If you've stumbled upon this page, you know Cleveland.com is in the midst of launching something called the Digital Sports Network.
(There's also this page, which is only slightly more clear about their plans, and includes some blogs of various quality and such.)
WKNR has long been the only sports radio option in town, at least on terrestrial radio. For various reasons — quality, choice, etc. — it's a good thing for them to have a competitor, especially one backed by the power and money of Cleveland.com, even if we're just talking about internet radio (and, I'm assuming, podcasts, video, probably some broadcasting of high school games, etc.)
So what is the Digital Sports Network? And when is it launching?
The answers aren't abundantly clear, but here's what I know.
The project isn't just that of Cleveland.com; it's a partnership effort. Who the other entities are, where all the money is coming from, and who ultimately is in control — I have no idea.
Though anyone in the media — as well as your local sports bloggers — are well aware of some of the parameters and principles, no one likes to talk on the record. Denise Polverine, Editor-in-Chief at Cleveland.com, told me today that they'll be able to talk about the project more specifically later in the week.
I've heard they're aiming for 17 hours of original programming every day, which is a lot. That sort of time commitment means they need talking heads to spout their glorious Cleveland sports knowledge and opinions.
As for who those people are, Daryl Ruiter was recently hired by Digital Sports Network and will be leaving WKNR. I've also been told Les Levine is in the fold in some respect, probably as the big-name host. Greg Kozarik will be the Program Director. He also lists "host" on his Twitter profile.
It's encouraging that someone is stepping up to offer another option in local sports talk, and if they're hiring talent like Ruiter and paying them full-time salaries, I have to believe there's some actual money behind the project. Done well, and with the reach of Cleveland.com's audience, which is quite sizeable, there's a legitimate chance the Digital Sports Network might actually reach an audience.
The rest of the roster that Cleveland will be listening to, whether the PD's sports writers will be encouraged or required to lend their knowledge to shows, and the answers to more questions will have to wait until at least later this week.
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