Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Jim Williams: ESPN exec happy to run with Redskins
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Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jul 19, 2006 5:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 6,751 articles

WASHINGTON - Bruce Gilbert is ESPN Radio’s general manager and it was his decision to make the change from WTEM to Red Zebra and the new “Triple X ESPN Radio Washington.”

I spoke to Gilbert about the change and how it could affect sports radio in this area.

On why ESPN made the move: “It was a very tough decision for us. WTEM had been our partner from the start and they had done a wonderful job for us. But after talking with Bennett (Zier) and Dan (Snyder) about their plans to create a group of stations throughout the mid-atlantic area that would all be sports talk. We felt that putting the Washington Redskins — the No. 1 franchise in Washington — together with ESPN — the biggest brand name in sports — on one group of stations was too good a thing to pass up. This is about the future and we see the future with Red Zebra to be very, very bright.”

On the network’s support: “We will give Bennett whatever support that he needs. He was the man who brought us to Washington when he was at WTEM and no one knows the market better than he does. So he has the full support of ESPN behind him for whatever they need.”

On what D.C. listeners can expect: “Washington listeners know our talent well. We expect to have Mike and Mike as well as Colin Cowherd doing shows from Washington in the fall. We know that it may take time for people to find us. However, while some people may see being on three stations in the same market as a negative, we see it as a positive. It gives the listener three different places to find our programming. Also, we see this as a good chance to re-introduce Colin Cowherd to the market and we think people will love his show from 10 a.m. till noon.”

Washington’s sports-talk radio fans will need to set their car radio preset buttons for all three stations — FM-94.3 (WWXT), FM-92.7 (WWXX) and AM-730 (WXTR). Your reception is based on where you are. Tuesday’s debut also revealed a different talent ensemble than originally projected. Gary Braun and Kevin Sheehan have surfaced as John Riggins’ on-air partners. Bram Weinstein, originally thought to be Riggins’ partner, joins Larry Michael for “Redskins Lunch” at noon weekdays.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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