically hysterical.

The latter is largely gone from the current show (well, the hysterical part, IMHO), and the sports takes of T&H aren't anything remarkable. But the interviews make the show.
 
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HarvardSqr

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Dec 18, 2023
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But the interviews make the show.
I'm of the same mind as you on everything. I'll give Fred credit for having such a great line up of regular guests. I think he has great radio sense, and it's always seemed important to him to have very
informed and/or entertaining guests.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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It's funny, the reason why I enjoyed the show so much when I first started listening was because T&R did a sports show that didn't feature any of the contrived, hot takey, reactionary nonsense that caused me to abandon the sports talk genre years prior. And the non-sports stuff was typically hysterical.

The latter is largely gone from the current show (well, the hysterical part, IMHO), and the sports takes of T&H aren't anything remarkable. But the interviews make the show.
I remember when TSH came on and that was pretty much the mantra of all of the shows: no hot takes, no "celebrity" (like Butch in the Cape) callers, we're going to talk about what the listener wants. All of the shows, even Felger and Mazz, were run that way and it was such a breath of fresh air. But that has changed and I wonder if this is less of a show-specific philosophy and more of a station philosophy. And to go even further, I wonder if it was even a conscious decision? Once you get to a certain level of success it's just easier to just regurgitate bullshit opinions all day* rather than do the hard work needed to get an audience.

* EEI should take a page out of TSH's opening years playbook. You don't need a Michael Felger lite on during the drive time, if like that kind of radio, the real one is on. What they need is what Felger and Mazz were in the early days, a complete change from the Big Show. Like if F&M was the same show as the one Ordway ran into the ground, I doubt that TSH would be half the success it was. Same with T&R being the opposite of KKK radio, aka Dennis and Callahan. And Damon Amendolara being the converse of Mike Adams. (The midday shows are always the exact same things, though Zo is a bit more "wacky" and had the juice of being the Pats color guy).
 

8slim

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I remember when TSH came on and that was pretty much the mantra of all of the shows: no hot takes, no "celebrity" (like Butch in the Cape) callers, we're going to talk about what the listener wants. All of the shows, even Felger and Mazz, were run that way and it was such a breath of fresh air. But that has changed and I wonder if this is less of a show-specific philosophy and more of a station philosophy. And to go even further, I wonder if it was even a conscious decision? Once you get to a certain level of success it's just easier to just regurgitate bullshit opinions all day* rather than do the hard work needed to get an audience.
I wasn't a listener in 98.5's early days. I swore off sports talk radio right around when it launched. I had listened to Mike & Mike on ESPN, and Boomer & Carton and Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN. But by 2010-ish I was exhausted by the whole format.

That's why T&R were such a revelation to me. Actual FUN talk that put sports in the proper perspective. Not some kind of life-and-death outrage machine.

Toucher and Hardy is a perfectly fine show. It has entertaining moments. The sports takes are genuine, even if I find some of Fred's positions to be a bit overwrought at times. It's just that the show now isn't the must-listen 4 hours that I found T&R to be pre-COVID.
 

Granite Sox

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More shots from Fred around 7:30 this morning. He and Hardy were discussing Steve Albini with fondness, and Fred indicated he had received an email or two about some previous negative comments he had made about Albini. Paraphrasing: "Well... if I said anything negative, it's because of the relentless positivity about music coming from this room. I had to say something negative because the positivity got to be too much."

(For those unfamiliar) Rich enjoys a much broader range of music and artists compared to Fred, and Rich's ratio of good to bad was significantly tilted towards 'good'. It irritated Fred to no end, as Fred sees himself as a bit more discerning (and definitive) about what is good and bad in music.

Fred was making excuses and blaming Rich for why he shanked Albini in the past.
 
