Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Entercom responds to exit of WBCN and entry of Sports Hub 98-5

Entercom New England chief Julie Kahn released a statement regarding today's big announcement from CBS Radio Boston(see next item below) :

Statement from Julie Kahn, Vice President/New England Market Manager, Entercom New England

“For decades, WAAF and WBCN have competed fiercely against each other for rock radio listeners in this market. It truly has been an epic competition. With the announcement that WBCN will soon go off the air, WAAF has won that battle and is now in an even stronger position to attract new listeners and build upon its dominance among Boston rock stations.

“WAAF Boston is New England’s most listened to Rock radio station broadcasting on 97.7and 107.3 FM. Over the course of four decades, WAAF has been able to garner ratings in more Arbitron measured markets than any other station in the country. In Boston, WAAF is consistently ranked the #1 station among Men 25-44. WAAF is among only a handful of radio stations in the world that has been able to thrive in the same format as the day it signed on decades ago.

“On the sports side, this announcement was not a surprise. We’ve been expecting it given the many rumors over the last few years. We’ve dealt with competitive situations in the past and we’re fully prepared to do it again. We’re blessed to have built the strongest lineup of sports content and talent in the country, and are proud to have expanded that content platform through the newly designed
WEEI.com, and our 9 station regional network. We have the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and Patriots Monday/Friday, and we’re fully committed to providing the best sports programming to our listeners for many years to come.”

Official ruling on the field : The Rock is dead as FM sports talker comes to Boston airwaves

The whispers have been in the air for months and it looks like this is really going to happen.

After 41 years and 5 months as the Rock of Boston, the legendary WBCN 104.1FM will be no more come Thursday, August 13th. The Rock is dead, folks. Here is the official press release link that BRW received a few minutes ago.

Update : Here's the second press release from the Boston Bruins and CBS announcing that the team's new home will be WBZ 98.5FM(The Sports Hub) :
July 14, 2009


Sports Station To Be Available At 98.5 On The FM Dial,
Local Favorite, MIX, Home To Today’s Best Variety, Relocates To 104.1 FM

WBCN To Live On At
www.wbcn.com And 98.5 HD 2

CBS RADIO Boston is proud to announce the arrival of “98.5 The Sports Hub,” which will debut on Thursday, August 13 and feature a wide assortment of sports talk and play-by-play programming. The new station will be heard at 98.5 on the FM dial and be available streaming online at
www.985thesportshub.com, in addition to the iPhone, iPod Touch and select Blackberry devices, among other mobile outlets.

The station will serve as the home of the three-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and the NHL’s Boston Bruins, and feature personalities including Toucher and Rich in morning drive.

Adding to the distribution of the station, 98.5 The Sports Hub will also be an online destination and interactive experience powered by CBSSports.com (
www.cbssports.com). For the consummate Boston sports fan, www.985thesportshub.com will be the place to go for everything related to Boston sports featuring an array of local content including blogs from the station’s personalities, sports videos, scores, polls, message boards, community groups and the most up-to-date sports news, as well as on-air schedules, team schedules and talent information.

98.5 The Sports Hub will assume the call letters WBZ-FM upon launch, pending FCC approval. A full talent and programming schedule for the station will be announced at a later date.

Of the new station, Mark Hannon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of CBS RADIO Boston said, “Boston fans eat, sleep and breathe sports, and are some of the most diehard followers in the country, so it makes sense for us to bring the city’s favorite pastime to an easily accessible platform where listeners- for the first time in Boston- will be able to take advantage of sports programming through the crisp and clear reception offered on the FM dial. CBS RADIO has a rich and influential background in sports radio and we are excited to join such illustrious company.”

98.5 The Sports Hub will interact with listeners through the use of social networking sites such as Twitter (
www.twitter.com/985thesportshub), Facebook and MySpace (www.myspace.com/985thesportshub) in order to connect users and talent and offer a more engaging and personalized experience. This integration of resources offers the audience the most up-to-date news and local information, while broadening the station’s fan base and providing more advertising opportunities.

As a result of the launch of The Sports Hub on 98.5, CBS RADIO’s legendary Hot AC station, WBMX, will change its dial location on Wednesday, Aug. 12 and move to 104.1 FM from atop the Prudential Building in Boston’s Back Bay. The station will feature the same great music and personalities familiar to listeners with improved signal coverage benefitting the at-work listener. MIX’s new website can be found by logging on to

Finally, WBCN will say goodbye to Boston listeners after 41 years on the air with unique programming and stories celebrating the history and heritage of the station. Fans of WBCN will be pleased to know that the station will still be available online at
www.wbcn.com, as well as at 98.5 HD 2 for those who have an HD Radio receiver.

Press Contact: Cha-Chi Loprete
(617) 746-1460

Allison Mandara
(212) 649-9606

Boston Phoenix's media columnist Adam Reily broke the story this morning that a format change/frequency swap will take place in August and will result into a debut of a new sports FM talker WBZ 98.5FM"The Sports Hub". In adddition, after more than 18 years at 98.5FM freqeuncy, CBS Radio's Mix 98.5(WBMX-FM) Hot AC format will migrate to 104.1FM thus silencing WBCN/The Rock of Boston for good. Reily reports that WBCN's current morning drive team of "Toucher and Rich" will anchor the new sports entry.

According to Bruce Allen's Boston Sports Media Watch, there is also a good possibility of Comcast SportsNet's anchor duo Mike Felger and Gary Tanguay duo handling the PM drive shift(CSN's studios in Burling already have a fully-equipped radio studio that Felger had used to do his afternoon show on ESPN 890 prior to his return to WEEI/WEEI.com last year).

