On March 12th, Dale Arnold hosted his final show over WEEI’s airwaves. The long-time Boston sports personality announced Thursday that he was retiring following Friday’s show.
For his last show send-off, Arnold gave an emotional thank you to the listeners.
“You guys made this all possible,” Arnold said. “At a time when I wasn’t sure, ‘EEI was going to survive after the first year or two. We were a powerhouse at one point, an unopposed powerhouse which probably made it easier. We may have lost our way a little bit, but I feel very confident that the people who are on this radio station now… they’re gonna find a way to get it back to being a powerhouse again.”
Arnold, who turns 65 later this month, also added that he will broadcast a handful of Red Sox games for WEEI and keep his role on NESN hosting the Bruins pre and post-game shows.
Arnold was a part of the station’s original lineup in 1991. He quickly found himself on the air alongside Eddie Andelman. When Andelman left in 2001, Arnold started co-hosting with Bob Neumeier.
But in 2005, Michael Holley joined the station and formed the The Dale & Holley Show for the midday 10-2 slot. They would be partners until Holley went to The Big Show in 2011, and Arnold lost his full-time role at the station. 2012 and 2013 were the only full calendar years Arnold was not the host of a weekday WEEI program.
In April of 2014, he was reunited with Holley. That rendition lasted until Holley left in 2018 and the show’s third co-host, Rich Keefe, expanded his role. Arnold would co-host Dale & Keefe until this past Friday.
Arnold becomes the 5th WEEI host to leave since 2018, joining Michael Holley, Kirk Minihane, Gerry Callahan, and most recently, Danielle Murr. Program Director Joe Zarbano also left the station in January of this year. The station’s ratings have dropped significantly since 2017.
98.5 The Sports Hub has separated itself from WEEI over the past 3 years. And the gap only seems to be increasing. In the fall ratings, Dale & Keefe were tied for eighth during the 10-2 slot with a 4.1 rating. 98.5’s Zolak & Bertrand came in first with a 15.3.
So while Arnold had a great run at WEEI, the station needs a shot in the arm. Former 98.5 host Andy Gresh will take over for Arnold on Monday. The new midday WEEI program will be Gresh & Keefe.
It is clear the station needs a massive shakeup. The rating discrepancy between WEEI and The Sports Hub has never been this significant. If they cannot gain some ground in the ratings during the next couple of rating books, drastic changes will have to be made. At this point, it is fair to wonder if WEEI will ever return to the top of the rating books.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones