Ken Carman

Anthony Lima, left, poses for a photo with Ken Carman during a 92.3 The Fan free lunch event at Public Square in Cleveland on July 13, 2017.

Photo info: (Photo from Ben Fontana, Entercom Radio Cleveland/92.3 The Fan)

Caption: Anthony Lima, left, poses for a photo with Ken Carman during a 92.3 The Fan free lunch event at Public Square in Cleveland on July 13, 2017.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Since the inception of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, Ken Carman has been one of the preeminent voices in sports talk radio. The Perry High School and University of Akron graduate began as the late-night host, but within the past few years, has worked his way up to morning drive time with co-host Anthony Lima.

I had the opportunity to talk with Carman, a North Ridgeville resident, about his experiences with 92.3, his thoughts on his community and what he would tell to aspiring radio hosts.

Jack Kopanski: What made you want to go into journalism/radio?

Ken Carman: I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be around sports when I was younger and I thought I would be a sports writer of some sort. I did a high school project, and my assistant principal heard it somehow. I was throwing on the fake radio voice and all that stuff because I was young and I didn’t know what I was doing, and he goes, “Why don’t you try going for radio?” Okay, that’s cool.

I went to Akron and basically I chose Akron, one, because they accepted me. There’s no doubt about that. They had a really good student radio station and it was really well run by a guy named Tom Beck, and he really pointed me in the right direction. It was really him and my assistant principal in high school that got me pointed in the right direction.

JK: What was it like hosting late nights at the start, and what was the transition over to morning drive-time like?

KC: (Late nights) were good because you had a really loyal group of people that listened to you. It was almost a bit of a cult following for that show, and Kenny (Kidd) did a great job and had a lot of people who became fans of that show because of how hard Kenny worked at it. I thought that made it really, really special.

When we went over to mornings, people are creatures of habit, so it takes a minute for people to get used to you. So even though you got a lot of people loving what you’re doing at night, you still gotta get ‘em listening in the morning. It was an exciting thing because I felt like I had to earn it all over again. Over the last couple of years we’ve really picked it up and people are really enjoying what we’re doing, and so that part has been a lot of fun.

JK: What’s it been like working with Anthony Lima?

KC: Lima has made it different because he’s a different personality that’s going to push my buttons whenever he can. He has strong opinions and he’s a very good arguer, so I think that adds in a little bit of a different spectrum as where I’m not just giving some speech in the middle of the night telling people what I think. I have to bounce it off someone, and then I have to back it up. I think that’s made it challenging, but also a lot of fun.

JK: What’s it like coming up with your content for shows?

KC: It’s just stuff that we wonder whether or not we’re interested in it. If we’re interested in it, usually a lot of people are interested in it. I think we do a good job of, there’s things that people do just to get a reaction, and I think we’re very honest about that like, ‘I just want to gauge what you think about this.’

Sometimes I think that could be a good thing, sometimes I think that could be a frustrating thing because I think there are debate shows that train people to think that it’s hot take artistry and that’s it. I don’t think that’s it, I think that everything he says, he believes and everything I say, I believe. There’s an open-mindedness and I think what makes (Lima) special and what makes working with him fun is that we’re both willing to, if we’re wrong about something, admit we’re wrong about something. If I know I beat him in an argument, I have a lot of fun with that, and I think he definitely has fun if he beats me.

JK: You have a very unique style, but is there anyone that you’ve modeled yourself after?

KC: We all have influences, but I try not to listen to a lot of other shows because I don’t want to steal anything and I don’t want to pick up any different mannerism from anybody else. I listen to Bull and Fox when I can because they’ve got great interviews and great guests. I’m the same way with Baskin and Phelps and Nick (Wilson), but I also don’t want to listen to too much, because you do it by accident, you accidentally steal things.

If there was any influence, I listened to radio as a kid and, obviously, listen to radio now at times and when I’m walking around now I have the T.V. on. I still think Colin Cowherd, and there’s obviously times I disagree with him, but I think he puts on a great show. Jim Rome, obviously. Locally, the first radio show I ever listened to was Kenny Roda, cognizantly. There was a point there right at the very end with Pete Franklin that I was blessed to hear but I didn’t take it in like I take it in now.

JK: What are your thoughts on the North Ridgeville area? Do you like the idea of a pool?

KC: I’d be excited about something like that. Now, I’m not a swimmer, but my boys are and (my wife) Lizzy likes to swim, I’m sure that we’d be down with something like that. Now I know that other people have brought it up as maybe using that space for something more multi-faceted, I can listen to that. I don’t know much, the only thing I know is that Lizzy told me they were talking about opening up a pool.

I’ve been pretty impressed here, I’ve only lived in Ridgeville for about a year-and-a-half, and I’ve been pretty impressed by it because one, it does remind me of back home. I grew up in Perry between Canton and Massillon, not the one up north. There’s places you can go but there’s a little bit of farmland around which is great. Obviously they’ve done a lot of infrastructure stuff, the schools were built pretty much right when we moved here.

