CBS Radio is setting itself up as a sports powerhouse in radio. On Tuesday (July 14), the group announced its two newest sports stations in Washington, D.C. and Boston, giving the group a total of 12 sports stations in the top 15 markets.
In the nation’s capital, CBS Radio launched “The Fan” Monday (July 20) on WJFK-FM, replacing the station’s former roster of male-oriented talk. As part of the format change, Sportsradio 106.7 The Fan will keep The Sports Junkies in morning drive and serve as the flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards.
In Boston, CBS is set for an Aug. 13 launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub, serving as the home of the New England Patriots and NHL’s Boston Bruins. As part of the change, The Sports Hub will get new call letters WBZ-FM and take over the 98.5 frequency held by Hot Adult Contemporary WBMX-FM, which will move to the frequency held by WBCN-FM. (With the format flip, CBS retires WBCN’s 41-year-old rock brand in the market; it will live on online and as a digital side channel.)
Both new sports stations will be streamed online and on mobile devices such as the iPhone. Web sites and mobile apps will include all the new media bells and whistles from social networking to blogs.
CBS has already switched several other stations to sports, most recently last November in Baltimore, bringing the market’s first FM sports station. Since the launch, WJZ-FM’s ratings have nearly doubled.
“There’s no better way to reach large numbers of male listeners than through exclusive sports programming,” said Dan Mason, president and CEO for CBS Radio. “We’re seeing impressive ratings growth at a number of our stations and clients continue to make big investments in sports marketing.”
The stations that are flipping to sports could use a ratings boost. As a talk station, WJFK-FM in Washington, D.C. barely broke a 2 share and was languishing at No. 17. WBCN in Boston was similarly ranked at No. 18.
Both stations face competition, especially in Boston, where Entercom Communication’s WEEI-AM is ranked No. 7. In Washington, D.C., CBS’ The Fan, on the FM band, has a good chance of besting No. 19-ranked WTEM-AM, owned by Red Zebra Broadcasting, the broadcasting group formed by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.