Urban stations move up with high ratings points




By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioThe spring ratings book is out, and news-talk WJRAM (760) continues to lead the parade of stations among all radio listeners. Adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3) jumped up to second place, followed by urban WJLB-FM (97.9), rock WRIF-FM (101.1), and Top 40 WKQI-FM (95.5).

Country WYCD-FM (99.5) was a big winner, with its number jumping from 3.4 in the winter to 4.4 and putting considerable distance between itself and competitor WDTW-FM (106.7), which fell to 2.3 from 3.0.

Pop WDVD-FM (96.3) also enjoyed a big jump in its overall rating, carding its best book in recent memory and climbing into the top 10 overall. Sports talker WXYT-AM (1270) put some distance between itself and competitor WDFN-AM (1130) once again, likely due to the Detroit Tigers returning to action during the spring.

Joining WDTW-FM in the what-did-we-do-wrong category were soft rockers WNIC-FM (100.3), which, interestingly, teased listeners with Christmas music last weekend, and WMGC-FM (105.1), along with classic rock WCSXFM (94.7).

WRIF’s Drew & Mike reign as the morning champs among all listeners, followed by Joe Donovan and Roberta Jasina on all-news WWJ-AM (950) and WMXD’s Steve Harvey. WRIF also was the top station in the highly sought-after age 25-54 listener group.

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WDET-FM (101.9) has lured Pat Batcheller into the world of public radio and hired him as the host for the station’s local segments during “All Things Considered,” heard afternoons 4-7 p.m. Regular listeners to WWJ will recognize the voice and name, as Batcheller spent the last nine years there.

A native of the area, Batcheller grew up in Trenton and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts.

“Being the youngest in my family, I was always the last to know what was going on — I think that is why I got into news,” Batcheller says. “I hope after hearing a newscast, listeners feel that they learned some things and got to know their community a little better.”

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WDFN afternoon hosts Mike Stone and Bob Wojnowski wrapped up their recent 10th annual radiothon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a tally of more than $130,000 in pledges. The 27-hour broadcast was at GameWorks at Great Lakes Crossing and featured a ton of special guests and great sports-related items that were offered as incentives. The station is still accepting donations through its Web site at www.wdfn.com.

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It’s pretty safe to assume that former sports WTKA-AM (1050) host Dave Shand is not a fan of University of Michigan athletic director Bill Martin, after Shand filed a lawsuit against Martin this week in Ann Arbor seeking damages in excess of $75,000. In the suit, Shand alleges he was fired from WTKA because Martin influenced station management by threatening to pull U-M football broadcasts if Shand was not terminated.

Shand told The Ann Arbor News that he believes he angered Martin by making on-air comments that were critical of the athletic director or other aspects of Michigan’s athletic department.

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Satellite radio companies XM and Sirius announced that they would offer several different subscription models, including an à la carte offering that would start at $6.99, should the government approve the merger of the two satcasters. All of the new packages would require subscribers to purchase new receivers, which won’t be created until after the merger is approved.

Current XM CEO Hugh Panero also announced his departure, effective in August. That move wasn’t a surprise, as it was previously announced that a combined XM and Sirius would be led by current Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin.

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General Motors Corp. is offering a new iPod adapter for some of its models through dealers for $159 plus dealer installation. The adapter connects to the vehicle’s audio system and displays song title, artist, time and track position on the radio display and allows song selection by genre, play list, artist and album. The system also allows users to easily search alphabetically through artist, album, genre, play list, podcast or audio book.

Once the device is installed, an iPod plugs into an interface cable in the glove box, where the player can be safely secured and stowed. The device also charges the iPod while the vehicle is operating.

GM expects to make the device available on many of its models by the end of 2007 — much to the chagrin of radio folk everywhere.

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Set your dial: Tom Wilson traces the singing and musical career of Fred Astaire, who was more than just a great dancer, on this week’s “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

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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 29, 2007







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on July 29, 2007 1:36 PM.

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