L’chaim! Local all-Jewish radio now streaming




By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioAfter nearly 47 years in radio, I thought I’d heard it all. When XM satellite radio devoted a channel to Hanukkah music in December, I started retelling a joke that I created regarding a new radio station known as WJEW. It got laughs even from Orthodox rabbis, but now it’s no longer a joke.

Temple Israel is pleased to announce its own new Jewish radio station — and yes, it’s called WJEW. It’s managed by the temple’s high school students and Cantor Michael Smolash. Just go to www.temple-israel.org on your computer to check out the Internet radio station that can be listened to by Jewish people around the world.

“The whole idea began when I was talking to a student at Monday night school, Corey Berkowitz,” Cantor Smolash said. I mentioned that I had been wondering why there were so many Christian radio stations, but no Jewish ones. He then suggested we create one.”

Corey is the son of renowned radio consultant and one-time WJR programmer Gary Berkowitz, so he no doubt has radio in his blood.

“I’m looking forward to helping WJEW become one of the top Jewish radio stations in the country,” Berkowitz said. “I’ve grown up with radio all around me and have dedicated a great amount of time to my high school radio station.”

“We have already interviewed some big names, including Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and comedian Joel Chasnoff, which we will be airing,” Smolash said. “The students are also able to come in and run their own shows — jocking, talking about Jewish teen topics, and more.”

He added that “we were the first religious school he knew of to create a radio station like this. I hope that WJEW will be a template for similar stations at other synagogues.”

The Jewish community’s response to the station has been extremely positive. This is truly a first of its kind, and despite my weird sense of humor, this really is no joke.



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Another situation that’s certainly no laughing matter is the struggle facing Michigan rocker Question Mark, who along with his band, the Mysterians, had a number-one hit in 1966 with “96 Tears.”

You might cry more than that if you go to www.96tears.net and watch the video from last month’s fire that completely destroyed his home in Clio, just north of Flint.

I spoke to Peter C. Cavanaugh, a former Flint radio icon at Big 600 WTAC who has relocated out to the West Coast just north of Fresno and authored the book “Local DJ.” He said a benefit is being held as far away as San Francisco. Reach him at ledzep2001@aol.com, and you can help Question Mark, whose losses were catastrophic, via the Web site.

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Detroit had arguably the two best “love songs” DJs in America up against each other with Alan Almond on soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3) and Johnny Williams on soft pop WMGC-FM (105.1). Now, Magic 105.1 decided to take their night shift in “another direction” by dropping Williams and replacing him with the nationally syndicated “John Tesh Show.”

Williams and WMGC management had differing opinions about the music on his show, but I can’t understand how a program from out of town can compete with “Pillow Talk” on WNIC. Hopefully another station will scoop up Williams soon.

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From the rumor mill, some of your favorites may soon be back on the air. Disappointed sports fans missing “Parker and the Man” from talk WKRK-FM (97.1) at night may soon hear them on 50,000-watt talker WCHB-AM (1200) if things can be worked out.

Also, Mr. Home Improvement Murray Gula, who is still featured on Bob Allison’s Show at 10:30 a.m. Fridays on ethnic WNZK-AM (690) and is all over WXYZ-Channel 7, may be coming back to radio on a regular basis by early next month.

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Jazz musician Branford Marsalis will appear as a guest on the classical WRCJFM (90.9) program “DSO Unmasked” from noon-2 p.m. today. He’ll be speaking with host Jimmy Rhoades on the cross-pollination of jazz and classical music. On the fl ip side, fans of his brother, Wynton Marsalis, can hear him in a special, “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary,” at 9 p.m. Thursday on public WDET-FM (101.9). It’s host Ed Love and is in celebration of Black History Month.

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Don’t forget to help Dick Purtan top last years $1.8 million at the 2007 radiothon for The Salvation Army all day Friday in the main concourse at the Oakland Mall. Listen in on the event on oldies WOMC-FM (104.3).

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Set your dial: Great organ music can be heard by George Blackmore at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) on the “Somewhere in Time” show.

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By the way, it’s too bad radios no longer have tubes. We could use the heat!

Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com. Contact him at artvuolo@aol.com.

Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, February 18, 2007







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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on February 18, 2007 10:52 AM.

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XM and Sirius to merge, pending government approvals is the next entry in this blog.

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