Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.
In my last column I indicated that I would be attending the DASH Conference, which is a truly unique radio convention which educates broadcasters on the connected car and the new and considerably more complicated electronics found in today's vehicle dashboard.
For the convenience of out-of-towers, and they came from as far away as Sweden, the confab was held at the Westin Hotel and Meeting Center at Detroit Metro Airport. It was a packed house and a lot of eye-opening information was exchanged. It's not cheap, but well worth the investment. More information can be found at www.jacobsmedia.com because it is an event produced in a cooperative effort between trade publication Radio Ink and local media consultants Jacobs Media. Radio Ink's B. Eric Rhoads and the Jacobs brothers, Fred, Paul and Bill are to be commended for bringing this exciting radio conference to the Motor City. Each year, as technology warrants, it will no doubt grow in size.
The 2014 DASH Conference was appropriately kicked off with a riveting keynote by Gary Shapiro, President & CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. CEA puts on the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas each January. Shapiro was introduced by Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, who is very excited about NEXT RADIO, a means for smartphone users to dial in all local FM signals in whichever city they're in. Sadly, it only works on Android phones at the present time, but an iPhone application is expected soon. I must admit, it's very impressive!
A huge part of this year's DASH were the Class of 2015...The Millennials. Young people today seem to be far more interested in the technology that they can hold in the palm of their hands than the thrill of getting their own first automobile. That's scary for Detroit. Numerous local radio personalities provided introductions, including: Jamie and Wojo from 97.1 The Ticket, Coop and Gillian from Amp Radio 98.7 and Jim O'Brien from WCSX 94.7.
The most memorable intro was undoubtedly the one WWJ's auto beat reporter Jeff Gilbert got from John Mason, morning host on WDMK, Kiss 105.9 FM. See and hear the eighty second video at youtu.be/J7Ze6ohambs.
One of my personal favorites was the appearance of legendary Detroit personality Lee Alan talking about car dealership commercials. He's produced a lot of them. The campaign that was highlighted came from 16 years ago. Complete this slogan..."Birmingham's in ____" I bet you got it. The missing word is Troy. The power of catchy jingles and catch-phrases is best exemplified by RADIO. Remember Gene Merollis what a great great guy? Or perhaps "get on the right track to 9 mile and Mack....Roy O'Brien Ford." Radio guys and Dealer owners made for a great panel.
I also loved research-analyst Larry Rosin who spoke about the huge importance of traffic reports on the air. Look at how much TV is imitating radio with traffic and weather every few minutes in the morning. If you're in the radio industry or anything related to automotive electronics, this locally-based conference, known as DASH is a must attend, and I was NOT paid for this endorsement.
Totally unrelated was the impromptu and unofficial Flint Radio Reunion which was the brain storm of Peter C. Cavanaugh of WTAC The Big 6 and 105 WWCK fame in the Car City. It turned out to be a huge event at Flint's famous White Horse Tavern and you can see a video of the best parts here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jxOK8lcVRY.
As many of you recall when Casey Kasem passed away, amongst a great deal of drama, a lot of TV news was devoted to it. Pete Battistini, an Indianapolis fan of Kasem's renowned "American Top 40" program, has published a second edition of his soft-cover book which covers the hits of the 1980's. You'll find that it's loaded with illustrations, stories from insiders and fans alike, program tidbits and a list of every AT40 radio station during that classic Casey Kasem era. Enjoy! Here's a link to where it can be ordered on demand -- directly from the publisher. bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000363106/American-Top-40-with-Casey-Kasem-The-1980s.aspx. It's a great gift idea!
With election day looming, and the mud still being slung by the various candidates, I wanted you catch a truly humorous video by former radio hot-shot John Chaffee who put together "Kid-Politicians They're Just Dancers" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjiZvCWaaCk.
TV news is a hungry news monster, and when it needs to be fed and there's not enough news, it tends to create it. This was evident with the quarterback concussion story out in Ann Arbor. It even made national network newscasts and will probably result in changes at the Michigan football program. My DVD of most of the coverage totaled nearly 100 minutes!
Speaking of football, Jim Brandstatter is NOT going to try rushing from East Lansing after the UM-MSU game to London, England for the Lion's game on Sunday October 26th. His chair will be filled by former Lions player Rob Rubick. Meanwhile more musical chairs will be in play at the Wolverine/Spartan Backyard Brawl as Brandy's great new color analyst Dan Dierdorf sits this one out while recovering from some recent surgery. Dan's seat will be warmed by former UM player (turned broadcaster) Jon Jansen.
If you see this in time, be sure to spread the word that those headed to the Big Game in East Lansing should take your portable radio since the game will be on 92.1 FM WQTX for Wolverines fans in real time with NO delay and on 94.9 FM WMMQ and AM 1240 WJIM for Spartans fans. Go Blue & Go Green, enjoy the game if you know what I mean!
Contact Art Vuolo, Jr. via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org