Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, September 26, 2005
By: Art Vuolo
This past weekend was one I’ll personally never forget as the Last Great Radio Reunion took place. Since I was one of the organizers, it seems more appropriate for my colleague Mike Austerman to fill you in on the details in his next column. Suffice to say it was amazing to gather over the weekend with several hundred of the biggest names to ever grace the Motor City radio dial. I’m still recovering.
Missing from the fun on Saturday night was Country Dan Dixon, who played the Nashville sounds on WDEE, WCXI and CKLW-FM (800) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Now working on XM Channel 10 “America,” he’s currently hospitalized in Washington, D.C., with complications from diabetes, so keep him in your thoughts.
If you’re heading up to East Lansing for the always exciting UM-MSU football game this Saturday, and you’ve taken out a loan for the $70 face-value tickets, let me share some good news: Take your radio headset to the stadium. State fans can hear George Blaha on the Michigan State Network over classic rock WMMQ-FM (94.9) or on news-talk WJIM-AM (1240) since the MSU games are no longer on WJIM-FM (97.5), which is now a top 40 hit music station. On the flip side, Michigan fans can get their fix as well as Frank Beckmann, Jim Brandstatter and Steve Courtney on the Host Communications/WJR-AM (760) Network can be heard on sports WQTX-FM (92.7). So both sides can be satisfied hearing their favorite broadcasters along with their favorite football team.
And fans of both schools can join Mitch Albom live at Andiamo Italia Banquet Center in Warren for a huge UM-MSU indoor tailgate party with fun, food and fan fare on WJR from 3-6 p.m. Friday.
Classic Rock WCSX-FM (94.7) is seeking unsung heroes, asking listeners who they feel are not getting the recognition they truly deserve. Send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: WCSX One Radio Plaza, Detroit, MI 48220. Winners will be recognized at a banquet at Petruzzello’s in Troy on November 17th. Sounds delicious to me.
The last of the summer ratings monthly trends came out last week — with no shocking surprises. WJR remains on top, but a tie for second place has urban WJLB-FM (97.9) and oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) just a tenth of a point behind the mega-power AM 760. Third place is also a tie between Smooth Jazz WVMVFM (98.7) and all-news WWJAM (950). No stunning news here. And the official summer quarter ratings book will be released next month.
Speaking of ratings, the radio industry continues to watch the movement (if any) of the so-called “we play anything” Jack-FM format. Even though our Jack, WDRQ-FM (93.1) — known here as Doug FM — is holding somewhat steady, in New York (radio’s most watched barometer), the new Jack station, WCBS-FM, is tanking. As a giant oldies station before the format switch, it had a solid 3.5 market share rating but that’s dropped from a 2.5 to a 1.7. Which must leave the Infinity bosses in the Big Apple wondering if the switch was such a good idea.
As news junkies know, the BBC World Service news agency has had its programming available for about four years on satellite radio. Now, the prestigious broadcasters from England will offer their slant on the news direct to your computer at www.bbcnews.com. Unlike the Beatles, this British Invasion is hitting our shores via the Internet.
On Tuesday, National Public Radio launches its sixth volume compilation CDs entitled “I Heard It On NPR.” The CD is subtitled “One World Many Voices.” Learn more at www. npr.org — and tune in our local NPR station is WDET-FM (101.9).
Set Your Dials: Singer-songwriter Michael Penn stops by the Martin Bandyke Show, at 3 p.m. Tuesday on WDET ... WJR morning man Paul W. Smith broadcasts live from the grand opening of the EDS Agility Alliance Development Center in Auburn Hills on Thursday ... with Big Band music scarce on the radio dial, tune in as host Tom Wilson presents more of Glenn Miller at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5). Call in your requests at Pennsylvania 6-5000.
This month marks four years that Mike and I have been writing about your favorite radio stations in The Oakland Press and we’re pleased at the response we have received from you, our readers. Here’s to the next four years and all the changes yet to come. Stay tuned!