Last week, we ran down the changes that have taken place at WKNR and how it affected the immensely popular Jim Rome show. You will remember that Rome’s show is now split with the first hour playing on a weak-signaled KNR2 instead of ESPN 850 WKNR. The final two hours of the show are still on the main station.
Many of you didn’t seem to care that a nationally syndicated show was being supplanted for additional local content. That’s fine. I can’t blame anyone for what their tastes are. (Well, mostly.) Additionally, Jim Rome seemed to indicate that while he wasn’t cool with the move, he still had respect for the station and its owner Craig Karmazin. I guess that doesn’t preclude continuing to fight the decision though.
Jim Rome tweeted the following last night. ”Cleveland, Colt McCoy is in The Jungle in hour one. Just saying.” So Jim Rome might respect owner Craig Karmazin, and he might be somewhat understanding that a business move isn’t personal. Then again, Rome seems to be countering with “business moves” of his own. By featuring Cleveland content in hour one, especially Cleveland Browns starting quarterback content, he is attempting to pit his show directly against the last hour of Rizzo on WKNR.
Rome has acknowledged on his show that the signal of KNR2 is significantly weaker and his intentional drawing of listeners to KNR2 today will do nothing but highlight how poor the signal of that station is. It could cause the natives to become more restless. Even if Jim Rome isn’t calling on the Cleveland audience to rebel completely and totally against WKNR management, he is finding subtle ways to show Cleveland listeners the downside of having the show moved, if they didn’t know already.
Of course it could always backfire on Rome too. Maybe this will drive listeners to KNR2 on the web which plays right into Karmazin’s hands and almost vindicates his business move. In the modern world maybe a weak signal strength doesn’t matter nearly as much when streaming is so widely available on the web and on smartphones.
Time will tell. I am not rooting one way or another in this, but I am fascinated by the way this gentlemanly media war is playing out.