Sports Radio Boston – WBZ-FM Debuts

WBZ-FM sports-talk station debuts – Format competes with WEEI

By Thomas Grillo |   Thursday, August 13, 2009  |  http://www.bostonherald.com |  Media & Marketing

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Boston’s first FM sports talk radio station is kicking off today with surprisingly little fanfare.

WBZ-FM, dubbed “98.5 The Sports Hub,” will debut at 6 a.m. with former WBCN [website] disc jockeys Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb of “Toucher & Rich” trying their hand at sports talk.

At 10 a.m., Comcast SportsNet New England’s Gary Tanguay and former New England Patriots [team stats] backup quarterback Scott Zolak will take over.

Veteran Hub sportswriters Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, who is still writing part-time for the Boston Globe, will go head-to-head against Glenn Ordway’s “The Big Show” on rival WEEI-AM (850) at 2 p.m.

Their debut show will feature Red Sox [team stats] General Manager Theo Epstein and Bruins [team stats] owner Jeremy Jacobs, Felger said yesterday.

Normally, Felger and Massarotti will be on until 6 p.m. But tomorrow, Tanguay, Zolak and Andy Gresh will host the Pats pregame show starting at4 p.m. as the lead-in to the first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“The Sports Hub” has radio rights to broadcast Patriots and Bruins games.

Media watchers think the new station could represent the first real threat to ’EEI, which has enjoyed a local sports-talk radio monopoly in the sports-obsessed Hub for years. But Felger, who has been a guest off and on at ’EEI over the years, wasn’t in the mood to talk too much trash about his colleagues turned rivals yesterday.

“They’re very sensitive to criticism,” Felger quipped. “They tend to overreact. Some of those guys are getting older and we don’t need to upset them.”

Felger said his mission is to carve out a market share and build an audience.

“What we’re doing has nothing to do with ’EEI,” he said. “We’re just going to do a better show. We will be focused, opinionated and passionate. That’s a formula that works.”

Damon Amendolara, most recently from WQAM in Miami, will hold down weeknights at “The Sports Hub,” working from 6 p.m. to midnight.

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