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Red Zebra Nabs WTEM

As DCRTV has been bubbling about for days, with expanded information in Post articles and opposition columns, Daniel Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting finally nabbed WTEM today. From the official press release, which sent by the Redskins PR team:

Red Zebra Broadcasting today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire WTEM (Sportstalk 980), WTNT (570-AM) and WWRC (1260-AM) from Clear Channel Communications, creating an exciting new combination of local and national talk radio programming.

"It has always been our goal to grow our company, expand our Redskins Radio footprint while also venturing into other forms of broadcast entertainment," said Bruce Gilbert, CEO of Red Zebra Broadcasting. "We are especially thrilled to be adding local sports talk icons John Thompson, Doc Walker, Brian Mitchell, Steve Czaban, Andy Polin and others to our team, which already includes Hall of Famer John Riggins ."

I'm sure they were especially especially thrilled to add the exciting icon Steve Czaban to the payroll. That ought to go well. Some publisher has to already be offering him a book deal for after he "steps down" to "explore other opportunities" and "spend more time with his family" in a few months.

The release says that "in the near term" the stations will "maintain their current formats and programming," and that after that everything will be analyzed in order "to determine the best mix of programming to serve the many diverse fans of sports and news talk. Some things will change, some will remain the same, but our goal will be simple: to bring the best radio to the most listeners." That was more from Gilbert.

The Sports Reporters are discussing the news right now, how they'll be under the "protective umbrella" of Daniel Snyder.

"Umbrella? That sounds protective and nice and warm and dry," Czaban said.

"Umbrellas also sometimes collapse and blow away," Andy Polin/Pollin said.

A caller just said Andy Pollin will turn into a Larry Michael. "Never!" Polin/Pollin said. "Never!"

"What's there to criticize, Andy?" asked Czaban, calling the Redskins a "smooth-running machine."

When the Redskins tried to nab me in recent weeks, I was told that criticism would be allowed, that if the team were to be slammed, it might as well be on the team's site. Many of my friends found that proposition not believable. The Sports Reporters seem to have some questions about this as well. Your thoughts?

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 4, 2008; 4:33 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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Worst day ever...Rest in Peace Andy and Steve

Posted by: CRitch | June 4, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

All Hail Plankton!

Posted by: SpongeZorn Square Pants | June 4, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I feel that we are heading for a a DC sporting equivalent of Tienanmen Sq.

Posted by: Kev | June 4, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

somebody please cue the x files music!!! classic conspiracy coming from the snyder camp. The sole reason for snyder buying 980 was to get czabe off the air. . "Operation shut up the opposition" sad day my friends. fight back czabe!!! dont let that slimey little chump stain get the best of you!!!

Posted by: treemonkey | June 4, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I always thought the Big Brother threat would come from the government. Not some weasely ego-maniac Redskins owner.

B-Mitch, enjoy your farewell tour.

Posted by: Ben | June 4, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

John Thompson may be a basketball coaching icon, but he's not a "local sports talk icon."

This is a terrible day for Washington sports radio. Anything that makes it more likely that local sports stations will spend more time on Redskins "organized team activties" and less time on other area teams is not a good thing.

Posted by: The Fingerman | June 4, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

WANTED - DEAD OR ALIVE...The Outlaw Steve Czaban. There's a new sheriff in town....and he wears a belt buckle.

Posted by: J-Bonius | June 4, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Not much a fan of the Czabe show. But, everything needs the other side presented. Czabe does that. Hope he doesn't lose his job and show.

Posted by: Crabhands | June 4, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Indeed - the only time I enjoy listening to 980 is during Skins season. They always give a great critique of Lord Snyder and the franchise.

Posted by: Kev | June 4, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This is a sad, sad day in DC. Danny will #@%& it up for sure.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | June 4, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I encourage everyone to get on their computers and listen to Dan LeBatard's show on the internet. Very funny non-sports sports show.

RIP Andy, Steve, Scott, Galdi,...

