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X's and a Lot of O's: Media Giants Seek Kornheiser

Bonneville, the owner of radio station WTOP, is seeking Kornheiser's services for its new station, WTWP, which it will launch next month in conjunction with The Post.

Separately, Kornheiser works intermittently for WRC-Channel 4 as a panelist (and substitute host) on "Redskins Report." It's unclear whether he could continue on the show given his other commitments.

Why all the attention now for the 57-year-old Kornheiser?

"He's got an established name, whether in The Post, on radio, or on TV with 'PTI,' " said Joel Oxley, Bonneville's senior vice president. "He's proven to be successful. The guy pulls in an audience. He has marquee value. Plus, he's local. You've got a very interesting combination of factors. If you can get someone like him, and get him at the right price, you do it."

Said John Walsh, executive editor of ESPN: "I love Tony. I love everything Tony does. I've loved him from the day I met him in 1970 when he walked into Newsday. He's the most talented guy in the history of sports media, a multimedia guy in the Dick Schaap tradition."

The biggest loser in the Kornheiser sweepstakes could be WTEM, the sports talk station. Kornheiser so thoroughly dominates the station's weekday programming that the station could almost be renamed WTK. His two-hour show at 9 a.m. is repeated at 11 a.m., giving him four consecutive hours on the air daily. In addition, he participates in the station's "Sports Reporters" program and is heard on tape at other times. The station also has rebroadcast the audio portion of "Pardon the Interruption" during the evening (XM rebroadcasts Kornheiser's WTEM show, as well).

Snyder has direct connections to Kornheiser via WTEM's former managers, Bennett Zier and Tod Castleberry. Zier, who oversaw WTEM and seven other Washington area stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, left the company last month to run Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting, a new company that will operate Snyder's media ventures. Zier was joined a week later by Castleberry, who was program director of WTEM and three other Clear Channel stations.

Kornheiser would be prohibited from writing for The Post if he accepted a position with a Snyder-owned company. Under the newspaper's conflict-of-interest rules, a sportswriter cannot write about a team while accepting payment from it.

Staff writer Howard Kurtz contributed to this report.

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