December 2004 Archives

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On The Radio/Oakland Press: 2004 Archives



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  • Regent Communications WLSP-AM 1530 Lapeer changed format from Talk to Adult Standards using ABC Radio's 'Stardust' format.

  • Midwestern Broadcasting sold Sports WKJF-AM 1370 Cadillac to Traverse City-based Good News Media, owner of Religious WLJN-FM/AM 89.9/1400 for $85,001.

  • NBC affiliate WEYI-TV 25 Flint/Saginaw/Bay City was sold by LIN TV to Barrington Broadcasting.

  • WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor tweaked its format from Full Service to full time News-Talk.

  • Richard Appleton, general manager of CBS affiliate WMMT-TV 3 Kalamazoo, passed away after a long illness at the age of 69.

  • Full Service WION-AM 1430 Ionia is off the air, and has been since September 2003, while the FCC reviews the sale of the station to Stafford Communications by Agricultural Resource Group. The sales agreement was reached in August but has not yet been approved by the FCC due to the fact Stafford requires a waiver of the radio-newspaper cross-ownership rule in order to take over control of the station. Stafford owns The Daily News newspaper, which serves part of the coverage area of WION.

  • LPFM station WBHC-LP 95.9 Benton Harbor signed on the air with Urban and Gospel programming- however the construction permit holder, the City of Benton Harbor, is not certain it wants to be in the radio business. The city is investigating exactly how the station obtained the CP and how the current operation of the station came under control of the African Arts and Culture Council of Benton Harbor.

  • An agreement between Fife Lake Broadcasting (Fort Bend Broadcasting) and the FCC has been reached regarding the construction permit for WTCU-FM 95.9 Fife Lake. The Consent Decree resolves issues concerning whether Fife Lake misrepresented facts to, or candor with the FCC regarding WTCU. The end result is that Fife Lake Broadcasting will surrender the construction permit for WTCU and make a $20,000 voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury. In exchange, the FCC concludes that no substantial or material questions of fact exist as to whether Fort Bend possesses the basic qualifications, including those related to character, to hold any FCC license or authorization.

  • FCC Actions:

    - New station licenses to cover granted to: WRDS-LP 104.3 Roscommon

    - Licenses to cover for changes granted to: WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit (50,000 watt operations from facilities in Northern Monroe County); WBUP-TV 10 Ishpeming (ERP to 133,000 watts directional); W271AG 102.1 Mackinaw City (moved from 101.5)

    - Construction permits for new stations granted to: KQDS Acquisition Corp. for a TV translator on Ch. 32 (W32CV) to be licensed to Ironwood. The station, which rebroadcasts FOX KQDS-TV, is already on the air under special temporary authority.

    - Call sign changes: 95.9 FM WTCU Fife Lake deleted Jan 30; 32 LPTV Ironwood assigned W32CV Jan 23; 88.1 FM Rogers Heights assigned WAQQ Jan 15; 98.9 LPFM Mt. Pleasant assigned WQOS-LP Jan 9

    - Granted the voluntary transfer of control for WQBH-AM 1400 Detroit from Trienere Steinberg to the Order of Fisherman Ministry

    - Granted the voluntary assignment of licenses for WBUP-TV 10 Ishpeming and WBKP-TV 5 Calumet from Scanlan Television to Lake Superior Community Broadcasting


  • A major change to the FM allocations in West Michigan was been granted by the FCC; Adult Contemporary WCXT-FM 105.3 Hart has been granted a new allocation for the station, which will shift its city of license from Hart to Coopersville. The change will effectively allow the station to move in closer to the Muskegon and Grand Rapids markets once its new facilities are constructed. In order to preserve radio service to Hart, the FCC simultaneously granted Classic Rock WWKR-FM 94.1 Pentwater permission to apply for a change to its city of license to specify Hart.

  • Marc Avery, a longtime Detroit radio personality who started out as a 1960s Top 40 rock disc jockey on the old Detroit AM hit-players WJBK (1500) and WXYZ (1270), died in Evansville, Ind.

  • Great Lakes Radio WPIQ-FM 99.9 Mansitique signed on the air with a talk format.

  • Mark Andrews, sports director at Infinity Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit passed away after a battle with colon cancer.

  • The 17th Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon received an amazing total of $1,530,836 in pledges for The Salvation Army's Bed and Bed Club in metro Detroit. The amount once again set a record for the highest amount for a single-station single-day radiothon anywhere.