Posted by: odessasteps | June 4, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Good thing Snyder can't touch the mighty Fox Sports Radio empire.

Posted by: Czabe Fan | June 4, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Say what you will about John Thompson...and boring comes to mind...but he and Doc Walker are the only two guys who cover the local teams.

Czaban and Pollin openly mock the Nats, Wiz and Caps fans. United? Forget about it.

Posted by: prophet | June 4, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I heard he is replacing Steve and Andy with Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders. He has also traded the Redskins first round pick in 2009 for the Greaseman.

Posted by: Slim Charles | June 4, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Czaban will be perfectly okay with Snyder replacing his Fox Sports Radio show with ESPN's Mike & Mike on WTEM - goodbye remote patrol and 'what are you so done with?', hello metrosexual talk and eating contests involving ex-NFL linebackers.

Posted by: Mike, Fairfax | June 4, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Doc Walker: Slams the boys and tells it as it is.

B-Mitch and Coach Thompson: No filters there

Czaban and Co.: best commodity at the station, but clearly critical of the team (oh their stuff on Spurrier is priceless!)

These boys are toast.

"The Day Sports Radio in DC died..."

Posted by: alberto | June 4, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

i think in theory, the redskins would be okay with a little criticism by their own people (riggins has provided minor criticism himself). But, in the end, major criticism will not be tolerated by Snyder...we have all seen how ape-poop he goes over La Canfora's reporting (even though most of it has been true)...imagine if those guys are on his payroll and he can "fix" the problem just by doing his Donald Trump impression...

you tell me if you think criticism will be tolerated.

Posted by: duped | June 4, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

folks at 980 deader than disco, get those demos and resumes ready

Posted by: flip | June 4, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

980 hasn't been the same since Feldman and Maloney were taken off the air but now Danny boy is taking over it's going to get worse. 980 is the only station that doesn't get down on its hands and knees and suck (up to) Dan. Every radio show is now going to sound like Larry Michaels show. I wonder how long it takes before Andy and Czabe have their own Source-o-Meter?

Heaven Help us all

G20 FdaCowboys

Posted by: G20 FdaCowboys | June 4, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"When the Redskins tried to nab me in recent weeks,..."

Steinz, did you bury the lead here?

Did they try and snap you up?

Posted by: odessa steps magazine | June 4, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Czaban and Pollin suck, I hope they're fired.

But I fear the worst in replacements from any station willing to put Colin Cowherd on the air.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Can Tony Kornheiser work for Snyder now that he's not working for the Post? 'Cuz I could see Snyder opening the vault to get him on.

Will other media members like Mike Wise and Tom Loverro be able to collect paychecks from the radio station because of where they work. Or is that like selling out to Danny Boy?

Last but not least, if Snyder now owns the main talk radio in town will NBC4 be far behind. Oh, wait. He already bought George Michael off a long time ago.

Posted by: Ralph from Silver Spring | June 4, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

On his show today, Riggins was talking as if the new station would be one big happy family with every current Redskins Radio and Sports Talk 980 host getting a timeslot in the new lineup.

Somehow, I doubt that'll happen.

Posted by: Mike, Fairfax | June 4, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I love Steve Czaban, Andy Pollin and the Sports Reporters. This is a bad, bad day for sports talk radio. I hate the lineup on the current "Zebra" stations so I certainly hope they aren't going to stuff more of Riggo and the rest of the crummy lineup onto 980 (although I do like Mike and Mike). If things start sucking as I imagine they will I will just have to turn it off and listen to my MP3's or music stations.

Posted by: Chris G | June 4, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

So no chance he bought 'em just to have some reach for the broadcasts of the games?

Posted by: WorstSeat | June 4, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Although I am a faithful listener. It gets old listening to Andy criticizing everything they do. He cant wait to say something negative about how Zorns doing anything. Give him the benefit of the doubt and see how it turns out first. Gee just maybe he succeeds. Hope they keep Doc. At least when he does criticize he has valid criticisms.

