An Unsatisfying Meal
Now that the Washington Redskins season has finally, mercifully ended, I have nothing but pity for Larry Michael and Bram Weinstein, the hosts of Redskins Lunch, the noontime sports-talk show that covers all things Redskins and airs locally on WXGI 950 AM. According to the station’s program director, Mitchell Bradley, plans call for the show to continue through the offseason, perhaps with a slight tweak in format. Unless there's some major shift in the subjects they cover, what in the heck will they talk about?
It’s been nearly three years since WXGI switched its identity from country and bluegrass music to its current ESPN-affiliated sports-talk format, and for this fan of sports talk, they’ve mostly been good years, at least until this past summer, when Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting purchased WXGI and shuffled its programming. Redskins Lunch replaced Colin Cowherd, who provided a serviceable alternative to WRNL 910 AM’s Jim Rome during my lunchtime errand-running.
In theory, an hour of Redskins talk every day should have been manna from heaven for me, given that my all-time favorite sports memory remains John Riggins’ 43-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XVII, followed closely by quarterback Doug Williams’ evisceration of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, back in the years when John Elway was still known as the punk who’d spurned the Baltimore Colts and couldn’t win the big one. Instead, Redskins Lunch has mostly been pretty disappointing.
I can’t place all the blame on the hosts’ shoulders: Given the Skins’ miserable 2006 campaign, there just weren’t a lot of positives for Michael and Weinstein to talk about, and picking at the wound for 60 minutes every day got to be a bit much. That said, Michael, who also does play-by-play for the Redskins’ radio broadcasts, has been such an unapologetic homer, only recently beginning to level some relatively tame but well-deserved criticism toward the team, that it makes for boring radio. Whenever Weinstein, who’s set up as the cynic to Michael’s Pollyanna, works up a head of steam, you can usually count on Michael to take the wind out of his sails with a knee-jerk defense of the team, no matter how justified Weinstein’s point may be, which, again, can make for a dull broadcast.
I know the NFL has become something of a year-round affair, what with free-agent moves, coaching hires, draft analysis and the occasional police-blotter item, but I have no idea how Michael and Weinstein are going to create five hours a week of entertaining radio in the offseason, given the troubles they had doing so during the actual season. But maybe they’ll get lucky and Snyder will open up his wallet to work out a trade for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver/freak show Terrell Owens. That should fill a few minutes.