Easily the most asked question of me through this web site is, “Who is the best Sports Talk Show Host in Detroit.” Everybody has their personal favorites, as I do, but this list is not about my personal favorites, it is who I think is good!
10. Dennis Fithian: The gravel voiced Fithian is solid at sports but doesn’t bring much in the way of entertainment value, solid X’s and O’s host. Solid listen if you are a Michigan fan.
9. Bill McAllister: Bill is talented, funny and solid at sports. He may be miscast alongside Stoney but there is no doubt he can be funny and he knows Detroit very well. Bill did a lot of really funny stuff when we worked together, the format hinders him at 97.1 The Ticket.
8. Scott Anderson: The guy worked hard to make himself a Talk Show Host, he’s been at it a long time. He has his funny moments and clearly know his fair share of Detroit sports. He and Karsch are flawless at executing the “Ticket format.”
7. Pat Caputo: Pat is one of the more knowledgeable sports hosts in Detroit. He actually studies sports. Pat’s delivery is very much the “guy in the bar” chatting loudly about his opinion on sports. He’s a Detroit guy who is objective except when discussing Michigan vs. Michigan State. He’s solid.
6. Doug Karsch: Doug is a pure sports guy. With him you won’t get controversy or strong opinions, but you will get a solid dose of sports, especially his specialty…Michigan football. He executes the format at 97.1 flawlessly, but his incessant teasing can be annoying. Sometimes the teases are so good you have to listen, but more often I get annoyed and just turn off the radio.
5. Mike Stone: My biggest issue with Stone is his pairing with Bill McAllister, I’m just not sure they are a fit together. The ratings are solid for the show, but how much are they leaving on the table? Stone knows sport and sports talk radio but I often think he takes the path of least resistance. It may be the format, but I think he could bring more to the table.
4. Jamie Samuelsen: Jamie is never going to be controversial and that may be a good thing, controversy will get you fired and he’s still in Detroit after 19 years. His pairing with Wojo is solid; together they can be really entertaining, although at times the show can be “inside” and “old bit.” When that happens it leaves a lot of the audience out in the cold. Otherwise, he’s a solid sports guy with some opinions.
3. Drew Lane: Drew is still finding his way around the sports talk arena. He had a rough start, but I don’t think it’s his fault. I don’t think he was given any direction or even talked to about the very basics of sports talk radio. Right now the show is basically Drew and Mike without Mike. I think that needs to change as well as the direction. Being on a sports station brings a different set of expectations….like actually having sufficient sports content. Drew’s a pro, he will figure it out.
2. Wojo: The guy is funny and understands how the format works. He’s as close to the complete package as it gets in Detroit. He has all the tools you look for in a Host. He’s funny, thoughtful, smart, unpredictable and likable. That isn’t easy to do, the only thing missing is a little attitude.
1. Mike Valenti: This guy gets the art of the format. Sometime he leans on the red meat issues too much and it can get boring but for the most part, he is easily the best, most entertaining Host on the air in Detroit today. He manages to make the “The Ticket” format entertaining. His only weakness in my book is his Michigan poking, I think a significant portion of the audience just won’t listen because his views on Michigan and Michigan State are predictable. It is quite obvious that Mike is reeling his act in a bit in response to Drew’s arrival, I don’t think he should. He needs to embrace his rage and do what he does, not pander to be the nice guy.
So, that is my two cents, what do you think? How would you rank them?