The Big O is back, and in a familiar spot on your radio, if not quite a familiar time slot.
WEEI confirmed Monday that Glenn Ordway will return to the station as a midday host along with Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria. He replaces Tim Benz, who returned to Pittsburgh at the end of July after a year at the station.
For Ordway, the return is a happy homecoming. He spent 27 years at WEEI, including 18 as the host of “The Big Show,’’ a ratings powerhouse in the 1990s and into the next decade in the afternoon drive time slot. But ratings dipped with the ascent of the rival 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Massarotti” program, and in February 2013, Ordway was fired by Entercom Communications, WEEI’s parent company. He was replaced by Mike Salk, which proved a disastrous decision. Salk since has moved on to Seattle.
Now, 2½ years later, Ordway is back, though the midday role is less prominent and lucrative than afternoon drive. (Dale Arnold and Michael Holley, who cohosted the midday show during part of Ordway’s highly rated heyday, are now the afternoon drive hosts, drawing solid ratings.)
“I think we’re going to be fun,’’ he said on Monday’s “Dennis and Callahan” morning show. “I think we’re going to be entertaining. I think we’re going to play for a lot of that, for the laughs.
“We want people to enjoy it, to have a good time. We’re not going to sit there and do a bunch of these safe interviews where you ask people questions that no one really wants to hear the answer to, or they already know the answer to.”
Ordway, who will return officially Sept. 8, had hosted an Internet radio show that petered out. He also hosted a SiriusXM program and is a familiar presence on Comcast SportsNet New England programming. His return, which should boost a midday program that has drawn mediocre ratings, is a tribute to his resilience — and to the gracious way he publicly dealt with his firing those two-plus years ago.
“You’re going to hear nothing negative about anybody here,” said Ordway in February 2013 on his first show after the news of his departure broke. “If you’re looking for that, you’re not going to find it here. I was a big part of starting all this [at WEEI], so I’m really fond of it.”
Now he’s back to being a big part of it again.