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Sports Talk Radio Gets Disintermediated (Ouch!)

(The Listener, not yet dead even one week, couldn't stay silent. He's back, if only in blog form....)

Years from now, when the book about the decline of America's most successful professional sports leagues gets written, the chapter about how team owners finally went too far will focus on the decision by the likes of Redskins boss Dan Snyder to assure themselves of friendly news coverage by buying up the news media.

This has been going on for some time now, and in both directions. The Chicago Tribune in better times bought the Cubs and Wrigley Field. The New York Times owns a chunk of the Boston Red Sox (leading many Yankee fans to argue that Times' columnists write more favorably about the Boston team than about their hometown squads). And Snyder, as The Post's Paul Farhi has documented, has been peppering local TV and radio with team-produced programs about the Skins for years.

But Snyder advanced this particular ball considerably in 2006, when he bought three little radio stations on the outskirts of Washington and declared them "Redskins Radio." The venture has been pretty much a flop--the stations' signals are too weak for most fans to hear them at home or in the car. So now Mr. Moneybags has bought three more stations, including Washington's longstanding, dominant sports station, Sports Talk 980 (WTEM).

When WTEM and the two other stations Snyder picked up this week from Clear Channel--both political talkers, one left and one right--come under the boss's control July 1, the two big losers will be Washington sports fans and the other Washington sports team owners.

On local sports blogs, much of the agita over Snyder's latest monopolistic maneuver has focused on the potential (or even likely) loss of some of WTEM's better program hosts, including harsh critics of the Skins such as former players Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell, as well as radio guys Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin.

Sports fans who enjoy the kind of no-holds-barred banter that enliven the sports conversation in many other cities are in for a big surprise. Anyone who believes Snyder will grant his radio talkers the independence they need to criticize the team should read Farhi's news story quoting Bruce Gilbert, chief executive of Snyder's radio operations, saying that his company will encourage, "within reason," a freewheeling exchange of opinions. "Within reason." Yikes.

The Skins management will continue to assure us that Redskins Radio will be tough and critical of the team. But the station's record so far is hardly encouraging: The station covers every little PR appearance and event the team lays on. Redskins Radio is very overtly a promotional device.

And the Redskins seem determined to funnel fans toward their own media operations, both by snapping up everything they perceive as competition--they even bought a blog, extremeskins.com, that was gaining quite a following by encouraging sniping at the team--and by making it ever harder for independent media to cover the team effectively. (So far, extremeskins.com is pretty good about letting fans vent against Snyder.)

As Jack Shafer at Slate noted at the advent of the Redskins Radio era, the team has prevented network TV and The Post, as well as other non-team-owned outlets, from conducting certain interviews with coaches and others, while presenting those very same interviewees on Redskins-controlled media.

This disintermediation of the media--basically cutting the independent media out of the loop to steer fans to controlled media, which the Skins call "unfiltered" media--doesn't seem to alienate most fans to any great degree. It may add to the general grumbling about Snyder, but hey, if he owns the places where fans might expect to hear each other griping and moaning about the owner, then those individual gripes never grow to mass proportions.

In fact, a smart owner allows just enough criticism on his own media so as to make certain fans have no reason to suspect the boss of censorship.

And if the critical talk show hosts happen to be replaced by boosters such as Redskins Radio's Larry Michael and John Riggins, well, maybe some folks won't notice.

The people who will most certainly notice are the Lerners, Abe Pollin, Ted Leonsis and Victor MacFarlane, the owners of the Nats, Wizards, Caps and United, as well as the local colleges that depend on their big fan bases for support.

If, as expected, Snyder's broadcast arm, Red Zebra, consolidates the programming on his new stations with that on his existing outlets, you can expect the Redskins-ueber-alles programming on Redskins Radio to become the rule on Sports Talk 980--with coverage and discussion of the other local teams shrinking dramatically.

Attendance and fan enthusiasm tracks the liveliness of the media buzz surrounding a team, and in cities with real passions for hoops or baseball, for example, the sports talk stations are always aflame with controversy and argument.

