Mike Austerman: June 2005 Archives

Suds Country washes out

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Longtime Classic Country outlet WSDS-AM 1480 Ypsilanti has dropped the format and gone fulltime Spanish. The change happened on Wednesday June 1st under new owner Birach Broadcasting, which acquired WSDS from longtime owner Koch Broadcasting for $1.5 million in a deal that was announced last fall. WSDS was founded by Bob Koch in 1968 and remained under the control of the Koch family up until the sale to Birach was completed.

WSDS had featured primarily a Country format since its sign on in 1968, save for a period as a talk station in 2002-03.

The move to all-Spanish gives the Detroit area it's only 100% Hispanic outlet- WMKM-AM 1440 does offer some Spanish programming, but not 24/7.


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, June 3, 2005

By: Art Vuolo

It’s the third of June, and two popular songs began with this date — “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry and “Desiree” by Neil Diamond. There’s a little coincidence to ponder if you know the tunes. While the second most popular station in metro Detroit is oldies WOMC-FM (104.3), it’s amazing that so many major cities, such as Indianapolis and Baltimore, have lost their oldies stations to the new “Jack” format which “plays everything — like an iPod on shuffle.” In Detroit, the format’s called “Doug FM” and can be found at WDRQ-FM (93.1).

Oldies stations in Orlando and Atlanta, meanwhile, switched to a Hispanic format. Detroit had been the largest city in the country without a Spanish-language station — until Wednesday, when the 45-year classic country WSDS-AM (1480) in Canton Township switched to an all-Spanish language format. WSDS is part of the company that owns ethnic WNZK-AM (690) and talk/oldies WPON-AM (1460) plus traditional country WCXI-AM (1160) from Fenton.

Another fast-growing radio format is edgy FM talk; locally, that would be WKRK-FM (97.1), known as “Live 97.1.” At 5 p.m. Saturday, its top-rated afternoon personalities Deminski & Doyle will host the fifth and final chicken-wing eating contest known as “Wing Cup 5.” This historic finale will take place at Snooker’s Pool & Pub on Hall Road (M-59) in Utica, just east of M-53. I’ve witnessed three of these as contestants vie to be the one to gobble the most wings. It’ll be broadcast live and a large crowd is expected.

On Monday, Jim Harper and the Magic Morning Show will celebrate the fourth annual Women Who Make Magic Awards at Andiamo in Warren. Guest hosted by Donny Osmond, it’s a way for soft hits WMGC-FM (105.1) to pay tribute to local women who have made a difference. Details are at www.detroitmagic.com.

At news-talk WJR-AM (760), morning host Paul W. Smith continues to rack up the miles. On Saturday, he’ll be broadcasting from the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, the site of the annual Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference. Popular talk host Frank Beckmann also will broadcast from the hotel with the world’s longest porch for his 9-11:30 a.m. program. From 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Smith will host Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (WXYZ-Channel 7’s Steve Wilson was not invited) and Oakland County exec L. Brooks Patterson, Wayne County exec Robert Ficano and Macomb county commission chair Nancy White for a lively roundtable on the significant issues facing southeast Michigan. The program repeats 4:30-6 p.m. Sunday.

Eric Harthen, man of a hundred voices, is back with Dick Purtan at WOMC. Harthen originally started with Purtan at hits WKQI-FM (95.5), and now he’s once again providing character voices for the mustachioed man who just completed four decades in Detroit radio.

Kudos to pop hits WDVD-FM (96.3) on its recent competition at The Palace of Auburn Hills last week. Ten contestants raced each other to be the fastest participant to sit in 330 seats — in other words, the entire parameter of the arena. The winner was Amanda Yaklin from Farmington Hills, who completed the event in under 8 minutes and won Pistons playoff tickets. And for those wondering why they can’t hear the Piston games on the Internet, sports WDFN-AM (1130) wants fans to know that the NBA prohibits streaming of games on station Web sites.

Set Your Dials: Host Tom Wilson will feature the patriotic music of D-day 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.


Detroit News:

In honor of June being Black Music Month, WDMK-Kiss FM (102.7) morning host John Mason will broadcast live from the Motown Historical Museum every Saturday in June.... Kiss-FM celebrates Black Music Month, Fri 6/3

Listen to Detroit radio station WCHB (1200 AM) these days, and you'll get two entirely different portraits of the city. From 6-10 a.m weekdays, talk show veteran Mildred Gaddis relentlessly attacks what she views as the many failures of the administration of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick... Radio shows cite city's worst, best, Mon 6/6

Detroit Free Press:

Listen for highly rated Tom Joyner on 105.9 FM about the first week in July when he joins his new corporate parent, Radio One, in Detroit. That's part of a rare format swap on two commonly owned stations... Joyner to air on 105.9, Sat 6/4

Oakland Press:

It’s the third of June, and two popular songs began with this date — “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry and “Desiree” by Neil Diamond. There’s a little coincidence to ponder if you know the tunes. While the second most popular station in metro Detroit is oldies WOMC-FM (104.3), it’s amazing that so many major cities, such as Indianapolis and Baltimore, have lost their oldies stations to the new “Jack” format which “plays everything — like an iPod on shuffle.” In Detroit, the format’s called “Doug FM” and can be found at WDRQ-FM (93.1)... Oldies apparently aren’t goodies in many cities, Fri 6/3


After launching the world's first podcast-programmed radio station - KYCY-AM/San Francisco - in May, Infinity Broadcasting is following suit with nine of its AM News outlets. Beginning in July with WINS/New York... Infinity To Launch Podcasts Of News Outlets, Thu 6/2

NY Times:

