Mr. Tony Leaving Radio

Written by Tracy

I have been busy the past few months with work, conferences, and dressing up as the gnome to Nats games. I wanted to write more on HR and other stuff, but never had the time. I was going to write again next week to prepare for #SHRM16, but I heard yesterday that Mr. Tony is leaving ESPN 980 to have his own podcast. So, I have to write an impromptu post about it.

Frankly, this was not a surprise (like Wilbon) as Mr. Tony’s contract was up and podcasts are making money (look at NPR) so this was the right move by Kornheiser. Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Mr. Tony’s radio show is tape delayed, so you feel you are listening to a podcast of some sort.

Why is it still a big deal about Kornheiser leaving sports radio because Kornheiser was the best sports talk show host during his heyday, and arguably still is one of the best D.C. radio talk shows today. If you’re a fan of Kornheiser, the late 1990s to mid 200os were the best shows of his tenure. Personally, his most underrated year was in 2007 when the Washington Post had their own radio station and you felt Mr. Tony was comfortable and loved the format.

Lately, the show is more known for the TK Jingles at the end of the show. I initially thought it wouldn’t do much in the beginning, but it has quickly become a staple of the show and I’m enjoying it more, especially getting to know most of them through playing their fantasy football draft league. It will be bittersweet to see TK Jingle Fest : Even Liver live later this month.

Side note: a request for TK Jingles. Since Mr. Tony is going to be out of radio, I request someone do a song based of Liz Clarke’s hatred of Canada mashed up with the main reason why Liz Clarke hates Canada: “Snowbird” by Anne Murray.

As for the future, we know Mr. Tony will be doing a podcast starting this September, but what’s weird is it was announced, by ESPN 980, that Mr. Tony is doing a podcast. This tells me ESPN will likely provide the podcast, not an independent company. This also has several implications:

  • Maybe no Cillizza, McManus, or other non-ESPN personalities coming to the podcast?
  • Is this going to be the same show for the past few years, but with a more national bent?
  • Is this going to be set at ABC News Studios in DC, where they shoot PTI? (I miss the remote shows at Rehoboth)
  • No Window Nation, but yes to national ads?
  • Will the Jingles continue or does Disney buy them out and turn it to a Disney musical starring Jason Alexander reprising his Tony role, Anna Kendrick as Liz, and Chris Pine as Michael and screw the littles out of royalties they deserved?
  • Will Dan LeBatard (the true heir to Kornheiser, not Cowherd) now show up on his podcast? Is this why Charlie left that show last week?
  • Will the podcast feature the return of Snackdown and the Fantasy Head League since he started that trend?
  • Can he really rip on Raju Nerasetti now? Since Raju works for News Corporation (Fox, WSJ), I hope ESPN gives Mr. Tony the green light to say whatever he wants to Raju.

This news is disturbing if you’re fans of the radio. You only listen to the radio now for Charlie and Dave for the Nationals and the Wizards Radio Party, but that is how the media landscape works. The sad part is Mr. Tony didn’t reach his silver anniversary doing his local radio show in D.C. So, he goes out similar to Bob Edwards at NPR almost twelve years ago. The difference is Mr. Tony is still in with the company and happy with ESPN and hopefully, we’ll be happy for his new podcast, or sad, depending what Mr. Tony wants for the littles.


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