Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, August 27, 2006
By: Art Vuolo
Holy cow! Could it be that one week from today Michigan and MSU will have already played their first football games? Where did the summer go?
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So much is going on that often I wonder who and what is running the radio industry. Well, we certainly know what, and that’s money. It’s the great equalizer, and the bottom line is greatly responsible for just about everything that happens across the dial. Now recent reports from Wall Street have the big-money people screaming for a merger between the two satellite radio companies.
I was an early supporter of both XM and Sirius because they offered a number of formats and music choices that are simply not available on terrestrial radio anymore. However, a plethora of articles with headlines including “The Bloom is off the Rose” have painted a rather depressing picture for this new technology.
In a related story, General Motors recently announced that the price of XM in a new vehicle has just been lowered from $325 to $199. The price of after-market (i.e., install it yourself) XM radios also is tumbling. The same thing is happening in the Sirius camp. The sat-casters are learning that the money is made not from the shaver, but from the blades. And one of their biggest problems is getting car dealers to explain what satellite radio is and how to activate the service. Knowledge is power.
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Last week, Mike Austerman passed along the sad news about the death of former WKNR owner Nellie Knorr. A memorial service has been scheduled for Sept. 9. Mark your calendars if you were a Keener 13 fan. Details will follow.
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As I alluded to, don’t forget that next Saturday, the Spartans of Michigan State will play Idaho on their new flagship station, news-talk WJR-AM (760), while the Michigan Wolverines take on Vanderbilt at their new stations, classic top 40 WOMC-FM (104.3) and talk CKLW-AM (800).
Speaking of college football, Steve Courtney has handed over his tailgate party microphone to fellow WJR stablemate Warren Pierce. You may recall Pierce was the football side-line reporter at the Big House in Ann Arbor for several years on the U-M broadcasts. Now that the Spartans are on WJR, Pierce will have to trade in his maize-and-blue outfits for ones featuring green and white. You’ll find Warren with an all new broadcast set up in East Lansing next Saturday.
We’re not sure what to expect out in Ann Arbor.
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Kudos to WJR’s Paul W. Smith as his Golf Classic to benefit “Think Detroit PAL” netted an unbelievable $325,000 to help thousands of young people in the Detroit area with academics, athletics and leadership skills they wouldn’t have access to without these two great organizations (Think Detroit and the Police Athletic League (PAL) merged to become one). Paul W. is obviously proud and thankful for all of the hard work by his team and the generosity of his many sponsors, truly making a difference in so many lives.
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While we’re passing out compliments, let’s not overlook The Riff. Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) scored a record-breaking five nominations for the upcoming Radio & Records Industry Achievement Awards. The station is up for Active Rock Station of the Year in major markets, Tom Bender is up for General Manager of the Year in major markets, and Doug Podell is up for Program Director of the Year for rock radio. Up for best music director at a major market rock station is Mark Pennington, while morning yucksters Drew & Mike are up for top morning show.
Other Detroit nominations include smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7) with their program director Tom Sleeker, urban WJLB-FM (97.9) and urban/pop WMXD-FM (92.3) along with their PD Jamillah Muhammad. Also in the running are country WYCD-FM (99.5) with their programmer Tim Roberts and music director Ron Chatman, and topping it off is their morning show with Dr. Don, Rachael, Grunwald and Bob Schuman. Pop WDVD-FM (96.3) is up for an award, plus classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) PD Bill Stedman and everyone’s favorite, Dick Purtan at WOMC.
So it looks like the Motor City will be well represented at the R&R Convention next month in Dallas.
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Set your dial: Tom Wilson has the true jazz stylings of Milton Cross 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.