Oldies fans: Hit the road, Jack, don’t come back




By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioThe big news in radio this week came from New York City, where WCBS-FM (101.1) reverted back to an oldies format on Thursday after an unsuccessful two-year run as variety hits “Jack FM.”

Fans of the oldies format in the Big Apple basically refused to embrace the station’s new direction and continued to clamor for a return of the old WCBS, which had carried the oldies banner since July 1972 before 2005’s switch to Jack.

When Jack was launched, short-sighted radio executives had decided that the term oldies was a bad word in terms of ad revenue and listeners and began making changes to many oldies outlets around the country — including locally at WOMCFM (104.3), which stopped using the oldies name but kept much of the same sound.

CBS radio management acknowledged that both ratings and revenue fell short of what they originally anticipated and decided the best course of action was to return a legendary station to the airwaves.

Now thanks in part to new research coming from Philadelphia, which is using a new ratings system called the Personal People Meter, it’s being determined that the oldies format indeed still has life left in it — much to the joy of oldies lovers in New York.

Now if we could just get CBS Radio bosses to free WOMC’s Tom Ryan and give him back his show again ...

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The big switch in New York also helped to feed false rumors locally that talk WKRK-FM (97.1) was about to make some big changes by either reverting back to a rock format as K-Rock, a name the station was using prior to changing to a hot talk format in 1999, or by moving in a completely new direction.

As WKRK also is owned by CBS Radio, news of an all-staff meeting called by General Manager Kevin Murphy generated a lot of speculation and uneasiness from staff members — until it was revealed that the only imminent changes are to be where WKRK employees report to work.

The on-air hosts and programming department will be moving in with sister station WOMC in Ferndale, while the sales staff moves to join WWJ-AM (950) and WXYT-AM (1270) folks in Southfield, as CBS Radio exits the building currently housing WKRK.

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Michigan Radio — locally WUOM-FM (91.7) and WFUMFM (91.1) — is playing host to a live broadcast of the NPR news program “Talk of the Nation” from 2-4 p.m. July 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. The event will be open to the public.

The show will focus on the 40th anniversary of the Detroit riots of 1967, with panelists discussing the social and economic factors that led up to the riots and what, if any, changes have come about because of them. Additionally, the program will examine the current state of Detroit’s oncebooming automotive industry, as it embarks on one of the most important labor negotiations in its history.

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Last week, Art Vuolo mentioned that gospel/ethnic WDRJ-AM (1440) was purchased by Communicom Inc. from Davidson Media Group for $3.8 million. While that price is undoubtedly high, it’s actually quite a bit less than the $5.75 million Davidson paid for the weak-signaled station in 2004.

After seeing Davidson lose almost $2 million in value in just three years, one has to wonder who is consulting these buyers. It’s almost certainly not someone local who realizes just how poor the station’s reception is across most of the metro area.

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WYCD-FM (99.5) and Nu-Way Kitchen & Bath are teaming up to support the Michigan Humane Society with the inaugural Edwards and Lee Dog Walk. Afternoon drive hosts Chuck Edwards and Linda Lee, both dog lovers, will be on hand July 21 at 950 S. Old Woodward Ave. in Birmingham for a variety of contests and a dog walk through downtown. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. with the contests starting at 9. The dog walk will follow at the conclusion of the various contests.

Nu-Way will be donating a percentage of the day’s sales to the Michigan Humane Society along with collecting cash donations. The Michigan Humane Society will be on site at the event, which is expected to draw hundreds of dogs and their owners. Call (248) 283-8400 for more information.

 • • • • • • • • 

Classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) is helping to promote its secondary high definition (HD) station Deep Trax by giving away free HD radios to buyers of used cars at Dick Genthe Chevrolet in Southgate.

“We’re happy to provide an opportunity for our listeners to easily upgrade their in-car listening to include all the HD2 stations here in Detroit,” said Tom Bender, Greater Media Detroit senior vice president and regional general manager.

If you’re interested, visit www.wcsx.com to download a coupon for the receiver with the purchase of any used car while supplies last through Aug. 31.

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial: Tom Wilson and Heather Novak feature the organ music of Bryan Rodwell from Leeds, England, on this week’s “Somewhere in Time.” Tune in WMUZ-FM (103.5) or WRDT-AM (560) at 6 p.m. today.

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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, July 15, 2007







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on July 16, 2007 7:54 PM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers July 16, 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

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