Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

WEEI’s Greg Hill Is a Team Player

“I think you should do the laughing at yourself, and then you should be encouraging everybody else to laugh at you.”

Brian Noe

Published

on

blank

It’s easy to like Greg Hill. The Boston sports radio host is not a me guy. Hill just won a Marconi Award for Major Market Personality of the Year, but he’s more eager to talk about his WEEI cast members than himself. He prefers to highlight Jermaine Wiggins, Courtney Cox and Chris Curtis. Hill is like a star quarterback that would rather talk about his teammates during the postgame interview.

It goes beyond his current cast as well. Hill has roots in rock radio and attributes a lot of his current success to the people that once surrounded him at WAAF. People like Lyndon Byers, Danielle Murr, Mike Hsu and Spaz all played major roles in his achievements. Hill is like a humble MVP that says he couldn’t have won the award without his teammates, the training staff, the secretary or the custodian.

At the risk of making Hill sound like a modern-day prophet, the greatest example of being team-oriented is Hill’s foundation. At the end of the year, “The Greg Hill Foundation” will have donated $25 million to help people in need.

It’s an interesting blend; a major part of Hill’s success is to make people laugh and do zany things. Then Hill turns around, puts his grown-up pants on and thinks about how he can assist others. He isn’t worried about his stardom or how many Twitter followers he can accumulate as much as he’s focused on using his platform to help other people. Again, Greg Hill is easy to like.

We chat about the single greatest thing about the Boston area and waking up before the crack of dawn for 33 years. We also talk about developing chemistry, blatant disregard for traffic laws, and possibly the greatest Bill Belichick catchphrase of all time. Enjoy!

Brian Noe: I don’t know if I should call you Greg Hill or Mr. Marconi. What do you think?

Greg Hill: [Laughs] I think Greg is fine.

BN: [Laughs] Okay, that works. Have you been tempted to tell your crew, it’s Mr. Marconi from now on?

GH: [Laughs] No, because I hear it every day from Chris Curtis and Wiggy and everybody else who has no problem taking a shot at me on the show about it. I hear it an awful lot during the day.

BN: That’s a major deal to win that award. What does it mean to you?

GH: Yeah, it’s amazing and it’s a really cool thing. It’s something that I never thought would happen to me in this business. When you go to that event and there’s so many talented people in this business and so many talented people that are in these categories, it’s a really cool thing.

BN: How would you describe what it felt like to be there? Did it feel cool, or kind of stuffy and ritzy? How did it feel to be there?

GH: We all work in radio so when they do these dinners some of us just show up for the free chicken or whatever. It was a really cool group of people and it was a lot of people. It was great to reconnect with some people that I haven’t seen in a long time that I worked together with in the past. Nick Cannon was there and I don’t think he got anybody pregnant during the ceremony. It was a really cool thing to be a part of and a really amazing night.

BN: You’ve talked about how much your old show cast at AAF has meant to your success at EEI. What conversations have you had with your former co-workers since winning a Marconi?

GH: Yeah, it was really cool. I worked with Lyndon Byers and with Danielle and with Mike Hsu and with Spaz for — in a lot of cases — well over 20 years. They all immediately sent me a text about it. I was so happy for them too because the way I look at it, every single person that I’ve ever worked with has in most cases been more talented than I am, so for all of those people and everybody who has — and that’s not only on air — like everybody that we get to work with traffic-wise, marketing-wise, promotions-wise, all those people, without them there’d be no finished product. To me, it’s their award. No bullshit, it belongs to everybody that I ever worked with.

BN: If you hear a sports radio host, can you tell that they once did rock radio? Is there something in their approach or the way they sound that lets you know they’ve done more than just sports talk?

GH: I don’t know. I think radio people are radio people. I think in sports radio, there’s a lot of former athletes, and they know their sport and other sports really well. Then I think there’s radio people who are really great at being on the radio and know radio well. I don’t know if I could hear the difference based on somebody who’s been in rock radio. You mean like, do they sound stoned or something?

BN: [Laughs] Yeah, like they start talking about the Patriots and then say here’s some Depeche Mode or something. No, just kind of like their delivery. Is there a different vibe? Can you tell if someone had more than just a strictly sports hosting background?

