On The Radio Columns: January 2007 Archives

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioEither there is something big brewing at talk WKRK-FM (97.1) or they intend on burning out hosts Jay Towers and Bill McAllister with their current time slot of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Six hours is a long time to host a free-flowing talk program like “Motor City Middays,” not to mention all the time that must go in to preparing for such a long show. Even the top stars of talk radio are usually only asked to host three or four hours each day — how much can be expected over the long haul for Towers and McAllister? I honestly don’t know how Towers does it with his additional responsibilities as a weekend features reporter for Fox 2.

Now with the removal of Michelle McKormick from the Live 97.1 Free FM midday show has to have made it that much harder on both remaining hosts. With her departure, WKRK no longer has any female hosts during weekdays — and without any female perspective, aside from occasional callers, it seems that WKRK is fighting even harder for the same male-dominated audience as sister station sports WXYT-AM (1270). And both stations have passed out more than their share of pink slips in the past few weeks.

 

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioAmong the North American International Auto Show buzz this week, the backers of HD (high definition) radio have been marketing their product in full force to raise awareness of this still relatively young technology. A mobile HD radio promotion kicked off Wednesday at Cobo Center and will be up and running through the full run of the show. Now’s your chance to learn more about what many in the radio industry are hoping will be a savior for traditional broadcasters in their battle to keep the attention of listeners that increasingly get their music and information from other sources.

Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) also is going all out in the promotion of HD radio. Starting at 6 a.m. Saturday through 9 p.m. Jan. 21, the Riff 2 digital-only side-band channel will move onto the main ’RIF analog frequency. This way, everyone with a regular FM radio can experience an eclectic mix of local artists, alternative, hiphop, punk and indie-rock hosted by Riff 2’s on-air staff, which includes Suzy Cole, Mark Pennington, Trey and Hightower.
The event, which I believe is a first for any station anywhere, will likely cause the ’Rif phone lines to light up with confused and/or shocked listeners.

 

By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioOne of my favorite columnists was the late Bob Talbert who, although not a media writer, often penned his thoughts about radio and did a considerable amount of “thinking out loud.” That’s just what I’m going to do on this cold winter’s Sunday.

Eight days ago I stepped off a beautiful Royal Caribbean cruise ship after a week of nice warm weather, overeating and trying to relax. It seemed surreal that I could flip on my portable XM radio and, in the middle of acres of blue Caribbean waters, dial up the Detroit channel and hear local weather reports and just how heavy the traffic was on I-696 through Oak Park.

 • • • • • • • • 

The major buzz seems to still surround all the changes at hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), the new home of the Tigers and Red Wings that’s also been carrying the Lions. The only major team missing is the Pistons, which will remain on sports WDFN-AM (1130).

 

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioEver since it was revealed that a radio station contest in Sacramento, Calif., resulted in the death of one participant from water intoxication, the radio industry has been buzzing about the incident and its aftermath.

Jennifer Strange, a 28-year old mother of three young children, died after consuming what’s estimated as nearly 2 gallons of water in an attempt to win a video game console for her kids. The idea was for contestants to hold out on visiting the restroom for as long as possible and the last one to “go wee” would claim a Nintendo Wii.

Many portions of the contest that day have been rebroadcast on the Internet, and it’s clear that the employees of the station involved, KDND-FM, received warnings about the possibility of such a tragedy from listeners but did little to either halt the competition or provide Strange with medical attention.

Ten KDND employees involved in the stunt were fired and, not surprisingly, lawsuits are being filed, along with a criminal investigation.

Fortunately, these kinds of radio-assisted tragedies are few and far between, and it’s apparent that managers of our local radio stations have a good understanding that protecting listeners from this kind of harm is in everyone’s best interest.

 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the On The Radio Columns category from January 2007.

On The Radio Columns: February 2007 is the next archive.

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