One of Detroit sports talk radio's most popular voices turned off his microphone and walked away from his show on Monday.
Sean Baligian, co-host of the "Sean, Terp and Killer" show on WDFN (1130 AM) — and also simulcast on Grand Rapids' WMAX (96.1 FM), announced on his Facebook page after Monday's program that he was leaving the show and moving on. Baligian didn't go into specifics in responding to commenters, only saying that the move was his decision and he wasn't forced out by station management.
(That's not an insignificant bit of information, as WDFN fired almost all of its on-air talent, including Baligian, opting to go with nationally syndicated programming in January 2009.)
Tuesday morning, the show's official Twitter and Facebook page confirmed Baligian's exit, adding that the simulcast partnership between WDFN and WMAX would no longer be in place for the 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday time slot.
If Baligian is indeed done with Detroit sports talk radio (and there aren't many other alternatives in the market), it ends a long run on the air.
Baligian began on WJR part-time in 1998 before moving over to WDFN a year later. While he hosted the 9 a.m.-12 p.m. time slot (with "It Is What It Is") for most of his time at the station, Baligian also co-hosted shows devoted to fantasy football ("Fantasy Sports Geekly") and NHL hockey ("Ice Time").
After the mass firing in January 2009, Baligian was brought back to the station months later, co-hosting a show with Ryan Terpstra and MLive.com's Detroit Lions beat writer Tom Kowalski. The show had been on the air ever since.
Obviously, Kowalski's sudden death in late August created a major void in the show. And though this is pure speculation, it's very possible that Baligian was never quite able to recover from losing his colleague and friend. Even though the show kept the "Sean, Terp and Killer" title in tribute to Kowalski, it has to have been difficult to carry on with Kowalski gone.
From his own words, Baligian isn't leaving the sports world entirely. He'll still be one of the rotating analysts on FOX2's SportsWorks on Sunday night with Dan Miller. Baligian will also still be the color commentator for Plymouth Whalers radio broadcasts for home games. He is also the play-by-play voice for Wayne State football broadcasts.
Whether he left due to burnout, dissatisfaction with the radio business (which is a brutal industry to work in), a lack of desire to continue in light of Kowalski's passing, or any other reason, Baligian was popular with many Detroit sports talk listeners. Such a strong local voice will be missed.