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 Beasley Broadcast Group, the current WBZ-FM began on August 8, 2009 and competes with AM and FM sports talk stations WEEI-AM/FM. 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, and were all associated with Westinghouse Broadcasting or its successor, 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.
- 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
The first WBZ-FM had its origins in a construction permit held by Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company to operate at 42.6 MHz; this facility signed on as W1XK on November 7, 1940 from the Hull transmitter site of sister station WBZ. Westinghouse soon sought a commercial FM license, and on February 19, 1941 was granted a construction permit for W67B on 46.7; W1XK left the air for good on December 28, 1941, and W67B signed on March 29, 1942. The call letters became WBZ-FM on November 2, 1943. Initially, W67B/WBZ-FM was largely separately-programmed, though in later years it became a simulcast of its AM sister station.
After the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved the FM band to 88–106 MHz (later expanded to 108), WBZ-FM began to operate on 100.7 MHz on January 1, 1946 (while still operating on 46.7 as well). The frequency again changed to 92.9 MHz on August 10, 1947 (the 100.7 frequency was reoccupied by WCOP-FM, now WZLX, in 1948). 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, with 92.9 operations from Hull ceasing on July 23, 1948 and the 46.7 operation shutting down on November 21, 1948. 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, which deleted it and a Springfield sister station, WBZA-FM (97.1), on November 22, 1954. (The 92.9 frequency has been occupied by WBOS since 1960.)
Second WBZ-FM: 106.7
After securing a new license for operation on 106.7 MHz, Westinghouse reactivated WBZ-FM on December 15, 1957. The station initially operated only from 5:00 p.m. to 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. 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.
On December 31, 1971, WBZ-FM became a rock music station as "Rockin' Stereo 106.7" 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, improving 106.7's signal in downtown Boston.
Third WBZ-FM: 98.5
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, 2009, moving the existing Hot AC "Mix 98.5" WBMX-FM to 104.1 as "Mix 104.1" on August 12, 2009, 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 2 AM on the 12th with a loop of the song Move Along by The All-American Rejects while Mix voiceover Ann DeWig and DJs of Mix redirected listeners to 104.1 until "The Sports Hub" launched at 1 PM 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.
On February 2, 2017, CBS announced that they will be selling their radio division to Entercom, which could have made WBZ-FM a direct sister to WEEI. The sale would be conducted using a Reverse Morris Trust so that it would be tax-free. While CBS shareholders retain a 72% ownership stake in the combined company, Entercom was the surviving entity, separating WBZ radio (both 98.5 and AM 1030) from WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV. However, the combined company would have to shed some of its Boston stations in order to satisfy Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice requirements. On October 10, 2017, CBS disclosed that as part of the process of obtaining regulatory approval of the merger, WBZ-FM would be one of sixteen stations that would be divested by Entercom, along with sister stations WBZ and WZLX, and Entercom stations WRKO and WKAF, with Entercom retaining WEEI AM and FM, WBMX, WODS and WAAF. On November 1, 2017, Beasley Media Group announced that it would trade WMJX to Entercom, in exchange for WBZ-FM (WBZ, WZLX, WRKO and WKAF were acquired by iHeartMedia). The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th. Beasley took complete ownership of the station on December 20, 2017.
Shows and staff
When the station launched in 2009, Boston Bruins games moved to WBZ-FM from WBZ. 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.
Sports broadcast staff
Patriots Radio Broadcast Staff
- Bob Socci Play by Play
- Scott Zolak Co-Host
- Marc Bertrand Host of Pregame and Postgame shows
- Chris Gasper Host of Pregame Show
- Steve DeOssie Host of Postgame Show
- Marc D. Cappello Producer
Celtics Radio Broadcast Staff
Bruins Radio Broadcast Team
Revolution Radio Broadcast Team
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- Entercom Swaps 98.5 the Sports Hub to Beasley for Magic 106.7
- Entercom Trades Boston/Seattle Spin-Offs to iHeartMedia for Richmond/Chattanooga
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- "Gino Cappelletti leaving Patriots' radio booth". Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBZ
- Radio-Locator information on WBZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WBZ
| Radio home of the New England Patriots
| Radio home of the Boston Bruins
| Radio home of the Boston Celtics