Looks like that ‘oldies’ tag is still a goodie

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By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioOldies music lovers were in heaven last weekend with all the special events taking place on the radio. On Memorial Day, listeners in New York got to hear the classic sounds of “Musicradio 77” on WABC-AM (770), while fans of the “Big 89” got to hear a rewind on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. The response was huge, not only from the in-town audiences, but from fans across the world listening over the Internet.

Although it wasn’t promoted nearly as heavily, oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) also did some reminiscing of sorts over the holiday weekend by dropping its ’70s tunes and playing all ’60s music, complete with older-style jingles.

Earlier this month, WOMC made the wise decision to embrace its heritage by going back to calling itself “Oldies 104.3” instead of using the nondescriptive “Motor City’s 104.3 WOMC” tag that had been in place for just over a year.

What’s in a name? The station’s ratings had been down in each quarter since dropping the oldies name — perhaps being able to better identify the station will help turn those ratings back upward this summer, which has traditionally been a strong time of the year for oldies stations.

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WOMC is not the only station owned by CBS Radio to pull a never-mind of sorts. In recent weeks, New York’s FM 92.3 dropped its talk format and reverted back to a rock format as K-Rock, even reclaiming its old WXRK call sign. San Francisco also lost an FM talk station, getting back heritage classic hits station KFRC-FM, albeit on a different frequency. Also among the recent changes, Chicago’s FM talker dropped the “Free FM” tag that also was being used by the now defunct stations in NYC and San Francisco. Free FM can still be heard in use locally on WKRK-FM (97.1). These happenings make me wonder if there are more changes on the horizon at CBS Radio.

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Soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) afternoon drive host Jim Paolucci is rounding up volunteers to join forces with the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan to walk in the first-ever CLF Walk for Hope & Support on Saturday. “Paolucci’s Pals” will help raise funds supporting Michigan families battling leukemia by taking part in the 3-mile charity event at Kensington Metro Park near Milford starting at 9 a.m.

“I know firsthand how devastating illnesses such as these can be for the entire family,” Paolucci says. “Join me in support of these brave kids and their families — to give them hope and support.”

Online registration is available at www.active.com/donate/clfwalk/jimpaolucci, with on-site registration the day of the event offered, too.

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Christian talk WLQV-AM (1500) recently wrapped up its second annual radiothon for Food for the Poor by once again exceeding its goal.

WLQV partnered with Food for the Poor, the third largest charity in the United States dedicated to helping the suffering poor in the Caribbean, to build four homes for four families in the poverty ravished parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, at a cost of $10,400. By the end of the day WLQV listeners had contributed a total of $20,913, which will build eight homes. Last year, the station raised in excess of $12,000 and built five homes.

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It’s estimated that more than 350,000 country music fans packed Hart Plaza a couple of weekends ago for the 25th annual Downtown Hoedown. Billed as the largest country music festival of its kind in the world, WYCD-FM (99.5) is actually the third radio station to have top billing.

The first Hoedown in 1983 was promoted by what was then country WCXI-AM (1130), which handed the reigns over to WWWW-FM (106.7) in 1984. When W4 Country changed its
format to rock in the fall of 1999, WYCD stepped up beginning in May 2000. The tradition continues to be as strong as ever.

 • • • • • • • • 

Looking for a Father’s Day gift for the dad who has everything? “Ernie Harwell’s Audio Scrapbook” is priced right at $19.84 per copy ($19.68 for two or more) and is perfect for fans of the legendary Tigers’ broadcaster. Visit www.eharwell.com to place your order.

Ernie comes to mind after his enjoyable and entertaining two-day stint with Mario Impemba on Fox Sports Net Detroit Tigers’ telecasts last week. We are so incredibly blessed to have this living legend continue to share his baseball stories with us, either on the air, in print, or via his “Audio Scrapbook.”

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial: “Somewhere in Time” hosts Tom Wilson and Alison Harris unravel the fascinating story of famous “sound-alike” group The Masters Band at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560) ... News-talk WJR-AM (760) will present “The Ultimate Wedding Planner,” a one-hour special, from 4-5 p.m. June 10. Produced and hosted by WJR’s Pete Misiak, the show will feature experts from the area involved in all aspects of the wedding planning world. Brides-to-be can tune for tips on how to buy engagement rings, what to look for in a photographer, how to choose flowers to accent your bridesmaids’ gowns, how to pick a venue for the reception and more.

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

Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, June 3, 2007



In a way, I can understand the problems WOMC may be going through. I graduated from high school in '66 (you do the math, I'm not admitting to anything), and am probably in the low middle of where most oldies stations are aiming at. I'm afraid most oldies stations are running into the same demo problen that has pretty much eliminated the "Stardust" format from the airways, that is it's core listener is getting old(er). That's the problem KBSG-FM Tacoma/Seattle is fighting (an excellent oldies presentation, BTW) as their ratings slip. Even if you move the center of the format into the mid 70's, you're still looking at a 45+ core.....

i believe a lot of todays young adults like music from the late fifties and the sixties. It is only anecdotal but my daughter in her 20's like that music as do many of her friends. At many of her friends weddings this music is played and you can tell many of her friends know the music and like it. The music today I do not think will ever be called golden oldies.

Doug - that's also why a lot of oldies stations have added '80s music to the mix. WCCW-FM in Traverse City, which also still calls itself "OLDIES" 107.5, has taken a lot of flack from oldies fans for doing just that, but I feel they think they're doing what they need to do to keep the format going. They also still play some pre-Beatles, which creates a very interesting music mix when the Miami Sound Machine is played alongside the Shirelles.

Of course there are also the stations that use an identifier like "Super Hits" or "Classic Top 40" instead of the "O" word. Or "Classic Gold," a la CFCO in Chatham.

I kind of wish, that now that WOMC has reverted to a format that parallels the '60s-based oldies approach that 580 CKWW had taken up, that CKWW will go back to playing the standards. Of course I'm not holding my breath for that one. ;)






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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on June 3, 2007 11:45 AM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers June 3, 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

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