Saturday, October 28, 2006

"Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" Is Here

OMW hears that the ESPN Radio format has debuted on "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540".

And even if you're not within the station's 1000 watt signal range, anyone will notice the rather extensive website which has now popped up at

Color us impressed.

The site is very similar to the website for Good Karma Broadcasting's other ESPN Radio outlet, Some details we've noticed:

NEW CALLS AND INFO: The "Advertising" page notes that the station's new calls will be WWGK. (We'll presume that's for "Good Karma".) For now, the station is legally WBKC, having taken those calls from Dale Edwards' facility at 1460/Painesville.

It also lists the station's dial position, even at launch, as "1540 Days". The site does not appear to be a direct copy of the Milwaukee site, so it wouldn't seem that this was just something they copied over from there. We're still wondering about Mr. Karmazin's efforts to find a nighttime signal.

PROGRAMMING: To that end, the station's program schedule is also listed. It has the usual ESPN Radio lineup, plus...

"The Steve and Craig Show" is on the schedule from 7 PM to 8 PM. With solely the 1540 signal, the show will not actually air in Cleveland at launch - since the station signs off before it begins.

Says the site:

The Steve and Craig Show is a wacky combination of sports talk, comedy and off-beat antics featuring local and national celebrities. Listeners are entertained by the duo’s mix of humor, guests, games, and debates over the topic of the day.

Despite the note about "local" celebrities, this is not a local show. And those guessing about the identity of the "Craig" in the show's name are correct.

Yes, that's Craig Karmazin, the mastermind behind this entire operation and the sole owner of Good Karma Broadcasting.

"The Steve and Craig Show" has been on the air on Craig's sports stations since 1998. We believe it started at Good Karma's first sports outlet, the FM sports talker in Madison now known as "FOX Sports Radio 100.5". It also airs on the sports talker Karmazin owns in the West Palm Beach FL market.

The Good Karma boss apparently started on-air as one-half of a show called "The Wacky Interns" at Philadelphia's iconic sports talk WIP/610, his current co-host being the other half..

A curious item is listed in Karmazin's bio in the ESPN Cleveland "on-air" section, which does not tell listeners that he owns the place:

He has spent the last nine years living in Wisconsin and has recently moved to downtown Cleveland, where he is excited to be within walking distance of three major sports teams.

He's moved here?!?! Wow. (Well, at least in downtown Cleveland, he'd also be within listening distance of his new station's not-so-great signal.)

STREAMING AUDIO - NOT YET: The station trumpets streaming audio with links throughout the new website.

But we didn't go through the motions of signing up for the station's "club" to get to the stream, because an OMW reader told us that for now, all you get after telling them what local team you want to win a championship is - a link to

OTHER AUDIO AND STAFF: The ESPN Cleveland "Audio" page already has interviews with Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, and Browns defensive rookie star Kamerion Wimbley.

The interviews were conducted by Aaron Goldhammer and Bernard Bokenyi.

A quick Google search shows Goldhammer as a producer for the company's Steve "The Homer" True show and the aforementioned "Steve and Craig" show. Bokenyi had a long run at Sporting News Radio as a producer and update anchor, until losing his job last year due to cutbacks at the ailing sports radio network...

Anyway, as we said, impressive for a debut site. We'll have to see how the radio product pans out, and what local touches Good Karma adds to the syndicated product which now airs...


Anonymous said...

i love how the streaming audio page send you to espn radio's website....

Ohio Media Watch said...

We normally don't drop into our own comments area to add information, but Blogger is being persnickety and not allowing us to update the main blog.

We're reminded that the 1540 frequency in Cleveland is now actually legally WBKC(AM), the calls swapped onto it by former owner Dale Edwards...who took the WABQ calls to 1460/Painesville.

We presume a call letter change to WWGK is in the works.


raccoonradio said...

On the WWGK site:

>>For the first time ever, ESPN Radio comes to Cleveland

But I thought WKNR was running some of their shows before? First time ever?
Unless they mean "first time as
a 24/7 ESPN outlet"...

I write to you from Boston area (visit Cleveland once a yr), where those who work nights like myself had a tough time picking up the baseball playoffs at our workplace...because ESPN pulled themselves off powerful WEEI to
go onto two weak (at night)
signals. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

so they actually have offices/studios on Euclid Ave.??

Anonymous said...

Yep. Per the website, ESPN Radio 1540 is at the AM/1540 studio/transmitter site, which is 8000 Euclid Ave.

One other question: would anyone know if WABQ/1460 is still operating from that same site with an STL (possible, since the early stages of WWGK wouldn't necessarily need THAT much space) or at the former AM/1460 Painsville studios?

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

i think they are at the same places they were before, but just switched call signals

Anonymous said...

If you mean studios I don't know. Here in Youngstown, 1540 WRTK used the old WHOT/WBBG studios on Knox street even though it was the transmitter site of Youngstown's ESPN radio 1240 WBBW and WNCD (formely WBBG) 93.3 FM. Now of course 1540 is owned by Mr. Glunt and now I do believe is housed with 1570 WANR, the Freq 107 and 1470 AM. It all comes down to ownership of the transmitter site/building. If the owner of the property has no need for it then yeah they could but in this case it comes down to who owns the property and if they can get a deal to rent or lease.

