Mike Austerman: February 2005 Archives

The Oakland Press - On The Radio, February 4 2005


By: Mike Austerman

Classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) morning hosts Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison will be looking for a little shut-eye later this morning after they put the wraps on the 14th annual WCSX Radiothon at 10 a.m.

The duo has been broadcasting live from Oakland Mall's center court since 6 a.m. Thursday, raising money and awareness for the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. Before this week, they'd raised more than $2.3 million for CLF with the annual event.

Also on the JJ and Lynne beat, this year's model for their Stone Soup Project car has been selected. It's a 1965 Pontiac GTO convertible. See how much work needs done by scoping the photos at www.wcsx.com.

And on the Oakland Mall beat, country WYCD-FM (99.5) will take its turn fund-raising there on Thursday and Friday with its sixth annual Country Cares For Kids Radiothon, benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

WYCD also has teamed up with area businesses to collect pennies through Tuesday in an effort to collect one million of them before the radiothon. Drop your coppers at any metro Detroit Rio Wraps, Apostle's Tattooing in Taylor and Lou La Riche Chevrolet in Plymouth. Online donations also are being accepted at www.wycd.com.

This year, they hope to top last year's tally of $369,000 - so dig down deep in those couch cushions and drawers and help 'em out.

Detroit native Ed Gordon, whose media career spans 20 years at NBC, Black Entertainment TV and as a correspondent for CBS' "60 Minutes," has launched a daily talk show on National Public Radio.

"News and Notes with Ed Gordon" focuses on news, trends and topical issues of interest and importance to the African-American community.

Unfortunately, the closest station carrying his program is Bay City's WUCX-FM (90.1), too far away for us here. Ah, but if you're computer savvy, NPR offers a daily Webcast of Gordon's show at www.npr.org.

Astute fans of Ann Arbor's public radio WUOM-FM (91.7) have noticed that Todd Mundt has left his role as morning host for the local breaks on NPR's Morning Edition after seven years.

He's still with the station, but is now the chief content officer for Michigan Pubic Media. Translating, that means he'll oversee programming for all of U-M's media outlets.

Bill Poorman is WUOM's new local morning host on an interim basis.

Rare oldies fans rejoice!

Nostalgia/oldies CKWW-AM (580) on Thursday debuted a new call-in request show featuring the music of the 1950s and '60s.

"Jukebox Classics," which used to be on oldies/talk WPON-AM (1460) as "Club 1460," will air 6-8 p.m. every Thursday with hosts "Howling Harry" and "Bel Air Bill" playing your requests from their library of more than 1,400 CDs.

The request line is (313) 298-6080 - and they await your oldies challenge.

You just can't keep some radio guys off the TV.

Nostalgia/oldies CKWW afternoon host Wayne Stevens hosts his 21st Easter Seals Telethon for southwestern Ontario from 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday on Channel 9.

One of co-hosts is traffic chopper reporter Capt. Dennis Neubacher of Channel 7 and formerly personality/talk WJR-AM (760).

Set Your Dials: The Big Band bonanza, "Somewhere in Time," returns to the airwaves 6 p.m. Sunday on its new home, Christian WMUZ-FM (103.5). Tune in as host Tom Wilson and sidekick Alison Harris recall the million-sellers of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Daily Oakland Press for three years.


This fall, big radio names come together



The Oakland Press - On The Radio, February 11 2005


By: Art Vuolo

Monday is Valentine's Day, but those of us who love radio are marking the calendar for Sept. 24 when the third and final Detroit Radio Reunion will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Novi.

As this public event gets closer, we will have more information here, but organizers - including yours truly - are encouraged by the number of radio stars, past and present, talking about what promises to be one of the biggest such events in the history of the industry.

One reason the reunion is planned for this year is to recognize and share memories with Detroit's radio greats before they're gone. A great number of names have passed away since the last reunion in 1998.

That list is up to about 30, and this past week, we added another - classical music maven Karl Haas, who died Monday at 91.

He was one of the five Detroit personalities inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago, the most recent being Dick Purtan of oldies WOMC-FM (104.3).

Haas' program, "Adventures in Good Music" was a staple on news-talk WJR-AM (760) in the 1960s before he moved on to Cleveland's WCLV. Learn more at www.wclv.com.

Last week, Mike Austerman told you about the 28-hour radiothon at the Oakland Mall hosted by Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison at classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7). The duo did well, raising an amazing $243,000 to benefit the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.

Speaking of that mall, Purtan will hold his Salvation Army Bed & Bread Radiothon there just two weeks from today, on Feb. 25.

