Who's on first?!
The major league baseball season began this past Sunday night and radio stations are filling their rosters with baseball-themed programming.
Leading off is the Red Sox game coverage. WEEI 850 is back for a full season as the sole flagship station of the Sox and will broadcast every pitch of every regular and post season game. Last August(BRW 8/25/08), WEEI regained primary flagship status from sister-station WRKO AM 680 which aired majority of games for two and half seasons. No changes in the Sox radio booth as team's iconic voice Joe Castiglione is back to call his 28th Red Sox season. Dave O'Brien is back for his 4th. And, Jon Rish will once again handle all the pregame, post game and rain-delay shows on WEEI's Sox radio network. As was the case in the past few seasons, Rish will step in for O'Brien whenever the latter will be busy with calling Wednesday night baseball games for ESPN-TV. One noticeable change is in the length of Sox radio network's pregame show - it has been expanded to one hour(from 40 minutes). Also, not very good news for Sox radio listeners in the Metrowest and the 495 corridor who had relied on WCRN 830's solid 50,000 watt signal to subsitute for inadequate WEEI 850's(and previously WRKO 680) night coverage in the western 'burbs. WCRN has apparently decided against paying the hefty Sox affiliation fee this season.
In addition, the "Baseball Show", a live TV/radio simulcast is back for the second year on WEEI(and Comcast Sports Net) every Saturday from 9am to Noon co-hosted by CSNNE's Greg Dickerson and WEEI's Lou Merloni.
With WEEI returning as a part-time ESPN Radio affiliate last October, four-letter sports network's "Sunday Night Baseball" is also back after four years at now-defunct ESPN 890.
Red Sox games haven't been heard on AM 1510 frequency since the 1982 season when the station was known as WITS/"Information, Talk, Sports" and served as team's flagship. This year, the Sox games are back on the same frequency but in Spanish. As mentioned in this space last week(BRW 3/31), WWZN AM 1510 has signed a 3-year deal to carry SBN"s production of Sox games in Spanish. All games will have a 30 minute pregame show and will have Uri Berenguer and Juan Oscar Baez behind the mic.
WEEI's clustermate WAAF 107.3 will have Sox skipper Terry Francona on every Wednesday at 1pm, the active rock station announced today. Francona will continue his Wednesday appearances on WEEI's "Dale and Holley" earlier in the day.
Starting this week, SportsHub 98.5/WBZ-FM rolled out a new weekday program specifically covering baseball news. The Baseball Reporters is being hosted by Tony Massarotti and will run from 6 to 7pm unless pre-empted by Bruins' pre-game show. The show will include a panel of baseball writers and reporters. WBZ-TV Sportscaster Dan Roche will be a regular contributor. The show will also include interviews with players and management. “THE BASEBALL REPORTERS will feature all the latest baseball news from some of the most respected reporters in the business, said Mike Thomas, 98.5 The Sports Hub Program Director in a press release. "There is no better host then Tony Massarotti, an authority on everything baseball.”
Batting cleanup in the radio lineup is WBUR 90.9FM's "Only a Game". At 7am and 6 pm every Saturday, Bill Littlefield hosts an hour of offbeat sports stories often complemented by large amount of baseball chatter during the season.
BRW Notebook :
Summer in the city : WODS 103.3 announced its free summer concert series at the Hatch Shell. Only 3 shows this year : War(June 19th), Eddie Money with special guest John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band(July 17) and Peter Cetera with special guests Ernie Boch Jr. and Automatics(July 31st).
Left in the dark : The Herald's gossip column "Inside Track" dissects the midday switch at 98.5 the SportsHub where after just seven months Gary Tanguay has been replaced by Andy Gresh as of this week.