September 1, 2014

92.3 FM Switching to Sports in Cleveland?

With the failed Digital Sports Network (DSN) so recently in our memories, there is a rumor floating around that 92.3 FM in Cleveland could have its format flipped by CBS radio into a sports talk channel.  There was one thing that DSN taught us for sure and that is that there is demand for choices in Cleveland sports talk.  It seems that there might be one on the horizon according to RadioInsight.com.  According to their site, a web domain has been registered anonymously since march at 923TheFan.com.  Additionally, Radio Insight is sniffing around CBSCleveland.com and Cleveland.CBSLocal.com where there is a locked down WordPress software installation.  But is there any truth to it all?

We did some digging on this just to see what CBS has done in the past.  CBS has started up FM sports stations in markets like Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Washington D.C., Chicago and Pittsburgh.  In Boston CBS is the flagship station for the New England Patriots.  In Dallas CBS is the flagship station for the Dallas Cowboys.  In Detroit they have the Lions.  In Chicago they have the White Sox and in Pittsburgh and D.C. it appears they don’t have any affiliations.  According to sources we talked to, team affiliations are one of the keys to the business plan, particularly with NFL teams.  So, when, exactly are the Browns up for radio contract renewal?

The answer is that I am not sure.  The last news that I read about the contract that Clear Channel has with the Browns covered a period through 2008 with an option year in 2009.  If you assume (just a wild guess) that the new contract that Clear Channel signed with the Browns was also a three-year deal with a fourth option year, that could mean that the Browns contract could be up after the 2013 NFL season, potentially.  Again, I couldn’t find any information on this and I haven’t gotten confirmation as to how long the current deal runs as of yet.

Of course, even if having team affiliations is the desired business plan, that doesn’t mean it still couldn’t happen.  By all accounts 92.3 FM makes money for CBS because of its ultra-low overheads.  They pay music rights and some electric bills at this point and you’d have to think that is about it.

This is all very exciting unless you are a fan of alternative rock music and still rely on FM radio to deliver the Red Hot Chili Peppers hits in between commercial breaks.  I know that sounds a little bit harsh, but I think it is becoming plainly obvious to pretty much everyone that terrestrial radio is an outdated medium for delivering music. Between mobile phones, iPods, satellite radio and services like Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, you just don’t need it much anymore.  This isn’t even to mention the new cloud services that Google, Apple and Amazon have out now.

Why not drop out of the futile music competition and jump in the much smaller pool of sports talk in Cleveland?  WKNR and KNR2 are both run by Good Karma Broadcasting and WTAM is the flagship for the teams when they aren’t running news and political talk.  WMMS covers the Browns games themselves on the FM side, but not much else in the way of sports talk specifically.  So, basically starting a new FM sports talk station means that you are looking to compete with 1.5 sports stations in KNR and KNR2.  Plus, you are competing with a higher fidelity FM signal.

This part of it could all be just a waste of breath if our sources are correct and CBS is looking to make a splash by getting rights to broadcast teams.  Once a station buys the rights to the teams the rest of the station’s cracks are easily filled.  We’ll keep you informed as this story unfolds and as we dig up info about the radio contracts of the various teams.

Hat Tips –  Joe Lull @LullOnSportsOhio Media Watch -

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    As long as they call it Jammin’ 92, I’m on board.

  • Al DiFranco

    I would be thrilled if the Browns, Indians and Cavs would move off of WTAM so I wouldn’t have to listen to the station’s political personalities/spin during commercial breaks. I hate the idea that I am, in effect, supporting that station’s bottom line despite my difference in its foundational principle. I hope this works out.

  • Matthew R

    Am I the only one that remembers when this station was 92Q?

  • Valpo2010

    If they do this, they need to get rights broadcast to All Bets are Off over the radio. Putting Bruce Drennan back on the radio (in addition to TV) will be the best thing that’s happened to afternoon drive in Cleveland in a long time.

    Roda is an arrogant blowhard that needs to check his facts before opening his mouth (especially regarding the Indians). Reghi is just along for the ride and much better suited in the broadcast booth. As for WTAM, “Mike from Mayfield” has turned Sportsline (the best sports talk show this city has EVER seen) into a rambling, incoherent mess that almost never touches on sports.

