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WWGK
AM 1540 KNR-2 logo
City of license Cleveland, Ohio
Broadcast area Greater Cleveland
Branding AM 1540 KNR2
Frequency 1540 (kHz)
First air date June 1, 1947
Format Sports/talk
Power 1,000 watts (daytime-only)
18 watts (critical hours/before sunset)
Class D
Facility ID 70659
Transmitter coordinates 41°30′10″N 81°37′57″W / 41.502778°N 81.632500°W / 41.502778; -81.632500Coordinates: 41°30′10″N 81°37′57″W / 41.502778°N 81.632500°W / 41.502778; -81.632500
Callsign meaning W We're Good Karma
Former callsigns WBKC (2006)
WABQ (1959-2006)
WJMO (1947-1959)
Affiliations Fox Sports Radio
ESPN Radio
Westwood One
Owner Good Karma Broadcasting, LLC.
Sister stations WKNR
Website www.espncleveland.com

WWGK is an AM radio station in Cleveland, Ohio operating during the daytime hours on 1540 kHz. Its studios are located at the Galleria at Erieview, and its transmitter is located off of Euclid Avenue on the east side of Cleveland. For almost its entire history otherwise, the station's call letters were WABQ, and the station had a format of gospel music aimed at the African-American community.

WWGK today carries a sports talk radio format, and is the Cleveland affiliate of Fox Sports Radio, plus airs ESPN shows The Herd with Colin Cowherd and The Scott Van Pelt Show. It is the co-flagship station for Lake Erie Monsters hockey (with sister station WKNR), the Cleveland affiliate for University of Toledo football and basketball, and (along with WKNR) also airs play-by-play coverage of Ohio State basketball, NASCAR, MLB and NBA games (via ESPN Radio), as well as NFL games and NCAA football and basketball (via Westwood One).

The station, known as Cleveland's AM 1540 KNR2, and sister station ESPN 850 WKNR, are owned by Good Karma Broadcasting, LLC. Good Karma is headed by Craig Karmazin, son of Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin.

Contents

History

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WJMO

The station's roots trace back to WJMO, which went on the air on June 1, 1947 licensed to Cleveland as a daytime-only broadcaster at 1540 kHz with studios at 2157 Euclid Avenue and a power of 1000 watts. The owner was Wentworth J. Marshall, formerly head of the Marshall Drug Co. chain, and the general manager was David M. Baylor. When it debuted, WJMO was the only Cleveland radio station without a network affiliation. As a result, the station specialized in recorded music. Early staff included Gene Carroll (mornings), Howie Lund (afternoons), and Billy Evans on sports [1].

In 1948 WJMO carried the football games of Western Reserve College Red Cats, both at home from League Park and on the road. In the first broadcast on September 25 Gil Gibbons called the action as Western Reserve met Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.

On June 5, 1952, in an attempt to emphaze music rather than DJs, Baylor issued an orders to play four songs every 15 minutes. As a result a number of DJs chose to leave the station. Later than year, Wentworth sold the station on August 20 for $100,000 to Maryland-based United Broadcasting, headed by Richard Eaton. Ownership was later put in the name of Eaton's affiliated company Friendly Broadcasting of Ohio. An FM license was granted for the 106.5 MHz facility that was to take the WJMO-FM call letters, but it was slated to sign on by 1959.

Some of the Announcers at WJMO in the 70's included Rudy Green, Wes Dickenson, Billy Black, Bill Taylor, Lynn Tolliver, John O'Day, J.L. Wright, Mike Payne, Mary Holt and Ken Hawkins to name a few.

WABQ

Meanwhile, WSRS, which was founded by S.R. Sague in the late 1940s, broadcast 24-hours a day on 1490 kHz licensed to suburban Cleveland Heights, and had an FM complement at 95.3 MHz. On January 14, 1959, WJMO bought WSRS (at 1490-AM and 95.3-FM) and switched call letters, licenses, studios and facilities. Both 1540-AM and 106.5-FM were sold off to Tuschman Broadcasting Company with the switch; the 1540 facility immediately became WABQ and the 106.5 facility instead signed on as WABQ-FM before switching to WXEN that next year, carrying an ethnic format.

Detroit-based Booth Broadcasting took ownership of WABQ and WXEN in the mid-1960s. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, both WABQ and WJMO focused on programming aimed at Cleveland's African American community, featuring mostly black on-air talent.

It was best known for a Top 40/R&B format as "Tiger Radio" in the late 1960s (Booth's WJLB in Detroit used the same "Tiger Radio" slogan at the time), featuring personalities like Lynn Tolliver and Ken Hawkins, Michael "The Lover" Payne and King Curtis Shaw, Jimmy O'jay, Jimmy Stephens, Jim Raggs and Eddie Edwards. Mike Dix, Rich Ford, Chuck Denson, Otis Rush and Duane Jones were just a few of the many news announcers the station featured during the late 60's and early seventies. The station's popular "Ring-A-Ding" talk show featured Olympic gold medalist Harrison Dillard who also handled sportscasts. Gospel programming in the late weekday morning hours was presented by Cleveland's First Lady of Gospel, Mary Holt. Sundays featured wall-to-wall church programming with Denver Wilborn as host.

