Shhh…Don’t Tell Anyone, But The SportsHub Launches Tomorrow – UPDATED

hublogoYes, Virginia, there is a sports radio station launching tomorrow here in Boston. It’s remarkable how quiet this launch has been. The station website is not up and running yet, the twitter account has been dead quiet for the last two weeks, and no press releases or announcements have come this way.

(As an astute commenter points out, the site is up, but they have their re-direct wrong. The above link re-directs to http://www.cbsports.com/boston instead of  http://www.cbssports.com/boston – which is up and running.)

But the new station is launching tomorrow, and here are the details:

WBZ-FM, aka 98.5 The SportsHub will go live at 1:00pm tomorrow afternoon as Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti lead into the pregame show at 4:oopm  for the first Patriots preseason game, which starts at 7:30pm.

That is just a one day schedule, as they’re using the Patriots as a springboard to the new lineup. Here is what the day-to-day lineup will look like:

  • Toucher & Rich, 6 am – 10am with Jon Wallach doing Sports Headlines
  • Gary Tanguay & Scott Zolak, 10am-2pm
  • Mike Felger & Tony Massarotti, 2pm-6pm
  • Damon Amendolara, “DA” – 6pm-12am

Yes, The SportsHub did manage to steal Jon Wallach away from WEEI. Funny, I never noticed he was missing from the 850 AM airwaves.

Damon Amendolara, slated to do the evening show, is a New York native and sports fan who has been doing a show on WQAM in Miami.

We’ve also learned that Jerry Trupiano will be doing a Saturday show with for WBCN personality Hardy. It’s been rumored that much of the weekend programming will be filled with shows from other CBS Radio outlets. We’ll wait and see what happens on that front.

At 3:00am tomorrow morning, Boston sports highlights will be heard on 98.5, leading into Felger and Massarotti at 1:00pm as noted above.

Update: 4:00pm a few more details, thanks to the long-awaited press release.

Tony Massarotti will continue to write for the Globe and Boston.com

The SportsHub will become Sporting News Radio’s affiliate in Boston and will feature some of that network’s shows and play-by-play.

The release states that: “On Thursday, August 13, 98.5 The Sports Hub will debut at 6:00 a.m. and the day will culminate with the broadcast of The New England Patriots’ first pre-season game of the year against the Philadelphia Eagles.” That doesn’t agree with what I have above, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

Statements:

“Boston is the greatest sports town in America and we are very excited to bring Boston sports fans a new content experience, both on-air and on-line with 98.5 The Sports Hub,” said Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager for CBS Radio Boston.

“98.5 The Sports Hub is going to be a fun, fast-paced FM Sports radio station with a rock edge to it, added Mike Thomas, 98.5 The Sports Hub Program Director. The talent lineup and the support staff are some of the best in the business and ready to give Boston sports fans a great alternative to the same old same old.”

  • http://twitter.com/garlicksauce Alex

    Not a bad move by Wallach to escape obscurity from WEEI as just another flash guy (John Ryder, John Rish, etc.).

    • http://NA WEEI Long Time Listener

      The Sports Flashes are so short now on WEEI, you don’t even need a real human being. They should use the same type of recording you hear on the T every day. Instead of “Next Stop. Revere Beach. No Smoking Please.” they should have “The Red Sox won. The Patriots cut a player. The Celtics signed a player. The Bruins did nothing. For more details log on to WEEI.com.”

      • John

        There is no time for a sports flash when Ordway is sitting on his soap box judging Rick Pitino. It’s funny that we never heard a peep from him when certain other current local head coaches have ended up in the gossip pages.

        • http://www.patriotsdaily.com Scott

          Should we have, John?

        • John

          No, we shouldn’t have. I’m just pointing out the double standard Ordway lives by. He separates good and evil based on whether or not you are a guest on his show. Another example of this is when the Celtics were being broadcast on 1510, Ainge couldn’t do anything right. Now that they are back on WEEI and Ainge is a gues on his show, he can’t do anything wrong.

        • Blackbears30

          Maybe, John, but the bottom line is when the Celtics were on 1510 they were an awful team. They traded for KG when the moved to EEI and won a title. A lot of fans have changed their minds about Ainge since the KG deal.

        • John

          They were an awful team when they went back to EEI too. If Ainge had made that Davis/Wally trade when they were still on 1510, Ordway would’ve ripped it. Instead he spun it as if Ainge had no choice and it was a no-brainer.

  • Guntfather of Sports Radio

    The DA show is the one enigma. I mean a show where you listened to Eddie and Track Gals eating chinese food on air would be better than Adamsn.