    Long story short, getting Drennan back on the radio during afternoon drive will force WKNR & WTAM (especially KNR) to do something to improve their offerings.

  • boomhauertjs

    Call me a dinosaur, but I still enjoy hearing music on the radio. There’d be something seriously wrong if the “Home of Rock n Roll” had only one station for “new” rock music and it was WMMS.

  • acrossthefield11

    F that… 92.3 is the only good music station cleveland has to offer at this point. Make 100.7 sports talk. The buzzard died in the 80′s.

  • jimkanicki

    i hope you get an alternative to knr. boston’s cbs affiliate has been great. or perhaps it was that weei was so bad for their 20 year monopoly.

    i agree with valpo concerning drennan.

    the other key is not to hire guys who think they know more than us simply because they’re on the radio. imo, that was a problem with DNR. not sure there’s any sports media type who can provide better insight than the likes of mgbode, harv21, christopher, mrcleaveland and others commenting here. treat your listeners and callers with respect. dont confuse provocative trolling with increased audience. seems like a no-brainer to avoid alienating your customers… but history has shown otherwise.

  • Ben

    Sports radio is dead in this town and KNR killed it. I would much rather have discussions with people here then listen to some moron babble on about how awful Dolan is or how their high school did last weekend.

  • stin4u

    I’m torn. 92.3 is like the only station I listen to if I turn on the radio. At the same time WKNR is just deplorable. Seriously, R&R reminds me of a male version of The View.

  • Sean

    Bring it on, Cleveland deserves better than that terrible sports station WKNR.

  • Brendon

    The Really Big Show is a joke. It’s just Rizzo defending CLE teams against Fedor and Goldhammer.

  • Sean

    Brendon, you are correct it is a joke.

    Rizzo does not know anything about sports nor does any show prep, he changes his opinion as the wind blows. Hammer plays the role of a hater. Fedor gets all his info from Twitter and Radio Interviews he transcribes. Doesn’t have any thoughts of his own.

    It is about time for a real choice.

  • JM

    It is time to expand sports talk. I don’t even count any show on KNR as a real show except Rizzo’s because he is good but his co-hosts are awful. So nice that Hammer’s dad happened to know the president of Good Karma. What a joke. Fedor should be on at night when nobody listens. I think Rizz would be fine if he did it on his own. Or Drennan and Rizzo maybe?

  • MrCleaveland

    I’d like to hear Les Levine back on the radio. Mark Schwab too, if his TV job would allow that. I like Mike Snyder too. And Drennan, of course. There is no one on WKNR that I can stand listening to.

    BTW, thank you, Kanick. Back atcha.

  • Horace

    BRING BACK BILL NEEDLE!

    BRING BACK GEOFF SINDELAR!!

  • BB

    On a clear day I can still get 1100 up here in Chicago. Personally, I’m hoping I don’t have to fork over the extra $ to get the best of XM so I can hear Indians and Cavs games in the car. I’m cheap like that.

  • NJ

    Talk radio, be it sports or politics, is just mass trolling.

    1.)Say something controversial
    2.)Garner ratings
    3.)Sell ad space
    4.)Profit

  • Cleveland78

    I echo a lot of others here in that I love 92.3 and am a bit tired of WKNR and their script of contrived takes by hosts in order to rile up the listeners. While there is some great talent there, 2/3 of the on-air personalities are not worth the listening and rely on a worn-out schtick.

    Poach Rizz, Bentley and Cherry from KNR and let the kids have the run of what’s left.

    Plus, I’m sure 92.3 wouldn’t be dumb/arrogant enough to take 1/3 of Jim Rome off air.

  • bridgecrosser

    I swear I thought I heard a voice over on a 92 commercial today that sounded like Fedor.

  • enginerd

    Take one of the 75 pop stations, not the only good station in Cleveland. This is terrible news.

