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John Dennis agrees to new deal with WEEI

John Dennis George Rizer/Globe Staff file

George Rizer/Globe Staff file

WEEI host John Dennis.

John Dennis, part of the long-running morning duo on WEEI that recently has been reinvigorated as a trio, agreed to a new contract Friday, keeping the program intact for the foreseeable future.

Dennis and co-host Gerry Callahan, who agreed to terms earlier in August, had been under contract since September 2007. They signed a five-year deal then, and had two more years added as part of a simulcast deal with NESN that will end soon. Their previous radio contract was set to expire at the end of the month.

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The terms of the new deal were not disclosed. It will be formally announced by parent company Entercom early next week.

The “Dennis and Callahan” program, which debuted in October 1997 in a 10 a.m.-noon window and expanded with a move to morning drive (6-10 a.m.) two years later, was a ratings powerhouse through much of the century’s first decade.

But in the last few years, despite strong numbers, it has consistently finished behind 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” program in the Arbitron/Nielsen ratings. The Sports Hub launched in August 2009.

Kirk Minihane was added to “Dennis and Callahan” as a full-time third voice in February 2013. The show has made steady progress in the ratings in recent months. In July, it beat “Toucher and Rich” in a monthly ratings period for the first time since February 2011.

There was significant suspense as to whether the mercurial Dennis would re-sign by the end of the month.

The previous deal in 2007 was touted as an eight-figure contract, suggesting the hosts’ salaries combined over the five-year span totaled $10 million.

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations do not believe the terms are close to the same ballpark this time around.

Chad Finn can be reached at finn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.
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