It’s a busy road life for someone in radio biz

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By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioThere are weeks when either Mike Austerman or myself ask each other, “How are we gonna fit it all in?” Then there are times such as these mid-summer weekends in July when radio news seems to be happening everywhere except here. In our business, it’s called a slow news week. Of course, there’s always the temptation to print rumors, but the current news comes first.

As regular readers of this column know, I’ve been doing a great deal of traveling of late. My doctor suggested that I slow down. Thus far this month, I have been in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, New York, and the New Jersey Shore.

This column was written while I was in the far Pacific Northwest visiting family and friends in Bellingham, Wash., a city reminiscent of the Peoples Republic of Ann Arbor in the 1960s. This college town, home to Western Washington University, is about 100 miles north of Seattle and not far from the Canadian boarder.

All of the commercial radio stations in Bellingham are owned by Detroit radio owner Ed Christian, whose well-respected Saga Communications is based in Grosse Pointe. On this Sunday, I’m in Neptune, N.J., celebrating a big Radio Greats NYC Reunion.

 • • • • • • • • 

A couple of weeks ago, I experienced the insanity of Atlanta and the first of five Sean Hannity Freedom Concerts. It went well, but security measures made the TSA at the airport look tame by comparison. Hannity, who is featured 3-5 p.m. weekdays on news-talk WJR-AM (760), is a god to his legions of fans, some of whom traveled many miles to see this show and support the troops in the Iraq War.

The remainder of his tour includes San Diego this week, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth, Cincinnati and wrapping up Sept. 11th in central New Jersey. More information can be found at www.hannity.com.

 • • • • • • • • 

The biggest news out of Detroit over the last 10 days was the announcement made by Greater Media Communications, which owns rock WRIF-FM (101.1), pop WMGC-FM (105.1) and classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7). WCSX has partnered with Dick Genthe Chevrolet in a promotion that will give a new HD radio to every customer who purchases a new car before the end of August. This has received an enormous amount of coverage throughout the radio industry.

Management at this trio of popular Detroit FM stations has been among the biggest supporters of HD Radio in America.

But life is like comedy, and timing is everything. Just about the same time as this promotion was launched, Boston Acoustics, one of the first manufacturers of HD radios, announced that it was phasing out its production of high-definition radios. Ouch! More on this as it develops.

 • • • • • • • • 

OK, let’s go to that rumor mill.

Reports about dramatic format alterations at oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) and hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1) are unfounded, but considering nearly every one of the CBS-owned FM talkers use the moniker “Free FM,” you can expect that it will soon be dropped at Live 97.1 FM locally.

In my last column, I mentioned that former WKQI-FM (95.5) jock Buck Head was now doing the morning shift at KKRZ Z-100 in Portland, Ore. Well, the zany personality couldn’t agree on a new contract and is once again hunting for a new job.

Gregg Henson, the outrageously daring sports talk host from WXYT-AM (1270), WDFN-AM (1130) and WKRK, was on his way back to Detroit when a better offer came across the table, so he detoured his way back down to a sports station in Austin, Texas.

Legendary ’60s and ’70s personality Lee Alan could be headed back to Motown. He relocated to Las Vegas, but this area has a magnetic attraction often responsible for bringing people back to the market. Stay tuned.

 • • • • • • • • 

When you call WOMC, you are most often greeted by the friendly voice of “Switchboard Sharon” Mason, who recently celebrated 14 years with the CBS station. Longtime receptionist Pam Caldwell at Clear Channel Radio Detroit has maintained her position for at least as many years.

These women truly know where all the bodies are buried.

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial: Tom Wilson will feature the Glenn Miller-type music of the Beverley Sisters on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. today over on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

 • • • • • • • • 

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, July 22, 2007

 

3 Comments

The Peoples Republic of Ann Arbor? Jeez, bring back memories of tipping the Domino's driver with joints, why don't you.....

In regards to your comment about a single owner for all commercial stations in Bellingham, I realise the market is close enough to Seattle and Vancouver to loose listeners, but we have a similar problem in the reletively isolated market of Wenatchee, WA. A couple years ago, Cherry Creek out of Denver purchased the 4 stations licensed to the Wenatchee area from Fisher Broadcasting during Fisher's fire sale. Well, Jim Wallace's West Coast Broadcasting has been in some tax trouble for a few years, so who do you guess purchased both the big talk blowtorch KPQ and it's torchlike rock counterpoint KPQ-FM? You got it. I really wish the FCC would get off its high horse and act a little more like the CRTC and do something to reign in multiple ownerships in 50,000+ markets. If this sale goes through, Cherry Creek will control 6 of the 8 signals based in the Wenatchee area. I haven't heard of grumblings about this in the Midwest yet, but watch out, it may be coming to a market near you.

Inanity is a good description of Hannity.

More insanity from Hannity

Hannity's Freedom Concert... Freer Than Expected?

While Hannity bragged on Hannity & Colmes that it was a benefit for Freedom Alliance's Scholarship Fund, only $4 of every ticket purchased (prices ranged from $38-78) went to the Fund. According to KFMB's news report, only hundreds attended. Our Hound got a photo of Hannity's vanity boot. Check it out after the jump.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on July 22, 2007 7:57 AM.

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

Sales and Transactions: Week of June 29, 2007 is the next entry in this blog.

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