At hits WKQI-FM (95.5), Mojo in the Morning has a new cast member as voice character Eric Harthen moves on, making room for newcomer Kyra Dillard from Columbus, Ohio.

Welcome to Motown, Kyra. We'll have to remind you what the two middle letters in Col-UM-bus are.

Public radio WDET-FM (101.9) is the latest station in Detroit to adopt the use of high-definition radio technology. This gives CD-quality sound for people with HD radios. For the rest of us with analog receivers, there will be no noticeable change.

Detroit's home of rock & roll WRIF-FM (101.1) keeps rockin'.

The Riff's evening jock, Meltdown, skated with the Motor City Mechanics hockey team last weekend, and now Riff's presenting great live music until the NHL puck drops - with a third concert on Feb. 24 with the group Disturbed at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens.

Tickets sold out in 6 minutes, so the only way in is to win VIP tickets from the Riff.

Country WYCD-FM (99.5) must have felt that former morning whiz Dr. Don Carpenter passed his recent on-air audition with flying colors, since he's hosting this morning's big St. Jude Radiothon going on through today at the Oakland Mall. Pledge at (800) 832-9393 or at www.wycd.com - and stop by to see Dr. Don and offer him your support.

The radio rumor mill is buzzing that Denny McLain and Eli Zaret will resurface on the local airwaves for a two-man show. Wonder if McLain will only take calls from "cell" phones.

One of Detroit's most successful radio alumni is Casey Kasem, who also hopes to be at the radio reunion this fall.

A new book tracing the history of Kasem's "American Top 40" show, "American Top 40 With Casey Kasem (the 1970's) is available through www.author house.com, by calling (888) 280-7715 or at amazon.com.

Author Pete Battistini has produced a good read for any fan of popular music.

Best line this week: A Detroit caller on the new progressive talk WDTW-AM (1310) joking that the call letters stood for "We Don't Trust 'W.' "

Set your dials: "Somewhere in Time" host Tom Wilson invites you to enjoy the music of jazz band leader Muggsy Spanier at 6 p.m. Sunday on Christian WMUZ-FM (103.5).

Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.


WOMC brings big names, raises big bucks



The Oakland Press - On The Radio, February 18 2005


By: Mike Austerman

The Purtan’s People gang at Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) has had a busy week. Today’s guest is 70’s TV star Valerie Bertinelli (the object of many teenage boys crushes), who will be promoting an upcoming “One Day at a Time” reunion special on Ch. 62 next Tuesday. She follows guests Tom Selleck and Mary Hart from earlier this week. And don’t forget, the big Salvation Army Bed and Bread Club Radiothon will be taking place live next Friday Feb. 25 from Oakland Mall in Troy.

With apologies to all the outstanding efforts that other stations put forth to help charities, this one is easily my favorite. Maybe it’s because all of the money raised stays right here in metro Detroit. Or because you can be sure that every dollar you donate is used to help those in desperate need of food and shelter. And maybe it’s because of all the personal effort that Dick Purtan and his staff put into this one huge day. Let’s all do our part this year and help break last year’s incredible record of $1,530,836. Here’s an eye-popping number for ya: Since 1988, Purtan’s People and the folks of metro Detroit have helped raise over $8.5 million for the cause. There just isn’t enough space to say all good things that need to be said about this effort.

Over at country WYCD-FM (99.5), they tallied up the donations from their radiothon last week, and $510,529 was raised for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. You also cannot say enough about how generous metro Detroit's are when it comes to helping others.

Sports WDFN-AM (1130) came up with a unique way to honor Detroit Pistons players Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups after they were left off the roster for Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game. The station has ensured the players’ place in the cosmos forever by having stars named after them by the International Star Registry. Wonder if WDFN would do the same for radio columnists who provide their station with shameless plugs ...

It’ll likely get a whole lot more expensive in the near future if a radio station violates the FCC’s rules against broadcast indecency. The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week approved a measure that would increase those fines to up to $500,000 per incident. The thought behind the bill is that at the current level of $32,500, many broadcasters view the fines as simply part of the cost of doing business. The measure also included a provision whereby the FCC could revoke a station’s license if indecency rules were violated three times. "Clearly the FCC's enforcement tools could use some sharpening," said Rep. Joe L. Barton, chairman of the committee. The bill now goes to the House floor for a vote and, if approved there, would have to be reconciled with a Senate bill that calls for fines of up to $325,000 per incident. It would be interesting to see what a law with these kinds of hefty fines would do to morning radio as we know it today- would it end up more like this year’s Super Bowl? Supporters say that the regulation, if approved, will curtail the on-air behavior of radio's so-called "shock jocks."

