Jim Williams: Local sports radio stations going all out for Redskins-Seahawks

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The entire country spent the week focused on Washington, where Congress was in a major battle to keep the country from going off the fiscal cliff. That doesn't mean it was the only focus in the D.C. area.

Mainstream news personalities Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Andrea Mitchell of NBC were just two of the Washington-based journalists who strayed from talk about the United States heading into financial ruin to marvel at the Redskins. They talked glowingly about the play of rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to an international audience.

The world might be going to hell, but hey, the Redskins are in the playoffs. In this town, that is news that transcends the sports pages. At the local sports talk outlets, business could not be better as a result.

Chuck Sapienza, ESPN 980's vice president of programming, said his station certainly is going all in.

"The demand for Redskins coverage has been growing all season," Sapienza said. "From the time Robert Griffin III was their top pick to the defeat of Dallas, the interest level in the Skins has reached all-time levels. ESPN 980 expanded the pregame show for the Dallas game to 8? hours, increased the number of Redskins-related programming leading up to the playoff game and seen the demand for our broadcast team, Larry Michael, Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen, jump off the charts.

"The biggest jump has been with our 2 p.m. show, 'Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell.' Fans want to hear the insight and opinions from former Redskins that have actually won the Super Bowl. They have been doing a majority of their shows from ESPN 980's exclusive studio at Redskins Park."

Chris Kinard, the program director at 106.7 the Fan, said his station isn't doing any less even if it is not the flagship station for the Redskins.

"The Redskins are the hottest topic in town, and we're talking about the win over Dallas and the upcoming playoff game all day starting before 6 a.m. with the Sports Junkies," he said. "Listeners can't get enough of RGIII and the Skins right now. We also provide the sports reports to our sister station, All News WNEW 99.1 FM, where interest has also been off the charts. Come Sunday, our pregame coverage will start at 9 a.m., and we won't stop until 2 a.m. when our postgame signs off."

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.

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Jim Williams

Sports Columnist
The Washington Examiner