August 26, 2014

Audio: Craig’s chat with Joe Lull on 92.3 The Fan

923thefan300pxLast night I was fortunate enough to be invited to talk about my Browns post with Joe Lull on 92.3 the Fan. I always enjoy talking to Joe Lull because even when we disagree, he and I both have a common respect for the other’s thought processes, I think. Anyway, we spent about ten minutes talking about the Browns, where they are now, and what they might have been able to do differently to change their immediate fates.

I don’t think I changed Joe’s mind or anything. I don’t think we ultimately agreed on everything either. That’s the nice thing about the “Ombudsman.” Respect and agreement don’t always have to go hand-in-hand.

Take a listen… [Read more...]

MLB News: Yan Gomes will be Indians every day catcher in 2014

Yan Gomes played in 88 games for the Indians in 2013 and that number looks to go way up in 2014 according to Indians manager Terry Francona. Francona made an appearance on 92.3 the Fan’s afternoon show with Adam the Bull and Dustin Fox to talk about winning the A.L. Manager of the Year award.

Opening day starting catcher Carlos Santana played in 154 games this season for the Tribe and I certainly wouldn’t expect that number to drop with the announcement. Santana will likely play just as much between first base, DH and as backup catcher in 2014. Hopefully this move helps solidify the Indians lineup in all three spots.

[Related: While We’re Waiting… Manager of the year]

Will Burge talks WKNR, Stand-up comedy, Bleacher Report and Browns – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-12

WFNY Podcast LogoI wanted to talk to Will Burge about life after WKNR and also the latest on the Cleveland Browns. It was a really nice chat about that and Master Pizza and everything else.

Leaving WKNR
Will Burge trying stand up comedy
Stand up comedy is a writing gig more than a performance gig
BleacherReport and 92.3 the Fan
The “radio rivalry” between sports stations in Cleveland
Oneil Cousins playing guard in game 2
Weeden and his role in the failures of protection
The Browns defensive line against the Baltimore’s offensive line
Looking at Desmond Bryant’s mugshot instead of paying attention to the quality of the acquisition
The Bleacher Report and second thoughts about joining them considering their history
Tony Grossi and what it was like to work with him [Read more...]

NFL News: Cleveland Browns thought “Honey Badger” was too big of a character risk

Joe Banner spoke to Kiley and Booms on 92.3 the Fan today on a wide variety of topics, but I was especially interested when Kevin Kiley asked him about Tyrann Mathieu, AKA the Honey Badger. It’s not that

“I think that we thought he was a very good player,” Banner said. “We were very concerned – as others were – about some off-field history. If he overcomes that I think it’s great for him and great for the Cardinals. I think in these areas we won’t be perfect, but we’re going to try and play the odds of sticking with high character players that are driven, smart and very determined.”

Joe Banner continued, but that was the bulk of what he said. Kiley followed up with a question about Armonty Bryant, which Banner defended by saying it was a seventh round pick.

Really listen to the whole thing. Kiley and Booms did a very good job with Joe Banner and even if you don’t agree with him, Banner does a very good job of not avoiding questions and trying to answer.

[Related: Proposing new 3rd down sounds for the Browns, Tribe attendance and much more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-11]

Les Levine on Indians attendance, Browns stadium changes and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-07-30

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s always a love-fest when I get Les Levine on the podcast. I won’t even apologize for it. We discussed the Indians attendance, the perception of the Dolan family and the latest Browns announcements that came out yesterday.

  • When was the last time Les was nervous for a shift on radio?
  • Les’ history in the radio business after Ohio State
  • Jasper Indiana near French Lick Indiana
  • Les’ career playing with the Jasper Red semi-pro baseball club
  • Cleveland Indians attendance discussion
  • The hatred of the Dolans and whether it’s fair or not
  • Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti and whether or not they get a fair shake from fans anymore
  • Matt LaPorta was a really desirable commodity
  • The Cleveland Indians need to make the playoffs
  • It’s all about playoff appearances
  • Browns tailgating culture and how the Browns are going to attack that
  • Happy hour in order to get fans in earlier
  • The really “off-the-rails” fans
  • The new Browns executives and how they’re not from Cleveland at all
  • The drum corps but not the cheerleaders [Read more...]

