Every time former Washington Redskins play-by-play man Frank Herzog would say “driving from left to right across your radio dial” this is approximately what I’d see in my mind. Somehow I found an image of an old AC Delco AM radio that looks a lot like the one my dad’s 1976 (Super)Nova had. Not pictured — ambient Camel (unfiltered) cigarette smoke. I can still smell it. Of course, the radio would have been on 630, WMAL, but we can’t be too picky.
In 2004, Larry Michael fired Herzog after 25 years of calling the Redskins and took the play-by-play job for himself. Herzog has been doing spot work for WTOP after he was also let go from WUSA-TV late in 2004. He was one of the many post-Glenn Brenner (retconned from Metroblogging DC) anchors on that station. According to DCRTV, he is retiring from WTOP to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren (do his children feel being left out?). This retirement announcement has brought back some nostalgia for the days when Redskins radio (and the team) was good (DC Sports Bog, The Post). Back then, the Redskins were on WMAL, at the time a juggernaut in the D.C. area with all local programming. Johnny Holiday did pregame, while Ken Beatrice did post-game. Holiday is still doing Maryland Terps sports and Nats studio coverage, but Beatrice is long since retired — somebody track him down and do a profile of him. Unrepentant homers, Hall of Fame Redskins Sonny Jurgeson and Sam Huff are still doing Redskins radio like a pair of your favorite bickering uncles, but their glory, like the team’s is faded. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say sports radio was much better back then. Watching the game with “the sound turned down and the radio turned up” was a big part of the fan culture here as in other cities. I even did it and I was not even a Redskins fan growing up.
Like the team, Herzog’s replacement, Michael, have been pretty awful. I’ll say the team has been better than Michael though, who is just an shill with a slicky-boy attitude, bad propagandist with an annoying voice. If I have listened to a quarter of a Redskins game since then I’d be surprised.
When the Washington Nationals started up, I was hoping Herzog would be involved in the broadcasting because every D.C. team he had worked for had won a world championship — the 1978 NBA Champion Bullets had you know who at the microphone. That didn’t happen but I’m pretty happy with the radio team of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler. I’d gladly take Herzog on TV though.
So, good luck and a happy retirement to Herzog, who will live in our memories and even on some of those NFL Films of the Redskins in the 1980s.