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Cleveland sports talk host Les Levine dies at 74

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He was battling Parkinson’s illness for a few years, however continued to work up till late December.

CLEVELAND — Les Levine, whose wit and opinions graced the Cleveland sports activities radio and tv airwaves for many years throughout a number of stations, has died on the age of 74.

Levine’s household confirmed his dying to 3News, saying he handed following a weeks-long hospital keep. He had been battling Parkinson’s illness for a few years, however continued to work up till late December.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Levine graduated with a political science diploma from the Ohio State College, however had his sights set on being a sportscaster from a really younger age. He acquired his begin DJing and doing highschool play-by-play in Jasper, Indiana, earlier than returning to Northeast Ohio at Akron’s WNIR within the early 1970s to name native basketball video games and double because the station’s gross sales supervisor.

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Les ended up spending a few years calling Kent State and Cleveland State basketball on radio in addition to TV, and even acquired an opportunity to do some Cavaliers contests. Although he by no means acquired the everlasting professional play-by-play gig he needed, he slowly labored his approach up the ranks when he started internet hosting call-in exhibits on WWWE (now WTAM) 1100 in Cleveland after Ohio State and Indians video games within the 1980s.

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It was on this format that he discovered his area of interest, and by the subsequent decade he was on WERE after which WHK along with his personal present full along with his signature self-deprecating title: “Extra Sports activities & Les Levine.”

“Sports activities speak is superb on this city,” he as soon as mentioned in an interview with Cleveland Seniors. “Issues went very nicely. Take one thing like Artwork Modell promoting the Browns: the worst factor that might have occurred to Cleveland, [but] the very best factor that might have occurred to sports activities speak exhibits. It introduced mainstream audiences to sports activities speak.”

Levine quickly grew to become one of many metropolis’s most recognizable and beloved sports activities voices as “The Self-proclaimed Voice of Fact and Purpose,” passionately partaking with callers on the varied goings on of the Indians, Cavaliers, and Browns. His humorousness was additionally a staple of his broadcasts, particularly along with his well-known “How Come Quickes.” For instance: “How come you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?”

“Extra Sports activities” quickly grew to become a visible present, first on Sports activities Channel after which on Cablevision/Adelphia/Time Warner/Spectrum for twenty years earlier than becoming a member of its present residence on in 2019. Levine’s voice was additionally nonetheless a welcome presence up and down the radio dial, most just lately as a frequent fill-in host for 92.three The Fan.

“I’m a fan. It’s that easy,” he mentioned. “When someone calls, I do know what they’re speaking about; I acknowledge the names they carry up; I really feel the identical frustration that they do. Perhaps that’s why it really works. I’m one in all them.”

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Apart from his duties with sports activities speak and native basketball, Levine additionally known as hockey video games for the previous Cleveland Crusaders and did pre and postgame exhibits throughout varied shops for the entire metropolis’s main groups. He was additionally an everyday sports activities columnist for Cleveland Jewish Information, penning what would find yourself being his final piece on New Yr’s Eve following a brutal Browns loss to the lowly New York Jets.

“I’m not prepared for this Browns season to finish subsequent week as a result of [Baker] Mayfield and [Kevin] Stefanski deserve one other shot,” he wrote of Cleveland’s postseason probabilities on the time. “Defeating Pittsburgh at residence is sort of doable. Something after that might imply the Browns are taking part in with ‘home cash.’”

Whereas many followers had been panicking, his phrases proved true: The Browns went on to beat the Steelers and earn a bid earlier than thumping them the next week in a rematch in Pittsburgh. It was Cleveland’s first playoff victory in 26 years, and the ultimate one Les would see on this earth.

Levine hosted what could be his closing “Extra Sports activities” on Dec. 30, speaking Browns and Buckeyes with longtime colleague Dennis Manoloff. He signed off utilizing his signature goodbye: “Of all of the exhibits I’ve ever carried out, this was the newest.”

Levine is survived by his spouse Allison, two youngsters, two stepchildren, and a number of grandchildren. Funeral preparations haven’t but been introduced.

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