WAMG to end all-sports format
After more than four years, the all-sports format on WAMG AM 890(and simulcast on Lawrence's WLLH AM 1400) known as 890 ESPN, will go off the air in the next couple days according to reliable sources. Station's local staffers were notified yesterday(9/9) about the end of the sports format.
The station, owned by investment firm Waller Sutton, will introduce a brand new format on Monday(9/14). In early 2005, the CT-based company backed the local investor entity J Sports headed by station's former president and GM Jessamy Tang, acquired WAMG AM 890 for $9 million from Mega Communications. The station's ownership signed a licensing deal with ESPN Radio and turned it into an all-sports talker in late July 2005.
When the station first launched four years ago, its major local daily attraction was afternoon drive program hosted by well-known sports media personality Michael Felger. But when Felger jumped back to WEEI and WEEI.com last July, ESPN 890's future became cloudy(BRW 7/13/08). Rest of ESPN 890's programming was filled with ESPN's national talk shows as well as play-by-play coverage of college football, MLB and NBA, but with the less than stellar AM signal coverage, no major local play-by-play connection, the longtime dominance of WEEI AM 850 and recent launch of the SportsHub 98-5(backed by a powerful FM signal), it was just a matter of time before 890 would be forced out of the of the local sports radio game.
With WAMG AM 890 dropping sports, where does ESPN Radio programming land on the Boston dial? Disney-owned sports behemoth is set to go live with the brand new hyperlocal ESPNBoston.com site come Monday(9/14) but there's been no word as to which local station is going to pick up ESPN Radio affiliation status. Stay tuned.