Detroit’s celebrated Drew & Mike Show has been back on the air since iHeartMedia classic rock “106.7 Detroit’s Wheels” WLLZ inked a deal in April giving Drew Lane and the late Mike Clark a presence on weekends. But for a lot of Motor City fans, the duo never really disappeared. They remained part of their media habit thanks to a daily two-hour podcast which is now cleaned up and repackaged for the weekly on-air program.
The Drew & Mike Show podcast launched in May 2016, three years after the pair ended their long run on rock WRIF (101.1). The Detroit News says the podcast is typically downloaded by more than 150,000 people, making it possible the show reaches more fans with the podcast than with the weekend radio show. Numbers can be tough to come by, but Spotify has reportedly said the Drew & Mike Show is the most downloaded show in Michigan.
And what it describes as a “podcast mini-empire” comes from Lane’s decidedly unglamorous basement where he spent $40,000 creating a studio space. In addition to the flagship podcast, what’s been named the Red Shovel Network includes three other podcasts: the No BS News Hour podcast with former television reporter Charlie Leduff; the No Filter Sports podcast with former Detroit Tiger Denny McClain and local sportscasters Eli Zaret and Bob Page; and the Soul of Detroit podcast with M.L. Elrick.
Lane tells the paper advertising is growing and they now bring in enough revenue to meet the monthly $25,000 payroll. “I guess we're a business now,” Lane said.
The local car dealership Szott Ford is among the Drew & Mike Show’s advertisers. Stephen Gabarra, who runs the dealership, tells the Detroit News that he credits the podcast for selling 14 to 16 vehicles per month off the showroom floor. “They come from far and wide,” Gabbara said. “I just had someone who came up from Toledo.” Selling merchandise helps too, and they’ve also asked for listener donations. More than $60,000 has been contributed so far.
As part of the deal with WLLZ, the Drew & Mike Show is now on iHeartRadio, giving the pair a national audience they’ve never had in the past. And Lane says they plan to add other shows to the Red Shovel Network although no specific programs are in the works.