Terry Foster: Why I’m Leaving Now

By Terry Foster
I spent a half hour on the phone with a friend who said she is transitioning into a third career. She thought it would be difficult to let go of the first two jobs and start over again, but she seemed happy getting into the baking and pastry field.

I won’t be making cookies and pies, but like my friend it is time for me to transition into another career phase. I am leaving the popular Valenti and Foster Show after 13 years that capped off my 36 years in the media. Over those years, I worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, WDFN and 971 The Ticket.

I am not the same person that I was a year ago. The two strokes I suffered turned me into someone who is more calm and quiet. I’m more diplomatic. The Tigers’ bad bullpen does not upset me as much. The Lions’ bumblings are not as troubling.

So it is difficult to do sports talk radio with the same veracity and tenacity after your life turned a complete 180 and things were placed in perspective. I want to live and be there for my family. I battle every day at the gym and the dinner table to stay healthy and get better. I no longer want to fight over a Brad Ausmus move or who the Lions should select in the first round of the draft.

Those things are not as important.

I might not be able to bake but I still have plenty left to give. I can write and promote and I have 136,000 twitter followers to talk to every day. I just don’t have the passion and energy to do a highly passionate and energized show like Valenti and Foster.

It is time for me to ride off, but not ride off into the sunset. So I will see you at the New Amsterdam at Comerica Park and at Harry’s Detroit after a Red Wings or Pistons game at Little Caesars Arena. And we cannot forget Ford Field where the Lions often frustrated you. But they were always my favorite team because they brought out the most passion in fans.

About 15 years ago I sat at a Michigan State University football press conference where former football coach Bobby Williams stood in front of the media answering questions.

The microphone was passed to a young student and radio talk host who asked: “Why should you keep your job?”

I said to myself “Damn. Who the hell is that?”

It was Mike Valenti, a passionate Spartan who was angry with the direction of the football team.

Mike and I were introduced by former Free Press sports writer Jamelle Hill, who now works for ESPN. She nudged us together a while later when WXYT  hired Valenti. She thought we’d make the perfect pair. The people making the decisions disagreed and pushed Mike to do the show with a different co-host.

But Mike stuck to his guns and insisted on doing the show with me. We were told the show would last six months. Mike and I have a private joke now.

“It’ been a long six months.”

Well that six months is finally coming to an end. It’s been a fun ride.

We’ve been provocative and controversial. We’ve fought. But we had plenty of laughs, too, and my most enjoyable times on the show were when we could laugh with the audience.

I would also like to give shout outs to the second member of the Black Caucus, David Hull, and to our fine producer Mike Sullivan. We know he still believes the Tigers have an “above average bullpen,” and that’s OK.

Thank you to Program Director Jimmy Powers for our chats about radio and boring Atlanta sports, and to our Market Manager Debbie Kenyon who always stood in my corner. I love my CBS radio family for all of our chats by the water cooler and the support over the years.

That same love goes to Detroit sports fans who encouraged me and understood my ramblings for years. Thank you for making my career so fun and interesting.

The station asked me to do a farewell show. I would love to, but I don’t think I can get through it without becoming a slobbering idiot. It is hard for me to say good-bye to anything. I cried when I had to leave after staying at a bed and breakfast for five days because the people there were so nice.

So why am I leaving now?

As many of you know, I had a stroke last fall. You often ask how I’m doing and I say “fine,” which is true.

However, I was rarely fine after the show was over for the day and often returned home quiet and tired. I dove into bed for rest. It was troubling to my wife, who was used to “goofy Terry” bouncing into the house and starting all kinds of trouble.

She thought radio drained me and believes that retiring will prolong my life and make me happier. I’ve been in the sports world for decades, working odd hours, and often wondered what it was like to work Monday through Friday and enjoy Friday afternoon happy hour with other working people.

I hope to serve as an inspiration to others and show you can fight through a serious illness and thrive. Doctors told me some patients give up when they get sick and then they get sicker or depression sets in.

I will continue to fight. And I promise to win.

Comments

One Comment

  1. We will miss your voice Terry. Hope to see you at Comerica and LCA

  2. All the best, Terry! You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family. If you ever find yourself in Essex Ontario, Happy hour`s on me! I`ve enjoyed your insight for a long time.

  3. Chris Meller says:

    Love you Terry!! It was an honor to meet you at a book signing, listening to you for the past 13 years and eating at Fosters BBQ in Fraser :) You take care of yourself and enjoy retirement and your family.

  4. Smart decision. Enjoy the next few chapters.

  5. Gregg Parini says:

    Congratulations, thank you, and good luck. Live long … and prosper.

  6. Marc Holland says:

    Way to go, Terry. There is so much more than just a show that has to be done! I retired from the theatre (but still love writing) for the same reason!

