Don't believe flak on satcasters

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Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, December 17, 2006

By: Art Vuolo


On The Radio

If Orson Welles were alive today, he’d be saying, “I told you so.” You remember how he caused panic nationwide with his “War of the Worlds” back in 1939 over the Mercury Theatre on radio. Martians were attacking New Jersey. And the “experts” say it couldn’t happen today. Ha!

Look at all this hype about the public not wanting to pay for radio. People will pay for anything they want. If what they want is available free, great. If not, they’ll pay for it. I do. Mike Austerman does, too. But even my friend and colleague in this column reported last week what trade papers and periodicals are writing nationwide. I refuse to be redundant with my views on this topic, but things are not as bad as they’re made out to be. Still, if satellite radio networks continue to tighten their playlists and imitate terrestrial radio, people will not pay for what they can get for free.

The ’50s channel on Sirius just launched a great new doowop oldies show 9 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays with T.J. Lubinsky. I tried to get through on the toll-free line for hours with no luck. Always a busy signal. So, gee, I guess no one is listening to satellite radio.


 • • • • 


This is the uphill challenge facing HD radio, for which Detroit is arguably the leading city in the country. But how many of you are well-versed on this new technology? One local radio insider said it best: “I’m chagrined at the lack of creativity the industry is showing so far. We’re working to reorient the products and make them more innovative and unique. Otherwise, who’s going to be motivated to buy the radios?”

That quote says it all. Put content on the air that the audience wants. Remember “If you build it, they will come”? Well, if you put on the good stuff, they will listen.


 • • • • 


When I wrote this column a couple of days ago, I was just in one of those moods to bark about a few things. Because next Sunday is Christmas Eve, I’ll try to be kinder and gentler. But watch out for my year-end review and predictions for 2007. It’ll come New Year’s Eve.


 • • • • 


Many stations do nice things at this special time of the year and hits WKQI-FM (95.5) is a champ with the top-rated wake-up show “Mojo in the Morning.” They’re now doing a thing called “Breaking and Entering Christmas Wish,” in which needy families are stunned when co-host Spike pulls up to a home in a Channel 955 station van filled with gifts! It’s highly emotional radio, and it’s great radio. Keep up the good work.


 • • • • 


Country WDTW-FM (106.7) has teamed up with Southland Shopping Center to gather more than 10,000 toys for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots. The Fox just rapped up a three-day broadcast that surpassed expectations. Any listener who dropped off a toy is eligible for a grand prize of $10,000 in cash. It’s a clever way for the new station to out-Fox its competition.


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Speaking of that 99.5 frequency, back when it was WOW-FM and had just flipped to what was then “Young Country” WYCD, the midday host was Mark Elliott (one of several by that name.) If you venture up north this winter, you’ll hear him at either 92.5 or 94.3 on WFCX-FM — known as The Fox. Well, his “Day of 1000 Toys II” event last Friday collected new unwrapped toys for NW Michigan’s Toys for Tots campaign during a 12-hour broadcast that culminated with the donation of 85 brand-new bikes from a group of former Marines. Plus, when Elliott heard that the local St. Vincent de Paul Store had been burglarized, he rallied listeners and the manager of the local Meijer store to replace the cash and fix the door. Good goin’, Marko!


 • • • • 


Quick hits: Public WDET-FM (101.9) general manager Michael Coleman has tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 31. The station went through some turbulent days under his leadership, and supporters are hoping for improvements in the coming year.

Blaine Fowler on his pop WDVD-FM (96.3) morning show had a “brain-buster” stat that should thrill broadcasters. Apparently 59 percent of American households do not have an iPod, which is unquestionably one of radio’s biggest threats — especially with anyone under the age of 21.


 • • • • 


Set your dial: Check out the holiday music by Larry Douglas Embury at the huge Moeller organ on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5).


 • • • • 


Male alert! Men, it’s time for we guys to start our Christmas shopping, and no home can have too many radios.


 • • • • 


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

 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on December 17, 2006 12:48 PM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec 17, 2006 was the previous entry in this blog.

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec 18, 2006 is the next entry in this blog.

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