  • FCC Actions:

    - New station licenses to cover granted to: WEEH-LP 100.5 Hart; WBSQ-LP 105.9 St. Louis; WJKQ-FM 88.5 Jackson; WWKM-FM 88.1 Goodland Twp; W32CV LPTV Ch. 32 Ironwood

    - Licenses to cover for changes granted to: WMJZ-FM 101.5 Gaylord (increase in ERP from 6,000 watts @ 325 feet to 50,000 watts @ 492 feet - Change from Class A to Class C2); WIAN-AM 1240 Ishpeming (slight location change); WGTQ-TV 8 Sault Ste. Marie

    - Construction permits for new stations granted to: Edgewater Broadcasting for a new FM translator to be licensed to Gaylord at 102.5.

    - Construction permits granted to: WAKL-FM 88.9 Flint to modify its broadcast location to the same tower used by WCRZ-FM 107.9 and change ERP from 150 watts @ 361 feet directional to 380 watts @ 263 feet directional; WTLI-FM 89.3 Bear Creek Twp to increase its power from 6,000 watts to 17,000 watts (Class C2 to Class C1); new FM 92.5 Newaygo (ERP from 6,000 watts @ 328 feet to 2,250 watts @ 543 feet, plus tower location change); W206AZ 89.1 Fremont to increase ERP from 55 watts to 100 watt and tower location change; WJKN-AM 1510 Jackson (3,000 watts daytime and critical hours using a 3-tower array)

    - Call sign changes: New LPFM 98.9 Mt. Pleasant assigned WQOS-LP on 1/9/04

    - Granted the voluntary transfer of license for WLPC-LP 26 Detroit from Glenn R. and Karin A. Plummer to WLPC-TV 26 Detroit, Inc

    - Granted the voluntary assignment of license from WKJF Radio to Good News Media for WKJF-AM 1370 Cadillac


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The Oakland Press - On The Radio, December 31 2004


By: Art Vuolo

So ends another crazy year in local radio. It ended with four more of your favorite folks fired from one local station owner - Infinity Broadcasting. They were country WYCD-FM (99.5) morning guys Wilhite & Wall; oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) midday mainstay Tom Force; and Doug Massey, the smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7) swing man who also worked at talk WKRK-FM (97.1).

The biggest shocker was Force, who spent more than 10 years at the mega-power oldies station. I'm not sure anyone, including Tom, saw that one coming. Long time Detroit radio fans will remember Force as Zack Burns on the first incarnation of hits WDRQ-FM (93.1).

My biggest concern is, why do radio stations do things like this just before Christmas? Personally, I question the timing.

The WYCD morning show team of Darren Wilhite and Tim Wall never seemed to really embrace the Detroit area, so they probably will not be as missed. My hope for 2005 is that new WYCD program director Chip Miller puts the right person in that job, and not some out-of-towner who can't pronounce Lake Orion or Gratiot Avenue.

Last March, I saw Dr. Don Carpenter at the Country Radio Seminar wearing a T-shirt that said "Hire me" with his phone number and Web address. We can only hope.

Let's do a quick look-back over the past year across the dial. Sadly, the year was barely started when the cast and crew of Dick Purtan's people faced another terrible loss with the untimely death of Mark "Doc" Andrews at age 50 from colon cancer.

The only good thing to come from that tragedy was that, in his memory, WOMC listeners gave more than $1.5 million at the Salvation Army Radiothon, making it a national record.

Only three years earlier, Purtan's longtime producer and head writer Gene Taylor died after an asthma attack.

Too bad neither got to see Dick inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Actually, I'm certain that both had the best seat in the house.

The biggest single word to define 2004 was "indecency." Thank you, Janet Jackson. Fines for WKRK, WKQI-FM (95.5) and others helped keep the FCC in the black. Major names such as Mel Karmazin, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony and NPR's Bob Edwards all defecting to satellite radio - plus the addition of NFL football and Major League Baseball - have many "regular" broadcasters nervous.

The satellite traffic and weather channels added to the concern, and Detroit was the first city with XM and Sirius traffic channels on highway signs. Yikes!

Changing hands were talk/oldies WPON-AM (1460), with little noticeable format modification, and black-community WQBH-AM (1400), which did a major flip to conservative syndicated talk.

Besides the WYCD morning show, other AM drive changes happened at pop WNIC-FM (100.3) when Chuck Gaidica switched with the most deserving Chris Edmonds, and at sports WXYT-AM (1270) Sprindler & Lund replaced Don Imus.

One of the better moves happened at news-talk WJR-AM (760), when a quality talk show with Frank Beckmann was added following morning master Paul W. Smith, keeping "the Great Voice of the Great Lakes" live and local. Kudos to PD Steve Stewart, and when you watch the Rose Bowl tomorrow, turn down the sound at kickoff and crank up WJR radio.