This is a big football town, but it is far more than that--a reality that is hardly reflected on Redskins Radio. So what might the other owners do about it? Surely they're not going to go out and buy their own radio stations--or maybe they should.

The best solution, of course, would be for some other entrepreneur to come along and create an independent, feisty alternative to Redskins Radio. But starting up a radio station with local content is expensive, and given the troubles that commercial radio are in these days, this is not a likely scenario. So for now, Snyder has plenty of running room. Like it or not, he is winning in his effort to control the story. Will fans notice or care? I believe they eventually will--not in a way that leads them to protest or demand change, but in a far more destructive way. Over time, they will just care that much less. Without powerful, even aggressive, arguments about the wisdom or boneheadedness of team owners, coaches and players, the emotional bonds that fans form with teams start to fade.

Pro sports may not even see this as it happens. But one day, they'll wake up to it and it will be too late.

By Marc Fisher |  June 6, 2008; 7:20 AM ET
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Comments

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Fewer and fewer people are getting their news from traditional radio or print. Snyder can't control the internet.

Posted by: Franconia | June 6, 2008 9:29 AM

The Sports Reporters show with Pollin and Czaban on WTEM has been the best thing on sports radio in DC for years. Redskins radio is utterly unlistenable for non-Skins fans, except for the ESPN radio coverage that they pick up. No way is Snyder going to allow the kind of criticism that Pollin and especially Czaban are capable of dishing out. It looks like my days of listening to sports talk radio may be numbered.

Posted by: JJ | June 6, 2008 9:38 AM

It's true, Franconia, that "Snyder can't control the internet"; he can, however, control access to the information about his team so that people outside the Redskins "family" (in the Sicilian sense) aren't able to put much onto the Internet that isn't approved by him or his minions. Call it the North Korean media model.

Personally, I don't care, except for the lack of coverage of other local teams that this deal is likely to exacerbate. I believe football is slow and boring (Two large groups of men run into each other along a line of scrimmage, you can't see what's happening but you know it's nothing much, and then you have to wait three minutes or more for the exact same thing to happen again.) so I don't think I've watched a football game in more than twenty years.

Give me something exciting like Nationals baseball, Capitals hockey or DC United playing "O Jogo Bonito". That Portugese phrase translates to "The Beautiful Game" and it refers to the real futbol.

Posted by: No Football Fan | June 6, 2008 9:46 AM

I agree with No football Fan, the real tragedy is for those of us sports fans, who are not Redskins fans, but are Nats, Caps, and United fans. Talk radio on these teams will become non-existent, which is the real tragedy.

Posted by: Caps Fan | June 6, 2008 10:07 AM

It's actually amazing the damage that Snyder has done since he's bought the team. They aren't good, the FedEx experience is annoying and expensive, and I just don't care as much about the team anymore. But, now, it's serious. He's seriously going to ruin my commute! There isn't any way Pollin/Czaban are going to stay on the air longterm and that's going to make my drive home worse. Sound ridiculous, but this is an honest quality of life issue! My suggestion once they get fired. 3WT should ditch the stupid syndicated programming after the morning. Put Andy Polley w/ Mr. Tony (when he's around) and then put Pollin/Czaban afternoon drive.

Posted by: Steve | June 6, 2008 10:30 AM

D.C. United won't take a hit. The soccer team received little discussion time on WTEM anyway. Teams like the Wizards & Terrapins are more likely to have their coverage truncated.

The more concerning problem for sports teams across the board may be that there's one less ownership group to play off of when negotiating for broadcast rights.

Aside from WJFK's Terps tie-in, the major radio groups with any interest in airing games are down to two, Bonneville & Red Zebra.

Faced with the inevitable hardball offers that will result, I believe that we'll see more midlevel teams be reduced like the Mystics to online only audiocasts.

Posted by: Everett W. | June 6, 2008 10:32 AM

I stopped listening to WTEM once Steve Czaban started acting like he was auditioning to replace Bill O'Reilly on a daily basis.

