Happenings at sports radio talk WDFN surprising




By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioHow about that Michigan/Ohio State game Saturday? One thing’s for sure, it’s providing lots of fodder for sports radio talk shows, but what is happening to the morning shift at WDFN-AM (1130), known as The Fan?

Mike Austerman and I both felt surely that Greg Brady and Jamie Samuelsen would be returning, making less money, but at least with a job. So it was a surprise to me when Rob Otto popped up last week. Perhaps management felt he would represent an “otto-matic” fix, while talks continue with Brady and Samuelsen.

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Dennis Dale McLain back on the radio? Well, if Denny was making that call, the famous Tigers pitcher from the late ’60s would jump at the opportunity. Dan Zampillo, program director of WXYT FM/AM (now known as The Ticket), said “it’s been over a year since I’ve spoken to McLain, and we’re very happy with our current lineup.” That could squash other rumors that, current morning hosts, Deminski and Doyle might segue over to a music station replacing a top-rated program elsewhere on the FM dial.

As a side note, I recall McLain to be the last truly successful morning show on WXYT, and he’s savvy enough to talk about topics other than just sports, which is an important element on a morning show, even on an all-sports station. McLain is capable, but would the audience forgive and forget his well-documented sins of the past? I’d say McLain could score a home run at The Ticket, but I’ve been wrong before.

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Reports on the street have CBS Radio doing any number of things with 1270 AM, which is nearly a 50,000-watt afterthought right now. I felt they might return to a talk format with a roster of mostly syndicated programs, not currently available in Detroit. Other scenarios suggest selling the frequency to new owner which could take it religious or Hispanic. Stay tuned.

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Back around 1968, when CKLW was a powerhouse, they broadcast a 28-hour documentary entitled “The History of Rock & Roll.” Starting yesterday, their sister station, CKWW (AM 580) takes a nostalgic look back at the beginnings of rock with that documentary.

The 28-part series is narrated by the late Chuck Reilly covering two decades of music from a unique perspective. It will air every Saturday morning from 10 a.m.-noon over the next 14 weeks on oldies CKWW. It will also be replayed Sunday nights at 8 p.m.

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After a move that upset many WOMC (104.3 Oldies) listeners, letting Tom Ryan and Mindy Markowitz go a couple of weeks ago, the station now does something really cool. Tonight from 8 p.m.-midnight, you’ll hear one of Detroit radio’s most legendary personalities: Lee Alan on the Horn! In the 1960s, Alan was king of night-time radio on WXYZ. You may want to roll tape on this one. TiVo Desperate Housewives, this should be good.

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Whenever a book comes out about radio, I check it out and let you know whether or not it’s worth your money. Well, I just got a copy of “The Buzzard” by former WKRK-FM programmer John Gorman, who was the mastermind behind what is generally considered the best rock ’n’ roll station in the nation, WMMS in Cleveland.

Known as “The Home of the Buzzard” with its famous black-feathered mascot, this amazing radio station is often credited as being a major factor in getting The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, where the term “rock ’n’ roll” was actually coined by legendary DJ Alan Freed at WJW radio in the mid-1950s.

Gorman tells it like it was and is frighteningly honest. Trust me when I say that this book is a must-read for anyone still fortunate enough to have a job in radio or just loves the business. I am not an avid reader, yet found this book difficult to put down. After reading only the first few chapters, I felt honored to have archived WMMS on videotape during their “glory days” in the 1980s.

You certainly do not have to be from Cleveland to appreciate this book. If you can’t find it in stores, go to Amazon.com or check out buzzardbook.wordpress.com. And, yes, it is worth the $24.95 price.

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Christian Family Radio WUFL-AM (1030) in Sterling Heights has adjusted its signal to improve coverage. Frankly, I was surprised the station ever got on the air, since for many years those of us who spin the AM dial at night knew that Boston’s 50,000-watt monster WBZ on 1030 starts to roar into Michigan as early as 4:15 p.m. during the winter months. I often wonder if the Federal Communications Commission still cares about the AM radio listener.

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Great stocking-stuffers are available from your favorite stations. WOMC’s Dick Purtan has their Holiday calendars available for $15 at participating Kroger stores benefiting Detroit Children’s Hospital. Over at Channel 955, MoJo’s latest Phone Scam CD is available for $12 at all area Border’s book stores.

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Oh yeah … there’s more classic theatre organ music that was recorded during an actual California earthquake at 6 p.m. tonight on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560). Happy Turkey Day. I’ll be with my folks since dad turns 88 on Thanksgiving Day.

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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, November 18, 2007







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on November 18, 2007 12:52 PM.

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