Posted by: bryjen | June 4, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Odessa Steps stole my line! You buried the lead, Stein. The Evil Midget tried to get you, Stein? There has to be a post in that. What's the story? Who's the Maniacal Dwarf trying to pay off now? One of the Mottram brothers?

Anybody who thinks Snyder would allow a media company he owns to criticize him is insane. That little man has the thinnest skin in DC. It won't be overt. And WOrstSeat is right...this purchase is more about signals for his games then control of the media. But even Czaban knows who signs his checks. I don't hear him bashing Fox all that much.

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | June 4, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Snyder is such a tool. Why would want to buy a crappy selection of AM sticks, when ONE, ONE, decent FM signal cures all your ills?

Posted by: TMU | June 4, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the concern. Another station with worse numbers than WTEM will make a run at the WTEM guys and start a sportstalk station on another part of the dial.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a joke. 980 and the sportsreporters were the only good thing going in this area in terms of sports and Czabe and Pollin are funny as hell, especially on the skins front. Snyder you're lucky I don't egg that massive house of yours and the ugly guard by the gates...

Posted by: MK Potomac | June 4, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Um, see here for the explanation, posted a few weeks back.

how do you make a hyper link in comments, anyhow?

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | June 4, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I listen to the Sports Reporters faithfully each night. Makes the commute somewhat bearable. this is a very sad day. Luckily I have XM radio to retreat to, once Snyder starts screwing it up. he drives the ratings down like he did the stock price of Six Flags-that place will have to be renamed 3 flags, given the drop in price.

Snyder and ESPN. a marriage of mediocrity and bloated noise.

Andy, Steve, and crew, thanks for all the great laughs and talk. It was a nice run.

Posted by: Bill J | June 4, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess we now have to tune into ESPN 1300's Anita Marks Show or ESPN 1240's Sports Journey with Lake Lewis to get an open book opinion.

Posted by: Keith | June 4, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Steinz, don't remember seeing that post.

I would have remembered it too, since I'm a mark for MC Escher.

Posted by: odessa steps magazine | June 5, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

If/When the Danny does anything to Czabe, Scott, JT II, Doc Walker and Andy I will just follow them to their next radio station. I have no problem re-programming 980 in my car to wherever these excellent personalities go.

Posted by: jackdog74 | June 5, 2008 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Bad news for Czabe and Andy Poll-ee. I like their shows. Though Czabe sometimes goes overboard to generate controversy and garner more listeners, I pretty much agree w/ his insight. I like the way he presents things that you wouldn't normally think about.

I cannot stand Mike & Mike In The Morning! From their commercials to their "analysis", everything is SO canned and corny! It seems like everything is a soundbite to them. Colin Cowherd?? May the Lord have mercy on our souls.

Larry "Yes-Man" Michael is TERRIBLE!! Bram Weinstein couldn't get out of there fast enough! They should pay big $$$ to bring him back!

John Thompson is absent so much from his own show that he won't be terribly missed. I prefer Doc Walker over B-Mitch, though the last couple of times I heard him his "baller" plugs were stretching it. Dan Patrick is a natural w/ respect, so I'd hope they kept him on the strong signal w/ Czabe!

Posted by: Bruce | June 5, 2008 7:00 AM | Report abuse

like alberto said...


Posted by: Joe | June 5, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

If this move rids us of "The John Thompson Show", then I'm all for it. But not at the price of losing Czabe and Andy.

What the station needs to do is dump Thompson, who knows absolutely nothing about nothing, and sign Phil Wood up to do his own daily show. Not that I'm a big baseball guy, but no one is more knowledgable about his own genre than Wood.

I know this is a football town, and that Snyder buying up the airwaves may make it even moreso, but the city has a baseball team now too, and Wood's talents are way underutilized.

But Czabe goes, so do I.

Posted by: Pumph | June 5, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Hope Czabe has the reciepts for those TV's he just installed.

