Most Interesting People: Craig Karmazin

Radio station owner

Age • 32

Why he’s interesting • Karmazin could have been another eye-rolling celebrity offspring. His father, Mel Karmazin, used to run Viacom and is now CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio. Craig might have ended up another Manhattan socialite gleefully blowing his parents’ money on parties, bling and an entourage. But that’s not Craig. He loves sports. He loves talking about sports.

His own path • Karmazin saddled himself with $3.5 million in debt to launch Good Karma Broadcasting, buying radio stations in Wisconsin and Florida. Then, he bought two floundering AM stations in Cleveland: WKNR (now ESPN 850 WKNR) and WABQ 1540 (now called AM 1540 KNR2).

What he did with those stations • Converted them into testosterone-fueled destinations where guys argue over the Tribe, Browns, Cavs and anything else to do with sports in Cleveland. In October, Karmazin relocated his stations to swankier studios in the Galleria in downtown Cleveland.

Don’t hate him • Raised in Manhattan and New Jersey, Karmazin is a New York sports fan at heart. But he spends most of the year in Cleveland and just bought a condo in the Warehouse District.

Favorite Cleveland sports team • The Lake Erie Monsters, of course. WKNR broadcasts the new hockey team’s games.

On his team now • Bernie Kosar (Karmazin’s favorite athlete) is a new Browns commentator for WKNR. And Jim Pyne (whom Karmazin considers the most underrated athlete in town) hosts a postgame show on WKNR.

Who he thinks is a most interesting person • Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. “It’s amazing the commitment that he and his group have made to this city.”

His own sports career • Although his passion is sports, Karmazin was not a great athlete. He played high school basketball and tennis, but was cut from the junior varsity basketball team at Emory University. He became a basketball play-by-play announcer and discovered he was better at talking about sports than playing point guard.

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