One local sports-talk radio mainstay is taking over for another.
Sean Baligian will become the new morning host of Matt Shepard's state-wide show, with Shepard transitioning into his dream job as TV play-by-play voice of the Tigers.
The Michigan Media Network made the announcement Thursday afternoon, and it came as little surprise. Baligian has been filling in a lot of late.
"I'm happy and proud to be able to bring him on," Shepard said.
The show, launched as "Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave Show," runs from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays, and is carried on several radio stations throughout the state, including WDFN 1130-AM locally, and is simulcast on TV on Comcast. Other markets that carry the show include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Mount Pleasant, among others.
The Michigan Media Network also added an afternoon show to its lineup early last month, signing longtime West Michigan staple Bill "Huge" Simonson after Grand Rapids' WBBL 107.3-FM gutted its staff amid Cumulus-mandated layoffs.
Baligian's show, of course, will have a new name, but what it is isn't yet known.
This is the latest stop in Baligian's long local career, which included roles as a mid-day host on WDFN when that station was king. He also is part of the Lions' game-day broadcasts on WJR 760-AM, and does hockey play-by-play and Wayne State football.
Shepard will remain as an investor in the Michigan Media Network, and will appear on Baligian's show Friday morning to talk Tigers.
Baligian will broadcast from a studio in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
“There are very few people in the industry that have the ability, experience and knowledge to entertain Michigan sports fans for three hours," said Marty Booher of the Michigan Media Network. "Shep and I both believe Sean is that guy.”
As for Shepard, his future workload remains up in the air. He has called Eastern Michigan football on the radio since 1999, and he is in 14th season as the radio voice of Michigan men's basketball. Keeping those jobs would lead to several conflicts with Tigers games, early in the baseball season for basketball and late for football.
The Michigan IMG Sports Network and the University of Michigan haven't decided if Shepard will remain on the call beyond this season. He has expressed his desire to continue calling basketball games, and Fox Sports Detroit is reportedly supportive.
But this season, Shepard's final Michigan game will be the regular-season finale, March 9, between Michigan and Michigan State. He will not call Big Ten tournament or NCAA Tournament games. Shepard will fly to Lakeland, Fla., on March 10 to work several spring-training broadcasts for FSD.