SBD/March 27, 2013/Media

Rival Radio Stations Team Up To Overtake Clear Channel As Browns' New Broadcasters

Clear Channel has broadcast Browns games since they returned to Cleveland in '99
The Browns beginning with the '13 season "will be broadcast" both on CBS Sports Radio 92.3 Cleveland (WKRK) and ESPN Radio 850 Cleveland (WKNR), according to sources cited by Bob Finnan of the Willoughby NEWS-HERALD. The announcement "could be made" tomorrow morning. Such an agreement is "rare, because the two stations are rivals." Several issues will "need to be worked out, including how they'll sell advertising." Clear Channel has "broadcast the Browns since they returned in 1999." The company "managed to retain their rights" to the Indians last year following rumors that WKRK had won them. Clear Channel also "has the rights to the Cavaliers," and things were "getting a bit crowded trying to appease all three franchises." A "bone of contention" for the Browns reportedly was "when they overlapped with the Indians." The Browns "wanted their games on AM and FM." The team's flagship previously was WMMS-FM, and its games would be simulcast on fellow Clear Channel station WTAM-AM when there "was no conflict with the Indians." As many as eight of the Browns' preseason and regular-season games last season "butted heads with Indians' broadcasts, which bumped them off WTAM" (Willoughby NEWS-HERALD, 3/27).

BEHIND THE BIDS: In Cleveland, Tom Reed cites a source as saying that WKRK and WKNR "entered into negotiations with the Browns bidding against each other," but at "some point decided to join forces against Clear Channel." A source said that the Browns are "expected to double their auxiliary programming hours from 500 to 1,000 annually" as part of the agreement. There will be a "Rob Chudzinski coach’s show and the Cleveland Browns Daily Show will expand from one hour to two hours on WKNR." A source said that on game days, WKNR will "host a four-hour pre-game show," while WKRK "follows with a two-hour post-game show." Browns play-by-play man Jim Donovan and analyst Doug Dieken will "continue to anchor the radio broadcasts" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/27).
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