WBZ-FM

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This article is about radio stations during their time as WBZ-FM. For 98.5 in Boston before WBZ-FM in 2009, see WBMX (FM). For 106.7 in Boston after WBZ-FM in 1981, see WMJX.
WBZ-FM
WBZ-FM logo.png
City of license Boston, Massachusetts
Broadcast area Greater Boston
Branding 98.5 The Sports Hub
Slogan Boston's Home for Sports
Frequency 98.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date October 1948 (as WNAC-FM)[1]
August 13, 2009 (2009-08-13) (current format as WBZ-FM)
Format Sports radio
HD2: WBCN
HD3: WBZ simulcast
ERP 9,000 watts
HAAT 349 meters
Class B
Facility ID 1901
Transmitter coordinates 42°18′27.4″N 71°13′25.2″W / 42.307611°N 71.223667°W / 42.307611; -71.223667 (WBZ-FM)
Callsign meaning from heritage sister station WBZ (AM)
Former callsigns WNAC-FM (1948–1958)
WRKO-FM (1958–1968)
WROR (1968–1991)
WBMX(-FM) (1991–2009)
Affiliations CBS Sports Radio
New England Patriots Radio Network
Boston Bruins Radio Network
Boston Celtics Radio Network
Owner CBS Radio
(CBS Radio Stations Inc.)
Sister stations WBMX, WBZ, WBZ-TV, WODS, WSBK-TV, WZLX
Webcast Listen Live
HD2: Listen Live
Website www.985thesportshub.com
www.wbcn.com (HD2)

WBZ-FM is a sports radio station known as "98.5 The Sports Hub" and broadcasting on 98.5 MHz in Boston, Massachusetts. Owned by CBS Radio, the current WBZ-FM began on August 13, 2009 and competes with AM and FM sports talk station WEEI. WBZ-FM is home to the Boston Bruins, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and New England Revolution radio networks. Its studios are located in Allston district of Boston, and its transmitter is in Newton.

WBZ-FM has been the callsign of three broadcast stations in Boston, Massachusetts since 1943, all associated with Westinghouse Broadcasting/CBS Radio: one from 1943 to 1954; one from 1957 to 1981 (which became WMJX); and the new format from August 2009, which uses the frequency of the old WROR/WBMX.

Callsign timeline[edit]

  • 1943: W67B at 46.7 MHz becomes the first WBZ-FM
  • 1946: WBZ-FM moves to 100.7 MHz
  • 1947: WBZ-FM moves to 92.9 MHz
  • 1954: First WBZ-FM goes off the air
  • 1957: 106.7 goes on the air as the second WBZ-FM
  • 1981: 106.7 sold; 106.7 drops WBZ-FM callsign to become WMJX
  • 2009: 98.5 drops WBMX-FM callsign to become third WBZ-FM

First WBZ-FM[edit]

The first WBZ-FM had its origins in a construction permit held by Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company to operate at 42.6 MHz;[2] this facility signed on as W1XK on November 7, 1940 from the Hull transmitter site of sister station WBZ.[3] Westinghouse soon sought a commercial FM license, and on February 19, 1941 was granted a construction permit for W67B on 46.7;[4] W1XK left the air for good on December 28, 1941, and W67B signed on March 29, 1942.[3] The call letters became WBZ-FM on November 2, 1943.[3] Initially, W67B/WBZ-FM was largely separately-programmed,[3] though in later years it became a simulcast of its AM sister station.[5]

After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved the FM band to 88–108 MHz, WBZ-FM began to operate on 100.7 MHz on January 1, 1946 (while still operating on 46.7 as well).[3] The frequency again changed to 92.9 MHz on August 10, 1947[3] (the 100.7 frequency was reoccupied by WCOP-FM, now sister station WZLX, in 1948).[6] WBZ-FM's transmitter moved to the WBZ-TV (channel 4) tower at the stations' new studios in the Allston-Brighton portion of Boston in 1948,[7] with 92.9 operations from Hull ceasing on July 23 and the 46.7 operation shutting down on November 21.[3] The tower was destroyed by Hurricane Carol on August 31, 1954; after that point, WBZ-FM's operations were discontinued and the license surrendered to the FCC,[8] which deleted it and a Springfield sister station, WBZA-FM (97.1 FM), on November 22, 1954.[9] (The 92.9 frequency has been occupied by WBOS since 1960.)

