Let us be real honest here, Detroit is a great sports town. From the love of it’s Tigers, to the continued patience with it’s Lions, Detroit is full of great sports fans and that fact is not lost on the national media.
When asked about the great American Sports towns, national radio host JT the Brick regularly ranks Detroit in the top five sports cities in our country. JT is such a fan of Detroit that he spent an entire radio show, broadcasted live from Cheli’s Chili in downtown Detroit, talking about how great a sports town Detroit truly is.
Since that show the Detroit sports media has taken a beating. The Detroit News was forced to fire popular columnist Rob Parker after he stepped across the line and personally attacked a member of the Lions in then head coach Rob Marinelli.
Earlier this year, local sports radio channel 1130 AM WDFN, owned by the national company Clear Channel, laid off all of it’s local Detroit radio hosts.
They now only feature locally broadcasted radio shows a few hours each day.
On top of that, the newspaper industry as a whole, and in particular Detroit, has seen the bottom fall out of it's profitability. The papers in Detroit are now only home delivered a few days per week, and the coverage they now offer is sub-par at best.
This is not to say that Detroit still doesn’t have some great sports personalities, because they do. It's just that these sports personalities often are working two or more jobs in the field to keep their bills paid.
That is certainly the case for Terry Foster (sports writer for the Detroit News and local sports radio host on 97.1 FM the Ticket) and Pat Caputo (sports writer for the Oakland Press, fellow host of many local sports shows on 97.1 the ticket, and teacher of a class at Oakland university on Sports Journalism).
These two men are among the most entertaining and knowledgeable sports men in Detroit.
However, it is Foster’s co-host that may rank as the most popular, if not infamous man on Detroit Sports radio airwaves.
Mike Valenti, on his show from 2pm EST to 6pm EST, challenges Detroit fans on almost any topic.
The great thing about Mike is he is not from Detroit, so he has a tendency not to be a Detroit homer, and drink the daily installments of local team Kool aid.
Especially when the topic is the lowly state of the Detroit Lions.
Mike is unafraid to challenge his listeners on any subject, and he is so fun and almost universally hated by Detroit fans, that his show now features a weekly why I hate Mike segment.
During these segments, callers are encouraged to call in and voice their opinion on why they hate Mike so much. For sports theater there is nothing better.
Of course, no article about the Detroit media would be complete without mentioning guys like Bob Wojonowski (Detroit News Sports writer and former host of a popular sports call in show on 1130 AM WDFN) or Drew Sharp (Sports writer for the Detroit Free Press, who also co wrote a book with Terry Foster titled Great Detroit Sports debates).
Of course we will be tacking these subjects, and taking a longer look at the Detroit Sports media in the days and weeks to come.