Thursday, March 28, 2013

NFL Cleveland Browns Ink New Radio Deal

The Cleveland Browns have brought the city's two all-sports talk radio stations together for a long-term partnership that is believed to be the first of its kind in the NFL.

According to Crain’s Cleveland Business, the team on Thursday morning made it official that its games will be featured on three radio stations this season — WKNR-AM, 850; WKRK-FM, 92.3; and WNCX-FM 98.5. The latter two are CBS Radio affiliates, and WKRK, known as “The Fan,” is the chief rival of WKNR, an all-sports talk station owned by Beaver Dam, Wisc.-based Good Karma Broadcasting.

The Browns had been radio partners with Clear Channel since returning to the NFL in 1999, but the contract recently expired. When the team sent out feelers for its radio rights deal last fall, it was approached with a unique idea by a pair of competitors.

WKNR will air an official four-hour Browns pregame show, and The Fan will take over for two hours following the game.

“Cleveland Browns Daily,” hosted by Browns senior editor Vic Carucci, will remain on WKNR, but will expand from one to two hours each weekday. In addition, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski will host a weekly coach's show that will air on both all-sports talk stations.  Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken will continue in their play-by-play and analyst roles.

Clear Channel, which has radio rights for the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers, eventually dropped out of the running.

“I'm really excited,” Good Karma Broadcasting president and CEO Craig Karmazin said in an interview with Crain's. “It's been a long time coming, so it's really exciting that it will be a reality.”

Mr. Karmazin and ESPN Cleveland general manager Keith Williams likened the new agreement to the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which has its games televised by CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV.

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