Monday November 23, 2015
And one of radio’s Most Influential Women would have none of it. The reason the Detroit Lions are leaving CBS radio’s 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit is because the team tried to bully the station into firing host Mike Valenti, who’s been very critical of the team, and market manager Debbie Kenyon wouldn’t do it. “The team was focused on having a strong say in how our personalities, highlighted by Mike Valenti, would editorially cover the Lions.” As a result the two sides will part ways after this season and starting in 2016 Lions games will be heard on Cumulus’ WJR radio. Kenyon had more to say about the rift between The Ticket and the Lions. Here’s what she had to say….
“From our first conversation it was clear the Lions would have preferred to continue with 97.1 The Ticket, which is one of America’s premiere sports radio stations. But more than even the economics, the team was focused on having a strong say in how our personalities, highlighted by Mike Valenti, would editorially cover the Lions. As much as we would have enjoyed extending our nearly two-decade-long partnership that was simply a non-starter for us. We are proud of our talent and believe they should have the ability to freely express their opinions. We don’t feel you have to sacrifice this position in order to be a good and loyal broadcast partner to a pro franchise, which I think was validated by our recent long-term extension with both the Tigers and Wings. We will finish our 2015 season coverage strong and then wish the Lions all the best. Remember, regardless of where the games are broadcast, The Ticket is clearly the #1 destination for fans to talk about Detroit’s football team and that won’t change in 2016 and beyond.”
Cumulus’ WJR is a News/Talk station so it’s unlikely that the team will be criticized at all on that station. There is no sports talk programming.