Don Geronimo, the freewheeling radio personality who left Washington’s airwaves after three decades in 2008, is on his way back.
Geronimo will return to his old station, WJFK (106.7 FM), starting Thursday with a new evening sports-talk program, the station said Wednesday.
Along with longtime partner Mike O’Meara, Geronimo, 55, was a dominant figure on local radio for years. Until he quit Washington radio five years ago, “The Don & Mike Show” had been part of a powerhouse lineup of brash and raunchy “guy talk” programs on WJFK that included the likes of Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony and the Junkies.
WJFK, now known as “106.7 The Fan,” switched to an all-sports talk format in 2009, and Geronimo (whose real name is Michael Sorce), said he’ll drop the comedy bits for chatter about the Redskins and sports. He’ll be flying solo; O’Meara now does his own show, distributed via podcast.
“The main thing that appealed to me [about returning] is that all they said to me was, ‘Just have fun,’ ” Geronimo said. “My show will be sports-dominant, but what’s great about WJFK is that there’s always room for personality radio.”
Geronimo took two years off after leaving WJFK for personal reasons. His wife, Freda Wright-Sorce, died in a car accident in 2005, and Geronimo spent a long period in mourning. “The last three years [of working at WJFK] were wasted years because I had too much outside stuff going on,” he said. “I did get myself together. I got remarried. I got my son’s life in order . . . But I love being on the radio and wanted to get back to it. It’s the only thing I do well.”
In 2010, Geronimo — who got his first on-air gig at the age of 15 at Rockville station WINX — made his comeback on a Sacramento sports-talk station, KHTK (1140 AM). The Sacramento station, which like WJFK is owned by CBS Radio, tweaked its sports format recently, easing Geronimo’s show off the schedule.
He’ll broadcast from Sacramento when he starts his WJFK program Thursday night at 7 p.m., but he’ll move into the station’s studios in Lanham, Md., full-time next month.
Given WJFK’s live broadcasts of Wizards, Capitals and Nationals games, Geronimo’s program will likely be preempted on many weeknights. WJFK program director Chris Kinard said Geronimo will also do a live program on Saturday mornings and would contribute to the station’s game-day coverage of the Redskins on Sundays.
“He’s one of the biggest figures in radio in D.C. over the last 30 years,” said Kinard. “When the opportunity arose [to hire him], we jumped.”
Said Geronimo, “You have to be a chameleon in this business. I’ve done Top 40 radio, I’ve done talk, I did ‘Don & Mike,’ I’ve been in sports talk. The thing I bring to the table is me, my personality. I’m not being pompous about it, but that’s what I offer.”