On the Radio: Vuolo reports a hot time at New Media Seminar

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Written by: Art Vuolo

On The RadioWell, your traveling radio reporter is on the road again. This time is was New York City for the Talkers Magazine New Media Seminar.

First of all if you think it's hot in Michigan, try New York when it's 96 degrees. The host hotel at East 57th street and Lexington Avenue was nice. Small, but nice. Although I must say that I was a bit surprised to note that the clock radio's in the rooms had NO AM band on them. They were equipped with a docking port for an iPod but no ability to hear any AM stations. New York has no FM talk stations, so here we are at a talk radio convention and can't hear WABC, WOR or any of the Big Apple news-talk stations. That is why I always travel with my own high-quality AM-FM radio, with sleep switch and alarm. The in-room radio's didn't fearure a sleep mode either so one could fall asleep to the radio.

The only redeeming value was the flat-screen TV which DID feature AV inputs, so those of us who travel with our own DVD players can play the video though the set in the room!

Again, at this conference, like so many of late that I've attendeed, there was zero mention of high-definition (HD) radio. Not a peep. Local representation was also weak. Only two Detroiters (other than myself) were in attendance. They were Tom Bigby, operations manager of WXYT-FM (97.1) and AM (1270) and WDTK's Zaron Fruman, who came, at his own expense, to learn and to network. Some smart local talk station should offer him a job, because I don"t think WDTK-AM (1400) truly appreciates his talents.

 • • • • • • • • 

While in New York I received a call from Bernie Fratto, who fills in for Rob Parker on the popular Parker & The Man Show on WCHB-AM (1200). Fratto called to let me know that the Radio One 50,000 watt AM station just dropped talk and returned to playing gospel music. So, the sports show is off the air. Will either WXYT or WDFN-AM pick up the duo?? Not sure.? The rumors are flying again about WDFN-AM (1130) moving to FM. Time will tell. I let Mr. Bigby know about the WCHB format change, but wasn't going to tell the "big guy" what to do with The Ticket 97.1FM. On a personal note, I hope at least Bernie Fratto lands on a good station.

 • • • • • • • • 

The flavor of the New Media Seminar was decidedly that "content is king." How many times have we heard that? Talkers Magazine is published by Michael Harrison who puts on an intense confab that features about a weeks worth of meetings and sessions into a day and a half. Neither of the two Detroit representatives were on any panels, but most of them were very interesting none the less. Among the many highlights were the sports radio panel which featured WFAN's Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. These guys are magical together and very entertaining. This is the program which replaced Don Imus when the I-man got fired for is racially insensitive remarks last year.

One of the best sessions was called "Words from the Wise: Legends and Pioneers of Talk Radio." Moderated by Joey Reynolds of WOR Radio, it featured: Barry Farber, Bruce Williams, Joe Franklin, and Bob Grant, all of whom are talk radio giants. It was my job to video the proceedings and I truly got many moments of radio history on tape.

Joe Madison was given the Freedom of Speech Award. For those of you with long memories of Detroit Radio, you might recall when Madison did a talk show locally on the old WXYZ-AM 1270 when it was a serious talk station. Madison's acceptance speech was riveting. Other awards were given to Bob Grant, one of radio's pioneering tough-talkers and I had the honor of producing the video tribute that played prior to his acceptance. Also given awards were Dr. Laura and Laura Ingraham, both most deserving.

The New Media Seminar was well-attended, considering these poor economic times and the reduced budgets at most stations. I am still in recovery mode from taping it all.

 • • • • • • • • 

The next big radio gathering comes later this month up in Minneapolis. It's called The Conclave, and it's known as The Learning Conference. I hope to be there listening and learning and reporting back to you, as I continue my quest to constantly take the temperature of the radio industry in these changing times.

 • • • • • • • • 

Here a tip for all radio fans. If you still have a roof-top television antenna, don't be too quick to take it down in this era of segueing to digital TV because it can be used very effectively to deliver you far better FM reception. If you replace the TV antenna with a good quality FM antenna by Winegard or Radio Shack, you can achieve spectacular FM reception, especially if it's on a rotor and you can turn it to various directions.

Most people own FM receivers which could draw in FAR more stations, if only it was connected to a roof-top antenna. Even an attic antenna is better than a piece wire dangling off the back of your stereo.

 • • • • • • • • 

From steamy mid-town Manhattan, that's your brief road report. Stay cool and most of all...keep the radio on!

 • • • • • • • • 

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



"Again, at this conference, like so many of late that I've attendeed, there was zero mention of high-definition (HD) radio. Not a peep. Local representation was also weak. Only two Detroiters (other than myself) were in attendance."

"Black Friday for HD Radio"

"Nor was I surprised when Kurt veered left to discuss - and dismiss - HD Radio. What fascinated me was the reaction. Any room full of broadcasters is full of HD radio doubters, nowadays. But the vibe in this room was remarkable for the eye-rolling and audible snickering that greeted virtually any mention of HD... Hope that we're too smart to be taken in by pyramid schemes."


That's not surprising, as even broadcasters aren't interested, or cannot, put further resources towards HD Radio.






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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on June 8, 2008 8:59 AM.

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