Mike Austerman: August 2005 Archives

There’s been plenty of migration on FM dial

Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, August 1, 2005

By: Art Vuolo

A couple of weeks ago, we had a history lesson on the many changes heard across the AM dial in the last three to four decades. Now let’s cruise down the FM band, where stability has never been a staple of the medium. First, it should be noted that FM frequencies 88.1 through 91.9 are reserved, in our country, for noncommercial broadcasters — known in the trade as “noncoms” — and are usually owned by high schools or colleges and universities.

Our WDET-FM (101.9), Wayne State University’s station, is an exception. From across the border in Windsor, a commercial outlet at 88.7 was first known as CJOM with progressive rock. Today, it’s 89X CIMX-FM, with alternative rock preceded by pop as Mix 88.7.

Locally, our first station, 92.3, has been home to many names and formats. It began as WLIN in Lincoln Park around 1964. Later, it was WCAR-FM, oldies WTWR, country WCXI-FM, urban WNTM and new age WVAE, and today it’s Mix WMXD-FM.

At 93.1, it began as hits WJBK-FM, then country WDEE-FM briefly before switching in June of 1971 to WDRQ-FM, Detroit’s first FM news-talk station. WDRQ evolved from top 40 into disco and then changed to WLTI Lite-FM before switching back to WDRQ and back to the hits. Recently, it became adult hits Doug-FM, though it retains the ’DRQ letters.

Again from Windsor is 93.9, which started out as CKLW-FM, then a plethora of call letters and formats from oldies to country, and today it’s CIDR Lite-FM. Recently, however, its pop music has become much brighter.

As the tour continues, 94.7 began as Birmingham’s WHFI with pop music and big names such as Marc Avery and Lee Alan, housed in a small A-frame building on Rankin Road in Troy. It became oldies Honey Radio WHNE, then pop WMJC, the first Majic 95 with Jeff & Jer. Today? It’s classic rock WCSX.

The roots of 95.5 show it as a true bastion of beautiful music known as WLDM. Then it changed to soft-pop Cozy WCZY, followed by Z95.5, and now WKQI, but became better known as Q95 and, currently, Channel 9-5-5. Are you taking notes?

What started out at 96.3 as elevator music WJR-FM flipped to hits WHYT in the early ’80s, followed later by modern rock The Planet WPLT. Today, it’s adult hit music WDVD.

There was more easy listening at 97.1 with WWJ-FM, followed by WJOI Joy 97 for many years. It was then WYST Star 97 with ’70s hits before becoming K-Rock WKRK going after rock giant The Riff. It failed, and WKRK is now Live 97.1 with a hot talk format and Lions football.

The 97.9 spot has been home only to ethnic WMZK and, for years, urban WJLB, staying amazingly stable.

WBFG was “We Broadcast For God” at 98.7, then it abruptly changed to rock WLLZ Detroit’s Wheels. You know it now as Smooth Jazz WVMV, or V-98.7.

One of the early homes of jazz was 99.5 WABX, which became a legendary “underground” rocker for years. Then it morphed into top 40, then WCLS “Class” before switching to eclectic-pop WDTX. It soon became hits WDFX The Fox, followed by a major shift to WOWF “WOW-FM,” another FM talker that lasted only five months. When it became Young Country WYCD, it stuck.

At 100.3, the saga began as WKMH-FM, then hits WKNRFM, which was transformed into Stereo Island pop music and then in 1973 to adult contemporary WNIC, which it still is today.

101.1 has been only two things — WXYZ-FM and, for 34 years, “Detroit’s Home of Rock & Roll” WRIF. Very stable indeed.

Wayne State’s WDET is one of just four FMs still with their original call letters.

At 102.7, we’ve seen a litany of names on the license. Macomb County’s WBRB-FM became WLBS urban-disco, then it was Kiss WKSG with oldies, then new age WXCD, Z-Rock WDZR, the Bear WWBR with Ted Nugent and then urban oldies and Kiss again as WDMK, which started as soft pop. Now it just switched to WHTD Hot 102.7 with hip-hop music.

Christian WMUZ at 103.5 is another call-letter original, and at 104.3, oldies WOMC has always stood for “Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.” It started out with beautiful music and pop.

Many classical buffs remember 105.1 as classical WQRS for 37 years, then it stunned locals when it flipped to hard rock WXDG The Edge. After 15 months, that switched to jammin’ oldies WGRV The Groove, and then, 15 months later, became the second Magic with adult contemporary WMCG, which it is today.

105.9 stared out as jazz/black WCHD, then becoming jazz WJZZ, followed by WDTJ Detroit’s Jams. Now it’s adult urban WDMK Kiss 105.9.

The 106.7 spot began as classical WDTM. In 1970, it became WWWW (W4) which was beautiful music, oldies, rock with Howard Stern and, lastly, country for many years. Its current gear is classic hits WDTW The Drive.

Finally, our last unchanged letters are WGPR at 107.5, which stood for “Grosse Pointe Radio.” In the last few decades, it’s been rhythmic and jazz. That’s our fast-moving tour down the FM dial in Detroit. There will be a quiz next week.

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


At noon today, 90.9 WRCJ-FM launched its long awaited classical and jazz music format, marking the return of a locally operated classical music service to Detroit airwaves which has been unavailable since the demise of WQRS-FM in 1997. 90.9 FM will play classical music from 5am-7pm and traditional jazz from 7pm-5am. The announcement was made by Robert Scott, station manager for WRCJ. Scott was formerly vice president of programming and education for WTVS-TV Channel 56, Detroit Public Television, which recently earned a contract to operate the non-profit educational station that remains licensed to Detroit Public Schools.

“Classical music is back in the Detroit market and it has sorely been missed. This new station will serve the community by responding to its needs,” said Scott. Initially, WRCJ programming will originate from three public radio satellite services, Classical 24, JazzWorks and Jazz Satellite Network, as well as from other sources, but eventually, the station will offer locally based programming throughout the day.

Weekend programming will eventually be a mix of classical, jazz, gospel and community affairs.

Once technical facilities are completed, the station will be located in the Detroit School of Arts, the Detroit Public High School located in Detroit’s Cultural Center. Students will gain hands-on radio production experience at the radio station as part of their communications curriculum.

90.9 was the first educational FM radio station in Michigan when it began broadcasting in January, 1948, as WDTR. The call letters were changed in 2004. Detroit Public Television assumed operation of WRCJ on July 1, 2005, as part of its mission to educate, entertain and inspire, in partnership with the community.

Major funding for the operation of WRCJ has been provided by a grant from The Kresge Foundation.


The Federal Communications Commission has approved the application of WFDF AM 910 to change its community of license from Flint to the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills along with granting a construction permit for nighttime operations from the station's new transmission facilities that are under construction in northern Monroe county. WFDF is owned by Disney and currently carries the company's Radio Disney pop format targeted at children.

