- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It is not quite two-minute warning time, but with training camp slated to start next month the clock is ticking for some real news to come out of Redskins Radio.

We know that the stations will feature ESPN programming and Redskins broadcasts. We are confident that the Redskins Hall of Fame running back John Riggins has joined team owner Daniel Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting media firm, and we think another local sportscaster will soon be joining Red Zebra’s stable. But when exactly Redskins Radio will air and with what lineup remain mysteries.

On April 4, Red Zebra chief Bennett Zier told us that those decisions would be made before training camp and an exact starting date would be announced within 30 days. Well, training camp is likely to start the weekend of July 29, according to team spokesman Karl Swanson, but an exact start date for Redskins Radio has yet to be announced.

Mr. Zier did not return repeated calls for comment this week. On May 16 he said: “We have contract obligations on the other side that we’re honoring,” giving future Red Zebra employees time to inform other employers.

It appears one of those employees is Mr. Riggins, whose agent, Harlan Werner of Sports Placement Service Inc., yesterday said he has talked to Red Zebra, Clear Channel Radio, CBS Radio and other companies about national and regional opportunities for his client.

Mr. Werner would not confirm or deny that Mr. Riggins had signed with Red Zebra, but did confirm that “Riggo” would not be returning to Westwood One Radio to do Sunday night football broadcasts because it would interfere with the other opportunities he is pursuing. The New York Post and several Internet sites have reported that Mr. Riggins move to Red Zebra is a done deal.

Mr. Riggins previously hosted a show on Sirius Satellite Radio but his last appearance was in March and he has since been replaced by Jerry Rice, who started yesterday, and other former NFL stars.

Another potential Red Zebra personality is Bram Weinstein, who spent the past six years covering the Redskins for Clear Channel’s WTEM-AM (SportsTalk 980), which previously had ESPN programming rights.

Mr. Weinstein, who grew up in Silver Spring, left WTEM earlier this month. “It was a really hard decision to leave … gut-wrenching,” the 33-year-old said. “It was like family. The only reason I have opportunities now is because of what they did for me.”

In addition to covering the Redskins, Mr. Weinstein had hosted his own show and most recently served as co-host of the “Brian Mitchell Show” daily from noon to 3 p.m., but that was not the role he envisioned for himself at the station.

Mr. Weinstein said he hoped to be able to announce his new job “really soon,” but had yet to sign a contract.

If he does join Red Zebra, Mr. Weinstein would become the latest Clear Channel alumnus to do so, following Mr. Zier, vice president of operations Tod Castleberry and others.

Mr. Snyder purchased three local Spanish-language stations — WBPS-FM (94.3), WBZS-FM (92.7) and WKDL-AM (730) — to air Redskins games, which had been carried on CBS Radio’s WJFK-FM (106.7) since 1995. Earlier this month, Red Zebra Broadcasting announced the acquisition of WXGI-AM (950) in Richmond.

But analysts continue to wonder whether more acquisitions are in the works because the Redskins Radio broadcast’s reach is spotty at best.

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