Posted by: comrade | June 6, 2008 10:32 AM

Let's be honest, WTEM seldom discussed the Caps, and never United, except to make fun of soccer fans as 46,000 filed in to RFK to watch the Beckham debut.

They really don't cover anything that isn't on Sportscenter.

Posted by: JkR | June 6, 2008 10:36 AM

"The people who will most certainly notice are the Lerners, Abe Pollin, Ted Leonsis and Victor MacFarlane, the owners of the Nats, Wizards, Caps and United, as well as the local colleges that depend on their big fan bases for support."

This time Dan Snyder has gone too far! He has actually caused Marc Fisher to list DC United, even referring to as its fans do, in a list of major local sports franchises.

Posted by: Vamos United | June 6, 2008 10:42 AM

Snyder drove my family into being former season ticket holders (held since the 1960's). Sadly, tailgating was often the highlight of our all day sojorn to FEDEX. We had our fill of the thousands of dollars in costs, paying full fare for exhibition games, relentless badgering about ways to spend even more money on the Skins, commercials on the big screen, cheapa** promotions (e.g. a topping per touchdown - get real Papa Johns!), BS and fluff about the team and organization rather than accountability, honesty and objectivity, and no real respect the players, coaches, or for average fans with thin wallets. (Look at the Detroit Red Wings for how the Skins used to be).

Thank Heaven for Ted Leonis and the Capitals and Abe Pollin and the Wizards for a little bit of heart and humanity. Jury is out on the Nats but so far it looks like another cold Snyder like cash generation machine.

For us, the fiasco that followed last season was the last straw as far as Redskins season tickets.

With this radio move, Snyder, in his latest attempt to treat fans like stupid fools, moves closer to his goal of placing Washington behind an Iron Curtain where his Ministry of Propaganda controls all we see and hear.

I am a Redskins Fan by choice and free will. I am not a mindless cult drone waiting for instructions from the Politburo, the Great Leader, or the Borg Queen.

If honest voices like Steve Czaban and Brian Mitchell leave the airwaves, my last day as a Redskins Fan will be August 2, 2008 in Canton Ohio

Posted by: mi-ti-bear | June 6, 2008 11:33 AM

How long before Lil' Lord Danny tries to buy the Post from the Grahams? Can a Redskins cable channel be far behind?

Posted by: Omar | June 6, 2008 11:46 AM

Come July 1, I will be a FORMER listener of WTEM. Andy and Steve should start an internet radio show and I will gladly return to listen to them (I'd even pay a reasonable subscription).

PS, F!! $nyder, the money grubbing little runt, who will never grow any taller, no matter how much money he stands on!

Posted by: JD | June 6, 2008 12:03 PM

Personnaly, I would say good riddance to Steve Czaban. And I really won't be mad about Brian Mitchell either, although my beef with him was the disrespect shown to the man responsible for his ring(s?), so since Joe Gibbs is gone, he might be tolerable. I also say a hearty buh bye to that guy that was usually on with JT who never has ANYTHING good to say about the Skins, even after a win (Al Koken?). A win is a win is a win, and I want to celebrate, not disect it until its dead.

Posted by: skinsfan7 | June 6, 2008 12:11 PM

Frankly, it smacks of desperation and paranoia. Napoleon anyone?

Posted by: LoCo | June 6, 2008 12:12 PM

I urge those Skins fans who are fed up with the Snyder regime to heed these words. Stop giving this moron your money.

Snyder's "empire" is based on your money. If you stop giving him your money he has less revenues with which to buy radio stations, theme parks, etc. You pay Snyder to go to Skins games, you pay Snyder by buying products from his Red Zebra station advertisers, you pay Snyder by going to his Six Flags parks, you pay Snyder by patronizing his Redskins Stores. Stop giving Snyder your money and you'll hurt his ability to continue his disasterous stewardship of our team. It's really that simple.

