WEEI sports hosts ‘locked out’; given time to ‘reflect


Yesterday's on-air reunion of WEEI-AM Boston Sports Radio co-hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan has been derailed by the station, which decided to take them off the air indefinitely over deteriorating contract talks and rumors of defection to another station. The morning hosts tell The Boston Herald they've been locked out. The station calls it a chance to "reflect."

 "For me to be locked out on the week that we do the Jimmy Fund Radiothon breaks my heart," Dennis told the Herald yesterday. "It's the most important thing we do all year long."

George Regan, spokesman for WEEI and Entercom, told the paper Dennis and Callahan aren't victims of a lockout, but rather beneficiaries of some unexpected R&R. "It's a great time for a vacation, and it's a great time to walk the beaches of Cape Cod to relax, reflect and think," said Regan.

Dennis was on scheduled time off last week. Callahan, a Herald sports columnist, planned to join his sidekick behind the mike this morning after a four-month recuperation from throat surgery.

Sources told the paper Entercom VP Julie Kahn is offering Dennis and Callahan "a substantial increase" to stay on when their contract expires in the first week of September, "but the sports talkmasters don't feel the undisclosed raises reflect the revenue their 10-year-old show generates. Their ratings consistently rank No. 1 among male listeners in the coveted 25-54-year-old demo."