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Bram Weinstein, DeAngelo Hall to join Washington Football Team’s revamped radio broadcast

Former Washington defensive back DeAngelo Hall, shown here in 2017, will join the team's radio broadcast booth this season. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

When the Washington Football Team made Julie Donaldson the first woman to have a full-time role in an NFL club’s game-day radio booth last month, it also gave her the responsibility to hire the play-by-play announcer and analyst to work with her. The top criteria, she said at the time, was to find people who could fit the team’s reimagined format that Donaldson hoped will break the mold of football radio broadcasts.

On Tuesday, Donaldson, the team’s senior vice president of media, made a nontraditional choice by hiring Bram Weinstein, a longtime local radio host and former ESPN anchor, to be Washington’s play-by-play announcer. Former Washington defensive back De’Angelo Hall will join Weinstein and Donaldson in the booth as an analyst.

Weinstein, 47, does not have a history of play-by-play, but he has been a pregame host of the team’s radio broadcasts in the past. He is best known for a seven-year run as an anchor at ESPN, but he has also hosted local sports talk shows under his name for much of the past two decades. He hosts a talk show on ESPN 630 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Weinstein, who grew up in Silver Spring, replaces Larry Michael as the team’s play-by-play voice. Michael retired last month a day before he was named in a Washington Post story that detailed a culture of sexual harassment in the franchise. Weinstein will be only the third play-by-play announcer the team has had since 1979, when Frank Herzog began a 24-year run as the lead voice on its radio broadcasts.

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Hall, 36, played for Washington from 2008 to 2017 after first starring with the Atlanta Falcons. His best season with Washington was 2010, when he had six interceptions and was named to his third Pro Bowl. He has made regular appearances on local radio stations as well as NBC Sports Washington since his playing career ended.

Donaldson and Marcus Stephenson, the team’s head of digital marketing and programming, have both said they want to create a different approach to the game-day broadcasts, moving away from football banter that Michael led with Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff, and later with Chris Cooley after Huff’s retirement in 2012. Jurgensen retired before last season. Hall replaces Cooley, who had not been expected to return to the broadcast.

The new broadcast will be more interactive, involving fans, and will include references to pop culture and players’ social media accounts in the hope of drawing a new and diverse audience.

“With DeAngelo’s experience as the Pro-Bowl ‘eyes’ of our defense for a decade, not to mention his work with the NFL Network, and Bram’s tenures as a sports broadcaster and a Washington Football fan, we’ll be able to relate to and involve the players and the fans like never before,” Donaldson said in a statement released by the team.

In the same statement, Weinstein said he is “humbled” to be named the new play-by-play voice, given that only two men held the job before him for 40 years.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream,” he added. “This is also an exciting time to start with so much change happening in and around the franchise. Julie Donaldson has what I believe is an amazing vision for what the modern fans will want from us, and I’m proud to have been selected to be part of her team.”

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