The Oakland Press - On The Radio, January 14 2005
By Art Vuolo
So much news, so little space. Just got back from the huge Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas in time for the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where many of your favorite personalities will be doing their shows live.
Stations with the largest presence at Cobo will be the talkers. Personality WJR-AM (760) will be inside the GM exhibit, while news WWJ-AM (950) will again be in the lobby area along with sports sister WXYT-AM (1270). Also in the outer lobby, always nicely air-conditioned at this time of the year, will be edgy talker WKRK-FM (97.1).
Meanwhile, station Web sites and broadcasts will tell you where your favorite music stations will be at the show.
From 6:30-8 p.m. tonight, WJR's Paul W. Smith will let you listen in on the special Charity Preview, which'll repeat between 10 and 11:30 p.m. From 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday, listeners can "see the car show" with Steve Stewart, while on Sunday, the 'JR lineup of the Real Estate & Business Insiders (9 a.m.-noon) and the Home Improvement Show with Murray Gula and John McCulloch (noon-3 p.m.) will air from there. During the week, Frank Beckmann will originate live from Cobo from 9-11:30 a.m. and Dick Haefner will host the "Auto Show Special" from 6-7 p.m.
At oldies WOMC-FM (104.3), Dick Purtan and his people air a show preview from 6-8 tonight from the Ford exhibit, while Tom Ryan and Matinee Mindy do the weekday afternoon duties and Bob Vandergrift, Dana Masucci and Rick Hunter handle weekends.
Though the weather was lousy, it didn't keep an intimate gathering of more than 140,000 people from 115 countries from flocking to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In fact, it was a chance to Meet the Flockers. (Sorry.)
In four days, you can barely scratch the surface of this enormous trade show. It covers millions of square feet and the relentless rain and some snow outside made getting around interesting.
Most prevalent at the CES last week were flat-screen TVs, which were everywhere, and satellite radio, which had a substantial presence. On press day, XM proclaimed it was the "big dog" having just topped 3.2 million subscribers, while Sirius had new CEO Mel Karmazin on hand with huge displays in two halls. Troy-based Delphi was there with a slew of new safety innovations and dazzling new electronic toys for your car - besides making satellite radios for both XM and Sirius.
Meanwhile, more terrestrial radio personalities are making their programs available on "the jukebox from outer space," among them, Dr. Laura and G. Gordon Liddy.
This past week, several of the trade publications headlined that "regular radio" needs to fight back with aggressive marketing, and the radio industry is doing just that with a new $28 million national ad campaign that says, "Radio: You hear it here first."
The fact is, over-the-air radio reaches 200 million-plus people in the United States, while satellite radio has about 4.3 million subscribers between two providers, yet terrestrial broadcasters already are starting to panic.
That's insane. XM and Sirius are simply another choice for listener, offering much programming that simply is not available on commercial radio.
At the booth for iBiquity, the company that started HD (high definition) radio, they hosted an impressive roster of major broadcasting executives from Clear Channel, Radio One, Entercom and NPR. Greater Media was represented by our own Tom Bender, the veep and general manager of rock WRIF-FM (101.1), soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) and classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7), which are embracing HD radio. That technology makes AM radio sound like FM and FM sound like CDs - and provides song info digitally.
Now we need the radios to pick up these new and better signals.
Locally at WCSX, Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison's third annual Stone Soup Project is being launched with the goal of renovating a classic GM muscle car.
Funds from raffling off the car when finished go to Woodison's favorite charity, the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. Learn more at www.wcsx.com.
Over at classic hits WDTW-FM (106.7), known as The Drive, the pre-recorded Randi West (middays) has been replaced by live and local Heather McGregor, who came from a Battle Creek station. Good move, program director John Trapane. Now, how about Bob and Tom in the morning?
Follow-Up: Soft rock WMGC, best known as Magic, wrapped up its extensive holiday campaign by giving away $50,000. The winner was from Dearborn Heights, but all of the runners-up got packages filled with Magic goodies.
Stay warm this weekend. Cuddle up to a nice toasty radio, perhaps an old one that still has tubes.
Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.