Posted by: Dan Snyder blows! | June 6, 2008 12:19 PM

Cry me a river. I'm no huge fan of Snyder, but there's a difference between being "honest" and being "hostile." I got a little sick of Czeban and Mitchell in particular looking for any and every opportunity to trash the Redskins. I'm all for honest criticism, but over the past few years, it became evident that WTEM had an axe to grind with the Redskins. Notice how Fisher had to add parenthetically that a local blog was "good" about allowing fans to vent against Snyder, thereby under cutting the basis of his argument that Snyder owned media won't allow criticism. Again, I have no problem with honest criticism, but where did this notion come from in the media that if you're not being relentlessly negative, and continuously trashing people, then you're not being "honest?"

Posted by: me | June 6, 2008 12:21 PM

Dan Snyder's "unfiltered" Redskin's content is really like the same as a sewage pipe expelling raw human waste - feces, urine, vomitus, pus and diarrhea -into a clean river without the benefit of a sewage treatment plant.

I am getting sick and tired of the Redsksin's "experience". Every time I feel that movement in my pocket at FedEx Field I come to realize that it's just Dan Snyder and his media enterprise picking my pocket.

Unless there is a deep run into the playoffs, this will be my last year as a season ticket holder. And I will pledge to not buy a single item at the stadium. I am sick and tired of the anal rape that takes place at the concession stands.

Dan Snyder is a serial rapist. Vinny Cerrato my relax and enjoy it, but the average fans are getting tired of this bloated PIG raping us.

Posted by: Dan Snyder and Vinny "Butt Boi" Cerrato Tooling for Anus | June 6, 2008 12:23 PM

While I agree that Snyder's purchase will dilute criticism of the Washington professional football team, Fisher's article is inaccurate in two majors respects. First, John Riggins, who has a show on Snyder's current station (AM-730) during the evening rush hour, is hardly a booster. He was very critical of Joe Gibbs' return performance until the 2007 season, and is consistently candid in expressing his viewpoints. Fisher is also incorrect in suggesting that AM-730 ignores other sports. Except for the locally produced Riggins show from 4-7:00 pm each afternoon during the week, all of the programming on AM-730 comes directly from ESPN Radio.

Posted by: TMB | June 6, 2008 12:27 PM

I know this might be wishful thinking on my part, but is it too far-fetched to see an Enron-like collapse of the Snyder empire in the future?

If you remember back to when he bought the team he initially bid with a partner but they were turned down due to a lack of cash. Then somehow Danny Boy came up with the money on his own. Then he had to get permission from the league to refinance some of his massive debt. Then he has gone on a buying spree of 6 Flags and all these radio stations.

Don't be surprised if parking next year goes up to about $1000 a game. Gotta make those payments some way.

Posted by: Paul | June 6, 2008 12:35 PM

Down with Snyder...the devil - as I drive myself to FedEx field for another Redskins afternoon.

Posted by: OnwardToFedEx | June 6, 2008 12:38 PM

Hey, I've been to a Redskins game too and didn't care for the experience. Among other things, such as overpriced concessions, I noticed how the spaces in the parking lot were way too narrow, presumably so Snyder could cram in as many cars as possible and thereby make more money. But even so, I don't want to turn on the radio everyday and listen to someone continuously hyperventilating about Snyder this and Snyder that. I have problems with many things the Redskins and Snyder have done, but I'm still a Redskins fan, regardless of Snyder. I used to get sick of people on Sportstalk 980 pounding on the Redskins and ridiculing them day in and day out. Sports should be a diversion and it should be fun. Of course there's plenty to criticize, but who wants to hear criticism and negitivity all the time? What fun is that?

Posted by: view from the couch | June 6, 2008 12:41 PM

Snyder has gone too far. This is a very sad move. There's only one option that I can see: It's time for the "Geronimo & Czaban Show," with Scott Linn as the trusted news/sports guy. Perhaps these two Radio Gods could do a daily hybrid sports-news-entertainment show on 3WT or WJFK. Doni G. and The Czabe. I smell money.