GH: Yeah, I think you can because I think maybe the nuances. They’re less numbers and stats and more trying to find some unique way of talking about it.

BN: What have you been able to grab from your rock background that has helped you flourish as a sports radio host?

GH: Well, for a long time I did a talk show on a rock station. For the last, whatever it was, 15 years or 12 years that I was there, we didn’t play music. I think music appeals to everybody universally, so we still found a way to work music and other things into a discussion. I guess from my perspective, that’s what I try to do here is to find ways to approach talking sports differently at times in a way that sometimes appeals to everybody.

BN: Are you happy you made the transition over to sports radio?

GH: Yeah, I love it. I never would’ve thought going into this that we would end up with a similar group of people who have great chemistry together as on the AAF show. I’m just so lucky that we have that same or better chemistry, me and Wiggy and Curtis and Courtney. Anytime you make the change, you’re nervous about it and you wonder what it’s going to be like, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s gone for almost four years now believe it or not.

BN: Do you think there’s anything that you can do to strengthen chemistry, or is it just one of those it’s there or it’s not type things?

GH: I think doing things together as a group away from the radio show can somewhat help strengthen it, but I think it’s something that is either there or not. And if it’s not there, then it’s glaring when you listen on the radio, or when you see it elsewhere.

BN: What’s something that Jermaine does well, as an ex-athlete, that would work well for other ex-athletes who are now hosting shows?

GH: I think he’s fearless. I think he’ll say anything without thinking before he says it. [Laughs] I think he’s really good at talking sports, talking Patriots. He’s really good at breaking it down so that everybody understands it. I think he’s great at doing that with everything. There’s no topic that you can’t bring up with him that he doesn’t have immediate input on every single day.

BN: How about Courtney, what would you say is her biggest strength?

GH: I think one thing that Courtney really brings to the show is that she’s way, way younger than all of us. She brings a different perspective from kind of where she is in life. A lot of the listeners are there, so I think that’s really important. She also loves this business. This is her first radio job, but loves the business, and has a really unique perspective when it comes to the way she looks at sports in this city.

BN: How does Curtis fit in with you guys and what does he provide that gives you the most value?

GH: He’s the most cynical and normally spot-on-with-his-cynicism person that I’ve ever worked with. He probably is arguably the wittiest person that I’ve ever worked with and that we have on the show. There’s probably nobody who’s better at making fun of me and having a lot of laughs at my expense than he is. He’s indispensable.

BN: What would you say to hosts that don’t want to be the butt of the joke and can’t laugh at themselves?

GH: I would say this would not be the business for you. I think you should do the laughing at yourself, and then you should be encouraging everybody else to laugh at you because it’s the greatest common denominator that there is.

BN: With the interviews you do with Bill Belichick, when it’s the commercial break right before the interview begins, what’s going through your mind and how are you feeling about the upcoming interview?

GH: [Laughs] I am always wondering which question that we’re going to ask will elicit the longest pause. I kind of have a little bit of internal fun with myself in trying to come up with the most ridiculous question for him, the one that will finally send him into a complete tailspin and make him leave radio for good. We’ve actually been able to, I don’t know, a handful of times get a legitimate laugh out of him, which I think is probably a victory for us.

BN: What’s your favorite memory or story from all of the interviews you’ve done with him?

GH: Just because it’s so Bill, I think that we asked him a dumb question about Thanksgiving sides last year. There was no pause and his immediate answer was basically a 20-second run-through on every kind of way in which potatoes could be prepared. Then at the end of it, he said, starch me up, which is like the least Bill Belichick thing I think Bill Belichick has ever said. And again, I’m on a sports station and that was my favorite Bill Belichick moment, so that explains me in a nutshell.

BN: Aww man, I love that story. How would you describe what it’s like doing radio in Boston to someone who doesn’t do radio in Boston?

GH: I’ve never done radio anywhere else, so I don’t know; I would imagine that it’s not that different. There’s so much passion for sports here, and I’m sure it’s like other cities where the fan base is passionate, Philadelphia, New York, those cities where people are so into it that you literally can get 10 calls on a preseason game for the Bruins because people are so into sports here. They also can turn on a dime. They can be miserable one minute, Patriots lose and that’s it, the season’s done. Then you turn around and Bailey Zappe’s going to save the franchise. It’s a great city to do radio in general, having not been anywhere else.

