Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, June 25, 2006
By: Mike Austerman
Now that summer is in full swing, many of our local radio stations are celebrating in similar ways — by either giving away gasoline or hosting golf outings. Among those giving away free fuel are sports WDFN-AM (1130), adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3), and classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7).
For the golfers, WDFN’s second annual $1 million golf scramble is tomorrow at Majestic Golf Course at Lake Walden in Hartland. The event’s highlight is a chance to knock in a hole-in-one to win a cool million bucks.
Dick Purtan of classic Top 40 WOMC-FM (104.3) presents his ninth annual outing at Oakland University on July 10 to benefit the Gail Purtan Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Then, country WYCD-FM (99.5) afternoon hosts Chuck Edwards and Linda Lee host their sixth annual St. Jude Golf Classic at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Macomb Township on July 17. WYCD’s event features a hole-in-one competition, silent auction, and appearances from stars of country music, with proceeds benefiting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
And on July 23, news-talk WJR-AM (760) will once again attempt to set a world’s record for the fastest round of golf at northern Michigan’s Alpine course at Boyne Mountain. WJR is looking for volunteers to participate in the free event.
For details on all these events, visit each station’s Web site. Don’t know what they are? You can access a list of Detroit radio stations with links at www.michiguide.com/dials/detroit.html.
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The spring ratings period wrapped up earlier this week and we’ll know next month who the real winners and losers were when those numbers are released. In the meantime, the ratings trends for the month of May show that adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3) led the way among listeners age 12 and older, followed by a surging rock WRIF-FM (101.1), which will no doubt benefit from WDTW-FM’s (106.7) change from rock to country in May. Contemporary hits WKQI-FM (95.5), all-news WWJ-AM (950) and WYCD all finished in a tie for third place; in fact, the May trend showed that the stations in positions 2-8 were only separated by 0.4 of a rating share, which might make for a very interesting final spring report card.
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In recent weeks, a lot of the shine has come off the satellite radio industry. Several radio trade and business publications have been expressing concern about the long-term financial prospects for both XM and Sirius. The honeymoon is over, even with XM’s pending arrival of a channel featuring Oprah Winfrey and Howard Stern’s arrival at Sirius. Both companies have made statements that it might make sense for them to merge, but analysts are uncertain if the Federal Communications Commission would allow such a transaction to take place. Now it looks like the companies are backing off from preventing subscribers to own a radio that would be able to pick up channels from both services.
A company called Interoperable Technologies claimed to be working on such a radio with the support of both XM and Sirius, but the Web site stating such a device would be available later this year was removed this week. It’d make a lot of sense to give consumers as much flexibility as possible with this emerging technology. Anybody else remember when it was tough to get an FM radio in your car?
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Checking the mailbag, Shelly from Rochester inquires: “I have not been able to identify why I have not enjoyed (WJR’s) Mitch Albom’s shows in the past four to six months. Is it the new time slot? Has Kenny’s (Brown) participation changed? Is it because the woman has been given more time lately, yet they canned Rachel for what seems to be the same role? Is it Bruce who mostly says ‘Yep’ in agreement with Mitch? All equally annoying elements, but I’m not sure.
“Then tonight it hit me: Mitch’s endorsement of Toyota just rubs me the wrong way. Mitch is a Detroit guy, Detroit newspapers, Detroit television, Detroit author, Detroit celebrity, and although the rational part of me says Toyota is a terrific automaker, they are not Detroit. I find myself shutting him off after the first hour because I can’t take anymore! Is it me?”
What do you think? Do Detroit radio personalities violate the trust of listeners when they endorse products that aren’t totally Red, White, & Blue? Or it is just another sign of the times?
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Finally this week, a tip of the hat to the students and staff at Bloomfield Hills’ WBFH-FM (88.1). The station and its students won a total of 11 national and 42 state awards this past school year, setting a record for the station that surpassed the former record of six national and 35 state awards won last year. The 11 seniors on the radio staff graduated this month, having won a career total of 73 state broadcasting awards and nine national awards for a total of 82 awards. We’ll be looking forward to their contributions in the years to come.
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Set your Dials: “Somewhere in Time” looks at the music of Detroit’s Theodore Salavatore Fio Rito and his band at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5).
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Columnist Mike Austerman has covered radio for The Oakland Press since 2001.