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 Vuolovideo.com.