The Oakland Press - On The Radio, October 8 2004
By Art Vuolo
Shocker. Stunner. Bombshell. You pick the adjective, but Howard Stern made a "Sirius" announcement this week that he'd be moving to Sirius Satellite Radio when his contract expires with land-based radio giant Infinity in January 2006.
Stern, who'd hinted at such a move, said he's had it with FCC hassles and potential FCC fines for his shock-jock shenanigans, heard locally on hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1).
There will be more on this next week - and in the future.
Memo to broadcasters: Never assume anything.
Last weekend, I was in Bloomington, Ind., to watch the Wolverines eat Indiana's lunch, which they did 35-14. Trying to be helpful, I told several fans with radios which station locally carried the game. When I told one gentleman he could tune in at 105.1, he asked "AM or FM?"
Salem Broadcasting has turned Martha Jean the Queen's former station, WQBH, into conservative talk WDTK-AM (1400). Another right-leaning talk station - what an original idea.
With a signal at just 1,000 watts, AM 1400 is hardly a flamethrower, with a weak signal in most parts of Oakland County. The station also brought in a new manager, Chris MacCourtney, from CNBC's Midwest region.
On the other side of the coin, Ann Arbor's talk WAAM-AM (1600) carries Ed Schultz's very popular "progressive" talk show 3-6 p.m. weekdays.
"Big Eddie" is coming to town for the Michigan-Minnesota football game in Ann Arbor on Saturday and he'll appear between 9-10 a.m. on WAAM's Tailgate Show, broadcasting on Main Street near Stadium Blvd.
He'll also sign his new book, "Straight Talk from the Heartland," on Monday at Nicola's Books - 2513 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor, (734) 662-4110 - and he'll broadcast his national show from the store.
Marc Spindler and John Lund have made their morning show on sports WXYT-AM (1270) commercial-free from 6-10 a.m. Thursdays. And if you "spot" one during that time, you can win $1,000. It's S&L's way of creating more buzz about their show.
From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, nostalgia CKWW-AM (580) is set to host "Shoo the Flu at the Zoo," which will offer flu shots at the Detroit Zoo main entrance. Because of the current vaccine shortages, they're limited to the first 100 people at high risk for the flu. Call (800) 365-5899 for info.
Public WDET-FM (101.9) may have stirred mixed feeling about its recent programming changes, but a Metro Times poll shows the station ranked tops in "best local radio news" and "best local radio music show" with Martin Bandyke.
That's got to bother the staff in the WWJ-AM (950) newsroom.
Sad news: Local comic and former radio talk show host Bill Thomas died of cancer at 52 last Saturday. I had the pleasure of capturing him on videotape when he did a weekend talk show on WXYT.
I truly feel the local radio community never recognized his unique wit, sense of humor and personality. He will be missed.
Mike Rivers was a DJ back in the golden age of CKLW-AM (800), when it was known as "The Big 8." Rivers, who died recently in Tennessee at the age of 60, also worked at the old WCAR - now WDFN-AM (1130) - as Mike Donahue in the late 1970's.
Sad news and an update: Also passing on was Southern California talk radio icon Bill Balance, who invented a controversial female-oriented gabfest known as "Fem Forum" in the 1970s.
Locally, Tom Dean hosted the Detroit version of that show on the old WDEE, now WLQV-AM (1500). These days, Dean is up near Traverse City doing real estate and part-time radio on country WTCM-FM (103.5). Check him out at www.airsho.com.
Final farewell: New York City DJ and gravel-voiced pitchman Scott Muni was a true innovator and creative force in rock radio. His funeral earlier this week filled St. Patrick's Cathedral with the elite of the radio world.
Muni worked with Southfield native Pat St. John in New York, while Westland native and 30-year NYC personality Jim Kerr (who worked as Robin Stone on the old Keener 13) was one of the pallbearers - along with former Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin.
Now, that's a major sign-off.
Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.