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97.1 the Ticket Responds To Rob Parker’s Diversity Criticism

“We know that having diverse voices on our air that represent our city is important, and we agree that we have missed the mark.”

Brandon Contes

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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.” 

Sports Radio News

Jon Marks Working Without At Contract at WIP

WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.

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94WIP afternoon host Jon Marks has revealed he is working without a contract.

A report from CrossingBroad.com claims Marks mentioned the development on the air two weeks ago, and Marks confirmed the news when the outlet asked him for comment.

He did not, however, wish to say much more about the situation. WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.

In late October, the station announced the current midday show of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie would replace Cataldi in the mornings. Longtime morning co-host Al Morganti will remain with the station but will no longer be heard in mornings once DeCamara and Ritchie take over. Anchor Rhea Hughes will stay in the morning timeslot.

The station has yet to name a new midday show to replace DeCamara and Ritchie. Marks is currently teamed with former NFL linebacker Ike Reese from 2:00-6:00 PM. The two were paired together in 2017.

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Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason Wonders If Joe Buck Was Criticized Before Energetic Monday Night Football Open

“Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”

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Boomer Esiason

Monday Night Football got off to an energetic start last night, with the usually reserved Joe Buck showcasing an exuberant attitude while discussing the weather and the fact that the calendar has already flipped to December. WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason wondered if there was an ulterior motive to Buck’s raucous start.

In addition to the energy exuded by the Monday Night Football announcer, Buck nearly howeld in excitement as the network showcased Tom Brady’s usual scream of “Let’s F—ing Go!”, by shouting “Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t say one of those words!”

The excitement was noticed by Boomer & Gio update anchor Jerry Recco who played the audio for the show, with Boomer Esiason wondering if Buck was proving a point to someone.

“Maybe somebody told him he was too downcast the previous broadcast,” Esiason wondered. “Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”

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Sports Radio News

Mike Conti: ‘Appaling’ That ‘Some Creep’ Posted Bob Rathbun Video Online

“He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.”

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Bob Rathbun, the television voice of the Atlanta Hawks, suffered a scary medical emergency on Monday night and it was captured on live television. The video then spread across the internet thanks to Twitter.

Mike Conti, the program director at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, is part of the station’s coverage of the Hawks. He admitted that when he saw the video, he had trouble getting in the right headspace to do the game.

“Bob’s a friend to all of us,” he said Tuesday morning as he talked to John & Hugh, the station’s morning show. “He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.” 

Conti noted that he was not watching TV when the incident happened. He saw the video on social media and is not happy about that.

“Some creep decided to post the video online, which I thought was appalling, but I could not avoid the video. It came up on my Twitter.”

The video is indeed disturbing. Awful Announcing posted the video on Twitter Monday night, but deleted it after backlash from members of the Atlanta media.

Bally Sports Southeast issued a statement after the game saying that Bob Rathbun was treated for dehydration. Conti reported that he had spoken to Rathbun, who is expected to fully recover.

“He’s good. He’s okay,” Conti said. “I don’t want to say too much just to respect Bob’s privacy, but I think Bob would be okay with me saying Bob is okay.”

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