Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, August 29, 2005
By: Art Vuolo
Nothing seems to continually fascinate people in the radio industry (and listeners) more than ratings. In the metro Detroit market, radio ratings are taken in each of the four seasons and each quarter is divided into three phases, one for each month of the quarter. Even though most of the season’s first college football games are this Saturday, it’s still summertime. And though the summer ratings book for Detroit won’t be released until late October or early November, the first phase just rolled out — with a few surprises.
News-talk WJR-AM (760) held on to first place, but just barely as archrival all-news WWJ-AM (950) is only one tenth of a point behind the megawatt home of Paul W., Frank, Rush and Mitch. WKQI-FM (95.5) program director Dom Theodore has to be pleased that his Top 40 station is number four in Motown, just behind urban WJLB-FM (97.9) and tied with oldies WOMC-FM (104.3). Theodore’s former competitor, WDRQ-FM (93.1) — now dubbed Doug FM — actually moved up by a fraction of a point without DJs— which is not a good sign for personality radio. But only time will tell if the jockless juke box has legs. And in the pop wars, Jim Harper’s soft rock Magic WMGC-FM (105.1) edged out competitor Chris Edmonds and crew at WNIC-FM (100.3).
Have you noticed that WMGC’s HD-2 station (known as “More Magic”) features all-classical music at night on special high-definition radios? What’s interesting is this returns classical fare to a frequency known for “music of the masters” for almost 40 years — when the station was classical WQRS-FM. So, to VP/GM Tom Bender (who pulled the plug on ‘QRS in 1997), you have been forgiven.
In other classical radio news, the CBC Radio Canada lockout, which began Aug. 15, continues — which is why Windsor’s CBE-FM (89.9) has sounded so strange of late. No new negotiations have been set but workers said they’d be launching a national podcast today. For more, check cbcunplugged.com on the Web.
An old acquaintance and former broadcaster Paul Donovan, who now lives near Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, sent an e-mail stating that he was “sitting up here tonight listening to 1270 Detroit. ... I hear the Tigers in the evenings on my back deck with a portable Sony radio.” Yet I have trouble getting the station in Novi. Fortunately, the sports WXYT-AM (1270) broadcast is available crystal-clear on XM Satellite Radio.
Fans of Howard Stern are counting down his remaining days on “free” radio. His controversial program is carried locally by hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), where programmer Craig Schwalb needs to find a new morning show as time is running out. Insiders predict Stern will segue over to Sirius Satellite Radio by the end of September. Lots of possibilities for his slot are being considered. I know what show I would like to hear on Live 97.1, but as the Rolling Stones said in 1969, “You can’t always get what you want.”
Of all the radio stations that switched to the new “Jack” format (like our own Doug FM), the one that made the biggest news was 33-year oldies legend WCBS-FM in New York City. The early reports are not good. Listeners are still angry over the loss of their oldies. And former CBS-FM program director and Oakland County native Dave Logan has to be wondering what’s next. The “Jack” format took him out, too.
Blaine Fowler, the morning guy who looks too young to be in his 30s, checks in with a reminder to mark your calendar for Sept. 8. That’s when his pop hits WDVD-FM (96.3) hosts a 14 hour radiothon to benefit the Karmanos Cancer Institute to fight breast cancer. It’ll originate at Gordon Chevrolet in Garden City. See you there.
From our “Whatever Happened To” Department comes word that former classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) host Carey Carlson has migrated to northern Michigan and has a new syndicated program called “Third Coast Café.” Her old ’CSX Sunday morning shows were known as “Over Easy.” Like that, her new show is an eclectic mix of classic rock and seldom-heard tunes, and it airs Sunday mornings on several stations around the state. Listeners in western Oakland County can catch the show 9-11 a.m. Sundays on classic hits WHMI-FM (93.5) in Brighton/Howell. Carlson also handles midday duties at Traverse City’s powerful country WTCM-FM (103.5). Back at ’CSX, host Pam Rossi ably helms “Over Easy” from 7 a.m.-noon Saturdays and Sundays.
The last Motor City Broadcast Reunion is less than a month away. If you know someone who should be a part of this historic event and might not know about it, go to www.vuolovideo.com and click on reunions for details. An amazing number of radio and TV legends are coming to town for this occasion. Though not open to the public, it will be heavily covered by local media.
Set Your Dials: The Ditty Bops perform in studio on the Martin Bandyke Show at 2 p.m. today on WDET-FM (101.9) ... Frank Beckmann and Jim Brandstatter head back behind the mike on WJR Saturday for the Michigan’s home opener against Northern Illinois. The same broadcast is also available on Ann Arbor’s sports WTKA-AM (1050) ... band leader Cab Calloway gives ’em the old “hi dee ho” on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5).