WEEI’s interest in making Curt Schilling a more prominent part of its programming is at least as real as one of his legendary bloody socks from the 2004 postseason.
The station’s management has spoken to the former Red Sox pitcher about taking on a significant role at the station, possibly as a drive-time co-host. The strong belief here after talking to a number of industry sources is that Schilling can have the job if he wants it.
The 2-6 p.m. program is currently hosted by Mike Salk and Michael Holley, with the former having taken over for Glenn Ordway in March.
In a scenario reported elsewhere, Schilling would be paired with Salk, a favorite of Entercom management, with Holley being replaced, but industry sources say no specific job is in danger. And Schilling could end up at WEEI in a varierty of roles.
A three-man program is possible, but it’s difficult to imagine Entercom adding salary to a time slot without paring elsewhere.
Schilling, currently an ESPN baseball analyst, certainly talks a good game. He has been a regular guest on the morning Dennis and Callahan program since joining the Red Sox for the 2004 season.
During his playing days, he would call under the moniker “Curt in the Car” to opine on the subject of the moment, which often made for compelling radio, such as when he defended his relationship with teammate Pedro Martinez.
But there’s also risk. Schilling’s reputation took a major dent after his 38 Studios video game company failed, costing Rhode Island taxpayers millions of dollars. And while his expertise on baseball, particularly pitching, is unassailable, his depth of knowledge on the other major sports remains to be seen.
Can he talk with substance about the Patriots’ wide receiver situation or where Loui Eriksson fits with the Bruins? In a four-hour program, brash opinion without substance is one way to get the listener to flip the station in a hurry.
And hosting a weekday show may seem like a cushy gig to the casual fan, but the job is a bigger grind than it seems.
Would Schilling, who did not reply to a request for comment, commit long term to the downsides of the job — working in a cramped studio, dealing with callers and snarky texters, and doing it four hours a day, five days a week?
There have been persistent rumors, spurred by recent appearances on ESPN programming, that Holley is looking to get out of his contract. ESPN sources said they thought there was a good chance he might end up with a role in Bristol.
But Holley said it’s not true, and he was blindsided Wednesday when a reporter called during the last commercial break in his program and asked if he knew about management’s conversation with Schilling.
“I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t been informed that they’re looking to move on or change the show,’’ Holley said. “I think when we started in March, I think the acknowledgment was, it takes awhile. It takes awhile for the new show to get its identity and for the co-hosts to develop chemistry. I had never met Mike before March. We’re getting to know each other on the air and off. I’d be surprised [if Entercom made a change] based on what I’ve been told, but you never know.’’
As for the chatter that WEEI is also pursuing CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, this is nothing new — the station has shown interest in bringing him on board for the better part of year.
Haggerty, whose role as frequent guest on 98.5 The Sports Hub was expanded after WEEI continued to pursue him several months ago, is a longtime friend of Salk’s.
Should he end up at WEEI, it could result in backlash that affects other programs. Haggerty has had some heated battles on Comcast SportsNet New England with WEEI morning personality Kirk Minihane, and they are not a made-for-TV production. The mutual dislike is such that Haggerty’s arrival might result in Minihane deciding to depart.
Solid Sox numbers
NESN is averaging a solid 7.3 household rating on Red Sox telecasts this year, up 13 percent over last year through the same number of games (138 through Wednesday).
While there was no drastic turning point where ratings shot up — a stretch where confirmation of fans’ faith in this unexpectedly excellent Red Sox team could be pinpointed — ratings have been especially excellent in September. The Sox are averaging a 9.2 household rating on NESN through the first 13 games of the month, including two single-game ratings above 11.
The Sox averaged a 7.8 in August, but that includes five West Coast games, when numbers typically dip because of the late start times.
The MLB Network will air a special on late Angels outfielder Lyman Bostock Sunday at 10 p.m. If you don’t know Bostock’s story, you should. Bostock, a talented and charismatic Angels outfielder, was shot to death while visiting relatives in Gary, Ind., on September 23, 1978. He was just 27. Long a sad footnote in baseball history, it’s nice to see Bostock getting proper remembrances. Jeff Pearlman wrote the definitive piece on the doomed Bostock five years ago for ESPN.com, and the MLB Network special, narrated by Bob Costas, is just as superb . . . For those Patriots fans who might have regrettably purchased a John Lynch jersey during his time in New England, ’s training camp in 2008, this Sunday might be a time to break it out. Lynch, the great Buccaneers and Broncos safety whose career ended when he was cut by the Patriots, is the color analyst on Fox’s broadcast of the Patriots-Buccaneers game. Erin Andrews is the sideline reporter, and rising star Kevin Burkhardt, in his first season at Fox, has the play by play.