Conference proves how country is hotter than ever on the radio




Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, February 26, 2006

By: Art Vuolo

On The Radio

Your traveling radio reporter spent time last week at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, an event that gives broadcasters who embrace “America’s Music” unprecedented contact with country artists, record executives and promo folks. Locally, country WYCD-FM (99.5) was represented by program director Tim Roberts and music director Ron Chatman. Which reminds me that a couple of years ago, I saw Dr. Don at the seminar sporting a yellow Tshirt that read “Hire me” across his chest. Someone apparently paid attention, as he’s now hosting WYCD’s morning drive show along with Bob Schuman and newcomers Rachel Hunter and Steve Grunwald. Country music is enjoying a resurgence right now — and the new acts look more like pop and rock stars with longer hair, earrings and facial stubble. Artists like Keith Urban, Clay Walker — who’s still clean cut — Dierks Bentley and rookie Keith Anderson had many women at the seminar swooning.

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Since the University of Michigan has yet to select a new radio partner for the 2006 football and basketball season, which local AM or FM station(s) do you feel would serve fans best? And, just as important, which announcers should call the games? My personal favorites are Frank Beckmann, Jim Brandstatter and Steve Courtney for the pigskin and Larry Henry for the roundball. What do you think? Send me an e-mail and we’ll report the results — and share them with the U-M.

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Dick Purtan is probably still sleeping after his marathon 16-hour radiothon benefiting the Salvation Army Bed and Bread Fund on Friday. Colleague Mike Austerman and I both stopped by the Oakland Mall on Friday to donate to the cause. The crowds were incredible, as Detroit’s No. 1 radio philanthropist and his cast of dozens raised an unbelievable, over-the-top $1,808,440 in a one-day effort. Everyone who contributed to this annual event is to be congratulated. Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) should be proud of the power they have (not just in their wattage) in our community; promotions manager Kassie Kretzschmar also must be pleased.

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And how about a hardy Tip o’ the Hat to all the radio stations helping in the efforts to save the Detroit Zoo? Pop WDVD-FM (96.3) morning hosts Blaine and Lisa got Detroit councilwoman Barbara Rose Collins on the phone to “face the music.” After failing to answer the pair’s well-phrased questions, Collins hung up on the pair. Which perfectly illustrates how we got in this mess.

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Just Askin’: What was former Tic-Tac poet Mr. Positive doing on Alan Almond’s “Pillow Talk” show on soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3) last week? And will Tic-Tac successor Big Boy at hits WKQI-FM (95.5) add the rhyming reader to his show?

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A reader e-mailed me recently wondering when we’ll be listing the HD formats in our Radio Guide, both the one in the paper and the ones that I’ve been publishing for the past 34 years. Well, mine will be happening very soon, as more stations provide — we hope — unique new formats on their “side-channel” since high-definition FM stations can have two stations, FM-1 (the regular broadcast) and FM-2, on the same frequency. Recently, General Motors announced it will equip all of its cars with On-Star and XM Satellite Radio hardware. The HD Radio Alliance needs to get that type of support from GM and the other automakers so this new technology can become successful and not turn out to be the bust that, sadly, AM-Stereo was.

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If you’re a fan of those hard-to-find oldies, check out the Dr. Doo Wop Show on talk-and-oldies WPON-AM (1460) and streaming online at From 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays, Dr. Roman Franklin and Benny of the Benny and the Jets Band, really pour their hearts into this show, and it’s worth a listen.

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In a statement sent to the media this month, longtime public radio host and programmer Judy Adams tersely wrote: “I voluntarily retired my position as program director with Wayne State University and WDET-FM (101.9) effective Dec. 12, 2005. Any statements or reports to the contrary are not accurate. I will be making no further comments concerning my former employment at Wayne State University and WDET.” Numerous supporters and former supporters of this NPR station have had doubts about the word “voluntarily.”

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Mark your calendar now for another comedian Steve Harvey visit to Detroit on March 14, presented by urban/pop WMXD-FM (92.3). The station is presenting a special premiere of Harvey’s newest film, “Don’t Trip, He Ain’t Through With Me Yet,” at the AMC Star 20 Theatre in Southfield; win tickets by listening to the Mix. Could be an evening to remember.

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Set Your Dials: Fred Astaire performs the music of Gershwin at 6 p.m. tonight on “Somewhere in Time” on WMUZ-FM (103.5).

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







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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on February 26, 2006 9:37 AM.

Purtan Radiothon scores record $1.8 million was the previous entry in this blog.

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 20 - 26 is the next entry in this blog.

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