Tom Ryan, a mainstay of Detroit radio who’s been on the air at oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) for nearly 25 years, was fired from his afternoon drive role on Friday afternoon as station management, led by general manager Kevin Murphy and program director Scott Walker, decided to “go in another direction”. Dismissed along with Ryan was co-host ‘Matinee’ Mindy Markowitz.
Ryan’s career in Detroit radio dates back to 1965 when he became an intern for current WOMC morning host Dick Purtan- who was then spinning records at the legendary Keener 13, WKNR-AM (1310). Ryan and Purtan have a longstanding friendship and professional relationship- after WKNR the pair worked together at The Big 8, CKLW-AM (800) before Purtan departed in 1984 for the FM band at what was WCZY-FM (95.5). Ryan left CKLW a few years later for WOMC and eventually hosted the morning show before a move to afternoon drive to make way for Purtan’s arrival at ‘OMC in April, 1996.
Word of Ryan’s abrupt departure from WOMC has led to speculation on Internet message boards that former WKRK-FM (97.1) midday host Jay Towers, who apparently is still under contract with CBS Radio, will be tapped for the newly-created opening along with traffic reporter Kelly Walker (no relation to PD Scott Walker) as a possible co-host. A station employee would not comment on any personnel changes at WOMC other than to confirm Ryan and Markowitz are no longer with the station.
CBS Radio, under the guidance of CEO Dan Mason, has been systematically attempting to rebuild itself across the country by rolling back programming changes that were falling short of expectations. The sudden dismissal of a Detroit legend from the airwaves will appear to run contrary to this edict to the many loyal fans of what was the “Ridin’ Home With Ryan” show.