    • HamLah

      lmao! now that was funny guntfather!

  • Stephen Starring

    I used to listen to EEI only when ESPN 890 was on break. Starting tomorrow….not at all

  • Tom

    They stole Wallach??? What a coup!!!!! LOL

  • kpaf77

    If nothing else, competition for WEEI has forced them to step up their game just a bit. Flashes are shorter and on time. At 6:02AM D&C are on the air hitting the ground running. I notice they are announcing when guests are scheduled to appear not just “coming up later”.

    WBZ-FM may not be what we all hope it can be (who knows), but a threat of competition will make WEEI step up their game and that’s a win/win no matter what you may think of either station.

    • Mitch

      Their commercial breaks are shorter as well, which proves that they had been screwing their sponsors…as well as their listeners…by burying advertisements in unlistenable, ten-minute-plus blocks.

      Did their sponsors actually think that listeners were staying tuned during those obscene commercial breaks?

      Nothing that free dinner and drinks in a luxury suite couldn’t overcome, I’m guessing.

      • Clinton Tyree

        Amen, Mitch! The 10+ min breaks were abominable. I hope to hear the Sports Hub on the ‘net, but in S. RI, the signal won’t carry that far in any season.

        I’ve written it before, and I’ll repeat:

        — For the Pats coverage, get Reiss on the air on a regular basis. Best there is right now covering the local pro football team.

        In addition, I’ll go with these:

        –EEI better not lose Remy once he is healthy. A great morning guest.

        — Toucher & Rich won’t make it. If they do, more power to them for learning how to do mornings on a sports station.

        — NESN has to pay Eck to do the Yankee games from the New Stadium. I miss him on those games.

  • LJ Sandwich

    Since I’m not listening to Wolfe and his pack of talentless tit-heads, have the on-air “talent” started taking shots at 98.5 yet? Thinks like…”OOOOOH….WE ARE A-SCARED OF THE HUB!!!!” Go ahead, take our flash guy…we keep the real talent like Lou Merloni!!!

    • Guntfather of Sports Radio

      BWWHAHAHAAHAH!!!! We can make fun of their signal and play that music distorted by static.!!!! BWHWHWHWWHH

    • sam

      i tuned in a few weeks back out of morbid curiosity after seeing dale arnold on the street.

      i haven’t heard any gloating from dale but noticed the short commerical breaks. how do they effect callahan’s terrific columns in the herald? is he only able to crank out one a month now that he can’t write them during the 40 minutes of down time he had every hour?

  • Dick

    I don’t blame Wallach. Meter and Sheppard were allowed to participate in their shows, he wasn’t. I guess he didn’t see much future at WEEI. Seemed like a decent fellow.

    I sincerely hope that the new station puts a show on opposite Mustard and Johnson. I can’t believe that they’re coming back even on a limited basis.

  • Forbin

    Nice to see that CBS thinks so highly of this station that they have the PD of ZLX carry additional duties as the PD of the Hub.

  • Sluggo

    I hate WEEI with the heat of ten thousand suns, but I have been underwhelmed by the lineup – what’s the Felger-Mazz show called, “The Nozzle Twins”? – and CBS’ lackluster launch of this station.

  • LJ Sandwich

    This might be bigger than the TV food war between the Phantom Gourmet and TV Diner. Pick your poison…three useless “thanks-dads” that have never worked an effing day in their lives, hamming it up on TV and radio and believing they are the funniest things on six legs, or creepy Billy Costa that just ran out on his ol’ lady. Maybe Billy can have Rick Pitino on next week to talk about how to get a good veal parmesan and a happy ending in the Federal Hill area.

    • Chris

      I’m with you on the ‘creepy’ Billy Costa and not surprised in the least that he has ‘domestic’ issues. There are so many ‘do nothings’ in Boston media today, and they all strut themselves around like peacocks. The whole Andelman family comes across that way. Probably one of them might have gone to community college yet the whole family acts like Harvard grads.

  • mandb97

    Sweet Jesus, they are going to use Sporting News Radio for the overnight? That means I get to listen to the rantings of Todd Wright and David Friggin Stein. Gulp, at least WFAN comes in clearly overnight.

  • mandb97

    I will also continue to listen to WLOB 96.3 FM in Portland, ME when I am in Eastern NH for the morning and afternoon drive time. It still looks to be the best of all the choices.

  • Skip

    The site is up, but the link from their domain is wrong.
    http://www.cbssports.com/boston is up and running…….the domain http://www.985thesportshub.com takes you to http://www.cbsports.com/boston (only 1 s), which is incorrect

    • Bruce

      Nice catch. Thanks.

