WJR crowd gets rather vocal

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By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioHappy Mother’s Day! My mom and dad, whom I am blessed to still have, even at my advanced age, both listen to a lot of radio — but, of course, radio cares little about people in their age group.

Most of last week was spent in the Windy City of Chicago observing and listening, mostly to the radio. I took in a little television, mostly to see if I could spot the lovely sister of Detroit traffic maven Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor. Her sibling, Sharon Wright, is a news reporter for WMAQ-TV NBC 5 in Chicago and looks much like the former Big 8 CKLW chopper reporter from the ’70s. Today, Jo-Jo is still doing traffic for the Michigan AAA Network.

About 10 days ago, as part of WJR-AM’s (760) big 85th birthday celebration, the station presented “An Evening with Rush Limbaugh.” Even at $50 per ticket, the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi was packed with more than 2,000 people — and that’s a “conservative” estimate.

After an introduction by popular WJR personalities Paul W. Smith and Frank Beckmann, El Rushbo did a solid two hours with the crowd, interrupting his talk close to 100 times with applause.

Prior to his addressing the passionate crowd, a video tracing the history of WJR Radio was shown. WJR Creative Director John Marshall and I produced the video and were surprised at some of the reaction from the very vocal audience. For example, when former Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell and the late J.P. McCarthy appeared, the crowd cheered wildly. When Mitch Albom, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick popped up on the screen, the response was decidedly less enthusiastic. I witnessed something similar at last year’s Sean Hannity appearance at the Ren-Cen, also sponsored by WJR (you can see the video at www.wjr.com).

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In more WJR news, morning guru Paul W. Smith is reportedly resting comfortably at home this weekend after completing a whirlwind tour of the state. He broadcast last week from Mackinac Island, Traverse City and, because you can’t pass up that chicken at Zender’s, Frankenmuth.

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Talk radio has been having a field day last week with the misquotes of many notable newsmakers. There was President Bush and his goof with the Queen of England, saying 1776 rather than 1976 and receiving “a look that only a mother could give.” Or Al Sharpton (I have a problem calling him “The Rev.”) taking shots at Mitt Romney and people of the Mormon faith.

But my favorite breach of political correctness happened in Cincinnati. In the Queen City, monster news-talk station WLW-AM (700), known in all of its marketing efforts as “The Big One,” placed about 80 billboards throughout the Tri-State area proclaiming the station as “The Big Juan.” It depicted a man, looking much like Juan Valdez, wearing a Mexican hat and holding up a finger (not the middle one) indicated “No. 1.” Well, Alfonso Cornejo, president of the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has reportedly called it a “hateful campaign” and demanded the station take the boards down.

Apparently, certain ethnic groups cannot differentiate between disrespect and creativity.

You can hear 700 WLW only at night in most of the Detroit area, unless you have XM satellite radio, where it’s available on Channel 173.

Oh, and a radio station in Boise, Idaho, made TV news with a billboard campaign to promote the “Bob & Tom” morning show. It simply showed a fully clothed woman with Bob in front of one breast and Tom in front of the other. The text read, “A couple of boobs on the radio at 96.9 The Eagle.” That station was ordered to take those boards down, too.

Someone needs to stop this insanity. The sensitivity control is turned up way too far.

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Quick Hits: WRIF-FM (101.1) is preparing for its annual Harley Fest, set for mid-June, and you’ll want to checkout www.wrif.com for more information, because all good radio promotions run in — or on — cycles. WRIF’s sister station, classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7), is working on “The House that Classic Rock Built,” at 191 Mechanic St., near Huron (M-59) and Woodward Avenue in Pontiac. It will be dedicated at a big celebration this coming Friday. Get more details at www.wcsx.com to donate your time, or money or be a guest DJ.

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Set Your Dial: One of our favorite shows, “Somewhere in Time,” features the standards of the Fredy Martin Band at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

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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, May 13, 2007



Someone has to stand up to these anti-free speech nazis. If they do not agree with what you say they want to squelch your speech. If that were the criteria then nothing would be said.






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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on May 13, 2007 11:53 AM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers May 13, 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

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