On Monday, WMGC 105.1 will become Detroit’s newest 24/7 sports station. The marquee name behind the station flip will be none other then Mr. Drew Lane. It’ll be 2 months and 26 days since Drew was last on the radio in Detroit. However, his return to the airwaves will be without his long time partner, Mike Clark and we have to wonder why.
Looking back at the end of the Drew and Mike show, a few strange things stand out. First, the news leaked about the end of their show on May 8th. Part of the news was the strange situation that they’d be given a week on the air to say goodbye to their listeners. Many commentators noted how odd it was for a radio station to give a show so much time on the air after they’ve been let go. Greater Media, the station that owns WRIF, were clearly not afraid of what they’d say.
Second, a little more then a month after the show went off the air, Drew started a podcast with his long time producers, Marc Fellhauer and Mike Wolters. Noticeably absent, was Mike Clark. Fans of the show posted questions, after questions after questions: “Where is Mike?” Drew kind of brushed it off as conflicts with his schedule. Out of the 17 podcast episodes Drew and the guys recorded, Mike was present for just one of them. It’s hard not to believe that the constant demand for Mike wasn’t somewhat response for his eventual appearance. In their first episode, they said had they asked, they would have waited too long for Mike to make it over:
In the eighth episode, Drew talks about texting Mike about the podcast and him missing the message:
And numerous other times, Drew and the gang talk about near misses on Mike coming to the podcast. The fact that he made it to the 10th one would seem to indicate he’d be back from here on out. He had a great time and the guys chemistry seemed to be flying. Fans on the Drew and Mike message boards almost unanimously agreed that it was the best episode out of the batch. And yet when #11 was released, no Mike Clark.
It’s completely irresponsible to speculate on why Mike didn’t make it to more podcasts, in a Facebook message released this evening, he makes it clear, he would have liked to be in each one of them.
“I do want to make a point clear regarding the podcasts. if you are listening to them then you know I have done one , number 10, out of some 16 or more. So often I read comments or hear from people on the street wondering why I am not a part of them and thinking this is my desire to not participate. The truth is, apparently Drew thought I was enjoying the summer and had no desire to be a part of them. However, the reality is I would of loved to have done every single one of them. The one I did do, I had great fun. So, we will have to chalk up my lack of involvement as a misunderstanding.” – Mike Clark, Drew and Mike Fans, August 8, 2013
Drew and Mike in the Afternoon?
In September of 2007, Drew called in sick:
And for the next seven months was missing in action from the Drew and Mike Show. Mike Clark ran the show by himself with Marc and Mike helping. All they would say on the air was Drew was giving a “leave of absence from Greater Media.” However, in April of 2008, news leaked that Drew had officially quit WRIF. This came as a complete shock to Mike Clark who head heard nothing about this from anyone, including Drew.
It turned out, his girlfriend was battling breast cancer and Drew was caring for her while helping her recover from the illness. However, after she got better Drew realized he liked not waking up at four o’clock in the morning everyday. His idea was to move the entire show to the afternoon, and he assumed the rest of the team would be on board. However, this was not the case. In an interview with WXYZ Drew explains:
The Drew and Mike Show, turned into the Mike in the Morning Show. Mike Clark’s ratings took a bit of a hit, but the show stayed #1 in most of the key demographics. A year later, once again, news leaked that Greater Media had re-signed Drew in June of 2009. Greater Media was ending the Mike in the Morning Show and reuniting Drew and Mike. Apparently there had been little to no contact between Drew and Mike up until Drew called the radio station to talk about his return:
You can hear a bit of the awkwardness in the phone call. Every time Mike mentioned the return of Drew up until July 13, he consistently called, it the Mike and Drew Show. I really don’t believe he was joking, he felt he had earned top billing in the new show. He had piloted the plane for two years and planned on continuing to do so. But that was not to be, Drew returned to lead the show and after a few bumpy episodes the duo were back to the same excellent show it had always been. It dominated the ratings, coming in at #1 every week until the show was canceled in May of this year.
Conclusions and questions
Why would Greater Media cancel the number one radio show in Detroit? On the surface it makes no sense whatsoever. The argument has always been that WRIF wanted to reach a younger audience then Drew and Mike were attracting. They signed the out of work, Dave and Chuck the Freak, as soon as they were available to work again in the market. The former 89X morning show would take over the reigns at WRIF mornings, and the gang at the Drew and Mike Show were out of a job. But were they?
Greater Media immediately moved Trudy Daniels to another one of their stations, WCSX. And I believe they had plans for everyone else as well. Behind the scenes they were planning to flip WMGC over to sports, with Drew and Mike hosting the afternoon slot. This is why they gave the guys a week to say goodbye. They were just switching broadcast studios. Greater Media didn’t really “fire” them, as much as gave them a temporary leave of absence. Greater Media had to wait out a contract on the current ESPN station in town, and when the ESPN brand became available in July of this year, the wheels began to spin.
Greater Media will announce on Monday, July 12 that WMGC 105.1 will switch to a 24/7 News and Sports Station. The station will air national broadcasts until three PM when Drew Lane will host a four hour show. Marc Fellhauer and Mike Wolters are expected to also return as Drew’s producers. The only question mark is Mike Clark.
Now, Greater Media could be leaving his part of the show out as a surprise and it could very well be the Drew and Mike Show on 105.1. But every source and every leak has said otherwise. Gregg Henson, who has been the first to break every bit of news on this subject makes it very clear that it’s the Drew Lane show, period.
At the end of the Drew and Mike Show, Mike said sever times, that they would return together again. He wants to work with Drew and the guys. He wanted to do the podcast with Drew and the guys. I don’t know what keeps getting in the way. Some fans have said Mike couldn’t hack a sports show, but listen to him talk about the Red Wings, Lions or the Tigers. He loves sports just as much as the next guy. He would have no problem co-hosting a more sports themed Drew and Mike show.
As Drew said above, there sure seems to be a strange lack of communication for a team in the communications industry.
Update: August 12, 2013
“When Drew told me the news not so long ago, I was surprised. I knew things were not going well with other owners in the market to pick up the full “Drew and Mike” show.
Of course I wish Drew and all the guys on their new show great success. Drew and I had a wonderful 22 years with amazing success that I will always cherish.
Of course I am disappointed I didn’t make the cut. I suppose I feel like the kid who didn’t make the cut for the Little League team. I was next to step up to the check in counter at the inn and they threw up the “no vacancy” sign.
Many people have recently lost their jobs. I will survive and look for other opportunities and see what develops. I think that losing the last job and not making it onto the new show should count as 2 in the unemployment figures!
Alas, I guess this is the part where Jimi Hendrix would say. …That’s all right, I still got my guitar and launches into a mighty blues riff! I suppose I could say, “That’s OK, I’ve still got my airplane. Nothing a few hours at 5,000 feet can’t solve.””