When Steve Weissman was a 3rd-grade Montgomery County kid, he did a career-day project on Glenn Brenner, interviewing the legendary WUSA sports anchor about working in sports television.
“Glenn Brenner is the reason I do what I do,” Weissman told me this week. “I watched Glenn Brenner since I was able to watch television. He was the nicest man in the world, and from then on, it was ‘I’m going to be a sportscaster.’ ”
Around the time Weissman met Brenner, Bram Weinstein was deciding on the same career path, for just about the same reason.
“I was always very inspired by Glenn,” Weinstein said. “I grew up wanting to be him. Then SportsCenter kind of exploded, and to me, it felt like what he was doing in three-minute segments, except on a much grander scale.”
A love of Glenn Brenner is hardly the only thing Weissman, 32, and Weinstein, 38 share. They both grew up in Montgomery County, where they were Bar Mitzvahed at the same synagogue. As kids, they both read Kornheiser and Wilbon in The Post. They both graduated from Silver Spring’s Springbrook High — Weinstein in 1991 and Weissman six years later. They both interned with D.C. sports legends — Weinstein at WUSA during Warner Wolf’s tenure, and Weissman with George Michael’s Sports Machine. They also both interned in the D.C. radio market, Weinstein at WTEM and Weissman at WHFS. They both began their post-college careers as weekend sports anchors in tiny markets, Weinstein at KHAS in Nebraska, and Weissman at WBKB in Alpena, Michigan, one of the country’s smallest market.
And from there, both Montgomery County boys gradually climbed through the sports broadcasting industry until they landed at ESPN, starting at ESPNews, then hosting SportsCenter, and eventually sharing a set last weekend.
Now, I’m not sure how many SportsCenter co-anchors have come from the same high school — Chris Berman and Keith Olbermann, as it turns out, both went to the Hackley School. But I’m dang sure that this was the first time two kids from the same D.C.-area high school had ever run ESPN’s most famous franchise.
“The whole time on set we’re talking about who’s the principal, the teachers we both had, people he went to school with who were teachers when I was there,” Weissman told me.
“It was the first time since I’ve been on the air that I actually felt compelled to say something on the air, but I thought better of it,” Weinstein said. “When is SportsCenter ever about me? You know, it’s not. There’s enough of us trying to interject our personalities — Hi, look at me, I’m Mr. SportsCenter. In the open I was going to say ‘my fellow Springbrook graduate Steve Weissman,’ but then I decided not even to do that, because it’s not about me, and I don’t want to make that show about me.”
But I sure don’t mind pointing all of this out. As I’ve noted before, Bristol has become D.C. north, from Norman Chad and Kornheiser and Wilbon to another Montgomery County kid in Scott Van Pelt to more recent hires like Lindsay Czarniak, Sara Walsh, and Sage Steele. Weinstein has already hosted SportsCenter with Walsh and Steele, who made a “Bram Weinsteinnnnnn” joke on-air that only longtime ESPN 980 listeners would have appreciated. So, why the D.C. mania in Bristol?
“Man, I couldn’t answer that,” Weinstein said. “I don’t know. We all have different people representing us, we all got here under different circumstances. I’d like to say [Washington’s] always been a really good media market, and we’ve always had great broadcasters there.”
“I’m a huge Maryland and D.C. proponent,” Weissman said. “Maryland’s the finest state in all the land. We produce the best.”
Weissman was obviously joking, but there are an awful lot of D.C. people up there, and I don’t think anyone would begrudge two Springbrook grads a shared on-air moment of Blue Devil pride. Next time, perhaps.
“Maybe next time we’re together we’ll drop a Springbrook reference,” Weissman allowed.
“If the two of us were stuck on camera together and we had to kill time, I probably would bring it up, and would say hey, this has got to be a first,” Weinstein agreed. “If for some reason at the end of the show we have 45 seconds to kill, trust me, that’s what’s coming out of my mouth.”