The Oakland Press - On The Radio, January 28 2005
By: Art Vuolo
This week, there have been countless tributes to the late Johnny Carson, a man who began, like so many great TV stars, on radio in Nebraska as a youth. Even the audio from the "Potato Chip Lady" was funny on the radio. Wayne Stevens, afternoon host at nostalgia /oldies CKWW-AM (580), actually interviewed Carson back in 1980.
That reminds us how we are losing many of the people who through the airwaves have touched our lives in ways often difficult to explain.
Who of us will ever forget the headlines when J.P. McCarthy of news-talk WJR-AM (760) died? That was Aug. 16, 1995 - a year that also saw the loss of news icon Byron MacGregor of CKLW-AM (800) and WWJ-AM (950); Nick Arema of oldies WOMC-FM (104.3); WJR's Fat Bob Taylor; and the legendary Tom Clay of CKLW fame. In the last five years, we also said goodbye to Dick Osgood and Paul Winter of WXYZ-AM (1270) and Gene Taylor and Mark "Doc" Andrews of WOMC.
Their passing is among the reasons why a big Detroit radio reunion is being planned for September. Details to follow.
Many of our favorites will be difficult to replace. Broadcasters still living, such as Paul Harvey, Rush Limbaugh and even Sean Hannity, are good examples. Interestingly, WJR morning host Paul W. Smith has substituted for all three of them; the week before last, he filled in for Harvey, the most listened-to man on radio.
Speaking of Smith, he also has been nominated for local news-talk personality of the year at the upcoming Radio & Records Talk Radio Seminar in March. Good luck Paul - I'm hoping the "W" stands for winner. He is one.
Fans of Tony Trupiano, formerly on talk WXDX-AM (1310), which recently changed its call letters to WDTW, will want to know that he has resurfaced 2-6 p.m. on talk WAAM-AM (1600) in Ann Arbor.
Oddly enough, he was replaced on 1310 by progressive talker Ed Schultz; on WAAM, Schultz is replaced by Trupiano.
Schultz has been described as the "liberal Rush" and is certainly worth a listen, 3-6 p.m., regardless of your political lean.
Other WXDX favorites such as Glenn Beck and Phil Hendrie can now only be heard on satellite radio. When 1310 flipped to a more Democratic and liberal format, it also swapped its call letters - and they're the same as its sister FM station at 106.7, which is known as "The Drive."
For those of you who like your rock 'n' roll 1980s style, Steve Black will serve it up 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday evenings at rock WRIF-FM (101.1). The program will be known as "Amped on the '80s" - and it should be good to the last rock.
The man who's been rockin' The Riff for more than three decades, Arthur Penhallow, has kicked off his 19th annual Maui Time Giveaway, with winners able to escape the winter cold with a free trip to Hawaii.
Your aging radio reporter can remember vividly when the Grand Poobah worked as a Top 40 jock, under the name of Cicero Grimes, at WNRZ-FM (102.9) in Ann Arbor.
He also hopes I never find my tape of him in those days.
Ever since Tom Force exited WOMC, Bob Vandergriff has been filling in, but now weekender Dana Masucci takes the job permanently. She is talented and will do a fine job.
Tomorrow night, Specs Howard will celebrate his 35th anniversary of operating the prestigious Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in America.
More than 10,000 students have passed through its halls, and of the 35 graduates going into its Hall of Fame, 33 of them are coming in from all over the country to toast Specs, his son, Jon Liebman, Dick Kernen and others on this momentous occasion.
Kudos to all!
Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.