A plan for Detroit's AM airwaves




Let me state this upfront-- I know this idea isn't realistic, and it'll probably never happen. But since this is my web space, you'll just have to bear with me as I daydream for a few minutes :).

With the pending arrival of WFDF 910 here in the Detroit market, it doesn't seem - to me at least - that Radio Disney is the the best use of what will probably be one of the strongest signals on the AM band here in town. It'd be great if the "power" AM operators in town (ABC with WJR and soon to be WFDF; Infinity with WWJ and WXYT; Clear Channel with WDFN) could reach some kind of agreement to maximize the programming of their stations to benefit advertisers, listeners, and even themselves.

From where I live along the Macomb/Oakland County border, WXYT's improved (?) signal from Monroe County has actually been worse and subject to more interference than when they were operating from Southfield. As a pretty regular listener to the Tigers and Red Wings on the radio, WXYT has been a big disappointment after years of hearing the games on WJR. I'd love it - as would many others that share my opinion - if the play-by-play went back to either WJR or perhaps to WFDF if that station's new signal is proven to be better than WXYT's (and if they get to move their nighttime facilities to Monroe County). The same goes for the Pistons - WDFN leaves a lot to be desired at night here.

So my plan? Somehow convince the sports team owners and ABC radio that the proper place for their teams' play-by-play is on a combination of WJR and WFDF (again if the latter station is allowed to move its nighttime pattern into metro Detroit). WFDF could become a full time sports station titled 'ESPN Radio' to match stations in New York and Los Angeles. That would mean moving Radio Disney to either WDFN or WXYT. Then the other of those two stations could move to a different format (like local-based talk, classic country, standards... whatever). Think Infinity or Clear Channel would sell to ABC? Me neither.

To me, one full-time sports station is enough -- the two current sports talkers each have weak spots in their lineups that could easily be solved with some consolidation. One station with the anchor of the Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings would be a very strong draw. If I was in charge, I'd have the Tigers full time on WJR again with the Red Wings and Pistons on WFDF. When the Wings and Pistons conflict, move one of them to 'JR. There would be problems that need worked out - like when all three teams are playing in the early fall. Perhaps using an *gasp* FM station when needed?

Keep Michigan sports on WJR and have MSU sports play on WFDF. The downside of this would be having only one voice owning all these sports franchises. They might get too big for their own good. Having the Lions on WKRK 97.1 has been great - I enjoy the better sound from FM and lack of static. Maybe part of the deal could include moving a team to WKRK or even a different FM station?

At any rate, it just seems to me that there is a huge opportunity for a win-win type situation here if the operators of these stations want to sieze it. With all the attention that other types of entertainment is getting these days (iPods, satellite radio, Internet radio, etc), the time might be near for the players in "old-fashioned" radio to start working together- to help not only themselves, but their advertisers and listeners too.







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on June 20, 2005 6:07 PM.

Freedom of speech? For Franken, just sort of was the previous entry in this blog.

Metro Detroit: In the news June 15-21 2005 is the next entry in this blog.

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