With Sports Radio, The Freaks Come Out At Night

Thankfully, listeners in Boston finally have another option.

For those who don’t sleep at night, allow someone on the other side to let you in on a secret: The overnight radio options in Boston are pretty limited. WBZ has local general-interest talk programming, public radio has a range of international shows—and there’s syndicated conservative talk as well, if that’s your cup of tea.

But for the fellowship of miserable insomniacs, the preference is sports radio. And, thankfully, that landscape is changing here in Boston. Right now, ESPN radio (on both WEEI-FM and WEEI-AM) offers some repurposed clips from their TV shows and occasional live hosts, but an offputting absence of callers.

Up the AM dial, AM 1510 used to have sports programming, then it moved toward left-wing talk, and, now, it appears to be bringing back sports with a combination of NBC Sports and Yahoo! Sports. The oddest part of 1510’s programming is its sporadically programmed overnight show, a fundamentalist/millenialist preacher called Reverend Stair, who runs his show from a compound in the deep rural South. Yes, you read that right.  I was always disappointed that he never does a 6 a.m. crossover chat with morning host Jeff Santos.

98.5 FM currently has JT The Brick on overnights. He got into radio as the winner of a caller contest for the Jim Rome Show. And he practices a variant of Rome’s style—callers get a short leash to provide a HIGH ENERGY HOT SPORTS TAKE, and then, just like that, they’re gone. It can be entertaining at times, but the conversation is pretty limited.

For those blessed with good reception, WFAN 660 AM out of New York provides live, local overnight sports talk. They’ve had a number of hosts, with current main host Tony Paige having the longest tenure. But the real stars of the program are the callers, many of them regulars.

Into this fray enters Damon Amendolara, currently on WBZ-FM. He’s the evening host on the station and will be the national overnight host on the newly constituted CBS Sport Radio Network, bumping JT The Brick off the air in Boston (at least for now).

Amendolara has performed a rare feat: creating a popular show while not shying away from his non-Boston past. He even occasionally served as fill-in host with … gasp … a New York station. Those are supposed to be two big no-nos, but Amendolara has pulled it off with success.

His show is smart, listenable, and respectful to callers. He’s also nimble enough to talk about a variety of sports, which should serve him well with a national audience. With a diminishing roster of local radio talent, its nice to see Amendolara work his way up. Let’s hope he can make a go of it on a bigger stage.