Since Red Zebra Broadcasting announced in July that Chris Cooley would replace Andy Pollin on its afternoon drive program, there’s been a major question left unanswered: what would Pollin do next?
The answer came this week. The longtime D.C. sports-radio fixture announced on Monday that he would bring back his signature “Sports Reporters” franchise from 6-9 a.m. weekdays on SportsTalk 570. The new show will debut Wednesday morning.
The show will be broadcast out of the same Rockville building where Pollin and former partner Steve Czaban did the Sports Reporters for more than a decade. And Pollin will involve as many of the previous show’s guests as possible; he’s already reached out to Chris Knoche and Kevin Blackistone, will regularly feature Thom Loverro, and hopes to use recent West Coast transplants like Dave Feldman and Dan Hellie.
But the guests will do phone segments rather than in-studio appearances, and the show will also involve morning-drive staples like traffic and weather.
“I want it to be as much like the Sports Reporters that we did on 980 for 14 years as possible,” Pollin told me on Monday. “There are limitations, because of the time and getting people, but I hope to get as much of the old band back together as possible. And it’s going to be a lot of me, but it’s going to be a real morning show, and the emphasis is going to be local sports. We’ll do some traffic, talk about the weather, as opposed to Mike & Mike, which has all the great resources of ESPN. They serve a national audience; I’ll serve a local audience.”
Pollin will serve other roles for Red Zebra; he’ll contribute to Kevin Sheehan’s Redskins pre-game show, and will continue hosting Monday Morning Quarterback with Sheehan on ESPN 980 the morning after Redskins games. (On those days, Mike & Mike will shift to 570.)
(As for Steve Czaban’s national show, which previously appeared in this slot, it will continue to be heard on 570 from 9-10 a.m.)
Most importantly to Pollin, he’ll remain in his home market, where few can match his historical perspective, and where the studio is five minutes from his house.
“I wasn’t going to move,” Pollin said. “I mean, this is where I’ve been for a long time. I know the market, and the reality of sports radio is, most of the guys who are succeeding in local markets are locals. You know, Mike Franceca is New York. Whoever’s doing Chicago is a Chicago guy. I’m a D.C. guy. I grew up here. I know the history, and that’s another thing I’m going to have a lot of: a lot more Redskins history and local sports history. That’s my strength and that’s what I want to do.”
Pollin will continue to discuss his own life and his children — “hopefully people who have followed me and my career and my kids for 21 years will want to jump on board.” And, oddly, he’ll be back at the original home for sports-talk in D.C.; his was the first studio voice at what was then Sports Radio 570 The Team in May of 1992. And while he admitted it would be an adjustment to move on from his longtime partnership with Czaban, he said there “may be a niche in here” for his new offering.
“This is the nature of the business,” he said. “We had a great run, and this was an opportunity that was presented to me.”