Talking with Steve Czaban of ESPN 980 The Drive
Steve Czaban has 25 years of experience in sports talk radio. He hosts a national show on Yahoo sports radio every morning from 6 – 10 a.m. with Scott Linn and a local show every afternoon from 4 – 7 p.m. with Chris Cooley and Al Galdi. He blends national and local sports and pop culture content in a seamless fashion. If you are looking for corporate shtick and boring sports talk then Steve Czaban is not for you. The “Czabe” is candid, upfront, and honest.
In addition to sports, the “Czabe” is just as likely to kick off discussions incorporating pop culture, lawn maintenance, backyard grills and trips to Las Vegas. He is passionate about his local sports teams but just as likely to reference Seinfeld and Family Guy while on the air. On Tap caught up with the “Czabe” about his TV set-up, the football field in his backyard, RG3 and the Redskins’ chances this upcoming season.
On Tap: Why do you need three TVs in your man cave?
Steve Czaban: There’s no other way to live, if you went to a sports bar and they didn’t have TVs with different games on, you would be outraged. So why would you not have your home set up with more than one TV if you’re a sports fan? A couple of TVs right next to each other is no great luxury. TVs have gotten so cheap, the barrier to it is that people think it’s indulgent, crazy and obsessive, but it just makes sense. I decided to do it primarily for the NFL, but quickly found that watching college football was just as enjoyable. Then, I found out that watching different sporting events was just as good. There’s so much downtime in every sport that it’s not hard to keep up with three things.
OT: I heard you built a football field in your backyard. Why did you decide to do that?
SC: It’s funny because when you have a little bit of land, sometimes you think ‘this isn’t what I’m going to do.’ I have a fairly flat piece of property with 10 acres. Now I can build a football field. People think it’s a crazy expense. It did cost some money to move the dirt and reseed the area, but just a couple hundred dollars of field paint and a field painter, and nine hours of work each fall. It’s cool and looks awesome. Chris Cooley helped me paint the Redskins logo and taught me how to grid it out.
OT: How do you prepare differently for your local and national shows?
SC: As far as the personalities, on the morning show, I’ve worked with them a little longer so I know them really well. I’m still getting to know Cooley and Galdi and we get better every day. We’re coming up on two years now and you start to develop with every week that goes by. Because of the experience, we play a little more aggressively on the national morning show. The tempo and aggressiveness with what we do in the afternoon will begin to ramp up and match the morning show.
OT: What are your thoughts on RG3 for this year?
SC: We’ve got all of our chips on him. If he’s not good, then all those picks we used to go get him are going to be wiped away. This is going to be a telling year, either he gets traction and figures it out and becomes a legitimate pro-style quarterback or it’s going to be a season where he’s injured and plays like he did last year and then you are going to have to move on. It’s high stakes.
OT: What are the chances of the Redskins finishing the season with a .500 record?
SC: There’s always a chance; everyone always thinks we’ve got a shot to be 8 – 8 and if things break right then we can be 10 – 6. And that’s the beauty of the NFL. I don’t know though, I’m pessimistic.
The Drive with Steve Czaban, Chris Cooley and Al Galdi airs every weekday afternoon from 4 – 7 p.m. on ESPN 980. August 5 will mark their two year anniversary. You can catch the Czabe’s morning show on Yahoo sports radio, or stream it at www.yahoosportsradio.com.
Meet ESPN 980’s Chris Paul and Jason Reid of The Man Cave
A new sports radio show, The Man Cave, hit the ESPN 980 airwaves in March and has since been breaking the boundaries of sports talk during the morning commute.
The show is hosted by two big personalities, Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Paul, a veteran of the radio world, co-hosted the Donnie Simpson show on WPGC for 16 years and the Tom Joyner Morning Show the past six. Reid started his journalism career with the Los Angeles Times and in 2010 became the Redskins beat reporter, then was promoted to a sports columnist position in 2011. Both care about the integrity of sports and the importance of the male lifestyle, which is what a man cave is all about.
The concept behind the show is simple: Listening in is like escaping from the real world, creating a sort of “man cave away from home.” A “man cave” is a place where guys can go to escape the pressures of the outside world – whether it is a job, family or other responsibilities – and have a place that is just their own. The hosts are happy to have a show that can act as an alternative.
“No one ever says they are going to their man cave to do work,” Paul said. “They go to relax and watch sports.”