Posted by: Matt | June 5, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

i can't believe how loyal people are to the so-called "Sports Reporters". they only talk about local sports when there are big games and they never watch the games so the discussion is limited to callers opinions.

i get enough of "white guys talking about sports" at work.

J. Riggins has never been the "company man" on his show. he's been as harsh on the Skins as 980. too bad most people can't get the signal to know that.

Posted by: Chief | June 5, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The SportsReporters, with Larry Michaels...
that REALLY sucks.

Posted by: Billsfan | June 5, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I would _LOVE_ to be in that first staff meeting, where all the guys who left 980 to get more money at Red Zebra (read: sold their souls) sit on the opposite side of the table of all the guys who stuck around at 980.

I bet Bram Weinstein is LOVING it up in Bristol now.

Dan Snyder's a $^#$%.

Thank goodness I have XM Radio.

Posted by: Incredulous | June 5, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Let's see what pans out, THEN let's make a judgement. Anyone who didn't see this coming with Vinnie going on Doc Walker's show and John Thompson's show in recent weeks is blind. The only ones who Snyder has a problem with is the Reporters especially Steve for the way they treated Joe Gibbs. Riggins has been very critical of Snyder for certain moves he has made. I'm not really a fan of Riggins, but he seems to have freedom to say what he wants. Let's just wait and see. It may actually work out.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Well, DC, like that crazy girlfriend who you feel obligated to stay with even though she drives you crazy and causes you immense's time to kick Snyder and the Skins to the curb. Why suffer through more?

Run away, Skins fans, run away, and never return.

Posted by: Jason | June 5, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Jason.

Posted by: Truthsayer | June 5, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

As someone who used to work at the station, I am ambivalent about this move.

As a Skins fan, I like it because we will finally get to hear the games on a Sports station, and 980 will get some better access to the players.

As a Sports fan, I hate it because the Redskins will dominate the coverage, the criticism of the team (which is VERY necessary) will be eliminated. Let me be very clear about this: The criticism will be NOT LIMITED, but ELIMINATED!!!

The Doc Walker, Brian Mitchell, and Steve Czabans of the world will have to leave 980 to find safe haven at another station.

My guess: Enter WJFK. The station that is the current home of the Sports Junkies and Jim Rome and used to air Howard Stern certainly seems to have no problem stirring up the pot. If I were they, I would give serious consideration to nabbing some of the soon to be amputated talent.

I used to like Dan Snyder. I thought he was just a local kid made good that was "living the dream." Now, I see him as a greedy, selfish, self absorbed businessman that has no interest in what the sports community wants in Washington. He just wants to make a profit and smash the competition - Financially.

I wish we could smash the competition on the football field. But, I also wish for the return of Frank Herzog to the booth.

Neither one is going to happen.

Posted by: 980 evacuee | June 5, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Misspelling "Pollin" is understandable. It's not like that's a big name in DC sports.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | June 5, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

F8ck Dan Snyder and anything remotely related to the Redskins. They are DEAD to me, DEAD.

Gonna start listening to NPR more on the commute to/from home ---> wait, maybe Snyder also wants to buy up NPR.

Posted by: Vic | June 5, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Looks like NPR will become my #1 radio listening option.

Posted by: Kyle | June 5, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

It's a sad day indeed. I hope someone else changes formats and gives DC another Sports Talk option, because this can't end well for anyone but Snyder.

Posted by: Chris | June 5, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I hope he keeps Doc's show he is critical but he doesn't go overboard like Czabe as been known to do. I hope Andy doesn't become another Larry Michaels who never critizes.Sometimes Larry looked upset Bram was critical of the skins. I wonder how he gets in the booth when Sonny is critical of the Skins during games.

Posted by: Skins fan 1970 | June 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Good luck Czabe and the rest of your crew. Maybe you could bring Danny to the B&B open, dress him as a hawk and let participants drill golf balls at him.I believe he's only slightly taller then a hawk so it should work.

