Tuning in to What Makes the UW Special Dodge County

UW Connections in Dodge County

Data Source: University of Wisconsin Service Center

Craig Karmazin was born and raised in northern New Jersey. He attended Emory University in Atlanta. He did an internship at radio station WIP in Philadelphia. Not once in those moves did Karmazin ever think about Wisconsin … that is, until he talked to a friend who was attending UW–Madison.

“My friend was on break from school and decided to stay in Madison, and I just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t be coming back home to New Jersey,” Karmazin recalls. “He said, ‘Just come out here once, and you’ll understand why.’” So on an October weekend during his senior year in college, Karmazin visited the UW and decided then and there that he never wanted to leave. “After being in the state for two and a half days, I almost felt like it was home.”

Following a dream to own a sports talk radio station, Karmazin founded Good Karma Broadcasting in 1997 with the purchase of three radio stations in the Dodge County city of Beaver Dam. He became one of the university’s biggest champions almost as quickly.

“I love that the UW is such a free-thinking place that not only are you able to have such a world class environment, but you’re able to have such unique personalities that can flourish within it.”

“I love that the UW is such a free-thinking place that not only are you able to have such a world class environment, but you’re able to have such unique personalities that can flourish within it.”

Speaking of flourishing, Good Karma has grown beyond Beaver Dam to include broadcast and digital assets in Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland, and West Palm Beach, Florida. It has also become a best-in-class local operator of the ESPN brand. “Whether it’s radio stations, bowl games we assist with, or expanding ESPN’s digital properties, which right now is a major priority for both ESPN and Good Karma, we continue to see ourselves evolving with the way people consume sports,” says Karmazin.

But those Beaver Dam roots remain strong. “We just completed our 20th annual Children’s Radiothon that helps raise money for local children’s charities,” he says. “For such a small community like Beaver Dam, we’re approaching two million dollars raised … and knowing that we’re impacting lives is exciting and what ultimately drives me.”

In partnership with UW–Madison and Wisconsin Athletics, Karmazin also worked to bring the Wisconsin Sports Awards to Madison for the first time in 2017. “It really highlights the great relationship we’ve been able to build during the past 20 years with the UW and the city of Madison.” Much of that credit, Karmazin says, belongs to Director of Athletics, Barry Alvarez. “Barry has been an incredible supporter of ours from the very beginning,” he said. “And 20 years later, he’s still our biggest cheerleader and is such an amazing mentor and friend to us.”

Thank you, Dodge County, for Craig Karmazin and his outside perspective on what makes Wisconsin such a special place to live, work, and get an education.