Former Michigan football player Jon Jansen to replace Jamie Samuelsen on radio show

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Jon Jansen wakes up at 4 in the morning every day.

This has been the norm for Jansen, the former Michigan football captain and NFL veteran offensive lineman, who has branched into a broadcasting career. “I’ve always been that way,” he said.

Jon Jansen

And it makes his transition to local morning radio alongside longtime host Mike Stone easy. Jansen will join Stone daily from 6-10 a.m. on 97.1 FM The Ticket, for the “Stoney and Jansen with Heather” show. Heather Park also appears regularly during the four-hour show.

The station announced the new pairing Friday morning in the final half hour of the “Jamie and Stoney” show. Jamie Samuelsen, the popular Detroit sports broadcaster and Stone’s partner, died Aug. 1 of colon cancer. The station this week named its studio in his honor.

Jamie Samuelsen

“You’re never going to replace Jamie, let me get that out there first,” Stone said as he made the announcement Friday morning.. “But as they say in show business, the show must go on.”

The new Detroit sports talk show begins Monday.

Jansen will no longer do radio for ESPNU and Big Ten on Sirius XM but will continue his multi-media work at Michigan, including two podcasts, hosting the “Inside Michigan Football” shows and game-day radio appearances.

“It fits my life perfectly,” Jansen told The Detroit News of the new radio gig considering his 4 a.m. wakeup routine.

The job also fits because he’s from this area. Despite his lengthy NFL career in Washington, Jansen always wanted to return home.

“I grew up in Clawson, played at Michigan, I had always wanted to play for the Lions and that didn’t work out until the end of my career, but I did get a chance to play for the Lions,” he said. “I’ve always felt whether I was coming back to Ann Arbor, coming back to Detroit, there’s always been this pull to the state of Michigan, to this area — I just love it here.

“It’s going to be awesome to be able to talk sports. You know I like to go in a lot of different directions, and they’ve given me the liberty to do that. To be a part of the conversation in the morning while people are getting ready for work, going to work, talking about the night before, the weekend before, I’m so excited for the opportunity.”

Jansen said no one can take Samuelsen’s place, and that’s not what he will try to do.

“I’m not filling his role,” Jansen said. “I can’t fill his role, nor would I try to. I just want to be me. I want to work alongside Stoney.”

He credits Doug Karsch, co-host of the “Karsch and Anderson” show on the Ticket, for helping him improve as a radio broadcaster. Jansen has often filled in with Karsch when Scott Anderson has been off.

“Everybody thinks doing radio is just talking about sports or it’s just talking about Michigan football, and there’s so much more involved,” Jansen said. “Doug has really helped me along the way in my delivery on air and how to work with another host, how to host a show which I’ve learned a lot in my time on Sirius XM, and he has told me about the ins and outs of the business. I ask him all the time when he listens to whether it’s me and Stoney or he listens to me on Sirius XM, how can I improve, how can I do better, what can I do better, and obviously being on 97.1 with him mid-days has been a great learning experience, and I’ve learned so much from him.”  

Jansen laughs about how his professional careers have never felt like work. And he uses that as a lesson for his kids.

“I don’t know that I’ve actually ever held a real job because I have absolutely loved everything I’ve done,” Jansen said. “I loved being a football player, I’ve loved being on the broadcast side of things, I love what I’m doing at Michigan. I tell my kids all the time, I drop them off at school and say I’m going to work, and they just laugh. They know it’s a passion for me and not necessarily work.

“I use it as a lesson, ‘Hey, pursue your dreams, because if you work hard enough and you have something you’re passionate about, you’ve got a shot. And if you can make that happen, it’s the best thing in the world.’”

Twitter: @chengelis