The station is likely very close to its launch as a full-fledged Detroit-based station- construction of the new facility has been observed as being nearly complete and there have been reports of the station performing tests with their new transmitter. Now with the FCC's blessing of the station's application for nighttime operations, testing will probably wrap up soon and WFDF will cease operations from Genesee county and metro Detroit will have its first new broadcast radio station in many years.

The 'new' WFDF will operate with 50,000 watts during daytime hours and 19,000 watts at night with an 8-tower array. The station will be similar in signal strength as WWJ 950 during the day and enjoy market coverage at night similar to WDFN 1130, WCHB 1200, and WXYT 1270, making it one the area's easiest AM stations to tune in on most radios.

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 with this big change, the city will be losing part of its heritage with the move in to the Detroit market.


Michigan Radio Will Add New Weeknight Show

On August 8, Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor, WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint, WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids) will premiere a new addition to its weeknight schedule, called “On Point”, beginning at 9 pm. “The Connection”, which previously aired at that time, is longer being produced. WBUR, the creators of “The Connection”, have canceled the show as part of a cost saving move at their station. Michigan Radio will be airing “On Point” from 9-10 pm, Monday-Friday. The overnight broadcast of BBC World Service will begin at 10 pm.

“On Point”, hosted by Tom Ashbrook is a daily news program, recorded live with input from listener callers and broadcast at various times on stations around the country. The program covers each day’s important national and international news developments and conducts conversations with newsmakers and thinkers from all around the world. A cross between a talk program and a newsmagazine, “On Point” puts each day’s news into context and provides a lively forum for discussion and debate. The show seeks out distinct and provocative voices that may be new to public radio or that may not have been heard in quite the same context before.

“On Point” will be an excellent addition to our weekly schedule," said Station Manager Jon Hoban. "Tom Ashbrook is a passionate interviewer and a strong journalist. I’m confident that listeners will enjoy this program."

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StoryCorps Visits Ann Arbor

StoryCorps, the largest oral history project ever attempted, arrived in Ann Arbor on August 4 and will record "interviews" of local residents about their lives, opinions and philosophies. The recorded interviews will be stored permanently at the Library of Congress and available to the families of the people who make the recordings and to researchers and scholars. The StoryCorps mobile sound studio will be located at William and Main Streets until August 15. NPR stations in cities throughout the Unites States are hosting StoryCorps, including Michigan Radio.

Every Friday morning NPR’s Morning Edition is presenting a compelling StoryCorps interview and many local stations are airing interviews recorded while the trailer is in their area. NPR’s website (NPR.org) includes a special section devoted to StoryCorps, with recordings of the Morning Edition segments and portions of selected interviews, which are updated as the tour moves across the country.

Begun in 2004, StoryCorps collected more than 2,000 stories in its first year and expects to collect more than 250,000 interviews over the next ten years. In each city on the tour, StoryCorps representatives will facilitate interviews between friends, colleagues or family members. At the end of the forty-minute session, the participants will receive a broadcast-quality CD of their interview. With their permission, a second copy will be archived at the Library of Congress, providing generations to come with access to these moving stories.

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Tom Joyner Gives Listeners Their Big Break

Adult Urban WDMK-FM 105.9 (Kiss FM), home of The Tom Joyner Morning Show, will host "Tom's Big Break", August 10th at The Hoop City Grille in Southfield. The singing competition will give local Detroiters the chance of a lifetime when three finalists compete live for a $1000 cash prize during The Tom Joyner Show on Friday August 12th from 6-10am on WDMK. The event will also be recorded for future airing on cable network TV One. Auditions begin at 6pm on Wednesday when listeners will get sixty seconds to wow a panel of judges made up of Kiss FM personalities Lady BG, AJ Parker and Mason. The panel will narrow the field down to 5 semi-finalists and then select the 3 finalists for Friday's competition. For more information call 313.259.2000 or visit www.kissdetroit.com.

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WJR upcoming events:

Sunday August 7 from noon-2pm: The C.A.R. Show broadcasts live from the 27th Annual Concours d’Elegance, a classic car show event on the grounds of the historic Meadow Brook Hall at Oakland University.

Monday August 8 from 6-9am: The Paul W. Smith Show broadcasts live from the “American Icon Exhibit” at the Detroit Historical Museum on Woodward.

Wednesday August 10 – Sunday August 21: As the official voice of the Michigan State Fair, WJR will broadcast live from the State Fair Grounds throughout the fair beginning with the Paul W. Smith Show 6-9am on Opening Day, Wednesday, August 10th.

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Motown recording artist and Detroit native KEM is next up in the WMXD-FM 92.3 find a new morning show host rotation. The Singer/songwriter caught national attention in 2003 with his debut album "Kemistry", capturing the soul of many with his smooth voice and R&B/Jazzy music. Earlier this summer, KEM released his sophomore album, "KEM II". Since the release, he has held the #1 spot on the Urban AC and R&B Adult Monitor charts the longer than any other urban adult male artist.

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WMGC Listeners Raise Funds for Michigan Breast Cancer 3-day Benefit

Forty-five WMGC-FM (105.1) listeners together raised $133,833.82 for the Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day, making them the #1 team in Michigan. The amazing outpouring of support illustrates how Magic listeners, also known as “The Magic Family,” continue to come together to help a worthy cause. The Michigan 3-Day took place on July 15th through July 17th, 2005. Despite the heat, humidity and rain, Magic’s team forged ahead to walk 20 miles a day for three days, completing the 60 mile journey! The walk began in Rochester Hills, MI and wrapped up at the State Fair Grounds in Detroit, MI.

Kathy Keiper, from Centurion Home Services and one of the Magic Team Captains, said, “The Breast Cancer 3 Day is one of the most important things I have ever done. If you want to be a HERO to someone or make a difference in your lifetime, the 3 Day is a great place to start. You will find the true spirit of family, sharing and caring. You will see the look of perseverance and the sounds of gratitude. You will feel that for those three days YOU made a difference.”

Dr. Terri Orbuch, another Magic Team Captain, added, "It was an amazing experience to walk the Michigan 3-Day. It was definitely a challenge, but an experience that I will never forget. I met some of the most wonderful people, and the few times that I doubted my abilities to go on, they inspired and motivated me to go the extra miles.”

The Michigan 3 Day raised over $4.7 million. Eighty-five percent of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a global catalyst in the fight against breast cancer. The Komen Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Goodman Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan Goodman Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36.

More than 20 years later, the Komen Foundation is an international organization with a network of more than 75,000 volunteers working through local affiliates to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease through support of innovative breast cancer research grants and community-based outreach programs.