Posted by: Ole JB | June 6, 2008 1:32 PM

It's time for the "Geronimo & Czaban Show." A pair of local Radio Gods from different parts of the dial. Maybe on 3WT or even WJFK. A hybrid show, sports-events of the day-entertainment-some whatnot. I smell money.

Posted by: Ole JB | June 6, 2008 1:37 PM

To be fair, Marc writes about DC United a 100X's more than WTEM discusses them.

WTEM was already 90% Redskins radio. I'm suprised Danno bought them.

Posted by: Tom | June 6, 2008 1:52 PM

brian Mitchell still has an axe to grind from being let go from the team.

Posted by: Stick | June 6, 2008 2:27 PM

I have recently assumed my father's season ticketsover teh last few years. Section 121 of Fed-Ex. Those tickets are a gift from god. First it was the "Dream Seats" that he placed in front of us. We have had those seats for close to 35 years now. The only reason that I keep them is because I can get above face value for them and people still clamor for those seats. I know live in San Francisco, CA. The tickets still get addressed to my mothers house in southern MD and she forwards them to me out here. I usually make it home for 2 games a season. This latest move by Danny Boy leaves a sour taste in my mouth....

Posted by: YeaYea911 | June 6, 2008 3:05 PM

I cheer for the home team because I am proud of where I am from. However, the Little General is getting on my nerves and interfering with my fun. Because I could no longer afford the price of admission I decided to get a job at FedEx. With the $7 bucks an hour that he pays, and the fact that the most you can get is a half price hot dog, I had to do an Amy Winehouse "...I said no,no,no."

Everybody that works there goes in and out right past the trash compactor...even the players. If that isn't indicative of how he feels about his employees I don't know what is.

I wish them well for the home team bragging rights, but he can forget about me walking a mile to get to his stadium to get robbed of all my money. If they aren't doing well by the second half I can watch another game or switch to my NBA League package. Right now they are just not worth my time, attention and definitely not my money.

Posted by: Carole | June 6, 2008 3:09 PM

I'm really mixed about this entire Snyder takeover of the radio stations. First, WTEM has the worst talent and they honestly think they know it all. Doc still needs to cut down on calling people "boy" and talking about 'ballers.' I was listening to Czaban this morning and again, he's talking down to people and just plain old nasty. Therefore, I hope Snyder cleans house and starts over on 980.

However, just because Snyder brings-in some bigshot from ESPN Radio, that doesn't mean his Red Zebra empire knows anything about sportstalk radio. We should give Snyder a chance to re-shape the stations and then criticize. I'm sure an arrogant Steve Czaban, Linn and Andy aren't laughing about the Redskins anymore.

Posted by: Curtis W - Arlington, VA | June 6, 2008 3:56 PM

All good points made on the comment thread. I have been a long time listener to WTEM, since its initial broadcast many years ago and have lived through Kiley and the Coach, Chuck Booms, and Czaban (though admittedly Czabe has grown on me over the years -- Many times, he's funny and I don't think he's as extreme a right winger as others on cable and talk radio). Pollin tries my patience a bit because he never lets anyone finish a call before he hangs up on them and he always seems to think he knows all trivia (although admittedly, there knowledge of nothing is now a running joke on the show which at least humanizes them on occassion). My big concern is that Snyder's control of all sports radio in Washington is a bit much. Even if he had given 980 the TripleX frequencies, that would have been more palatable to us sports radio junkies. And even though I am not a huge fan of Fox Sports, we now run the risk over having to run to our XM-Sirius satellites to listen to Czaban and other Fox Sports personalities. The big problem with radio is that now that the corporate types have taken over, the innovation which seemed to pump life into the genre has died. If Radio One or another local entity (or perhaps even techies Ted Leonsis and Mark Lerner) was smart, they would recruit Doc Walker, Two Live Stews (in Atlanta), John Thompson/B-Mitch/Koken, and start a new sports radio station in D.C. There are many African-American listeners and callers such as myself from my listening over the years. Oh well, I forget, Al and Cathy are paying themselves so well in bonuses, there's no shot for that now. Sigh! Maybe there'll be home in the additional channels under the HD Radio format (but I am not holding my breath).