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teddykgb

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More shots from Fred around 7:30 this morning. He and Hardy were discussing Steve Albini with fondness, and Fred indicated he had received an email or two about some previous negative comments he had made about Albini. Paraphrasing: "Well... if I said anything negative, it's because of the relentless positivity about music coming from this room. I had to say something negative because the positivity got to be too much."

(For those unfamiliar) Rich enjoys a much broader range of music and artists compared to Fred, and Rich's ratio of good to bad was significantly tilted towards 'good'. It irritated Fred to no end, as Fred sees himself as a bit more discerning (and definitive) about what is good and bad in music.

Fred was making excuses and blaming Rich for why he shanked Albini in the past.
I always thought it was the opposite, Rich seemed like a fairly big music gatekeeper with really strong opinions about any kind of popular band actually sucking
 

dirtynine

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I always thought Rich cared more about how music made him feel personally, and Fred factored in critical acclaim, “authenticity” etc. a lot more.
 

Rusty13

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"Well... if I said anything negative, it's because of the relentless positivity about music coming from this room. I had to say something negative because the positivity got to be too much."
I mean this is basically Fred's shtick on EVERY topic haha. But I admittedly have found myself laughing hysterically and nodding along with Fred on his music takes on numerous occasions. Those are some of his best rants!
 

hube

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Apr 4, 2010
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Yes, but Granite Sox has had it in for Fred ever since Fred accidentally ran over his dog.

Now replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."
 

NDame616

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Why are they replaying the Steve Levy interview from 7 this morning? I like Steve but this is weird.
Omg I almost threw my alexa onto the highway when this happened. I was convinced it was a podcast or replay or something it wasn't playing live.
 

onthereg527

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Nov 16, 2021
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Omg I almost threw my alexa onto the highway when this happened. I was convinced it was a podcast or replay or something it wasn't playing live.
Yes! Fred was also incredibly misleading, throughout the 9 am hour he kept saying that they had Steve Levy coming up next, as opposed to saying replaying the interview from this morning.
 

onthereg527

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Nov 16, 2021
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They’ve just about always replayed interviews later in the show on the same day. They’ve even done it on following days many times
Sure, but it’s not as common as you say and they usually say we will replay XYZ interview from this morning. Fred was promoting it as if it was gonna be live.
 

Milktoast

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Jun 21, 2021
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After the WZLX morning show was suddenly dropped yesterday, I had suspicion that perhaps they were putting Rich on mornings there. So, I made a point of listening to ZLX at 6am this morning, and Rich's voice came on saying The Rich Shertenlieb Show starts in a matter of days.

Edit: He said something about all the bits you know being on the new show. I'm not much of a fan of T&H, and I think Rich's street audio and produced bits were the most important ingredient of T&R's success early on, but even I thought that his bits were getting stale in the last few years. I mean, if there was a great new 911 call, then it was wonderful, but weekly fart court wasn't actually funny. Also, I'm curious who else might be on the show as, aside from thinking that Rich isn't a great main host, based on the many Fred-less shows I listened to, I feel he wasn't as funny as Fred when riffing on stuff.
Rich should have Fred's ex-wife on his new WZLK show once a week. The segment needs a cool title!
 

Hal Waffid

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Nov 14, 2023
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Rich should have Fred's ex-wife on his new WZLK show once a week. The segment needs a cool title!
Oh man, this gave me a horrible thought. What if she had something like a dating and the single life segment where Rich asks her the same kinds of questions that Fred has been asking Kendra?
 

Rusty13

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I actually don't think Rich will throw any shade at Fred. It just doesn't seem like his style, and he mostly kept his mouth shut on the air when they were clearly feuding behind the scenes.
 

Hal Waffid

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Nov 14, 2023
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I agree. If Rich says anything bad it will probably be about the company and the format more than Fred himself or any other former coworker. Still, I bet it stings how many of the are apparently like "I never liked that guy". I know it would hurt my feelings.
 

NewInTown

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May 16, 2023
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Lol so Rich told everyone that he was sleeping in his car because of the stress incurred while Fred was out with his throat?
 

