Team Trying to Keep Its Place on Radio Dial

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 7, 2007

The Washington Nationals, whose deal to broadcast their games on stations owned by Bonneville International Corp. expires at the conclusion of the season, are involved in serious discussions about a new deal to keep the games on the same frequencies, according to officials from both the team and the stations.

"We feel like we're making some more progress," said Joel Oxley, the senior vice president of Bonneville D.C. "You never know until the ink is dry, but we certainly feel good about it."

Should a deal be struck with Bonneville, the games would be carried on 1500 AM, 820 AM and 107.7 FM, which currently make up Washington Post Radio but will become Talk Radio 3WT later this month. The stations will carry syndicated talk shows as well as Washington Capitals games.

Sources familiar with the talks said the club would like to retain the play-by-play team of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler. Slowes, who previously called games for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the NBA's Washington Bullets, has been with the club since it arrived from Montreal in 2005. Jageler, who came from the Class AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, followed in 2006. Both have deals that expire after this season.

Nationals President Stan Kasten declined to comment on talks yesterday. But sources familiar with the market in general and the Nationals' case specifically said the club almost certainly won't earn a rights fee from the radio deal, but rather will be able to sell advertisements during their broadcasts as a means of generating revenue.

The Nationals also must decide the future of Bob Carpenter, their television play-by-play man on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Analyst Don Sutton, in his first year with MASN, has a deal that could last four years. Carpenter, who joined MASN in 2006, has a contract that expires at the end of this season.

Enjoy the Ride, Kid

Rookie outfielder Justin Maxwell, called up directly from Class A Potomac on Tuesday, was told not to expect much from his first month in the majors.

"If I get a chance to play, then it's gravy," Maxwell said. "Just take it all in and learn -- learn as much as you can."

Maxwell got his first chance in the fourth inning of Wednesday night's 6-4 victory over Florida when he pinch-hit for reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who also was making his major league debut. Maxwell drove a pitch from Marlins reliever Ross Wolf to right field -- the opposite way -- where it reached the warning track, a spot that would have been out of several ballparks.

Maxwell, an Olney native who had his parents and fiancee in the crowd this week, received a standing ovation when he returned to the dugout. . . . Right fielder Austin Kearns is seven for his last 12 -- including 3 for 4 with a homer Wednesday -- raising his average to .269, the highest it has been since May 14.

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