August 28, 2019 (Chicago): ESPN Radio has reached a long-term Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) and lease with Good Karma Brands, which calls for Good Karma to assume operations and control of ESPN Radio Chicago (WMVP-AM).
Good Karma will expand its affiliate relationship with ESPN Radio and the station will retain the ESPN 1000 name. ESPN Radio Chicago will feature a lineup of local and national sports talk programming and ESPN Radio's national play-by-play lineup that includes NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, including the College Football Playoff.
Good Karma will assume operations and control of ESPN Radio Chicago effective September 29, 2019.
"Good Karma has proven to be an excellent local affiliate that has shown expertise in local media operations and sales while being a strong steward of the ESPN brand," said Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, ESPN Audio. "This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave. I want to thank Jim Pastor for all of his contributions to the success of ESPN 1000 and his role in getting this deal done. I greatly appreciate that Jim will assist in a smooth transition until his retirement at the end of this year."
Pastor, vice president and GM of ESPN 1000, added, "Few people will ever match the experience I've had over twenty-seven incredible years with Disney, including the last fifteen with ESPN. I could not be more proud of what we've accomplished at ESPN 1000 or more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma. Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin and their team will be running the show. For me, I'm ready to dial it back, spend more time with the family and go back to sitting in the cheap seats."
Craig Karmazin, founder and chief executive officer at Good Karma Brands said: "Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades. We are so excited to extend our commitment to being ESPN's best in class local operator into what will now be our largest market."
ESPN Audio will continue to operate local stations in New York and Los Angeles. Good Karma also owns ESPN Radio affiliates in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee and West Palm Beach.
About ESPN Audio
ESPN Audio is comprised of ESPN Radio – the nation's largest sports radio network and home of half of all sports listenership – ESPNRadio.com and ESPN Podcasts.
ESPN Radio, which launched January 1, 1992, provides more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually, reaching more than 32 million listeners per week on more than 600 stations – including more than 375 full-time affiliates and clearance in the top 25 markets. ESPN operates local stations in New York and Los Angeles. ESPN Radio national programming is also available on SiriusXM and via digital distributors Apple Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn.
About Good Karma Brands
Good Karma Brands (GKB) is primarily a media and marketing company with an expertise in leveraging the power of sports to build brands. Radio assets include Newsradio WTMJ in Milwaukee, seven ESPN affiliated radio stations and two stations in Beaver Dam, Wis. In partnership with ESPN, GKB offers local marketing partners geo-targeted advertising on ESPN's digital platforms. In addition to its radio assets, GKB boasts a number of premium brands, including an events division that produces the Wisconsin Sports Awards, Tundra Trio hospitality houses in Green Bay, Wis., and the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. GKB owns Verizon Wireless retail stores specializing in concierge service, and a home furnishings and design business called the Home Market. For more information, please visit www.goodkarmabrands.com.