Posted by: Andy, B&B Listener | June 5, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Thank God for podcasts. Radio is going downhill so fast it's unbelievable. With the firing of Chris Core, WMAL now has nothing left worth listening to. If Czabe is gone from WTEM, there'll be nothing worth listening to there, either.

Posted by: Jeff in Fairfax | June 5, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Czabe should consider a cable TV show like Jimmy Kimmel used to do because he and his sidekicks are entertaining but Czabe suffers from ADD if he has to talk pure sports for more than 5 minutes. Immitates Greaseman a lot, too. Also puts down Berman but then creates his own "name game" during the homer roll. Laughing at Korean names on air would be good if his audience was in 5th grade.

Posted by: pjbingamton | June 5, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

wonder if wmal will be getting seriously back into the local sports biz now...see ya over there czabe

Posted by: snides | June 5, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

any word on when the broadcast switchover will officially take place?

Posted by: 81 | June 5, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The days of those personalities especially critical of Synder's management of the team are numbered.

Posted by: CTaylor | June 5, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder. Isiah Thomas. Separated at birth???????

Posted by: posac | June 5, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

GOOD BYE!!! they are rude and act like they know everything. They don't show any respect to the fan based knowledge in this town and I know neither has played any kind of organized ball. I hope Dan Snyder picks out a good kicking shoe when he sends their a$$es through the uprights!!

Posted by: JBREEZY | June 5, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Snyder is out of control. I listen everyday to Czabe and Andy...if they are is back to DC101.

Posted by: BethesdaMike | June 5, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm from out of market this is an outrage. You put the balm on? Who told you to put the balm on? I didn't tell you to put the balm on. Why'd you put the balm on.

Czabe may pick on Ohioians, but himself Scott Linn, Solly, and Gauldi, are the best radio show to happen to the Cleveland market.
As many would tell you, it started a bit rough with Czabes "cleveland" sarcasm, but what seemed to be many people upset after the show took over for "Michael & Michael" in October 2006, many listeners want the 1st team back on the mothership 850 AM.

Its on sister station 1540, but eghh, I don't like it.

Yo DC'ers, tell Snites to keep the fat bald guy.
-- Sue, The 330

Posted by: sue the 330 | June 5, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Napoleon is on the march again. Danny and his team of "cheese eating surrender monkey's" have managed to gobble up the last bit of objective sports radio in the region. I moved down here from NY over 20 years ago, and 980 was the closest station that came to mirroring any NY sports station. Up there, it is okay to criticize any team and not be a total "homer." However, now that Danny and his team of media martinets are in charge I foresee everyone who works for 980 having to refer to his holiness just like Riggins... "Well Mr. Snyder this, and Mr. Snyder that...."

While I'm not a Redskins fan, I did love going to Giants/Redskins games 10 years ago where you didn't have to worry about having a bunch of drunken idiots challenge you to a fight just because I was wearing a Giants hat. Back then enjoying the game experience was worth the money... now my family and I can find a better place to enjoy spending our money watching games instead of going to an out of control drunken frat party. My family used to own season tickets to 'skins games, but we have since sold them because the overall experience at a game turned into something so below par for the money spent that it actually became a challenge to give away tickets to games we did not want to attend.

I really feel sorry for all of you Redskins fans. Get ready to start hearing such insightful qualifying statements as "Well...." and "Okay but....." because there is no way that Napoleon will allow any dissent.

Czabe and Andy, I'll follow you anywhere you go as long as you don't sell your soul to the devil.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Chief - you, my man, are a f@#$ing idiot. The only thing 980 has is Czabe, Andy, Scott and Al Goulde. They give insight on the games and have much more to talk about than their golden years and golf ala B Mitch who makes my ears bleed. He can't speak and shouldn't try.

The Sports Reporters debates and sketches are intelligent and funny. Dan Snyder is a pencil-pricked ninny. I hate him. And I hate you Chief.

Posted by: Gonzo | June 6, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Danny Boy should bring back Kiley and the Coach. Best show WTEM ever had.

Posted by: Joe | June 7, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

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