    • mike

      amazing how intolerant the Internet is of typos. Hopefully someone over there is figuring this stuff out instead of you Skip. Good catch.

  • hockeyfight

    That lineup is different than WEEI?

  • Edward

    When was the announcement that Jon Wallach is leaving Dale and Holley? He was always the underrated one at WEEI. I used to love listening to Wallach and Dickerson on the weekends. Who is replacing him on Dale and Holley?

    • Good

      Wallach is the only professional “flash” boy that WEEI had. The other two (Meter and Fat Pete) thought they were part of their shows after the on-air talent stopped using them for coffee runs and started using interns. I hope The Sports Hub only has microphones for the on-air people and doesn’t allow everyone to voice their opinions (Hello, Iggy!) Since when do producers talk all of the time like they do on WEEI?

  • Frank

    Wow another out-of-towner added to the Hub’s lineup, this may be the worst PD in the history of Boston radio.

    • Jim Ed

      I like that they’re bringing in Amendolara. BTW, his personal website is http://www.thedashow.com. The area needs a fresh face. The last thing thats needed is another retread local guy like Tanguay. Not a huge fan of Mazz, although I liked Felger at ESPN 890. I’ll tell you right now… As long as the new guy brings something intelligent to the table, I’ll take him over Mike Adams, who I used to really like (and who I knew from his Channel 3 days in Hartford), but has dumbed himself down on purpose because thats what Wolfe wants.

      • Frank

        But he’s from NY. I’m not saying he can’t talk intelligently about Boston sports but he’s not rooting for our teams, so I really don’t care what he has to say.

        • sam

          an interesting way to live your life.

        • All Business

          Wow, AD is a soccer fan AND calls boston “Beantown”? Yeah, he’ll get over great here…..*sigh*

        • Frank

          That’s right, it’s stress free. Why would I listen to someone who’s just going to aggravate me? It’s not like they’ll be breaking news, they’re giving their opinion, and I don’t care to hear it.

  • Rick Mc

    I like how the website has “Ticher & Rich 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM.” When you click on that link a further description drops down, which says “Listen to Toucher and Rich from 6 to 10 a.m. ET.”

    The site has the same problem with Damon Amendolara.

    I got to say I am underwhelmed. Felger was good at first on 890, but Tanguay is bland and boring, Zolak has never said anything mildly interesting and Tony Mazz is an asshole.

  • Siggy

    The soft underbelly of that lineup is Tanqueray and Zzzzolak. Is that supposed to be like Greenberg and Golic? I’ll check it out I guess, but I’m sure it will blow.

    Give me something outrageous like, I don’t know, Shank and Jimmy Myers to liven up the midday.

  • Jack Edwards

    This whole thing sounds a lot like 1510 The Zone and AM 890 all over again. You are supposed to compete with powerhouse WEEI and you don’t even have a website up and running yet? And then when you do you can’t even get the domain right?
    Tanguay is a lightweight. That show has no chance. T&R are terrible at straight morning drive radio, and we expect them to play it from a sports talk angle? They tried to start talking sports last week on BCN as a preview and it was painful. They clearly know nothing about sports, and to put them up against D&C is ridiculous. T&R will probably bring some of their stoner listeners from BCN for a while, but when they realize T&R are talking sports instead interviewing the drummer from Blink 182 they’ll move on too. Felger in the afternoon is great and the station is clearly making him the franchise, but it seems like he has just gone full circle and is back on a station that no one even knows exists. It’s only a matter of time before he’s back at EEI groveling for air-time.

    • Rick Mc

      T&R are terrible at straight morning drive radio

      A lot of people would disagree. From everything I can gather (not just their statements), T&R did very well, both in the morning and afternoon.

      • Jack Edwards

        Your right, they did do well….with the stoner crowd that doesn’t like sports radio. They will now be competing directly with D&C in a genre they are not very good at….sports.

        • Rick Mc

          They do much better than “the stoner crowd”, and there are only directly competing with D&C in the sense that both are on sports stations. They will be doing a different show.

        • Jason Coyote

          But for those people desperate for an alternative to D&C, I think T&R are at least worth a listen or two.

        • Jack Edwards

          Rick…really which one are you…Toucher or Rich?

          They are only directly competing with each other in the sense that they are a sports show going head to head with one of the most successful sports talk shows in the country. If that is not directly competing then I don’t know what is.

