The sports broadcast industry’s lack of diversity is a documented issue, but just acknowledging the problem hasn’t solved it. Recently, FS1 host and Deadspin columnist Rob Parker highlighted the diversity issues at 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit.
Although the station has experienced great ratings success in recent books, it’s lineup isn’t a cultural representation of the city.
“Talk about a lack of diversity. In a city that is 82.7 percent Black, according to the latest census, the only all-sports talk radio station in town — 97.1 The Ticket — has NO full-time black hosts on the air,” Parker wrote for Deadspin.
“It would be one thing if this was a radio station in Iowa or Nebraska. But in Motown, the Blackest city in America?” Parker questioned.
The Ticket is not alone in sports radio’s need to address diversity, it’s a problem which has plagued the industry even as it continues to be discussed. Entercom New York Market Manager Chris Oliviero recently highlighted the issue for one of the country’s most iconic sports radio stations WFAN.
“Your host should reflect the community you serve across the spectrum – diversity, age, however you want to define that,” Oliviero told Newsday last month. “So to me that’s going to be the goal with FAN moving forward. If you put a mirror up to FAN, does it reflect New York? Clearly, we have a lot of work to do on that front. We recognize that.”
Mike Valenti’s former on-air partner Terry Foster wrote on his blog that the problem for Detroit sports radio is much more serious than a lack of diversity.
“When I did radio at 97.1 with Mike Valenti I was taught that if you only talked sports that eventually you’d go out of business because you could not get a large enough audience in Detroit to attract advertisers and compete with the big boys in radio. There are not enough passionate sports fans in the Metro Detroit area to sustain an all sports station.”
Regarding The Ticket, Detroit FOX 2 anchor Huel Perkins recently moderated a roundtable discussion which included Rob Parker, local radio host Ryan Ermanni, sports anchor Woody Woodriffe and radio agent Mort Meisner. During the discussion, Meisner stated he’s been in talks with The Ticket “regarding an addition they’re looking to make,” alluding to those conversations involving a minority talent. During the roundtable discussion, The Ticket’s parent company Entercom provided FOX 2 with the following statement, acknowledging the need to add diversity to their lineup.
“We strive to deliver the best and most engaging sports content to fans in the great city of Detroit,” said Debbie Kenyon, SVP and Market Manager of Entercom Detroit. “We know that having diverse voices on our air that represent our city is important, and we agree that we have missed the mark. We are committed to doing our part to make sports talk radio as diverse as it should be, and we are taking active measures to ensure that we get it right at 97.1FM The Ticket.”
Meisner, who also represents The Ticket’s popular afternoon host Mike Valenti, later sent a tweet offering support for his highly successful client, but also told everyone to “stay tuned.”
KNBR’s Brian Murphy Speaks for First Time After Paul McCaffrey Laid Off
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’.”
Earlier this week, KNBR underwent a round of layoffs, affecting a pair of programs on the Bay Area sports station, including the departure of longtime morning host Paul McCaffrey. His longtime partner — Brian Murphy — has taken to X to share his thoughts.
In a thread to X, Murphy shared his admiration for McCaffrey, whom he hosted Murph and Mac with for 18 years.
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’,” wrote Murphy. “So much love.”
He then shared that everything listeners and fans of the program have shared on social media has been read by the duo, and thanked them for the outpouring of love and support.
Finally, Murphy addressed his future. Fill-in host Dieter Kurtenbach shared on Thursday he did not have a definitive answer about Murphy’s future with the Cumulus-owned station.
However, Brian Murphy has shared he will return to the airwaves on Monday morning.
“I’ll be back Monday morning on KNBR with our guy Markus (Waterboy) Boucher,” Murphy wrote. “Come on. It’s Niners-Eagles. Wouldn’t miss it. As Paulie Mac’s board itself would say: The show goes on.”
Mike Mulligan: Sports Radio is More Difficult Than Other Formats Think
He shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
On Friday morning’s edition of Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score in Chicago, co-host Mike Mulligan outlined the difference with music radio that hosts are not continuously talking to the audience, instead taking mic breaks and then interspersing commentary with different songs.
Filling in for David Haugh on Friday’s edition of the program was Gabe Ramirez, who used to work in the format with B96 as the host of its morning show. Mulligan’s assertion about the differences between the two formats resulted in a conversation about the differences between the grenres, with Ramirez explaining the difficulties that music radio hosts face on the air.
“The music station’s still creating content,” Ramirez said. “You get to have a guest – since I am going to defend my music stations – you get to have a guest and toss them a softball question and listen to them rant for five minutes.”
Mulligan disagreed with this perspective, conveying that he does not feel their program provides guests with easy questions. Additionally, he shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
“As a former sportswriter, we sit around and we talk about sports,” Mulligan said. “We talk about the sports we cover and we talk about other sports.”
“You have to talk about Justin Fields seven days in a row,” Ramirez replied. “As a morning show for music, you have to come up with new content every day.”
Rather than taking umbrage towards the response, Mike Mulligan explained that the key to effectively performing his job is being able to discuss important stories of the day even when they are not the headlines. Furthermore, he expounded on the commitment that it takes to watch the amount of sporting events and to be properly informed on the action so he is able to take the air.
“That I will agree with,” Ramirez said. “I’ve told people this – they ask me, ‘What’s the biggest difference?’ The prep, without question, is way more difficult in sports radio because everyone that’s listening to you already knows the answers and you have to be equally if not more informed in all of those things.”
Minnesota Twins Set to Tab Cory Provus as New TV Voice, Kris Atteberry as Lead Radio Announcer
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012.
After Dick Bremer exited the Minnesota Twins TV booth in October, the search began for his replacement. The MLB franchise didn’t have to look far, though.
Twins radio voice Cory Provus is reportedly set to become the new TV play-by-play broadcaster for the club, according to a report from Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012. Many immediately tabbed him as the club’s replacement for Bremer, who retired after 40 seasons as the lead television voice of the American League club. Before joining the team in 2012, Provus worked for the Milwaukee Brewers as the number two broadcaster after spending two seasons as the radio pregame host for the Chicago Cubs.
Meanwhile, Kris Atteberry has been signaled as the person set to replace Provus inside the franchise’s radio booth. He has served as the pregame and postgame host for the Minnesota Twins Radio Network since 2007. Atteberry joined the club after spending five years calling games for the then-Independent St. Paul Saints from 2002-2006.
While the television and radio broadcast crews appear set, questions remain about where the team will televise its games in 2024. The club’s contract with Bally Sports North has reportedly expired, and it has yet to sign an agreement with the bankruptcy-laden RSN, or with a local over-the-air television station.