New Sports Talk Competitor

Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” and its low-powered brother station, WWGK/1540 “KNR2” have always had at least some sports talk competition in Cleveland…just not much on the radio.

And, even less since Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 deemphasized sports talk after canceling the weekday edition of “Sportsline”, in favor of a mix of topics on non-game nights with evening host Bob Frantz, not to mention afternoon host Mike Trivisonno’s move to more non-sports topics.

Starting November 1st, a new online effort joins the battle, until now a space only occupied by Paul Belfi’s SportsTalkCleveland.com…itself, at one time, an adjunct of WKNR before going solo.

“Digital Sports Network”, a cooperative effort with the Plain Dealer’s affiliated website Cleveland.com, could very much be the answer to the question “where are they now” for any number of Cleveland sports media personalities.

That’s one question people won’t ask about some of “DSN’s” biggest names, at least if the schedule posted online holds true on November 1st.

That schedule lists long-time local sports radio/TV talker Les Levine (Time Warner Cable’s “More Sports and Les Levine”) pairing up with PD sportswriter Bud Shaw in middays. We assume both men are keeping their regular gigs.

Morning drive will be co-hosted by local sports TV veteran Mike Cairns, currently filling in at Scripps’ WEWS/5, and Bill Boronkay.

Local sports radio veteran Matt Loede (Metro Networks, WEOL/930) is paired up with Greg Kozarik, and after Levine and Shaw, two other known names are listed in the DSN afternoon drive slot…long-time local and network sports radio personality Chuck Booms and former WTAM afternoon drive producer Paul Rado are listed with Harry Petsanis.

We already knew that long-time/now-former WKNR voice Daryl Ruiter was joining the new operation…and he’s paired with another ex-WKNR host 6-8 PM on the DSN schedule, the one and only “BSK”, Kendall Lewis. Lewis, of course, also worked at Belfi’s SportsTalkCleveland operation.

The stream will continue with local hosts until 11 PM, with the “Final Word” hosted by three more local sports radio names, Joe Lull (Metro Networks), and ex-WKNR’ers Bob Karlovec and Ken Silverstein.

Whew.

Note that all of the above comes directly from the new DSN online schedule, and we haven’t directly confirmed any of it. It seems unlikely, though, that Cleveland.com would put up a fake schedule.

Now, when we first heard about this effort, it was a blog and not affiliated with Cleveland.com.

That affiliation gains it some credibility, though (as far as we know) it’s still not a “radio station”, and a direct competitor to Good Karma’s sports stations only on the Internet. (Which, of course, they’ve moved to beef up, and “KNR2” may as well be an Internet station with a small transmitter attached.)

When “DSN” launches, will the mix of familiar names and newcomers be enough to help it gain traction? Is the Internet to a point that an online operation can make some hay in the local sports marketplace, and how will Mr. Belfi’s existing operation be affected?

(A quick check of the SportsTalkCleveland.com site shows Belfi is not sitting still…it promises a relaunch of the site on October 31st, one day before “DSN” joins the fray.)

All these questions will get answers…eventually…

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2 Responses to New Sports Talk Competitor

  1. BrownsOhio3344 says:

    How can there be “morning drive” and “afternoon drive” talk shows for a station that is only on the internet?

    “Drive time” refers to when people are listening to the radio on their commutes. In their cars. So unless someone has a laptop in their front seat, with an air card, and they set that elaborate thing up before starting the car, there is no such thing as “drive time” for internet radio.

    • Point taken, though we were obviously using traditional radio terms.

      There is some overlap, not only in online listening “around” drive time (i.e. before leaving home/work), but smartphones can mean some in-car listening in traditional radio drive time… though that number is probably quite small… right now, at least.

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