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 www.museum.tv or www.radiohof.org - 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 www.wycd.com
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 Vuolovideo.com.