Posted by: Chris - Bowie, MD | June 6, 2008 4:10 PM

The Listener would be great as a blog -- you could have streaming sound-checks!

Posted by: Mike Licht | June 6, 2008 5:12 PM

Point blank, Snyder stinks, his team stinks. He has screwed up so much since 1999 that he couldn't get a head coach. He had to promote his OC which never ran an offense to HC. Now that the entire NFL and U.S. has seen your stupidity you buy a wonderful radio station because you don't want anyone to talk about your team in a negative way. Wake up and smell the coffee, Danny boy. You stink at everything you touch. Six Flags, Skins, even FedEx Field. You'll even find a way to screw this up. You'll probably put Cerrato in charge of this too. WTEM Sports Talk 980 was the best sports talk I've heard ever from First Team in the a.m to the Sports Reporters in the p.m. Now possibly it may be ruined on account of Danny's insecurities. All these broadcaster's fair, show no favoritism and give us straight from the filter news of the hometown sports unlike Redskins.com or the Triple X garbage. I guess the truth told by Brain Mitchell, Doc Walker, Czaban and Pollin is too much for him. He's in denial with the rest of the world that he doesn't have issues. Well he's loaded with them. If he does tinker with 980 I hope it backfires and costs hime BIG time. Most likely my Sports Talk 980 listening days are done. Thanks Snyder for fixing something that isn't broke. Did you ever think about a seat in Congress? I'm sure you'd fit right in. You meet the qualifications: stupid, selfish, and full of lies.

Posted by: Derek E. Jeter | June 6, 2008 8:31 PM

Marc, aside from Phil Wood's Saturday morning show, WTEM hardly gives the Nats the time of day now. So what's the difference going to be?

Washington's sports culture is changing, becoming multi-dimensional (the Nats, the rising Caps, so on). Unfortunately, our broadcast sports media believes it's still 1972, when there was only one franchise in Washington.

Gee, I wish there was a D.C. equicalent of WFAN, and a Mike and the Mad Dog type (Czaban and Pollin aren't well-rounded enough in sports to qualify).

Posted by: Vincent | June 6, 2008 9:44 PM

I think Doc Walker will stay because he seems to have a god relationship with Vinny Cerrato. Cerato is usually on his show at least 2 times a month. Brian Mitchell will probably stay because he must have made peace with Snyder because he did retire as a Skin. John Thompson is gone more then likely.He thinks basketball is a 12 month sport and doesn't talk much about any other sports esle even though he is good at what he does you don't have to be exciting to be good. Now we get to Andy
Pollin and Steve Czaban they actually do talk about more then the Redskins if you all have listened carefully between the months of March untill July they really talk very little about about the Skins. They have tried to focus on the NBA playoffs mostly they didn't give much time to to the trade of DE James of the Vikings to the Skins and they talk alot of other stuff that aren't exactly sports related from late June until Training camp.I think they will stay but they may be on probation I think Andy would leave first if they even think about asking him to be like Larry Michael.

Posted by: Skins #1 | June 6, 2008 11:02 PM

I've been a Marc Fisher fan for many years but as a sports fan and an avid listener to both WTEM and Triple X, he was very sloppy and downright inaccurate on at least two points. To call John Riggins a Redskins "booster" would indicate that Fisher doesn't listen. The Riggins Show (which I watch on MASN more than I listen because of signal weakness) is more critical of the Redskins than any show on WTEM. It's clear to me that Riggins and his sidekicks are not censored. Joe Gibbs and Vinny Cerrato are regularly criticized and even on Redskins Gamedays, a day that you might expect enthusiastic cheerleading hosts, the coverage is sharp and critically pointed, especially after a loss. Also, Fisher is just plain wrong when he suggests that Redskins Radio doesn't talk about other sports. The station has national ESPN programming all day except during the Riggins Show. Even Riggins spends more time than not talking about non-Redskins related topics. Fisher didn't do his homework on this one.

