Sports media rumblings: Brad Galli, 26, is WXYZ's 'main guy'

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Brad Galli of WXYZ-TV interviews Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos.

WXYZ (Channel 7) has no plans to officially name a new sports director anytime soon, but viewers of the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. news broadcasts are getting the idea.

Brad Galli, at 26, has become the station's go-to sports reporter / anchor in the wake of Tom Leyden's departure for a job in Boston last month.

"He's my main guy," said Dave Manney, news director at Metro Detroit's ABC affiliate.

This is an interesting story.

When you think "main" sports guys on TV in this town, you think veterans like Bernie Smilovitz, or Don Shane, or Dan Miller, or even Leyden when he was here.

Galli, meanwhile, is just 26 and four years removed from graduating from Marquette -- and has quickly become one of the most prominent sports-media members in this town, particularly for his ability to connect with viewers in other avenues, like social media.

He's relentless in chasing stories, works long hours, is an astute interviewer and manages to have a whole lot of fun, too. All those traits, actually, showed even back when Galli was interning at WXYZ while in college.

I asked Manney if, in all his years, he'd ever seen a TV personality get seasoned as quickly as Galli.

"Never," Manney said. "He's one of those rare talents that gets it on every level. He's become a game-changer for us."

Galli has politely rebuffed my requests to chat about this subject, since moving back over to sports from his human-interest feature work on "The Now Detroit."

He likes to do the stories, not be the story -- and I can respect that.

Manney, by the way, insisted the delay in naming a sports director has nothing to do with Galli's age, but rather some restructuring at WXYZ as news outlets continue to shift their focus further toward digital.

Leyden only left town a couple months ago, and WXYZ also is having to replace David Solano, who is heading home to Portland, Oregon, to take a job as a sports anchor.

Finding another sports reporter to replace Solano will take priority.

"So, it's just on pause right now," Manney said of the sports-director gig.

When Manney is ready, though, don't be surprised if Galli, Emmy winner last year, is his pick. Just like Galli, a Brother Rice grad, was the pick when WXYZ launched the Sunday morning "Sports Cave," and when WXYZ launched "The Now Detroit," and when WXYZ needed someone to replace Leyden in the anchor chair.

Awkward segment

Fox Sports Detroit tried something new during Wednesday's Tigers-Brewers game. Twice during the game, Mario Impemba and Rod Allen in the booth chatted with Craig Monroe back in the studio.

Not sure I liked the segments, since at least once, Monroe was in mid-analysis on a topic when a Tiger got a leadoff hit. It had an awkward feel, like the actually game was taking a back seat.

Monroe, his second time on, also rambled and rambled when Impemba and Allen were trying to end the segment. More awkwardness.

It'll be interesting to see if FSD tries this again. If they do, they might want to get Monroe's audio fixed. While TV viewers heard him just fine, Tigers fans watching across on the country on MLB.TV app heard nothing from Monroe -- just the questions Impemba and Allen were asking.

Kudos to Allen

Speaking of Allen, kudos are due to him.

This week, he launched the "Future Broadcasts Stars" program.

On Wednesday, he hosted 15 students from the Detroiit School of Arts on a tour of FSD's studios and led a panel discussion; on Thursday, seniors of the program tourned the Comerica Park press box and FSD's "Tigers Live" stage; and June 3, Allen will visit the school and speak to all 125 students in the radio and television broadcast program.

"It's important to give these kids a chance to see what opportunities in sports and broadcasting are out there," Allen said. "I was looking for another opportunity to give back to the community and am excited to share my experience with them."

Fresh look

Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC) launched a redesigned website, thank heavens.

It's much cleaner than the old one, which had been there since the station's transition to sports in August 2011. There's a downside to the new site, though: Listeners now have to log-in to use the "Listen Live" feature, which is never met with much glee from any visitor wary that log-in info will only lead to a blitz of marketing emails. I have to imagine having a log-in function leads to decreased online listenership, at least slightly.

Over at 97.1 The Ticket (WXYZ), listens still can listen online without any log-in.