Detroit Free Press:

This is on! -- WRCJ-FM (90.9) launched its classical-jazz format under new Detroit Public Television management as scheduled Monday at noon... 90.9 is all Bach, Bird -- no Beyonce, Tue 8/2

Detroit News:

It was one of those sweltering summer nights when even a torrential rain can't tamp down the temperature, but on this special "iPod night," things couldn't have been cooler inside the Ferndale nightclub the bosco. Sipping the inevitable chilled vodka, a few dozen folk on the green side of 40 were negotiating the summer's cultural handshake, the 2005 equivalent of "What's your favorite record?" or "What's your sign?" This summer it's, "What's on your iPod?"... iPod nation marches to a high-tech beat, Mon 8/1

Daily Oakland Press:

A couple of weeks ago, we had a history lesson on the many changes heard across the AM dial in the last three to four decades... There’s been plenty of migration on FM dial, Mon 8/1

Ann Arbor News:

Longtime Ann Arborites Sandy and Ed Loyer were the first to stop by and record their stories for posterity at the shiny, custom-made Airstream trailer parked in a lot at the corner of Main and East William streets Thursday. They won't be the last. By the time the trailer, equipped as a rolling sound studio, departs for its next stop Aug. 15, dozens of area folks will have visited it in the process of contributing to an ambitious, nationwide oral history project whose results will be archived at the Library of Congress... Local residents' stories add to national resource StoryCorps trailer visits Ann Arbor to record dozens, Fri 8/5


The camaraderie and bonding that exists in the radio community is like no other. If you doubt it, pick any other vocation and ask yourself if there’d be any palpable interest in having someone videotape a gathering of a dozen or so of the best people from that field, discussing the good old days... Final Performance: Motown Memories, Thu 8/4

All Access:

RADIO ONE Urban WCKX (POWER-107.5)/COLUMBUS evening personalities SEAN ANTHONY and KEITH JONES are moving to sister Urban WHTD (HOT-102.7)/DETROIT, effective MONDAY (8/8). Wed 8/3


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, August 8, 2005

By: Mike Austerman

Good ol’ regular radio is fighting back against satellite radio and digital music players with enhanced programming — for those willing to spend money on a new receiver. Most of the area’s FM stations now broadcast a digital version of their signals, giving listeners with “high definition” receivers near CD-quality sound. Now, three stations — rock WRIF-FM (101.1), classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7), and soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) — are also offering multicasts, a separate stream of programming, as part of their digital signals.

WRIF2 offers alternative and independent rock, hip-hop and punk, and also features a heavy dose of local artists. RIF2 targets 18-24-year-olds and, while it’s rock based, the music mix is deliberately eclectic and highlights both new material and local artists with a focus on music from 1995 to today. Listen in over the Internet by visiting www.riff2.com.

WCSX’s Deep Trax (www.wcsxdeeptrax.com) features JJ & Lynne in the morning, followed by classic rock cuts not normally heard on the main station. WCSX personalities Ken Calvert, Karen Savelly and Steve Kostan also provide voices for the new offering.

Meanwhile, More Magic from WMGC features Jim Harper’s morning program, followed 10 a.m.-7 p.m. by Office Magic, a softer contemporary format with a mix of 1970s and ’80s icons and standards, along with Broadway tunes and jazz favorites. From 7 p.m.-6 a.m. and on weekends, Classically Magic consists of music-intensive, familiar classical favorites. Point your computer to www.moremagicradio.com for a sample.

Right now, most of us don’t have new HD radios since the cost is still pretty high, well above $500 on average. But as this technology catches on, imagine the possibilities for free radio programming.

If you haven’t tuned in to WRCJ-FM (90.9) since Aug. 1, you’ll be surprised when you do. WTVS-Channel 56 has taken over operations from Detroit Public Schools and is now broadcasting classical music 5 a.m.-7 p.m. and traditional jazz 7 p.m.-5 a.m. weekdays. It’s the first time since the demise of WQRS in 1997 that metro Detroit has had its own FM station with classical music, and it was way back in 1989 that WJZZ-FM (105.9) dropped jazz.

For now, the station’s shows are all piped in from other sources, but look for local hosts after October, says station boss Bob Scott. Quick, someone call ex-QRSers Dave Wagner and Davis Gloff ...

Buh-Bye: Kelly Brown has exited alt-rocker CIMX-FM (88.7), where she’d cohosted mornings for the past 15 years ... the syndicated “Connection” program on Michigan radio WUOM-FM (91.7) has ceased production, replaced by the one-hour talk show, “On Point” at 9 p.m. weeknights.

Speaking of Ann Arbor, National Public Radio’s StoryCorps, the largest oral history project ever attempted, arrived in A2 on Thursday to record local residents talking about their lives, opinions and philosophies. Those will be stored permanently at the Library of Congress and available to the families of the people who made them and to researchers and scholars. NPR’s mobile sound studio will be at William and Main Streets until Aug. 15, if you’d like to participate.

Rumors have been flying about a possible replacement for Howard Stern on talk WKRK-FM (97.1) once he moves to satellite radio in 2006. Some of the names being heard are former Van Halen front man David Lee Roth and Chicago shock-jock Mancow Muller. Stern himself is predicting he might be gone by the end of September, before the fall ratings period starts.

Adult Urban WDMK-FM (105.9) will host Tom Joyner’s “Big Break” on Wednesday at Hoop City Grille in Southfield. The singing competition will give local Detroiters the chance of a lifetime when three finalists compete live for a $1,000 cash prize during Joyner’s show 6-10 a.m. Friday on WDMK. Auditions begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, when listeners have 60 seconds to wow a panel of judges made up of Kiss FM personalities Lady BG, AJ Parker and John Mason, who’ll select the three finalists for Friday. Visit www.kissdetroit.com for more info.

Set Your Dials: News-talk WJR-AM (760) morning man Paul W. Smith broadcasts live from the State Fair on Wednesday’s opening day. In addition to Smith’s 6-9 a.m. kickoff, WJR will host numerous live broadcasts during the Fair ... host Tom Wilson will revisits the 1950s payola scandal that affected the late Ed “Jack the Bellboy” McKenzie at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5).


Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm’s new weekly radio address will now also available via podcast thanks to a new partnership with Michigan State University student radio station WDBM-FM 88.9 "The Impact" and the governor’s office. Granholm's address will be released each Friday at 10 a.m. and will be heard on broadcast stations across the state through an affiliation with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB).

The governor’s address will be recorded and prepared for distribution by Impact staff members – all of whom are MSU students. Gary Reid, general manager of WDBM-FM and telecommunication faculty member at MSU, will serve as the executive producer. “This is a great learning experience for our students and a wonderful opportunity to make good on our commitment to public service” Reid said. “Education and innovation is at the heart of what we do at Michigan State, and I am pleased to work with the governor in this new endeavor.”

WDBM has been named College Station of the Year five of the past six years by the MAB and Broadcast Music Inc. “The Impact” was the first college station in the country to broadcast digitally in the new HD digital radio format.

“This weekly radio address gives me an opportunity to talk directly to the citizens of Michigan about what their government is doing to improve their state for them,” Granholm said. “From our efforts to reshape Michigan’s economy and give every child the opportunity to attend college, to our state programs that are protecting children or offering lower-cost prescription drugs, I want the people of Michigan to know about the great work we’re getting done on their behalf.”

