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Czaban Celebrates 25 Years On-Air

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Steve Czaban says it’s an oversight.

The veteran sports broadcaster, celebrating his 25th anniversary in the business, has a lengthy resume that lists work in local markets such as Washington, Chicago, Charlotte and Milwaukee, as well as national gigs with Sporting News Radio and ESPN Radio.

But there’s no mention of Fox Sports Radio, where “Czabe” spent seven years, 2002 through 2009, the last five in the morning drive spot. His contract wasn’t renewed when Fox decided to put Stephen A. Smith in the time slot instead.

“They treated us great at Fox,” Czaban said during a recent phone interview. “They wanted to go in a different direction. That happens in the business.”

He said he was unaware that Fox doesn’t appear on his bio and the omission is unintentional. But he let everyone know his thoughts in a December 2009 blog post.

“This was not my choice, or desire,” he wrote. “My agent wants me to spin it in one of those ‘we decided to mutually part ways’ for anybody who wanted to know. But I’m not good at lying.”

However, he’s great at sports talk, which is why the McLean, Virginia native spent just eight months away from the syndicated airwaves before resuming his national show via Sporting News Radio (now Yahoo! Sports Radio). “The Steve Czaban Show” is heard locally on SportsTalk 570 and he also co-hosts “The Drive” on ESPN 980, meaning he’s on air for nearly eight hours each day.

“I guess I’m lucky that there’s a different focus on the national show,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of things we can talk about nationally. On the other one, we’re digging into the nuances of what’s important locally. I couldn’t do that many hours of one style of show each day.”

When he graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara, Czaban dreamed of having a career like local play-by-play legend Steve Buckhantz. But Czaban quickly realized that those jobs are very limited and open infrequently. He was calling basketball games and doing a one-hour talk show on KTMS in Santa Barbara — where fellow UCSB alum Jim Rome began — when homesickness and an appetite for more passion set in. He moved back home in 1994.

“As nice as it was being in California, that side of the country moves in different rhythms,” Czaban said. “The importance of sports and fanaticism is different out there and I never felt truly at home. I didn’t miss winter but I did miss seasonality. To me, the seasons go hand-in-hand with the sports calendar.”

He did some work for WTEM-AM 570 until accepting a job in Chicago, where he spent three years before relocating to Charlotte. His afternoon show was doing fantastic when the general manager decided to give Czaban the morning slot.

Shortly thereafter, Czaban experienced his first taste of the industry’s cruel, bitter side.

“[The GM] let it go for one month exactly and decided it wasn’t working out,” he said. “I was fired summarily and not paid the rest of my contract. My first child was born four weeks prior to that. That was the fun part of the business, but it was a blessing because I started filling in for ESPN Radio after that.”

But he had no desire to relocate to Bristol, Connecticut, so he turned down a full-time offer and returned to WTEM to join “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in 2000. The two spent more than a decade together until the station paired Czaban with former Washington tight end Chris Cooley and Al Galdi in 2013.

Having grown up and spent most of his professional career in the D.C. market, Czaban said it gets a bum rap among sports towns. While it’s not in the big four of New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia, Czaban said D.C. is “right in the mix” with any other major area.

“It’s not our fault that there isn’t a kind of blue-collar industry that some other cities have that breed the beer-and-a-shot sports fan who goes to a little bar with no windows to watch local games, hang out and drink,” he said. “We’re a more professional city. And it’s not our fault that our teams have sucked for so long. I think we’re a very solid sports city and we don’t have anything to apologize for.”

He also has no remorse for the abundance of time spent locally on the NFL and Washington’s franchise. Local critics who claim Czaban & Co. never talk about other area teams are “flat-out wrong,” he said. “I can show them the logs.”

But he said you can’t overdo it with the NFL, particularly with storylines as juicy as that of Robert Griffin III and other burgundy-and-gold dramas.

Yahoo! gave Czaban’s a three-year renewal in October 2013, a few months before ESPN 980 extended his local contract by the same length. “Czabe is integral to the success of our station,” vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza said in a press release. “We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.”

Czaban never saw this coming 25 years ago.

“Being in this business like being on the run from the law,” he said. “You never take anything for granted beyond the end of your current contract. It’s a deal you have to make peace with in your mind, that ‘Hey, this may not work out and I’ll have to go to Plan B.”

Being bumped by Stephen A. and being canned in Charlotte haven’t stopped Plan A. It’s working out just fine.

Credit to the Washington Post who originally posted this article

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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