Steve Wilson, chief investigative reporter for ABC's television affiliate here, WXYZ-TV, has been called a liar by Detroit's beleaguered mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, and pushed into a wall by one of his bodyguards. Steve Wilson, a Channel 7 reporter, warned irate supporters of Detroit's mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, not to push at a political event in May. In turn, Mr. Wilson, one of those television investigators advertised as shoving his Channel 7 microphone into the stunned faces of unsuspecting wrongdoers, has chased Mr. Kilpatrick across the country... Detroit Mayor and TV Reporter Are Locked in Video War, Thur 6/2

Ann Arbor News:

In April, Mackinac Island Press released DuFord's first children's book, "The Fairy Painting." The former stand-up comedian, radio host and television personality visited South Arbor Academy in York Township on May 19 to talk with students about what inspired her book and the process from idea to publication... Former comic, radio host turns to children's books Stacey DuFord's new chapter is 'The Fairy Painting', Mon 6/6


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has posted an obituary for Phil Lamka, past president of MAB and GM of W4 Country Detroit:

Well known and respected Michigan broadcast pioneer and former MAB president Philip Lamka died Tuesday morning June 7, 2005 following an extended illness. He was 58. Phil began his broadcasting career as a salesman for WBOK Radio in New Orleans; he strove for excellence and worked his way up to vice president and general manager of Shamrock Broadcasting. In 1981, Shamrock Broadcasting promoted Phil and moved him to Detroit to run WWWW-FM. At that station, he was introduced to his general sales manager – and the love of his life. Sharman and Phil were married in San Antonio, Texas on November 14 of that same year. Phil ran WWWW-FM for 15 years, and under his stewardship and guidance, it quickly became Detroit’s #1 radio station and received the coveted Marconi Award for broadcast excellence. He later founded WDFN radio in Detroit and most recently was General Manager of Metro Networks, a broadcasting entity which disseminates all the news and traffic reports to Detroit radio stations.


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, June 10, 2005

By: Mike Austerman

Could oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) legendary morning man Dick Purtan’s best friend at the moment be named “Doug,” the local nickname of the new radio format that plays “anything and everything”? Could be, following last week’s shocking changes in format at former oldies stations WCBS-FM in New York City and WJMK-FM in Chicago.

When WOMC owner Infinity Broadcasting made those moves in favor of the hot new format, one immediate thought was what it meant for WOMC. But the fact that ABC’s WDRQ-FM (93.1) already switched to that format earlier this year could keep Infinity from making a similar move with WOMC. Other factors working in favor of keeping 104.3 the way it is are the station’s continued strong ratings and the incredible community support of Purtan’s radiothon for the Salvation Army. But make no mistake about it — if Infinity is determined to get its “Jack-FM” format (locally called Doug FM) as much coverage as it seems, the format will eventually find a home here on either Infinity’s WOMC, hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), smooth jazz WVMVFM (98.7) or country WYCD-FM (99.5).

Purtan’s contract is up soon, and if the negotiations don’t go well, metro Detroit might become the first major market with two stations featuring this relatively new sound. If so, maybe one of ’em could get it right and focus on artists that this town embraces instead of using a corporate-dictated “anything goes” playlist of 1,200 songs, which is still about three times the number of songs most stations are restricted to.

Ironically, I heard about the changes in Chicago and New York while listening to satellite XM Radio’s Sixties on Six, which was doing a tribute to Chicago’s legendary WCFL. If you have XM, tune in from 4-9 p.m. today, as the featured station is our own WKNR Keener 13, from the heyday of Top 40 AM stations. Host Terry “Motormouth” Young does a great job capturing the feel of the stations he highlights with snippets of the station’s jocks, jingles, and even commercials. It’s the second go-round for Keener as the featured station on XM, but this is an all-new presentation.

Joe Thomas, the afternoon drive host at classic rock hits WDTW-FM (106.7), will be off the air for only — we hope — about two weeks starting Monday as he recovers from weekend cancer surgery following a round of chemotherapy. He was diagnosed at the start of the year and doctors are optimistic about his recovery. Says Thomas: “I was able to get this far because of (bosses) Dave Pugh, Darren Davis, John Trapane and my teammates at 106.7 The Drive. Thanks also to my listeners ... especially those of you who noticed when I first lost my hair and offered your support and prayers.” Get well soon, Joe!

Sad to note the death earlier this week of Phil Lamka, the former general manager of Detroit’s former country WWWW-FM (106.7). Lamka was at the helm in the 1990s during the glory days of W4 when the station won a Marconi award and hit the top of the local ratings for three straight years. In recent years, he ran the Metro Traffic Service here in Detroit. Like many, it was my favorite station at the time and I’m not alone in missing the sound and chemistry of W4 under Lamka’s guidance.

The annual Harley Fest sponsored by rock WRIF-FM (101.1) is June 18 at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights. This year’s event will help the Karmanos Cancer Institute and welcome more than 25,000 people for a day of music, bikes and more. In the past six years, Harley Fest has helped raise more than $260,000 for charity. Get more info at www.wrif.com.

Coming Soon: WVMV’s annual Smooth JazzFest, in front of the Southfield Civic Center from June 24-26, with the Jazz Attack, David Sanborn, Peabo Bryson and others. Flutist and ’VMV morning man Alexander Zonjic promotes several free jazz concerts during the summer; visit www.wvmv.com for info.

Set Your Dials: Clarinetist Benny Goodman is featured on “Somewhere in Time,” at 6 p.m., Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5) ... and WJR-AM (760) weekend home improvement host Murray Gula moderates a panel of home help guests on WXYZ-Channel 7 at 8 p.m. Wednesday.


