On The Radio Columns: September 2007 Archives

By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioThis is a radio column, and I love sports. But I don’t aspire to be another Pat Caputo. He does a fine job reporting sports for The Oakland Press.

However, I cannot ignore what’s going on with The Big Ten Network.

Did you watch the University of Michigan game yesterday? Did you see the Michigan State University game? Any contest considered a “lesser game” won’t be seen locally as this new college football network fights with area cable TV operators over, you guessed it, money.

Currently the Big Ten Network is available only to DirectTV subscribers. Comcast and other cable outlets would be charged about $1.10 per subscriber to add the college football network and feel customers (not interested in the games) would balk at the rate increase.

The network feels it should be offered at no additional charge similar to dozens of other sports channels like ESPN and FSN. The Big Ten Network is 51 percent owned by the Big Ten Conference and 49 percent by the Fox Television Network.

The one benefactor in all of this should be radio.

Mike Chires, new vice president/general manager of Host Communications and the Michigan Sports Network in Novi, feels that this situation will hopefully drive more fans over to the radio coverage.

Remember that after 30 years on WJR, the Wolverines are now on CKLW-AM (800) which reaches from Ontario and southeast Michigan down into Indiana and Ohio. The games are also on Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) along with a network of stations statewide.

 • • • • • • • • 

Recently, I begged stations to turn off the delay during football games so our radios would be in sync with the action.

Well, if you were at the Michigan Stadium yesterday, you may have seen these little radios, which allow fans in the stadium to hear the live play-by-play without the time delay of the “regular” radio broadcast of every home and away Michigan football game this year.


By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioThe Dr. Don Morning Show, heard weekday mornings from 5-10am on country WYCD-FM (99.5), has been nominated for a CMA (Country Music Association) award in the category of On-Air Personalities of the Year (Major Market). The nominations were announced last month live on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” program.

The awards will be presented at this year’s 41st Annual CMA Awards program on Nov. 7, 2007 in Nashville and broadcast by ABC. The CMA Awards are considered to be country music’s biggest night.

“This is a huge honor,” said Debbie Kenyon, vice president and general manager of WYCD-FM. “It’s great to see Dr. Don along with Rachael, Grunwald and Jason get recognized nationally.”

“The whole team on the Dr. Don Morning show has contributed to our success at WYCD,” noted Program Director Tim Roberts. “More importantly, these guys know how to have fun and take the Detroit audience along for the ride.”

 • • • • • • • • 

Syndicated adult urban morning host Tom Joyner, heard locally on WDMK-FM (105.9), is promoting his 5th annual “Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day.” Those that take the pledge to help get someone in for a health screening or attending a community health event will be eligible to win $10,000. Details at www.kissdetroit.com. Also at WDMK, the syndicated Wendy Williams Experience was dropped from the station’s lineup in August after just a year. The station’s weekday lineup now consists of the Joyner show mornings, Tune Up middays, and Lady BG evenings.


By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioOn Sept. 14, 2001, this radio column began here in The Oakland Press by Mike Austerman and myself. And now six years later, we’re still going strong as the only “regularly scheduled” radio update in metro Detroit.

With my overactive travel schedule, you never know where my column is going to be penned, while Mike, due to family obligations, tends to stay local more than I do.

These words — in fact — were written from the famous New Jersey shore in the Garden State. I was there this past week to archive on videotape the final of five Sean Hannity Freedom Concerts on Tuesday. It was an event to remember.

Hannity’s show is carried on over 500 stations across the country, including news-talk WJR-AM (760) from 3-5 p.m. And if you heard the program last Tuesday, it was a memorable broadcast and I was proud to have been a part of it.

At the evening concert at Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in New Jersey, country singer Lee Greenwood — known for his song “God Bless the USA” — asked the crowd of more than 14,000 to wave their cell phones, much like Bic lighters a generation ago. It was a truly an awesome sight to see.

 • • • • • • • • 

Following up on the news of Matt Drudge walking away from his 400 station network show on Sunday nights, WJR programmer Steve Stewart has indicated that the program with new host Bill Cunningham will be carried at 10 p.m. on AM 760. You can preview Willie’s “act” on 700 WLW from Cincinnati on XM Channel 173 from noon-3 p.m.


