Metro Detroit: January 2008 Archives

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 2, 2008



Detroit News:

WWJ-TV (Channel 62) is making big moves in the New Year, and while it's not a newscast, it's a start. Beginning Monday, the local CBS affiliate will air an 11 p.m. weather report from chief meteorologist Jim Madaus, formerly of WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), during the week and Tracy Gary on the weekends and holidays. Gary used to work at WDIV-TV (Channel 4) and WJBK-TV (Channel 2). Called "WWJ-TV's First Forecast," the 2 ½ minute weather report will air just before episodes of "Two and Half Men" in syndication, followed by "Late Night with David Letterman" at 11:35 p.m. weeknights, said Trey Fabacher, vice president and general manager of WWJ-TV... WWJ-TV to begin weather reports (Tue, 1/1)

Beth McLeod , the traffic reporter for WDIV-TV (Channel 4), is leaving after a decade of being with the station. Her last day is Friday. McLeod, who has been pulling triple duty as the morning and afternoon traffic reporter and the Michigan Lottery hostess in the evenings, will take some much needed time to rest and regroup, WDIV management said Monday. The departure also will give McLeod more time to spend with her husband, Fred McLeod, who left the station last year to become a full-time play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although she is leaving, McLeod will fill in at WDIV as needed, management said... WDIV loses traffic reporter McLeod (Wed, 1/2)

Detroit Free Press:

Debuting: Tonight on Ypsilanti's WEMU-FM (89.1), Eastern Michigan University's public radio station, veteran jazz broadcaster Evelynn Hawkins as host of its weekday evening jazz program, 8-11 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. She succeeds longtime evening jazz host Michael G. Nastos, who retired last July after 27 years at WEMU... Names and Faces (Wed, 1/2)

Michigan Citizen:

After 10 years of broadcasting from Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, RJ Watkins is ready to relocate. The CEO and Founder of WHPR Radio 88.1 and UHF TV 33 won’t be moving far, but in the words of Watkins and longtime partner and producer, Henry Tyler, it’s a step in the right direction. Watkins and Tyler have taken what began as an unexpected challenge and turned it into an opportunity. The owners of the building that currently houses WHPR and TV 33 recently decided that it was needed for other endeavors. But Watkins has found a large studio in a nearby commercial district that was formerly used as a photography studio for cars and trucks... Movin’ on up in 2008 (Mon, 12/31)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 4, 2008



Crain's Detroit Business:

Steve Wasserman, vice president and general manager of Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-Channel 4, will leave the station Jan. 18. A news release issued by the station Friday didn't indicate why Wasserman is leaving. He couldn't be reached for comment. Alan Frank, president and CEO of WDIV's parent company, Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., will act as general manager until a replacement is found. Wasserman took over WDIV in August 2005 after 11 years as general manager of sister station KPRC in Houston... WDIV VP/general manager leaving Jan. 18 (Fri, 1/4)

Detroit Free Press:

Waiting for Drew Lane? Don't expect the on-leave top-rated WRIF-FM (101.1) morning host to return until late January at the earliest, his attorney Mike Novak said. Lane, who left the show in late September to care for cancer-stricken fiancée Tess Schuster, has a contract with the Greater Media-owned station that Novak says expired Dec. 31. But Novak said all sides have agreed to get together for talks in mid-January. Lane's morning cohorts -- Mike Clark, Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer -- have separate still-in-effect deals that assure them morning work on WRIF. Newscaster Trudi Daniels has a separate deal and is not in the Novak stable... Lane's leave to continue a while (Fri, 1/4)

Detroit News:

Former WDFN radio host Greg Brady is moving on from Detroit, getting a job with a sports talk station in Toronto. Brady, who is Canadian, has signed a three-year deal to be the co-host of AM640's afternoon drive show. Brady, along with Jamie Samuelsen and Matt Shepard, saw their successful WDFN morning show axed in early November due to Clear Channel cost cutting... Radio: Brady headed to Toronto station (Fri, 1/4)

Rudy Desantis exits WXYT

Longtime WKRK-FM (currently WXYT-FM) 97.1 contributor Rudy Desantis has exited the station after officially being let go by station management this week. Desantis had been with the station for ten years dating back to when the station featured a rock music format and most recently had been an important part of the Deminski and Doyle program. D&D ended their run in December.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 5, 2008



Detroit News:

The Michigan Sports Network and University of Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein have teamed up for the first season of the "John Beilein Radio Show." Hosted by Wolverine play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard, the live call-in show will begin Monday at Damon's Grill in Ann Arbor... Beilein debuts on radio Monday (Sat, 1/5)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 8, 2008



Crain's Detroit Business:

