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 www.motownharley.com.
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 http://radio.msn.com 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 www.tennystreet.com.
Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com.