November 2004 Archives

The Oakland Press - On The Radio, November 26 2004


By: Mike Austerman

When you warm up that turkey sandwich this weekend, don't forget to give thanks to our area broadcasters and the work they do to support our community.

The amount of help local radio gives to metro Detroit charitable organizations cannot be underestimated and certainly deserves a big "thanks" from all of us.

So when you plan your holiday schedule this year, make time to help your favorite station and organizations in their drives to help others.

Pop WDVD-FM (96.3) is helping to brighten the holidays by hosting broadcasts for area children to create holiday cards for kids who are sick.

The most creative young artist at each location will receive a Toys "R" Us gift card and have his or her card printed and sold at next year's events to raise money for Children's Hospital of Michigan.

Each broadcast will be hosted by WDVD's morning show team of Blaine and Lisa and feature surprise giveaways and special guests. Bring the kids to the Detroit Science Center on Dec. 4; Macomb Mall in Roseville on Dec. 11; or Oakland Mall in Troy on Dec. 18. Each event runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) and Buffalo Wild Wings have partnered together to help Gleaners Community Food Bank of metro Detroit stock food banks throughout the region.

The 'RIF will be doing a series of live broadcasts from area Buffalo Wild Wings locations, where listeners are encouraged to drop off donations in the form of canned or nonperishable food or a monetary donation. Everyone who makes a donation will receive an entry slip to win a guitar autographed by Detroit's own Kid Rock.

Upcoming broadcasts are 3-7 p.m. Monday with Arthur Penhallow at Buffalo Wild Wings in Southgate; 3-7 p.m. Dec. 6 with Arthur P. at the one in Mount Clemens; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 13 from the Westland location. Visit for more details.

Gleaners and its member agencies create remarkable results - nearly 24 million meals last year for hungry people of southeastern Michigan alone.

Speaking of 'RIF's legendary afternoon jock, Arthur P. was recently across the big pond in London filming scenes for an upcoming Mike Binder film titled "Upside of Anger," starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen. Costner's character plays a DJ who just happens to work at 'RIF. The movie should hit the big screens soon, bay-bah!

Smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7) morning show host and jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic will be performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Marriott Renaissance Center's Ambassador Ballroom to help promote his new "Seldom Blues" CD.

"The whole project is a love letter to the city of Detroit," Zonjic says. "The CD is dedicated to the greatest music city in the world."

Tickets start at $25. Learn more on Page D-3.

Fine tuning: Broadcast rights for the NFL's nationally broadcast games will move from sports WDFN-AM (1130) to rival WXYT-AM (1270) starting next season, giving 'XYT exclusive coverage of Super Bowl XL from Detroit in January 2006. WXYT also has secured the rights for this spring's NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.

Classic country WCXI-FM (1160) has been mourning the Nov. 5 death of manager and engineer Hank Hagy. Reader Mary Troff reports that his staff has been doing a fine job filling in while the station adjusts to the loss. Our condolences to Hagy's family and fans.

Eye on the Sky: Mel Karmazin has signed on as the new CEO of satellite radio broadcaster Sirius. That reunites Karmazin, the former head of Infinity Broadcasting's parent company Viacom, with his former employee Howard Stern, who's moving to Sirius by January 2006 - and gives Sirius a boost in its battle with rival satcaster XM.

Behind the mic: WDTW-FM (106.7) afternoon drive host Joe Thomas recently marked nine months with the rock station after moving here from the Windy City. He spent 15 successful years at various stations in Chicago and once claimed the Billboard Magazine Personality of the Year award. Since arriving, Thomas has helped lead WDTW to its best ratings since its switch to rock from country five years ago.

Mike Austerman is the founder of and has covered radio for The Daily Oakland Press for three years.


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, November 19 2004


By: Art Vuolo

It was a thrill to have been at the Radio Hall of Fame gala in Chicago recently, as local radio veteran Dick Purtan was inducted into the hallowed hall.

When the inductees were introduced by talk show host Jim Bohannon, who entered this fraternity last year, Purtan received noticeably greater applause than any of the others. And with his six daughters, their husbands, the full cast of Purtan's People and key station personnel on hand, he also had the largest entourage.

Dick's emotional introduction was made by Herb McCord, the former CKLW-AM (800) general manager who once lured Purtan across the river with more power and a bigger paycheck. In all, a very special moment.

Learn more about the Museum of Broadcast Communications by visiting or - and you, too, can vote in the Hall of Fame by becoming a member for just $15.

FYI, the Hall of Fame's building a new museum in downtown Chicago scheduled to open in the spring of 2006.

Speaking of Purtan, this morning he kicked off the 28th annual Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) "Christmas is for Kids" campaign benefiting Children's Hospital. He's broadcasting live from 44248 Cypress Pointe Drive in Northville one of the many homes beautifully decorated for the holidays.

A $5 per person donation is suggested to support this worthy cause. What this means is that Oldies 104.3 may have to break down and play a few Christmas tunes early, though.

