Monday, July 21, 2008

Redskins, The Danny, and Steve Czaban

There are a lot of reasons to hate the Redskins. (I don't need one, of course, because I'm from Philly and hate is our default setting.) Today I bring you reason #4,419:

Steve Czaban is, for my money, the best sport-talk radio host in America. He's wicked smart, deeply funny, and almost pathologically candid. He's not a confrontational jackass like Jim Rome. He's not a jock-slobberer like Mike Greenberg. He's not a celebrity peacock like Dan Patrick. Czaban is, instead, everything you could want in a radio host: a quick wit with deep pockets of knowledge and an engaging worldview. He's the best.

Czaban is based in D.C. and hosts two shows a day, a nationally-syndicated morning show called the First Team, on Fox Sports Radio, and a local afternoon show on Washington's WTEM.

Washington has a weird sports culture in that fans and journalists mostly seem to have a Pollyanna view of the world: No matter how bad things are going, there's sunshine around the corner.

Czaban has been one of the few voices of reason (during my purgatory in D.C.) to understand the real problems the Redskins face. He has been critical--though not crazily so--of Redskins management, particularly the coaches and management. Including owner Dan Snyder.

So a few weeks ago, Snyder, who already owns competing sports-talk radio stations in the market, bought WTEM.. WTEM was, up until the time of purchase, a Fox Sports affiliate. Snyder's stations were ESPN affiliates.

And what was Snyder's first move? To make WTEM an ESPN affiliate and drop Czaban's morning show. Even though Czaban's Fox show was crushing the ESPN show in the local ratings.

Now Snyder is airing the same ESPN product on all of his stations in the market. This doesn't make much sense to me: Since he's the only game in town, wouldn't he attract more listeners by airing as much competing product as possible, thereby casting a wider net? Unless of course, this wasn't a business decision in the first place.


Dave S. said...

Snyder bought WTEM for its signal, which can reach (I think) the whole metro area, whereas his original "network" consisted of three weak-signal stations, each covering only part of the region. I forget the call letters but for analogy purposes we can refer to them as "Bruce Smith", "Deion Sanders" and "Jeff George."

Also, you will never see "Daniel Snyder" and "allowing competing product" in the same sentence unless the sentence has the word "not" between them.

Thank God I'm not a Skins fan although they do seem awfully cheerful about the immediate (yet always-receding) future.

Tommy cold beer said...

It's probably only a matter of time before Czaban is off the afternoon local show too. Time to invest in satelite radio. Danny has turned this die hard Skins fan into a Caps fan. It's so much more rewarding!