Andy Merchant

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I heard the first one this AM. Why not just ignore Rich and do your best to crush him in the ratings when his new show goes live?
 

8slim

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I heard the first one this AM. Why not just ignore Rich and do your best to crush him in the ratings when his new show goes live?
Clearly Fred thinks it's good radio. I don't think it is, but I guess opinions may differ.

I find it pretty insulting to the audience in a way. It's basically Fred saying "Oh, that thing you really liked for years and years? The thing that made me wealthy and famous? Yeah that guy's a total asshole, and you should probably feel awful for ever liking him."
 

dirtynine

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I have no doubt that Rich was sleeping in his car. Given the amount of production work he did, when they go on, and down a co-host, it doesn’t sound crazy to me at all that that would happen sometimes.
 

Rusty13

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I have no doubt that Rich was sleeping in his car. Given the amount of production work he did, when they go on, and down a co-host, it doesn’t sound crazy to me at all that that would happen sometimes.
Agreed. In fact, I bet he would openly admit it.
 

Hal Waffid

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I have no doubt that Rich was sleeping in his car. Given the amount of production work he did, when they go on, and down a co-host, it doesn’t sound crazy to me at all that that would happen sometimes.
Totally. I also wouldn't be surprised if Rich did in fact try to get Fred fired. I guess I was actually more surprised Fred still had his job around this time last year.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Totally. I also wouldn't be surprised if Rich did in fact try to get Fred fired. I guess I was actually more surprised Fred still had his job around this time last year.
Beasley seemingly had the choice of lazy Fred vs hard working Rich and chose Fred. They picked him despite rehab, the voice issues and all the shit Rich and his wife on Rich’s behalf so clearly they had made their choice.

Fred’s the alpha by far here and is what carries the show. I know some don’t like the new show but we’ll see if it’s better than the Rich Show based on the ratings in 6 months. I hope Rich does well and I’ll definitely be tuning in when T&H isn’t good or vacation etc. I think Beasley made the fight choice.
 

8slim

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Beasley seemingly had the choice of lazy Fred vs hard working Rich and chose Fred. They picked him despite rehab, the voice issues and all the shit Rich and his wife on Rich’s behalf so clearly they had made their choice.

Fred’s the alpha by far here and is what carries the show. I know some don’t like the new show but we’ll see if it’s better than the Rich Show based on the ratings in 6 months. I hope Rich does well and I’ll definitely be tuning in when T&H isn’t good or vacation etc. I think Beasley made the fight choice.
There’s zero chance Rich’s new show comes close to T&H in the ratings, and that won’t be a reflection on whose show is “better”. T&H benefit from 15 years of muscle memory among listeners. And the show isn’t bad, at worst it’s just not as good as T&R.

Also you’re not going to get sports fans to tune in regularly to Rich’s show, it’ll be a completely different genre. For example, I like Rich’s bits much more than what I’ve heard from Hardy so far. But I can catch Brookline 911 on a podcast I’m sure. This morning I’m going to want to hear Bruins talk and I’m not going to get that from Rich’s show, presumably.
 

JCizzle

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There’s zero chance Rich’s new show comes close to T&H in the ratings, and that won’t be a reflection on whose show is “better”. T&H benefit from 15 years of muscle memory among listeners. And the show isn’t bad, at worst it’s just not as good as T&R.

Also you’re not going to get sports fans to tune in regularly to Rich’s show, it’ll be a completely different genre. For example, I like Rich’s bits much more than what I’ve heard from Hardy so far. But I can catch Brookline 911 on a podcast I’m sure. This morning I’m going to want to hear Bruins talk and I’m not going to get that from Rich’s show, presumably.
He will probably be a better go to for Celtics talk though. The lead in to the Forsberg interview yesterday was brutal. It’s like some media people actively disdain having to watch sports. I’m sorry Hardy had to watch the game. Thoughts and prayers for what he had to go through.

