At a talk show boot camp here in Atlanta earlier this month, I caught up with Rich Shertenlieb , who became a popular stunt guy with 99X’ Morning X earlier this decade. He’s now part of the Fred and Rich morning show at a sports station in Boston with fellow former 99Xers Fred Toucher and Crash Clark.
They spent three years on rock station WBCN-FM until it died a couple months ago. Management, aware of their popularity, moved the trio to the Hub, a new FM sports talk station. They’ve done very well among younger men.
“The people of Boston have embraced us,” Shertenlieb said. “I think the reason it works is we’re three friends and have always been friends.” He said one way to just get a bit going is to ask what Crash did over the weekend. Or get Fred on one on his rants about personal liberties.
“I’m sometimes his therapist,” said Shertenlieb, who is clearly the good-natured side of the show.
If you don’t know Shertenlieb’s name, you might recall his classic bits back in the day on 99X.
At a Star Wars opening screening, he went before the packed house before the film started and revealed spoilers. The booing fans didn’t realize he was just making plotlines up. I loved when he went on one of those tour of homes, stuck in some loud metal music in one person’s CD player and let it blast while the tour guide got seriously peeved. He almost got arrested at a Home Depot for supposedly using a toilet on the floor.
He also has done hilarious movie reviews in verse to the theme song of “Magnum P.I.”
And the bit that got him the greatest notoriety? At the Masters tournament in 2003, Martha Burk protested the club’s all-male policy. At the protest, Rich held a mock one-man counterprotest with a sign that said “Iron My Shirt” on side and “Make Me Dinner” on the other. (see above) Many reporters fell for it and one one even printed his fake name Heywood Jablome in his newspaper. (The show did a similar bit last year with Hillary Clinton.)
Shertenlieb, who grew up here, spent four years at 99X. He left in 2003 before the Morning X splintered into the Fred, Jimmy and Leslie show. Too bad because he and Fred would have made a great team on the station. At 99X, he was nurtured by Chris Williams, now program director at Project 9-6-1, who undoubtably wishes he had the Toucher and Rich show.
Shertenlieb, who had a great uncle play for the Celtics, said the most obvious difference between Boston vs. Atlanta is the fact Bostonians love their pro teams more than their college ones. In Atlanta, it’s all about college football.
Among his favorite bits in Boston was pretending to be a gospel station while interviewing an anti-gay person who was protesting Heath Ledger after he died because he was in “Brokeback Mountain.” During the commercial breaks, they created fake commercials for gay sex and such, which incensed the caller. They also messed around with Food Network’s Guy Fieri, creating a song for him that mocked him but it went by so fast that Fieri didn’t realize what had happened.
He says celebrities sometimes come in with some up-and-coming act they want the station to promote. That’s what Tommy Lee did one time withTheory of a Deadman. Just to mess with Lee, the show only asked questions of the band and ignored Lee, who kept trying to break in and be acknowledged. “The publicist,” he said, “got really pissed.”