(CBS Detroit) Mike Valenti took over the airwaves on 97.1 The Ticket Thursday with a tribute to his longtime on-air partner Terry Foster, announcing Foster’s retirement and remembering their years together.
“For him and I, it was a functional dysfunctionality,” Valenti said. “We were so different.”
Fans of Foster and his longtime career in sports media were upset to see him go, and comments poured in on social media. Many said they understood when Foster himself said he just couldn’t handle the show anymore while trying to regain his health after two strokes.
And then the inevitable question … What happens next?
Valenti himself took on the topic during his show Thursday, saying this: “I want you guys to understand something and I’ve just kind of made a decision that for the time being, you know for the immediate future that chair is going to stay empty.”
“I know when Terry got sick, you know I wanted (Jeff) Riger and I said ‘hey, give him a chance.’ I think Riger’s a super talented dude and I think he works his ass off and I wish you guys could understand like how hard the guy tries.”
But Riger won’t fill Foster’s seat while replacements are considered, Valenti said.
“And it’s not a shot at anybody. It’s just that’s Terry’s chair. And immediately following him leaving, I don’t feel right about putting somebody there and I want to keep it that way for a while. I want to find out what we are without him. I want to find out what exactly I am. You know, that’s been my partner for 13 years, good and bad, better and worse. Days we wanted to kill each other and days when we went out and had a drink after work.”
Valenti has only ever had a show with Foster.
“I haven’t had a professional life without that guy and it’s going to be different and it’s going to be hard, but out of respect for him and out of respect for the show and the thirteen years I don’t think it’s right to just because of ease put someone right back in there.”
“I don’t know when and if we will. Those are conversations I’m not interested in having right now or anytime soon. So we’ll figure that out at the appropriate time.”
Later in the show, caller Mike from Wolverine Lake praised Valenti for holding off on Foster’s replacement. “Mike you’re a good man to keep that chair empty. What a class act.”
Sharing an anecdote with Foster through the airwaves, caller Mike said, “Terry, people tried to get me to sign up for Sirius Radio when it expired … I said do you have 97.1 The Ticket? She said no. I said bye bitch!”
Echoing the sentiments of many, the caller went on to describe Terry as a people person and a down-to-earth celebrity.
Valenti responded, “That’s Terry. He’s an extrovert. I’m an introvert. I mean that’s why it works.”
With a vacation day planned months ago for Friday, Valenti teased about when he’d pick up the conversation.
“Monday, we’ll figure out what we’re going to do. The chair stays empty. This isn’t like the fall (when Terry was sick) this is different,” said Valenti.