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
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show
Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.
Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.
Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor on WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.
Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”
Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.
Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.
Derek Wolfe Joining 104.3 The Fan as ‘The Drive’ Co-Host
I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive.”
Former NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is joining 104.3 The Fan in Denver as co-host with Darren “DMac” Mckee on The Drive With Derek Wolfe and DMac.
Wolfe announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year after signing a one-day contract to retire with the Denver Broncos. He was the franchise’s top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spending eight seasons with the team, including a win in Super Bowl 50.
“To the listeners in Denver, ‘The Fan Wolfe-pack,’ I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive,” said Wolfe. “DMac and I are going to fight sometimes, maybe we’ll fight a lot of the time, but we’ll always be working together to entertain you. I’ve always kept it 100 with you, and that’s not going to change one bit.”
“Derek is one of the most popular players in Broncos history, with the iconic image of his sack celebration in Super Bowl 50 forever etched in Denver sports lore,” said 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “What’s so exciting about adding Derek is his connection with the audience goes far beyond his production on the field. He’s never been afraid to mince words and is unapologetically authentic. Those characteristics drew Denver sports fans to fall in love with Derek, and we’re thrilled to help Derek build on that relationship everyday as he entertains his ‘Fan Wolfe-pack!’”
Wolfe enters a role previously occupied by former Bronco Tyler Polumbus, who departed the station in September. The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac will be heard weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.
Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees
Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.
Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.
The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:
- Mr. Doug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
- Mr. James Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
- Mr. Bob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
- Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
- Ms. Bernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
- Mr. Sid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
- Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
- Mr. Pervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
- Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
- Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.
“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”
The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.