It appears as though Disney's AM 910 WFDF is getting very close to starting daytime operations from it's new facilities in Monroe County. The station, formatted with the kid-oriented Radio Disney, plans on pumping out 50,000 watts from an 8-tower facility in northern Monroe County. The station's current 5,000 watt daytime signal originates from Genesee County and does not provide the Detroit metro with much of a signal. The new facility however will be similar in signal strength as WWJ-AM 950 and possibly WJR-AM 760. It will likely have better coverage in the daytime for most in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties than WDFN-AM 1130, WCHB-AM 1200, WXYT-AM 1270, and WLQV-AM 1500- the area's other stations that operate with 50,000 watts during daylight hours. Michiguide.com has received word that the new antennas are either already completed or very close to being completed and that the new transmitter has started testing with dummy loads. Proof of performance testing might start as early as the coming week.

Once it begins operations from the new facility, the station will essentially become a daytime-only station in metro Detroit as WFDF's nighttime facility will remain near Flint (for now) where it broadcasts with 1,000 watts and is usually only listenable in Genesee County. The station has applied to move it's nighttime facilities to the new daytime location where it would broadcast with 19,000 watts and change its community of license from Flint to Farmington Hills. Those applications are still waiting for an FCC decision.

Disney is expected to keep the Radio Disney format on WFDF as the new facility comes online giving the company another major market in its coverage of the country.

WFDF is one of the USA's 100 oldest radio stations having signed on in 1922 and serving the Flint area ever since. Although the station will still be heard in Flint, the city will be losing part of its heritage with the move in to the Detroit market.


Detroit News:

There's a long list of things Diana Lewis does, used to do and hopes to do with her mom. Rehab wasn't on it, but thanks to Lewis' cat, they're now straining through mother-daughter moments with a physical therapist. Lewis, a WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) news anchor since 1977, has been off the air without explanation for nearly two weeks. Come to find out she's on short-term disability, aiming for a return in early July... This just in: Aching back keeps Lewis off Channel 7, Fri 6/10

Jack Krasula figures he'll make a decent radio host because he's a good listener. Put most people on a 50,000-watt radio station and they'll tell you their job is about talking, but if Krasula were most people, he wouldn't have the show in the first place. Your average human, for instance, does not make Little Orphan Annie sound like a whiner. The sun in Krasula's world will not only come out tomorrow, it'll shine on half-full glasses, and aren't we lucky to have them?...
Philanthropist aims to spread optimism over the airwaves, Sun 6/12

In the end, it all became too much for Triniere Steinberg and the small staff that soldiered on trying to save WQBH, the Detroit community-based radio station made famous by her legendary mother -- Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg. First, there was the 2000 death of The Queen, whose larger-than-life personality, unique on-air appeal and business acumen had driven the station's fortunes since she bought WQBH in 1997... Detroit radio lost community fixture, Mon 6/13

Detroit Free Press:

Murmured: That Radio One might opt out of the rap radio format in Detroit altogether and use its 102.7 FMer for gospel music. Current rap-formatted WDTJ-FM (105.9) will become the new home of Tom Joyner, probably in early July, and get the current WDMK-FM (102.7) adult urban contemporary format. It was thought WDTJ's music and hosts would flop to 102.7 but sources in the broadcast industry say Radio One has made overtures to several of Detroit's big gospel names to host 102.7 shows. Radio One's WCHB-AM (1200) has dropped much of its gospel for urban talk. Clear Channel's WJLB-FM (97.9) would then have the rap format all to itself. Radio One execs are mum. (From Names and Faces item), Fri 6/10

There is a new player in the Detroit television market offering local news with a unique approach and distinctly Latin flavor. WUDT-TV 23 Univision/Detroit is the metro area's first station to offer daily local news broadcasts in Spanish. Los Angeles-based Univision Communications Inc., the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, along with Little Rock, Ark.-based Equity Broadcasting Corp., bets that the fast-growing Detroit market will add to their already robust stable of successful Hispanic-oriented television stations around the country.... MINORITY MEDIA OUTLETS: Station reaches out to Hispanics, Thu 6/9

Oakland Press:

Could oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) legendary morning man Dick Purtan’s best friend at the moment be named “Doug,” the local nickname of the new radio format that plays “anything and everything”? Could be, following last week’s shocking changes in format at former oldies stations WCBS-FM in New York City and WJMK-FM in Chicago... Get used to ‘Doug’— he may have offspring, Fri 6/10

Radio and Records:
Keith Curry joins Cumulus CHR/Pop WKFR/Kalamazoo, MI. Most recently, Curry was MD of WDRQ/Detroit before it flipped to Classic Hits. The WKFR PD gig has been vacant since former station PD Bo Richi left in April... Curry Named PD Of WKFR, Mon 6/13


The National Association of Broadcasters is honoring WXYZ with the "Service to America" television award. The award is given to only one station every year for outstanding programming and public service campaigns that have impacted the community. WXYZ Vice President and General Manager Grace Gilchrist accepted the prestigious award in Washington D.C... WXYZ-TV Given "Service to America" Award, Tue 6/14


Late last year during the FCC's FM Auction 37 Radioactive LLC, led by former Clear Channel boss Randy Michaels, was the high bidder on 5 of the 7 FM allotments that were up for grabs. 4 of Radioactive's winning bids have now been issued construction permits, all of them located in the west-central Upper Peninsula (the 5th bid is located in the northern lower peninsula).

The construction permit with the largest potential impact on the UP is the one for 100.3 Gwinn, located in the Marquette market. With 100,000 watts at 892 feet, the station will easily cover Marquette and much of the central UP if built to the specs on the construction permit. It's possible that the other 3 construction permits might be used to extend the coverage of 100.3 even further across the UP and in to northern Wisconsin.

One has to wonder though if Radioactive will actually build and operate these stations or if they will be sold off to another operator already in the area that might be looking to expand its portfolio. Already securing the winning bids for these stations has cost Radioactive $1,174,000 in payments to the FCC plus whatever engineering costs that have been incurred for preparing the applications. Getting a decent return on this investment might be a tall order- especially in a short time frame.

