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Rob Parker and Mike Stone Recall Launching Sports Radio in Detroit 30 Years Ago

The date was July 11, 1994, exactly 30 years ago. That is when sports talk radio began in Detroit on Sports Radio 1130 The Fan WDFN. Rob Parker and Mike Stone were two of the first people who were hired by the station and they ended up being paired together in afternoon drive.

30 years later, Parker, who co-hosts The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard on Fox Sports Radio and is the founder of Sports Rap Radio in Detroit recalled how it came about.

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“I was a columnist at the Free Press,” Parker said. “I am at Fenway Park on opening day in 1994. I get a call in the Press Box…and it’s Lorna Gladstone, she was the first programmer for the station.”

Parker said Gladstone told him she had asked a lot of people who would make a great sports talk show host and that she had said, “your name came up so many times.'” Parker said, “That’s really how I got hired. I had never had a radio show, never have any experience.”

Upon getting back to Detroit, Parker said he had an interview and that Gladstone offered him the position within ten minutes. “I was the first hire at the station,” Parker said. She allowed me to pick my co-host, Mike Stone.”

Stone, who recently stopped doing a daily radio show but still works for 97.1 The Ticket, had been a producer at the NBC TV affiliate and had hosted a radio show on Sunday nights with his roommate, Mitch Albom, since 1988

“I always thought sports radio was something that was made for me,” Stone said when asked about being a part of the station launch 30 years ago.

“Rob Parker was at the All-Star game in Cincinnati so we tried to do the show with him on a phone so that was kind of weird,” Stone said about the very first show. “It was the start of something completely new and wonderful. We were one of the last, if not the last, major markets to have an all-sports radio station. It was great. We were holed up in the garage and it was a piece of crap place, but the memories and the talent that came out of there is incredible.”

Parker added, “Those early years were amazing. Our radio station was in a garage, not even a radio station. We didn’t know what we were doing. A lot of people it was their first radio jobs, but it was a fun environment and something that I hold dear to.”

WDFN had a 26-year run as a sports talk station, which ended in 2020.

“DFN was great,” Stone said. “DFN was glorified college radio. We were passionate and loved going on the road and covering the teams.”

Reflecting back, Parker said, “It’s been an incredible 30 years of being on the radio, but you never forget your first and getting that opportunity at WDFN in Detroit was a dream come true for me.”


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