  7. Ken Dettloff says:

    Have a long and prosperous retirement! Enjoy cruising down river every night!

  8. Wish you all the best Terry. Thanks for the laughs throughout the years on the dial. Made the move to Florida 4 years ago and still stream you guys everyday.

  9. Terry, I had the pleasure of meeting you twice at Oakland Yards when our daughters’ soccer games went back-to-back. The first time I was nervous but approached you and introduced myself as an admirer of your column and fan of the V&F show. The second time YOU approached me and said “Hey man, how ya doing? How did your daughter’s game go?” I miss your columns and will miss your commentary but wish you and your family nothing but the best.

  10. Thank you,Terry,for your time and commitment.You will be truly missed.All the best for the future,sir.

  11. Sorry to see you go Terry. Wish Valenti would have treated you with more class after the stroke!

  12. Sue Baldock says:

    Much much love to you, your wife, and the kids. We’ll miss your dulcet tones. Really. xoxo Be well.

  13. You’ve already won. I will miss hearing you, as I have missed reading your columns, but family and your health comes first. Stay cool.

  14. Wish you the best Terry. Maybe you could do a weekly/monthly Podcast?

  15. Shiree Pie says:

    I listen everyday on my ride home from work and most often I laughed to tears. I will miss your voice, opinions, thoughts, humor, knowledge and so much more. Best wishes to you and your family. GOD BLESS.

  16. I will miss you Terry. I enjoyed the banter, enjoyed listening to you and your insight. I was so happy when I heard your voice again on 97.1, but being one in the medical field, I truly respect your decision to leave the show. Terry, I will miss you, always take care, and the best of luck to you Sir.

  17. Good for you….after neck surgery and a continuing recovery I too have had to leave one career to pursue another. I am know following my passion for the mentoring of young people as a primary focus. Congrats on your retirement even if its semi retirement. Live and be well brother.

  18. Terry,
    I have been listening to you since the doctors days with Art Regner.
    You and Mike made my drive home from work much more pleasant.
    I have called in a few times and it was a honor to speak to you and Mike.
    I always would get to work the next day and so many of my co workers would
    say I heard you on the Valentti and Foster show. Terry I wis you all the best.
    And one final BOOM BY YA

  19. I have been listening to you from when you are on AM radio. You’re the best and the sound of your voice will be missed dearly. All the best to you and yours!

  20. Best wishes for a happy retirement Terry! You are a class act and deserve it. I’ll miss the banter between you and Mike in the afternoons but am happy that you are doing what’s best for your health and family…Good luck!

  21. Diavet Hoye says:

    Terry, thank you, as one chapter ends another one opens. Enjoy.

  22. Brian Drobet says:

    Terry, I have listened to your podcast everyday for years. I am Detroit born and raised, but a transplant here in Southern California. Your show has literally been my lifeline to the sports teams of my youth and the city I miss. Thank you filling that hole in my life for all of these years.

  23. Ted Lyons says:

    Well sir, you’ve certainly earned the right to do whatever you think is best, but I wonder if you might not regret it. It seems to me like you love what you do, and I don’t think you can ever get enough of that. The good news is that because of your body of work, you’ll always have options. I hope you enjoy life without this vocation, but will not lie and say that I don’t hope you change your mind in the future some time. Because I do.

  24. Ed Miller says:

    Good luck Terry. I loved listening to you and Mike over the years. I hope you enjoy your “retirement” and may see you around our little area.

  25. thank you Terry, for all of the memories. i got emotional when listening to Valenti all by himself today, reminiscing about the times that you both had on the show. At the end of the day, your family comes first and I am glad that you may be finding some peace of mind and body since deciding to lay down the mic. I faithfully listened nearly every day for over 4 years, and you guys have helped me stay in touch with Detroit since moving to Atlanta (I know, awful sports!). Thanks for everything that you brought to 97.1 and the Detroit community. Best of luck on your next adventure. You will be missed, but never forgotten!

  26. Kyle Bingham says:

    Terry, you guys MADE my drive home every weeknight! When Tiger baseball was on or it was a fill-in, it just wasn’t the same. Strokes are no joke and you got to do what is best for you in the long run and your family. Best of luck to one-half of the best sports radio duo in Detroit history!

  27. You’ve had a great career and have entertained us for so many, many hours. Still can’t believe I’ve had your book on the Bad Boys for this long. What better decision is there than wanting to prolong one’s life to better spend with their family? Truly a class act. Thank you for being a part of our Detroit sports history.PS any chance you can take Mike with you?

  28. Tim Burston says:

    Terry, good luck as you start this new chapter in your life.

  29. Tom Earl says:

    Wth?! I leave the state for 2 yrs and everything goes to hell in a hand basket, Terry, I’m sorry to see you go, but I understand. You gotta look out for you and yours. Best of luck to you in the next chapter of your life.

