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Kornheiser Getting Ready for Radio Return

In case you haven't read enough about prominent local sports columnists getting radio shows this month, here's another, and it's the big one: Tony Kornheiser plans to bring his radio show back, in late mornings, on ESPN 980, in early September. The news was sort of broken on Twitter by Jim Zinzi, a longtime Kornheiser listener whose wife ran into Tony at the beach. So for the benefit of Tweeters, Tony spoke to me in short sentences this morning when I asked about a show on 980.

"Hope to, want to, plan to," he said. "I'm saying this is what I want to do, this is what I plan on doing."

On the day after Labor Day?

"That's a really good time," he observed. "They play football around here, and that's the beginning of football season, so that'd be a really good time, I think."

For two hours in the morning?

"Yeah, that's a good amount, a goodly sum," he agreed.

And Nigel, aka Marc Sterne, who now works at the station again?

"You absolutely have to have Nigel," Kornheiser said. "The way I would look at it, it's sort of the same show that for many many years was the lowest-rated longest-running show on Broadway. There are a variety of people who swoop in and out; that's the same. The last show that I did on the late-lamented 3WT radio station was the show that I enjoyed doing the most, so whatever I can do to come close to that show....

"Making sure that, as there always is, there's a sizable component of sports, which is what I've always done. It's that show. That's the show i want to do. Soft-core sports, is how I would describe it."

So this thing is on, now. Kornheiser would face either the Junkies or the Mike Wise Show, depending on his exact time slot, in a head-to-head battle of not-really-about-sports sports radio shows, and either would have a pretty juicy subplot. The TK-Junkies thing could would match the headliners for both local stations, while the TK-Wise thing would bring back a few moments from the early days of Wise's Post career. I did ask Kornheiser about working for a Daniel Snyder-owned station, which had been a hold-up in the past.

"I don't work for Monday Night Football, so I don't see that there's any sort of conflict," he said. "If I were doing Monday Night Football, I wouldn't work for somebody who owned one of the teams. I would think that's an overt conflict. I don't have that now."

So September now means Redskins games, Caps training camp, the Nats playoff push and the debut of a new heavyweight sports-talk radio show. Can't wait.

(I also asked Tony about breaking the news of his return to a fan's wife via Twitter. "If approached by wives of e-mailers, I always say hi," he said. "If approached by anyone who has ever liked anything I have ever done, I'll sit and chat forever. Happy to do that for anyone who likes and values the work. As we've seen in recent months, there are large institutions that don't like the work and don't value it at all."


(As for me calling him a sports columnist above, well, fair enough. But to me, once a sports columnist, always a sports columnist. And three of them getting shows in a month is pretty notable.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 28, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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Next: Mike James Discusses the Future


sept 8 can't come soon enough. id rather listen to the replay of tk than the dukes and lavar show.

as i type right now im trying to listen to the wise show in the background at work.

its painful

1067 THE FAN!

Posted by: rhbancroft | July 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm so giddy about this that I've stocked up on protein bars & shakes to keep me from going into a coma from the massive spillage.

Posted by: BillLehecka | July 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Glad to have you back TK. Just wish you weren't working for a guy who illegally cuts down trees.

Posted by: rdpinva | July 28, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse


I presume Tony's reference to "large institutions" is a reference to both ESPN and the Post. Can you ask Tony sometime why he's so mad at the Post? Considering he hadn't written a column for the Post in three years before the buyout--and only did PTI ripoff videos in the year following that--why is he so upset that the Post didn't want to pay him anymore? Did he offer to return to writing at least a semi-regular column? I'm confused by his protestations when he took the buyout that "all I ever wanted to be was a newspaper writer" when he stopped writing for newspapers and became a TV star years ago.

Posted by: TheFingerman | July 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Uhm, did i read this right "Nats playoff push"?

Man that was the funniest thing in the Post in years. TonyK would be proud.

Posted by: agrawog | July 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

ESPN HAD to have played some part in this. Oh and money - lots of money.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see WJFK carry Czaban in the morning, and bump the junkies to a later time slot. Even though they're a CBS radio station, I think they can carry FSR broadcasts.

Posted by: mcwop | July 28, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ugh! More drivel from Tony! No thanks.

Posted by: LortonVA | July 28, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Uhm, did i read this right "Nats playoff push"?

Man that was the funniest thing in the Post in years. TonyK would be proud.

Posted by: agrawog | July 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Have you watched the Nats lately? 13 runs saturday, 14 runs last night? 5 wins in the last 7 games?

Disney will make movies about our 2nd half turnaround!

Posted by: Barno1 | July 28, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

When Tony is not talking about himself, he's still pretty good. Unfortunately, he spends a lot of time talking about himself.

Posted by: eric22 | July 28, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Great just what the doctor ordered, more of the same NFL dribble from the orange colored man for the next 5 months.

Steinbag; you are ahead of your time, but thanks for mentioning the Nats playoff push, wonder how all of you WAPO folks will handle that when the LernerStanK ship does finally come in.

