Drew & Mike were tops in shooting follow-up

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By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioAs I prepared to write this column, it was hard to focus on anything other than the tragic murder of 32 students and staff by a fellow student at Virginia Tech University.

When the story broke late Monday morning, local radio once again jumped into action to provide coverage to those that couldn’t — or didn’t want to — watch footage on TV. I was limited in my ability to listen on Monday, but I was grateful for the coverage I did catch to get late-breaking information.

To me, though, the real challenge came the next morning, when loyal listeners tuned in to their favorite hosts to hear how they would handle the story. The Mojo in the Morning crew at contemporary hits WKQI-FM (95.5) has become a powerhouse when it comes to connecting with young adults — both in good times and bad. And Tuesday, they displayed their knack for knowing their audience by balancing commentary and information, all the while keeping a positive vibe going.

On Drew & Mike at rock WRIF-FM (101.1), morning co-host Drew Lane reminded his listeners that he’s a Virginia Tech grad, which offered a perspective that no other morning show in town could match.

Later in the morning, Lane and Mike Clark announced they had landed the cell phone number for O.J. Simpson, the subject of one of the most sensationalized news stories of the ’90s, and gave him a call. Simpson was quite cordial during the nearly 10-minute call, even managing to poke fun at himself when commenting that “I’m not the most employable person,” in the process offering a bit of comic relief in the midst of all the painful coverage of the slayings in Virginia.

The WRIF boys managed to chat with Simpson about everything from golf and visiting strip clubs to getting him to comment on the flap over Don Imus’ comments, the civil lawsuit ruling against him from the 1994 slayings of his former wife Nicole and Ron Goldman, and his feelings about the Virginia Tech shootings. It was a great “get” for WRIF — and is a clear example of why Drew and Mike continue to be near the top of the ratings heap year in and year out.

 

 • • • • • • • • 

Later in the week, it became apparent to me that something had changed in terms of coverage of these stories, especially on music-based radio stations. Since Sept. 11, it’s almost as though we’ve become desensitized to mass killings. From what I observed, the local FM morning shows had already returned to their normal shows by Wednesday, pretty much only providing updates on the story during their news breaks.

I recall the week after the Columbine shootings in 1999, the discussion on the radio lasted much longer, as the shock didn’t seem to wear off as quickly as it has this time.

While it’s great that local radio is able to adjust to how its listeners are feeling and offer appropriate programming, I’m incredibly saddened that it has become so easy to push such a huge tragedy aside so quickly.

 • • • • • • • • 

Country WYCD-FM (99.5) midday host Mike Scott and his wife, Michelle, are indeed proud new parents, but of a son, not a daughter, as reported erroneously last week by my colleague Art Vuolo. (Apparently, Art was confused by the name of the baby, Anthony Donald Scott.) Says the proud new papa in jest, “Yes, he looks like his Dad. Poor kid.”

I wonder if baby Anthony will be the youngest fan to attend the 25th anniversary of the Downtown Hoedown, which is set for May 18-20 at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. More on this big show in coming weeks.

 • • • • • • • • 

Classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) is planning on giving away $20,000 to the winner of a contest to create a new television commercial for the station. Submissions were accepted for the past few weeks, and the finalists are planned to be announced tomorrow by morning show hosts Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison.

After a week of voting by listeners at the station’s Web site (www.wcsx.com), the winner gets the cash, as well as seeing their commercial air on local TV. What a fun — and potentially profitable — way to get listeners involved with the station.

 • • • • • • • • 

’CSX also has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County to help complete the “WCSX House that Classic Rock Built.” The station has several different donation programs set up, including opportunities to be a WCSX DJ for an hour, to broadcast live from the Habitat house with ’CSX jocks, or just by donating either cash or building materials. Details at the station’s Web site.

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial: News-talk WJRAM (760) morning host Paul W. Smith will sit in for Rush Limbaugh noon-3 p.m. Tuesday ... Soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) is giving away tickets on-air to its “Magic 105.1 ’80s Prom Dance Party,” set for Friday in Warren. It’ll feature hors d’oeuvres, dancing, live music and prizes for the best 80’s outfits ... Host Tom Wilson takes “Somewhere in Time” listeners on a trip to 1941 for a fun game of “Name That Tune” at 6 p.m. today on WMUZFM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

 • • • • • • • • 

Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Oakland Press since 2001.


Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, April 22, 2007

 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on April 22, 2007 11:54 AM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers April 22, 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

Michigan Television Arrives in Bay City and Midland is the next entry in this blog.

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