When Craig Karmazin, owner of Good Karma Broadcasting (but better known as the son of Viacom president Mel Karmazin), scooped up both of Cleveland's sports-radio stations, he spent an afternoon talking to listeners. Most wanted to know, in the words of one caller, "if there was some other way Greg Brinda could be leveraged."
In an overhaul of the morning drive at WKNR — excuse us, "ESPN 850 WKNR
" (the name's changing, too) — the station has bumped Brinda, The Sam Fulwood of Radio�, from the 9 a.m. weekday slot he's soiled for the past two years. He'll now air at 6 p.m., when his tired ramblings and pubescent screech are less likely to incite workplace violence.
Karmazin has tapped Tony Rizzo
, the sports director at FOX 8 TV, to fill Brinda's slot. He can't be expecting much -- Rizzo hasn't anchored a radio broadcast in more than 10 years. It's like talking your hitting coach out of retirement to take the ninth spot in the order.
Preceding Rizzo will be "Mike & Mike in the Morning
," plucked by Karmazin from sister station AM 1540 — sorry, "Cleveland's AM 1540 KNR2
." That's where Steve Czaben, who held 850's old morning-drive slot, is headed, in an even swap for The Mikes.
Brinda debuted with a bang. He berated listeners for not remembering that it was he who first projected the Browns might spend April's third pick on Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. Then he tried to stir a debate on why free throws aren't important. And then, because every audience apparently needs a name, he christened his "The Nightcrawlers." "That's got an edge to it," he said.
He appeased one caller's worries by revealing this was at least the sixth change in his air time since the station started in 1991. "I'm a firm believer in things happening randomly," he said.
Then, to prove it, he insulted two of the next three callers. -- Jason Nedley