Obviously the Patriots games would move from 104.1FM to 98.5FM with the start of the preseason schedule. And, in addition the Bruins who are staying put with CBS Radio Boston will shift their games to the new WBZ-98.5FM. Also, Gary Tanguay has been hosting Partriots football pre-game and post-game shows on WBCN 104.1FM for a number of years so he's no stranger to Boston sports fandom.

So is Boston sufficiently interested in sports to support an all-sports FM radio station? We're about to find out.


Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that CBS mentions nothing about WBCN or the 104.1 frequency in the press release. Has there been any official word that WBMX is moving to 104.1?

Boston Radio Watch said...

Yes, the Mix move to the Pru and Mix1041.com are mentioned in the other CBS press release...What happens to WBCN call letters now? I can't see CBS giving them up just in case

Anonymous said...

wbcn will be broadcasting on the net and on HD radio according to the press release I saw. So I don't think the call letters are going anywhere....

Anonymous said...

I'll be one of the few that will miss BCN. Yeah, they lost their edge, but I was still hooked. Growing up in the 90s, that rock era will always have a place in my music interests. Personally, I can only listen to an ipod for so long without it becoming stale. At least with BCN I got jockeys, news, and stories. I thought of it as listening to something on shuffle mode with some breaks mixed in between. I work in a lab where a lot of us wear headphones, be it ipods or even fm radios (gasp!.

Its a sad day in boston today

Boston Radio Watch said...

The official call letters for the new Sports Hub will be WBZ-FM. I am not a call letters expert but I don't think you can retain a separate set of call letters for a just an HD2 subchannel...

Anonymous said...

Finally!! Great sports talk on the FM dial. I am looking forward to plenty of pitch sequence break - down, sixth round draft talk and impact of potential trades on soccer depth charts. Ohh and if there is a God, can there be some serious fantasy league talk led by moring drive co - hosts Michael Felger and John Meterparel.

Boston Radio Watch said...

What does Entercom do now?

WEEI needs to be on FM in Boston.
Its numbers are already down under the new PPM system which favors younger FM demos.

My guess they'll have to turn 97.7FM over to simulcasting WEEI-AM at some point or buy another FM station in Boston.

Anonymous said...

Stunned that WBMX is moving.

I thought the sports format was moving to 104.1.

Anonymous said...

Heard anything about WFNX flipping to Spanish and a contemporary Latin pop this Friday?

Anonymous said...

This move will force Entercom to flip either the WAAF-107.3/WKAF-97.7 combo or (more likely) WMKK-93.7 to simulcast WEEI (Sox, Celts, etc.) before CBS makes their move, perhaps within the next few days.

It may also force CBS to move-up the date of their big flip.

Thus, we may well see two local FM sports stations in town by this time (July 21st) next week.

-Joseph Gallant

Boston Radio Watch said...

I can't see Mike flipping to WEEI simulcast. It's tied for 4th(with WEEI) in 25-54 demo so that would make no sense. More likely, they'll break up 97.7-107.3 simuclast and run WEEI on 97.7.

Aug. 13 is also Patriots first preseason game so moving up the Sports Hub debut makes little sense. Patriots football is the best promo vehicle you can wish for.

Laurence Glavin said...

There were rumors earlier that Entercomm might be interested in an LMA on 99.5, a frequency being wasted by Nassau's WCRB. Suddenly, Boston could have TWO sports FMs if they went through with that deal now.

RockRoll360 said...

Radio Sucks - GoodBye BCN - Your BIGGEST FAN until Chuck has left the building. Thanks God I have some Archives - Check out this special 20th Anniversary Show.

Part 1 -

Part 2 -

Anonymous said...

I would think Entercom would still have a signal disadvantage if they put a WEEI simulcast on 97.7 as that frequency is weak or non existent north of Boston.

Anonymous said...

All the people at work who listen to MIX 98.5 are confused and just short of losing their minds. Bostonians are real ademate to change, but this should be real interesting as to how this all plays out. I actually think that this could work for some reason. I don't know why, but it would. Great times listening to WBCN in the 1990's, but that time has come and gone.

Anonymous said...

Hey - I just sent an e-mail, then found the blog format!

Along with the 'BCN news are unsubstantiated rumors that 'FNX is contemplating a change to country? These rumors seem to fly in the face of logic given the departure of 'BCN.

- DG

Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing I have been listening to WAAF for years and then I discover Toucher and Rich and haven't listened to AAF since. This sucks!

Anonymous said...

My WBCN Obituary on my blog, Outside In. http://yechristian.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/r-i-p-wbcn-fm-in-boston/

Anonymous said...

A poster in either the Herald or Globe made a great point. How committed is CBS to this sports format if they wouldn't flip the 104.1 signal to sports but instead move Mix up the dial. That 98.5 signal is definitely not as strong as the 104.1 signal.

spsolomon said...


For all the credibility that Toucher and Rich will bring to a sports show for a town that "eat[s], sleep[s] and breathe[s] sports," CBS might as well just bring back Opie & Anthony and lil' Jimmy Norden.

Seriously, CBS...Toucher and Rich are your answer for the Dennis and Callahan juggernaut? Okey dokey. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

In somewhat related news, the New England Patriots have announced that they will be changing their name back to the Boston Patriots...

Seriously though, I think that Toucher and Rich will bring it to the airwaves. I mean, it's not as if they failed out of the Atlanta Market (oh...wait). But they can get aclamated to the changes. I'm sure that they'll still do the Drunken Red Sox Report. It'll be a smash. They'll drive Dennis and Callahan WILD.

lingero longero...

Anonymous said...

The Chili Guy is going to bank 13 mil-billion eights and have Eddie Andleman and Kadolfo take D and C over the Kentucky Alabama, maybe no?