LeCharles Bentley has some words for Browns receiver Josh Gordon

One of the sub-texts of the Miami Heat championship run has been Josh Gordon tweeting and seemingly reveling in the “Hate” on Twitter. It has been a topic of conversation on The Bull and the Fox in the afternoons on 92.3 the Fan. It has been a topic of conversation on Twitter, obviously. Now LeCharles Bentley, a former Browns player and also a lifelong Clevelander is weighing in.

First, Josh Gordon tweeted this.

There were a plethora of responses, but LeCharles Bentley started a bit of a rant.


As Bentley says, it’s not about who you root for. These guys aren’t from Cleveland, so really they should be fans of whoever they want to be. It’s how you carry yourself among the fans that want to love you. It was wrong for LeBron to wear a Yankee hat to Jacob’s Field. It’s wrong for Josh Gordon to pick fights with Cleveland fans on purpose.

Not to say that this is a reason that the Browns should do anything, but let’s just say the lack of good judgement is not going unnoticed at all.

Dustin Fox tweeted this morning that Bentley will be on their show at 2:40 this afternoon. Should be an entertaining listen.

[Related:Like what you like and stop being so defensive]

Les Levine on cell phones, Browns radio rights, Mark Shapiro and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-10

WFNY Podcast LogoI said it on Facebook last night, but Les Levine is simply one of the best. He’s exactly as nice and fun to talk to as you think he is. Enough of the butt kissing. Listen to Les talk to me about stuff.

  • Les talks about his history in the Cleveland market
  • The freedoms and restrictions of being a self-reliant show producer
  • 17 years of More Sports & Les Levine
  • Mark Shapiro’s statements about winning on Les’s show
  • Splitting up the Browns’ radio rights between WKNR and 92.3 the Fan
  • The Browns regimes and how quickly we get negative about them
  • Cell phone service at ball games and if we ever thought that’d be a valid storyline
  • Les’s great show-ending tagline vs. my abysmal one [Read more...]

Bill Simmons Twitter suspension, First Take, ESPN and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-03-15

WFNY Podcast LogoScott and I decided to talk about the Bill Simmons twitter suspension and ESPN’s lack of comment on it. Not necessarily the normal topic of conversation on the site, but one that we both cared to touch on.

Here’s what else we talked about that I can remember…

  • First Take and the battle of Richard Sherman and Skip Bayless
  • Skip Bayless’ history as a journalist
  • Stephen A. Smith staying out of trouble
  • Rob Parker getting “fired” from ESPN over RG3 comments
  • Numbers Never Lie
  • ESPN as a behemoth corporation that has no singular editorial voice
  • Grantland and how it kind of lives on an island
  • Chris Fedor and his new gig at 92.3 The Fan
  • How hard it is for radio guys to fill four hours and not be hated
  • People taking media personalities too seriously
  • People are humans who should have beers together

[Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2012-12-27 – Craig talks to frequent talk radio caller Hiram about the Browns

Most anyone who has listened to sports talk radio in Cleveland is familiar with Hiram. I know him on Twitter now too and decided I wanted to talk to him a little bit about what drives him to call so much. How he arrives at his thoughts on the Browns and why he can be so aggressive attacking local hosts. After following him for a while I find him to be a different kind of thinker, but he insists on packaging himself in such a way that he ends up being abrasive. So, how would Hiram come across in a more long-form conversation? You’ll have to listen to find out.

  • How many times do you watch each Browns game?
  • What drives your mostly negative opinion of the Cleveland media?
  • Do you want to be like Trivisonno and end up going from caller to radio show host?
  • Tom Heckert and where he ranks among the drafters over the last few years
  • Pat Shurmur, his inevitable future and what the perfect outcome would be
  • Joe Banner: Will he really be making the football decisions?
  • What’s Hiram’s local sports talk radio power rankings?
  • Is Brandon Weeden criticism fair?
  • Should the Browns consider a replacement?

[Read more...]

NFL News: 92.3 The Fan Reporting that TJ Ward Did Not Practice Today

There’s been some confusion on Twitter this early afternoon about the practice status of Browns safety TJ Ward.

