Skip to comments.CBS confirms an all-sports "Fan" for Tampa, to launch in August
Posted on 06/20/2012 1:10:26 PM PDT by raccoonradio
Hosts to be announced, but CBS announces that the long-rumored sports station will replace hot AC "Play 98.7" WSJT. No specific start date, beyond "August." CBS already runs sports-formatted WQYK (1010), and that station's assistant PD Mike Pepper will be the PD of "Sportsradio 98.7 the Fan." CBS market manager Ben Hill says "locally-based on-air personalities, and a programming team with years of experience in Tampa will help shape the station as a place listeners can trust for the most honest, engaging and interactive sports talk." CBS will be lining up against Clear Channel's WDAE (620). The TampaBay.com site says there is another competitor: Cox Media Group's new male-talk "Bone 102.5" WHPT, with Bubba the Love Sponge in mornings.
>>The change had been rumored for weeks, as executives at CBS Radio talked to prospective hosts throughout the local radio scene and other media outlets about hosting opportunities. But it was tough to know when the company might pull the trigger, because the change had been a longstanding rumor for years.
>>The new station will face significant challenges. Success in the sports talk space hinges on rebroadcast rights for important sports franchises, so this move to FM also likely signals the company intention to open up its pocketbook and bid on rights for Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Lightning broadcast rights.
They also need a compelling lineup of on air talent to compete with the new all-talk format launched by rival Cox Radio’s WHPT-FM (The Bone 102.5) anchored by shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. The new 98.7 The Fan will be targeting the same young men with a different product.
But CBS Radio already has FM sports talk stations in markets such as Boston, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh. so, presumably, they know the drill.
Radio executives have privately fretted over the future of talk radio and the industry in general, concerned that the costs of rebroadcasting music and changing ratings systems might cloud economic prospects. Last month, Clear Channel Radio activated translators so its AM talk station WFLA (970) could be heard on FM in Tampa.
But sports talk offers the possibility of drawing younger ears to a format which might encourage long term listening without the conflict and old fashioned feel of political talk.
This move was previewed weeks ago, fueled by a story in a radio trade journal website noting that the web addresses 987TheFan.com, Fan987.com, Fan1010.com and 1010TheFan.com were all transferred in mid-May to CBS Radio servers (CBS owns WQYK-AM, known as 1010 Sports).