“The Michigan Association of Broadcasters is pleased to participate with WDBM-FM to make the governor's weekly message easily accessible to all members in a news friendly format and in advance of its general distribution,” said Karole White, president of the MAB.

The address will also be available on the governor’s Web site on Mondays as a podcast for general distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers. Granholm noted that not only is her office interested in helping citizens know more about the work being done on their behalf, it is using podcasting – the latest option for sharing information – to deliver that message. “Podcasting is growing in popularity among young adults and this is a way to engage young people’s interest in the information that ultimately could affect their world,” Granholm said.


Metro Detroit: In the News Aug 7-13



WCSX's Stone Soup GTO Ready to Fire Up

Monday Morning, the sweet smell of Motor City Muscle will fill the air as JJ & Lynne’s Stone Soup GTO roars to life. Eight months ago, it was just an idea to restore a 1965 Pontiac GTO raise money for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. On Monday, August 15th, the countless hours of work by hundreds of volunteers from all over southeast Michigan will be showcased when the engine of the Stone Soup GTO is started for the first time outside the studios of 94.7 WCSX, located at One Radio Plaza in Royal Oak Township.

The “birthday” celebration will begin at 7am with the arrival of the Stone Soup GTO and many members of the volunteer team working on the restoration. During the 8am hour, JJ & Lynne will officially fire up the 609 horse power, 389 Tri-Power engine for the first time. To add to the festivities, local classic car enthusiasts will be on hand displaying their custom rides.

During the Dream Cruise weekend, JJ & Lynne’s 1965 Stone Soup GTO will make it’s first official appearances:
* Friday 8/19 11am-4:30pm, Firestone Complete Auto Care on Woodward in Royal Oak
* Friday 8/19 6-8pm, The Hunter House on Woodward in Birmingham
* Saturday 8/20 10am–6pm, Cruising Woodward Avenue

JJ & Lynne Stone Soup GTO raffle tickets cost $25 each and 100% of the ticket price will go directly to The Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. One lucky ticket holder will win both the restored 1965 GTO and the 2005 GTO Coupe on September 22nd, 2005 at the JJ & Lynne Stone Soup event at the Wintergarden inside the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

Everyone is invited to follow the progress of JJ & Lynne’s Stone Soup Project™ by tuning into The Classic Rock Morning Show on WCSX weekdays from 5am to 9am and by visiting the WCSX web site at www.wcsx.com.

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WJLB's The Bushman To Be Honored

Local DJ Royalty The Bushman of WJLB, Hennessy Executives, amongst the leading DJ’s of the growing Detroit Hip-Hop Scene, is being recognized as part of Hennessy V.S “V.I.P. Access Weekend” with hip-hop superstar Common on Monday August 15th from 9-11pm at Flood’s Bar & Grill on St. Antoine in Detroit. The Bushman is a leading figure in the Detroit hip-hop community as a radio host on WJLB. He has helped gain national exposure for the Detroit “hip-hop sound” that has produced artists like Eminem and Slum Village.

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Magic 105.1 Salutes Women in Automotive

Soft Rock WMGC-FM 105.1 will kick off the Cruise on Woodward Avenue weekend with two very special live broadcasts entitled “A Salute to Women in the Automotive Industry.” These broadcasts are sponsored by GM Mobility and Chrysler Jeep. The first event will take place on Thursday, August 18th, from 6-10am at the OnStar Sound Studio at General Motors’ Global Headquarters in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI. The second live broadcast will be on Friday, August 19th, from 6-10am at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, located at the corner of Featherstone and Squirrel, off of I-75 at Exit #78.

WMGC Operations Manager and on-air personality Jim Harper said, "We are so happy to be doing our second annual Magic “Salute to Women in Automotive!” Women have been a vital part of the auto world since Rosie the Riveter during WWII. Now women are so involved in the design, production and sale of modern cars, it's only natural we focus the spotlight on them for this special salute."

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August 16th-August 19th, Adult Urban WMXD-FM 92.3 will feature the talents of Blair Underwood, Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell-Martin to form a “triple threat” to their predecessors featured in MIX 92.3’s summer line up of celebrity guest DJs. Tuesday will feature Duane Martin, Wednesday and Thursday - Tisha Campbell, and closing out the week is Blair Underwood.

Detroit Free Press:

Peter Jennings never made it to Detroit in May. Thinking there was a large story to be told about U.S. automakers' claims they were hamstrung by health care costs, the late ABC "World News Tonight" anchor initiated plans to broadcast a Channel 7 "Town Meeting" from an area auto plant... Late anchor made city a regular stop, Tue 8/9

Detroit News:

When veteran TV anchor Peter Jennings told the public he had lung cancer in April, Dr. Robert Chapman feared the worst. Jennings mentioned chemotherapy, and Chapman, who heads the hematology and oncology division at Henry Ford Hospital, suspected the journalist had a life-threatening form of the disease... Jennings' death may deter other smokers, Tue 8/9

Detroit radio veteran Steve Schram is on the move again. He resigned Friday as general manager and sales manager of Infinity country station WYCD-FM (99.5) Detroit... WYCD-FM general manager quits station, Sat 8/13

Daily Oakland Press:

Good ol’ regular radio is fighting back against satellite radio and digital music players with enhanced programming — for those willing to spend money on a new receiver. Three stations are offering multicasts, a separate stream of programming, as part of their digital signals... FM stations fight back with digital version of their signals, Mon 8/8

Radio & Records

WHTD/Detroit shifts night duo Dre & Suga Rae to mornings. Sean Anthony and Keith "Baby" Jones join for nights from WCKX/Columbus, OH. Tue 8/9

Grand Rapids Press

A seismic shift in the West Michigan sports broadcast landscape occurred Thursday when Citadel Broadcasting regional president Matt Hanlon acquired the rights to the Detroit Lions in an 11th-hour deal that's still producing aftershocks in the local radio market. The broadcast rights to the Lions shift exclusively to WKLQ-FM (107.3) and WBBL-AM (1340) after approximately five decades on WOOD-AM (1300)... Lions radio move leaves aftershock, Fri 8/12


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, August 15, 2005

By: Art Vuolo

Last week, my colleague Mike Austerman reported on the debut of HD (high-definition) radio in Detroit. Besides offering a high quality digital version of a station’s signal, HD allows for “secondary” channels that can offer more specialized programming than their primary stations — all in the battle with satellite radio for listeners. Two years ago, the mammoth Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas offered a taste of HD, but I just experienced it locally and want to share what I saw and heard because it is impressive.