  • Daredent

    I for one am looking forward to tuning into a FM station and ditching WKNR. its a WIN – WIN

  • Joe

    Luv the WKNR hate! Many of the comments ae DEAD freakin’ on! They have been the ONLY LOCAL sportstalk during the business day from 9am – 6pm and treated it like they had no competition. Basically, it has SUCKED – big time! Aaron Goldhammer is a complete joke. His latest is that he YELLS over Rizz & Fedor. He lies regualrly on air and even bragged about getting personally “dumped” by a station advertiser, Lady Janes, because of complaints they got on his OSU bashing from customers! I listen to a ton of national sports radio as well and NOBODY has bashed the Buckeyes more then WKNR.

    On the Dolan’s owning the Indians, WKNR BRINGS it up ALL the time and then say over and over that the “fans” complain about the Dolans?! First, they barely talk to fans anyway and are mostly negative. Fedor is a joke with his “ALL NEGATIVE” shtick. It is true that Rizzo now totally sucks…NO prep and totally confused. I like the way they start the show talking about their “state of the art studio” and then have rampant technical difficulties all show long. Hilarious…

    Bring ON a new station!!! I don’t need to hear their spots they run for their ownn station with Brinda (!) and Reghi hanging up on callers??? Who would waste their time being on hold to get hung up on by Aaron or whoever…

    Brinda is the mystery to me? Talk about the lowest common denominator in sportstalk in Cleveland! Like someone said earlier in the comments…no one listens at night anyway!

  • Sean

    Can somebody send these comments to CBS, it clearly shows how much we would behind a new sports station.

  • Gren

    I’m shocked that no one has said how good X’s and O’s with the Pro’s is. It’s really the only thing (outside of Rome, especially when Jay Mohr hosts) that I can stand to listen to. I hate having to drive between 3-6. The worst show I’ve ever heard.

  • Tim

    @ Horace #15

    Geoff Sindelar passed away last year

  • christopher

    @jimkanicki

    you forgot yourself from the list of new on air talent. :)

    @Tim and Horace
    Some of my fondest memories are that of my dade and i in his truck driving to work listening to Professor Sindelar.

    RIP Geoff Sindelar.

  • http://www.twitter.com/CleSportsGeek CleSportsGeek

    This would be fantastic news if it were any other station besides 92.3. Only decent radio station in Cleveland.

  • Sean

    From Ohio Media Watch posts on Radio Info, it is sounding like this is pretty close to a done deal. I hope CBS steamrolls those amateurs at the Galleria. Bad Karma is coming.

  • C-bus Kevin

    You know what? I’m going to defend terrestrial radio for a moment. As of now, 93% of all Americans listen to a significant amount of radio each week. Sure, people listen to pandora and satellite, but guess what, music radio is FAR from dead. The survey info has gotten better with the adaptation of “people meters” to replace the old diary system. Also, if you think sports radio is a better profit center than music on terrestrial radio, think again. Sports radio only attracts men. That is a fact. And, women are more valuable to advertisers in general because they make more of a family’s financial decisions.

    Rant over.

    Sorry… I know I’m not the only current or former radio guy that comments here, and I just wanted to set a few things straight. All in all, I say bring on more choice. It makes everyone try harder.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Also, satellite radio has never been profitable. They had to give Howard stern whatever he wanted just to keep him, because he’s the only thing helping them hold an audience.

  • Elizabeth

    Hey Ben: so is sports radio too. Radio, in general, is horrible in Cleveland.

    I’d be super-bummed if 92.3 switched to a sports format. I can only listen to the same, tired, one-note takes from “Joe Sports Fan” and “Bobby the Blathering Host” so much.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/myronfalwell Myron Falwell

    19. “I swear I thought I heard a voice over on a 92 commercial today that sounded like Fedor.”

    That would be Verlane, who is (for now) radio 92.3′s production director. IIRC, he’s been at 92.3 since the last year it was Xtreme Radio.

  • Shawn

    I’d like to see Les Levine and The BSK get shows. I’d also like to see them bring over Greg Brenda and give Dennis Manoloff a show. And, if they could pry away 1 of the 3 teams in this town, that would be great too.

    They would destroy KNR. I really used to like KNR back in the 90′s but it has regressed a whole lot. But, that’s what happens when you don’t have competition. And their only real competition, Bruce Drennan, is a blowhard that claims to know everything but is wrong 70% of the time.

