At 980, Walker hosted “Doc & Galdi” with Al Galdi while Linn worked with Brian Mitchell and Steve Czaban on their shows from noon to 7 p.m. Johnson will continue to produce Washington Football Team game broadcasts as an independent contractor for WTEM, as he has done since 2018.
Walker, who worked at the station for 27 years, said he holds no ill will over the move and will continue to give his thoughts on the Washington Football Team during and after games.
“Why would I have hard feelings? They gave me an opportunity,” Walker said Friday in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “Everything that happens in life is an opportunity. I loved what I was doing, loved working with Al and doing all that, but that might have been hindering me from something even bigger and better and you don’t know that until you’re put in a position to have to figure it out.”
The former Washington tight end said he’ll fondly remember the “friendships” and “brotherhood” he formed at the station, especially with those who work behind the scenes.
Linn announced his news via tweet, writing, “After almost 27 years at WTEM, I am a free agent. I’ve been beyond lucky to do something that I really love with people I love. I wish the best for my friends going forward.”
Earlier this month, Entercom and Urban One made a swap involving six stations across four markets. The move, which had been in the works since July but was announced on Nov. 5., netted Entercom The Team 980, a competitor of 106.7 The Fan, which Entercom already owned. WTEM’s FM station, 95.9, was not included in the swap and there is no plan for Entercom to air WTEM content on an FM station.
Employees at 980 were informed of the deal a few hours before it was announced via news release, but weren’t told anything regarding their job status over the last two weeks. A Zoom conference call was held Friday night to update staff on where things stand with the new arrangement. The staff will eventually share floor space at The Fan, whose studios are three blocks away from Nationals Park.
Monday marks the beginning of an operating lease agreement until Entercom’s acquisition of 980 is finalized in early 2021. Entercom plans to continue to run 106.7 and 980 as live and local sports stations independent of each other without any nationally syndicated shows in the daily lineups.
An announcement about updated lineups for both stations is expected by the end of the year. In the meantime, The Fan will continue to feature The Sports Junkies in the mornings, Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier midday, and Pete Medhurst as the primary fill-in host in the afternoon drive slot, as has been the case since Chad Dukes was fired in October.
With Walker out at 980, Galdi will host a solo show from 9 a.m. to noon after the Kevin Sheehan Show, followed by the Brian Mitchell and Steve Czaban shows. Starting Monday, hosts on one station will be able to promote upcoming game broadcasts or discuss newsworthy content from the other station. Shows booking hosts from the other station is unlikely.
Competing stations being owned by the same company is rare but not completely unheard of. Entercom owns multiple sports stations in the same market, with Miami, San Francisco, Buffalo, Houston and Kansas City among others.
Locally, Entercom now owns the D.C. radio broadcast rights to the Washington Football Team, Washington Nationals, Washington Capitals, Maryland basketball and football, Georgetown basketball and Virginia Tech football.
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