Good Karma Brands is extending its radio footprint into the Windy City. The Craig Karmazin-led company has signed a lease with ESPN Radio to take over “ESPN Radio Chicago” WMVP (1000) under a Local Marketing Agreement, effective Sept. 29. Jim Pastor, the longtime manager of the station, will retire at the end of the year.
The station will retain the “ESPN 1000” moniker and 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 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,” Traug Keller, ESPN Senior VP of ESPN Audio, said in a news release. “This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave.”
ESPN Audio will continue to operate local stations in New York and Los Angeles.
Good Karma has been expanding its sports radio footprint with stations in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee and West Palm Beach. All are ESPN Radio affiliates. Chicago will become the growing company’s largest market.
“Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades,” Founder and CEO Craig Karmazin said. “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.”
Pastor’s retirement as VP/GM of the station at year’s end will cap a 27-year career with parent Walt Disney Co, including the last 15 with ESPN. “I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at ESPN 1000 or be more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma,” he said. “Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing Steve Politziner [President, Good Karma Brands], Craig Karmazin and the rest of the Good Karma 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.”