WKNR-AM lets three go; “different direction”


ESPN RadioLess than a month after the revamped “Cleveland Browns Daily” debuted in a new studio at the Browns’ training facility, Good Karma Broadcasting’s WKNR-AM (ESPN Radio affiliate), let go of three of its high-profile on-air personalities. Will Burge, Kenny Roda and T.J. Zuppe were fired, they confirmed to Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Roda had been with the station for 21 years, and most recently was the co-host of “Cleveland Sports Night” with Michael Reghi. Burge was one of a trio of hosts of “3 Deep,” which aired weeknights on WKNR, and Mr. Zuppe was a prominent part of “The Hooligans,” a drive-time show featuring Bruce Hooley and Greg Brinda. We’ve also heard Michael Reghi is gone as well.

Roda said in a phone interview that he didn’t want to discuss the situation in detail until he met with his attorney on Wednesday. “I really can’t” talk about it, he said. “Maybe in the next couple days. I just found out today and have a meeting with my lawyer tomorrow.

“I won’t say anything negative about them,” Roda continued. “It’s part of the business. I’m just doing the normal stuff (in meeting with his attorney) — I’ve been through this three, four times now, whatever.”

Zuppe, who had been with WKNR since 2008, said he was floored by the moves: “They just decided to go in a different direction. They terminated the contract. Fired.”

Zuppe said he was “more shocked than anything” and was told he didn’t fit the station’s future plans: “They said they’re deciding basically that they’re moving in a direction that is best for the company and they don’t feel like I fit the parameter of where they see it going.”

Mr. Burge, who joined the station as an intern six years ago, said he received the same message: “They are going in a different direction,” Burge told Crain’s. “They were extremely complementary of everything I have done on air and where they think I will go (in the business). They couldn’t have been nicer about it.”

ESPN Cleveland general manager Keith Williams and Good Karma Broadcasting president and CEO Craig Karmazin didn’t return phone calls or emails from Crain’s.

Good Karma owns nine ESPN Radio affiliates, including WKNR and KNR2-AM, 1540, in Cleveland.

See the Crain’s Cleveland Business story here.