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ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee host Craig Karmazin "has turned sports talk into big business," according to Bill Glauber of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The 37-year-old Good Karma Broadcasting Founder, President & CEO is a "self-effacing executive with a big smile and graying hair" who heads a "radio broadcast and sports marketing mini-empire." Good Karma currently owns 11 radio stations in five markets, including Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland and West Palm Beach. Eight of the stations "are ESPN affiliates, something of a seal of seriousness in the din that is sports in America." The firm also is "branching out," and will open "three remodeled houses near Lambeau Field in Green Bay to entertain clients and fans" this fall. It also opened a Verizon Wireless store in Beaver Dam, Wisc. Four of Good Karma's "five minority owners are Karmazin's childhood friends." His father, SiriusXM Radio CEO Mel Karmazin, said, "I told him, of all the businesses, why would you with your last name, want to go into the radio business? ... I was a big believer in large market radio stations, and when Craig told me of his interest in acquiring a station with an eye toward acquiring other stations in markets that weren't New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, I told him that wasn't the way I'd go. He said it would be a better way for him. He liked to be able to influence what was going on in a community" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/29).
Former college basketball coaches Bruce Pearl and Seth Greenberg have joined ESPN as men's college basketball analysts. ESPN's Jalen Rose also will be added to the college basketball commentator team. Pearl and Greenberg will each serve as studio analysts throughout the season and will call select games for various conferences. Rose will be a featured analyst on the weekly "College GameDay" as well as other college basketball studio programming (ESPN). Greenberg said, "It's going to be a different lifestyle, but it keeps me involved in the game." In Virginia, Mark Berman notes earlier this month, Greenberg and his family "moved from Blacksburg to Avon, Conn., near ESPN's Bristol, Conn., studios" (ROANOKE TIMES, 7/31).
EYE BALL: CBS Sports has signed ESPN's Doug Gottlieb to a multiyear deal. Gottlieb will contribute across CBS Sports Properties, including the newly-created CBS Sports Radio, where he will host a three-hour afternoon show beginning Jan. 2. Gottlieb will also serve as a studio analyst on CBS for regular-season college basketball, as as well the net's joint coverage with Turner Sports of the NCAA D-I Men's Basketball Championship. CBS Sports Network will also launch a new weekday show hosted by Gottlieb beginning this fall (CBS). The BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre cited sources who said that part of the reason Gottlieb "took the job is to return home -- he'll relocate from Connecticut to Orange, California where he has family." For Gottlieb, it is also possible that "announcing the Final 4 could be in play" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 7/30).
QUIET PLEASE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes during Sunday's Red Sox-Yankees game, ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" crew, led by former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, "ripped into the lack of natural, fan-produced, audio dynamite inside" Yankee Stadium. Raissman writes, "You didn't have to read between the lines to get Francona's ultimate message: The fans in the old Stadium made it a living hell for the opposing team. They affected the game." Yankees execs "don't take kindly to discouraging words about their Stadium." If they are aware of what Francona and play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman said, "they couldn't be thrilled." Francona said, "This ballpark is beautiful, don't get me wrong. But it just doesn't seem like it has the atmosphere of the old one" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/31).
EMPTY AIRWAVES: In South Carolina, Otis Taylor Jr. notes Columbia's "local radio landscape changed dramatically over the weekend." Lake Murray Communications "rebranded" WZMJ-FM as a "variety hits station," which "knocked ESPN Radio out of the market." The change is a "result of a complex maze of radio deals." An ESPN Communications rep said, "The station was sold to an operator who decided to move to a music format. We are looking at all options in the market" (Columbia STATE, 7/31).