“Unfortunately we were not able to obtain the consistent level of ratings success needed in morning drive over the last seven months, and therefore felt the need to make this change,” ESPN 980 director of programming Dan Zampillo said in a release.
“Mike and Mike” will be simulcast on 980 and 570 through Friday. According to the station, “The Steve Czaban Show” will air in the morning drive slot on SportsTalk 570 starting Monday, but that is subject to change.
ESPN 980 will continue to air its “Monday Morning Quarterback” show the day after every Redskins game, but Reid, who declined to comment Wednesday, will no longer be part of the show. The podcasts of “The Man Cave” have already been removed from the audio vault on the station’s Web site.
“The Man Cave” debuted on March 30 after an unexplained, two-week delay. At the time, several individuals associated with ESPN 980 and in the local radio industry alleged that Redskins management ordered that the show be shelved to get back at Reid for his criticism of Redskins brass while at The Post. In a bizarre subplot, someone made prank calls to the station pretending to be ESPN President John Skipper and demanding that the show be canceled.
Amid the uncertainty surrounding the show’s future, ESPN 980 program director Chuck Sapienza resigned before it went on the air.
In a series of tweets after news of the show’s demise broke on Wednesday, Sapienza wrote that the show was “making traction with little to no support from station management” and that giving a new show only six months “is a joke.”
Sapienza also suggested that the show was set up to fail from the start by management at ESPN 980, not Snyder or the Redskins, and took issue with the station citing ratings as the reason the show was canceled.
According to ratings provided by a radio industry source, ratings for “The Man Cave” in the target demographic of men between the ages of 25 and 54 increased in the July, August and September ratings periods before dropping in October. While ratings for “The Man Cave” continued to trail “The Sports Junkies” on rival station 106.7 The Fan, the show’s 2.9 share in the target demographic for the October ratings period (Sept. 10 to Oct. 7) was greater than the October ratings for “Mike and Mike” in 2012 and 2013.
“Any station that increases ratings three times in four months, you should be high-fiving and hugging, not firing people,” Sapienza said. “They were starting to get their ground.”
Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean did not immediately respond to a request for comment.