Today, for invited guests, the family-owned Greater Media of Detroit is showcasing its new multichannel broadcasting, which is created by the HD technology. Locally, Greater Media owns rock WRIF-FM (101.1), classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) and soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1). If you have access to the Internet, you can hear what I heard last week during the demonstration of these new channels. Go to either www.riff2.com, www.wcsxdeeptrax.com or www.moremagicradio.com to hear the formats that counterbalance the FM parent stations you may already be familiar with. (RIFF2 offers alternative and indie rock, plus hiphop, with an emphasis on local artists. The Deep Trax channel has album cuts not normally heard on ’CSX, plus the station’s familiar personalities. More Magic features a softer contemporary format during the day with some Broadway and jazz hits.)

Listening to these on your computer is one thing, but hearing them on a new HD radio right off the air is far more dramatic. To put this new technology into perspective, here’s an analogy from history: In the mid-1960s, FM radio was starting to get noticed and the FCC made it mandatory that AM/FM stations offer separate programming on their FM outlets so they’d be more than just repeats of the AM broadcasts. Since most cars then had AM-only radios, those wanting to sample the new sound had to buy an after-market FM converter to mount under the dash. Though these were in mono sound, people were thrilled to have the new FM band with more music and far fewer commercials. Responding to consumer demand, automakers soon added the FM band to car radios.

Like early FM, HD radio will be basically commercial-free for the first year or two, and there is no monthly subscription fee as there is for satellite radio. Supporters believe this will make free, over-the-air broadcasting far more competitive with satellite and Internet radio since HD is as superior to regular radio as HD TV is to regular television. Like FM, this will work if consumers accept and demand this new technology, just as they convinced the auto companies to start offering XM and Sirius satellite radio in most new cars in the last few years.

During last week’s demonstration, I heard the table-top Boston Acoustics radio and a full-size Yamaha receiver, and the sound was amazing. Prices vary from $249 up to $1,400 to hear this superior sound, but, as with every other electronics gadget, prices are expected to fall as demand increases. What this all means is that your choices on the FM dial could double with the addition of the new HD-1 and HD-2 stations. In Chicago, where the oldies station WJMK-FM changed to the “Jack-FM” format imitating an iPod on shuffle mode like our WDRQ-FM (93.1), station brass brought the oldies back with live DJs on WJMK’s HD-2, figuring that would increase awareness of HD and the sales of new HD radios.

The same can happen here. Clear Channel owns six local stations and is expected to roll out its HD channels in the next few weeks and the same will happen at Infinity and Disney/ABC radio. In theory, you could easily have more than 100 local stations to choose from in the not too distant future. For radio fans, that’s great news.

This is the week when things are really revving up on Woodward Avenue for the Dream Cruise. Tonight, Rick Hunter on oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) gets it started with a live broadcast from Duggan’s Irish Pub in Royal Oak, leading up to the station’s Saturday live remotes from Birmingham, Ferndale and Royal Oak. Many of your other favorite radio personalities will be broadcasting along the Dream Cruise route this week. Even satellite radio is getting into the act as XM’s Phlash Phelps from the 1960s channel and West Bloomfield native Sari from the 1970s channel will be live at the GM display in Birmingham on Saturday.

Soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) is running two broadcasts to salute women in the automotive industry. The first is 6-10 a.m. Thursday at General Motors headquarters at the Ren Cen; the second is 6-10 a.m. Friday at the Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills. For more, visit www.magic1051.com.

Quick Hits: Infinity local sales boss and WYCD-FM (99.5) veep Steve Schram has resigned ... Urban WHTD-FM (102.7) has moved night slammers Dre and Suga Rae to mornings, where they replace Russ Parr’s syndicated morning show. Getting the nighttime nod are Sean Anthony and Keith “Baby” Jones from Cincinnati’s WIZF-FM ... local DJ The Bushman of urban WJLB-FM (97.9) is being honored tonight at Flood’s Bar & Grill in Detroit for getting national exposure for the Detroit hip-hop sound that’s produced Eminem and Slum Village.

Set Your Dials: Hear the Greencards live 1-4 p.m. Tuesday on WDET-FM (101.9) ... and pull out the stops with pipe organist Father Jim Miller at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5).


U.S. Representative Candice Miller today announced the debut of "Washington Connection Weekly" - the Congresswoman's new weekly radio address. The program will begin airing this weekend on radio stations throughout her Congressional district, on-line statewide at www.mlive.com, and on her Congressional website at candicemiller.house.gov.

Rep. Miller said, "My mission in Washington is quite clear- I am the voice of the residents of Michigan's 10th Congressional District. This new radio project will ensure that my constituents are up-to-date on key legislation, important issues, and upcoming votes. I'm constantly seeking feedback and opinions from the citizens in my District. Washington Connection Weekly will help inform those opinions and generate more feedback."

The address will debut on radio stations throughout Michigan's 10th Congressional District:
* WPHM AM 1380, Port Huron
* WGRT FM 102.3, Port Huron
* WPON AM 1460, Pontiac/Detroit
* WBGV FM 92.5, Bad Axe/Sandusky
* WMIC AM 660, Sandusky
* WMPC AM 1230, Lapeer

On mlive.com the program will air at 7pm Thursday nights under the site's "News Radio" link.

"Congresswoman Miller is a dynamic communicator, with an unconquerable drive to help Michigan succeed. Washington Connection Weekly is more than just a public service, it is an important tool for the men and women she serves in Washington. Radio is an incredible medium," said Rep. Miller's spokesman Scott MacFarlane, a former freelance radio reporter for CBS News.


Metro Detroit: In the News Aug 14-20



WVMV's Alexander Zonjic to perform with Angela Bofill and Jeff Lorber

Alexander Zonjic, Angela Bofill and Jeff Lorber will be performing together for the first time in a concert at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Amphitheater on Aug. 20 at 8:30 p.m. "I’ve worked with Angela and Jeff separately on stage and they both appear on my new CD ‘Seldom Blues,’ but this is the first time we are performing together at the same time on the same stage," said Alexander Zonjic.

Zonjic is continuing a busy summer performance schedule. It includes:
* opening for Chris Botti at Detroit’s Chene Park on Aug. 24
* two nights at Zonjic’s jazz supper club Seldom Blues in Detroit on Aug. 26-27
* the Arts, Beats & Eats Festival in Pontiac, MI on Sept. 3
* and Jazz on the Lake with Jeff Lorber and Warren Hill on Sept. 11 in Orchard Lake, MI.

In addition to serving as artistic director for five summer jazz festivals, Alexander Zonjic is the morning weekday host of Smooth Jazz 98.7 WVMV-FM radio in Detroit. He also performs about 100 concerts a year and recently released "Seldom Blues," his 11th recording that bears the same name as his successful restaurant venture in Detroit.

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Celebrity Morning Show Search Brings Back Detroit’s Own… “The Love Bug” Donnie Simpson

The WMXD-FM 92.3 Nationwide Celebrity Morning Show Search has caught national attention in the industry, casting celebrities from all aspects of the entertainment industry. August 22nd-August 26th, MIX 92.3 will feature Detroit-groomed personality, Donnie Simpson.