Initially, Joe Lull of 92.3 The Fan threw this bombshell out on the Internet in saying Ward had an unexcused absence this morning:

Will Burge of ESPN Cleveland, along with several other writers, then followed up with information from Browns PR saying that Ward was indeed there today:

So Lull has edited his initial tweet, now saying that Ward did not participate, and asserting that 92.3 The Fan is sticking by this report:

I’m sure we’ll have more — hopefully concrete — information later in the day on this report. Even though Ward hasn’t been the most impressive player during his third NFL season, any potential for him missing time would be very detrimental because of how banged-up this defense already is.

[Related: Bengals vs. Browns 2 – Reader Survey]

Will Jim Rome move to 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland?

Reports online are that popular national radio host Jim Rome will be committing to CBS all the way come January. Rome has been a part of Premiere Radio for as long as most anyone can remember for his radio show, but he signed on with CBS for his television ventures earlier this year.

Deadline has learned that the popular sports broadcaster is finalizing a deal with CBS Radio, which is expected to use his show as the cornerstone for CBS Sports Radio, the new national sports radio network slated to launch on Jan. 2. Rome’s daily morning Jim Rome Show had been syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks since 1996.

So, what does this mean for Cleveland where Jim Rome has been a staple of WKNR for years even to the point that Tony Rizzo has filled in for the West Coast host when he’s been on vacation. Tension has seemingly grown in the relations between Jim Rome and WKNR because they don’t play all three hours of the show on the flagship Good Karma station ESPN 850, opting to host the first hour of his show on 1540 KNR2.

Since launching a year ago (to this very day) 92.3 The Fan has focused almost exclusively on local programming. Jim Rome would likely be a ratings coup for the station, although it would cause a shakeup as Rome’s 1-3 PM timeslot would interrupt both Baskin and Phelps (10A-2P) and The Bull and the Fox (2p-7P).

Initial reports of CBS Sports Radio indicated that The Fan in Cleveland would end up with “various components” of the national network. Will that include Jim Rome?

[Related: Jim Rome vs. WKNR Continues]

Hat tip to the all-knowing and all-seeing media man @myronfalwell

While We’re Waiting… ‘Hard Knocks’ Possibility, Francisco Lindor’s Potential, Chuck Booms’ Past

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

How would you react to the Brownies being on “Hard Knocks”? Seems far-fetched, but it’s fun to consider: “Now, the Cleveland Browns don’t appear to be anywhere on HBO’s radar, but if they were, what would that show look like? For starters, the first thing on everyone’s mind would be two ugly words:  ‘quarterback’ and ‘controversy.’ … Mike Holmgren’s Browns are also far more insular than those teams of the boisterous Ryan, Harbaugh, and Irsay clans, and if a public relations rebuilding effort is underway in Berea, perhaps they’d prefer to control the message a little more for the time being.” [Jimmy Weinland/Dawg Pound Daily] [Read more...]

Justin Blackmon on Cleveland: “It was just a visit.”

After listening to the interview that Adam the Bull and Dustin Fox conducted with Justin Blackmon, I am thinking that he could have been one of the top ten draft picks that didn’t want to come to Cleveland. When asked about his visit to Cleveland, Blackmon first seemed reticent to even acknowledge that he had visited the team. Then when pressed for elaboration, Blackmon told Dustin Fox that “It was just a visit.”

I am not a voice expert and I did come into the interview with preconceived notions that he was a guy who was likely one who helped foster that rumor that top picks didn’t want to be selected in the draft by Cleveland. So I do admit my prejudices.

To the radio show’s credit, they asked Blackmon directly if he was one of the guys who didn’t want to come to Cleveland. Blackmon denied it, but the whole sound in the tone of his voice all interview long had me questioning his sincerity.

When Adam the Bull finally asked him about his perceptions of Colt McCoy, Blackmon couldn’t help but giggle first. Either he was nervous to answer the question or that’s what he thinks of the Browns and the guy who currently tops the depth chart at quarterback. And after last season’s results a lot of people would wonder who could blame him?

Point being that the Browns will need to find guys who look at the situation in Cleveland and want to be a part of the solution. They need guys who think they are good enough to help do the job of righting this ship and turning the team around. When a guy is picky about the quality of team he is going to, I think it says a lot about their overall attitude, and how big their aspirations are. I had my doubts ahead of time and Blackmon’s interview today didn’t turn that around for me.

