Metro Detroit: March 2005 Archives

WWJ to add online streaming

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Starting March 14, Infinity will begin streaming online audio for most of their news and talk stations. This includes Infinity's WWJ AM 950 in Detroit. Other stations going online include WINS New York, KFWB and KNX Los Angeles, WBBM-AM Chicago, KCBS San Francisco, KYW Philadelphia, WBZ Boston, KMOX St. Louis, KDKA Pittsburgh and KRLD Dallas. WCBS-AM in New York has been streaming online audio since December. Infinity Chairman/CEO Joel Hollander says that an announcement on streaming of other formats on the company's stations nationwide is forthcoming.

 

Whoops!

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Last September, Educational Media Foundation was granted a construction permit for a new FM translator station in White Lake Twp, Oakland County on 93.9 FM. The application for the translator stated it would carry the programming of WAKL-FM 88.9 Flint (currently Contemporary Christian "K-Love"). When that permit was granted, it raised the eyebrows of several radio watchers in the area as there already was a station on 93.9, Windsor's CIDR-FM. That station puts a decent signal into that part of Oakland County-- making the decisions that led to the grant on 93.9 pretty surprising/questionable.

Last week, the FCC granted EMF's request to change the frequency of that translator to 104.7 -- a much better location. Do the participants of the Michigan Radio and TV Buzzboard get a fee for their consulting services on this one?

 

This is one of those situations that isn't easy to digest for several reasons. The Detroit Lions and WKRK-FM 97.1 have decided not to bring back play-by-play man Mark Champion for his 17th season when the team begins play this fall. Long time color commentator Jim Brandstatter is also reportedly going to be replaced, likely with a former Lions' player. I always thought that the team of Champion and Brandstatter was one of the best in the NFL -- both guys pretty much called it as they saw it, and didn't hold back against giving well-deserved criticism.

It's easy to get attached to a broadcast team and I think that is what has happened to many Lions fans that are upset when they hear this news. That makes it doubly hard to acknowledge that the new team, led by Channel 2's Dan Miller doing play-by-play, deserves a chance to display their stuff before a fair assessment can be made. Miller has experience as he's done work on Fox TV for the past several seasons -- to me he's solid, but not as colorful as Champion has been.

Getting adjusted to this change is more difficult when you like all of the public personalities involved. No one wishes bad things for Champion and Brandstatter because they were good at what they do. Likewise, being mean to Miller doesn't make sense either as he's a good guy too and deserves the shot. When these things happen, we often look for the 'why'... and most of the time we miss on what the real reasons might be. Could the Lions and WKRK have made this decision because they were unhappy with the status-quo? Maybe... but my guess is that the powers think they have a bigger opportunity with a new direction.

Time will tell.

 

Here's a press release I received yesterday:

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Award winning broadcast journalists and employees at WWJ rewarded with take aways totaling over a million dollars.

Just days before winning the coveted Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Station of the Year award, broadcast journalists and employees were shocked to see economic takeaways at the bargaining table. WWJ Newsradio 950 has long been one of the most profitable stations in the Detroit market, consistently finishing in the market's top three stations in Arbitron ratings. Negotiations are stalled over health care and working conditions.

So, although award winning broadcast journalists and employees can see the accolades of their hard work in the form of beautiful hardware from the MAB in the vestibule of their workplace, WWJ management shows their thanks by continuing to bargain economic take backs. A sad day for great broadcast journalists.
*******

Looks like there just might be an interesting labor battle brewing in Motown....

 

Detroit Oldies outlet WOMC-FM 104.3 has been running teasers all week, telling listeners that if they don't tune in at 8:00am on Friday, they "won't know Jack". Is there any chance that WOMC will be flipping from Oldies to the latest rage, the format most often called "Jack"?

No.

The new format, it is being tried in several major markets already this year, features a catch-all type of Adult Hits format, heavily relying on tunes often heard on Classic Rock and Hot AC stations. Although the Oldies format has seen quite a few defections in recent months, WOMC hasn't been suffering from poor ratings and is about as likely to change its fulltime format as it is that pigs will fly.

Betcha the big announcement on WOMC is an 'anything goes' type of weekend special. They'll open up the playlist this weekend as a trial balloon to see if Detroiters are interesting in hearing a radio station that "sounds like your iPod on shuffle". If it goes over well, the musical programming variety might well expand on WOMC -- but only in small doses.

What would be really interesting is if someone else in town beat WOMC to the punch before Friday....

 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Metro Detroit category from March 2005.

Metro Detroit: April 2005 is the next archive.

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