Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, October 9, 2005
By: Mike Austerman
Tongues were wagging last week about the suspension of midday hosts Gregg Henson and Michelle McKormick from talk WKRK-FM (97.1). Seems Henson made some questionable on-air comments on their Sept. 28 program about Top 40 WKQI-FM (95.5) evening jock Tic Tak. The brouhaha made it into national trade pubs and even garnered a comment from WKRK syndicated morning shock jock Howard Stern.
Brass from WKRK owner Infinity aren’t commenting, but one wonders if all the furor is simply a prelude to some pending lineup changes at WKRK with Stern’s leap to satellite radio looming ever closer. WKRK has been airing “best-of” programs from Henson and McKormick during their absence from live radio.
The soothing evening sounds of Johnny Williams has returned to the Detroit airwaves on soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1), pitting him against fellow baritone jock Alan Almond, who returned home to crosstown rival WNIC-FM (100.3) less than a month ago. Both guys have been in town and available for a long time and while it’s great to have their local voices back, what the heck took so long? And if you ever needed evidence that radio is a copycat business ...
Radio Disney has now officially started full-time operations of WFDF-AM (910) from the Detroit area, making it the area’s eighth 50,000-watt daytime signal, on a radio band many considered dead and buried years ago. Station management for WFDF — could that stand for “We’re for Disney Fun?” — promises programming safe for the entire family but targeted at kids ages 6-14 with pop music hits, events, and contests with awesome — a word often heard on Radio Disney — prizes. For now, the best reception will be during daylight hours, as engineers have yet to complete the necessary work to boost the stations after-dark output.
More than 330 people attended the “Last Motor City Broadcast Reunion” on Sept. 24, helping to raise more than $15,000 for the Gail Purtan Ovarian Cancer Fund. The wife of popular oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) morning man Dick Purtan, Gail has survived more than eight years of the deadly disease. In so doing, she’s offered hope to countless other cancer patients.
The event drew an aweinspiring number of famous radio names, including Casey Kasem, former WKNR jocks Gary Stevens, Jerry Goodwin, Paul Cannon and Pat St. John (now at Sirius Satellite Radio). Also on hand were Big 8 CKLW talents Big Jim Edwards, Johnny Williams, Bill Hennes, Brother Bill Gable, Grant Hudson and current all-news WWJ-AM (950) morning co-host Joe Donovan, and scores more.
One of the highlights of the evening was the introduction of WKNR’s original owner, 88-year-old Nellie Knorr, who looked great, spoke to the crowd and hugged all the former Keener Key Men of Music. Famous WXYZ night DJ Lee Alan also provided a solemn introduction to the memorial video, produced by Art Vuolo, honoring the many broadcasters whom we’ve lost. Vuolo also made a video in tribute to legendary names, faces and stations of Detroit radio.
Big Al Muskovito and Jackie Purtan wrote hysterical sketches with TV pitchmen Irving Neusbaum and Mr. Belvedere, and the evening ended with comic/singer Heywood Banks, who was outrageously funny. Everyone agreed it should not be the last time Detroit radio people have a gettogether. Maybe the committee of Vuolo, Mike Seltzer, Terry Holmes, Millie Felch and Dick Kernen will reconsider calling it the “last.” One thing’s for sure, everyone who was there will remember it.
Home improvement buffs take note: The weekend lineup at sports WXYT-AM (1270) has been tweaked. The new schedule: “Ask the Handyman” with “Appliance Doctor” Joe Gagnon now airs 7-9 a.m. Saturdays and 7-8 a.m. Sundays. The men’s lifestyle show “G-3” airs 9-11 a.m. Saturdays, and “Hire it Done” takes the 8-10 a.m. slot on Sundays.
Set Your Dials: Tom Wilson’s “Somewhere in Time” show takes a look back at songstress Peggy Lee at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5).