I love a good radio war, but hearing two rival stations show a rare display of unity was equally cool. Some things are bigger than rivalries, and Cleveland’s two sports radio stations proved it Thursday.
Wednesday night, Cleveland lost an iconic member of their sports broadcast family when Les Levine passed away at the age of 74 from Parkinson’s disease. With a career that spanned nearly a half-century, there aren’t many Cleveland sports media members who don’t owe Levine a sense of gratitude.
As ESPN Cleveland and 92.3 The Fan covered the industry’s loss on Thursday, the two sports stations chose to make it less about competition and more about Levine. Tony Rizzo joined 92.3 The Fan’s morning show Carman & Lima, and in return Anthony Lima joined Rizzo’s The Really Big Show on ESPN Cleveland to commemorate Levine.
“I know it’s kinda bizarre that we do this,” Lima said as they welcomed Rizzo to The Fan. “We try to compete, but then when a moment like this happens, we have to do it and pay tribute to somebody like Les.”
“This is about people, we’re all in this together,” Rizzo said. “Yea we compete, I understand that and I think we all do a great job.” The Really Big Show host added that honoring Levine was more important than competing with each other.
Despite having different on-air styles, Rizzo called Levine a mentor, appreciating his ability to do more than just talk stats and numbers. Levine’s Cleveland sportscasting career launched in 1970 where he became known for his thoughtful commentary and great sense of humor. He later helped create the market’s sports talk radio format, inviting callers to participate and became one of the city’s most recognizable media personalities.
Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’
Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’
“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.