Danny Snyder gobbled up three more DC area AM stations yesterday, including the biggest sports talk network in the area, WTEM, better known as Sports Talk 980. This now means that the team can essentially control who is saying what about the organization. Obviously, 980’s most well known voices are concerned:
On their afternoon “Sports Reporters” program yesterday, WTEM hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin wondered how much they’d be able to criticize the team — or whether they’d even be employed by the station — once Red Zebra takes over July 1. Czaban, Pollin and other WTEM hosts, including former Redskins players Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell, have often lambasted the team and its owner in recent years.
“We’re being swallowed up by the big burgundy-and-gold empire,” Czaban said on the air.
As you may have heard, the Skins are also in the process of hiring a team blogger, which, like the purchases of these radio stations, could be seen as a way to further control what’s said about the organization. As you also may know, I interviewed for, and was offered the job as the Skins official blogger (after it was offered to, and turned down by, Steinz). I turned the position down for a number of reasons, one of which is the same concern that Czaban and Pollin have: At what point does the team attempt to censor the message and control what’s being said, or written?
The team seems to be claiming that whoever continues to be on WTEM beyond July 1 will be able to, and encouraged to, be opinionated and critical “within reason.” This is more or less what I was told with relation to the blogging thing. I guess the problem is, what exactly does “within reason” mean? At the very least, I’m going to assume that our “Snyder Sucks” t-shirts would stretch well beyond the realm of good reasoning.
(Aside: I still owe the team a list of blogger recommendations. I have several in mind, but if you’d like to be considered, drop me an email.)