Last month, as you might recall, John Feinstein announced on his blog that he was leaving ESPN 980 in favor of 106.7 The Fan. That latter station, Feinstein wrote, “made me the proverbial offer I couldn’t refuse,” and so his longstanding relationship with ESPN 980’s Sports Reporters ended.
This week, the station is announcing Feinstein’s weekly replacement: CNBC sports columnist Darren Rovell. Rovell is one of the most-followed national sports reporters on Twitter; his work focuses largely on the business, marketing and promotional aspects of sports. Unlike Feinstein, Rovell isn’t based in the Washington market, which probably has both positive and negative implications for 980. Certainly he doesn’t carry the local brand that Feinstein has, but neither does he have the baggage that Feinstein brings to certain, ahem, local teams.
“While Feinstein can be entertaining at times, our research showed our audience was interested in a younger guest that could offer more substance and information,” 980’s director of programming Chuck Sapienza said. “Darren is a perfect fit for the Sports Reporters and its audience.”
UPDATE: In an e-mail, Feinstein responded to Sapienza. And my apologies for not previously seeking a comment.
“I think Chuck's comments should make it abundantly clear why leaving the station, even after all these years, wasn't terribly difficult,” he wrote. “We're talking about a program director who seems to think his station is better off without Tony Kornheiser than with Tony Kornheiser. I was glad, however, to learn that I am ’entertaining at times.’ Maybe I'll use that on the back of my next book.”
In other news, ESPN 980 is also announcing that Thom Loverro has re-signed with the station for two more years. He will continue to co-host The Sports Fix with Kevin Sheehan, and will appear twice a week on the Sports Reporters with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban.