UPDATE Monday 4/30:

Original Post:
An effort to reach out to recently fired WTKA 1050AM talk show host Dave Shand paid off. I asked Shand for his understanding of what happened. Shand replied, “Bill Martin had me fired. [Martin] did not like some of the things I said on the show and threatened to pull Michigan football if I stayed. The station caved.”

I asked Shand if he had any issue with posting these comments on MVictors.com. He wrote back, “Not at all. It’s true and was confirmed by our program director.”

Oh boy.

I reached out to a source (which we’ll leave unnamed) from the local media to comment on the situation and whether this crosses the line of censorship. Here are the thoughts that were shared:

WTKA and Michigan have a business relationship. WTKA pays Michigan for the right to broadcast Michigan sports. Michigan has the right to approve the broadcasters who do the coaches shows, as well as the play-by-play broadcasts that appear only on WTKA (such as women’s basketball, baseball, etc.) Now, that doesn’t give Martin the right to hire and fire morning hosts, but it certainly gives him leverage with station management. One could argue that Michigan sports is integral to WTKA’s very existence, which gives Martin even more leverage. It’s certainly a very sticky situation.

Sticky indeed.

38 Comments

  1. If that is true then it’s time for Martin to go. Michigan is a lot of things, but perfect isn’t one of them. As the old saying goes “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen”. If Martin’s skin is so thin he can’t take a bit of criticism then move along Bill, you’ve out stayed your welcome. Not only is the thought of censoring a radio host, who had no part what-so-ever in broad casting actual Michigan games, so totally against everything that Michigan stands for, it’s just plain wrong.

  2. Jimmy Joe Jim-Bob

    I consider this a good thing. Shand was an annoying idiot. WTKA hasn’t had anyone good since Fithian was fired.

  3. I don’t know if Martin should be fired, but if true, it was definitely a bush league move. From what I can discern, Shand was a proud alum voicing his opinions in a thoughtful manner.

  4. JJJB…I understand Shand not being for everyone and coming off as annoying but the fact we’re even talking about this shows he at least brought some flavor. I thought he provided some great radio and is a huge loss.

    I’m still confused over the afternoon show thing and agree on Fithian. Under the current format 1050 would not have a locally produced drive time show during football season. What??

  5. They fired fithian for criticizing Amaker at the end of the 05-06 season, right??

    This is a joke, I don’t think anything Shand said was very harsh, and besides, he was a big time Michigan slappy 90% of the time.

  6. First Fithian (bad fire). Then Wickett (good fire). Then Shand (good fire). I’d say WTKA is starting to get it right. Though I agree Martin probably overstepped bounds if he insisted on Shand’s firing.

  7. Fred- agree on your take on Fithian and Wickett, obviously disagree on Shand. But what we each feel about Shand isn’t really the issue right now as you point out.

  8. I don’t think Wickett was fired, was he? I thought he just left for “greener pastures” in Milwaukee. His departure was certainly much less sudden and surprising as Shand’s.

  9. Dave Shand was the best morning co-host WTKA has ever had (at least during the 5 years I’ve been listening). Shand and Bacon on Sunday mornings were insightful, honest and hilarious – that was the best radio show on the airwaves. But, as the webmaster points out, that’s not the issue.

    If Bill Martin really did have Shand fired, are we jumping to conclusions in assuming he had him fired for criticizing Michigan on the air? I suppose so, since nothing has appeared in the media to clear up this “sticky” situation. Another theory is maybe Shand did something off-air to aggravate him. Or, maybe he just didn’t think Shand – who once fought a guy in the parking lot in full gear during a European League hockey game (my personal favorite Shand story) – was a good representative of U of M athletics. I seriously doubt both of those alternate theories.

    If he had him fired for criticizing Michigan (and if Shand said nothing Imus-like), then I think the University should have a big problem with this.

    But if that’s the case then WTKA deserves some criticism too. Sure, the station has to make decisions based on what’s best for its business, and I’m sure M sports broadcasts are responsible for the vast majority of the station’s revenue. But if they canned one of their on-air personalities because the head of the athletic department they cover didn’t like what he said, then for me that would call into question the integrity of the reporting of all those who follow on that station. Would I stop listening? Would the masses stop listening? Probably not. But if Shand were to get picked up by another station, I’d surely listen to him over the next hack TKA throws out there.

    But for now we’re left to wonder what Dave Shand said or did that got him fired. Why isn’t the local print media trying to get to the bottom of this? A Michigan law graduate, current faculty member, former coach and player, with the #2 rated morning show in the area gets canned under questionable circumstances and the local newspapers don’t even bat an eye? C’mon Ann Arbor News, do some honest reporting. (Surely they can’t stop you from covering Michigan sports in print.)

    At any rate, I thank the webmaster for brining this story to light. This is the most interesting thing I’ve ever read on a sports blog.

  10. Keith from Chelsea

    You have got to be kidding me, this better be some kind of promotional ploy that will have shand back this next week. I have been a daily listener and caller to the morning show for about two years,which is not much time compared to a lot of listeners. Shand was awesome, he spoke his mind with a flavor of humor that Michigan Fans normally were not associated with. I love sports but I love to laugh more and try to never take myself to seriosly. Obviously Martin can’t take a joke and is the epitome of what makes people say Michigan Fans are arrogant, stuffy and full of themselves. Bring SHAND back and get over yourselves TKA. Sports are ment to be fun and Shand simply put was always FUN.

  11. Rob for Northville

    If the AD doesn’t think the station they have a deal with is helping promote their product , he should take his product elsewhere – or let the station make the changes he feels are necessary to improve the relationship

    This is a smart business move by Bill Martin – if he didn’t protect his institution that would be negligence

    Shand was the worst – i stopped listening to WTKA in the morning and switched to 1130

  12. Rob who backs Northville, UM does not own WTKA. Whatever you think of Shand has nothing to do with this debate. Let the marketplace decide who should be on the air, not bullying tactics from the UM administration, if indeed that is what took place. The ratings suggest that you are in the minority and that Shand’s morning show was quite popular.

  13. Total bush league. Shand was a local Don Cherry. He told the truth and didn’t care if he hurt someone’s feelings. It’s our loss that UM can’t take a little criticism and WTKA has no spine. He will be missed.

  14. I cannot say anything about Shand getting fired because I do not know the details. However, Fithian was NOT fired because of comments about Tommy. Fithian was fired because Ryan MaGuire wanted the afternoon show, and as program director he took it. Wickett did leave for a job in a larger market.

  15. dashand (Dave Shand)

    Let me clear some things up. Nothing I said about Michigan got me fired. There were 3 things brought up to our program director that Bill took offense to. First, my e-xwife is an associate athletic director at Michigan and obviously works for Bill. He thought my talking about our divorce was disrespectful to her. I talked to her about it before I ever brought it up on the air and she had no problem with it. Second, I criticized Bev Ulrich, the Dean Of Kinesiology (and my boss for six years) as being incompetent. She was and still is. Third, he did not like my rant on the Saline police officer who pulled me over and gave me a ticket. I have no idea why. Those were the reasons given to Brian Cowen our program director. I have nothing to apologize for or hide. As you know, the theme of the show was do the right thing. I did my best to provide fun radio. It was my job and I took it seriously. And the whole late bit was just that, a bit. I was there every morning on time. So le that rumor go away. Lastly, the station had 20,000 listeners to the morning show when I was hired and 80,000 when I was fired. So someone liked it.

    [Webmaster’s note: Dave posted this note himself, but also responded to some Q&A which we posted today (Monday, 4/30). Click here to see it]

  16. Dave,
    You really brought some humor to the radio. It really is a shame.

  17. Dave,
    Thanks for shedding light on this – it certainly comes as no surprise to your listeners to see you chime in and hold nothing back. That’s what made you so enjoyable to listen to on the radio. Your views always came across as genuine and I never seemed to have any difficulty discerning sarcasm….

    Care to shed any light on why the Ann Arbor News hasn’t reported anything on this situation yet?

    At any rate, I sure hope you won’t let this keep you off the radio. This incident ought to make you more popular than ever.

  18. CommanderBlueState

    I have a hard time believing this spin. That Bill Martin had problems with Dave Shands and the boorish things he said on the radio, I believe. But I doubt he demanded the firing of Shands. Probably wanted TKA management to rein him in, and they decided it was just easier fire him.

    Shands was TERRIBLE.

    Shands was the Don Imus of Ann Arbor radio. A shock jock who thought the entire world revolved around him. In the end, that is what did him in.

    I had always held TKA in high regard, and the Ann Arbor sports radio listener in just as high regard. At one time, TKA was the epitome of intelligent talk radio. The focus was Michigan sports and the discussion was indepth and insightful. No matter the topic, they had some of the best “expert guests” on air and the interaction with the callers always made for great radio.

    Then the station took a nose dive. Perhaps the real first blow was the firing of Defran. At the time, I figured Defran just went postal on coworkers and the station had to fire him. Maybe that was the case. But after that, the station made one disasterous move after another: Hiring Maguire; Firing Fithian; Shands in the Morning; Eliminating Sam & Josh in the afternoon; Making Shands the total focal point of the morning show.

    If the listener statistics Shands states are true, then I have to say my opinion of the Ann Arbor sports fan was grotesquely overrated.

    I hope that the firing of Shands portends a turnaround for TKA. I would like to see Sam Webb or someone of his knowledge as a regular host. The indepth knowledge about what is happening with Michigan Football and Basketball was always a big plus with TKA that helped to set it apart. They need to get back to that.

  19. i really liked listening to shand. i agree that he and bacon were a great team. i have a hard time listening to idiots on radio (valenti and foster) and liked honest opinion that did come out with rants.

  20. CommanderBlueState

    My goodness, that Sunday morning show was terrible. During the football season and to a lesser extent, during the basketball season, it was passable only because the callers were motivated to call-in and discuss sports. But otherwise?! A complete waste of radio frequency

  21. Hey CommanderBlueState, the radio world did revolve around Don Imus! He had United States Presidents on (Carter & Bush 1); Senators (too many to mention)…Sen. Dodd announced that he was running on his show;Presidential candidates appeared: Gore, McCain, Kerry, Giuliani,Biden, et.al. The major media types flocked to his show; Russert, Stephanopoulos, Andrea Mitchell, Lupica, Francessa, etc.etc.He had Jerry Lee Lewis perform live for a half hour! Imus in the Morning was the best show on morning radio, with all its warts.

    Shands(sic) did have an Imus like style, but not nearly as outrageous. He really knew the many many sports figures he had on. He also had the repect of the media he had on his show. He was entertaing, truthful and smart (like Imus). He was the one bright light on small market radio. Dave Shand will be missed. Let’s hope Shand will rise again with that other Phoenix as predicted by Bo Dietl.

  22. CBS, the fact that you think the firing of Defran was a bad thing tells us all we need to know about your thought process.

  23. CommanderBlueState

    Phoenix?

    Well he’s got the ashes part down.

    I doubt any of the guests they had on TKA respected Shand. He didn’t have any idea what he was talking about, except when he was talking about his pro hockey career or his vast experience as an assistant hockey coach.

    Instead of a the Phoenix, I considered Shand the Halogen Gas Man because when he opened his mouth, he sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

  24. CommanderBlueState

    Well BiggieMunn, I guess I could counter that the fact you liked Dave Shand is all I need to know about yours.

    To expand on the DeFran issue: as a radio cohost, I did not care much for him. I thought he was often rude, short tempered and did not listen to callers. However, while he was Program Manager, a lot of good things happened at TKA. They did upgrade the morning show. DeFran and Clark/Wickett had on a lot of expert guests on a great variety of sports topics. During that time, TKA also expanded the hours of pre and post game reporting for both football and basketball games. Coaches shows became more regular and better produced.

    As I said in my original post, I did not have a problem with the firing of DeFran himself. But the series of decisions that succeeded that event was akin to a toilet being flushed: The hiring of Maguire; the firing of Fithian; Shand as a host in the morning; Maguire hosting the afternoon show; the editorial decision to make Shand the near total focus of the morning show; the elminaton of the afternoon show.

    The firing of Shand is a welcomed decision. I just hope that TKA moves back to the editorial approach that once made it the best sports station in metro-Detroit: intelligent sports talk.

    [Webmaster’s take: CBS…The problem with this incident is that it wasn’t WTKA’s “decision”, whether you like the results or not. It basically sounds like they were forced to by the Athletic Department.]

  25. CommanderBlueState

    Webmaster,

    If that is the case, then I think it reflects very poorly on the management of WTKA and Cumulus Broadcasting. From my perspective, the decision to build a morning show around a personality such as Dave Shand, also reflected very poorly on the management of WTKA. Clearly, there are serious problems with the Management of that station.

    [Webmaster’s take on “if this is the case”…granted, all we have is Shand’s perspective but his explanation of what happened is pretty clear. Given that no one has made a formal statement from WTKA, and that no one in the local media has mentioned the story, you’ve got to think that it is the case.]

  26. Keith from Chelsea

    cbs, did you ever call the show ? I dont think so but the way you rant on you would have fit right in with Shand. Of course spinlessness does not make for a very good voice,Shand would have knocked you down in heartbeat.

  27. CBS: It’s pretty clear from your comments that you probably never knew much about Imus until he was fired. The webmaster is right. AD Vladimir Martin is running TKA like the Tass News Agency. I don’t like what Shand said, so get rid of him.

  28. This station is a shell of it’s former self. Dave Shand was an incredible bully who was also known to exaggerate and just plain make things up. Missing him is like missing herpes. But the overall station has been reduced to just Josh and NOTHING else. This is a sad reversal from the days of DeFran when over 8 hours of locally produced programming were broadcast over the airwaves. Not only that but TKA had talented hosts and producers, people like Fithian, Wickett, Josh, Clark, ect. The station use to air other U of M sports like baseball and softball games. TKA also had coaches shows for football, basketball, hockey, and women’s basketball. In addition, TKA was a good corporate citizen. Jeff DeFran was responsible for teaming up with Lloyd Carr and the hospital charity. He also brought in the Red Cross, and other local charities to do fundraising on a yearly basis. It was at this time that Hi-Octane was winning non-fixed annual rib offs. Boy has this station been reduced to near obscurity. Bolak is the Brian Loserbee of radio broadcasting.

  29. Oh, and another thing, Josh is putting in his 2 week notice this week. It appears he’s following Ryan “LYING” McGuire (the ND slappy) to Milwaukee. TKA has been on a steady slide since Jeff’s firing. BTW, CBS, Jeff DeFran was wholly and solely responsible for the great regular guests that have both left and those like Bob Page wgho have stayed.

  30. CommanderBlueState

    Dwarrior,

    You have summarized it better than I. I am sorry to hear about Josh. I listened this morning to almost the whole show. What a pleasure it was to listen to 4 hours of insightful sports talk. Sam Webb brings the kind of indepth knowledge that used to be a staple of TKA programming. This Bolak guy should be fired for his destruction of what was once a shining light of intelligent sports talk radio.