It'll be interesting to see what becomes of this newly created 4 station "cluster" - if they get to the air as one group or if they are sold off one by one. You have to believe that 100.3 Marquette has the most potential and will likely get the most attention from either potential buyers and/or getting built and on the air.


Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 announced today the appointment of Kevin Murphy as vice president/general manager of the station. Murphy joins WOMC from Rochester, NY where he was senior vice president/market manager overseeing four stations for Infinity. Murphy has been with Infinity Broadcasting for the last nine years- prior his role in Rochester, he was senior vice president/director of sales for the Buffalo cluster for seven years.

In announcing the appointment, Infinity Broadcasting’s Scott Herman, executive vice president eastern region said, "WOMC is an important heritage radio station and we felt it was important to assign one of our company’s best to be solely dedicated to this mission."

"I am both honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead WOMC and to join the great management team Infinity already has in place in Detroit," commented Murphy. He'll replace Steve Schram who will maintain his roles as general manager for Country WYCD-FM 99.5 and as director of sales for Infinity's six station Detroit cluster.

In addition, sister station Sports WXYT-AM 1270 announced the hiring of a new program director and executive producer as Dan Zampillo is set to take over after arriving from his previous gig at WBNS-AM Columbus, OH. Zampillo will be rejoining Infinity, he was previously sports director for WCSR-AM Chicago before his move to Columbus, and take the spot that opened when former PD Kevin Graham exited for Salt Lake City earlier this spring.


Tuesday mornings from 9-11am on WXOU 88.3 FM is a new christian radio show "Agape3:16". Katie Koppin and Sarah Erdmann are the host of this new show and is the only show of this type on the college station. The show will feature christian artists of old and new of all varieties. They are planning on having various guests to talk about relevant issues as well!

"We are very excited about the show and this great opportunity." Koppin says.


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, June 17, 2005

By: Art Vuolo

Just back from another radio road trip, where one of the most memorable moments at the recent New Media Seminar in New York City occurred at the opening night cocktail party. Air America talk host Al Franken was given the prestigious Freedom of Speech award — only to be given the hook by seminar sponsor Michael Harrison of industry trade publication Talkers Magazine.

Franken had been asked to keep his acceptance speech to under 10 minutes, but when his remarks went past 15 minutes, Harrison said, “Wrap it up, Al.” This began a series of jabs between the two. “It’s freedom of speech,” quipped Franken, referring to the award he had just received. “It’s not the freedom to kill everybody’s evening,” Harrison shot back. “I have about two more pages left,” Franken responded. That got a reaction from the crowd, then someone shouted out, “Is it a freedom of speech award or a shut the f--- up award?” Things then became even more tense as Harrison took the microphone, insisting that Franken end his speech and implored to the crowd not to leave.

Franken’s program is carried locally noon-3 p.m. daily on progressive talk WDTW-AM (1310).

The flap over the changing of stations to the “Jack” format (that play almost anything) continues to make news. Here in Detroit, we saw nothing in the papers about hits WKQI-FM (95.5) welcoming all listeners of former hits WDRQ-FM (93.1) to their station. But in New York, when Jack replaced the longtime oldies station, several papers, including The New York Times, ran full-page ads from Sirius and XM directing oldies fans left stationless to sign up for satellite radio. The same thing happened in Chicago, and in both cases, the story has simply not gone away.

New York’s legendary oldies spinner “Cousin Brucie” Morrow — a radio star there the caliber of our own Dick Purtan — took little time to jump to Sirius satellite radio. Others may follow. In a Chicago Tribune story, Viacom honcho Les Moonves, whose company owns Infinity and supports the Jack format, noted the reaction and said, “God, it seemed like we had shot somebody.” He did. He killed the music of an entire generation.

Legendary NYC talk host and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joey Reynolds may have expressed the furor best. “The issue is not about the age of the listener,” he said, “The history of rock and roll is under attack! It would be like leaving Vietnam out of a history class in school because the students don’t remember the war. Oldies stations contain a vital piece of the past in a seamless string of songs, writers and artists that shaped a generation.” He’s right.

This past week also has seen a bit of a shake-up in management at local Infinity stations. Word is that starting July 5, sports talk WXYT-AM (1270) will have a new program manager. Dan Zampillo, most recently at Ohio State flagship WBNS-AM in Columbus and previously at Infinity sports WSCR (“The Score”) in Chicago, will assume the PD’s chair vacated about a month ago by Kevin Graham, who is now out in Salt Lake City.

In other conference room news, Infinity is bringing in a new general manager to run oldies WOMC-FM (104.3), as current boss Steve Schram gets relegated to handling country WYCD-FM (99.5). The new blood in Ferndale at ’OMC is Kevin Murphy, who we understand comes to Motown from Rochester, N.Y. Schram, who is well respected and knows the oldies format well, will need to schedule more trips to the country music capital of Nashville. Personally, I don’t understand the logic of this move.

Coming attractions: Reports still say that urban contemporary WDTJ-FM (105.9), known as Jams, and urban oldies WDMK-FM (102.7), known as Kiss, will flip dial positions as Tom Joyner segues from urban pop WMXD-FM (92.3) to WDMK. And long-promised Radio Disney WFDF-AM (910) is slated to premiere in the Detroit area by early July with programming for kids. The Flint station’s transmitter’s been moved down to out near Metro Airport to make it easier for us to get Goofy.

Set Your Dials: “Somewhere In Time” pulls out all the stops with a big pipe organ music show, at 6 p.m. Sunday on Christian WMUZ-FM (103.5). Local jazz great Donald Walden and a sextet play live music 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Ed Love Show on public WDET-FM (101.9).

