In case you haven't read enough about prominent local sports columnists getting radio shows this month, here's another, and it's the big one: Tony Kornheiser plans to bring his radio show back, in late mornings, on ESPN 980, in early September. The news was sort of broken on Twitter by Jim Zinzi, a longtime Kornheiser listener whose wife ran into Tony at the beach. So for the benefit of Tweeters, Tony spoke to me in short sentences this morning when I asked about a show on 980.
"Hope to, want to, plan to," he said. "I'm saying this is what I want to do, this is what I plan on doing."
On the day after Labor Day?
"That's a really good time," he observed. "They play football around here, and that's the beginning of football season, so that'd be a really good time, I think."
For two hours in the morning?
"Yeah, that's a good amount, a goodly sum," he agreed.
And Nigel, aka Marc Sterne, who now works at the station again?
"You absolutely have to have Nigel," Kornheiser said. "The way I would look at it, it's sort of the same show that for many many years was the lowest-rated longest-running show on Broadway. There are a variety of people who swoop in and out; that's the same. The last show that I did on the late-lamented 3WT radio station was the show that I enjoyed doing the most, so whatever I can do to come close to that show....
"Making sure that, as there always is, there's a sizable component of sports, which is what I've always done. It's that show. That's the show i want to do. Soft-core sports, is how I would describe it."
So this thing is on, now. Kornheiser would face either the Junkies or the Mike Wise Show, depending on his exact time slot, in a head-to-head battle of not-really-about-sports sports radio shows, and either would have a pretty juicy subplot. The TK-Junkies thing could would match the headliners for both local stations, while the TK-Wise thing would bring back a few moments from the early days of Wise's Post career. I did ask Kornheiser about working for a Daniel Snyder-owned station, which had been a hold-up in the past.
"I don't work for Monday Night Football, so I don't see that there's any sort of conflict," he said. "If I were doing Monday Night Football, I wouldn't work for somebody who owned one of the teams. I would think that's an overt conflict. I don't have that now."
So September now means Redskins games, Caps training camp, the Nats playoff push and the debut of a new heavyweight sports-talk radio show. Can't wait.
(I also asked Tony about breaking the news of his return to a fan's wife via Twitter. "If approached by wives of e-mailers, I always say hi," he said. "If approached by anyone who has ever liked anything I have ever done, I'll sit and chat forever. Happy to do that for anyone who likes and values the work. As we've seen in recent months, there are large institutions that don't like the work and don't value it at all."
(As for me calling him a sports columnist above, well, fair enough. But to me, once a sports columnist, always a sports columnist. And three of them getting shows in a month is pretty notable.)