If its on-air talent is as tight-lipped as Red Zebra Broadcasting has been about details of Redskins Radio, team owner Daniel Snyder’s media firm may not last long.
But Mr. Snyder has proved to be a shrewd businessman, and Red Zebra chief Bennett Zier has confirmed that the radio network will be up and running by the end of the month.
“We’ll be ready by training camp,” Mr. Zier told us, which means Redskins Radio should be on the air before formal workouts are slated to begin July 29.
Red Zebra also is expected this week to confirm that it has acquired the rights to ESPN programming and signed Redskins Hall of Fame running back John Riggins and former WTEM-AM (SportsTalk 980) team reporter Bram Weinstein as part of its on-air lineup.
Mr. Snyder has purchased three local Spanish-language stations — WBPS-FM (94.3), WBZS-FM (92.7) and WKDL-AM (730) — and WXGI-AM (950) in Richmond to air Redskins games, which had been carried on CBS Radio’s WJFK-FM (106.7) since 1995.
Some non-football programming also is in the works. Washington native Bill Regardie, whose resume includes publisher, columnist and radio show host, said he has talked with Mr. Zier about doing a daily commentary show for Mr. Snyder’s network.
Mr. Regardie said he plans to find “little slices of life” that are not related to football and discuss them in two to four minutes, which would air live once and then be repeated throughout the day.
“It will be somewhere between Andy Rooney and Howard Beale,” Mr. Regardie told us, referring to the “60 Minutes” commentator and the fictional anchorman from the movie “Network.”
Although nothing is final, Mr. Regardie said he has been assured he would have total editorial control over his commentary. “They said there’s nothing you can’t talk about,” he said, adding that he plans to work out the details with Mr. Zier in early August after Redskins Radio kicks off.
Mr. Zier said it was “too early to be specific” about Mr. Regardie’s show.
Mr. Regardie, 65, also told us that he considered starting another publication called D.C. Downtown News, a weekly newspaper that would have focused on business, politics, arts and entertainment and been distributed in Washington’s business district. Publisher Philip Merrill, who died last month, had talked him out of it.
Mr. Merrill told him the paper could succeed, but then asked Mr. Regardie whether he was ready to make a $1 million, five-year commitment and then worry about it every day.
“He took the time with another old soldier,” Mr. Regardie said. “Sometimes it takes a friend slapping his buddy in the face to make him see the light again.”
C-SPAN last month introduced its first video podcasts to coincide with this week’s encore presentation of the three-part TV series “The Capitol.”