        • DandC NeedToGoAway

          The only reason that WEEI’s D&C are as popular as they are, is for the simple reason that they’ve had a monopoly on the morning-drive, sports-talk market in the Greatest Sports Town in the country. If you put Mikey Adams in that same time slot, he would undoubtedly have grotesquely inflated numbers, as well. D&C’s tired act has run its course and I think people have been looking for an alternative for quite some time now. They were able to maintain their ratings because a sports fan’s desire to hear sports-talk radio often trumps a person’s desire to not be aggravated by their morning commute radio hosts. But now that there’s an alternative, it’s just a matter of time before word gets out and the Hub puts up a decent fight… let’s hope.

  • J.R.

    At the risk of rushing to judgement on Day One of the new 98.5, the lack of a coordinated and professional marketing campaign in advance of the station’s launch has been very disappointing. Never mind the “talent” they have already assembled. I was hoping we’d have something better than some retreads.

    I desperately want the new station to succeed, if for no other reason to make the fat, dumb, and arrogant slobs at ‘EEI start to feel some real competitive heat. If the Sports Hub can somehow grab the Sox broadcast rights — in addition to what they already have with the Pats and Bruins — it could make things interesting.

    • Jason Coyote

      As was implied somewhere, this debut can probably be thought of more as a ‘soft opening’ for the SportsHub to coincide with the first preseason football game. I can almost guarantee there will be a huge marketing push just in time for the Patriots’ regular season opener on September 14th.

  • Jason Coyote

    I think those of us looking for a listening alternative need to give the SportsHub a chance, even if they’re not rolling out the lineup you’d prefer to hear. They’re reairing the Patriots SB wins right now, and I just heard Wallach for the first time on the new station, not even knowing he had left EEI. It will be interesting to hear him on T&R in the morning, but I bet he won’t be interacting with them because in the days before Meterparel they tried having Wallach interact with D&C and that didn’t work at all, especially on any non-sports topics.

    I bet Wallach got a title as well to go along with his new gig. Last I knew Pete Sheppard was the ‘sports director’ at EEI, in charge of scheduling all of the flash talent. Not sure Sheppard still does that, but the SportsHub might have given Wallach similar responsibilities to go along with his on-air morning drive shift.

    • Siggy

      Is ‘Pete Shepard the Sports Director’ anything like ‘Danny Shechter the News Dissector’ on the now defunct WBCN?

  • Fred West Lynn

    How is re-cycling the same old motormouth cauliflowerheads that used to jostle for airtime at EEI providing anything fresh and new?

    Ask yourself: in the last two years, have you ever turned on an EEI broadcast hoping to catch Felger? Mazz? O.K., now, have you ever turned your radio OFF of EEI because of them?

    I think this is just an opportunity wasted. My hoped-for outcome is that this scabarous line-up is the result of someone up here giving into the CBS Corp suits in Ivory Tower, NYC (who looked at EEI’s numbers and thought “Let’s do THAT!”) with the idea that “we’ll do ask you command, but in six months you’ll be telling me to blow the whole thing up.”

    I can only hope.

  • Siggy

    Impressions of the first hour…Kind of an awkward opening, giving their bios as if noone knows who they are, 2 kids, graduated in ’88…just dive into it man! First caller was ‘Glenn’ that’s funny. Email address is impossible, something like [email protected]. Tony’s voice is a little weak at normal volume, hope he doesn’t start to shriek in order to be heard. Off topic, what’s with the name ‘Toucher?’

    • Jason Coyote

      Nothing with it, Toucher happens to be the guy’s last name. Make fun of it if you want, but people normally don’t get to choose their surnames.

      I just listened to three hours of two guys talking sports, taking calls, doing interviews and not shouting over each other. Already sounds like an improvement over the other afternoon show. Not sure what you were expecting or wanted to hear, but sports radio is what it is. Don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

      • Siggy

        Just some technical analysis, that’s all. I heard one guy call them ‘Mike and Mazz,’ that has a nice ring to it. Usually in the communications business shorter is better.

  • mandb97

    I did listen to the Pats Pre-game show on 98.5. I can only hope this improves. Andy Gresh, who I used to like, was obnoxious only. He used to give occasional football insight which I thought was okay but tonight Gresh, Zolak and Tanguay were unlistenable. I wound up putting it on Mike Adams who was only slightly less obnoxious. I would have been happier listening to Doug Gottlieb on ESPN radio on WTPL.

    • Jack Edwards

      Completely agree. There was a rare good point being made and Tanguay interrupted to ask Dan Roche, who was doing a live shot, how he liked the new station. It was like high school radio. Gresh seems to know what he’s talking about but he usually just plays the role of buffoon, with fake guffaw laughter and everything.