Popular Detroit radio personality (and Detroit Pistons public-address announcer) John Mason has no set sleep schedule. “It’s not important to sleep now,” he said. “If I get five hours a day, that’s enough.” Mason broadcasts his weekday morning show from his $600,000 studio in Detroit’s Guardian Building. The show airs on WGPR 107.5 FM in Detroit and WOWE 98.9 FM in Flint and is streamed on www. The Web site is temporary, but Mason expects a permanent site to be up later this month. Registered users will be able to watch videos and download podcasts. Mason is trying to syndicate nationally — an effort that began in July 2006, when he left WDMK 105.9 FM, a Radio One station. Due to a noncompete contract agreement, he was forced off the Detroit airwaves for six months. About a year ago, he returned to the air on WGPR... John Mason, Radio Host, Mason Radio (Mon, 1/7)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 9, 2008



WXYT names Tom Bigby as its new operations manager

Sports WXYT-FM/AM 97.1/1270, The Ticket, has announced the hiring of Tom Bigby as the station's new operations manager as of January 14th.

Since September 2006, Bigby has worked for CBS Radio consulting on programming strategy and development across the country. He is probably best known for being the architect of Sports WIP-AM in Philadelphia which debuted in 1989 six months after WFAN. Bigby served as Station Manager/Program Director of WIP.

“Tom is a legend in the business, and his skill and experience will benefit the listening audience of Detroit immensely,” says Dan Zampillo, WXYT program director. “Having Tom here will only expedite the level of success 97.1 FM The Ticket will achieve.”

“Detroit is one of those cities where fans always have passion for all of its teams win or lose.....and a city with great radio heritage,” says Bigby. “The combination of the two makes sports programming a dream job. When Kevin Murphy and the CBS Programming guys talked to me about programming a big stick FM in Detroit, I jumped at the opportunity. I look forward to working with a bunch of talented guys and gals in the Motor City, and hey, I do drive an American made car!”

Bigby joined WIP in Philadelphia in 1989 and spent 15 years as Station Manager/Program Director before taking the reigns at KRLD Newsradio 1080 in Dallas as Director of Programming and Operations. Additionally, Bigby’s resume includes programming stints at Philadelphia’s WPHT-AM and WIFI-FM New York’s WNEW-FM, Los Angeles’ KFI-AM and KOST-FM, and in Dallas at KLUV-FM.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 10, 2008



Detroit News:

Say goodbye to Comcast Local, effective in March. The channel, owned by cable giant Comcast, has been dedicated to showing local high school sports in Indiana and Michigan since 2004. Comcast has decided to take Local off the air in both states, due to business considerations. "In this competitive marketplace, Comcast continues to evaluate its programming lineup," said Patrick Paterno, director of communications for Comcast's Michigan region. "Over the past three years, there have been numerous changes in the sports programming environment, from national to regional to local sport coverage. Comcast is committed to sports programming and continues to be the best source for local, regional and national sports programming." John Johnson, communications director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association, is monitoring the situation. "It's just a shame that Comcast is taking away a venue that showed grass-roots sports," Johnson said... Comcast Local leaving the air (Thu, 1/10)

More change at 97.1 The Ticket , WXYT (1270 AM and 97.1 FM ), as Tom Bigby comes in to run things as operations manager, effective Monday. Bigby was program director at the legendary Philadelphia sports station WIP-AM from the '80s through 2004, and will definitely bring a sharp edge to the station. More recently, Bigby was operations manager at WYSP-FM, a CBS Free FM station in Philly. Dan Zampillo remains as WXYT program director. "Now that 'XYT is in on the FM dial, CBS is investing in the station and getting it right, coaching the talent and putting the best possible talent out there," said CBS Detroit market manager Kevin Murphy... Bigby brings edge to The Ticket (Thu, 1/10)

Former WDFN, WXYT, WKRK host Henson out in Austin, TX

Gregg Henson has been released from his gig as program director and afternoon co-host at Clear Channel owned sports outlet KVET AM in Austin, Texas. Henson claims on his blog at that, "I don't really know why just yet, but I will find out in short order. I didn't get many answers today."

Henson states that he and his wife will now focus on opening a new business in Austin outside of radio.

A native of metro Detroit, Henson's highest profile jobs locally were at sports WDFN AM, sports WXYT AM, and then talk WKRK-FM before leaving town over two years ago for radio gigs in Austin and Philadelphia.

Top 5 stations in Detroit among all listeners during the fall ratings period were WJR AM, WMXD-FM, WNIC-FM, WJLB-FM, and WWJ AM... Detroit 12+ radio ratings, Fall 2007 (Thu, 1/10)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 11, 2008



WCSX's JJ & Lynne host Radiothon on Jan 24th to benefit Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan

JJ & Lynne, morning talk show hosts of Classic Rock WCSX-FM 94.7, will be taking to the airways for 15 consecutive hours this month with the help of local leukemia and lymphoma survivors to raise money for Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan (CLF). Jim Johnson (JJ) & Lynne Woodison have supported the agency with Radiothon, raising nearly $2.9 million to date for CLF, a 55-year old, independent foundation providing information, financial assistance and emotional support to Michigan families facing the challenges of leukemia and lymphoma.

