For the third time in five years, ESPN 980 is without a Redskins beat reporter. First Bram Weinstein left for Red Zebra (before the merger), then Jerry Coleman was let go, to be replaced by Frank Hanrahan, who was in turn let go this week, as DCRTV reported Friday morning.
The move was described to Hanrahan as a budget-cutting necessity; the station also cut ties with its promotions and marketing director this week. Still, it came as a surprise to the 36-year-old, who had spent two years covering the team and also was Vinny Cerrato's co-host on the since-cancelled "Inside the Red Zone."
"I guess I'm going to miss my co-workers and covering the team more than anything," he told me Friday. "But this is the way it is, and I just move in. It's disappointing, but I get to spend a little more time with my wife and my 11-month son."
Hanrahan, like a fair number of the ESPN 980 on-air folks, has been extremely honest about the Redskins. This season, that meant he was often critical of the franchise. He doesn't believe that had anything to do with his firing, though, and said he was never told to tone down his reports.
"I know [listeners] have told me they admired that I was open and honest about my analysis and observations, and I appreciated that," Hanrahan said. "People always say, 'You guys are owned by the Redskins; has anyone ever said anything to you like Quiet down.' Actually, no. I never felt my job was in jeopardy if I was honest about the team. What else are you gonna say? The record speaks for itself. What positives can you find? I can't be a conspiratorial guy on this one."
With Hanrahan gone, I did want to ask him what it was like working with Cerrato. He said their weekly show prep was a hasty rundown of their guests about five minutes before they went on-air. I asked him to judge Cerrato as a radio personality.
"You know what, that's a very good question," he said. "To be quite honest with you, I think he should have been focusing on the team. He definitely needs to continue to work on it. He needs to watch more Jim Rome. For whatever you want to say about Rome, he's actually good at listening to what people say and then following up. Vinny would just have a sheet of questions, and he would keep going. He would just stick to the script: bang, bang, bang, bang. If somebody said something interesting, he wouldn't follow up, it would be on to the next question. But I enjoyed my time with him."
As for Hanrahan, he hopes to find some part-time radio work in the near future and will begin looking for another full-time gig. Comes with the territory of covering the Redskins.
"It's kind of like being a quarterback or head coach with the Redskins, this job: every couple years they get somebody else to do it," he joked. "It's extremely disappointing, but I go out with a nice little run there and we'll pick up and get going somewhere else soon."