  31. Keith from Chelsea

    Dwarrior and cbs,

    Not sure what herpes feels like to mis it ? but sounds like both of you do, you do. In your thought process as it refers to Shand sounds like it is appropriate for the two of you. Tka made a huge announcement that Sam Webb will now be the new mornining host on a show called The Michigan Insider. While I have always found Sam to be informitive and knowledgeble will he ever be able to criticize or really say what is on his mind knowing that maaaartin is wearing or I mean listing with a PINK SLIP. cbs do you still want BULLCRAP (bolak) to be fired, sounds like you are on the same page as this idiot , he must know what HERPES feels like too.

    So with this huge announcement that the last man at tka will now host the morning show Sam will have to try to overlook the fact that he was the last guy picked to be on the team. I guess just getting play even thou they didnt want you untill no one was left is better than not playing at all. Sam does deserve better treatment than tka has to offer.

  32. Keith from Chelsea

    Why has BIll Link not been thrown a bone yet, hopefully he will find a new station soon. Bill was a awesome producer that always had outstanding insight and a great sence of humor. He is doing the afternoon news at tka and is the only reason I listen for 2 or 3 minutes.
    Bill, I miss you too and it has nothing to do with herpes.

  33. Charlie in Pinckney

    The morning show on 1050 Stinks without Dave. He was entertaining! For some of us who live West of I 275 the station 1130 is not an option early in the morning for a large part of the year. Bill Link and Dave Shand were the best thing in Ann Arbor morning radio. Very Entertaining!

    I will no longer listen to 1050 it is that simple. Even when I diagreed with Dave, i.e. gun control, I found his rants funny.

  34. Keith,

    Just because Dave Shand was not my cup of tea (just as that A-hole (pervert/flasher) Damon the Doggy Perry show from years ago) doesn’t mean that I agree with his dismissal or the means that led to it. Namely, “Dollar” Bill Martin putting pressure on TKA with threat of programming removal, which I find both offensive and out of bounds. I have asked Jim Carty to enlighten the general public of this offense and so far he has declined. My main point is that Bolak has ruined a once great sports juggernaut. Jeff Defran was mainly responsible for creating such a strong station. The downhill slide started with his removal.

    [Webmaster’s note: Dwarrior, did Carty actually say he wouldn’t do the story, or did he ignore your request? I’m hoping a media member that doesn’t work in the shadow Weidenbach Hall will write something (anything!) about this.]

  35. CommanderBlueState

    Bolak should be fired. He has destroyed a once great radio station. I think I made my points quite clear. Bolak should be fired for a series of disasterous decisions. One of those decisions was to put in place a personality like Shand.

    The firing of Fithian and replacing him with Maguire was the first and worst decision Bolak made.

    I like Sam Webb. I did not hear this announcement. Is he going to host a show alone or have a cohost? I think the reason the Josh-Sam team worked is that Josh provided the structure and Sam provided the inside information. With Sam hosting the show alone, I just not sure he is skilled enough at radio to pull that off. I think he would be best with a cohost.

  36. The morning show with Dave Shand was entertaining. The new team is adequate but does not have nearly the same appeal. WTKA apparently does not know what it wants to be beyond the play by play for various professional and college teams. Perhaps they should change their name to WPBP (WPlayByPlay). When there are no live broadcasts available they could rebroadcast old games.

    It is apparent that with the firings of those who have the temerity to say anything that offends the Michigan athletic department is one of the few policies WTKA is committed to. I hope that all those who are hired for on-air positions are notified of the 11th commandment – Thou shalt not speak ill of the Michigan Athletic Department, its employees or its activities.

    If Bill Martin had any role in Dave Shand’s firing (or any other WTKA employee) the university should dismiss Martin for intimidating a media outlet to restrict free speech.

    Martin has much bigger issues to work on. Try getting your job right and forget the comments of radio personalities, Bill.

  37. My dad was great and all you pricks that think he was bad why don’t you try it! Fithian was awful and Wickett was sent to Milwaukee!

  38. Pingback: Shand Uncensored: Part I | MVictors.com: Michigan Football Blog

  39. Pingback: Shand vs. Martin update, Deep Throat search