Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay FM station 98.7 The Fan converts to sports radio format

TAMPA — Tampa Bay's newest sports radio station, 98.7 The Fan, made its debut with a bang, and some bumps, Thursday afternoon.

Related News/Archive

Several of the hosts, including "Fabulous Sports Babe" Nanci Donnellan, shared celebratory chest-bumps with USF's mascot, Rocky the Bull, in an introductory launch party at the Lee Roy Selmon Athletic Center on campus.

Owned and operated by CBS Radio, the station announced a multiyear partnership to be the Bulls' flagship station, with program director Mike Pepper believing they'll distinguish themselves on the FM dial by being live and local "24-7."

"We call ourselves 'The Fan,' and we want to be a voice that the Tampa Bay listener can feel comfortable to talk about Tampa Bay sports," Pepper said.

There will be talk shows all day and night, led by former Bucs defensive tackle Anthony "Booger" McFarland, former Lightning forward Chris Dingman and longtime Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton. Kirk McEwen, a longtime host in Baltimore, Tampa product Justin "Commish" Pawlowski and longtime sports radio host Todd Wright also join former Rays pre- and postgame host Rich Herrera, who calls the group a "dream team."

"It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be new. It's going to be challenging," said Shelton, who currently calls during his show from London, where he is covering the Olympics. "As important as anything, it's going to give me another way to interact with people who have laughed, cried or been ticked off at my column for years. Also, I hear there are groupies."

The Fan hopes to permeate a market that already includes sports station WDAE-AM 620, which has a dominant presence in the area. But Mark Chernoff, vice president of sports programming with CBS Radio, said they believe it's a "ripe market," pointing out they've started similar stations in Boston, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Like in Pittsburgh, they began by aligning with the local college team, broadcasting coverage of Bulls football and men's basketball starting in the fall. USF athletic director Doug Woolard said because of the station's stronger signal, Bulls games can reach more of the state and "expand our brand" through CBS Radio.

"This is a big day for USF," Woolard said.

Shelton, who joins Pawlow­ski from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., is the latest Times writer to expand into radio, with Rick Stroud and Tom Jones co-hosting The Sports Page on WDAE weekdays from 6-9 a.m.

"Gary Shelton is a brilliant voice on the Tampa Bay sports scene and one of America's elite newspaper columnists, so we know he'll be an asset to CBS Radio's programming," Times editor Neil Brown said. "Gary's work on the air is another sign of our commitment to extending the reach of the Tampa Bay Times throughout the region and the state."

Joe Smith can be reached at

.fast facts

Weekday on-air lineup for 98.7-FM

6-10 a.m.: Kirk and Dinger — Kirk McEwen and former Lightning player Chris Dingman

10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Gary and the Commish — Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton and Justin Pawlowski

2-6: Todd and Booger — Todd Wright and former Bucs player Anthony "Booger" McFarland

6-10: Rich Herrera

10 p.m.-1 a.m.: Temporary programming until a host is signed

1-6 a.m.: Nanci Donnellan, the "Fabulous Sports Babe"

Tampa Bay FM station 98.7 The Fan converts to sports radio format 08/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.