News WWJ-AM (950) weatherman Sonny Eliot will be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame on April 16. That makes the third hall of fame honor for Sonny, with his earlier inclusion with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Michigan Aviation halls of fame.
"Not bad for someone who is just 38 years old," kids co-worker Jayne Bower, who nominated him.

Set your dials: Keyboardist Dr. Carol Williams and a program of Scott Joplinesque rags will be featured 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5) on the "Somewhere in Time" show, hosted by attorney-broadcaster Tom Wilson.

Behind the mic: At adult urban station WMXD-FM (92.3), Oneil Stevens hosts the midday shift 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. during the week. A native of the area and grad of Inkster High School, he began his broadcast career after attending the Specs Howard broadcast school, he has spent 24 years behind the microphone here at nine different radio stations. In his bio, he says he's a lover of music, good humor, outdoor activities, animals, motorcycles, and most importantly, people.

Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Daily Oakland Press for three years.


The Oakland Press - On The Radio, February 25 2005


By: Art Vuolo

Today, it's Dick Purtan's day-long Salvation Army Radiothon at the Oakland Mall in Troy. It's his 18th annual fund-raiser, and the folks at Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) hope they get just one more dollar than in 2004 - a tall order, considering last year's event raised a record-breaking $1.5 million dollars.

No radio personality and/or station had ever achieved that kind of success on a single day in the history of the radio industry.

Some of that was attributed to the people who donated in memory of Purtan pal Mark "Doc" Andrews, who died two weeks before the radiothon. Likewise, in 2001, Purtan's longtime head writer and executive producer Gene Taylor, who'd been very active in helping the Salvation Army, died from an asthma attack in northern Michigan just weeks before the radiothon.

The greater Detroit area is nationally known as one of the most caring and generous areas in America, and the radiothon is your chance to help out the Salvation Army's Bed & Bread program.

Get down to the mall's center court before 10 tonight, make a pledge and see some of your favorite radio and TV personalities up close and personal. Or pledge at (248) 307-1043 or at www.womc.com.

The Oakland Mall seems to bring good luck to all the stations that use it for fund-raisers.

Recently, country WYCD-FM (99.5) was there and its St. Jude's Radiothon, hosted by afternoon personalities Edwards & Lee and the return of Dr. Don Carpenter, raised more than a half-million dollars to help kids.

My guess is that Dr. Don will be back in the morning show chair soon, since 'YCD wouldn't have brought him back if people weren't seriously impressed by his obvious talent.

If that happens, look for Mike Scott to return to his midday shift. He's done an outstanding job on the morning show ever since 'YCD's last morning team left the building, but he certainly won't miss that alarm clock ringing at 3 a.m.

Warren Pierce was visited recently by one of the most talked-about hosts ever on news-talk WJR-AM (760) - David Newman, who's been an in-studio guest on Pierce's weekend morning program.

WJR listeners remember him fondly. Newman, who has been off the air for the past three years because of health problems, still has impressive top-of-mind awareness, which is rare in the radio business.

Should Newman want to come back, WJR management has assured us that the door is always open. I just spoke to David this week and he sounds great, so stay tuned.

Set Your Dial: Guest host John Penney brings in-studio music from the Django Reinhardt-inspired Hot Club of Detroit jazz group, between 1-4 p.m. today on public radio WDET-FM (101.9) ... Tom Wilson features the British big bands at the end of World War II at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5).

Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.


New KLQ morning show



Another change has come to morning radio in Grand Rapids. The morning team of Slim Jim and Justice came to WKLQ-FM (107.3) from separate markets. Slim Jim from KDGE-FM in Forth Worth-Dallas, Texas, and Justice from WKLS-FM in Atlanta. They're on the air from 6 to 10 a.m., replacing the Ron and Don show, which was pulled recently by Citadel-owned station KKND-FM in New Orleans. The show aired there and was simulcast on WKLQ. "The snow is a novelty to me," Slim Jim said. "They would shut down Texas if the weather was similar. I looked at the Web site before I came, and it said the temperature was a high of 12." Justice is the ringleader on the new show. Longtime radio guy Wiz is the show's producer. Grand Rapids Press


Lauren Stanton, WZZM-TV morning and noon anchor, picks up the popular "Try It Before You Buy It" segment. The feature was made a fixture on local television by the recently departed Kim Covington. "I wanted to find someone who could best copy Kim's energy level and personality, Lauren was my first choice. She has exceeded my expectations, and I expect that to continue," said Tim Geragty, the station's news director. Grand Rapids Press







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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Mike Austerman in February 2005.

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