Simpson began his radio career at WMXD’s sister station, WJLB, at the age of 15. Having learned the skills and gained the experience from WJLB, he moved to WYKS in Washington D.C. where he hosted the morning show and served as Program Director for 15 years. Simpson also spent 14 years hosting BET Video Soul; breaking ground as one of the nation’s first “VJ’s”. Simpson joined WPGC-FM in Washington, D.C. in 1993 and is currently hosting the morning show there from 6-10 a.m.

“Donnie Simpson is from Detroit and still has family here. He is a well-known personality in Detroit from being on WJLB for many years and we are excited to bring him back home to Detroit to take part in MIX 92.3’s Nationwide Celebrity Morning Show Search,” said Jamillah A. Muhammad, Program Director of WMXD.

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Detroit Free Press:

Her morning traffic report done, country radio disc jockey Lori Rigato told WYCD-FM (99.5) listeners the real news of the morning. She was having a face-lift. Updates in one hour, she promised. With cameras rolling, Rigato underwent a minimally invasive procedure patented as the Lifestyle Lift by Dr. David Kent; it took place at his Troy office... FACE-LIFT TO GO: Patients like DJ Lori Rigato are opting for an inexpensive procedure that lasts less than an hour and promises little disruption of their everyday lives, (Tue 8/16)

Detroit's NBC affiliate, Post-Newsweek owned WDIV-TV (Channel 4), is getting new leadership. Joe Berwanger has resigned as vice-president/general manager after five years at the helm ... The Names & Faces pennant flies at half mast today for ex-Detroit disc jockey Mike Kelly, who died Saturday in Toronto after battling stomach cancer for 10 months... Names and Faces, (Wed 8/17)

Detroit News:

This year there will be no re-launch of '60s radio icon WKNR-AM during the Woodward Dream Cruise on 1310 AM or any other frequency. Keener13.com czars Scott Westerman and Steve Schram ran out of time. "We're funding this out of the back of our pockets with lunch money," says Schram, who recently departed WYCD-FM. But there is a Dream Cruise podcast at their website, keener13.com... No return of WKNR this year, (Thu 8/18)

Daily Oakland Press:

Besides offering a high quality digital version of a station’s signal, HD allows for “secondary” channels that can offer more specialized programming than their primary stations — all in the battle with satellite radio for listeners. Two years ago, the mammoth Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas offered a taste of HD, but I just experienced it locally and want to share what I saw and heard because it is impressive... FM stations fight back with digital version of their signal, (Mon 8/15)

TV Week:

Joe Berwanger has resigned as VP and general manager of WDIV-TV, Post-Newsweek's NBC affiliate in Detroit. Post-Newsweek Stations President Alan Frank announced Tuesday that he has "reluctantly" accepted Mr. Berwanger's resignation and named Post-Newsweek veteran Steve Wasserman to succeed Mr. Berwanger as WDIV's top executive... Berwanger Steps Down as WDIV GM, (Tue 8/16)

All Access:

ABC Hot AC WDVD/DETROIT, MI is hosting a 14-hour radiothon on THURSDAY (9/8) from 5:30a to 7p. The charity event will benefit the KARMANOS CANCER INSTITUTE in their fight against breast cancer. Last year, WDVD raised over $14,000 with 100% of the proceeds going towards programs which provide mammograms for women who cannot afford them. (Fri 8/19)


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, August 22, 2005

By: Mike Austerman

Tune down your AM dial this morning, and you’ll likely hear metro Detroit’s newest radio station. WFDF-AM (910) used to broadcast from Flint, but now it’s in the final stages of moving its transmitter to northern Monroe County. And that’ll allow it to blast the metro area with the sounds of Radio Disney, the pop format targeted at kids from elementary through high school.

It’s been quite the odyssey for the Mouse House. It purchased WFDF in 2002 for $3 million to create a new Detroit radio station, the area’s first new AM station since 1990, when WMKM-AM (1440) signed on after WCHB dropped down to AM 1200. Since then, there’ve been zoning battles in Monroe over the station’s new broadcast towers, multiple applications with the FCC to get the move approved and lots of money invested.

Last week, I dialed in to WFDF while it was performing tests. At times, the station would broadcast from its old Flint location, making it tough to pick up on the car radio. Then suddenly, the reception would clear up dramatically when the new facilities came on. When all of this testing is complete, the station will have one of the area’s strongest signals, rivaling all news WWJ-AM (950), sports WDFN-AM (1130) and sports WXYT-AM (1270) during the daytime. The station should also come in clearer than WDFN and WXYT at night, but not quite as good as WWJ. Also, the station’s “community of” license will change from Flint (where it has been licensed since signing on in May, 1922) to Farmington Hills. And I wouldn’t be shocked to see the WFDF call letters disappear soon to better reflect the Radio Disney name.

Yet the whole thing is curious to me. Spending millions to get Radio Disney on in Detroit seems like a waste since kids don’t listen much to AM radio these days. And with the musical content of Radio Disney also being carried on both XM and Sirius satellite radio, there’s already a way to listen if you want. Is Radio Disney really that profitable, and are advertisers that supportive of this format? As they say in TV news reports, only time will tell.

Speaking of AM radio, reader Ron wants to know why in Waterford and Clarkston it seems almost impossible to listen to AM in the car. He reports that the static in certain areas is so bad you can’t hear anything — and these areas appear to be getting bigger. What causes this, he asks, and are the stations doing anything about it?

Well, Ron, many things cause interference on AM radio these days — everything from power lines and microwave ovens to garage door openers. Everything that transmits wirelessly can cause some interference. Even all the electronics in your car can be a source of interference. Try listening to the radio with the engine off, and you’ll probably notice a difference.

At this point, there isn’t much that can be done about this interference, though digital radio might help. That said, some of the stations themselves are to blame. Take WXYT, for example. It used to broadcast from Southfield near 10 Mile Road and Northwestern Highway and had a good signal in much of the metro area. Now, it shoots its signal up from Monroe County, and even though it has more power, its signal is much more directional, causing weak spots in coverage that weren’t there before. That includes along the Troy-Sterling Heights border, where I live, in one of those trouble spots. What WXYT has gained in fringe reception areas, I think it has lost in its core listening area.

Thanks, Ron, for an excellent question.

The Detroit Lions obviously realized the limitations of AM radio, following the lead of other NFL teams by moving their broadcasts to FM. Already heard locally on talk WKRK-FM (97.1), the Lions have moved to FM in western Michigan this season, adding WKLQ-FM (107.3) Greenville/Grand Rapids and WKOQ-FM (92.5) Newaygo to their affiliate list. The Lions are also on FM in Lansing (92.1 and 92.7) and in the Tri-Cities area (on 104. 5 and 100.9). Like many fans, I enjoy hearing the games broadcast in FM.

Set Your Dials: The swing band Sounds of Swing Orchestra will be featured on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. (8-28) on WMUZ-FM (103.5).


