Purtan gets another honor, Roth dumped in New York

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Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, April 23, 2006

By: Art Vuolo


On The Radio

This Tuesday, the National Association of Broadcasters will induct Dick Purtan into the NAB Radio Hall of Fame at their huge convention out in Las Vegas. The celebrated morning host on oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) is already in the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago and the Michigan Radio Hall of Fame, and has both won and emceed the NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards. The “Dickster” has seemingly done it all, and the recognition is most certainly deserved.


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My thanks to fellow radio writer Mike Austerman, who pulled double-duty while I enjoyed a rare 10-day vacation in Florida, where I discovered how different radio is down South. The challenge in Miami is finding a station that broadcasts in English; Spanish and rhythmic formats are the most popular. Because of the language barrier and a rental car with a standard radio, I opted — and forgive me, local broadcasters — for XM, which I take with me on every trip.

Speaking of XM, satellite radio continues to make major news, as this past week it was announced that New York radio “bad boys” Opie & Anthony will replace rocker David Lee Roth on CBS FM stations in several large East Coast cities. O&A, if you recall, are the pair who were fired by CBS Radio for the famous simulated sex in St. Patrick’s Cathedral fiasco back in 2002. Now the company is bringing them back to counter the poor ratings Roth generated.

Howard Stern, Sirius’ big draw, hated O&A, but the duo always wanted to go up against him. Now they will, and they’ll still be carried on XM Channel 202 and promote the satellite service at the same time.

Locally, CBS-owned hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1) won’t be replacing Rover’s Morning Glory with O&A.


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XM has just added a number of new channels with more coming soon, such as the one featuring musical poet Bob Dylan on May 3. Sunny 24, XM’s exceptionally popular beautiful-music channel, has moved to 78 and is renamed “The Escape.” A new Southern gospel channel (34) called “enLighten” is the brainchild of Country Dan Dixon, an ex-Detroit DJ from WCXI and WDEE in the 1970s and ’80s.

Back in the 1930s and ’40s, Cincinnati’s WLW radio operated at a staggering 500,000 watts and was called “The Nation’s Station.” Now, about 70 years later, 700 WLW is available, once again, nationwide on XM Channel 173. The afternoon host is the creative Gary Burbank, a former Big 8 CKLW jock in the ’70s, who’s now available once again in Detroit — and across America.


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After seeing a billboard on the Jefferies Freeway for WKRK-FM morning man “Rover” then remembering TV feature stories done by that station’s midday co-host Jay Towers on Fox 2 and other reports by hits WKQI-FM (95.5) morning guy Mojo, I wondered why no television station has tapped Blaine Fowler or Lisa Jesswein from pop/hits WDVD-FM (96.3). With no disrespect to the others, Blaine and Lisa are considerably more attractive.


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High-definition radio is something we’ve talked about extensively in this column, and if you want to read more about this new technology, check out Oakland Press Business Editor Gary Gosselin’s in-depth story in today’s business section.


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Sad news from Washtenaw County with the passing of William V. “Bill” Swisher, at 77. The longtime head of the speech and broadcasting department at Eastern Michigan University, “Swish” was the man most responsible for the development of NPR/jazz WEMU-FM (89.1). He took it from a 10-watt “peashooter” to one of Michigan’s finest public radio stations with a full-market, 15,550-watt signal. There’s a long list of broadcasters and radioholics who owe an expression of gratitude to this man, and I’m one of them.


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Wishing a speedy recovery to Gail Henson, the mother of Gregg Henson, formerly with sports WDFN-AM (1130), sports WXYT-AM (1270) and, most recently, WKRK-FM. Henson is with a sports station in Austin, Texas, and his mother recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor at Henry Ford Hospital. Many Live 97.1 listeners are familiar with Gail through her regular segments on “Motor City Middays” with Henson and Michelle McKormick. If Gail Henson could survive Gregg’s childhood, surly she will give cancer a good fight.

Reorts are that Gregg may be coming home to Detroit. Could there be a reunion for Gregg and Michelle on a different station? Stay tuned.


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Quick Hits: Michael Coleman, general manager at NPR/WDET-FM (101.9), has pled not guilty to embezzlement charges. The trial is set for May 18 ... Circle May 19-21 on your calendar for the country WYCD-FM (99.5) Downtown Hoedown, with Clay Walker, Terri Clark, Josh Gracin and others.


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Set your dials: The big organ sounds of Jelani Eddington returns to WMUZ-FM (103.5) at 6 pm today.


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

 

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on April 23, 2006 11:30 AM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers April 19 - 23 was the previous entry in this blog.

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers April 24, 2006 is the next entry in this blog.

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