Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, October 8, 2006
By: Art Vuolo
Some weeks back, I reported on the combo confabs of two major radio conventions running simultaneously in Dallas. It was a double effort of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and trade giant Radio and Records (R&R). It was hoped that there would be intermingling between the two conventions, but they were seemingly more segregated than the South in the 1950s. The suits were at the NAB, while the casuals were at the R&R.
Don’t misread my comment. There was simply less interaction than organizers had hoped for. It was a noble effort though, and each gathering had stellar lineups of panels and activities where attendees learned much about the future of the business.
I felt that satellite radio was overly portrayed as radio’s worst enemy. It’s not. At television conventions, cable stations such as HBO, Bravo, the History Channel and CMT are not positioned as enemies. It’s all just TV. Why can’t AM, FM, HD, XM and Sirius all be accepted as radio?
A great deal of awards were handed out at both confabs. At the R&R, the big winner, as outlined previously, was rock WRIF-FM (101.1), but former Detroiter Rob Striker won for Manager of the Year in markets 101-plus, as he now runs the Citadel Group in Lansing. Our own Dick Purtan at classic Top 40 WOMC-FM (104.3) also won as the oldies personality of the year.
The Marconi Awards, radio’s version of the Oscars that’s put on by the NAB, had no Detroit-area winners. The only Michigan nominee was pop WLHT-FM in Grand Rapids.
Bob & Tom, heard statewide except in Detroit, won their fifth Marconi and two more R&R awards. They’re good.
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It’s been a while since I’ve recommended a book for fans of the wireless, but Don Tanner’s newly released “No Static at All” (iUniverse, $15.95) is a winner. I found it difficult to put down. Tanner, who did time as a radio DJ and a reporter for news WWJ-AM (950), has written a quick read of fewer than 200 pages that takes the reader down a scenic road of radio and pop music in the past 35 years. It’s laced with the names of many stations you will recognize and the radio personalities who made them a part of our lives.
I was surprised to see positive musings about Ann Arbor-native John Records Landecker in Chicago and even a nice plug for “the little radio station that could,” classic hits WHMI-FM (93.5) from Howell. Livingston County’s only station is owned by award winning Detroit native Greg Jablonski and wife Marcia. It’s a true “mom and pop” station that superserves it’s audience. Landecker is a Chicago radio legend who inspired a plethora of young people to enter the broadcasting industry.
Pick up a copy at Amazon.com or order direct at www.iuniverse.com. If you have even a slight passion for radio, this is the book for you.
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Nostalgia CKWW-AM (580) will welcome a new host to “When Radio Was” as the venerable Stan Freberg retires from the program. He will be succeeded by radio historian Chuck Schaden. The show airs 11 p.m. weekdays and is worth a listen, even though the 580 signal is a tough pull in western sections of Oakland County.
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A little more than a year ago, the last Detroit Radio Reunion was held at the Sheraton in Novi. (DVDs are still available from that event through www.vuolovideo.com.) Well, on Oct. 27, that same venue will be the place to celebrate Halloween 2006, thanks to pop WMGC-FM (105.1). Mark your calendars now and learn more at www.magic1051.com.
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Are you a part of a local band? Would you like to open for the Barenaked Ladies on Oct. 27 at The Palace? It’ll happen for one lucky local band, thanks to pop-contemporary WDVD-FM (96.3). The “play-off” will be Oct. 21 at Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak. Details and official rules are at www.963wdvd.com.
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Do you remember the tunes of the Prohibition era, played at establishments known as speakeasies? Well, Tom Wilson will feature the music of Fred E. Finn and his banjo-playing wife, Mickie, on the “Somewhere in Time” program at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5).
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On Saturday, Michigan fans got to once again hear the Wolverines over powerful news-talk WJR-AM (760), as it was the annual “backyard brawl” between U-M and MSU. The only problem for U-M supporters was George Blaha’s blatant bias toward the Spartans. What time did that game end? Most fans had fun finding their cars in the dark. Thank goodness for the mild weather.
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Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.