Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, October 15, 2006
By: Mike Austerman
More ch-ch-ch-changes from across the river. Now Windsor’s CKWW-AM (580) has shifted more toward an oldies format that features top hits from the 1950s through ’70s, with less focus on the soft rock tunes it’s been playing since May 2005, when the station shifted away from adult standards.
The “Great Fun, Great Oldies” sound now leans heavily on tunes from artists such as Elvis, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, the Platters, and Ricky Nelson, along with rare oldies and plenty of hometown artists from the Motown era.
The music adjustment provides a new outlet for much of the music from the late ’50s and early ’60s that’s rarely heard on the airwaves of classic Top 40 WOMC-FM (104.3) since ’OMC’s playlist recently went forward in time.
CKWW’s biggest challenge in metro Detroit is getting listeners to use their AM radios for music, especially considering that there’s more interference than ever on the AM band. The station hopes to get an Internet stream up and running soon to alleviate some of those concerns; check the station’s Web site at www.am580radio.com for details.
By the way, CKWW sister station, CIDR-FM (93.9), last month also changed its format. It’s moved from pop to adult alternative to take advantage of public WDET-FM’s (101.9) shift away from weekday music programming late last year.
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Don’t forget that from 4-9 p.m. Friday, XM satellite radio’s “60s on 6” channel will feature a tribute to the Top 40 sound of the Big 8, CKLW-AM (800).
Host Terry “Motormouth” Young’s “Sonic Sound Salutes” feature station jingles, air personalities and local happenings from the ’60s, and it’ll be something for fans of the Big 8 to not miss.
What? You’re not an XM subscriber? Then visit the XM Web site at www.xmradio.com and sign up for a risk-free, three-day trial. You’ll have to listen in via your computer, but it’ll be well worth it!
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XM subscribers who are Tigers fans and live outside of the normal reception range of sports WXYT-AM (1270) — and even outside of Michigan — have enjoyed the call of every game of the ALCS from Dan Dickerson and Jim Price. The satcaster provides the broadcasts from both teams for every game during the championship series’ and will do so during the World Series, too.
I really hope that regular stations across Michigan move the ballgames to more powerful FM stations in order to increase the ability for baseball fans to tune in if they have to be away from their TVs. Yeah, it’s that important!
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Satellite radio continues to gain subscribers, albeit at a slower rate than many investors are comfortable with. XM saw an increase of 285,000 subscribers in the third quarter, pushing its total to just above 7.1 million. Sirius continues to grow faster than XM and now claims more than 5.1 million subscribers with a third-quarter gain of 441,000.
Both companies are banking on big gains during the upcoming Christmas shopping period. XM has stated a year-end goal of between 7.7 million and 8.2 million, while Sirius is hoping for 6.3 million. But XM just might get a boost from Acura, which announced this week that all of its used cars will now come with three free months of XM service.
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Quick hits: The ratings service Arbitron has moved the Detroit market down from the ninth largest market to the 10th, behind Atlanta. While that’s not a big deal, falling out of the top 10, which appears inevitable, takes away a lot of the luster of being a “Top 10” market ... Talk WKRK-FM (97.1) has re-upped with “Motor City Middays” co-host Michelle McKormick. Now teamed with Jay Towers, McKormick signed on at WKRK in 2003, when she joined Gregg Henson to launch the popular midday talkfest ... Nice to see WOMC go all out for last weekend’s Michigan/Michigan State football game. Along with a snazzy new tent, the entire Purtan’s People gang was on hand to tailgate on the air, drawing a big crowd and lots of laughter ... Interesting that WXYZ-Channel 7 anchor Frank Turner has walked away from the station completely, as he followed his heart into the realm of Christian preaching and teaching. He’d probably still be on TV if WXYZ had allowed him to moonlight as a midday radio host on religious WEXL-AM (1340), something that the TV station likely feared would harm his credibility as an anchorman. But how much harm could it have caused to allow Turner to preach on a radio station most people don’t even know about? Well, they do now.
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Set your dial: At 6 p.m. today, “Somewhere in Time” hosts Tom Wilson and Heather Novak will feature the pipe organ music of Dan Ballomy on WMUZ-FM (103.5).
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Columnist Mike Austerman has covered radio for The Oakland Press since 2001.