It’ll be quite a ‘Rush’ as WJR rings in its 85th




By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioOn May 4, WJR-AM (760) will be celebrating its 85th birthday in grand style. Since 1922, the news-talk station has been entertaining and informing people throughout the Midwest, the 50,000-watt Great Voice of the Great Lakes will celebrate over the course of two nights.

As a part of the big event, the station will be hosting “An Evening with Rush Limbaugh” on Thursday at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi. Tickets went very fast, and the venue is completely sold out.

The next night features a private, invitation-only birthday party in Dearborn. A special screening also will take place of a video history of WJR, which was produced by creative director John Marshall and yours truly. I’ll be attending both events and will report to you the next time we meet.

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Strange But True Department: An XM subscriber in St. Louis says his channels carry “promotional and advertisement segments” and he’d like his complaint certified as a class-action suit. And a judge in the Gateway City is allowing a false-advertising claim to proceed.

XM asked the court to throw out the suit, stating “it’s without merit” and the accusations are “baseless” — because it doesn’t run commercials on its own music channels. To explain, Clear Channel Radio owns a small percentage of XM, and on a few channels, which they program, there are some commercials.

These insane, frivolous suits cause me to wonder what kind of people have nothing better to do with their time. As is the case with anything on the air that listeners don’t like, I say just change the station. The satellite radio companies have nearly 200 channels to choose from. Stop with the legal action — just hit the button for something better.


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Not one, but two radio personalities have tried using similar language on the air that got Don Imus booted off both radio and cable TV. What were they thinking?

In a case late last week, in Augusta, Ga., the DJ only “implied” what the African-American woman in the Duke lacrosse rape case looked like. Then, instantly, the Rev. Jesse Jackson shows up in Augusta.

Who will stop the madness? And you thought things were crazy around the dial in Detroit.

Then, popular Philadelphia morning talk host Michael Smerconish was tapped as a fill-in for Imus on MSNBC. On the first day, watchdog group Media Matters for America already e-mailed around its problems with Smerconish, who said that “Muslims who pray in public are committing ‘a form of terrorism,’” and he complained that the United States’ “limp-wristedness” is “compromising our ability to win the war on terror.”

David Brock of Media Matters cautions stations that “in the wake of the Imus controversy,” everybody in the media carries a heavy responsibility. One talk radio program director said he’s worried that talk radio hosts are becoming too afraid of offending anybody.

Enough already!

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Local news: On a far more positive note, ever since local favorite Steve Schram took over running WUOM-FM (91.7), the radio division of the University of Michigan, the group has been shining in the public broadcasting spotlight.

According to Schram: “On behalf of the Michigan Radio News team, we are very pleased to receive these acknowledgments of excellence from The Associated Press. Receiving these important awards is a credit to our news team, who are unfailingly committed to generating meaningful and important news reports for listeners across the state.”

These awards follow the February and March announcements by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters that Michigan Radio has been named Public Station of the Year and received nine 2006-07 MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards.

Not bad for a man who has a vehicle in his driveway with a license plate featuring his last name with the “S” a large green Spartan logo. Talk about nonpartisan!

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Ann Arbor bids farewell to Michigan Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ted Heusel, who invented talk radio in Ann Arbor with WOIA, WPAG and most recently WAAM. During his 56-year radio career, he gave many people their first break in the radio business, including Chicago’s John Records Landecker. Heusel died Friday from cancer at 86.

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Sports fans rejoice — Parker and The Man return tomorrow, but to the AM dial, on 50,000-watt urban/talk WCHB-AM (1200) from 9 p.m.-midnight. Bernie Fratto (the “other Bernie”) will again fill in when Mark “The Man” Wilson or Rob Parker are absent from the program. The trio has be off the air since they were dropped by hot-talk WKRK-FM (97.1) last December.

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Set your dial: Tune to WMUZ-FM (103.5) for the music of Vic Damone at 6 p.m. today on “Somewhere in Time.” It’ll be worth it just to hear the story about how he got his professional name.

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Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Contact him at

Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, April 29, 2007







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on April 29, 2007 12:11 PM.

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