Anonymous said...

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....honestly, I have never seen this much press/notoriety for a 1,000 watt AM station. Amazing. I am thankful that they this deal is finally done. Mike Trivisonno's farts probably get more listeners.

Anonymous said...

i will never be able to hear the station in lake county, but the website has only been up a day and it already blows wknr's website out of the water.

Anonymous said...

i think bernard worked at wknr for a time being. name sounds familar...

Biily Vanilla said...

Why is Baby-Face Craig using his old high school picture on the web site?

Anonymous said...

Well I can tell there will be very little difference in the new ESPN and what's going on at 'KNR. ESPN already hired a graduate from the prestigious Ohio Center for Broadcasting for their local programming.

Apparently no one wants to take a look at talented broadcasters who took the time to go to an actual college, acquire debt, and get shit on by the Cleveland market.

With so much talent at stations like WOBL, WEOL, and other smaller stations around NE Ohio, why are we still stuck with owners who hire the lowest common denominator?

Cheapness is a virtue, ladies and gentlemen. And it has turn a once great radio market into a former shell of itself.

newsnomore said...

Congratulations to the 1,000 people who live within the stations listening area.

5/6th of the market can't hear...doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

Craig looks like Baba Booey

Anonymous said...

From an above post...."Apparently no one wants to take a look at talented broadcasters who took the time to go to an actual college, acquire debt, and get pooped on by the Cleveland market" can't teach TALENT in any classrom.

Anybody want to get in the pool for the day all the trademarked logos come off the site? The Browns, indians, & Cavs will all be gone. Can't use the logo without permission and their improper use implies a partnership, which they don't have.

Also...I'm betting the 1st local advertiser will be lazer hair removal. No doubt a trade out for craigs unibrow.

sharon bicknall said...

Nobody said talent is learned in the classroom, however, by listening to the OCB broadcasters in this market, it's pretty clear they aren't as articulate or intelligent. Way too many errs, ummmms, ahhhs, etc. People that go to college and get 4 year degrees are smarter, and are usually better able to express coherent opinions, something that is pretty crucial in radio.

That's not to say that a diamond can't be found in a given rough. But unfortunately, this town is still waiting for that diamond.

Anonymous said...

I remember listening to WABQ 1540 AM in Berea, Ohio back when they were "Tiger Radio" and played R&B in the early 1970s. I often used a very small 9-volt battery radio about the size of my hand. I even had a "Tiger Radio" card. The station came in fine! Now the signal is poorer. Could this be due to current transmitter/tower location and height? However, other AM stations that I listened to years ago are not as good as they once were. It's kind of surprising if virtually all of them are weakened by lack of attention to groundwave maintenance. Could that help 1540s signal?

Anonymous said...

I was driving around Bay Village and Westlake today and 1540 came in and was very listenable.

A tad scratchy, but decent enough.

Once you cross the Lorain County line, it starts to disappear.

Anonymous said...

more on bokenyi...

Persistence pays off. After spending a year in the job market, former Sporting News Radio Talent Bernard Bokenyi has joined the new ESPN Radio affiliate in Cleveland.

Cleveland’s ESPN Radio WWGK debuted on Saturday, October 28. Bokenyi, an STAA (Sports Talent Agency of America) client and a Cleveland native, has been back home for two months helping prepare for the launch.

“I was out for a year, but it was worth it,” Bokenyi says. “I got the best job I could hope for personally and professionally.”

A jack-of-all-trades, Bokenyi is applying all of his skills in his new position. His official title is Anchor/Reporter. However, he could also fairly be called Co-Sports Director and Co-Program Director as he is handling many of the administrative responsibilities of a Program Director.

In addition to handling afternoon anchor responsibilities, Bokenyi is also covering the Buckeyes and Browns beats and might eventually host some weekend programming.

The opportunity in Cleveland didn’t happen overnight for Bokenyi. “It was a work in progress for 18 months,” he says. Bokenyi shares a mutual friend with new station owner Craig Karmazin. Bokenyi initiated contact with Karmazin via email. As he says, “one thing led to another” until he was hired.

Currently, the station doesn’t carry any local programming. That will probably change in the near future.

In addition to his time as producer/reporter at Sporting News Radio, Bokenyi has also worked at WKNR in Cleveland. He is a graduate of the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.

fybush said...

Weren't the WBKC calls on 1560 in Chardon before moving to 1460? (1460 was WPVL, right?)

Anonymous said...

Mike Snyder on the Browns post-game End-Zone Show mentioned that Casey Coleman was on the field with the team this afternoon, but in an observer role. Andre Knott was still doing the sideline report.

Anonymous said...

The WBKC call letters were originally on 1560 AM in Chardon, Ohio. The station at 1460 AM was originally WPVL, Painesville. Then in the early to mid 1980s the call letters for 1460 were changed to WQLS in order to make the station more marketable as a full Lake County station instead of a PainesViLl station. In 1986, the owner of the Chardon station bought the Painesville station and moved the WBKC call letters and the Country music format to 1460 AM.