Everyone assumes I live in one of the newer developments, I don’t. I live in one of the older neighborhoods and I enjoy the neighborhood, and I enjoy the neighbors. I’m really lovin’ living in North Ridgeville right now. So far, everything’s great.

JK: How did it feel finally getting to set that couch on fire after the Cavs won the championship in 2016?

KC: I did read that in Ridgeville you gotta have a permit to burn. I didn’t need a permit to burn in West Park, so I didn’t really have to look up everything. I tried to do it in my own safe way, which it looks like I just poured gasoline on something and set it on fire, I am a little bit more careful than that, but you’re still setting a couch on fire.

Now I gotta get it figured out because if the Indians do well, everyone is going to be, “Oh, now you gotta set something on fire again!” I gotta figure out a place to burn. Now I’m just looking around trying to size up an area about where exactly I wanna burn. I got a couple of things I gotta figure out here. Whoever wins a championship, I gotta burn something.

JK: In a field like sports journalism that is not only hard to break into, but also isn’t know for its big pay days, what makes this job worth it for you?

KC: I used to have horrible jobs. I’ve had to do very physical labor before. My dad’s a butcher, my mom works as a health aid so it’s pretty middle class. It makes it easier because one, it’s not hard. You’re basically sitting and talking about sports. Second, like I said, I’ve done hard jobs. Stone plants, I’ve done the landscaping, I’ve had to do things with just terrible materials that I never want to do again. When you’ve had that experience, and you never want to go back there again, you find motivation pretty quickly. The moment you start complaining about it, someone else is more than willing to take that job

JK: What is some advice you would give to someone trying to break into this field?

KC: Just try it. I liken it a lot to acting. There’s a lot of people who say, ‘I could do radio.’ Or ‘I could do this, I could act.’ They say that, then they never do it. There’s a lot of people who do it and they just don’t do anything in it. There’s a lot of people that say they’re going to be actors and move out to L.A. and it never really hits for them. It’s the same thing in radio and T.V. and broadcasting and stuff like that.

If it’s something that you can do or it’s something that you can work with, you can do it. If you can do it, then if you really love it, you do it. I wouldn’t get into the business for money, at least not at the beginning. I’ve known a couple of people who thought they were going to make a lot more money, and that’s good because you’re supposed to be passionate about this because not everybody can do it. It’s gotta be creative, and that means it’s gotta be fun for everybody.

I think for anybody who wants to do it, just try it. Life can get in the way, and that’s understandable, but if you can find a way to do it, I would encourage anybody to wants to do it, to try it.

Photo info: (Photo from Ben Fontana, Entercom Radio Cleveland/92.3 The Fan)

Caption: Anthony Lima, left, poses for a photo with Ken Carman during a 92.3 The Fan free lunch event at Public Square in Cleveland on July 13, 2017.

HED: Q&A with 92.3 The Fan’s Ken Carman

By JACK KOPANSKI

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Since the inception of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, Ken Carman has been one of the preeminent voices in sports talk radio. The Perry High School and University of Akron graduate began as the late-night host, but within the past few years, has worked his way up to morning drive time with co-host Anthony Lima.

I had the opportunity to talk with Carman, a North Ridgeville resident, about his experiences with 92.3, his thoughts on his community and what he would tell to aspiring radio hosts.

Jack Kopanski: What made you want to go into journalism/radio?

Ken Carman: I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be around sports when I was younger and I thought I would be a sports writer of some sort. I did a high school project, and my assistant principal heard it somehow. I was throwing on the fake radio voice and all that stuff because I was young and I didn’t know what I was doing, and he goes, “Why don’t you try going for radio?” Okay, that’s cool.

I went to Akron and basically I chose Akron, one, because they accepted me. There’s no doubt about that. They had a really good student radio station and it was really well run by a guy named Tom Beck, and he really pointed me in the right direction. It was really him and my assistant principal in high school that got me pointed in the right direction.

JK: What was it like hosting late nights at the start, and what was the transition over to morning drive-time like?

KC: (Late nights) were good because you had a really loyal group of people that listened to you. It was almost a bit of a cult following for that show, and Kenny (Kidd) did a great job and had a lot of people who became fans of that show because of how hard Kenny worked at it. I thought that made it really, really special.

When we went over to mornings, people are creatures of habit, so it takes a minute for people to get used to you. So even though you got a lot of people loving what you’re doing at night, you still gotta get ‘em listening in the morning. It was an exciting thing because I felt like I had to earn it all over again. Over the last couple of years we’ve really picked it up and people are really enjoying what we’re doing, and so that part has been a lot of fun.

JK: What’s it been like working with Anthony Lima?

KC: Lima has made it different because he’s a different personality that’s going to push my buttons whenever he can. He has strong opinions and he’s a very good arguer, so I think that adds in a little bit of a different spectrum as where I’m not just giving some speech in the middle of the night telling people what I think. I have to bounce it off someone, and then I have to back it up. I think that’s made it challenging, but also a lot of fun.

