ESPN Cleveland – Huh?

For the past couple of weeks or so, it’s been a foregone conclusion in this corner that Good Karma Broadcasting’s Craig Karmazin was going to launch his upcoming Cleveland ESPN Radio-fueled sports format on the daytime signal of his new WABQ/1540, with nights covered by Radio One talk WERE/1300.

Indeed, in this very Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), an eagle-eyed OMW reader uncovered the new “ESPN Cleveland” logo on the website…with the “1540 Days /1300 Nights” legend we’d long speculated would happen.

It’s not that it took a brain surgeon to figure that one out, as Karmazin employs the same “two signal strategy” in his ESPN Milwaukee format…with daytime hours on owned WAUK/1510, and nights on urban talker WMCS/1290, promoted as “ESPN Milwaukee – 1510 Days, 1290 Nights”.

Now, we’re wondering what’s going on.

From over in Pennsylvania, OMW reader and McKeesport Daily News media columnist Pat Cloonan spotted the removal of the logo pictured above from the “Coming soon!” website for The “1540 Days / 1300 Nights” legend is still at the top of the only page served up there.

We wouldn’t think much of it, if it were not for this item in Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Roger Brown’s Monday Media Column:

After weeks of crowing over his station’s plans to carry ESPN Radio’s evening and overnight programming seven days a week, WERE AM/1300 General Manager Chris Forgy now says the idea is “still up in the air.”

We’re missing something here. Now, we don’t read Roger’s column as religiously as we should, given the fact that he does throw in sports media tidbits even on days other than Monday.

But we are having trouble remembering anyone at Radio One “crowing” about the presumably upcoming nighttime clearance of ESPN Radio. It seemed to us as if the company’s management wouldn’t even acknowledge it for most of that time…and Roger kept hinting that it could be on the way, long after This Corner suggested it would be a possibility.

Here’s Roger from last week’s Monday Media Column, talking about the rumors floating around about WERE/1300 becoming a 24 hour sports station, swapping with Karmazin’s WABQ…

WERE AM/1300 General Manager Chris Forgy says there’s “absolutely nothing” to talk that his station will become a full-time ESPN Radio affiliate and flip its urban-talk format with WABQ AM/1540. WERE is expected to air ESPN’s evening and overnight programming, seven days a week, sometime this fall. Meanwhile, WABQ – a daytime-only station – will air ESPN’s morning and afternoon shows.

Doesn’t sound a lot like “crowing” to us, does it to you?

An idea from us – totally a guess, and not supported by facts: Forgy could well make that statement even if the rumors we mentioned become true.

If the lineup ended with WERE’s urban talk format landing on 1490 AM, with Radio One’s gospel WJMO scooting to the 1540 signal currently owned by Good Karma, Forgy would be correct in his statement.

WERE would remain as is, just on a less powerful (but still full-time) signal. Radio One/WERE would then not be operating the sports talk format on 1300 AM…Good Karma would be. It’s all in how you ask the question, Artful Roger.

OK, so we’re splitting hairs here…and again, we have no proof any of this is even in the works…

Roger also provides incoming Cavaliers TV play-by-play voice Fred McLeod to tout his Cleveland sports rooting roots, and gives what could be a very accurate prediction about how the upcoming “Triv TV” segment on CBS affiliate WOIO/19’s “19 Action News” will do…

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