Carmean told employees at ESPN 980, the team’s flagship station, about his departure early last week. Bateman then addressed employees on Friday, explaining the justification for the move.
“The message is we’re trying to create a better business; that’s all there is to it,” Bateman said in an interview in his Redskins Park office Tuesday afternoon. “We’re not changing the content of the radio station.”
Carmean’s departure was first reported by DCRTV.
A station employee asked Bateman last week if the team will exert more control over ESPN 980’s content; listeners and employees of rival station 106.7 The Fan have asked the same question on social media. Bateman said Tuesday there would “absolutely not” be increased control of the station’s content.
“The team is not really any more closely involved than it was before,” he said Tuesday. “Everybody knows what the ownership structure of the team and the station was before; it’s exactly the same now. There’s not any difference. So the only thing we’re doing really is working closer on the business relationship. …
“If the Redskins stink it up on Sunday, then it’s your job to tell the truth about what’s going on, right?” he said he told the station’s employees. “You’ve got to talk about it, because otherwise you’ve got zero credibility. If you take it to a personal level and start assaulting somebody’s character, I don’t care if you’re a radio talk-show host or a software executive or anybody else; that’s inappropriate. It’s just human decency. So keep the line there.”
Bateman said the “big driver” of the radio stations is Redskins game broadcasts and surrounding programming, and that it makes sound business sense for the business staffs to work together. Red Zebra will be able to sell Redskins assets — like television commercials and FedEx Field signage — while Redskins staffers will be able to sell radio time. They will also share sales information, and work together to take care of clients.
“We’re going to really create synergy between the two groups and work closer together,” he said. “We’ll be able to just create a more comprehensive marketing package for our clients, make it easier for them to buy the whole thing, and just create a better business environment, better client service. And honestly, hopefully it will mean more revenue for the organization.”
While Bateman said he hopes advertisers will have a better experience, he also said listeners should not be able to tell the difference. He said the focus and content of ESPN 980 programming won’t change, and there are no current plans to change any of the shows.
The station still has a hole during morning drive after the cancellation of “The Man Cave” in October; it has instead been running ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” four mornings a week. Bateman said ratings for “The Man Cave” — which featured former Post columnist Jason Reid and radio veteran Chris Paul — were “bad, and that’s why the show’s not there anymore. It was purely a ratings decision. They went down, down, down, down, down, and you can’t run a business like that.”
With Carmean’s removal, none of the principals characters from “The Man Cave” remain at ESPN 980. Former program director Chuck Sapienza resigned last spring when the show’s debut was unexpectedly delayed among confusing circumstances.
Bateman said “it would be great to have great local programming talent if we could find the right combination” to work mornings, and that the station will likely test some different programs to see if anything works. He said this would be a slow process, and that there won’t be any firm decisions “until we have a good idea of what the market wants.” He said the station’s other shows “are all good shows,” and there are no current plans for changes.
Bateman has been working for the team for about six months. He’s had two previous stints with the Redskins, and has worked with Snyder since his days at Snyder Communications. He replaced former Red Zebra chairman Mark Shapiro about six weeks ago.