Now, let's look ahead to what 2005 might bring us. Please realize these comments are mine and do not represent the staff or management of The Daily Oakland Press.

In 2005, I predict a local station adopting a Spanish-language format; another FM station trying country music; Lee Alan making a comeback on a local station; WRIF-FM (101.1) bad boys Drew & Mike facing stronger competition; the Canadians at the CHUM Group finally doing something brilliant with their 93.9 FM frequency; and Christmas music will not start in early November. We can only hope.

A final Detroit Radio Reunion is being planned for the last full weekend in September. We'll certainly keep you informed as that develops.

Yes, that is a new photo of your radio reporter, as the last one lasted for more three years. My colleague Mike Austerman and I hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year - and be responsible this evening.

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


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, December 24 2004


By: Mike Austerman

In radio, the phrase that "the only constant is change" seems to be especially true. In a move that surprised nearly everyone, 30-year market vet Tom Force was shown the door at oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) last week. Force had been with 'OMC for the past 11 years as midday host.

While owner Infinity Broadcasting is mum on the reasons, Force was reportedly let go because of budget cuts and a desire to shake up the station's on-air lineup.

Moving to middays is evening host Bob Vandergrift, while weekender Rick Hunter moves to evenings until the station finalizes a new lineup - or decides it likes this roster.

The radio business never really takes a holiday, it seems.

Another notable exit will take place in February at public radio WDET-FM (101.9), when longtime general manager Caryn Mathes moves to Washington, D.C., to take over as general manager for American University's public radio station there. Though her departure's been announced, she'll stay here until then, as the search begins for her successor.

Mathes has worked at WDET for 22 years, 20 of them as the station's GM. While she was at the helm, WDET enjoyed great increases in support from listeners, donors and underwriters and the station scored numerous local and national awards in local news, programming, creativity and community service..

"I will always cherish these years I spent in Detroit," Mathes says. "I've had the opportunity to know so many wonderful people at the station, at the University and in the community."

Whomever takes over at WDET will have a big job ahead of them.

Congrats to Bloomfield Hills School District's radio broadcasting students and staff, who won six awards in five categories at the third annual John Drury High School Radio Awards ceremony earlier this month in Illinois.

Named for award-winning ABC-Chicago news anchor John Drury, the awards were created to recognize excellence in high school radio broadcasting.

Students Alex Rusciano, Marissa Boyajian, Brad Lutz, Robyn Berkowitz and Daniel Muskovitz won awards for their work at WBFH-FM (88.1), while station manager Pete Bowers earned a second place as Best Radio Station Advisor and the station itself won third place overall as the Best High School Radio Station.

It was the first year WBFH entered the contest.

Radio stations are banking on car companies to upgrade the radios installed in new cars to pick up digital broadcasts from regular radio stations - just as automakers are now offering satellite radio options.

The Detroit area leads the way in the conversion to High Definition radio. That's because HD - high definition - broadcasts have CD-quality audio, with signal interference, static, hiss and pops no longer affecting the FM reception.

HD radio receivers also can display important data, including song/artist information, show title, breaking news, local weather and traffic, stock quotes and more.

Many local FM stations either have added the capability or will soon. The newest addition is public radio WUOM-FM (91.7), which started digital broadcasts earlier this month. Greater Media's rock WRIF-FM (101.1) and classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) plan to offer the service early in 2005.

Broadcasters are betting on the new technology to help counter the effect of satellite radio.

And lastly, I wish all my Daily Oakland Press readers a very merry Christmas!

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


Don't forget stations' holiday campaigns



The Oakland Press - On The Radio, December 17 2004


By: Art Vuolo

Christmas is but eight days away, and I can't find any holiday music on the radio. Of course, I'm not serious.

Personally, I'm hoping that lots of new radios will be given this year. Sadly, for local broadcasters, I'm afraid many will be the kind that pull in satellite signals and lack the ability to receive traditional AM and FM stations.

The other hot electronic toy under many trees will be the iPod, that mini-music system with the white cord and earphone "buds." It's quickly become a major status symbol.

This year, the 39th annual WJR-AM (760) Christmas Sing will be different - it's later, in the daytime and in a new place.

It's 11 a.m.-noon Saturday in front of the Town Hall inside Dearborn's Greenfield Village, not in front of the clock tower as in past years. Or at Kennedy Square in downtown Detroit, where it got started years ago when it was sponsored by one of the Detroit papers.

This year's MC will be Paul W. Smith, the golden-voiced morning host of the news-talk station. Those paying admission to the Village are promised a good time, and the lucky ones will walk away with certificates for five golden rings compliments of Edmund T. Ahee jewelers. Just register at www.wjr. com.

