The Oakland Press - On The Radio, September 10 2004
By Art Vuolo
As meteorologists try to figure out exactly where and if Hurricane Ivan (the Terrible) is going to strike, several radio stations in Florida are trying to get back on the air. And those lucky enough to have stayed on through the wrath of Hurricane Frances should be proud of the job they did.
Some of you will remember "Big" Jim Edwards from his days as a "Big 8" jock at CKLW-AM (800) in the late 1960s Well, Big Jim is actually James K. Davis, and he manages a group of stations in Vero Beach, Fla.
Close friend Michelle McKormick from hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1) says she was glad to hear that Jim was safe. "He gave me my first break in morning radio, which led to my venture into talk radio in New Jersey back in 1996," she recalls.
Closer to home, several stations are to be congratulated for efforts to help victims of hurricanes Charley and Frances.
In nearby Flint, Scott Free, the program director of hits WWCK-FM (105.5), was proud of morning jocks Mike MacDonald and Stephanie Confer, who organized a multi-station relief effort this past week.
For readers in northern Oakland County, their sister station, WWCK-AM (1570), is now Genesee County's all-talk station since kids WFDF-AM (910) and standards WFNT-AM (1470) both jettisoned their news-talk formats in recent years.
Across America, the race to talk radio is almost out of control. Of the 13,000 radio stations in this country, more than 1,300 of them are some form of news-talk-sports and information.
Recently, I told you about how media giant Clear Channel has suddenly jumped on the liberal bandwagon, flipping stations coast-to-coast to what they're calling "progressive talk."
News-talk is the number one AM format and on FM, it's number two only to country music. Many of these FM talkers, however, are non-commercial NPR stations.
But nearly every time a station switches to a talk format, it replaces a music venue and the ones that are falling victim most often are adult standards, like memories CKWW-AM (580) and pre-Beatles oldies stations like WPON-AM (1460).
Tomorrow, the MSU Spartans attempt to regain their pride when taking on up-the-road rival Central Michigan. The game can be heard on sports WXYT-AM (1270).
Some Wolverine fans will be traveling to the stadium that sits on the South Bend of the St. Joseph River as Michigan takes on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
U-M games are on news-talk WJR-AM (760) and out in Ann Arbor sports WTKA-AM (1050), but if you're heading to northern Indiana, take your radio because the game should be on South Bend's WDND-AM (1580) - if their satellite receiver problem is fixed in time.
An alternate choice would be the powerful news-talk WKZO-AM (590) from Kalamazoo. Both stations get the WJR game feed with Frank Beckmann and Jim Brandstatter.
Speaking of college football, both satellite radio broadcasters Sirius and XM have cut deals that allow them to carry Big Ten football and basketball games which makes it possible to hear your favorite teams nationwide.
Michigan fans also will want to tune in WFUM-TV next week for the new "Michigan Football Memories" documentary.
It airs Thursday (check local listings) and features footage of Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler, legendary broadcaster Bob Ufer and dozens of U-M legends.
This must-see for Wolverine fans also comes out on DVD later this month.
Quick Hits: Congrats to all of the local radio people who joined their TV colleagues on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, which raised $59,398,915 nationally. The local figure on WB20 was a staggering $1,712,320 ... WXYZ-TV Channel 7 general manager Grace Gilchrist was recently inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Grace loves local radio and is most deserving of this honor ... Microsoft is making static for radio with its new MSN Music service which allows users to buy songs online and is also creating Internet stations using the playlists and slogans from commercial stations ... Wolfman Jack has been dead since 1995, but tapes of his old shows have been digitally remastered and he'll be howling on the air again soon.
Set Your Dial: Hear the popular Australian swing band, The Cotton Club Orchestra, at 3 p.m. Sunday on WRCJ-FM (90.9) ... from 4 to 8 p.m. today, XM's Channel 6 recreates another 1960s AM radio giant, Philadelphia's original rocker, WIBG Wibbage 99 ...
Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.