Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, July 30, 2006
By: Art Vuolo
Eileen Trombley-Glick was encouraged by hundreds of positive responses to have a great Detroit Reunion, but after a year’s worth of preparations, the event fell short of its attendance goal. Unlike the three Detroit Radio Reunions since 1988, this one was to be open to the public. The shortfall wasn’t for lack of effort on Eileen’s part. She contacted all the major local media, but found a lack of cooperation. Along with local marketing maven Mike Seltzer, who worked with us on all three radio reunions, I attended the Detroit Memories breakfast July 21 at the Roostertail. The room should have been packed. Fewer than 100 were on hand. Most heard about it from this paper or the Internet.
Mike and I realized later that this may have been the last time we’ll see the likes of Johnny Ginger, Marv Welch, Ricky the Clown, Art (Bozo) Cervi and Robin Seymour reminiscing about the great times in the Motor City. Our hats are off to Eileen for an outstanding effort. In fact, Seltzer said it best: “The local Detroit media should be ashamed of themselves for providing no coverage of this event, and it exemplifies the apathy that is apparent here. Detroit was once a thriving, vibrant and exciting city, and thank goodness we have our great memories of those glory days because they are, unfortunately, as Ernie Harwell might say, ‘long gone.’”
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Paul W. Smith, morning host on news/talk WJR-AM (760), deserves major kudos last week as he reunited a Dearborn family in war-torn Tyre, Lebanon, via ABC newsman Matt Gutmann. This was live radio drama unlike anything I’ve ever heard, as an emotional Smith relished in his ability through a series of coincidences, good luck and his years of radio experience to reconnect a registered nurse at Detroit Children’s Hospital with his wife and daughter.
When asked what the mother and daughter would do when they returned home, they said they want pizza. And Paul immediately heard from Little Caesars CEO Chris Illitch, who will provide the family with all the pizza they want. Rather than trying to recount all that transpired on the air, go to www.wjr.com and you can actually hear Tuesday’s gripping 18 minutes of audio.
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One can only wonder what type of chemicals may have leaked into the air ducts in the Clear Channel building in Farmington Hills. Talk WDTW-AM (1310) took the call-letters of Ann Arbor Country W4 and is now WWWW-AM, but the format is unchanged. Yet, new country The Fox remains WDTW-FM (106.7). Strange.
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After Glenn Haege’s “Ask the Handyman” program today, he’s reportedly being shown the door. America’s Master Handyman did not have his contract renewed at sports WDFN-AM (1130). His program is nationally syndicated to more than 200 stations nationwide.
Could he be headed for the Fisher Building? Is Glenn out to replace recently ousted Murray Gula? Well, it turns out that Gula’s sizeable roster of big-name advertisers is sticking with him. This type of loyalty is rarely seen in broadcasting these days. Perhaps WJR brass should reconsider the “Murraygo-round” as advertising revenues followed the big guy out the door.
On the flip side of the home improvement coin, Gula has signed a contract with WXYZ-Channel 7 for several one-hour “watch dog” specials. He will be actively involved with Murray’s Blog and providing tips via the popular Channel 7 Web site (www.wxyz.com).
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Set your dials: Big Band lovers can check out the music of Benny Goodman on Tom Wilson’s “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5).
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Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.