Hot for a Hummer; Phillips exits WOMC

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By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioUrban WHTD-FM (102.7) made a big splash in the news this week when the station's Hummer H2 was carjacked at gunpoint from a gas station in Detroit. Thankfully no one was hurt and alert Hot 102.7 listeners helped station personnel and Detroit Police nab the teenage joy riders in less than an hour. The vehicle itself was only slightly damaged and the free coverage on Channel 4's news gave the station some big exposure. Only trouble with Local 4's initial news report was the confusion between Hot 102.7 and its sister station, adult urban WDMK-FM (105.9). Betcha no one really minded though - getting two of your stations plugged on TV is always better than one. There's no word if the alleged carjackers worked for any rival radio stations.

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Doug Podell, Director of Rock Programming for WRIF-FM (101.1) and WCSX-FM (94.7), was named major market Program Director of The Year at the Friday Morning Quarterback (FMQB) 40th Anniversary Awards Dinner earlier this month in Philadelphia. In addition to being chosen by a group of radio industry leaders to receive the radio trade publication's top honor, Podell was also officially inducted into the FMQB Hall of Fame in the Program Director/Major Market category.

"We are very proud Doug was chosen to receive this outstanding honor," said Greater Media President & CEO Peter Smyth. "It is a privilege to have him on our team in Detroit."

Awards are nothing new for Podell and his staff as they consistently receive recognition for their work at one of the country's most successful rock outlets. Congratulations to Podell for keeping the rock in Detroit Rock City.

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The revolving door for DJ's continues to spin at oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) with the official departure of popular overnight and weekend host Don Phillips who had been off the air recently due to some health issues. Program Director Scott Walker confirmed Phillips' exit but revealed little else about the situation other than there are no plans to replace him at this time, meaning WOMC will run without a live voice during the overnight hours.

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The spring fundraisers at public radio outlets WDET-FM (101.9) and WUOM-FM/WFUM-FM (91.7/91.1) wrapped up with some encouraging numbers. Supporters of WDET pledged more than $650,000 towards the station's annual membership goal of $1.1 million, which no doubt pleases General Manager Allen Mazurek. The station's fiscal year ends September 30th.

Michigan Radio's WUOM, along with WFUM Flint and WVGR-FM Grand Rapids, generated 4,664 pledges totaling more than $594,000 during their on-air efforts. The stations boast that over $200,000 of that total was raised from first time donors. Combined with $230,000 Michigan Radio brought in during a pre-pledge direct mail campaign, the group raised over $824,000 to help pay for programming costs and general operating expenses at the station.

"Our listeners who support Michigan Radio as members never cease to amaze us with their dedication to maintaining the quality of our service," says Director of Broadcasting Steve Schram. "We return their outstanding measure of support by providing the strongest public radio news and information service in the state."

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Legendary newsman Paul Harvey, heard locally on news-talk WJR-AM (760), has been off the air for an extended time as he recovered from a bout with pneumonia and planned cataract surgery. The latest information is that Harvey is planning to return to his on-air duties this Friday, April 25th.

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Another 'get' for the Mojo in the Morning crew on hits WKQI-FM (95.5) as they scored an exclusive interview with pop superstar Madonna. Not to be outdone by another radio station's coverage on TV, the Channel 95-5 gang managed some camera time of their own with a slick publicity grab taking advantage of the Detroit City Council "Shrek" debacle. Visit to hear the Madonna interview and see pictures of the Shrek stunt. Great job guys!

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Georgeann Herbert has added the responsibility of Director of Digital Media for the local CBS Radio operations. She's already the Director of Programming for news WWJ-AM (950) and also serves as director of e-publications for the station.

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Set your dial: Tom Wilson and special guest-host 12-year old Emily Seward take Somewhere In Time listeners on a trip to the Tennessee Theatre to hear organist Jelani Eddington play a 1928 WuliTzer this evening at 6 p.m. on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560) ... Ed Love's The Evolution of Jazz on WDET will feature Anniversary Concerts from Carnegie Hall tonight at 8 p.m. ... Tomorrow WDET will kick off a week-long series of reports focused on the city of Dearborn during its local news programming segments throughout the day.

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On a personal note, this is perhaps my final radio column for the Oakland Press. While Art Vuolo and I continue to hold out hope for an extension of the On the Radio feature, I wanted to express my gratitude to every one of you that have read this column since September 2001- and especially to those that were also loyal readers of our predecessors. It's been a pleasure covering radio for you each week with Art, who is scheduled to return one more time next Sunday.

 • • • • • • • • 

Mike Austerman is the founder of and has covered radio for The Oakland Press since 2001.


Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, April 20, 2008



It looks like the same belt tightening that is happening in the medium which you cover is happening in the one in which you're printed ...

Thank you always for being a beacon for media junkies, estranged broadcasters, working media members and people who think about this more then just turning the dials. You and Art have both been tireless advocates of what's right in the broadcast spectrum ... and not afraid to say things honestly when they are not.

My hope is that you will continue with this web site. Perhaps, a companion blog to take the place of the newspaper column could be a better outlet for you?

Thanks for being a voice that will be missed!

Sorry to hear of your departure from the OP. Hope it is for another venture. Will there be something on the MRG that will keep us up on the happenings in radio? I will go through withdrawals if there is no good Detroit/MI radio news!!

Good Luck Mike!






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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on April 20, 2008 5:25 AM.

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers April 20, 2008 was the previous entry in this blog.

Sales and Transactions: Week of Mar 21, 2008 is the next entry in this blog.

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