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


A plan for Detroit's AM airwaves



Let me state this upfront-- I know this idea isn't realistic, and it'll probably never happen. But since this is my web space, you'll just have to bear with me as I daydream for a few minutes :).

With the pending arrival of WFDF 910 here in the Detroit market, it doesn't seem - to me at least - that Radio Disney is the the best use of what will probably be one of the strongest signals on the AM band here in town. It'd be great if the "power" AM operators in town (ABC with WJR and soon to be WFDF; Infinity with WWJ and WXYT; Clear Channel with WDFN) could reach some kind of agreement to maximize the programming of their stations to benefit advertisers, listeners, and even themselves.

From where I live along the Macomb/Oakland County border, WXYT's improved (?) signal from Monroe County has actually been worse and subject to more interference than when they were operating from Southfield. As a pretty regular listener to the Tigers and Red Wings on the radio, WXYT has been a big disappointment after years of hearing the games on WJR. I'd love it - as would many others that share my opinion - if the play-by-play went back to either WJR or perhaps to WFDF if that station's new signal is proven to be better than WXYT's (and if they get to move their nighttime facilities to Monroe County). The same goes for the Pistons - WDFN leaves a lot to be desired at night here.

So my plan? Somehow convince the sports team owners and ABC radio that the proper place for their teams' play-by-play is on a combination of WJR and WFDF (again if the latter station is allowed to move its nighttime pattern into metro Detroit). WFDF could become a full time sports station titled 'ESPN Radio' to match stations in New York and Los Angeles. That would mean moving Radio Disney to either WDFN or WXYT. Then the other of those two stations could move to a different format (like local-based talk, classic country, standards... whatever). Think Infinity or Clear Channel would sell to ABC? Me neither.

To me, one full-time sports station is enough -- the two current sports talkers each have weak spots in their lineups that could easily be solved with some consolidation. One station with the anchor of the Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings would be a very strong draw. If I was in charge, I'd have the Tigers full time on WJR again with the Red Wings and Pistons on WFDF. When the Wings and Pistons conflict, move one of them to 'JR. There would be problems that need worked out - like when all three teams are playing in the early fall. Perhaps using an *gasp* FM station when needed?

Keep Michigan sports on WJR and have MSU sports play on WFDF. The downside of this would be having only one voice owning all these sports franchises. They might get too big for their own good. Having the Lions on WKRK 97.1 has been great - I enjoy the better sound from FM and lack of static. Maybe part of the deal could include moving a team to WKRK or even a different FM station?

At any rate, it just seems to me that there is a huge opportunity for a win-win type situation here if the operators of these stations want to sieze it. With all the attention that other types of entertainment is getting these days (iPods, satellite radio, Internet radio, etc), the time might be near for the players in "old-fashioned" radio to start working together- to help not only themselves, but their advertisers and listeners too.


Detroit News:

Despite pursuing the issue in probate court, Diane Steinberg-Lewis, the daughter of the legendary Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg, maintains it was not her personal wish to sell Detroit radio station WQBH... Dispute stains Queen's legacy, Thu 6/16

There's been a big shake-up at Infinity-owned oldies station WOMC-FM (104.3) with a new vice president/general manager, Kevin Murphy, replacing the popular v.p./g.m. Steve Schram... Changes at WOMC-FM, Thu 6/16

To most radio types, ranking No. 2 in a market as competitive as Detroit's would be a cause for celebration. Although oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) had a No. 2 overall ranking during the winter Arbitron ratings period, with an increase in audience share of .3 percent, owner Infinity Broadcasting wanted more... WOMC adds new general manager, Fri 6/17

In a dream come true for Clinton Township couple and creative team Carol Sweeney and Alex Greene, their "My Bedbugs," a two-season-old WTVS children's program, opens for "The King" in two shows on Thursday... It's OK to play with these 'Bedbugs', Fri 6/17

Oakland Press:

Just back from another radio road trip, where one of the most memorable moments at the recent New Media Seminar in New York City occurred at the opening night cocktail party... Freedom of speech? For Franken, just sort of, Fri 6/17


ABC college football analyst Gary Danielson will join Dan Gutowsky as host of "The College Football Conference Call" when the show launches in August. The weekly hour will be distributed by Genesis Communications Network; reach affiliate relations director Chris Pearson at (877) 996-4327 x123. Fri 6/17

Other Stories:

"The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege", heard in Detroit on WDFN-1130 AM, has received the "Best Broadcast Report" Award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) as part of its 55th Annual Journalism Awards. In addition, Haege’s MasterHandyman.com website received second place from NAREE for "Best Web Site".

According to NAREE news release announcing the award, "Glenn Haege performed a valuable radio service for home owners...by not only answering their call-in questions knowledgeably but by interviewing professionals in the industry. His knowledge of the field is impressive, and his answers were easy to understand and follow." NAREE also said the MasterHandyman.com website was easy to navigate and contains a wealth of material. The award winners were selected by a panel of expert judges from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Haege has more than 30 years of experience in the home improvement industry and began hosting his own radio show in 1983, on WXYT-AM 1270 in Detroit and can now be heard on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. on WDFN-1130 AM. The show is nationally syndicated by Troy, Mich. based Handyman Productions, LLC, and can be heard each weekend on more than 170 radio stations nationwide. He is a frequent public speaker and is the author of 11 home improvement books. Haege also writes two columns each week for The Detroit News.

New web streaming stations: Talk WKRK-FM 97.1, Adult Contemporary WMGC-FM (105.1), and Sports WXYT-AM 1270.


With today's news that Tom Joyner's morning show has aired for the last time on Clear Channel-owned WMXD-FM 92.3 and is bound for Radio One's Kiss FM, it becomes clear that Detroit's urban radio landscape is in for big time changes. Radio One, which owns a portion of Joyner's show, is moving it to its own property - essentially eliminating competition with itself.

