The Spartan Podcast

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Upon the untimely passing of long-time News/Talk 760 WJR president and general manager Mike Fezzey, this edition of MSU Today highlights the unique relationship between Michigan State University and WJR – a relationship Fezzey was passionate about and helped facilitate.

Fezzey, just 58 years old at the time of his passing, also served as a Huntington Bank Regional President and was a great friend to Michigan State University. MSU Today on WJR was the brainchild of Fezzey and MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis.

Mike was the very first guest on the very first edition of this show back in September 2010. We revisit that conversation between Fezzey, Hollis and Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. And we hear additional comments from Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio.

According to Hollis, the main goal of MSU Today on WJR is for MSU and WJR to come together to provide listeners, Spartans and people across the state of Michigan and beyond with a Spartan perspective on issues of the day and introduce members of the Spartan family and their work to WJR’s audience.

“The coaches bring athletic perspective and university president Lou Anna Simon brings the world through the microphone,” Hollis says.

Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon touted the importance of connecting with the community through information sharing and meaningful dialogue, something she and Fezzey had in mind when formulating the concept that became Greening of the Great Lakes.

“We can use our assets to make a better community, a better state and a better world,” Simon says. “We do that through providing information to people in ways that they can hear and understand and think about in their daily lives.”

“Having close tie to the president’s office has allowed all of us to expand beyond the traditional role of a radio station and an athletic program,” Fezzey says. “It’s not very often you have this kind of support and involvement right from the top. All the friendships we have put together along the way have been an added bonus.”

Fezzey also mentioned that shared values between Michigan State University and WJR are what make the partnership between the two that much more special.

“The values we hold dear to us with respect to businesses and relationships are the same,” Fezzey says. “The university cares if we are successful and it’s been a wonderful privilege to create the friendships and connections.”

Head coach of the Michigan State Men’s Basketball team, Tom Izzo, attributes the basketball program’s development and success in part to MSU’s relationship with WJR.

“If you want to have a class program you have to be around class people,” Izzo says. “The people at WJR are thought of as the best in their profession and I want to be thought of as the best in ours. They’ve done an incredible job of giving us the credibility to take this program to another level.”

The relationship extends beyond the court and the field.

“Now that we know each other, even better things can happen,” Izzo says. “Fezzey and the whole WJR group have been unbelievable and it’s been fun getting to know them in more ways than business. I look at those guys as rock stars. WJR is the best.”

MSU Football coach Mark Dantonio assimilates the partnership with WJR to relatability and credibility.

“It means instant credibility in Michigan and across the country,” Dantonio says. “It’s a tremendous asset for our entire athletic program. Every time WJR is brought up it’s a positive for us.”

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