BN: For the longest time, I always thought Boston was just so hardcore about sports, they didn’t want to be bothered with anything that wasn’t sports. But now I don’t think that’s the case. Is it more that they’re open-minded to have a laugh and talk about something non-sports for a little while, as long as you get back to sports eventually?

GH: Yeah, I think we basically want to bitch about sports and then bitch about the weather. In the winter, it’s too cold and miserable. Then in the summer, it’s too hot. Then everybody wants to bitch about traffic and bitch about why the politicians are doing what they’re doing. It’s kind of like a non-stop thing. The topic that people are complaining about just changes every day.

BN: Is there anything like politics or something else that you have a big interest in, that you really don’t spend a whole lot of time on during your show?

GH: No, I mean I think we try to talk about everything. My intent is that what we’re going to talk about on any given day is what is on the mind of 65% of the people that might listen. It doesn’t matter to me what the topic is as long as people are interested in it, and we can try to find a way to laugh about it.

BN: It says on the WEEI website that “The Greg Hill Foundation” has donated over $10 million since 2010. That’s amazing, man. What does that mean to you considering everybody that you’ve been able to help through the foundation?

GH: We will actually, at the end of this year, we will have donated $25 million. That, to me, is like — all kidding aside about people here, complaining and being Massholes — that, to me, is the single greatest thing about this region, where I grew up and where I get to live, is how generous people are. Not only our foundation, but so many incredible charities that are here, whether it’s the Jimmy Fund. The listeners of this radio station come out every year and without fail, donate over $3 million to the Jimmy Fund during our radio telethon. It’s amazing to me how much people give here, how they do it over and over again, and how important it is to them to give within the community. It’s an amazing thing.

BN: That’s awesome. It’s a random comparison, but it makes me think of my girlfriend. She’s from Mexico City. How things are shown on TV, you might have this image in your mind that the cartel is on every block there. It’s not like that. If you apply that to Boston, the way that it’s portrayed is that everybody’s crotchety. Would generosity be the thing that exists but most people don’t see?

GH: Yeah, for sure. And zero respect for any kind of traffic laws whatsoever. I think those are the two things.

BN: [Laughs] So they do have respect for the traffic laws?

GH: [Laughs] No, absolutely not. There’s blatant disregard. It’s everybody for themselves when you hit the roads around here. But I think people here, they don’t waste a lot of time walking down the street, pleasantries. I think people are on their way to do something and busy, and maybe that’s the impression that you get from the outside. But we are the most generous people; I’d put us up against anybody in the country when it comes to how much we care about other people.

BN: I’m not jinxing it, but if today ended up being your last radio show, what would you miss most about it?

GH: Probably the opportunity to be able to use the radio audience to help other people. We’re given this incredible platform. It’s a privilege to be able to be on the radio or beyond, the social media platform or whatever, it’s a privilege to be able to have people who are interested in what you do. For me, if I wasn’t on the radio anymore, I’d missed the opportunity to be able to help other people through the foundation or just in talking about things that people need, things that people are doing to change what’s going on around us. That, to me, would be the biggest thing I think I’d miss.

BN: What do you think you wouldn’t miss?

GH: Did you think I was gonna say free food?

BN: [Laughs] No, it’s a blank canvas for me. I have no preconceived, ohh, he’s probably gonna say this. Wherever it goes, it goes, man. It’s radio. What would you miss the least about it?

GH: Definitely the hours I think.

BN: What’s the alarm clock set on?

GH: 4:30. And only for like the last 33 years. So I wouldn’t mind sleeping in at some point in my life.

BN: Can you sleep in on the weekends?

GH: Yeah, if you call like 8:30 sleeping in. Yes, I guess.

BN: In terms of the future, let’s say over the next five years, what would you want it to look like?

GH: Radio is my passion. I can’t see not working in this business probably ever. I think the place that I’m at now, where the radio station is, is really exciting. The fact that we have the chemistry that we have on the show, and that we all like going to work with each other, like being in there for 20 hours a week, and whatever we do afterwards. I think it’s a place that I’d like to be at for a while. There’s a lot of cool stuff that we are doing, and that we can do, and that we should keep doing.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

Continue Reading

BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.