Tom Joyner's move to Kiss FM, which will be shifting to from 102.7 to 105.9 sometime before Joyner's first airing on his new home Monday, will displace John Mason who shifts to afternoons 2-4pm. To make room, midday host Randi Myles loses the 2-3pm hour from her air shift and afternoon drive jock Lady BG drops her 3-4pm hour. This move isn't without risk however. Mason has plenty of loyal listeners and is given credit for pulling the station's ratings up to respectable levels since his arrival from Clear Channel's WJLB-FM 97.9. He also helped shape the station's current R&B Oldies sound. Mason's popularity is probably at all time high in Detroit and across the country due to the his exposure as the Pistons' PA announcer at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Questions that will be answered soon include whether or not Mason will be happy in a role with greatly reduced visibility and if existing listeners will stay with the station with all the upcoming changes. Joyner's syndicated program has done extremely well on WMXD - it'll also be interesting to see how WMXD tries to keep those listeners from following the popular host to 105.9.

Rumors continue to circulate about possible changes to the current format of 105.9 Jamz as it shifts to 102.7. There has been speculation that a Gospel format may wind up on 102.7, giving WJLB sole possession of the mainstream urban format in Detroit. Radio One does operate Gospel stations on FM in some of its other markets - so such a move isn't beyond the realm of possibilities.

WMXD will now have to search for its new morning show host. For the next ten weeks, Mix 92.3 will feature various national celebrity guest DJs hosting morning drive. Listeners will then have the opportunity to cast their vote on line at www.mix923fm.com for their favorite celebrity to be the next new morning show host. Summer is a good time to try such an experiment - radio listenership is typically soft due to vacations and outdoor activities.

WMXD program director Jamillah Muhammad commented that "Mix 92.3 is Detroit’s #1 Adult Radio Station. A change in morning drive deserves a nationwide search to find the best talent available to entertain the audience every morning. The input of the listeners is key to our success."

Next week’s celebrity guest DJ on WMXD will be Gerald Levert, starting June 28th.


Earlier this month, Radio One registered the Internet domain name 1027thebeat.com. As the only 102.7 station the company owns is located here in Detroit, it appears likely this will be the name of a relaunched urban station on 102.7 once Kiss FM makes its move to 105.9- possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Radio One owns Urban 100.3 The Beat in Los Angeles- that station features former Detroit Pistons star John Salley as its morning host. Could syndication back to Detroit from LA be in Salley's future?


Radio One did indeed change the format of it's two FM stations in Detroit overnight: The Adult Urban sound of Kiss FM has moved from 102.7 to 105.9. The popular Tom Joyner morning show will have its new home at 105.9 Kiss FM, where the call sign WDMK will move, and it appears that the new sound will not emphasize Oldies as heavily as before- the station's new positioner is "Detroit's R&B Leader".

Back at 102.7, that station has titled itself "Hot 102-7" and features the positioner "Detroit's Hip-Hop Station". Russ Parr remains in morning drive and the station has applied for the call sign WHTD. It appears to me that the new 102.7 could be considered as Rhythmic CHR; my knowledge of the difference between that format and what others would call mainstream Urban is limited however.

The changes early this morning heat up the competition between Radio One and Clear Channel- Kiss 105.9 with Tom Joyner in the morning will create a strong competitor for CC's WMXD-FM 92.3 and Hot 102.7 appears to be positioned in between CC's Urban WJLB-FM 97.9 and CHR WKQI-FM 95.5 - perhaps filling some of the void left when WDRQ-FM 93.1 flipped formats from CHR to Adult Hits 'Doug'.

In addition to the frequency swap, the jock lineup at 105.9 Kiss FM will change on Monday- gone is middayer Randi Myles. The new schedule: Joyner 6-10am, A.J Parker 10am-2pm, former morning host John Mason 2-6pm, and Lady BG 6-11pm.

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From today's Detroit News:
Old school R&B fans were undoubtedly jolted out of their beds this morning by a blast of hip-hop. The fault is not with your receiver. At 3 a.m. today, Radio One performed a switcheroo of frequencies between two of its FM stations, WDTJ (105.9 JAMZ) and its sister station, WDMK (102.7 KISS FM)... You're not hearing things: That's hip-hop, not R&B


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, June 27, 2005

By: Mike Austerman

Ever had trouble getting a clear (or any) AM or FM signal in your office building or plant? Your options have gotten a lot better lately.

Talker WKRK-FM (97.1), sports WXYT-AM (1270) and soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) all now offer much of their programming over the Internet, joining numerous other stations in town with that feature.

Here’s the list of local stations with an Internet simulcast that I’m aware of: news/talk WJR-AM (760); all news WWJ-AM (950); adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3); classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7); top 40 WKQI-FM (95.5); urban WJLB-FM (97.9); soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3); hard rock WRIF-FM (101.1); public radio WDET-FM (101.9); and rock hits WDTW-FM (106.7).

In addition, progressive talk WDTW-AM (1310) and talk WDTK-AM (1400) offer Internet broadcasts of some of their syndicated shows. To access these, visit each station’s home page — and to make that easier, visit my Web site at www.michiguide.com and click on “Station Listings.”

Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to drag out those golf clubs and get driving toward some great radio charity events scheduled for next month.

First off the tee will be the eighth annual Dick Purtan Golf Classic on July 11 (also Dick’s birthday) at Oakland University’s Katke-Cousins and Sharf championship courses. Again this year, the scramble will benefit the Gail Purtan Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

The $350 cost includes 18 holes of golf, cart, lunch by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, an awards dinner featuring a show by Purtan’s People and a special gift package, too.

Dick and the gang will be broadcasting live 6-10 a.m. that morning from OU; visit www.womc.com for a registration form and more details.

