Yesterday’s announcement by CBS that WBCN would be no more and that a new sports radio station would be coming on-line certainly caused quite a buzz in Boston. We enjoyed one of our biggest traffic days of the year yesterday, and the new Fang’s Bites at BSMW blog had the best day in its short history as well. So now that the dust is settling here, let’s take a closer look at things:
What We Know For Sure
WBCN is going off the air, MIX 98.5 is moving to the 104.1 frequency and the new WBZ-FM will start at 98.5 on August 13th.
The new all-sports station will be called “98.5 The Sports Hub.”
The new WBZ-FM will be the broadcast home of the New England Patriots and the Boston Bruins.
What We’re Pretty Sure About
Current WBCN morning team Toucher and Rich will move over to WBZ-FM (6:00-10:00 am).
Gary Tanguay will host a 10:00am to 2:00pm mid-day show.
Michael Felger will host the afternoon drive, likely 2:00pm – 6:00pm.
Both of those shows will likely have one rotating co-host each day.
The relationships with the above sports radio stations could mean plenty of guests from those stations/cities, especially when Boston teams are taking on teams from those cities.
A good signal at 98.5 FM automatically puts this station miles ahead of previous WEEI competitors 1510 the Zone and 890ESPN.
Stealing from Peter King - Things We Think We Think
The CBS connection could naturally mean broadcasts from the CBS Scene at Patriot Place. Does WEEI get the boot? What relationship is WEEI going to have with the Patriots going forward? They will still have Patriots Monday and Patriots Friday, as well as the Sunday morning football show, but beyond that, does their relationship shrink a bit?
The WBZ connection with WBZ-TV means plenty of tie-ins with the Patriots. WBZ-TV has the Patriots preseason games, many of the regular season games broadcast nationally on CBS, the pre game show and Patriots Fifth Quarter, plus Patriots All-Access. (I foresee plenty of Steve Burton on the WBZ-FM airwaves. Wow.)
I’m unsure of the local status of the Westwood One rights. WWO used to be owned by CBS before it was spun off, but still maintains strong ties with its former parent. WEEI had the local rights, and used them to broadcast Monday Night Football and other events. If WBZ-FM can get these if will give them plenty of top-notch national sports programming.
The above station websites give you a fair idea of what the new WBZ-FM website should look like, and it should have on-line streaming available. Expect content integration with CBS Sportsline for stories, and some local blogs. Could this be Felger’s writing outlet?
Speaking of Felger, this puts him at a station that has his two strengths – football and hockey. Good fit. Hopefully he can go away from the screaming banchee contrarian that he has been of late and can go back to how he was in the early halcyon days of ESPN890.
Some figures I’d like to see/hear on the station as rotating co-hosts/guests: Bob Ryan, Sean McAdam, Steve Bulpett, Mike Reiss, Chad Finn (he’s done a segment on WGAM in NH which I always found to be good radio), Chris Gasper, Jon Couture, (How about the Cooch and Chad show – the new Clif and Claf?) Ryen Russillo (Just got a new ESPN show, though) Charlie Pierce and Bob Neumeier.
With the Bruins broadcasts on board, they’ll be able to tap into Dave Goucher and Bob Beers for hockey talk.
Please, in the name of all that is holy, refrain from poaching such WEEI “talent” as Steve DeOssie, Larry Johnson, Butch Stearns, Jon Meterparel, or Fred Smerlas. If August 13th comes and at 10:00am I hear Gary Tanguay with Butch Stearns, I know the station is doomed to failure. We don’t need Andelman involvement, either.
Other Items Indirectly Related To This
Felger is immediately off the WEEI/CSN weekend baseball show. Also this morning when a caller to Dale & Holley mentioned Felger, Holley said “I guarantee you you won’t be hearing Felger this summer on these airwaves.” So it would seem that he’s already out. His last mailbag on WEEI.com mentioned he was taking time off….convenient.
Who replaces Felger on The Baseball Show? Does Mike Mutnansky get another shift? Or does Greg Dickerson get the role? Someone else? Mike Adams?
Update: Felger’s name has already been removed from WEEI.com’s list of columnists. That didn’t take long. Several of his recent columns/mailbags, which as of this morning were listed under the “Most Popular” section, no longer appear there.