Metro Detroit: In the News Aug 21-27



WDVD to host hands-free apple pie eating contest

Rochester’s annual Art & Apples Festival is known nationwide for its fabulous exhibition of fine art and homemade apple pies. And because food is truly an art to many people, this year’s Festival will celebrate its third annual “Hands-Free Apple Pie Eating Contest,” presented by WDVD-FM 96.3 and hosted by morning show personality Blaine Fowler on Saturday, September 10 at 12:00 p.m. The winner will receive a $100 Rochester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) gift certificate to be used at downtown Rochester merchants.

Hopeful contestants must enter a drawing to win a spot in the contest. Registration will take place between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at the 96.3 WDVD booth at the Art & Apples Festival. Blaine will randomly draw the names of four competitors. The contestant who eats the most apple pie without hands in 96.3 seconds will win a $100 Rochester DDA gift certificate. All other contestants will receive a $25 Rochester DDA gift certificate.
The 40th annual Art & Apples Festival, a benefit for Paint Creek Center for the Arts and other local charities, will be held September 9-11, in Rochester Municipal Park. Nearly 300 artists will be featured, along with live entertainment, children’s activities, delicious food and more. Festival hours are 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 9; 9:00 am – 7:30 pm on Saturday, Sept. 10; and, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday, Sept. 11. Rochester Municipal Park is located in downtown Rochester, west of Rochester Road and north of University. Parking shuttle service is available for $3/roundtrip at Rochester High School, located at the southwest corner of Livernois and University. For additional information about the Art & Apples Festival, please call (248) 651-4110 or visit www.artandapplesfestival.com.

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Coming Up On News/Talk 760 WJR

Friday September 2 (3PM-6PM): Tune in as The Mitch Albom Show broadcasts LIVE from The Splash Gallery during Arts, Beats and Eats 2005, Oakland County’s Taste, Music and Art Festival, in downtown Pontiac.

Saturday September 3: Join Steve Courtney as WJR kicks off the 2005 U of M Football Season with “The WJR Rock Financial Tailgate Show” LIVE from Ann Arbor beginning at 12:30pm. Then keep your dial set 760am WJR to hear the University of Michigan Wolverines take on Northern Illinois Huskies beginning at 3:30pm.

Sunday September 4 (Noon-3PM): Tune in as WJR’s “Home Improvement” broadcasts LIVE from The Splash Gallery at Arts, Beats and Eats 2005 in downtown Pontiac

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WMXD-MIX 92.3’s Nationwide Celebrity Morning Show Search is near the end of its search for the next new morning show host. From August 29th – September 2nd, MIX 92.3 will feature gospel recording artist, J.Moss of the infamous PAJAM production powerhouse with his sidekicks for the week, comedians Horace B. Sanders and Small Fire.

Detroit Free Press:

Tom Joyner is taking his audience with him. That's the big story emerging from this month's Arbitrend radio ratings, released Tuesday. The syndicated radio star's move from Clear Channel's WMXD to Joyner's new corporate radio home at Radio One's WDMK (now on 105.9) is clearly mirrored in the ratings chart. WMXD took a ratings hit as it tried using celebrities as morning hosts... Following Tom: Joyner's audience moves with him from 92.3 to 105.9; Arbitrend radio ratings, (Wed 8/24)

Question: Why is Monday's NFL preseason game between the Lions and the St. Louis Rams more than just a meaningless exhibition tilt? Answer: Because it gives ABC's "Monday Night Football" production a chance to do a live national telecast from Ford Field for the first time since the Lions moved there in 2002 -- which makes it a dress rehearsal for Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5, which ABC is broadcasting... Monday Lions game is ABC's rehearsal for the Super Bowl, (Wed 8/24)

Detroit News:

Relief could be coming for baseball fans who aren't seeing enough of the Tigers. There are signs of optimism that the Tigers will return to broadcast television next year, after a 2005 schedule that tuned out Metro Detroit fans who don't have cable TV. A long road of talks lies ahead before anything is signed, and stumbling blocks can spring up at any point in negotiations. But indications are that the Tigers will work out a deal to get back on UPN-Channel 50 in 2006... Tigers could return to Channel 50, (Sun 8/21)

Daily Oakland Press:

Tune down your AM dial this morning, and you’ll likely hear metro Detroit’s newest radio station. WFDF-AM (910) used to broadcast from Flint, but now it’s in the final stages of moving its transmitter to northern Monroe County... Disney station making move to metro Detroit airwaves, (Mon 8/22)

All Access:

CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40 WKQI (CHANNEL 95-5)/DETROIT "MOJO IN THE MORNING" co-host SPIKE rode a horse and buggy to work this morning in protest of the current gas prices in MICHIGAN. As news helicopters buzzed overhead, SPIKE even parked his carriage at a gas station and offered rides to anybody who would abandon their automobile. To top off his morning commute, SPIKE took the horse and buggy through the McDONALD'S drive-thru, where he purchased a $2.39 apple and walnut salad for his Clydesdale horse. Pictures of the journey will be posted soon on www.mojointhemorning.com. (Fri 8/26)

Crain's Detroit Business

Wayne State University plans to lease out valuable air waves it has controlled since the 1960s, a move that could help clear the way for next-generation wireless systems and devices in metro Detroit. Previously used for TV broadcasting, the 107.6 megahertz of radio waves are capable of carrying vast amounts of data, reaching out in a 35-mile radius from a tower at Eight Mile Road and Wyoming Avenue in Royal Oak Township... WSU to lease spectrum for wireless use, (Mon 8/22)


The Detroit designated market area, as defined by Nielsen Media Research, has dropped out of the country's top 10 markets, falling into 11th place behind Houston. It's the first time ever that Detroit has been outside of the Top 10. At one time during TV's early days in the 1950s, the Motor City was ranked as high as the 4th largest market, behind only New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Since then the Detroit market has slipped steadily down those Top 10 rankings and is now on the outside looking in.

The annual re-ranking of radio and TV markets showed mixed results this year for Detroit: Arbitron earlier placed the radio market as the 9th largest in the country, up from 10th. Arbitron and Nielsen each define their market areas differently, resulting in the disparity between the services.

According to MediaWeek, Nielsen estimates the total number of TV households in the USA increased 0.5 percent to 110.2 million with much of the increase occurring among ethnic populations. The impact of the baby boom generation is being felt more than ever too as the number of Women 55+ TV households increased by 2.5 percent to 36.2 million while the number of Men 55+ was up 3.1 percent to 29.7 million.

Nielsen reported significant shifts in the local market rankings, primarily due to population growth in the southern and western regions of the U.S. As a result, Houston moved up in rank to No. 10 from No. 11, while Detroit moved down to No. 11 from No. 10. Among the top 15 markets, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., (formerly No. 13) is now ranked No. 12. Phoenix moves up to No. 14 from No. 15, and Portland, Ore., moves up to No. 23 from No. 24. Las Vegas continues to be one of the fastest growing markets in the country, moving up three ranks to No. 48.

