ESPN is leasing its Chicago O&O, ESPN 1000, to Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands. Good Karma will take over operation of the station on September 29.
The two companies have built a strong relationship through Good Karma’s operation of ESPN Radio affiliates in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach. The announcement comes as ESPN 1000’s GM Jim Pastor announces plans to retire at the end of 2019.
“Few people will ever match the experience I’ve had over 27 incredible years with Disney, including the last 15 with ESPN,” Pastor said in a press release. “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. Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin and the rest of the Good Karma team will be running the show.”
“This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave,” added ESPN Audio Senior Vice President Traug Keller. “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.”
No on-air changes are expected once Good Karma takes over ESPN 1000. ESPN will continue to operate WEPN-FM in New York City and KSPN-AM in Los Angeles.