Trekking columnist happy to be home

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By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioHappy Easter to all who celebrate this special religious holiday and, personally, I could use the sugar rush that a few jelly beans and chocolate bunnies could provide. Your ever-traveling radio columnist has just completed a trio of radio conventions back-to-back. It was enough to kill a mortal man.

The healthiest music format on the radio today is definitely country, and the audience it attracts is loyal and responsive. Advertisers get above-average exposure with an attractive demographic. The Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville is incredible. It allows radio folks to get very up close and personal with the biggest of the musical celebrities. One stunned morning host from a small Georgia station got to sing a duet with superstar Garth Brooks. It was priceless. Country radio is attracting more young listeners than ever before. Both Tim Roberts, PD of WYCD-FM (99.5), and John Trapane, PD of WDTW-FM, were there, so our local country stations were well-represented.

After slipping out of Music City, I had less than 48 hours to recover before heading up Interstate 96 to Grand Rapids and the Great Lakes Broadcast Expo, presented by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Karole White and her staff always put together a sensational show with never fewer than half a dozen sessions to choose from throughout the day. It ended with a big awards ceremony. Mike Austerman covered the results last week, and WJR needed a couple of cars to carry all the trophies back to the Fisher Building.

About 12 hours after returning from the west side of the state, I found myself landing at BWI airport near Baltimore for the R&R Talk Radio Seminar in Washington, D.C.

A weak economy, tight station budgets and the rescinding of an award to a legendary New York City talk host resulted in a noticeably reduced number of attendees. That was unfortunate because the panels and keynotes were sensational.

News-talk radio is the other format that is in very good shape. The political climate and an abundance of “breaking news” make listeners loyal to the spoken word format.

Personally, I nearly fell off my video platform when Kraig Kitchin, a native of Troy and former CEO of Premiere Radio Networks, bestowed a huge accolade on my service to the radio industry. Wow.

 • • • • • • • • 

Back here on the local scene, have you seen the billboard campaign by sports WDFN-AM (1130)? It carries a plain and simple message, “If The Text Don’t Fit, You Must Acquit,” a zinger playing upon the continuing legal ups and downs of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The slogan was created by WDFN listeners who participated in a Web site promotion where people could send the radio station their personal text messages for Kwame.


 • • • • • • • • 

Unfortunately, I was still in D.C. last Monday and missed Paul W. Smith’s WJR St. Patrick’s Day Party, this year broadcast from the Detroit Athletic Club. However, when I went to the station Web site, I found that I could watch the broadcast live via a Webcam on the Internet. Insiders tell me it was a complete success, and I hope they saved me a commemorative coffee mug.

 • • • • • • • • 

Scott Walker, program director at oldies WOMC-FM (104.3), called to give me the inside story on what was to be a simple survey among Dick Purtan’s core audience on what they liked or disliked about the show. Dick liked the idea as a sort of personal report card, but it got posted on the Internet, was strongly misinterpreted and the Michigan Radio Buzz-Board went crazy with angry fans feeling it was CBS Radio, which owns WOMC, trying to oust the legendary morning star. Ain’t true, so relax. Speaking of WOMC, it has finally done something cool with its HD-2 station, featuring ’50s and early ’60s tunes most oldies stations don’t ever play. Good move.

 • • • • • • • • 

Those of us who like to find distant signals or a blank spot on the FM dial for an iPod or a satellite radio to play through are having an increasingly difficult time because of the proliferation of new LPFM (low-power) stations. If you’re in the Rochester area, you may have noticed a new station on 105.5 FM; in the Ferndale-Royal Oak area, smooth jazz V-98.7 is also on 102.3 FM; and on some GM cars, the car radio will automatically flip your dial to the actual WVMV frequency of 98.7. Strange.

These new “stations” are mostly part of the K-Love network of Christian broadcasters. I’m surely not going to condemn religious broadcasters — especially not on Easter Sunday — but they are cutting into the signals of “regular” fullpower stations on the same frequency.

At the MAB meeting, the manager of top 40 WTWR-FM (98.3) from Monroe/Toledo found that the new K-Love LPFM, also on 98.3, at the Dearborn/Detroit border interfered with his signal just north of Monroe. We’ll have more on this movement as we edge closer to summer, which is rumored to start by late May.

 • • • • • • • • 

Meanwhile, you can enjoy music of The Easter Parade on Christian WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

 • • • • • • • • 

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, March 23, 2008

 

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 23, 2008 10:27 AM.

West Michigan: Newsmakers Mar 23, 2008 was the previous entry in this blog.

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