SBD/December 30, 2013/Media

People & Personalities: Ex-Redskin Cooley Finding Comfort Zone In First Season On Radio

In DC, Dan Steinberg wrote one of the Redskins' "harshest critics" this season was ESPN Radio 980 DC's Chris Cooley, a "31-year-old media rookie just 12 months removed from sharing a locker room with the players he now appraises." Heading into this season, he "was unusually positioned to diagnose the Redskins’ maladies." He has "identified players who looked like they weren’t giving maximum effort, players who weren’t talented enough to contribute and players who failed at their assignments." Reporters assigned to the Redskins beat "began tuning in for his analysis, and fans buzzed over it." Red Zebra Broadcasting VP/Programming Chuck Sapienza, whose company owns the station, said of Cooley's analysis, "It’s become a monster; it gets almost as much response as anything we do." Longtime DC-area sports radio commentator Andy Pollin said of Cooley, "I’m really amazed that he’s doing this because my experience with athletes is they’re hesitant to do it, especially with athletes they’ve played with." Cooley said that four or five players "have reached out to him with questions about his critiques, which they’ve mostly heard of second-hand" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/27).

GOING NATIONAL: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen reported Monday is WFNZ-AM host Taylor Zarzour's final day with the station, but he is "staying in town." Zarzour on Jan. 6 "will begin his new show, Bleacher Report with Taylor Zarzour, on Sirius Radio." The show will run from 11:00am-2:00pm ET. He will "broadcast from a studio at his Charlotte home." Zarzour said of the new show's format, "You basically take the two or three biggest topics in sports each day and run with them." He added of why he left WFNZ, "Just to do a national show is too good of an opportunity to pass up for my family" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/29).

BOSTON'S BEST: In Boston, Chad Finn handed out his '13 "sports media superlatives" for the city. Finn named CSN New England Celtics broadcaster Mike Gorman as "Best play-by-play voice"; NESN baseball analyst Dennis Eckersley as "Best color and studio analyst"; Patriots radio play-by-play voice Bob Socci as "Best newcomer"; WEEI-FM's Kirk Minihane's addition to the "Dennis and Callahan" show as "Best third voice added to a program"; and WBZ-FM's "Toucher and Rich" as "Best radio program" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/27).
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