Turn off music and listen to talk, seminar urges

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By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioMichigan never looked so good. Those were my words upon returning home last weekend from a trip to New York that I won’t soon forget. I went to the Big Apple to archive on videotape Talkers Magazine’s convention known as the New Media Seminar, but I stayed longer than scheduled.

Things were fine, at first. I saw the musical “Jersey Boys” and truly it lives up to the hype. The story of pop legends the Four Seasons is sensational. On Friday night, in the midst of the Talkers event, I got on a cruise around Manhattan that was sponsored by WABC radio and featured several legendary radio names. On that cruise was Soupy Sales, who, sadly, isn’t doing so well — he’s in his early 80s and, needless to say, no longer able to throw pies.

The most emphasized point made at the talk radio confab was that what is now referred to as “the spoken-word format” is the only type of radio — especially on AM — that has any redeeming value. There was, though, a great deal of discussion about talk on FM, which is no longer reserved just for “hot talk” similar to our local WKRK-FM (97.1). The term “spoken word” sounds a bit too biblical to me, but it’s what the industry seems to have embraced.

A major award went to Joe Madison from Washington, DC’s WOL. Longtime local listeners will remember Madison from his days at then-talk WXYT-AM (1270).

All was good, until my dizzying pace did me in, and I wound up in a hospital up in Westchester County, N.Y., in the charming little suburb of Bronxvville.

It was a return engagement of cellulitis, a recurring skin infection usually in the leg. After a four-day stay, it was a joy to get home. Do not complain about southeastern Michigan or our local radio talent. We have it very good here.

I came back to tons of e-mails, many wishing me a speedy recovery, but others still with questions.

 • • • • • • • • 

Shirley wants to know why Tom Ryan’s show sounds so different on oldies WOMC-FM (104.3). After a little digging, insiders seem to be indicating some “internal unrest” at the popular FM station. It seems as though some of the higher-ups have decided that more music and less talk (a.k.a. personality) is what we want.

Apparently, today’s consultants don’t seem to realize that those of us who grew up with the music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s also grew up with DJ’s who delivered a lot more than the time and temperature.

Shirley also wanted to know what happened to Mindy, Ryan’s co-host. Well, she’s still there acting as producer, but now garners little to no on-air time because of to new restrictions and format adjustments.

 • • • • • • • • 

Remember Denny Schaffer from WKQI-FM (95.5) when it was known as WCZY, Z-95.5? Well, Denny went on to a very successful talk radio career in Toledo on both the AM and FM band. That led to an offer from 50,000-watt WGST-AM (640) in Atlanta. But when the station turned to 100 percent syndication and all local staffers were let go, Schaffer was out of a gig.

He’s now doing fill-in work for talk hosts, including Glenn Beck, and hosting a daily Internet radio show live from 10 a.m.-noon. You can tune in at www.dennyradio.com. It’s really a good show.

 • • • • • • • • 

Kudos to WMGC-FM (105.1) as they orchestrated a fund-raiser walk to honor the mother of Jim Harper morning show member Mike Bradley. Mike’s mom, Genevieve Sibel, passed away in February after a yearlong battle with breast cancer. Titled “Three Days of Magic” and coordinated by show producer Fay Samona, they have set a goal of $205,000. The event will run Sept. 28 through my birthday on Sept. 30.

 • • • • • • • • 

Forbes magazine has released its annual list of the best paid celebrities, and Mitch Albom from WJR-FM (760) is in the top 100 with his seven-figure income. I write for a newspaper, and I’ve been in, near, around and covering radio for over 47 years, and I’ve never seen six figures, even at a beauty contest. I think I need an agent.

 • • • • • • • • 

From the infirmary: Kevin O’Neill of pop WNIC-FM (100.3) is resting at home and making good progress. Cards sent to the station are being forwarded to him and he hopes to be back next month.

 • • • • • • • • 

A transmitter problem zapped the first Sunday that Murray Gula returned to the air at sports WDFN-AM (1130) but now all repairs have been made and the “Murray-Go-Round” is back in operation weekends 8-10 a.m.

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial: Enjoy the music of Al Bowlly, one of the Big Band era’s original crooners, on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5).

 • • • • • • • • 

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, June 24, 2007

 

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on June 24, 2007 10:57 AM.

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers June 24, 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

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