I did enjoy them ripping the hell out of Sweeney though.
 

Rusty13

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He will probably be a better go to for Celtics talk though. The lead in to the Forsberg interview yesterday was brutal. It’s like some media people actively disdain having to watch sports. I’m sorry Hardy had to watch the game. Thoughts and prayers for what he had to go through.

I did enjoy them ripping the hell out of Sweeney though.
Yeah, aside from the long-standing Mike Gorman interviews, I think Fred would be happier literally never talking about the Celtics. And it probably wouldn't cost the show much if anything in terms of ratings. Hardy sounds like he's not far off from that point of view. In contrast, Fred grits his was through Pats segments, because he knows that consistently is the most popular sport and team in the region.
 

Hal Waffid

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There’s zero chance Rich’s new show comes close to T&H in the ratings, and that won’t be a reflection on whose show is “better”. T&H benefit from 15 years of muscle memory among listeners. And the show isn’t bad, at worst it’s just not as good as T&R.
Although I think it's unlikely, I wouldn't say "zero" flat-out unless Rich's show is SiriusXM Fart Court. It took T&R a year to dethrone D&C...but T&H is so much better than D&C was that it's probably not fair to compare.
 

NDame616

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I generally only listen to the 6:00-6:30 time slot. I have noticed they talk about sex and porn ALOT.
As someone who starts listening at 6 I can confirm.

Fred thinks the fact he found porn in the woods, like thousands of kids in the 70s-90s, deserves a weekly reminder....
 

JCizzle

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They’ve been really good on the Bruins the last couple days. I love this version of Fred.
 

8slim

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Although I think it's unlikely, I wouldn't say "zero" flat-out unless Rich's show is SiriusXM Fart Court. It took T&R a year to dethrone D&C...but T&H is so much better than D&C was that it's probably not fair to compare.
It's zero because Rich isn't doing a sports show.
 

Granite Sox

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And the target demos are different for the shows, I believe. Sports bro-dudes age 25-54 vs. Classic Rock Gen Xers. Ironically, Fred and Hardy are both close to aging out of their target demo, while Rich was born during the prime years of classic rock. So while there’s naturally some comparisons that can be made due to the time slots, I think the core audiences will be a little different.
 

8slim

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Interesting. Do you think there's a zero chance Rich's show comes close to Hill in the ratings?
I honestly have no idea. I've never listened to Hill, and I don't know what that show's ratings are. Does he do a sports show, or a "morning zoo" show?
 

Hal Waffid

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Nov 14, 2023
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I honestly have no idea. I've never listened to Hill, and I don't know what that show's ratings are. Does he do a sports show, or a "morning zoo" show?
I think T&H got a 17 and Hill was in 2nd with a 10. I was assuming Hill does a sports show, but I don't know either.

I listened to Hill when back when he was on AAF, but I don't remember anything about it other than when they played "Linchpin".
 

8slim

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I think T&H got a 17 and Hill was in 2nd with a 10. I was assuming Hill does a sports show, but I don't know either.

I listened to Hill when back when he was on AAF, but I don't remember anything about it other than when they played "Linchpin".
Mea culpa. Judging from his announced co-hosts, apparently Rich is going to run a sports show. So he appears to be setting up an apples-to-apples ratings fight.
 

Commander Shears

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Weird choice this morning with their Celtics fans interviews. Instead of getting odd/funny quotes from fans, they just sent Robby Roadsteamer (spelling?) to scream bad jokes, so they just replayed his material as though it were interesting, surprising, or funny.
 

bigq

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The Scheffler arrest conversation was great and I thought the Cedric Maxwell interview this morning was pretty good as well.
 

Milktoast

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Fred begging Dan Roche to agree with him that Joe Mazzula is "strange". I have a feeling that Coach Mazzula is just on a high dosage of Adderall. Like most professionals in a high-stress, demanding job at his age.