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