On The Radio Columns: March 2007 Archives

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioThis sure is an interesting time to be an observer of the radio business. Make no mistake about it, radio now is much more a business than the art form it once was considered. Most radio news today is less about the performers and more about the bottom line.

Take, for example, the National Association of Broadcasters’ negative stance on the pending merger of satellite providers XM and Sirius. NAB spokesperson Dennis Wharton commented: “In coming weeks, policymakers will have to weigh whether an industry that makes Howard Stern its poster child should be rewarded with a monopoly platform for offensive programming. We’re hopeful that this anti-consumer proposal will be rejected.”

Where were the complaints from the NAB when Mr. Stern was broadcasting his “offensive programming” on regular radio?

Oh, that’s right — what was then Stern’s parent company, Infinity Broadcasting, is now CBS Radio, a member of the NAB. Neither XM nor Sirius are NAB members. Hmm ...


By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioHard to believe that it’s been nearly one year since Sabrina Black — best known for her work at sports WDFN-AM (1130) until illness forced to her to leave her job back in 2003 — died from complications of a six-year battle with Hodgkin’s disease.

The man she loved, Steve Black, who’s the weekend jock at rock WRIF-FM (101.1), launched the Sabrina Black Foundation in May 2006 to honor his late wife, establishing the foundation’s mission to raise money to help individual cancer patients by paying off their entire hospital bills.

Right now, the foundation may only be able to assist one or two people every year, but by doing so, they let the recipients know that an angel has heard their prayers and hopefully has helped change their lives forever.

The foundation will hold its first-ever public event on April 10th at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens with a fund-raising concert and auction. Headlining the concert will be blues-rock guitarist
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, while the auction will feature autographed guitars, artwork and many other items.

Tickets are $30.50 at Ticketmaster. Find more details about the event and the group at http://www.sabrinablackfoundation.org.


By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioRemember that old country song with the lyric line “I wanna go home to Dee-troit City?” Well, that’s me after a couple of weeks of living out of a suitcase.

The last time we met, I indicated that I’d be covering two big radio conventions back-to-back. Well, I did. First to Nashville for the Country Radio Seminar, followed the next week by the Talk Radio Seminar in Los Angeles, presented by trade publication Radio & Records. And I return with more than a few observations about these two very popular radio formats.

In Nashville, Tim Roberts and John Trapane, the program directors of country stations WYCD-FM (99.5) and WDTW-FM (106.7), respectively, were in attendance. Also there was Ron Chatman, music director and air personality at WYCD, who was one of only about six African-Americans at the conference. Roberts was honored with a special scholarship established at his alma mater, Central Michigan University, a nice highlight at the CRS.

While in Music City, I met a ton of major stars, and I don’t mean to be a name-dropper, but I’ve got to mention Jon Bon Jovi, Mac Davis, Toby Keith and comic Bill Dana, a.k.a. Jose Jimenez. One of my personal favorites was meeting Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel. I’m a major weather-freak.


By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioTo paraphrase from “Monday Night Football,” are you ready for some baseball?

Major League Baseball opens play one week from tonight, with the Tigers set to get started at home April 2 against the Toronto Blue Jays. If it doesn’t snow, of course.

And not only will you be able to hear the Tigers locally on both talk WKRK-FM (97.1) and sports WXYT-AM (1270), XM subscribers also will be able to hear the games all across the United States and Canada this season. XM will carry 2,400-plus games, from the opening pitch through the World Series in October, and also will offer a special channel at the start of the season featuring a blend of music and vintage baseball audio to get fans ready to play ball.

Let’s hope they’ve got a recording of Ernie Harwell reading from the Song of Solomon at the start of a spring training broadcast:

“For the winter is past, The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the Earth;
The time of the song of the birds has come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

Then I’d be ready for baseball season to begin.

 • • • • • • • • 

With a major move that’s a disappointment to fans of alternative styles of music, public WDET-FM (101.9) has decided to pull the plug on nearly all of what was left of its local music programming as of April 2.







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About this Archive

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

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

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

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