By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioLess than a month after the infamous O.J. Simpson low-speed Bronco chase unfolded in the summer of 1994, sports WDFN-AM (1130) took to the airwaves for the first time. As that melodrama unfolded throughout the next year, there was plenty of Simpson trial fodder on WDFN that almost certainly helped draw attention, advertisers and ratings success for the area’s first full-time sports station. The tabloid-like sports concept grew so popular that at one time the area had three full-time sports stations in WDFN, WXYT-AM (1270) and what was WXDX-AM (1310).

Now that Simpson has returned to the headlines for all the wrong reasons, he’s again become a hot topic for discussion, at least temporarily pushing former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick off the hot-topic list. In the past 13 years, sports talk radio has proved to be as much about “pure” sports talk as it is about the controversies created by the stars and former stars of the game.

Hearing the Simpson chatter this past week reminds me of just how much the success of radio relies on its ability to quickly connect with the audience about intriguing issues — even if they resemble train wrecks. I also wonder if the all-sports format would exist today if there hadn’t been a Simpson trial back in 1994-1995.

 • • • • • • • • 

Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) enjoyed the biggest ratings increase in the latest summer ratings trend among all listeners. Although it was only a relatively small bump, it moved the station into the top 5 overall, behind adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3), urban WJLB-FM (97.9), news-talk WJR-AM (760) and top-40 WKQI-FM (95.5).

No word yet from WOMC on who might be taking over the midday program permanently; in the meantime, Rick Hunter has been doing a fine job holding down the fort.

 • • • • • • • • 

It’s not often that a radio personality gets to say goodbye on his own terms, but Tom Baker, heard most recently doing weekend work for soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3), posted a farewell note on the Michigan Buzzboard, www.mibuzzboard.com, saying he was leaving radio in favor of a more stable job with the U.S. Postal Service. Baker spent 22 years in radio and was probably most known for his work at country WYCD-FM (99.5) through 2005. His voice will certainly be missed on the radio, as commented on by other Buzzboard posters.


Ford sees HD radio as the way of the future



By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioIf you’re planning on buying a new or late-model used Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle, it just got a whole lot easier to be able to check out over-the-air digital HD radio. Earlier this week, Ford announced that it’s now offering HD receivers as a dealer installed option on most of its 2008 models as well as on many earlier models from 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“We believe HD Digital Radio will be an important part of Ford’s commitment to delivering innovations with mass appeal,” said Kim Irwin, vehicle personalization and accessories manager for Ford’s Customer Service Division.

“We’re helping our customers stay connected by supporting the features and functions they want in their vehicles. The dramatically improved audio, text and data features of HD Digital Radio — along with its hundreds of new radio stations — create a compelling combination at the right price.”

The HD Radio Alliance also announced this week that there are now 1,500 stations across the country broadcasting with the technology.

 • • • • • • • • 

Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) scored some nice awards from Radio & Records this week with Doug Podell being named as Active Rock Program Director of the Year and Mark Pennington being named as the format’s Music Director of the Year. Podell also collected the same award in 2006 while Pennington was also a winner in 2005.

Other potential winners from the area weren’t available at press time. Nominees for Station of the Year in their respective formats included country WYCD-FM (99.5), hot adult contemporary WDVD-FM (96.3), urban WJLB-FM (97.9), urban adult contemporary and WMXD-FM (92.3) along with WRIF. (Update: WRIF was named as Active Rock Station of the Year)

 • • • • • • • • 

Last year, ratings service Arbitron bumped the Detroit market down to the 10th largest in the country, slipping it behind Atlanta. This year brings more bad news as Detroit officially loses the prestige of being a top 10 market, dropping to 11th place behind Boston. Arbitron estimates locally there are 3,866,500 potential radio listeners age 12 and above, just 8,100 people behind the Boston. Maybe we could annex Flint, Toledo, Windsor and Ann Arbor to help out with those numbers.







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About this Archive

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

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

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

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