Second WBZ-FM: 106.7[edit]

For 106.7 after WBZ-FM, see WMJX.

After securing a new license for operation on 106.7 MHz, Westinghouse reactivated WBZ-FM on December 15, 1957.[10] The station initially operated only from 5 p.m.–midnight with a classical music format branded "Westinghouse Fine Music in Boston"; in 1959, WBZ-FM expanded its operating hours by simulcasting the AM sister station during periods in which the station had signed off.[5] After live programming was replaced with tapes of classical music in January 1960, WBZ-FM's separate programming was expanded, with the simulcast continuing in mornings.[5]

On December 31, 1971, WBZ-FM became a rock music station as "Rockin' Stereo 106.7"[11] programming mostly top 40 with some album cuts. Although automated, it featured voice-tracked announcing from Clark Smidt (who also programmed the station) and Ken Shelton. For a time in the mid-1970s, WBZ-FM was Boston's second most popular top 40 station, only trailing WRKO. In 1975, both Smidt and Shelton left to join WCOZ, which was changing formats from beautiful-music to album-oriented rock. By 1979, WBZ-FM had drifted into an automated album oriented rock format itself, which remained in place through 1981. As a rock station, WBZ-FM also simulcast the hourly newscasts from the AM side, the commercial spots on which were the only commercials heard on the FM side.

In 1981, WBZ-FM was sold to Greater Media, becoming that company's first Boston station. Under the new ownership, the station signed off for a couple of weeks at the very end of 1981. Before signing back on as "Magic" in January 1982 with the call letters WMJX, the station installed a new transmitter and raised the height of the antenna on the WBZ-TV tower. A few years later the transmission equipment was relocated to the Prudential Tower, giving 106.7 a great signal in downtown Boston.

Third WBZ-FM: 98.5[edit]

For 98.5 before WBZ-FM, see WBMX (FM).
WBZ-FM's studios in Brighton, shared with CBS' other Boston FM stations.

In July 2009, CBS Radio announced that it would re-introduce WBZ-FM as a sports radio station named "98.5 The Sports Hub" on August 13,[12] moving the existing Hot AC "Mix 98.5" WBMX-FM to 104.1 as "Mix 104.1" on August 12,[13] and the existing active rock 104.1 WBCN to HD Radio subchannel 2 on the new 98.5, removing it from analog. 98.5 then stunted starting at 2AM on the 12th with a loop of the song Move Along by The All-American Rejects while the announcer and DJs of Mix redirected listeners to 104.1 until "The Sports Hub" launched at 1PM on the 13th. "98.5 The Sports Hub" was created to go head to head against WEEI, at the time the top rated sports radio station in the Boston market. Two years later, WEEI would add an FM simulcast, a reaction to the success WBZ-FM was enjoying as an FM sports talker. The "Sports Hub" amended its slogan from "Boston's New (FM) Home For Sports" to "Boston's Home For Sports".

The call sign WBZ-FM was assigned to the station on August 5, 2009.

Shows[edit]

Boston Bruins games moved to WBZ-FM from WBZ.[13] The Toucher and Rich Show and New England Patriots games came from WBCN. It was announced on September 26, 2013, that the station has become the new flagship of the Boston Celtics Radio Network (replacing WEEI-FM), with select games airing on WZLX due to conflicts.[14]

Weekdays[edit]

The Toucher and Rich Show
This show airs mornings. The hosts are Fred Toettcher (pronounced "TOUCH-er"), and Rich Shertenlieb. Sports headlines are read by Jon Wallach.
Gresh and Zolak
Andy Gresh and former New England Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak are the hosts. The show airs middays. Sports headlines are read by "Hardy" (Rob Poole).
Felger and Massarotti
Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti host in the afternoon. Sports headlines are read by Marc Bertrand. Chris Gasper of the Boston Globe, Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly. Cam Neely calls in during hockey season to discuss the Bruins. Felger and Mazz is simulcast on Comcast SportsNet New England.
The Adam Jones Show
Adam Jones hosts the evening show. Sports headlines are read by Rich Keefe. It was formerly hosted by Damon Amendolara who now hosts 2-6 a.m. on CBS Sports Radio.