Paul will be joined by a plethora of personalities from 'JR, the Walled Lake Central High School Choir and, of course, Santa Claus!

There's also still time to contribute to the WJR Adopt a Family 2004 campaign, being held in concert with Volunteers of America Michigan. Simply call (248) 945-0101 and press 9. Sunday is the last day for this effort and more info is on the WJR Web site.

Soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1), better known as Magic, is bursting with pride over the fact that generous listeners contributed more than 26,600 toys in their Toys for Tots campaign.

Done in association with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, the drive means that many needy kids will have a better Christmas - and they do believe in "Magic."

Across the hall in the Greater Media Broadcasting compound, classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) also has the holiday spirit. The station recently launched an online music channel, and family and friends of local military personnel are invited to record holiday greetings.

The station will upload them to the WCSX Holiday Channel, which will allow soldiers to hear the sounds of the season and these special messages wherever they are stationed. Just call (248) 586-2941 to record a greeting. That's it - no catch, no cost.

If you missed it, Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca went head-to-head with defense lawyers on the "Mojo in the Morning Show" last week on hits WKQI-FM (95.5).

The topic? The Basket Brawl Game at The Palace. And haven't we seen that video enough times?

Another "radio moment" occurred recently when WJR afternoon star Mitch Albom actually called Greg & Michelle on hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1) to defend his reputation as the midday duo ripped Albom for an allegedly self-serving column he wrote. Amazingly riveting radio.

Kudos to Oakland County resident Bernie Fratto (pronounced FRAT-toe), who's now the official fill-in on WKRK's Parker & The Man sports show, which is 7-11 p.m. weeknights.

The "other Bernie" knows his sports, is passionate about our local teams and deserved this shot. He'll join co-host Mark Wilson whenever Rob Parker is on assignment.

From Jan. 6-9, the annual Consumer Electronics Show will host more than 100,000 attendees in Las Vegas, and I'll be there to salivate over all the neat stuff that I can't afford - and report to you the latest technological marvels that'll be rolling into your favorite electronics stores next year.

Happy Holidays!

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


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, December 10 2004


By: Mike Austerman

We've got lots of radio stocking stuffers to get caught up on as we wind down the year: The market's top-rated morning show, Drew and Mike of rocker WRIF-FM (101.1), continues to score accolades. Readers of the radio/music trade publication Friday Morning Quarterback have voted the duo this year's as Best Local Morning Show in the Active Rock format.

Drew and Mike also nabbed the national award for Air Personality/ Show of the Year at the 2004 Radio & Records Awards ceremony in June. No coal in these guys' Christmas stockings this year!

Man at Large (McConnell Adams) has been let go as the evening jock at Top 40 WDRQ-FM (93.1); the station will not comment on the reason for the dismissal. A permanent replacement for the 7 p.m.-midnight shift has not yet been identified.

Across the hall at the Fisher Building, pop WDVD-FM (96.3) has tapped Ron Harrell as its new program director, replacing Greg Ausham, who exited in September. Harrell arrives in town from Denver, where he programmed a similar station for nearly 10 years. He says he's "certainly looking forward to this new challenge - Detroit is a great radio town." General manager Steve Kosbau says he's "thrilled" to have Ron onboard, adding that "his keen understanding of Hot Adult Contemporary and many years of experience in Denver will be invaluable as we take WDVD to new heights." Would that be Madison, Dearborn, or Sterling Heights?

The Detroit Public Schools continues to operate its radio station, WRCJ-FM (90.9) - the former WDTR - from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays only; there's been no word on what happened to plans to turn operations over to a third party earlier this fall.

One bit of good news: The half-hour children's show "Brady Jamzz," which features fourth- and fifth-graders from Detroit's Brady Elementary School, has returned at 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays. The program, which teaches kids about radio careers, features student DJs, their commercials, stories and radio plays.

We hope Santa Claus will bring FM 90.9 a full-time schedule.

It's a Merry Christmas for "Morning Edition" hosts Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep as the pair lose the "interim" tag and are now named the permanent hosts for National Public Radio's popular morning show.

Heard locally on WDET-FM (101.9) and WUOM-FM (91.7), Los Angeles-based Montagne and Washington, D.C.-based Inskeep have been anchoring the show since May when former host Bob Edwards had his chair yanked by NPR.

Edwards found his mistletoe earlier this fall when he landed his own morning gig at XM Satellite Radio.

You'll be hearing more Fox News on the radio with this week's announcement that broadcast giant Clear Channel has become the first major affiliate group to sign up with Fox for things such as top-of-the-hour newscasts and breaking news reports.

