Times columnist Gary Shelton, ex-Buccaneer "Booger" McFarland, Sports Babe on new FM sports talk radio station
Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Anthony "Booger" McFarland, former Tampa Bay Lighting player Chris "Dinger" Dingman and the Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan are among the names filling the on air crew on the Tampa Bay area's first FM sports talk station, Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan.
The station unveiled the new lineup at noon, obliterating the hit radio format of WSJT-FM, once known as Play 98.7, to start the new station's 24/7 sports talk format.
In a two-hour, commercial free broadcast from the University of South Florida campus, the CBS Radio-owned outlet unveiled its new voices, along with an agreement to serve as the "flagship station" for athletics, broadcasting the college's football and men's basketball games.
USF's baseball and women's basketball will air on the lower profile platform of CBS Radio's AM sports talk station WQYK. The AM station will also simulcast 98.7 The Fan until January, when it broadcasts CBS Radio's new national sports talk network.
Experts theorized that a new sports talk station would need broadcasts of local sporting events to pull in audiences. With all the major sports franchises locked into contracts with existing stations, the new station seems to be starting with the highest-profile local college athletic program.
According to the station's press release, IMG College will continue producing football broadcasts with Jim Louk on play by play, Mark Robinson offering color commentary, and Mike Pepper handling sideline reporting. Jim Lighthall and Justin Pawlowski host the pre and post game broadcasts..
Few names made the transition from CBS Radio's AM sports talk station, WQYK-AM. Instead, the new lineup features a mix of experienced radio pros with local roots, a sprinkling of former athletes with local ties and a few utility players, including the Times' Shelton.
They've even found space for the original Hooters girl, Lynne Austin, a longtime voice in local radio who will serve as the fan's voice on the station.
Click here to see the station's site, which has more information on the station's voices. The station's schedule is below.
Kirk and Dinger...Kirk McEwen & former Tampa Bay Lightning player Chris Dingman
Gary and the “Commish”...Tampa Bay Times Columnist Gary Shelton & Justin Pawlowski
Todd and Booger...Todd Wright & former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Booger McFarland
Nanci Donnellan, best known as the “Fabulous Sports Babe,” will be featured from 1:00-6:00AM.