And that brings us to my colleague, Mike Austerman, who truly struck a nerve here last week with his comments about the over-commercialized early switch to all-Christmas tunes by two of our most popular soft rock radio stations, WNIC-FM (100.3) and WMGC-FM (105.1).

His computer almost melted down as readers fired back nearly 100 e-mails on the subject, some of which were quoted in a follow-up story in last Sunday's Daily Oakland Press.

Of the 96 responses, 91 agreed that the holiday music started way too early; only five felt it was appropriate. One of the more interesting perspectives was from reader/listener Matt Franckowiak who noted: "On Dec. 26, the Christmas songs are no longer played. In my Catholic religion, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Day ... ending in early January."

"Prior to Christmas," he adds, "there is a period of four weeks of Advent, which is the time to prepare for Christmas. Usually, it's the weekend after Thanksgiving. These radio stations forgot what Christmas really means, except for their bottom lines. Shame on you 100.3 and Magic!"

In the interest of fairness, we note that WNIC program manager Darren Davis was quoted last Sunday saying, "The positive feed-back regarding our Christmas music outweighs the negative by a 10-1 margin. We can't argue with that kind of overwhelming desire."

And Lori Bennett, the WMGC program director, chimed in too late for last week's paper, but said, "Magic tried the 'wait-and-see' approach to holiday music the past few years as we thought that was the best course of action. And every year, we lost a lot of folks to our competitor (WNIC) simply because of the all-holiday music campaign."

For now, listeners seeking light rock can find it at CIDR-FM (90.9).

Meanwhile, the pros and cons just keep on comin'.

Radio morning shows across the country often release compilation CDs of memorable moments from the program, but how many debut a great music CD?

Smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7) will premiere of morning host/jazz musician Alexander Zonjic's new CD "Seldom Blues" at 8 p.m. Sunday, interspersing the broadcast with interviews from stellar artists and producers who contributed to the album. It'll hit stores next week.

Nashville cats will want to mark their calendars for the Country WYCD-FM (99.5) eighth annual Christmas Show starring Lee Ann Womack, Westland native Josh Gracin and the just-added Uncle Kracker. We're not sure if he'll sneak in his buddy Kenny Chesney as an added bonus.

The concert is Dec. 8 at the Detroit Opera House. More information is at

On the flipside of the musical coin, rock WRIF-FM (101.1) presents Velvet Revolver on Nov. 23 at the Emerald Theater in Mount Clemens, and on Dec. 2, The Riff brings Godsmack to Harpo's Concert Theater on Detroit's East Side.

A final note: If you're going to Columbus for the Ohio State game, be careful - and "Go Blue ... Beat the Bucks!"

Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, November 12 2004


By: Mike Austerman

Is anyone besides me not happy with the newest radio war in town?

Both soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3) and WMGC-FM (105.1) have ditched their regular format in favor of nonstop Christmas music - a full three weeks before Thanksgiving!

When WNIC made public its plans to make the switch earlier this fall, it seemed inevitable that WMGC would do something to prevent its rival down the dial from owning the Christmas music market as it did last year. And when WNIC went "all-Yule all the time" last Friday, WMGC quickly followed suit.

Both stations were promoting an all-Christmas weekend, but when Monday came, neither station went back to nonseasonal music, instead preferring to see if they could make the other blink in the bizarre barrage of "White Christmas," "Silver Bells" and "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer."

It's just not right to be hearing about Jack Frost nipping at my nose seven days a week long before the Thanksgiving turkey has been carved. I can understand the appeal of special Christmas weekends in November when people are out starting their shopping.

But expecting those same people to be happy hearing about Rudolph's red nose for seven weeks while they are at work is just too much. Though I'm all for the Christmas spirit, when radio stations exploit the holiday in this manner as they attempt to one-up each other, it's anything but the Christmas spirit at work.

I'd like to know how you feel about the early appearance of Christmas. E-mail your thoughts to me at ontheradio@austerman. com.

In more seasonally appropriate news, news-talk WJR-AM (760) will again be the radio voice of America's Thanksgiving Day Parade, providing live coverage from 6 a.m. till noon. Pre-parade information and interviews will run until 10 a.m. when morning host Paul W. Smith will provide float-by-float coverage of the parade itself.

You also can join WJR's Ann Delisi for a unique opportunity to ride your motorcycle in the parade's Harley Brigade. For more info, call (734) 947-4647 or visit

Christian WMUZ-FM (103.5) is searching for a new morning show with last week's departure of long time host Sean Harriott, who left to take on morning duties for Relevant Radio, a Catholic talk network with 24 stations across the country.

Meanwhile, WMUZ operations manager Steve Dealy is getting out of bed early to handle the morning shift until a permanent replacement is identified.

Microsoft is now offering another option to your regular radio station. Point your Web browser to and you'll find a listing of more than 1,000 "local" radio stations that supposedly feature playlists based on the songs played by regular radio.