Posted by: Chris84 | June 6, 2008 11:09 PM

The Riggins Show on Triple X is good but it's tough to hear. I think once it gets moved to 980, people will realize that John's doing a good job of holing together Snyder's Red Zebra empire.

Please don't defend any of the talent on 980 or its dull programming. Phil Wood is quite knowledgeable...however, when he appears on Doc's show and then with John Thompson...Gee, is the sports world that slow and un-interesting that we need to hear from Phil twice in one day. There's no thinking or immagination by anyone at 980. I think we need to just sitback and let the market "reset" itself and start from scratch. Hopefully, this will means the will be some new talent joining Riggins.

Posted by: Mark R24 | June 7, 2008 6:15 AM

Guess who's monitoring this blog? can you say "danny boy." lol.. this guy is a joke of a business man.... and comes across as an insecure egomaniac. Steve and Andy... start an internet radio site and continue to give us honest coverage on local sports. PLEASE..

Posted by: andy polling start an internet radio site | June 7, 2008 10:17 AM

I hope Mr. Snyder is looking at these blogs...there's nothing wrong with it. Actually, it's a great idea because he's getting a good taste of what people like and don't like. Common Arguments: get rid of the Czabe, Andy and the rest of Sportstalk 980 staff and insert Riggo along with the ESPN line-up. I hope Mr. Snyder tries to keep people like Larry Michael in-check because that's not an answer to filling Czaban's shoes. Larry's to cool for many people and really thinks he's king. We need someone like Dan Miller to return to Washington, DC and do Redskins play-by-play and be the next star of DC sportstalk radio...come to think of it, Lions or Redskins...that's a tough choice.

Posted by: Erik-Springfield, VA | June 7, 2008 1:04 PM

Marc's angle here is that while WTEM doesn't give non-Redskins teams much play, Snyder will (purposely) give people less. Yet I don't see much discussion of that topic in this thread, but rather on Redskins coverage, which there's plenty of right now, 12 months a year.

You people are ignorant.

Posted by: Vincent | June 7, 2008 3:27 PM

Chris84 is correct to note that Redskins Radio consists largely of ESPN's national fare, but that doesn't negate my point that the stations pay little attention to any D.C. teams other than the one owned by their boss. The little local programming they do have is overwhelmingly dedicated to Redskins coverage.

Posted by: Fisher | June 8, 2008 8:27 AM

While DC is still a football town, I don't think the team is as dominant of local attention as it was during the 70's and 80's. It used to be that the whole town stopped when a game was on. Now it's sort of an afterthought, unless you're on the PG County Beltway on Sunday afternoon, or in a 35 mile backup on Monday evening.

I would LOVE to see any station that gets denied an interview by the Snyder operation do what many stations did after the baseball strike in '94 - not cover the team at all. There are plenty of other sports in the fall and winter to cover a nightly 4 minute sportscast on. Call Danny's bluff. His team (still) needs the media coverage more than the media needs him.

Posted by: Joe in SS | June 8, 2008 12:59 PM

Vincent called us all ignorant!

Well, take the New York sportstalk market. WFAN has talent like "Mike and the Mad Dog"...who know what they are talking about. Whether it's Giants' news or Mets or Yankees and even the Islanders, those guys know what's up. Czaban doesn't know much about high school sports, so the natural reaction is to avoid the subject. What's even the bigger crime is that 980/570 are of the radio rightsholders of the Capitals. If I was Leonsis, I would be happy!

Sure, anyone can read the Washington Post each morning and get a crash course on what's going-on with all of our area sports teams. However, we don't get much coverage from Red Zebra or Sportstalk 980 because the talent doesn't know anything about the various subject matters.

In conclusion, I agree with some of the other blog notes that there should be a sweeping change of talent...keep Riggins and Coach Thompson but dump the others. I like the Dan Miller idea a lot. Bring someone back who knows the tradition of the market. For now, it's all about the big ego's.

Posted by: Rival29 Springfield, Va | June 8, 2008 6:48 PM

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