The 98.5 “Tacher and Rich” sports hub has consistently maintained Nielsen Audio’s acclaim, despite various dramas and absences. The show is the best example of a radio show that focuses on sports and has more than the major hosts that the writer has heard since the heyday of “Mike and the Mad Dog” on WFAN in New York. Fred He Tacher and Rich are the hosts of the show.
It is not intended to criticize Schartenlieb’s individual talents. Both hosts have individual talents; Thatcher has a great sense of humor, and Schartenlieb has a knack for cooking up the creative element. However, the chemistry between the hosts, who worked together in Atlanta before coming to the Boston market on rock radio station WBCN in 2006, is like a high-scoring shooting guard and a crafty point guard who have shared the backcourt for years.
“Thatcher and Rich” is the best show in Boston’s sports radio market that seeks to make listeners laugh rather than excite them. When both hosts are present, working perfectly together and playing to each other’s strengths, they are often exceptional. However, given the drama surrounding the show over the past few months, it’s fair to wonder if the show will ever be at its best again.
Over the past few months, Thatcher has been plagued with a mysterious throat problem that has greatly affected his voice, sometimes making him struggle to speak without coughing. He missed several shows, which Schartenlieb, Wallach, and a stand-in third host made up for. On April 10, Torcher went on medical leave. Several times during his absence, Thatcher took to Twitter to complain that Schartenlieb and other show officials had not reached out to check on him.
On May 5, Torcher tweeted that his earlier comments were not true and that he had actually heard from Schartenlieb, Wallach, and others. Thatcher elaborated when he returned to the show on Thursday. Schartenlieb wasn’t there to hear Thatcher’s guilt. He called Wednesday evening feeling unwell, hours after staff learned Thatcher would be back soon. He didn’t appear on the show on Friday either. But he’s scheduled for Monday…at that time, Toucher will take a previously scheduled vacation.
During Wednesday’s controversial meeting, Schartenlieb asked management what the show’s plans were. He was informed that Thatcher would return on Thursday, that they would remain co-hosts, and that the show, which had maintained Nielsen Audio’s high ratings despite the drama and absences, would continue. Schartenlieb has not appeared on the show since, and neither Schartenlieb nor Thatcher responded to requests for an interview Friday night.
Karen Grejean, shortlisted for Boston’s most popular sports reporter, has her last column on the page. She’s about to move to MassLive, where she also recently hired esteemed baseball writer Sean McAdam to bolster her already strong staff. The writer also discusses the announcers for ESPN games during the Celtics-Sixers series.
Sunday’s Game 7 was supposed to be the final test of that theory, but Jones and Burke won’t be in the Garden. ESPN/ABC added Mike Breen and Mark Jackson to the lineup after the Lakers and Warriors series concluded on Saturday night. Jeff Van Gundy, who is also part of ESPN/ABC’s top team, will not be on Sunday’s broadcast. He has a pre-scheduled day off.