WOMC gives Masucci her walking papers

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By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioThis past Thursday, Dana Masucci was unceremoniously dumped from the lineup at Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) before her midday air shift as the station decided “to go in another direction.” Masucci had been with WOMC since January 2005, replacing Tom Force who was similarly given his walking papers in late 2004.

Now word on the street is that Force, who has kept his free-agent status since his firing, might be under consideration by station management to retake his spot behind the ’OMC midday mic. If that happens, maybe the first song Force should play is Huey Lewis and the News’ “Back in Time” from the “Back to the Future” movies — even if they are ’80s flicks.

 • • • • • • • • 

One of the more interesting battles for listeners on the FM dial has been occurring slightly under the radar. The ratings for public news-talk stations WUOM-FM (91.7)/WFUM-FM (91.1) and WDET-FM (101.9) are close, but WUOM/WFUM’s 1.3 rating outpaced WDET’s 1.1 rating among all listeners this past spring. That’s startling with WDET’s focus on Detroit and WUOM being located in Ann Arbor (WFUM repeats WUOM from Flint).

That 1.1 number for WDET is down from 1.4 in the spring of 2006, but holding steady from last fall. WDET is likely most concerned that there were an average of 7,900 people tuned in during any 15-minute period last spring, while during the fall and this spring there were only 6,300 listeners. While WDET does offer some unique programming from WUOM/WFUM, it appears that the station’s longtime status as the area’s most popular public radio station has been lost.

In fact, the classical and jazz format on WRCJ-FM (90.9) sits ahead of WDET with a 1.2 rating in the spring. WRCJ also boasts an impressive average time spent listening number of 6.8 hours — meaning WRCJ listeners don’t do a lot of dial flipping when they have their radios on.

In my observation, the buzz that WDET used to have around town when it was formatted with an eclectic mix of music and talk programs has now evaporated and the station has simply become just another public radio station.

It used to be that wearing a WDET T-shirt or using a logo coffee mug made a statement to others. Now, finding unique content on WDET usually means sitting through a ton of programming that’s easily available someplace else.

And other radio listeners look like they agree with that assessment as they stay away from WDET.

 • • • • • • • • 

Happy birthday to all-news WWJ-AM (950), which turned 87 on Aug. 20. Known as 8MK back on Aug. 20, 1920, when it became the first radio station in the world to broadcast regularly scheduled programs, the station later became WBL before adopting the WWJ call sign in March of 1922. WWJ has been operating at AM 950 since 1941 and has featured an all-news format since 1973.

Because 8MK didn’t air consistently during its earliest days, Pittsburgh’s KDKA is often credited as the oldest radio station- KDKA has operated consistently from when it first started broadcasting on Nov. 2, 1920.

 • • • • • • • • 

Friday, Sept. 14, marks the first day that AM stations will be allowed to run their digital (HD) signals 24 hours per day. Up until now, broadcasters on AM have been limited to running HD operations during daylight hours only out of concern that the interference caused on adjacent frequencies might disrupt the operations of other stations. At night, AM signals typically travel much farther than they do during the daytime.

The coming change has many fans of the AM band concerned, especially those that enjoy hearing broadcasts from far-away cities across the country. There are predictions that claim that if, for example, WJR-AM (760) and New York’s WABC-AM (770) both operate with their HD transmitters on at night, the interference might block out both stations from being heard except in greatly reduced regional coverage areas. It’s all but certain that if HD radio is widely used on AM at night, WJR’s claim that it can be heard in “38 states and much of Canada” will have to be discarded.

I don’t think that turning on a technology that is not catching on with consumers is worth throwing away miles and miles of coverage area and alienating listeners even more because of increased interference.

If the doomsday-type scenarios of HD radio on AM at night do happen, I certainly hope broadcasters will be smart enough to turn off the switch before they themselves do what they are trying to prevent — putting a final nail in the coffin of the AM band.

 • • • • • • • • 

WRJC evening host Tony Mowod will be on hand at Arturo’s Jazz Theatre & Restaurant in Southfield for a party from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30 to help kick off the International Jazz Festival. The event will feature the fourpiece band Bop Culture and a performance by Jazz pianist Rick Roe. WRCJ members will not have to pay a cover charge.

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial: Fans of the Beatles can still tune in to oldies CKWW-AM (580) Saturday mornings from 10-11 a.m. for the continuation of a 12-week documentary on the Fab 5 that was produced in the early seventies by CHUM radio’s Doug Thompson and hosted by the late Chuck Reilly ... The music of Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra is featured by Tom Wilson and Alison Harris on this week’s Somewhere In Time at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

 • • • • • • • • 

Condolences to family and friends of longtime WAAM-AM (1600) and WSDS-AM (1480) receptionist Marie Towler who passed away last weekend. Marie was a real special person loved by everyone who knew her in Washtenaw County radio.

 • • • • • • • • 

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


Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, August 26, 2007

 

3 Comments

I totally agree with you about AM-HD trashing the AM band. Luckily, HD Radio may die from lack of consumer interest:

http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com/

HD Jams. It jams competing broadcasters to bankruptcy and listeners into limited choices of a few stations owned by Big Korpseorate radio. This isn't about a 'new golden age of radio', nor 'CD quality audio', nor even about new 'streams'. This is about money. HD is a jamming system designed to wreck competition and hand total control of public airwaves to a few Monopolistic so-called broadcasters, most of whom are just shills for some very curious Wall Street shadows.

Here's the juice on HD: Older consumers don't want it. Younger ones laugh at it. Manufacturers don't like it. Stores can't sell it.

Wow! What progress. That hissing you hear all over your radio, the hiss which blocks your favorite and formerly easily heard station, is courtesy of HD radio stations who wish to sharply curtail your choices and demolish their competition not with better programs, but by the cheat method of jamming.

Nice crowd. Good news for condo dwellers and deed-restricted homeowners. If you can't literally see the station's tower, you'll need outside antennas to hear these much-ballyhooed digital signals. Oops, sorry, that's right, not allowed.

HD is a a poorly conceived, shoddily executed, fatally flawed, destructive answer to a non-problem:

“HD Radio on the Offense”

“But after an investigation of HD Radio units, the stations playing HD, and the company that owns the technology; and some interviews with the wonks in DC, it looks like HD Radio is a high-level corporate scam, a huge carny shill.”

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/2007-03-07/music/hd-radio-on-the-offense

It's on its way out. Your influence counts. Use it.

Most AM stations, have FM sisters in many markets. Since the FM HD can support several HD channels, why not put the AM sister on one of the FM HD extra channels? Then they could solve the AM HD interference issues

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on August 26, 2007 10:24 AM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 26, 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 27, 2007 is the next entry in this blog.

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