DETROIT (CBS Detroit) “It’s absolutely true, 100 percent of it,” Mike Valenti said about allegations the Lions severed their relationship with 97.1 The Ticket because they didn’t like his criticism of the team.
Valenti went on to say Bill Keenist, communications VP with the Lions, used to try to reach him during every segment of his show to control the messages he was sending out about the team. “If he somehow had the ability to get a hold of me, I would hang up,” Valenti said.
They didn’t like the things he was saying, Valenti said about the Lions and their PR team, so they eventually retaliated against the station.
“This is an organization that has consistently made our lives miserable at this station,” Valenti said, adding “This is a petty, juvenile, nasty organization.”
Holding nothing back, a fiery Valenti confirmed he was the reason the Lions won’t broadcast on 97.1 The Ticket past 2016. “I’ll own it,” he said. “Fine by me, this is an organization that has tried to go after me for a decade.”
“The Lions aren’t here because of me, that’s that,” he said, adding, “There are people in this organization that are bad people.”
A social media furor started when the Detroit Lions announced early Friday the relationship with 97.1 The Ticket would end when the current contract expires in 2016. CBS Detroit’s Senior Vice President and Market Manager Debbie Kenyon put out a statement saying the team wanted control over station content that CBS wasn’t willing to give.
Later, Mike Valenti’s agent Mort Meisner told local media outlets the issue was that the Lions wanted Valenti — a harsh critic of the oft-losing team — to be fired in order for them to continue the partnership with the station.
Per Meisner’s story, CBS didn’t budge, and the Lions walked.
For their part, the Lions said it wasn’t true they decided to leave 97.1 when thwarted in efforts to control content. Elizabeth Parkinson, senior vice president of marketing and corporate sponsorships for the Lions, told the Detroit News it was strictly a business decision.
As far as attempting to control content, she would admit only they call local media to “correct inaccuracies.”
“Anytime that our media is either not factual or misrepresenting the content that they’re sharing, those calls are made,” she said. “Our media team is working with all the media to correct inaccuracies. Absolutely, they were working with CBS to correct inaccuracies, you name any media outlet, and they’ve worked closely with our media teammates. If there are inaccuracies, somebody’s going to get a call.”