Not a golfer and still want to help? Credit Union One locations are accepting donations through July 10.

And, instead of just puttering around the garden, why not get involved with the 18th annual CATCH Golf Classic on July 18 at Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville?

WJR is once again the event’s official radio station and will be covering it and interviewing local celebs. A preview party the night before will honor local sports executives.

WJR midday host and Michigan play-by-play man Frank Beckmann will be this year’s recipient of the annual Doc Fenkell Excellence in Media award. Founded by former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, CATCH is dedicated to improving the quality of life of pediatric patients at Children’s & Henry Ford Hospitals by providing them with assistance not otherwise available.

The annual golf tournament and preview party is the charity’s flagship fund-raiser for the year. For details, visit www.catchcharity.org.

Noted: “The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege,” heard locally on sports WDFN-AM (1130), has received the Best Broadcast Report award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

They commented: “Haege performed a valuable radio service for homeowners ... by not only answering their call-in questions knowledgeably, but by interviewing professionals in the industry. His knowledge of the field is impressive, and his answers were easy to understand and follow.”

Well, OK — but can he help my golf game?

Set Your Dials: Former WDET-FM (101.9) host Matt Watroba’s “Folks Like Us” show has found a new home on Ypsilanti’s WEMU-FM (89.1) 2-5 p.m. Saturdays.


Detroit News:

Tom Joyner fans, get ready. The time is right for your radio dial-changing hand to get busy... Joyner bumps Mason from KISS radio morning spot, Fri 6/24

Detroit Free Press:

WWJ moved into first place in the monthly, 3-month report card, unseating WJR. Other headlines: How's WDRQ doing as we-play-everything "Doug" format?... News titan WWJ takes lead, Thu 6/23

WRCJ-FM haggling continues: July 1 is just a few days away but Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Public Television (WTVS-TV, Channel 56) are still grappling over a contract for Channel 56 to take over operation of the DPS' WRCJ-FM (90.9) by mid-year in a money-saving (for the schools) deal... Names and Faces, Thu 6/23

Levert gets WMXD trial: Detroit's morning listening habits go through a major shakeup as highly rated syndicate star Tom Joyner finishes his run on Clear Channel-owned WMXD-FM (92.3) today... Names and Faces, Fri 6/24

Some of baseball's best broadcasters have signature phrases. Other top-notch announcers play it straight. I don't think it matters... ERNIE HARWELL: Catchy phrases come natural, Mon 6/27

Heard from: Longtime Detroit evening radio host Alan Almond. "I've been very busy shopping my show to the major networks in New York and Los Angeles," he said... Names and Faces, Mon 6/27

Oakland Press:

Ever had trouble getting a clear (or any) AM or FM signal in your office building or plant? Your options have gotten a lot better lately... More area stations broadcasting on Internet, Mon 6/27

Crain's Detroit Business:

Forget possible format changes, increasing competition, an aging audience, and even the pending expiration of Dick Purtan’s contract, Kevin Murphy has one goal for WOMC FM 104.3: Increase revenue... Sweatin’ the oldies, Mon 6/27

Radio and Records:

Friday's R&R Convention featured a feisty panel entitled "Active Rock: Between A Rock And A Hard Place," marked by an oftentimes heated exchange between Virgin's Ray Gmeiner, Reprise's Raymond McGlamery, In De Goot Entertainment's Bill McGathy and WRIF/Detroit PD Doug Podell... Heated Discussion Marks Active Rock Panel, Fri 6/24

Radio One/Detroit over the weekend swapped formats on its WDMK and WDTJ and also made some big airstaff changes... Radio One Swaps Frequencies In Motor City, Mon 6/27


Rumors become reality as RADIO ONE Urban Oldies WDMK (102.7 KISS-FM)/DETROIT has moved and becomes Urban AC 105.9 KISS-FM with REACH MEDIA's TOM JOYNER now doing mornings. That moves current morning man JOHN MASON to afternoons, morning co-host AJ PARKER to middays, and afternooner LADY BG to nights. The move shifts Urban WDTJ (105.9 JAMZ) to WDMK's old frequency as "THE NEW HOT 102-7." Now across town, CLEAR CHANNEL Urban AC WMXD (MIX 92-3) -- JOYNER's former home -- has temporarily got R&B artist GERALD LEVERT filling in for mornings this week. Stay tuned for more news on the MIX morning show situation as it develops. Mon 6/27

Inside Radio:

Tom Joyner – pulled from Clear Channel’s WMXD – is installed as the morning show on the just-moved WDMK.... Radio One did its Detroit frequency swap, Mon 6/27

Billboard Radio Monitor:

After months of speculation, "The Tom Joyner Morning Show" has ended its run on Clear Channel adult R&B WMXD (Mix 92.3) Detroit... Joyner Leaves Detroit's Mix, Fri 6/24

Radio One is playing bait and switch with its Detroit R&B properties. The company’s R&B/hip-hop WDTJ (Jamz) moves from 105.9 to 102.7 to become Hot 102.7, “We R Hip-Hop.” Sister WDMK relocates from 102.7 to 105.9 as Kiss-FM, “Detroit’s R&B Leader.”...
Radio One Swaps, Refocuses Detroit R&B Properties, Mon 6/27

Other stories:

Greater Media’s WRIF Grabs Top Honors At R&R Convention
Greater Media, Inc. is pleased to announce WRIF-FM received top honors at the 2005 Radio & Records Awards in Cleveland, Ohio. The awards, given away on a yearly basis, took place on Friday, June 24th during the publication’s annual convention, held for the first time in Cleveland, Ohio at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.