MSN's service lists 13 audio streams for Detroit, but I suspect the computerized service isn't really watching all that closely. How else can you explain that the stream based on WMGC isn't playing - ugh - Christmas music?

While MSN's service features fewer commercials, you'll also miss out on local content such as DJ's, weather and traffic. By adding the listings that resemble your local radio dial, MSN is trying to cash in on the name recognition of local stations to market what is essentially just another Web streaming service.

Set your dials: Brian Auger's 40-year-plus music career has featured forays into jazz, early British pop, R&B, soul and rock, winning him legions of fans all over the world. Auger and his band make a rare radio station visit 9-11 a.m. today when they appear on the Judy Adams program on public radio WDET-FM (101.9).

Auger also appears at 9 tonight at the Tenny Street Roadhouse in Dearborn. Tickets are $15; visit

Mike Austerman is the founder of


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, November 5 2004


By: Art Vuolo

Well, radio coverage of this week presidential election was certainly above the bell curve.

All-news WWJ-AM (950) and news-talk WJR-AM (760) certainly should be proud of the great job they both did keeping listeners well informed. Public WDET-FM (101.9) also did a fine job with assistance from National Public Radio.

When news events of this magnitude occur, local radio, with help from CBS on WWJ and ABC on WJR, really shines, especially on the local issues, which are of little concern to the TV networks or a national audience.

Nov. 2 also was commercial radio's 84th birthday, but that was somewhat overshadowed by the election.

Less is more, and we're not talking about Les Moonves, one of those who replaced the irrepressible Mel Karmazin of Infinity Broadcasting.

"Less is More" is a new edict handed down recently by Clear Channel Radio's head honcho John Hogan, who replaced CC's maverick ex-president, Randy Michaels, who himself is poised to re-enter the radio scene.

Hogan's policy is for CC's radio stations to sharply reduce the number of commercials that are broadcast in any given hour. The move is to cut down on commercial clutter but no need to worry about radio profits - if commercials are more exclusive, they can charge more for 'em.

In six weeks, this policy will be the law at all local Clear Channel stations, which include pop WNIC-FM (100.3), hits WKQI-FM (95.5), urban WJLB-FM (97.9), urban-pop WMXD-FM (92.3), classic hits WDTW-FM (106.7), sports WDFN-AM (1130) and talk WXDX-AM (1310).

Hogan reports "a strong interest in shorter-length commercials from advertisers. Acceptance of 30-second and 15-second spots by clients and ad time buyers is a crucial element in the process."

It seems, then, that the mostly commercial-free satellite radio is putting pressure on your favorite radio stations to cut back commercials, and to provide another service that satellite offers. Increasingly popular Radio Data Systems technology lets newer car radios display the name of the station and slogans - plus, in some cases, the name of the song and artist. So you never have to wonder, "What was that?"

Baseball backfire? Could be.

Another Infinity big boss, Joel Hollander, is not happy with that multimillion-dollar deal that XM satellite radio made with Major League Baseball.

He blasted MLB for what he called "blind-sighting" their many terrestrial radio partners. And he dropped this hint: "There are already whispers that Infinity will be walking out on multiple team rights contracts when they expire next year."

Local Infinity boss Rich Homberg says this should not affect a long-term deal between sports WXYT-AM (1270) and the Tigers. For next spring, it's definitely a "home run" for XM.

This weekend in downtown Chicago, our beloved oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) morning ringmaster Dick Purtan will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

You may have read the great story on Purtan in Sunday's Daily Oakland Press, and your traveling radio reporter will be there to get it all on videotape and report on the black-tie affair.

Left-leaning local chatster Dave Barber is back on the air at Flint's news-talker WWCK-AM (1570) for listeners in northern regions of Oakland County.

Barber's program runs 9 a.m.-noon weekdays and always provides stimulating conversation.

For Michigan football fans who need a "football fix" for this bye-week, we have good news. On Saturday, the Wolverines will play Wisconsin - and the game will be announced by the late Bob Ufer!

It's the 1976 game, and you can hear it at noon on sports WDFN-AM (1130) or at 1 p.m. on sports WTKA-AM (1050) out in Ann Arbor.

A Ufer preview: Someone is sure to streak into the endzone like a penguin with a hot herring in his cummerbund.

Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) award-winning morning hosts Drew Lane and Mike Clark came out with a new "Best of" CD collection, which will be available exclusively starting Nov. 15 at all 23 Detroit-area Best Buy stores.

Titled "The Best of Drew & Mike's Cliff Notes Theater," the CD features 16 original hilarious send-ups of popular movies, and includes the team's previously unheard interpretation of the football drama "Rudy."

A substantial portion of the proceeds will go to the Drew & Mike Charitable Foundation, which to date has given away more than $100,000 in support grants to assist the families of fallen and disabled law enforcement and military personnel. Good goin,' guys.

Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs







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This page is an archive of entries from November 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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December 2004 is the next archive.

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