Ex-’DRQ morning host now wearing a country hat

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Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, December 11, 2005

By: Art Vuolo


Is Christmas really just two weeks from today? Guess I can finally start to listen to all-holiday music WNIC-FM (100.3). (When the ’NIC jocks go home, I’m certain they don’t play Christmas music.)


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We said a couple of weeks ago that new additions to the Dr. Don morning show were looming at country WYCD-FM (99.5). So starting at 5 a.m. Monday, Rachael Hunter will co-host with Dr. Don, and Steve Grunwald will be the show’s new producer. Both did the morning show on the old WDRQ-FM (93.1), which is now Doug-FM. Hunter said she’s “looking forward to reconnecting with my listeners,” while ’YCD’s new program director Tim Roberts says the move will bring new energy to the station. News guru Bob Schuman continues with the new show.


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On Saturday morning, newstalk WJR-AM (760) morning host Paul W. Smith presided over the 40th anniversary of the famous Christmas Sing at the Somerset Collection in Troy. (For those with long memories, the event began with ’JR’s legendary J.P. McCarthy and for years was sponsored by the Action Line staff at the Detroit Free Press.) Anyway, on Monday, Smith hits the road again to broadcast his morning show live from Pricewaterhouse Coopers offices in downtown Detroit.

Meanwhile, WJR is helping Volunteers of America adopt 2,500 families so they can have a merry Christmas. To help out, call (248) 353-4862.


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Good news for fans of Larry McDaniel’s “Arkansas Traveler” bluegrass show and Matt Watroba’s “Folks Like Us” folk music show, which were cut from public radio WDET-FM (101.9) some 15 months ago. New WDET general manager Michael Coleman is putting both shows back into the weekend lineup soon, but the station has parted company with longtime afternoon host Martin Bandyke.


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The radio world is buzzing loudly about HD — and that does not stand for Holi-Daze. HD is high-definition radio, and, like HDTV, it’s far better than what you’re used to getting. Basically, it makes AM sound like FM and FM sound perfect. It’s also another way the industry is trying to combat new forms of competition, especially satellite radio. As part of the fight, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has rolled out a new campaign, ditching their previous slogan of “Radio: You Hear It Here First.” The new tagline is “Radio: You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for It.” This comes as only 2 percent of the available audience is listening to satellite radio, though traditional broadcasters are reacting as though that figure was 50 percent or more.

The HD Radio Alliance has an impressive roster of most all of the biggest companies in the radio business, and they should be encouraged by the results of a new J.D. Powers survey, which states that “high-definition radio outranked satellite radio after consumers weighed a one-time cost of $150 against satellite radio’s $12.95 per month subscription fee.” The jury is still out, but 2006 will be a pivotal turning point for radio’s new technologies.And a good backdrop for national shock Howard Stern, whose last live broadcast on free radio, heard locally on hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), is set for Friday. After that, he’ll start Jan. 9 on Sirius.

Tom Bender, who runs rock WRIF-FM (101.1), pop WMGC-FM (105.1) and classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) is a big fan of HD radio and told broadcasters at a recent seminar, “We get this wrong, and we’re out of business.” Strong words from a respected local professional.


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Once the program director of the old WWWW-FM here in Detroit, Dave Van Dyke now runs Bridge Ratings & Research, and he has another statistic to make radio executives nervous. His research shows that 85 percent of 12 to 24-year-olds prefer listening to their MP3 players than traditional radio (based on a national sample of 2,000 12 to 24-year-olds). Kind of scary, since radio keeps chasing younger audiences with little concern for the older people who still believe in the medium — and have the money to buy what the advertisers are selling.


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Speaking of younger listeners, Detroit’s nationally famous rap singer Eminem seems to be exclusively talking on-air to “Mojo in the Morning” on hits WKQI-FM (95.5). Why ’KQI? Seems Em’s daughter is a big Mojo fan, and that’s why he went on with Mojo to reveal that he’d like to remarry his ex-wife, Kim.


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On Dec. 2, WTVS-Channel 56 aired the superb documentary “Radio Revolution: The Rise and Fall of the Big 8 CKLW” — and the public TV outlet drew a record audience and above-average pledges. The Big 8 doc ran again Saturday night, but if you missed it, it’s available on DVD with a $75 tax deductible donation to Detroit Public TV. Call (248) 305-3900.


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Set Your Dials: Host Tom Wilson replays the music of Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians at 6 p.m. tonight on WMUZ-FM (103.5) ... catch old holiday radio shows on “When Radio Was” with host Stan Freberg at 11 p.m. weeknights on nostalgia CKWW-AM (580).


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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 December 11, 2005 8:00 AM.

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Metro Detroit: In the News Dec 9-12 is the next entry in this blog.

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