WWJ takes home gold at broadcasters expo




The Oakland Press - On The Radio, March 11 2005


By: Art Vuolo


This week, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters held its annual winter Great Lakes Broadcasters Expo in Lansing. Besides the exhibits and sessions, a number of area stations took home awards for their work. On top was all-news WWJ-AM (950) which scooped up 13 awards, including major market station of the year.

Their gold came from breaking news, hard news, Larry Henry for sports, morning drive news, special interest and best commercial categories, in addition to mini documentaries, news specials and community involvement.

Sister station sports WXYT-AM (1270) took home two awards for marketing and promotion, so kudos there to Debbie Spatafora, who heads up that department at both WXYT and WWJ.

Perennial winner news-talk WJR-AM (760) didn't fare as well as its news rival, but still took home a very respectable seven awards for hard news, features, sports (U-M football), newscast, coverage of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Paul W. Smith and Mitch Albom, two of 'JR's most popular personalities, also won awards for their shows.

Speaking of WJR, isn't this about the time when they would broadcast live from the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland, which is going on now?

In other 'JR news, the station began Webcasting on the Internet last month at www.wjr.com. But not everything is going out worldwide. Because of contractual stipulations and legal fine print, WJR cannot rebroadcast Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, "The Drudge Report," Dr. Dean Edell, Renfro Valley nor Ann Delisi's "Inside the Music."

Sadly, the station also is prevented from streaming Michigan football and basketball.

As WWJ prepares to kick off its Webcasting on Monday, all of this illustrates the changes in radio as stations greatly expand their reach to listeners around the globe.

Back when Mel Karmazin was running Infinity Broadcasting, which owns WWJ, WXYT and others locally, he would not authorize streaming on the Internet unless he could make money from the Webcast.

Now that he's left to head up Sirius Satellite Radio, Infinity and CBS Radio are jumping headfirst into the practice, which is a real boon to news-radio junkies who work inside steel office buildings where signals are weak or nonexistent.

Another way stations are extending their coverage is via those increasingly popular sat-casters XM and Sirius.

This is the first year that Major League Baseball is being carried on XM, so if you're a Tiger fan and have XM, you'll be able to hear Dan Dickerson and Jim Price in any of the 48 continental United States.

Baseball fans should love the expanded coverage, especially since so many games are at night when AM reception is more susceptible to atmospheric interference.

With XM, you'll be able to hear sports station 'XYT anywhere in the country. Sweet!

Have you checked out progressive talker WDTW-AM (1310) lately?

From 9 a.m.-noon weekdays, it's the new home of talk host Jerry Springer. It's not the nutty, out-of-control show the former Cincinnati mayor did for years on TV, but a truly interesting left-leaning talk show that even a right-wing conservative could enjoy.

By the way, he originates out of WCKY - not WKRP - in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel, which owns more than 1,200 stations nationwide, is flipping under-performing AM stations to this new "progressive talk" format faster than I can type.

WDTW afternoon drivetime host Ed Schultz originates his program at a Clear Channel station in Fargo, N.D. He wanted Premiere Networks, also owned by Clear Channel, to syndicate his program, but the company's Bush-supporting, Texas-based owner was not interested in promoting a lib-uh-rul agenda. So Schultz took the show to the Denver-based Jones Network, which jumped at the opportunity.

Ironically, now almost all of the Clear Channel progressive talk stations have added the Schultz show.

Set Your Dial: About 50 years ago, Monroe's former WQTE-AM (560) featured such orchestras as Don Pablo's big band from Detroit's Latin Quarter. Relive those memories at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5). Oddly enough, WMUZ now owns the 560 frequency as WRDT-AM. Small world indeed.

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







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 11, 2005 8:00 AM.

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