Based on my prejudiced listen to Justin Blackmon today, I have my doubts that he is a guy who is ready to lead a team anywhere. I don’t doubt that he can be a good or even great player, but he doesn’t seem like a guy you ever have to be pegged as the best player on your team. You can go ahead and slot him where you will among the top ten, but he didn’t move up in my book.

Related… come to the WFNY draft party.

Come join us at the Two Bucks in Middleburg Heights for a Browns NFL draft party. WFNY writers will be on hand, as well as a mystery Cleveland Brown player. There will be WFNY giveaways and much more. Hope to see you there!

A simple solution for Mike Holmgren and the Browns

Mike Holmgren did it again.

He called his old buddy in Seattle to talk football. Many fans and media are up in arms about it not because of what he said, but because he’s seemingly out there talking to Seattle more frequently than he is talking to Browns fans. That assessment might be harsh, but in the world of sports and entertainment where fans cling to every word, perception is reality. What’s most surprising to me is that Mike Holmgren and the Browns for all their experience don’t seem to get it. There’s a really really easy solution to all this.

Mike Holmgren needs to preempt every Seattle appearance with a Cleveland one.

Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is. [Read more...]

Setting the standards for Browns debate

I don’t know if it would make some people happier if I just claimed that the Browns aren’t trying to win. I won’t do it. Despite Chuck Booms claiming Randy Lerner wants to wash out the fan base so he can move the team to London (Yes, he really said that this morning and if he was joking it wasn’t even half way) I am not one who thinks this front office is just in it for a paycheck.

So, what are they doing?

That’s a more than fair question. It is something that I’m constantly trying to figure out, by the way. I think sometimes I get a bad rap as someone who “co-signs” for everything the Browns are doing. The way I look at it, I’m just trying to figure out what the intentions are. For me, that starts with the basic assumption that the Browns desire to get better and do the what they think is best to accomplish that goal. If we’re starting anywhere else in the conversation, we just don’t have much to talk about.

So don’t mistake this as me saying I agree with everything the Browns are doing. I don’t. [Read more...]

Despite Early Frustrations Patience Is Still In Order

This is why I hate all the prediction-itis that surrounds the NFL.  Every analyst on the planet is seemingly forced to make predictions every single week.  It is a part of the underlying formula that makes the NFL so much more popular than any other American sports.  It was gambling as far back as anyone can remember and now we’ve doubled down with the fantasy football culture.  What ends up happening is that everyone ends up prognosticating so much that they (we) lose sight of reality staring us in the face.

Andy Baskin has been a really refreshing voice on the radio since he started his “Talking Heads” slot on 92.3.  Sometimes he might sound more like NPR than a typical sports talk radio host. That might be off-putting to some of you who like your sports talk extra lively, loud and controversial.  When I listen to that show though, even beyond the delivery, Baskin has a very different attitude and philosophy.  He openly scoffs at the prospect of assigning Ws and Ls on the 16 game schedule at the beginning of the season.   [Read more...]

WKNR Changing Lineup With New Afternoon Show? (Updated)

Update: According to the people at Ohio Media Watch, the new afternoon show will most likely be Bruce Hooley, Greg Brinda and Chris Fedor doing the news updates.  That would also mean that Fedor will no longer be a part of The Really Big Show from what the Twitter chatter is saying.

As many of you probably noticed today, Tony Rizzo was on the air in the afternoon shift on WKNR today.  According to Rizzo, this is just a temporary assignment as he does “two-a-days.”  According to what Rizzo is saying, WKNR will have a new show on the air in afternoon drive next week.  He also said that Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda will move their “R&R” show to nights from 9 PM until 12 AM.  Presumably all the other shifts will stay the same, although I’m sure Jim Rome would still like his first hour back on the flagship WKNR as opposed to KNR2.

So, who exactly, will be the new afternoon show?  Start the speculation, I guess.  Rizzo did say “they” won’t be here until next week.  If that pronoun usage is any indication, we won’t be subject to a solo talker type of show next Monday.  It also means that we could be looking at a show imported from elsewhere. [Read more...]