JK: What’s it like coming up with your content for shows?

KC: It’s just stuff that we wonder whether or not we’re interested in it. If we’re interested in it, usually a lot of people are interested in it. I think we do a good job of, there’s things that people do just to get a reaction, and I think we’re very honest about that like, ‘I just want to gauge what you think about this.’

Sometimes I think that could be a good thing, sometimes I think that could be a frustrating thing because I think there are debate shows that train people to think that it’s hot take artistry and that’s it. I don’t think that’s it, I think that everything he says, he believes and everything I say, I believe. There’s an open-mindedness and I think what makes (Lima) special and what makes working with him fun is that we’re both willing to, if we’re wrong about something, admit we’re wrong about something. If I know I beat him in an argument, I have a lot of fun with that, and I think he definitely has fun if he beats me.

JK: You have a very unique style, but is there anyone that you’ve modeled yourself after?

KC: We all have influences, but I try not to listen to a lot of other shows because I don’t want to steal anything and I don’t want to pick up any different mannerism from anybody else. I listen to Bull and Fox when I can because they’ve got great interviews and great guests. I’m the same way with Baskin and Phelps and Nick (Wilson), but I also don’t want to listen to too much, because you do it by accident, you accidentally steal things.

If there was any influence, I listened to radio as a kid and, obviously, listen to radio now at times and when I’m walking around now I have the T.V. on. I still think Colin Cowherd, and there’s obviously times I disagree with him, but I think he puts on a great show. Jim Rome, obviously.  Locally, the first radio show I ever listened to was Kenny Roda, cognizantly. There was a point there right at the very end with Pete Franklin that I was blessed to hear but I didn’t take it in like I take it in now.

JK: What are your thoughts on the North Ridgeville area? Do you like the idea of a pool?

KC: I’d be excited about something like that. Now, I’m not a swimmer, but my boys are and (my wife) Lizzy likes to swim, I’m sure that we’d be down with something like that. Now I know that other people have brought it up as maybe using that space for something more multi-faceted, I can listen to that. I don’t know much, the only thing I know is that Lizzy told me they were talking about opening up a pool.

I’ve been pretty impressed here, I’ve only lived in Ridgeville for about a year-and-a-half, and I’ve been pretty impressed by it because one, it does remind me of back home. I grew up in Perry between Canton and Massillon, not the one up north. There’s places you can go but there’s a little bit of farmland around which is great. Obviously they’ve done a lot of infrastructure stuff, the schools were built pretty much right when we moved here.

Everyone assumes I live in one of the newer developments, I don’t. I live in one of the older neighborhoods and I enjoy the neighborhood, and I enjoy the neighbors. I’m really lovin’ living in North Ridgeville right now. So far, everything’s great.

JK: How did it feel finally getting to set that couch on fire after the Cavs won the championship in 2016?

KC: I did read that in Ridgeville you gotta have a permit to burn. I didn’t need a permit to burn in West Park, so I didn’t really have to look up everything. I tried to do it in my own safe way, which it looks like I just poured gasoline on something and set it on fire, I am a little bit more careful than that, but you’re still setting a couch on fire.

Now I gotta get it figured out because if the Indians do well, everyone is going to be, “Oh, now you gotta set something on fire again!” I gotta figure out a place to burn. Now I’m just looking around trying to size up an area about where exactly I wanna burn. I got a couple of things I gotta figure out here. Whoever wins a championship, I gotta burn something.

JK: In a field like sports journalism that is not only hard to break into, but also isn’t know for its big pay days, what makes this job worth it for you?

KC: I used to have horrible jobs. I’ve had to do very physical labor before. My dad’s a butcher, my mom works as a health aid so it’s pretty middle class. It makes it easier because one, it’s not hard. You’re basically sitting and talking about sports. Second, like I said, I’ve done hard jobs. Stone plants, I’ve done the landscaping, I’ve had to do things with just terrible materials that I never want to do again. When you’ve had that experience, and you never want to go back there again, you find motivation pretty quickly. The moment you start complaining about it, someone else is more than willing to take that job

JK: What is some advice you would give to someone trying to break into this field?

KC: Just try it. I liken it a lot to acting. There’s a lot of people who say, ‘I could do radio.’ Or ‘I could do this, I could act.’ They say that, then they never do it. There’s a lot of people who do it and they just don’t do anything in it. There’s a lot of people that say they’re going to be actors and move out to L.A. and it never really hits for them. It’s the same thing in radio and T.V. and broadcasting and stuff like that.

If it’s something that you can do or it’s something that you can work with, you can do it. If you can do it, then if you really love it, you do it. I wouldn’t get into the business for money, at least not at the beginning. I’ve known a couple of people who thought they were going to make a lot more money, and that’s good because you’re supposed to be passionate about this because not everybody can do it. It’s gotta be creative, and that means it’s gotta be fun for everybody.

I think for anybody who wants to do it, just try it. Life can get in the way, and that’s understandable, but if you can find a way to do it, I would encourage anybody to wants to do it, to try it.

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