WRIF was named “Active Rock Station of the Year” in the Market 1-25 category. In addition, station on-air personalities, Drew & Mike were named “Morning Show/Personality of the Year” in the “Active Rock” category. Station Music Director Mark Pennington was also named “Music Director of the Year” in the “Active Rock” category.

“It’s an incredible achievement,” said Peter Smyth, President & CEO of Greater Media, Inc. He added, “We are very proud of them. It’s a wonderful tribute to the outstanding men and women who have made WRIF the legendary station it is today in the Motor City.”

---- ---- ---- ---- ----

WMXD-FM Program Director wins Radio & Record Industry Achievement Award
Adult Urban WMXD-FM 92.3 Program Director Jamillah Muhammad was awarded with Radio & Records Program Director of the Year Award. Since being held under Jam’s years of programming experience, WMXD-MIX 92.3 has grown its share of listeners, taking the radio station to number one in its core demographic (P25-54). “Detroit’s #1 radio station is so very deserving of this great honor! And Jamillah is a wonderful leader for the MIX team! We’re very proud of MIX and of Jam,” said Regional VP of Programming, Darren Davis. “She’s incredible. I love working with her!” said KJ Holiday, Director of Urban Programming-Detroit.

---- ---- ---- ---- ----

WJR’s Paul W. Smith Receives “4th Annual Spirit of Philanthropy Award”
News/Talk 760 WJR morning show host Paul W. Smith (5:30am-9am) was presented with the “4th Annual Spirit of Philanthropy Award” at the 2005 Vattikuti Invitational on Monday, June 20th at Oakland Hills. Each year the Vattikuti Invitational recognizes an individual(s) or a company for their Philanthropic spirit in supporting the event and the fight against Breast and Prostate Cancer. The award winners are chosen by members of the Executive Committee from Henry Ford Health System and Beaumont Hospitals. Paul W. Smith received this prestigious recognition for his continuous dedication and support of the Vattikuti Invitational from it's inception. Past award recipients include Raj and Padma Vattikuti, Ford Motor Company, Joseph C. Day and Wayne S. Doran.

---- ---- ---- ---- ----

Fred Jacobs Named Radio Industry Executive Of The Year
Radio consultant Fred Jacobs has been voted Radio Industry Executive of the Year. The award was presented at the Radio & Records convention on Friday in Cleveland, Ohio. Readers of the industry-leading publication, which are made up of executives and employees within the radio and record community, voted over the past several months. Jacobs is the founder of industry-leading Rock radio consulting firm Jacobs Media. The company created the Classic Rock radio format, championed the Alternative Rock format, and most recently developed NeoRadio, a listener-focused philosophy of radio programming. The company consults major broadcasting companies, including Infinity, Entercom, ABC, Emmis, Greater Media, Journal, Citadel, Saga, and many others.


Starting late last month, Smile FM introduced internet audio streaming for the first time since the merger of Joy FM and The Light last year. They now have a 64K stream as where pre-Smile FM, the stream was merely 32K. However, if you happen to live outside the listening area or are a casual listener of Smile FM, it may not be so easy to find the link as it is not found on the main page. You can click here to access Smile FM internet streaming. You will need to setup a free account if you do not already have an E-Wards account and/or contribute to the Music Task Force. (Personal note: The audio feed actually comes from the WHYT/WTAC cluster instead of the flagship station WLGH.)

Earlier this month, Smile FM held a FunDrive to raise money for completing upgrades to WLGH 88.1 Lansing and to purchase a remote studio for the broadcaster. They needed to gather the remaining $45,000 of the $150,000 for the signal increase for WLGH. The construction permit for WLGH is to increase the signal from 2.5 kW to 10 kW and nearly double the transmission height. Unfortunately, they fell about $20,000 short of the goal and this permit expires in September 2005. They are hoping for last minute contributions, good ol' ingeniuty and divine intervention.

Speaking of signal expansion, with recent upgrades to the Smile FM network, I've noticed a few interesting CP's concerning Smile FM. Recently, the signal of WTLI was increased to 17kW - providing better coverage to areas in Northern Michigan, including Gaylord. Interestingly enough, Radio Assist Ministries currently holds a CP (W221CA 92.1) to provide Gaylord with a feed from WTLI as well. I asked about this and was told that permission was given to Radio Assist Ministries/Edgewater Broadcasting to rebroadcast the Smile FM signal. But in the end, with Smile FM is doing a good job on their own expanding their signal and the R.A.M./Edgewater translator trafficking issue under scrutiny, this may be fun to watch it play out.

And to wrap up this update, I've noticed that the top-of-the-hour ID's for WTAC/WHYT now include WCZE 103.7 Harbor Beach. I've been told that WCZE is still waiting final electrical work to be wrapped up and the station is still in the testing phase. As of yet, WCZE is still not 'officially' on the air.


Bobble-head Purtan!



Sometimes working on this web site is just that-- work. Every now and again, I need a reminder that it's supposed to be fun. Well... this bobblehead sure is fun. Anyone that donated $240 or more to the Salvation Army's Radiothon for the Bed and Bread Club lead by Dick Purtan of WOMC-FM Detroit this past February should either have one or will get it soon.

I have to say - although it took a bit longer than I expected, I'm very pleasantly surprised at the thing. It's a lot bigger than I thought it'd be and seems to be of decent quality. Maybe the delay was planned -- to put the idea of next year's Radiothon into everyone's head.

If you're a fan of the Oldies format of WOMC - you can help send a message to the bosses and advertisers there by continuing to show your support for Purtan's Radiothon. It's an incredible event and requires a lot of effort to pull off. Although Dick is rather humble about his contribution - in my opinion not enough good things can be said about this effort and all the money it has raised. The best part is knowing that all that money stays right here in metro Detroit.

Wonder how much this thing would be worth on e-bay?? Just kidding.... I'm keeping this one for myself!







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

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