The Detroit Lions will have a new home for their radio broadcasts in 2021 – WXYT-FM (97.1).
Lions president Rod Wood confirmed the long-rumored move Friday morning in an interview on the “Stoney and Jansen” show. The Free Press reported in September the move was expected to happen.
“Certainly, a lot of things were taken into account,” Wood said. “The business side of it and the partnership and obviously (97.1 is) the flagship station for sports in our town. We’re a great sports town. Most of our fans listen to your shows throughout the day, and going back to that station, I think, is a reconnection with our fans and that was a big part of it.”
The Lions left 97.1 for WJR-AM (760) in 2016, after the team grew angry with popular but opinionated afternoon drive-time host Mike Valenti.
At the time, CBS Detroit senior vice president and market manager Debbie Kenyon said in a statement that the sticking point in negotiations with the Lions was the station’s “refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.”
The Lions spent 20 seasons with CBS radio, then parent company to 97.1, before switching to WJR. The station is now owned by Entercom, but has much of the same on-air talent and management as it did five years ago, including Valenti.
Asked Friday if the Lions had developed thicker skin since they left the station, Wood said, “I know what you’re referring to and I’m not going to comment.”
“Whatever’s past is past,” he said. “And we’re excited about the future and looking forward to it.”
Dan Miller, in his 16th season, is expected to return as Lions play-by-play voice.