“The real story is very simple as to why I’m leaving radio,” Kornheiser said. “I did it for a very long time and I loved every minute of it. I love doing this right now. I’v been with WTEM since it opened in 1992. I haven’t been here continuously because I take a bunch of time off here and there. For a couple years, we did Washington Post radio until that folded and WTEM kindly allowed me back. I do writing and I do TV and I do radio and they’re all different and radio is the most fun. It doesn’t make you the richest, it doesn’t make you the most prestigious, but it’s the most fun, and I’ve told this to people for many, many years. I love doing it. I just thought, you know what would be nice? It would be nice to own my own content, it would be nice to do a podcast, it would be nice to do it someplace a little closer to my house.”
Kornheiser read a letter from a listener who expressed concern that leaving the airwaves would threaten the rapport Kornheiser has established with his listeners and that the content of the the show would change. No need to worry, Kornheiser said.
“This is the show,” said Kornheiser, who put out a call for sponsors and made no mention of his podcast possibly being affiliated with an existing site. “It’s the radio show, [but] it’s not going to be on the radio. The guests are going to be the same, the regulars are going to be the same, the attitude is going to be the same, my own stupidity is going to be the same.”
As for what will be different, Kornheiser said his new podcast will probably be 60 to 70 minutes instead of the 80 minutes he fills on his ESPN 980 show, which people out of market are already used to listening to via podcast. Kornheiser’s son, Michael, will handle the social media for the podcast and will launch a website within the week with information about how to subscribe. Kornheiser’s biggest fear is that the people who listen to him on ESPN 980 won’t be able to find him when he leaves radio.
“I want to tell the people who are listening not on podcast now, I want to tell you that it’s not changing,” Kornheiser said. “I recognize that whole notion of family. I recognize the whole notion of connective tissue. I love the songs. I want all of that to stay the same. Why would I change that, right? Why would I go with something new? . . . The same people are going to be on. The big change, really, for me is where are we going to do it. How close can we get to my house? Can I get next door? That’s pretty much it.”
Kornheiser reiterated that he’s leaving ESPN 980 on good terms.
“I’ll say this a thousand times,” he said. “I love it here. Everybody has treated me really nicely here. You may read — because this was read to me — that people in the sales department were giving each other high-fives that I was leaving. Maybe that’s true, but I don’t feel that way. I just thought, I’m getting old, I don’t have much more time to do this. Let’s own it ourselves and see what we can do. I was not forced into it. I could’ve stayed. I had a couple years left on my deal.”