Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, July 4, 2005
By: Mike Austerman
Fans of the Tom Joyner morning show gave their seek buttons a workout this past week after his highly rated morning show jumped from one adult urban station to another with little warning to listeners. A fixture for many years on WMXD-FM (92.3), Joyner can now be heard on WDMK-FM (105.9) as one piece of a rather complicated series of changes in the area’s urban radio scene.
Gone from the airwaves (sort of) is hip-hop WDTJ-FM (105.9), known as “Jamz,” which was moved out of the way to make room for the adult R&B sound of WDMK (Kiss FM) as it moved up the dial from its previous home at FM 102.7. With the addition of Joyner, fans of former Kiss FM morning man John Mason now have to listen to his show during the afternoon drive (2-6 p.m.) on FM 105.9, instead. A.J. Parker, Mason’s former co-host, now does middays (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) for Kiss, and Lady BG has shifted to evenings. Shuffled out of the picture was 23-year Detroit radio vet Randi Myles who’d been with Kiss FM the past four years.
The new kid in town is WHTD-FM (102.7), which goes by the moniker Hot 102-7. It’s proudly boasting that “We Are Hip-Hop,” making it pretty much a direct replacement for what was 105.9 Jamz. One big difference so far has been the lack of the Russ Parr morning show. The station says it’s not yet made a final decision on morning programming on 102.7; last week, the morning show focused heavily on music.
The reasons for all of these changes? The 102.7 frequency runs into interference roughly west of Interstate 275 because of the close proximity of Ann Arbor’s country WWWW-FM (102.9). And WDMK/WHTD owner Radio One wants to maximize its coverage for the franchise Joyner morning program, a show the company has invested heavily in, which’ll get much better market coverage on FM 105.9. And getting the show off a competitor’s station and on to its own property is a huge win for Radio One and sets up quite a battle for fans of adult R&B between them and Mix 92.3.
Meanwhile, WMXD will fill its mornings with summerlong rotation of guest hosts. The station is asking listeners to vote for their favorite guest in the next couple of months. They’ll then use that feedback to help select a new host.
Welcome Aboard: Michael Coleman is the new general manager at public radio WDET-FM (101.9) The former deputy director of Michigan Public Media replaces Caryn Mathes, who left in February to manage a public station in Washington, D.C.
Fans of classical music have a unique opportunity to hear a live performance of Bay City’s Bijou Orchestra on Tuesday from the front lawn of CBC Windsor on Riverside Drive in Windsor. The event will be broadcast live during the afternoon drive on CBC’s Radio Two service, heard locally on CBE-FM (89.9). And what a band! The Bijou Orchestra plays with panache, aplomb and a few other fruits. “We couldn’t be more excited about having them join us in Windsor,” said Grant Rowledge, producer for the afternoon show “Disc Drive.” Bijou’s artistic director Leo Najar is happy, too, calling the show “one of the most popular drive-time music programs in Canada.” Originating in Vancouver, it is traveling to Windsor for the Freedom Festival because the program is very popular in such American border cities as Detroit, Buffalo and Seattle, among others.
The Bijou Orchestra takes its name from the Bijou Theater, one of the earliest theaters in Bay City, which later became known as the Bay and eventually the State. The ensemble is composed of 13 outstanding musicians drawn from Michigan and beyond to perform in this challenging medium in which every player is a soloist. Seems like a great way to celebrate the holiday and the freedom of two great countries.
Detroit rock city strikes again — as rockin’ WRIF-FM (101.1) scored three major awards in the active rock station category at the recent Radio & Records convention. ’RIF was named Active Rock Station of the Year, morning hosts Drew & Mike were Morning Show of the Year and Mark Pennington was honored as Music Director of the Year. “It’s an incredible achievement,” said Peter Smyth, president and CEO of WRIF owner Greater Media, and “... a wonderful tribute to the outstanding men and women who have made WRIF the legendary station it is today in the Motor City.”