The five-year agreement between the companies creates a direct competitor to ABC Radio and CBS Radio and it's expected that hundreds of Clear Channel news-talk stations across the country will switch from ABC and CBS to Fox by mid-2005.

Locally, Clear Channel-owned WXDX-AM (1310) already airs some Fox News reports in addition to newscasts provided by the Michigan Talk Radio Network.

Set your dials: Nostalgia/standards CKWW-AM (580) features classic holiday-themed episodes of "When Radio Was" at 10 p.m. every weeknight through Dec. 24. Next week's shows feature the 1946 Red Skelton Christmas Eve show and the Radio City Playhouse version of " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from 1949. For a schedule, visit programs/wrw.html.


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, December 3 2004


By: Art Vuolo

In the last couple of weeks, the radio trade publications have been loaded with news about satellite radio. Last month, I wrote about the oldies format in Radio & Records, the industry's leading trade publication, and mentioned sat-radio.

Afterward, one of my most memorable e-mails was from a local program director, whom I have great respect for and who also noted that I got in a good plug for "the jukebox from outer space ... and that ain't radio, baby."

Hmmm, the five-letter word in those stories that follows "satellite" is "radio." It ain't a refrigerator, baby.

Besides extensive stories on the sat-casters in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Las Vegas Review-Journal last Sunday, the current issue of Newsweek has a major story on the sat-casters with heavy emphasis on Sirius, one of the two available competing systems with differing technologies.

By the way, we've apparently learned nothing from Beta vs. VHS battle as very little in the electronics industry is standardized. It's one of the ways they try to get you to spend more money.

Heard mornings on hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), Howard Stern is an edgy talk show host - not a "shock jock," as he plays no music.

He probably did more to increase awareness about satellite radio with his carefully timed announcement about moving there in 2006 than all of the advertising done by both Sirius and XM Satellite Radio over the past three years.

The buzz on this new medium is loud, and the stock prices for both companies have made them the talk of Wall Street.

The word "content" - the stuff you can listen to - is propelling thousands of people to actually pay for radio, and now with major personalities abandoning traditional radio for "the jukebox from outer space," many broadcasters are concerned.

This week in Los Angeles, XM rolled-out the new MyFi handheld radio, which is about the size of a cell phone. It represents a new technology from Troy-based Delphi Electronics, which makes it possible to take XM anywhere. After I get to play with one, I'll let you know if it's really worth the hefty $350 price.

Back on Earth, our local stations continue to do good things for the community that the big national guys simply cannot.

The jocks at hits WDRQ-FM (93.1) probably want to get back into those nice warm state-of-the-art studios in the Fisher Building after a week of being out on location for their creative "Stuff-A-Bus" promotion to help the less fortunate.

Last year, they collected nearly $1 million in toys. The bus is in the parking lot of Micro Center, across from the Oakland Mall in Madison Heights. Jay & Rachael and all of the 'DRQ jocks appreciate your support.

From 9-11 a.m. today, it's Judy Adams' 28th annual Jimi Hendrix birthday special on public radio WDET-FM (101.9). This birthday tribute to an American music legend will include rarely heard recordings and special giveaways.

Who says NPR affiliates are stuffy and out-of-touch?

Speaking of NPR affiliates, smart move on the part of WEMU-FM (89.1) to pick up Matt Watroba and his popular "Folks Like Us" show, which was dumped by 'DET two months ago. Watroba's first show on WEMU airs 2 p.m. Saturday.

I recently got a copy of "On the Radio" by Lee Alan, and could barely put the book down. It's loaded with vintage photos and hundreds of great stories about the early days of pop radio in Detroit. He really should be back on the air locally.

When personality WJR-AM (760) ran its special syndicated oldies show on Saturday night during the Woodward Dream Cruise, I thought how cool it would have been to have Alan host such a show on 'JR - complete with his famous Frank Sinatra sign-off.

His comeback on oldies/talk WPON-AM (1460) didn't work out when the station was sold recently.

Speaking of WPON, one of its popular programs was the morning insanity of Crazy Al and sidekick Larry Matthews.

Well, Crazy Al is still around on the Internet at www.industri, where his show is drawing nearly 1 million hits from people on their computers all over the world - a far greater audience now than when he was on the little 1,000-watt station in Walled Lake.

Check it out between 8-11 a.m. on the Web, and mark your calendars for Dec. 22, when your humble radio writer/wannabe DJ will be the guest jock doing a Christmas special.

Regarding Christmas music, standards CKWW-AM (580) is mixing holiday hits with its regular music until Dec. 15, when it presents its 12 days of Christmas music through the 26th. Seems a much better way to celebrate the season. Bravo to 580 Memories.

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 December 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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