This broken by the very well-connected Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen. Jon Rish, the studio host on the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and fill-in announcer when Dave O’Brien is away on his ESPN duties, has resigned and will leave as of April 24. Rish has been part of the Red Sox Radio Network since 2006 and its flagship station, WEEI, since 2005. In 2008, he was appointed as the third announcer in the booth to fill in for either O’Brien or Joe Castiglione.
Rish was heard on Spring Training broadcasts in March and started the season with Castiglione for the Red Sox season opener against the New York Yankees as O’Brien called the game on ESPN and also this weekend in Toronto as O’Brien was in New Orleans calling the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
It is rare for an announcer to leave a baseball team while the season is underway, even more so just as the season has begun. However, Bruce Allen at BSMW reports that Rish has decided to leave WEEI, the Red Sox and the radio business altogether after being asked to take what is said to be “a significant pay cut.”
WEEI has been having ratings and revenue issues since being overtaken and surpassed by rival 98.5 The Sports Hub last year. Long-time afternoon drive host and station original Glenn Ordway was sent packing from the station earlier this year and sources have told Fang’s Bites that another host is in danger of losing his job.
The upheaval in the radio business is often cutthroat and the firings can come without warning. To see an announcer leave one of the most coveted positions in Major League Baseball shows that the behind-the-scenes jockeying can be taxing no matter what the market or the team is.
UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reports that Rish was asked to take a 30% pay cut. He tells Finn: “It wasn’t fair to me and it wasn’t workable for my family.”
No word on a replacement for Rish at this time.