Bernie Miklasz out at 101ESPN – St. Louis and radio will be worse for his brief absence.

Bernie Miklasz is great at what he does, but now he’ll have to do it somewhere other than 101ESPN in St. Louis.

Anytime someone gets fired, we tend to eulogize them as though they have passed away.  They haven’t, so I am not going to mourn the temporary loss of Bernie Miklasz as a St. Louis sports media fixture.

Miklasz was relieved of his position at 101ESPN Radio Friday.  That’s where I had the privilege of serving as his program director for two years from 2011-2013.  I can’t say that I managed Miklasz because I don’t believe anyone actually manages him.

The thing about Miklasz – and from this point forward I’m going to call him Bernie because I’ve never called him “Miklasz” or heard anyone else do that – is that he is so withering in the demands he enforces on himself that managing him to do more at a higher level would be futile and cruel.

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There are staff changes that can benefit both the business and the person who was gassed.  This is not one of those changes.  Radio stations do not improve because a talent like Bernie is taken off the schedule.  His loss diminishes both 101ESPN and St. Louis as a sports town.

For Bernie, this change can be a very good thing.  He might finally be forced to relax for a few days.  For 40 years, Bernie has driven himself to think, write, and speak about sports.  He brings a rare wisdom and diligence to his work that comes from the same relentlessness that drives the athletes and leaders he covers, and the time may have finally come where he allows himself a deep breath and moment or relaxation.

For two years, Bernie and I met once a week to talk about his show.  My only goal was to establish trust so I could get Bernie to stop grinding so hard.  I listened to Bernie more that I spoke to him because not only would I get more out of his words than my own, but I believed he would too.

We talked a lot about H.L. Mencken during those meetings.  Mencken was “the sage of Baltimore” – Bernie’s hometown.  His work inspired Bernie, and so I learned some things about Mencken so I could better understand Bernie.

There are two Mencken quotes that capture Bernie very nicely:

  • “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”
  • “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

Bernie isn’t normal, but he knows how to strip back the pretty paint and expose the raw truth.  He has always been unafraid to avoid prevailing wisdom in favor of his own.  Instead of concerning himself with being popular, Bernie captures unvarnished ethos.  He cannot be won over with glad tidings from smiling baseball managers and football/basketball/hockey coaches.  Bernie is very content to embrace Mencken’s legacy of exposing stupidity and cowardice regardless of who it offends.

We need truth tellers in our society, and that is the shame of 101ESPN deciding to move on this morning without Bernie.  St. Louisans are poorer for his absence.  Bernie will be richer for this pause where he can gather the energy needed to unleash his uncanny abilities for another employer.

I’ll always be thankful for the opportunity to get to know Bernie, and for the lessons he shared during our conversations.  St. Louis is a better city for having had Bernie to read and listen to for more than 30 years, and I’m a better man for having briefly worked with him.

Someone is going to call Bernie very soon so he can again do what he does better than most – spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.


14 thoughts on “Bernie Miklasz out at 101ESPN – St. Louis and radio will be worse for his brief absence.

  1. jeffrey davis

    Why the h, would they fire Bernie? Makes no sense to fire your best. Bernie will be badly missed. Randy is ok. But, kinda annoying. Too much Randy will get old fast.


      Obviously it was a salary cut. They mentioned how the virus affected even the radio business. Without actually catching the virus, what other effect could it have on the business? The group probably lost a lot of sponsors during this time, since they too have their businesses shuttered, and the group had to slit throats, as the author mentions here, to stay afloat. They cut the biggest throat of all, figuratively speaking of course, lol. Remember too that there were 20 people ousted, not just Bernie.

      Back to the Post Dispatch to write, and KMOX to talk again? That is, when there’s something to write and talk about again. For now, just take that breather buddy.

      You’re now as much a part of ST. LOUIS as Jack Buck was,. Big 🐕.

      1. Aaron Schatz

        Bernie I miss you already you were unique in the fact of telling it as it is .I would love to listen to you wheels. Make your own show get your own money .your a pro get paid like a pro.

  2. Keith Denson

    Left SiriusXM because the sports show line ups were great and Bernie started my day. The whole change to the line ups are now awkward and just not as entertaining. Not even going to give it another chance. Going back to Howard, Golic and wingo and mad dog. Taking 101.1 off my radio!!!

  3. Terry

    This doesnt make sense, i love Bernie and Randy so much, so much knowledge, Bernie will be missed. I think its a money issue.Not a fan of Michelle Smallman her voice just grinds on me and acts like she knows it all, she should stay behind the seen. And they just work Stalter to death. Whats next Wheeler last year now Bearnie, two big loses, sucks.

  4. Robert Hartline

    Sorry for you Bernie lovers. He got on my nerves and I for one am glad to see him go. I like Randy and I love Michelle Smallmon. I think Michelle should have had a show of her own a long time ago. I’m glad to see her finally get some of the Limelight that she deserves!

  5. Dan

    Bernie was my go to ,he had the best interviews .He always had a different take and was not a yes man .I will miss him starting out my work mornings thanks.

  6. Lisa S.

    Bernie was the whole reason I listened to 101.1 ESPN radio in the mornings and on my way home in the evenings. I love his style of relating sports stats to everyone, not just the sports junkie. I love the back stories and the human touch that he brings. I will follow Bernie not ESPN. I don’t enjoy the other shows as much and frankly don’t get as much out of them.

  7. Jon

    Michelle Smallmon does sound like a “know-it-all” which doesn’t always seem to fit with Randy because he, in fact, does know a lot! Maybe she’s trying to overcompensate because she’s a woman and she needs to sound like she knows everything but to be honest, she tends to make switch to another station (news) because if I hear her too much, it’s ‘System Overload’ for me. I don’t want to hear someone talk like a ‘know it all’. It’s a coin toss on who I would like to see leave next, ‘Ronj’ on the afternoon drive or Smallmon from the morning. I’d much rather listen to just Randy alone with maybe other guest call-ins.


    My work schedule allowed me to listen to 101espn all day. Its just been in a steady decline. First, when Demarco Farr left the Fast Lane to follow the Rams to L.A., then, we had to lose Chris Duncan, RIP you are missed dearly to the fans of St. Louis sports, then they fire Kevin Wheeler, WTF, and finally, we have to lose Bernie, the best host we had and at the same time lose Randy Karraker who they move from the Fast Lane to mornings. I love Anthony Stalter, but the days Karraker is missing from the Fast Lane it just isnt the same and losing Bernie from the morning slot is just insane. 101espn has hit rock bottom and I guess I just have to find something else to listen to. This is worse than the Mike & Mike split. Goodbye 101espn and good riddance.

  9. Denny Madison

    I agree with one of the messages above, that Bernie Miklasz could wear on your nerves. Some of the time, when he was complaining about someone, the nasal tone of his voice made him sound like he was whining. Bernie is a very knowledgeable guy and he will be missed on ESPN 101.1 FM. I don’t know how many people will be able to follow him on 590 AM? If it was a numbers issue that made them get rid of Miklasz, then why did they hire Danny Mac to replace him? Danny MAC has to be as expensive, or more so, in my opinion.

  10. Brian Hudson

    I have always loved listening to Bernie. However, for some reason he seemed (JMO) to start wearing on my nerves and just didn’t seem to be the Bernie I enjoyed. In the end I would avoid listening. I wish him only the best but maybe he needs a change for his own good.


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