Today’s radio failing to 'reignite passion'

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By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioLately, regular readers of this column may have noticed that Mike and I have been somewhat critical of the radio industry and what has happened to “the good ol’ days.” We have quoted a number of other columnists and former programmers who have spoken the truth about the business, but most of the people running stations these days simply don’t want to hear it.

People like Jerry del Colliano and John Gorman are thought to be eccentric prophets of doom who are burning bridges and alienating today’s broadcasters. Not so. Gorman, who tried, with limited means, to make WKRK-FM (97.1) a successful rock station after years at Cleveland’s legendary WMMS, said the radio business needs to remember the three little words, originally delivered in a keynote by National Association of Broadcasters president David Rehr: “Reignite the passion.” But he adds a fourth: how?

“You will not reignite anything by gutting established morning shows,” Gorman said. “You will not do it with voicetracking (automated) shifts when most people listen. And you will not reignite the passion by having managers and programmers accountable for multiple stations and, in some cases, in multiple cities.”

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The local radio community was stunned this past week when it was announced that Kevin Murphy, who was just promoted to market manager of all of the CBS radio stations in the Detroit area, was “reassigned” to California. Murphy will be overseeing stations in what is known as “The Inland Empire” — Riverside/San Bernardino extending out to Palm Springs. Murphy was not overly popular in The Motor City. Personally, I tried to be his friend and found it difficult to do. He was excellent at adjusting the “bottom line,” but did so at the expense of dozens of jobs lost and many very talented people losing their positions at various CBS stations in Detroit. It was thought that Kevin Murphy did — in less than two years — to CBS Radio in this town what it took former Mayor Coleman A. Young 20 years to do to the city of Detroit. I wish Kevin well in his next venture, but locally no tears (that I know of) are being shed.

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Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM (V 98.7) grabs syndicated host Dave Koz for afternoons while former p.m. driver Sandy Kovach shifts to middays, pushing Janet G out the door. Another case of cutting as the body count increases.

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An unlikely marriage is in the offing. The merger of satellite radio companies Sirius and XM has yet to close, and now a third party has entered the equation as insiders feel it’s likely the FCC will require that any new receivers include terrestrial HD capabilities. Among those backing the requirement are iBiquity and the HD Digital Radio Alliance. Don’t get me started.

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Speaking of HD, WRIF’s secondary channel “Riff 2” has announced the winners of the first annual “Riff 2 Awards,” which were awarded by an online vote. The nominees were posted in December of 2007 on the station’s Web site and thousands of listeners of Riff 2 and overall fans of the Detroit local music scene went online to vote for their favorites in 26 categories. The winners are listed at www.riff2.com.

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As WMUZ-FM (103.5) celebrates its 50th year of Christian broadcasting in Detroit, there is also a celebration of new and exciting programming. Beginning March 4, Robin Sullivan’s Praise Company becomes a power-packed three hours of the best Christian music mix, laced with Godly encouragement and contemporary Christian hits from the ’80s, ’90s and today. Robin will also serve as promotions manager for Crawford Broadcasting’s Detroit stations WMUZ, WEXL-AM (1340) and WRDT-AM (560).

Additionally, WMUZ welcomes author, speaker and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey to the lineup 7-9 p.m. weeknights following the Praise Company. Dave Ramsey offers life-changing financial advice as host of his self-titled nationally syndicated radio program. “The Dave Ramsey Show” focuses on life, love and relationships — and how they happen to revolve around money. Dave says, “It’s where life happens … caller after caller.” This is an excellent show. Also on WMUZ, at 6 p.m. Sunday, it’s the music of World War II by Glenn Miller with Tom Wilson.

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Public Radio WDET-FM (101.9) announces this week’s edition of “The Evolution of Jazz” with host Ed Love will air today at 8 p.m. and is titled, “Veteran Leaders in the 80s.” Rob St. Mary, who once worked at WJR, has transferred out of the Grand Rapids snow-belt where he was news director at WOOD-AM (1300) to join the news team at WDET.

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Oldies CKWW-AM (580) will take a look back at the early days of Rock & Roll with “The Evolution of Rock” an unprecedented 64-hour music documentary. AM 580 will air one chapter every weeknight at 7 p.m.

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If you want to lose yourself in old Detroit radio clips and memorabilia go to www. detroitradioflashbacks.net. Check it out, and don’t forget Dick Purtan’s huge Salvation Army Radiothon from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. this Friday live from the Oakland Mall on oldies WOMC-FM (104.3).

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Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com. Contact him at artvuolo@aol.com.


Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, February 24, 2008

 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on February 24, 2008 10:09 AM.

Metro Detroit/Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 24, 2008 was the previous entry in this blog.

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