Both hosts agree that the purpose of their show is to entertain their audience. With four hours to cover, the men want to be a program where people go to learn about sports, but other topics as well. Reid says, “[We] use sports as a jumping off point to go off other things in a man’s life.”
They discuss real issues that guys deal with. Recent topics include the dangers of sleep apnea and domestic violence. The idea is, while “you are busy laughing and we slip in real life stuff,” said Paul.
The guys aren’t leaving women out either. There have been discussions on how men can be a better significant other or father.
When asked what makes their show different, Paul and Reid agree that it is all about mindset. “I’m a journalist and Chris is a comedian, so the perspective of our show is pretty unique,” Reid said.
It is uncommon for a sports show to be hosted by African-Americans that have never played professional sports, but the men don’t let that faze them. “Doesn’t matter what color you are, we go through the same things in life,” Paul said.
As for their relationships with sports, the men have different points of view. Paul is a die-hard Redskins fan and describes the relationship like “being in love with a woman who treats you bad, but comes back in the fall to break [your heart] all over again.” Being a journalist, Reid chooses to be diplomatic about his team preferences. “I don’t root for a team, I root for very good stories [and] good people who have overcome something.”
Of course the men have their own “man caves.” Reid’s is complete with a wet bar and flat screen. Paul is in the process of remodeling and hopes to have it finished in time for the beginning of the NFL season.
Paul’s dream item is still a fantasy. He wants a massage table with a flat screen on the floor, so he can relax, “face down, [while] watching the Redskins.” Reid simply wants a pool table, which he hopes to have soon.
Listen to The Man Cave from Monday to Friday from 6 to 10 a.m. on ESPN 980 and learn more at www.espn980.com
Outfit Your Man Cave and Look Good Doing It
Bars By Bud
For nearly 38 years, Bars by Bud has specialized in building custom, handmade bars. Their showroom has an eclectic personality with everything from showroom bar designs and bar stools to mirrors, cabinets, lighting and foot rails. Besides the inventive bars, guys can find cool man cave stuff like Jockey Boxes, the sweet little coolers that allow you to dispense beer, keg-style, anytime, without electricity. $65. AP. Bars by Bud:
2812-D Merrilee Dr., Fairfax, VA; 703-573-1010; www.bbbmepham.com
Floyd’s 99 Barbershop
Known as the original rock ‘n’ roll barbershop, Floyd’s is all about bringing rock ‘n’ roll to hair styling. Inside you’ll find walls plastered with music posters, photos, flat screens and more. A true dude spot, Floyd’s is part experience, part hair styling. Whether you want a buzz cut, color work or designs, they’ve got you covered. A general “Floyd’s Cut” starts at $24. Need dude-worthy grooming products? Try their shampoo and conditioner $14.99 each or molding paste and styling cream $15.99 each. Products sold in-store only. AP, CC. Floyd’s 99 Barbershop:
8296 Glass Alley #130, Fairfax, VA; 703-639-0090; www.floydsbarbershop.com
With locations in Annapolis, Gainesville and, most recently, the Mosaic District, Great Gatherings is like man cave heaven. Carrying a wide variety of decor genres from classic and rustic to urban and contemporary, this might be the Mecca of man caves. With a wide selection of gaming tables, furniture and novelties, you won’t have any troubling personalizing your space. We liked the “Drinking Tower Game,” an adult version of Jenga for $19.95. Also cool, the wall signs. We liked one noting, “What Happens in the Man Cave Stays in the Man Cave,” priced at a reasonable $29.95. If you’re looking for something a little more original, check out the iconic “Ali Over Liston” poster for only $295. CC. Great Gatherings:
Mosaic District 2920 District Ave., Fairfax, VA; 571-234-8100;www.greatgatherings.com
The Great Republic
A celebration of iconic American living, The Great Republic offers premium US made products at the posh new CityCenterDC. Expect a broad price range across a variety of products from antique collectibles to eclectic, re-inspired vintage decor. Certainly, guys are sure to drool over items like the fully restored 1946 Indian Chief Motorcycle and authentic 1845 US Wall Map, but they will also find an array of items for the everyday man. We like the Homemade Gin Kit priced under $60 and the “You Earned It” bottle opener for $30. For only 10 bucks you can get Duke Cannon’s Big Ass Brick of Soap and smell like accomplishment, everyday. AM. The Great Republic at CityCenterDC:
973 Palmer Alley, NW, DC; 202-682-1812;www.great-republic.com