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Sean Baligian to co-host Lions pregame, postgame shows

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Sean Baligian

WJR (760-AM) officially purchased the radio rights for the Detroit Lions in November.

The station then waited till less than a week before the team's first exhibition game to start finalizing its gameday programming.

WJR this week has hired longtime Detroit and Michigan sports-talk radio personality Sean Baligian to serve as co-host for the team's pregame and postgame shows.

The first show is Friday, starting at 4 p.m. ahead of the Lions-Pittsburgh Steelers game.

Baligian will co-host with Steve Courtney.

"Pregame and postgame and whatever the heck else they want me to do," Baligian said.

"I'm happy about it."

Baligian is a real radio survivor, always landing on his feet.

He was most recently at WMGC (105.1-FM), before the station flipped from sports-talk to old-school hip-hop over the summer.

Before that, Baligian was broadcasting out of his home in Metro Detroit for WMAX (96.1-FM), an ESPN affiliate based in Grand Rapids.

When WJR first landed the Lions, taking over the rights from WXYT (97.1-FM), station managers said there were no immediate plans to add much additional sports-talk programming to the news station that is anchored by programs of Mitch Albom and Frank Beckmann.

There are rumblings that thinking might be changing a bit, as WJR and parent company Cumulus Media has found out just how easy it has been to sell advertising surrounding Lions programming.

For now, though, Baligian is the only new hire. He will continue to broadcast local hockey and football games aside from his Lions duties.

"It worked out," Baligian said of finding a new gig so quickly after the flipping at 105.1. "It's all about finding something that works."

Baligian has a long-time professional relationship with Cumulus Detroit operations manager Mike Wheeler, dating back to their time together in Toledo in the 1990s.

WJR also is home of Michigan State football and basketball, and was in the bidding to regain the Tigers, but finished third in the bidding, behind 97.1, which kept them, and 105.1, which lost out before it flipped formats.

As for 105.1, it rushed its flipping for the end of June so it could clear the books ahead of a sale of Greater Media properties to Beasley Broadcast Group, which paid nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for the acquisitions. It affected Greater Media's three Metro Detroit stations, including WRIF (101.1-FM) and WCSX (94.7-FM).

It's not yet clear how this will affect the Pistons, which said it would stay on 105.1, even as it switched to hip-hop.

There is no mention of the Pistons, however, on 105.1's new website, and the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment have the right to move on to another station under terms of its contract with Greater Media signed two years ago.