Browns Radio Rights: Throwing The Long Ball

In what’s been perhaps the worst kept local radio secret since a certain Cleveland station switched to a sports format, that station is about to get into the big leagues when it comes to play-by-play rights.

Did we mention the games will also air on their biggest rival station?

In what has to be a unique situation, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns are expected to announce Thursday morning what everyone already knows…that the team is leaving a multi-decade relationship with Clear Channel, which has aired the games most recently on rock WMMS/100.7 and talk WTAM/1100 (give or take a few, more on that later).

Starting the parade was the first to report this news, the News-Herald’s Bob Finnan:

The Browns will be broadcast on CBS Sports Radio’s WKRK-FM 92.3 The Fan on the FM side, and ESPN WKNR-AM 850, two industry sources confirmed.

Mr. Finnan didn’t say “or” there between the two stations. He said “and”.

If all the reports are correct, and at this point, we’re only beating the Kimpton Middle School newsletter on this (bonus points if you get the joke), the two fierce sports talk competitors will BOTH be broadcasting Browns games.

Both have “major announcements” planned for 9 AM Thursday, and it’s not likely they’ll be announcing a charity golf tournament.

Since Finnan’s article, it’s also come out that CBS will contribute two FM signals to the party…also adding Browns games to WKRK “brother” station classic rock WNCX/98.5. (Hat tip to the Plain Dealer’s Tom Reed for that article.)

The area’s NFL team is certainly compatible with WNCX weekend programming…and 98.5’s full market signal being in the mix ends potential complaints about “The Fan’s” signal.

What happened?

Finnan dips into it a bit:

As many as eight of the Browns’ preseason and regular-season games butted heads with Indians’ broadcasts, which bumped them off WTAM. They’ll no longer have to play second fiddle to the Tribe.

Clear Channel recently “doubled down” on its commitment to Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team, adding all but a handful of regular season games to the WMMS schedule, most in tandem with WTAM.

And though many chuckled when Good Karma Broadcasting-owned WKNR gave an hour of late afternoon drive airtime to the team infomercial “Cleveland Browns Daily”, that show apparently helped seal its part of the deal.

A sidebar: The Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich posted on Ohio.com that “Cleveland Browns Daily” would move from its current time slot on WKNR of 6-7 PM weekdays…to 1-3 PM weekdays.

Could this mean the official end of the Jim Rome Era on AM 850?

Unless the station delays him to the former “Cleveland Browns Daily” evening slot, or banishes Rome to Sports Radio Siberia…where the first hour is already heard on WWGK/1540, the one-lung daytimer we call “Puny 1540 KNR2″…Rome’s now-CBS Sports Radio syndicated show could disappear from the Galleria studios entirely.

(No, we’re not ready to tackle the question about CBS finding room for Rome on its own station, “The Fan”. Rome is actually already heard in snippets on 92.3, doing short CBS Sports Radio commentaries.)

Who’da thought that Vic Carucci would be the man bumping Jim Rome off his long-time Cleveland market radio home, anyway?

Those of you worried about losing Browns radio voice Jim Donovan and analyst Doug Dieken should be heartened by all the reporting that the team isn’t breaking up its radio announcer team.

We’re making the assumption that the composition of the Browns Radio Network won’t change outside Cleveland. Those deals are usually signed separately from the flagship pact…and from each other, to boot…

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3 Responses to Browns Radio Rights: Throwing The Long Ball

  1. Joe Race says:

    WKNR is already a shill to the Browns. This is no surprise. As much as I like listening to Tony Rizzo he has lately been in support of Mike Lombardi as General Manager, going so far as to criticize his own friend, Tony Grossi, for sticking to his guns and exposing Lombardi as inept. Also, Rizzo, a true Old – School kind of guy, is suddenly in favor of the Browns changing uniforms! It all adds up now. The only positive is that it gives one less reason to listen to WKNR as they praise the out of town owners and management of the Browns for every move they make (Jason Campbell?). The biggest reason to not listen? Aaron Goldhammer. When will they get rid of this whining little baby?

  2. johhny says:

    https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101543910&formid=910&fac_num=72100

    DUE TO THE THEFT OF ITS GROUND SYSTEM, WASN WILL REMAIN SILENT UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE GROUND SYSTEM CAN BE REPAIRED AND THE STATION RETURNED TO LICENSED OPERATING PARAMETERS. LICENSEE UNDERSTANDS THAT IT MUST RETURN WASN TO OPERATION WITHIN ONE YEAR OF SILENCE COMMENCEMENT WHICH BEGAN ON FEBRUARY 27, 2013.

    https://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101543909&formid=910&fac_num=74164

    Exhibits Exhibit 1
    Description: REASON FOR SILENT REQUEST

    DUE TO ONGOING TECHNICAL PROBLEMS, WGFT REQUESTS TO REMAIN SILENT WHILE THE PROBLEMS ARE CORRECTED. LICENSEE UNDERSTANDS THAT WGFT MUST RETURN TO OPERATION WITHIN ONE YEAR OF SILENCE COMMENCEMENT WHICH BEGAN ON FEBRUARY 27, 2013.

  3. johhny says:

    The above is for WGFT-AM and WASN-AM in Youngstown

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