Is 97.1 Lying to Advertisers About Terry Foster’s Live Reads?

By Jeff Moss
January 11, 2017

Last week, radio host Terry Foster returned to the 97.1 airwaves after a five month absence caused by two strokes the longtime Detroit sports media personality suffered over the second half of 2016. But Foster’s return to his PM drive show with co-host Mike Valenti has not been seamless, as one might expect after experiencing such a serious health issue.

Yesterday, I asked my followers on Twitter — who have tuned into Foster’s return —  about their impressions of T-Fos’ overall performance and the response was not good …..

The above comments have to be concerning to the CBS Radio executives who were hesitant about Foster rushing back to his gig after dealing with speech and energy issues resulting from the two strokes. Broadcasting on the air for four hours is a stressful daily exercise and any impairment of motor skills would be a major obstacle to performing that job.

Which leads us to today’s story. Sources have informed me that Foster has not been announcing his “live reads” live. If you aren’t familiar with radio vernacular, a live read is an advertisement which is read by one of the hosts during a break. It’s called a live read because the personality is reading it LIVE. Not on tape.

These type of ads are the most expensive at a radio station for obvious reasons. You are less likely to switch the station if the commercial is coming to you in the body of the show and seems organic. These type of ads are sold at a premium because they are the most likely to engage the listener/consumer.

For example, during Howard Stern’s radio program, a live read is something you probably wouldn’t want to shut off because you might miss something entertaining or funny. Some of the greatest moments in show history have occurred during live reads, including Artie Lange’s admission that he was addicted to heroin.

According to my sources, Foster was having a difficult time getting through the live commercials upon his return so the station resorted to taping the spots. If CBS is still selling the ads as live reads even though they aren’t, this is a huge radio no-no and would amount to fraudulent behavior.

There was an obvious case this past Monday of an alleged live read being taped and this was confirmed to the DSR by a CBS source.

The entire situation is unfortunate and has CBS Radio in quite a predicament. The station would look callous if they got rid of Foster or demoted him because his health barred him from completing mundane tasks like reading a live spot.

And Foster is in a precarious position as he was forced out by the Detroit News last year when the paper gave him an ultimatum to replace Vincent Goodwill on the Pistons’ beat. He obviously couldn’t do that and the radio show so he wisely chose the broadcasting job.

With a daughter on the precipice of college — and looking at Ivy League schools at that — this is no time for Foster’s career to be in turmoil.

And I don’t think the food services business is a viable option at this point either.


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