Sacked! Lions to take new radio broadcast direction

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This is one of those situations that isn't easy to digest for several reasons. The Detroit Lions and WKRK-FM 97.1 have decided not to bring back play-by-play man Mark Champion for his 17th season when the team begins play this fall. Long time color commentator Jim Brandstatter is also reportedly going to be replaced, likely with a former Lions' player. I always thought that the team of Champion and Brandstatter was one of the best in the NFL -- both guys pretty much called it as they saw it, and didn't hold back against giving well-deserved criticism.

It's easy to get attached to a broadcast team and I think that is what has happened to many Lions fans that are upset when they hear this news. That makes it doubly hard to acknowledge that the new team, led by Channel 2's Dan Miller doing play-by-play, deserves a chance to display their stuff before a fair assessment can be made. Miller has experience as he's done work on Fox TV for the past several seasons -- to me he's solid, but not as colorful as Champion has been.

Getting adjusted to this change is more difficult when you like all of the public personalities involved. No one wishes bad things for Champion and Brandstatter because they were good at what they do. Likewise, being mean to Miller doesn't make sense either as he's a good guy too and deserves the shot. When these things happen, we often look for the 'why'... and most of the time we miss on what the real reasons might be. Could the Lions and WKRK have made this decision because they were unhappy with the status-quo? Maybe... but my guess is that the powers think they have a bigger opportunity with a new direction.

Time will tell.

 

4 Comments

I find it a bit curious that the PBP changes are announced the same day that William Clay Ford's retirement from the board of Ford is announced in the Detroit Papers.

The reason the Lions/WKRK made this decision is more than likely because the Lions organization was unhappy with Champion's criticism of the team when they played very poorly. It all boils down to that, IMO. Never mind the fact that Champion was merely voicing the same frustration probably 98% of the fans listening to his broadcast had.

It comes as no secret that the Lions organization is hyper sensitive to any display of criticism.

Their security personnel refused to allow fans to wear bags over their heads a couple seasons ago and they may have also played a role in Gregg Henson's removal from WXYT's PD chair.

The Lions probably told WKRK -- if you fire Mark Champion, you'll get us for 5 more seasons.

Dan Miller is an excellent sports anchor, but is a rather dry play by play man. I do feel a bit sorry for him, because he's in a tough situation. It doesn't excuse the fact, however, that this is a *TERRIBLE* move from a fan's standpoint.

I'm guessing his broadcast partner will be Chris Spielman.

If the Lions did influence this decision (of course they did), I wonder how the Lions will handle it when Miller *has* to be critical of them as part of his job as Sports Director at Fox 2? Kinda puts him in an awkward position, IMO.

Gregg Henson should write a book about all this stuff after he gets out of Infinity.

A sad move by the Lions to take away the excitement of listening to one of the best football announcers around. Was always a thrill to listen to Champion in a close exciting game. Just another heartless move in the Millen era. Really hurts a true Lions fan to see Millen show no respect for huge favorites in this area (Porcher,Moore,Moeller and now Champion). The excuse of its just business has worn thin. Do you think this would happen in Green Bay?

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 10, 2005 7:33 AM.

Lansing Baseball Fans Will Have Their Pick was the previous entry in this blog.

WWJ takes home gold at broadcasters expo is the next entry in this blog.

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