On The Radio Columns: June 2007 Archives

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioOldies music lovers were in heaven last weekend with all the special events taking place on the radio. On Memorial Day, listeners in New York got to hear the classic sounds of “Musicradio 77” on WABC-AM (770), while fans of the “Big 89” got to hear a rewind on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. The response was huge, not only from the in-town audiences, but from fans across the world listening over the Internet.

Although it wasn’t promoted nearly as heavily, oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) also did some reminiscing of sorts over the holiday weekend by dropping its ’70s tunes and playing all ’60s music, complete with older-style jingles.

Earlier this month, WOMC made the wise decision to embrace its heritage by going back to calling itself “Oldies 104.3” instead of using the nondescriptive “Motor City’s 104.3 WOMC” tag that had been in place for just over a year.

What’s in a name? The station’s ratings had been down in each quarter since dropping the oldies name — perhaps being able to better identify the station will help turn those ratings back upward this summer, which has traditionally been a strong time of the year for oldies stations.

 • • • • • • • • 

WOMC is not the only station owned by CBS Radio to pull a never-mind of sorts. In recent weeks, New York’s FM 92.3 dropped its talk format and reverted back to a rock format as K-Rock, even reclaiming its old WXRK call sign. San Francisco also lost an FM talk station, getting back heritage classic hits station KFRC-FM, albeit on a different frequency. Also among the recent changes, Chicago’s FM talker dropped the “Free FM” tag that also was being used by the now defunct stations in NYC and San Francisco. Free FM can still be heard in use locally on WKRK-FM (97.1). These happenings make me wonder if there are more changes on the horizon at CBS Radio.

 

By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioHonestly, I can’t remember the last time this space looked more like an obituary page than a radio column. But this has been a very sad week, and the local radio community is still reeling from the passing of two well-known personalities.

For longtime Detroit radio listeners, the name Paul Christy is certainly familiar. Born Paul Christides, he died of complications from Parkinson’s disease Monday. His son, Scott, hoped to bring his dad to the last Detroit Radio Reunion in September 2005, but even then he was too weak to make the trip from his home outside of Lansing.

Christy was last heard locally on the ill-fated, full-service WYUR-AM, which is now progressive talk WDTW-AM (1310). His career included WCAR, which is now WDFN-AM (1130); WABX when it was Top 40; and in the late ’70s, he was program director of WNIC-FM (100.3) and its AM station of the same name. Also on his résumé is the launch of oldies on WKSG-FM in 1984, where he was that station’s first morning host.

He discovered a young man by the name of John Huzar working out in Ann Arbor at WAAM-AM (1600) using the name Tom Michaels on the air. You know him today as Jim Harper, the popular morning man at WMGC-FM (105.1).

“I hope everyone remembers that Paul Christy actually invented the ‘soft rock’ format,” Harper says. “We used to call it ‘Rock ‘n’ Easy’ 30 years ago, and as a result of that creation, thousands of us in broadcasting have had a chance to hone our craft. He probably did more for the careers of Michigan broadcasters than anyone I can think of in terms of launching careers. He gave me my first morning show job and I am eternally grateful.”

 

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioCountry WDTW-FM (106.7) will have a new morning host tomorrow as Chad Mitchell takes over behind the mike. He replaces Rick Miller, who was in the chair for less than a year before being let go last week.

Mitchell moves over to The Fox from Top 40 WKQI-FM (95.5), where he spent the last seven years helping produce the highly successful “Mojo in the Morning” show.

“I’m leaving to host my own show” Mitchell says. “It’s been a dream of mine since I started in radio at 16 years old.”

He moved to Detroit in 1998 to do mornings and then nights at WDRQ-FM (93.1) then moved to the night shift on WKQI for a short time prior to joining Mojo.

“We are extremely excited to have Chad join our crew,” says WDTW program director John Trapane. “What many people didn’t know about Chad from his years with Mojo is that he is a huge country fan and has been a fan of country music all of his life.”

Rachel Giordano has been tapped to replace Mitchell as executive producer for WKQI’s morning show.

 • • • • • • • • 

One of the biggest radio deals in recent memory was completed last week with news-talk WJR-AM (760), variety hits WDRQ and pop WDVD-FM (96.3) moving from the ownership of the Walt Disney Company to Citadel Broadcasting.

For WJR and WDVD, it’s their first complete ownership change since 1964, when Capital Cities Broadcasting acquired the station from Goodwill Stations.

Although there were two ownership mergers after 1964 — first when Capital Cities merged with ABC in 1985, then when Disney acquired ABC in 1996 — this week’s change comes with much more uncertainty about the future direction of the stations.

 

By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioMichigan never looked so good. Those were my words upon returning home last weekend from a trip to New York that I won’t soon forget. I went to the Big Apple to archive on videotape Talkers Magazine’s convention known as the New Media Seminar, but I stayed longer than scheduled.

Things were fine, at first. I saw the musical “Jersey Boys” and truly it lives up to the hype. The story of pop legends the Four Seasons is sensational. On Friday night, in the midst of the Talkers event, I got on a cruise around Manhattan that was sponsored by WABC radio and featured several legendary radio names. On that cruise was Soupy Sales, who, sadly, isn’t doing so well — he’s in his early 80s and, needless to say, no longer able to throw pies.

The most emphasized point made at the talk radio confab was that what is now referred to as “the spoken-word format” is the only type of radio — especially on AM — that has any redeeming value. There was, though, a great deal of discussion about talk on FM, which is no longer reserved just for “hot talk” similar to our local WKRK-FM (97.1). The term “spoken word” sounds a bit too biblical to me, but it’s what the industry seems to have embraced.

A major award went to Joe Madison from Washington, DC’s WOL. Longtime local listeners will remember Madison from his days at then-talk WXYT-AM (1270).

All was good, until my dizzying pace did me in, and I wound up in a hospital up in Westchester County, N.Y., in the charming little suburb of Bronxvville.

 

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About this Archive

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

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

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

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