More changes at the struggling 98.7 FM “The Fan”. Mid-morning co-host Gary Shelton has been let go from the Tampa Bay sports talker. He did his final show on Wednesday. Shelton, who is also a sportswriter for the Tampa Bay Times, had been the co-host of the station’s 9:00 am to noon show with Justin Pawloski.
WHFS-FM has undergone several changes in recent weeks. John O’Connell took over as program director when original PD Mike Pepper was reassigned and then left the company. The all-local lineup, which began last August when the station debuted, is now a combination of local and CBS Sports Radio Network programming. In January, Pawloski and Shelton had their show moved back an hour to make room for the Jim Rome Show to air in the noon to 3:00 p.m. slot. The station’s morning show also was cut back from four hours to three (6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.)
Nanci Donnellan was put in the 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. slot shifting from her original overnight session when Todd Wright left the station. Wright had originally done the afternoon drive before moving to early evenings. CBS Sports Network’s Scott Ferrall now airs from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
The ratings for 98.7 “The Fan” have been lackluster so far. The only sports play-by-play product the station has going for it other than airing some CBS Sports Network college basketball recently, is USF football and basketball. The Bulls football and basketball programs have had losing seasons.
It’s not likely the station will be in the bidding for the Bucs or Rays anytime soon as both teams have recently re-upped their deals with their current stations in town. The Lightning are a possibility in the near future, but that won’t help ratings during the most profitable daytime hours of programming.
How 98.7 “The Fan” is going to grab hold of the fragmented sports talk audience with three sports stations in town is still a huge question mark.
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