It's 106.7 'The Fan' vs. ESPN 980 in Washington's Sports Talk Radio Race

By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twenty minutes into my assignment, in the first hour of a three-day, nonstop marathon of listening simultaneously to both of Washington's sports talk radio stations, I got my first hint about why CBS created 106.7 "The Fan" last month to compete with ESPN 980, the sports talker owned by Washington Redskins boss Dan Snyder:

One station played an ad for a new impotence treatment at the same time the other played a spot for DirecTV. I am unaware of two more universal male interests.

In a town that has long harbored doubts about its identity as a sports city -- whether we are a one-sport town with too many transient residents to build a strong foundation of die-hard fans -- WJFK (106.7 FM) gave up its guy-talk format to take on the only all-sports talk station in the area, WTEM (980 AM), known as ESPN 980.

The development raises many questions: Will this battle of the media titans prove profitable, with enough pricey impotence ads to keep everyone happy? Will Washington fans support two 24-hour sports yakkers? Is there a difference between the Redskins-owned property and the supposedly more independent voices on CBS's station? Isn't one station of ranting enough?

I listened, and listened, and listened . . .

9:10 a.m. Thursday, 106.7 FM: The station's morning team -- the all-male Sports Junkies -- quizzed a 20-year-old female intern about pornography.

"Have you been to a pornography Web site in the last year?"

"Yes."

"By yourself?"

"Yes."

This got the Sports Junkies really wound up. I wondered if male drivers ages 25 to 54 on the Beltway were drifting into other lanes.

"On your own volition?"


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