  30. Hope to see you at a Eastern Michigan game,Terry!! Thanks for a great run!

  31. terry…i wish you much joy and renewed vigor taking it easier. i’ve never been a big sports fan. the limo accident after a red wings championship that forever changed the course of two lives made me realize that fame doesn’t guarantee anything. i loved college football in the “bo” days, but all good things must end. i have always been a captive audience when listening to “valenti and foster”, being a passenger in my husband’s car while your show was on the air. one show has always bugged me and i wanted to call in that day, but lacked the courage. you and mike were discussing a detroit pistons team and using the word “royalty”. i think you got that because tayshaun prince made the comment that the winning pistons were like “royalty.” this is what i would have said if i had called, “let’s not dumb down the english language by calling a sports team “royalty”. “royalty” has a specific meaning and that’s why tayshaun prince is not addressed prince tayshaun.” thank you, my mind is at ease. enjoy your life.

  32. Nora O'Brien says:

    You will be missed! Your show is the best. Please call in once in a while to talk Mike off the rails! Good wishes to you and your family.

  33. Mark Hurst says:

    Terry – you will be deeply missed but it sure sounds like you are making the right decision. Your fight through your health issues is an inspiration and demonstrates that you have your priorities in-line. Keep fighting Terry and I hope you share thoughts on your progress every now and again (as that is the only thing that matters). Thanks for all of the years of great radio with the “other guy”.

  34. Spent every year you guys were on listening to the two of you. Was by far the most entertaining show on the radio. CMU grad so loved how when we had our victories here and there, you gave us our two minutes of fame. Have fun in the next chapter and also have a senior daughter getting ready for her next chapter so right there with you with her leaving home. We will get through it.
    Keep fighting and looking forward to seeing your twitter posts.

  35. Terry,

    Parting is such sweet sorrow somebody once said! I have enjoyed your thoughtful and entertaining persona over the may years. I wasn’t someone to call in? But, I was there nearly everyday at some point listening in! I appreciate the years of hard work you have put in in the Detroit sports market. Your sense of fairness and sportsmanship will be sorely missed. But, your duty should remain your family! That being said, I salute you Sir! And good luck on whatever you choose for the next chapter of your life! I am sure it will be done with style and Grace!

    Matt in Canton

  36. Sam Samsell says:

    Terry, I was sorry to hear that you were leaving The Ticket. I have always enjoyed your insight on the show and the paper, even back to Jr High!!!! I haven’t always agreed with you but your insights have helped me reflect on some things. God has given you some special talents and I know He has a plan for you. You are loved by many people and you will be missed on the Detroit sports scene. You have always been one of my favorite students. I keep you in my prayers for healing and searching for your next opportunity. Health and family are so important. God’s Blessings!!!! If you are ever in the Grand Rapids area, you should stop in. I have a Grandson who is a good athlete and reminds me of you. He’s outgoing and social and has a great heart. That’s what I most remember about you as a teen.

    Your Favorite Jr High Teacher Sam Samsell

  37. I’m really going to miss you. Going to miss your interaction with the fans. Going to miss your fights with Mike over your passion for U of M and Mike’s passion for the SPARTANS. Going to miss your humor, sports knowledgeable, keeping it real, and NOT being afraid to speak your mind and tell the TRUTH. Good luck and may your health continue to improve.
    Coolizzy n Deeetroit.

  38. We will miss you, Terry. But your family and your personal life come first. Blessing to you. And thanks for making it such a great ride.

  39. Thank you, Terry, for your insight, your laughs, your honesty and putting up with Mike. Detroit Sports Radio will never be the same, but I absolutely respect your decision to take care of yourself for your family. That is truly what is important. And that, my friend, is no “hyper bowl”! May God bless you and your family.

  40. You will be missed! You were fun to listen to on my way home from work. Get strong and love on your family. That’s way more important than any sports team.

    Melinda Kaz

  41. Thank you, Terry! I was upset to hear that you had the strokes and very happy to hear your voice again on the radio and will soldier on knowing you are doing what is best for you. I absolutely enjoyed the points and counter-points you and Mike Valenti had on the many topics you discussed. I hope you still find a way to let us know you are doing well and I wish you safe journeys on this new path you are discovering. Peace
    Rick Schott

  42. You guys are the best and there were perfect reasons you two made a perfect match. I’ll see you around my friend! Grant

  43. Chuck Adams says:

    you will be missed t take care n thanks for being straight n mike this is the kind of guy youve become so if you go with another go with one like t

  44. Congratulations, Terry. I’ve loved reading your columns and listening to your opinions over the years. Enjoyed WDFN when I lived in the Detroit-area. As an Okemos man for the past decade, I tuned in Valenti and Foster anytime I passed through. Good luck to you and your family.

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