Craig Karmazin, who owns sports talker WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" and sister WWGK/1540 "KNR2" in Cleveland, has been a little busy in one of his other markets.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that his Good Karma Broadcasting is moving its sports talk format in that market to a new, full-time signal, as it picks up Salem Christian talk/teaching WRRD/540.
Good Karma's ESPN-based sports talk format in Milwaukee is currently housed at daytimer WAUK/1510 Waukesha, with a second nighttime home at local urban talk outlet WMCS/1290. The combo is promoted as "ESPN Milwaukee - 1510 Days, 1290 Nights". The format will simulcast on 540 AM starting in mid-February, and eventually, 1510 will get a second, currently unknown format. ("AM 1510, ESPN Milwaukee2" anyone?)
The move, aside from giving the station a 24 hour presence on one frequency, is apparently also driven by the impending loss of the nighttime time brokering deal with WMCS, which Milwaukee's Business Journal reports ends at the end of this year.
OMW readers, of course, know that Craig Karmazin has done business with Salem before, in his purchase of WKNR.
While speculation is likely to mount here, we wouldn't expect him to do something like, well, buy Salem's big-signaled WHKW/1220 "The Word", the company's home of the Christian talk/teaching format here in Northeast Ohio - and the original home of the WKNR sports format now on 850.
Salem very, very rarely sells its talk/teaching outlets. The format is the very core of its business plan, and the reason the company exists. We wonder if they're doing so in Milwaukee because of another shoe no one has hinted about yet, perhaps the purchase of an FM station up there where they can land the teaching/talk format.
We would expect a repeat of this move in Cleveland only IF Salem were to somehow land a full-market FM signal - or a reasonably good rimshot - for the current "Word" format, or if Salem somehow falls apart financially, and has to start selling signals.
Good Karma's new signal in Milwaukee sounds like it's a small one...just 400 watts, directional, which is less than half the company's WWGK/1540 down here.
But 540 AM is an amazing frequency. At the very, very low end of the AM dial, 400 watts gives WRRD coverage that may even be better than a high-band 5,000 watt station...