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 Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Daily Oakland Press for three years.