2015 was a tumultuous year for Red Zebra Broadcasting’s ESPN 980 in Washington DC. Unfortunately, 2016 is starting off in similar fashion.
Program Director Dan Zampillo is leaving his position with the radio station to pursue other interests. He was unavailable for comment but according to sources he’ll be staying on for a little while during the station’s transition.
Zampillo joined ESPN 980 in late April after former Program Director Chuck Sapienza resigned following a chaotic situation with station ownership. Sapienza made a decision to hire a new local morning show hosted by Jason Reid and Chris Paul titled “The Man Cave”. Before the show could hit the airwaves though, Redskins ownership intervened and pulled the plug on it. Sources state that a few members of the Redskins hierarchy were especially not pleased with Reid who had been a critic of the team during his tenure at the Washington Post.
After two weeks of criticism and the resignation of Sapienza, an understanding was reached and the show was permitted to debut on March 30th. However, it would be short lived as Reid and Paul were handed their walking papers on October 28th, just seven months after taking over the morning slot. The station cited poor ratings as the reason for its decision.
Then to add insult to injury, the radio station parted ways with General Manager Rick Carmean in December. Carmean had spent 8 years with the company, including the past 5 overseeing all of its radio business. Ownership announced they were going in a different direction and utilizing more involvement from team executives. Redskins Executive Vice President Terry Bateman, Redskins Play by Play voice Larry Michael, and Sales Manager Steve Johnson were brought in to help run the company business.
For Zampillo, his run in DC ends sooner than expected. Prior to joining ESPN 980, he spent time programming SiriusXM’s NBA and Bleacher Report channels. He’s also served as PD of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, and as APD for WGN in Chicago. No word yet on what his future plans are but interested parties can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.