Even though Houston is now the 10th largest TV market, a Nielsen spokesperson said the ratings firm will continue with its originally-planned schedule to roll out the local people meter service to Detroit, now ranked No. 11. “We haven’t announced plans to go beyond the 10-announced markets,” said the spokesperson.

Changes to the rankings of various TV markets in Michigan is outlined below:

Market2005-06 rank  2004-05 rank
Grand Rapids/K-zoo 3938
Traverse City113113
Green Bay6969
South Bend8787

It will be interesting to observe if there is any noticeable impact on the news operations of Channels 2, 4, and 7 in Detroit over time now that the prestige of being a top 10 market is gone. That impact might be significant when considering high profile ad placements that might only be placed in Top 10 markets. One would think that there is little chance of the Detroit market ever moving back into the top 10 given the general trend of people moving south and west from the Midwest, making this a sad day indeed in local television history.


Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, August 29, 2005

By: Art Vuolo

Nothing seems to continually fascinate people in the radio industry (and listeners) more than ratings. In the metro Detroit market, radio ratings are taken in each of the four seasons and each quarter is divided into three phases, one for each month of the quarter. Even though most of the season’s first college football games are this Saturday, it’s still summertime. And though the summer ratings book for Detroit won’t be released until late October or early November, the first phase just rolled out — with a few surprises.

News-talk WJR-AM (760) held on to first place, but just barely as archrival all-news WWJ-AM (950) is only one tenth of a point behind the megawatt home of Paul W., Frank, Rush and Mitch. WKQI-FM (95.5) program director Dom Theodore has to be pleased that his Top 40 station is number four in Motown, just behind urban WJLB-FM (97.9) and tied with oldies WOMC-FM (104.3). Theodore’s former competitor, WDRQ-FM (93.1) — now dubbed Doug FM — actually moved up by a fraction of a point without DJs— which is not a good sign for personality radio. But only time will tell if the jockless juke box has legs. And in the pop wars, Jim Harper’s soft rock Magic WMGC-FM (105.1) edged out competitor Chris Edmonds and crew at WNIC-FM (100.3).

Have you noticed that WMGC’s HD-2 station (known as “More Magic”) features all-classical music at night on special high-definition radios? What’s interesting is this returns classical fare to a frequency known for “music of the masters” for almost 40 years — when the station was classical WQRS-FM. So, to VP/GM Tom Bender (who pulled the plug on ‘QRS in 1997), you have been forgiven.

In other classical radio news, the CBC Radio Canada lockout, which began Aug. 15, continues — which is why Windsor’s CBE-FM (89.9) has sounded so strange of late. No new negotiations have been set but workers said they’d be launching a national podcast today. For more, check cbcunplugged.com on the Web.

An old acquaintance and former broadcaster Paul Donovan, who now lives near Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, sent an e-mail stating that he was “sitting up here tonight listening to 1270 Detroit. ... I hear the Tigers in the evenings on my back deck with a portable Sony radio.” Yet I have trouble getting the station in Novi. Fortunately, the sports WXYT-AM (1270) broadcast is available crystal-clear on XM Satellite Radio.

Fans of Howard Stern are counting down his remaining days on “free” radio. His controversial program is carried locally by hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), where programmer Craig Schwalb needs to find a new morning show as time is running out. Insiders predict Stern will segue over to Sirius Satellite Radio by the end of September. Lots of possibilities for his slot are being considered. I know what show I would like to hear on Live 97.1, but as the Rolling Stones said in 1969, “You can’t always get what you want.”

Of all the radio stations that switched to the new “Jack” format (like our own Doug FM), the one that made the biggest news was 33-year oldies legend WCBS-FM in New York City. The early reports are not good. Listeners are still angry over the loss of their oldies. And former CBS-FM program director and Oakland County native Dave Logan has to be wondering what’s next. The “Jack” format took him out, too.

Blaine Fowler, the morning guy who looks too young to be in his 30s, checks in with a reminder to mark your calendar for Sept. 8. That’s when his pop hits WDVD-FM (96.3) hosts a 14 hour radiothon to benefit the Karmanos Cancer Institute to fight breast cancer. It’ll originate at Gordon Chevrolet in Garden City. See you there.

From our “Whatever Happened To” Department comes word that former classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) host Carey Carlson has migrated to northern Michigan and has a new syndicated program called “Third Coast Café.” Her old ’CSX Sunday morning shows were known as “Over Easy.” Like that, her new show is an eclectic mix of classic rock and seldom-heard tunes, and it airs Sunday mornings on several stations around the state. Listeners in western Oakland County can catch the show 9-11 a.m. Sundays on classic hits WHMI-FM (93.5) in Brighton/Howell. Carlson also handles midday duties at Traverse City’s powerful country WTCM-FM (103.5). Back at ’CSX, host Pam Rossi ably helms “Over Easy” from 7 a.m.-noon Saturdays and Sundays.

The last Motor City Broadcast Reunion is less than a month away. If you know someone who should be a part of this historic event and might not know about it, go to www.vuolovideo.com and click on reunions for details. An amazing number of radio and TV legends are coming to town for this occasion. Though not open to the public, it will be heavily covered by local media.

Set Your Dials: The Ditty Bops perform in studio on the Martin Bandyke Show at 2 p.m. today on WDET-FM (101.9) ... Frank Beckmann and Jim Brandstatter head back behind the mike on WJR Saturday for the Michigan’s home opener against Northern Illinois. The same broadcast is also available on Ann Arbor’s sports WTKA-AM (1050) ... band leader Cab Calloway gives ’em the old “hi dee ho” on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. Sunday on WMUZ-FM (103.5).


One of Detroit radio’s most popular personalities will return to the local airwaves this fall as Dave Wagner becomes program director and morning host for WRCJ-FM 90.9. Wagner, whose vast music knowledge and wry sense of humor are familiar to classical music fans from his 17 years at WQRS-FM 105.1, has been hired by the new Detroit classical and jazz station. The announcement was made today by 90.9 WRCJ Station Manager Robert Scott.

Wagner commented, "It’s great to have classical music back in Detroit and I’m so proud to be part of the team to make this happen." His role at WRCJ will be similar as the one he held at WQRS, which abandoned a classical music format in 1997. He will guide the mix of daytime classical and nighttime jazz and the overall content of the station, which is operated by Detroit Public Television and is licensed to Detroit Public Schools. Wagner will also become 90.9 FM Morning Show host when the station shifts from Classical 24 satellite programming to locally-based broadcasts from its new studios in the Detroit School of Arts this fall.

Wagner will assume duties as program director on September 6. The date for his debut as morning host is undetermined. Dave Wagner is a 35-year radio veteran with experience at commercial and public radio stations. Since 2001, he has been program director of classical radio station WMZT-FM in Los Angeles. He is also Professor of Music at Madonna University in Livonia. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

Major funding for the start up of WRCJ’s classical and jazz operations is provided by The Kresge Foundation.







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About this Archive

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

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