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Remembering Tony Mercurio, the ‘Blastman’

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — For 26 years, Tony Mercurio was the sports voice of Hampton Roads radio. Mercurio, also known as the “Blastman,” died at age 75 over the weekend following an illness.

Social media pages were flooded with memories of the often controversial and frequently mercurial Mercurio.

“He was the godfather of local sports in so many ways,” said Scott Jackson, host of the Scott Jackson Show on 94.1 FM.

Mercurio was the afternoon drive time host at WGH 1310 AM, and then at 94.1 when the sports station switched to FM.

He helped the station make the move to all sports, years before that became a national trend.

“He envisioned 24-hour sports and people thought he was crazy,” said Dino Franza, a production and brand manager at Max Media and a longtime co-worker.

Mercurio worked at WTAR and then moved to WGH where he hosted his show from 1986 to 2012.

He was also the assistant GM of the Tides as well as their play-by-play announcer at times, and for 22 years, he was the voice of the Old Dominion women’s basketball team.

He was never afraid of controversy and would often get into arguments with callers.

“He wanted you to think he was as odds with everybody,” Jackson said.

Said Franza: “You might say he was full of hot air. A lot of it was an act because off the air and in person, he was a super nice guy and would do anything for you.”

Franza, though, added a caveat.

“He could also blast you pretty good, too,” Franza said. “If he was in the mood, he could get you.”

A sports pioneer in Hampton Roads, indeed. Tony Mercurio was truly one of a kind.

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