  • Joe

    How would bringing “Brenda” (LOL!!!) as you call him, make WKNR weaker??? THAT would be how to RADICALLY IMPROVE WKNR…or at least a step in the right direction…Brinda’s role is so pathetic now, as he personifies the true meaning of the term “MOP UP GUY”, that him leaving would NOT make a big difference or barely any. I think it’s funnyt as he fills in for guys on vaca…like he is currently doing cuz WKNR HATES taking calls so much that they have to make sure at least 2 of their talking heads are in their at all times so they can ramble & repeat things to each other over & over. That is what “R & R” actually stands for…it’s NOT Reghi & Roda…it’s RAMBLE & REPEAT – ubtil you ears BLEED!!! Bring it on 92.3FM…the SOONER, the BETTER!!!!!!!!!!! ANYTHING, and I repeat, ANYTHING would be better then the garbage on currently from 9am until midnight!

  • Shawn

    Never, and I repeat never did I say bringing Greg over would weaken KNR. (and oops, I misspelled his name, kill me why don’t you. and btw, “ubtil you ears bleed!!!”? nice one!) I happen to like Greg and have since I started listening to sports talk in the mid-90′s. He’s forced into this horrible shtick with the terrible talent around him at KNR. Pair him up with the BSK and he’ll be good.

    I thought Reghi would be good but all that guy does is call people morons and it seems he doesn’t actually watch games, ever. I have always had a like/hate feeling for Roda. But he is a Steeler fan so what do you expect? That show may be worst show I have ever heard.

  • Joe

    I guess we both type too fast at times! I thought it was funny that you misspelled BRENDA…and he DOES suck! If you like him – your credibility is totally shot!!!!!!

  • Joe

    I guess we both type too fast at times! I thought it was funny that you misspelled BRENDA…and he DOES suck! If you like him – your credibility is totally shot!!!!!!

  • gobrownies

    what happened to dsn i enjoyed listening to it.

  • Grand Wazoo

    I’m not sure we need another sports radio station.

    I like WKNR. Yes, they have some weaknesses, but what station doesn’t? All in all it’s a well run station with good broadcasters.
    Some a little verbose, but that’s all a part of the game.

    WTAM is so filled with political garbage that it’s not worth my time to listen.

    If you all think that CBS is coming in and putting together an awesome Sports radio station, think again. It’s going to take a lot of time to get it to work right.
    Just my 2¢

  • Joe

    Hey Grand Wazoo,

    ANYTHING 92.3FM “The Fan” puts on will be an upgrade…and I mean ANYTHING! Aaron G. might have kept some listeners entertained with his Denver talk, verbally asassinating OSU more than ANY national media and making a joke out of taking calls…okay I guess when there was NO other station to put on during the business day for local sports. NOT the place to be with COMPETITION!!!

    If twitter is any indication…TONS of folks will be leaving on 8/29!

  • Brent

    Who gives a crap about ‘Sports Talk Radio’???

    Jeez, not all of us own satellite-equipped cars, and I recently rented a car for a week that had satellite radio, but kept switching back to 92.3! The music was so much better, fresher, interesting. This is a loss for all of us, and yes a pity of the ‘Home of Rock N Roll’ only having MMS as a music station, WHAT A JOKE!

  • Rene

    Iam very upset on the change. This was the only Good radio station in the Cleveland Area. The music selection was perfect and the advertisement minimal. I understand sports radio is in demand. But, put aside certain hours just for sports and leave the majority for Music. There is not other radio station that has the selection of music offerd as 92.3. I am tatally displesed, and have eliminated it now from my favorites.

  • SMITTY

    i am very angry you got rid of the ONLY good radio station in cleveland!!! if you want talk radio flip on a.m. plenty of talk there. and plenty of talk about sports. what do we have left on cleveland radio??? hip hop……country…..? please!!!!!!!!!!
    not everyone likes that crap. if there is any chance, PLEASE bring back the only alternative radio station we had!!!!!!!!!
    PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Stephenl Sutch

    get a clue.  the reason it seems fishy is because the browns never made an offer to the rams for rg3.  you guys are hammering them so bad i’m sure holmgren just decided he didn’t want to hear you guys hammering him so he told you he made an offer.  guess what holmgren didn’t want rg3.