WAUK-AM (540), the ESPN Milwaukee affiliate, has signed Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for weekly segments during the upcoming NFL season.
It's part of an exclusive "multi-year partnership" between Rodgers and Good Karma Broadcasting, which owns WAUK. The weekly segments will also air on Good Karma Broadcasting’s other five English language Wisconsin radio stations.
Craig Karmazin, Good Karma's president and CEO, told me, "It's humongous," with the Super Bowl MVP only signing a similar deal, thus far, with Nike.
Karmazin wouldn't elaborate on the terms of the deal, saying only that Rodgers had signed for "more than two years" and that his weekly appearances won't be scheduled until his Packers schedule is clear.
"Aaron's biggest commitment is to the Packers, shockingly," Karmazin joked. The goal is a consistent day and time -- which may vary if the Packers play a Monday night or a Thursday night game.
As for the deal, this wasn't part of a bidding war, Karmazin said.
"His management team came to us about eight months ago," and Karmazin was told if the deal didn't work, Rodgers wouldn't go somewhere else.
"It wasn't that he was looking for a radio deal," said Karmazin. "He liked our people, enjoyed the experience he had with our team."
In a statement issued by Good Karma, Rodgers said, "Talking to the media is part of my job, but this is going to be a little different.
"Wisconsin has the most passionate, dedicated fans in football and I look forward to the chance to connect directly with them through 540 ESPN. As long as Homer, Mitch and Jason Wilde let me finish an occasional sentence, it’s going to be fun."
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.