Redskins owner Snyder starts sports-talk chain

WASHINGTON -- Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has launched a chain of sports-talk radio stations, taking on the area's only other station with the format and giving the team direct control over its radio network.

Snyder, who bought Six Flags Inc. last year, purchased three
small radio stations that will broadcast Redskins games, ESPN Radio
programming and an afternoon talk show hosted by former Washington
running back John Riggins.

The weak-signaled stations -- WWXT-FM in Warrenton, Va., WWXX-FM in Prince Frederick, Md., and WXTR-AM in Alexandria, Va. -- are broadcasting under the moniker "Triple-X ESPN Radio." Each covers only part of the region, and the AM station is required by law to turn down its signal at night.

But Snyder said the three signals together will give Redskins games a broader reach than they had on their old flagship station, WJFK-FM, which opted not to renew its contract with the team after last season.

Snyder also owns a station in Richmond, Va., and has a deal in
the works for another in Norfolk, Va.

The small network also represents the first competition for the region's only sports-talk station, WTEM-AM, which began broadcasting the early 1990s. Snyder hired Bennett Zier, a founder of WTEM and formerly its top executive, to run the new network and
has made several other hires from the station as well.

At stake is a relatively small audience. WTEM ranked 15th in the
latest Arbitron ratings, with an average of just 2 percent of the
radio audience.