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.