Throughout the late 1960s and into the early to mid 1970's WABQ and WJMO competed for listeners among Cleveland's African-American community with WJMO often enjoying a slight ratings edge due to its ability to remain on the air after local sunset.

In April 1968 WABQ received special temporary authority from the FCC to stay on the air overnight in an attempt to help inform and comfort the community following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The special authority to remain on the air 24 hours a day expired after just a day or two.

WABQ's heyday quietly faded into the 70's and 80's, and went through numerous format changes since. Booth Broadcasting sold off WABQ in 1984, and several different ownership changes followed as a result. Eventually, the station assumed a gospel music format and had local ownership for much of those years since.

WWGK

ESPN Radio 1540 logo

On July 2006, the station was sold by D&E Communications (headed by Dale Edwards) to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin-based Good Karma Broadcasting, LLC., headed by Craig Karmazin, for $2.5 million. Just before the sale closed, WABQ switched call letters with Painesville, Ohio station WBKC 1460-AM - owned by Radio Advantage One, LLC, a sister company to D&E Communications - on October 24, 2006.

Four days later, WABQ's programming officially moved to 1460, and the 1540 facility relauched as "ESPN Radio 1540" with a sports/talk format. The station temporarily kept the WBKC call letters before adopting the WWGK callsign that November 7.

WWGK's new format at 1540 first carried the entire ESPN Radio daytime lineup on its daytime only broadcasts, much like Good Karma-owned Milwaukee station WAUK. Speculation focused on plans to purchase nighttime clearance on WERE in order to have a 24-hour network clearance. Moreover, a companion "1540 Days - 1300 Nights" logo on WWGK's website had confirmed this, though it was since removed. There was never any official word that such an arrangement was ever attempted.

Ohio Media Watch and Crain's Cleveland Business Report both reported on December 4, 2006 [2] that Craig Karmazin's Good Karma Broadcasting was to purchase WKNR for $7 million, eventually combining both stations under one facility at The Galleria at Erieview.

On February 23, 2007, it was made official that WKNR would regain its former ESPN Radio affiliation, while WWGK would take the branding "AM 1540 KNR2" (a play on ESPN2) in keeping with its' sister station. The new schedule also made WWGK the Fox Sports Radio affiliate in Cleveland, but still retained ESPN Radio shows hosted by Colin Cowherd and Dan Patrick (whose time slot was eventually taken over by current midday host Scott Van Pelt) that WKNR would be unable to air otherwise. The station has also since started a 24-hour streaming audio service on its' website.

Local sports updates are provided by Jeff Thomas, Darryl Ruiter, Jordan Sherwood, and Chris Fedor. Other local programming includes "Lunch with Munch" (a weekly round table show) with WWGK/WKNR sports director/morning host Mark "Munch" Bishop and, "Xs and Os with the Pros" with former NFL stars LeCharles Bentley and Je'rod Cherry and WKNR evening host Kenny Roda on Mondays, "Thistledown Track Talk" (a weekly horse racing show) with Rich Ruda on Thursdays, and "Inside the Cage" (an MMA oriented program) with Jordan Sherwood and Will Burge, broadcast on Saturday mornings. After weekday Cleveland Indians day games, the "Miller Light 10th Inning Show" hosted by Greg Brinda will be aired on KNR2, rather than sister station, WKNR, due to regularly scheduled programming.

Current Programming

Program Hosts Time
The Stephen A. Smith Show (FOX) Stephen A. Smith 6 a.m.* - 9 a.m.
Mike and Mike in the Morning (ESPN) Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
The Herd (ESPN) Colin Cowherd 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Scott Van Pelt Show (ESPN) Scott Van Pelt with Ryen Russillo 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Myers and Hartman (FOX) Chris Myers and Steve Hartman with Vic "The Brick" Jacobs 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.*
The Petros and Money Show (FOX) Petros Papadakis and Matt "Money" Smith 7 p.m. - 9:45 p.m.*
Lunch with Munch (Local) Mark "Munch" Bishop with Casey Kulas 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. (Mon.)
Xs and Os with the Pros (Local) Kenny Roda, LeCharles Bentley and Je'rod Cherry 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. (Mon.)
The Jim Tressel Call in Show (OSU Radio) Paul Keels, Jim Lachey, and Jim Tressel 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. (Thur. during OSU football season)
Thistledown Track Talk (Local) Rich Ruda 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. (Thur. during horse racing season)
Inside the Cage (Local) Jordan Sherwood and Will Burge 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. (Sat.)
Fox Sports Radio (FOX) weekends

(*) - Times vary due to WWGK's daytime hours.

Sports play by play

Flagship station for:

Cleveland affiliate for:

(*) - Shared with sister station WKNR.

External links

Preceded by
WJMO
AM 1540 kHz in Cleveland, Ohio
June 1, 1947-January 14, 1959
Succeeded by
WABQ
Preceded by
WSRS
AM 1490 kHz in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
1948-January 14, 1959
Succeeded by
WJMO

Preceded by
WABQ
AM 1540 kHz in Cleveland, Ohio
October 24, 2006-Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
WBKC
AM 1460 kHz in Painesville, Ohio
March 3, 1986-October 24, 2006
Succeeded by
WABQ

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