Absolutely not and anyone who suggests that is does has no clue about Sports Radio.
The only thing a sports station needs to win is talented on-air personalities, that is where it begins and that is where it ends. Sports Radio is built on larger than life personalities, guys who are passionate and emotional about the teams they cover for a living. That is precisely why the flash point for this sports radio battle will be in Afternoon Drive. It will pit the two best Air Personalities against one another….Drew Lane vs. Mike Valenti.
Before we discuss that battle, let’s address the play-by-play question.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, play-by-play for the most part is a money losing proposition. Many of the stations around the country ONLY sign teams as an ego trip. Some play-by-play can get you ratings, but you rarely get both….most station do not make a dime on play-by-play.
In Detroit, 97.1 could do without the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons and be just fine. The teams that move the needle in Detroit are the Lions, Tigers and Michigan Football. WXYT just got a 2 share point bump from Tiger baseball, but they were still at a very healthy 4.5 without baseball.
105.1 won’t have a team, at least not in the beginning stages, but they will have TALENT in PM Drive to compete against Valenti, Drew Lane is the X-factor in all this, NOT play-by-play.
If Drew does what Drew has always done, he will make an impact. I’m not sure he will beat Mike Valenti, but he will take a sizable chunk of the ratings in PM Drive. For all the complaints about Mike, he has tremendous sports knowledge and is entertaining, even if it’s angry sounding. There will be a distinct difference in the two shows. Drew’s will be way more light-hearted and entertaining, while Valenti’s will be more sports and more anger.
Valenti wins on sports knowledge, but Drew can always fill that void with guests and “experts,” this hurts Valenti because he can’t have guests on his show. Mike’s handicapped by calls from Bob in Roseville. I think the “caller driven,” format will get some tweaking as soon as the competition announces its intentions to flip to sports.
I personally think this PM Drive battle will be a riot to watch, will Detroit choose the angry young man or the cool laid back dude?