Steinbag: just think you only have to suffer thru a few more hours till the varsity takes the field and then you won't have to mention the Natinals again until March 2010.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 28, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I probably won't spend much if any time listening to Tony the K, Wise or any of the other on-air staff at either WTEM or WJFK unless they're going to actually be sports-talk stations and not just football-talk stations.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 28, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Yahooo! TK to the rescue! Middle Age Crisis is kicking my azz. Thank you Tony...
This time stay a while, its where you are wanted most...

Posted by: knjon353 | July 28, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

>>Uhm, did i read this right "Nats playoff push"?

>>Man that was the funniest thing in the Post in years. TonyK would be proud.

No, he'd steal it.

Posted by: boxjam1 | July 28, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser's act is insipid and stale. His numbers were never very good either at WTEM or WTOP. Absolutely wretched radio at it's worse.

Posted by: garrafa10 | July 28, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Too bad MNF fans never realized what they had in TK....They had that dumb comedian whose name I can't recall a few years ago who all he did was use words 98% of us never heard...see how long he lasted Dennis something....

Tony is back to where he shines and is appreciated...Welcome Home TK we have missed you...

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser's act is insipid and stale. His numbers were never very good either at WTEM or WTOP. Absolutely wretched radio at it's worse.

Posted by: garrafa10 | July 28, 2009 3:29 PM

Liking him or not is totally up to you, of course. But he brings in listeners, locally and nationally - always has.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

To all the fans above who criticized TK for his style etc...Just stop listening to him then...problem solved...seems some people truly enjoy complaining about a person when all they have to do is move the dial...same as tv shows....

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 28, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Gee, in just one week, it's amazing the religion being found under stones at WTEM. I liked Mr. Tony early .. his banter fit the hour, but in the need-to-talk-sports of late morning, mid afternoon hours .. Tony be lost on the TEM.

I like the way Wise and the JFK folks have attacked this sports talk thing. Great to hear local stuff seemingly all day long. Yeah, Lavar had me worried but amazingly that duo is starting to pick it up.

Now, if I could only hear JFK beyond Beltsville, they'd really have something.

Bottom line .. can't let the TEM win at this. If they could somehow kill JFK we'd be right back to the Skins Politburo calling the shots. Not good.

Posted by: tslats | July 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Nats playoff push, that has a nice ring to it, if only it were true....

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 28, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

He,(TK) brings in radio listners? Really? i think not, otherwise he'd still be on the air. He was a joke on MNF and his arrogance makes the time he's on the air unbearable, the only question is can his human lap dog(Andy Pollin) be far behind, oh yeah that's right Pollin got his three hours of drivel(LMAO!).

Posted by: dargregmag | July 28, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank the Fates! TK Stack Money Grip is back on the air come the fall. And with Nigel, too? Boo-yah as Stew would say. Hoipefully, Liz and Kevin and all the other regulars will be there too.

Posted by: Grendel13 | July 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

oh Tony, I love your phony self deprecation. Don't think of shooting straight and letting your boy know for sure what is going on. "hope to, plan to"... cute.. You are so clever. How soon before you reference Wilbon? 30 seconds? More? Less? Go away.

Posted by: TheDubb | July 28, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

What a terrible move. I still don't get how people worship TK and his tired act. I guess when you consider it's a replacement for Cowherd, it's a wash.

Dukes and Lavar hasn't been too bad. I find them talking about strictly sports and not getting on irrelevant tangents like The Sports Reporters do. It's nice to finally replace those clowns.

Posted by: TheMichael | July 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

He,(TK) brings in radio listners? Really? i think not, otherwise he'd still be on the air.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 28, 2009 4:30 PM

He left the radio because of MNF commitments for the second half of the last couple years. When he resigned from MNF, it was just a matter of time before he found a new radio home (since 3WT went bust in his absence). Why am I arguing with you - it doesn't seem like you have any clue as to what you are talking about?

Posted by: Kev29 | July 29, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

TK has always been a polarizing figure, and honestly I don't understand it. I appreciate that some people just don't get or like his schtick. That makes perfect sense.

But I've never understood why so many anonymous internet people feel compelled to attack someone who is obviously popular. It's really very strange.

I think TK and Wilbon are almost unwatchable on PtI, but I've always found TK's radio show to be great background noise at work. I'm looking forward to this, and I'll tune in to that station for the first time in ages.

Posted by: bryc3 | July 29, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The Nat's playoff push? How does that work?

Posted by: paul6554 | July 29, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

i at least hope he has a podcast of the entire show. i work midnights and live in north central wv

Posted by: dman3241 | July 30, 2009 3:31 AM | Report abuse

TK is an enormous radio talent, but the most recent incarnation of his talk show was unlistenable garbage. And if he devotes 60% of almost every show to breaking down the previous night's American Idol, this one will be a hot mess to all but the TK rumpswabs too.

Make it more about TK's thoughts on sports and culture and less about TK's ego and name-dropping and soliciting free crap for his snot-nosed kids and - god help us - American Idol, and this thing might escape the cellar of the ratings where his last show lived. Oh, and if he has to go up against the Junkies, he'll get crushed like cheese. Too bad, because he's got more radio talent in his remaining strand of hair than those guys do combined, but the guy just phones in everything at this point.

Posted by: thediesel | July 30, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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