      • Pat

        Why they haven’t incorporated Rochie into the lineup is crazy. Rochie has knowledge and class and insight. Prior to his TV years he worked in radio. I use to listen to him doing his sports talk show on WBZ AM. Solid.

        • Jason Coyote

          Agree with you, Pat. You know Roche is just dying to do a baseball show on the SportsHub, but given that Trupiano is already getting a weekend show, I’m not sure there’s room for another (I’m assuming Trupiano’s show will be highly baseball-oriented).

          We all have to remember this is a ‘soft open’. I believe between now and Sept. 14 (the Pats regular season opener) the higher-ups will try to gauge what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly. I am fairly certain the Ch. 4 guys like Roche and Burton will find their way into the mix in some capacity.

          I bet you’ll hear Roche filling in on Tanguay & Zolak on the weekdays the Pats play preseason games because those two will be on the pregame show.

          Although Burton doesn’t appear on EEI every Friday, he has appeared on most Fridays of late, and the fact he’s not a guest on today’s Big Show could be telling.

  • raccoonradio

    Perhaps time to change the following category description on the BSMW forum: “The talk of the day on WEEI… (Sometimes some other topics as well)”

    There are other stations besides WEEI these days…

    • raccoonradio

      >>The talk of the day on sports radio

      ah good! Thanks.

  • Corbin

    I’d love to see 98.5 The Sports Hub make a go of it, but this isn’t the line-up that’s going to do it. Dennis & Callahan (and John Mediocre-parel) are a dog-n-pony show, but when they have to talk sports, they have the clear advantage over Toucher & Rich. Dale & Holley are ten times better than Gary Tanguay and Scott Zolak. What is 98.5 going to call that show, the Retread and the Retard? I mean, Tanguay is the sports hack that wouldn’t die and Zolak has made more out of carrying a clipboard and the starting QB’s jock than any human-being should have a right to. Felger’s a terrific talent to try and build an afternoon drive program around, but he’s saddled with “Squeaky” Massarotti. As for Amendolara, you’re not going to win-over Beantown sports fans by importing a New Yorker by way of Miami. At best, he’ll be a wash against Mike “Hey Kids, I’m a Walking Advertisement to Just Say No to Drugs” Adams. Just perusing the line-ups for both stations makes you wonder how it is that some people land, let alone hold, a job in broadcasting. Mediocre-parel, Meat-head Shepard, Tanguay, Zolak, “The Big Zero” Ordway, “Squeaky Massarotti and Mike “Bongwater” Adams are all talentless knuckle-draggers and/or humorless dweebs who fancy themselves comedians but wouldn’t know funny if it bit them in the ass. When some of the most entertaining content on either station is being turned-in by the brain-dead dopes dialing into the Whiner Line, you know you’re in trouble. Unfortunately for the listening audience, Boston sports radio has been shaped by the “taste” (or, lack thereof) of Jason “Yes, I have incriminating photos of Entercom higher-ups” Wolf, a cretin whose only taste is in his mouth.

    • Jason Coyote

      I understand your criticism Corbin, but I think you have to look beyond the names working at the SportsHub and go straight to style.

      If you prefer to hear a sports radio station where actual dialogue takes place between semi-intelligent callers and the hosts (as opposed to incoherent shouting, belitting or talking over callers and co-hosts), then 98.5 is worth the listen.

      This is all about having choices, and you’ve already seen that EEI has made changes in response, like shortening their ‘I can squeeze in a chapter or two of War & Peace’-length commercial breaks.

      Before ripping Amendolara, listen to one of his shows some night. I can guarantee you he knows more about the current Boston sports teams than D&C and the Big O combined.

      • mandb97

        I agree with you Jason. I have been pleasantly surprised with the line-up, including Toucher and Rich who I freely thought had no chance. Well I am going to be listening to them far more than D&C. They are doing fine with the transition.

        I have had only two minor issues. Amendolara, who I agree has been very good, has a bit of a tendency to repeat himself. He was talking about the Rick Pitino situation and kept repeating, “What if you were Tim Syphor and were asked by Pitino I need a favor?” He said the same thing over and over for 15 minutes straight. But in a five hour show that is very good that is small potatoes. The other issue is that I had no idea who was on after Jerry Trupiano until the replacement was actually on the air. It was Holden Kushner who is very good.

        T&Z are able to hold their own against D&H and I will definitely be listening to Mike and Mazz over Ordway. Both shows are sports talk not sports shouting.

        As an aside, I may be the only one who listened to Mustard and Johnson but I have noticed that they have toned down their act immensely. There is not a lot of screaming or stupidity on the air. It was actually pretty tolerable. O’kay let me have it.