During the baseball season Massarotti hosts "The Baseball Reporters" from 6–7 p.m., with Jones following from 7 p.m. until midnight. During hockey season, Jones hosts "The Hockey Show" on some nights, from 6 p.m. until the beginning of Bruins coverage.

Weekends[edit]

Bertrand and Gasper

Marc Bertrand and Chris Gasper host late morning into the early afternoon on Saturday.

Hardy and Trupiano

Rob Poole (Hardy) and former Boston Red Sox radio announcer Jerry Trupiano host a show that airs at various times on weekends.

Johnston and Flynn

Ryan Johnston and former NFL player Mike Flynn host at various times on weekends.

New England Patriots coverage[edit]

The New England Patriots pregame and postgame shows are hosted by Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh. Bob Socci handles the play-by-play duties. Scott Zolak replaced Gino Cappelletti as the color commentator.[15]

Boston Bruins coverage[edit]

Boston Bruins coverage features Dave Goucher as the play-by-play man and Bob Beers handling the color commentary.

Boston Celtics coverage[edit]

The newest addition to "The Sports Hub" is coverage of the Boston Celtics, which had been heard previously on WEEI-FM. Longtime announcers Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell will continue to serve as play-by-play and analyst respectively. All Celtics games not in conflict with Bruins games will be heard on the station; while some Celtics games in conflict with Bruins games will be heard on WZLX.[14] If a Celtics game conflicts with both the Patriots and the Bruins (such as on January 11, 2014), WBZ will air the Celtics game and WZLX airs the Bruins.[16]

New England Revolution coverage[edit]

New England Revolution coverage is a simulcast of the audio from the television coverage on Comcast SportsNet New England. Play-by-play is done by Brad Feldman with color commentary by Jeff Causey. Jay Heaps contributed color commentary until his promotion to manager for the 2012 season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yankee FM". ggn information systems. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1930s". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Miller, Jeff. "Earliest FM Radio Stations". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1940s". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Boston Radio Dial: WMJX(FM)". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Framingham, Massachusetts: Garrett A. Wollman. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  6. ^ "The Boston Radio Dial: WZLX(FM)". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Framingham, Massachusetts: Garrett A. Wollman. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  7. ^ Fybush, Scott (August 5, 2005). "WBZ: 65 Years in Hull, part I". Tower Site of the Week. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Boston Radio Dial: WBOS(FM)". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. August 16, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ "For The Record". Broadcasting-Telecasting. December 6, 1954. p. 58. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  10. ^ "WBZ-FM Makes Bow on 106.7 Mc". Broadcasting-Telecasting. December 23, 1957. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  11. ^ "WBZ 106.7 Boston Survey 06/20/75". Las-solanas.com. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  12. ^ CBS Radio (2009-07-15). "98.5 The Sports Hub Debut". Facebook. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  13. ^ a b CBS Radio. "CBS Radio to Launch Boston's Newest and Only FM Sports Station, 98.5 The Sports Hub, on Thursday, August 13". Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  14. ^ a b Finn, Chad (September 26, 2013). "It's official: Celtics heading to The Sports Hub". Boston.com. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Gino Cappelletti leaving Patriots’ radio booth". Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Where To Hear Patriots, Bruins, Celtics On Saturday Night". CBS Boston. January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
104.1 WBCN
Radio home of the New England Patriots
2009–present
Succeeded by
incumbent
Preceded by
1030 WBZ
Radio home of the Boston Bruins
2009–present
Succeeded by
incumbent
Preceded by
WEEI-FM
Radio home of the Boston Celtics
2013–

present

Succeeded by
incumbent