The 15-hour Radiothon will take place on location at the Greater Media Studios in Detroit on January 24th, 2008 beginning at 6:00 A.M. and promises to be the most exciting event to date. A group of Detroit-area leukemia or lymphoma survivors will tell their stories during the Radiothon to raise money for the foundation that helped them cope during their ordeal with cancer. One leukemia survivor from Royal Oak, 22-year-old Jessica Carty, was originally interviewed while still undergoing treatment and is one of the survivors who agreed to tell their story. “It’s really important to me to give back. What we went through as a family was horrible, but CLF was there for all of us. I feel like part of the family there. I don’t think we would have made it through as well as we did without CLF’s support.”

Other leukemia or lymphoma survivors who want to participate or post their stories are encouraged to email JJ & Lynne. Tributes to those who lost their battle and photos will also be posted on the WCSX website.

Opportunities to bid on unique experiences, items or auction packages such as sitting in the WCSX studios with JJ & Lynne or hearing your MyTunes playlist on the air are available on designated dates throughout the month of January. Radiothon events, including a guitar jam at Oakland Mall, the assortment of auction items and packages and information, including how to make a donation or bid on one of the great auction packages, can be found at

Detroit Free Press:

What usually is one of local television's annual major live events -- coverage of the North American International Auto Show charity gala set for Jan. 18 from Cobo Center -- won't be carried live this year for the first time. WDIV-TV (Local 4) has decided to opt for a two-hour special recorded at the gala to air three nights later on Monday, Jan. 21, from 8-10 p.m. Why delay the glitz, the glamour, the cars, the stars and this year, those Barenaked Ladies (the musical group from Canada)? Eyeballs... Auto show charity gala won't air live (Fri, 1/11)

The Detroit radio rating report for the fourth quarter of 2007 was released Thursday morning and was full of interesting numbers about several of the industry’s hottest stories. Here are the key headlines: Without Drew Lane — taking three-months-plus off to deal with his fiancee’s cancer — WRIF-FM’s (101.1) “Drew and Mike” morning show dropped among all listeners, in the age 18-34 demographic and the age 25-54 demographic from the same period in ’06 ... WNIC-FM’s (100.3) annual gambit of starting Christmas music the moment the last goblin disappears (Nov. 1) worked but not as well as in past years ... Sports-talker WXYT-AM’s simulcast with FM 97.1 continued to reap ratings gold with the stations scoring a combined 3.6 in the 25-54 race, good for s tie for ninth place... Drew's absence felt by WRIF (Fri, 1/11)

Detroit News:

Arbitron released its final fall radio ratings Thursday, and well before churning into election 2008 overdrive, the news stations did well, with news/talk WJR-AM (760) posting a No. 1 overall and all-news WWJ-AM (950) going from a 4.2 share/8 rank a year ago to a 5.2 share/5 rank for Fall 2007. Other developments: All eyes are on the Drew & Mike situation, with everybody wondering when and if Drew Lane, on an extended family leave to help his cancer-stricken partner Tess, will return to the WRIF-FM (101.1) morning show. But the Drewless show, featuring Mike Clark and his producers, still ranks No. 1 in the advertiser-coveted aged 25-54 demographic... WJR leads fall radio ratings, 'MXD is No. 2 (Fri, 1/11)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 12, 2008



WDIV set for Auto Show specials

As the official home of the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), NBC affiliate WDIV-TV 4 will offer exclusive and extensive television coverage of from Cobo Center the next couple of weeks. NAIAS coverage on Local 4 will include live specials and news broadcasts from the exhibit floor along with a 2-hour primetime special from the Charity Preview event.

In addition to daily news features throughout the media preview week and the public show, Local 4 News continues the special series "NAIAS After Hours" segments each night at 11:25pm, immediately following Local 4 News at 11. Hosted by Carmen Harlan and Devin Scillian and featuring the popular “Name That Ride” challenge with Chuck Gaidica, NAIAS After Hours runs from through January 20th.

On Sunday, January 13 starting at 6 a.m., Local 4 News will be hosted live from Cobo Center by Guy Gordon and Rhonda Walker and will feature highlights from the previous night’s GM Style event. As the Car and Truck of the Year are announced and vehicle unveilings begin, Local 4 will take viewers inside with NAIAS Today At The Auto Show, airing at 11:30 a.m. Then, after a special 5:30 p.m. newscast, an hour-long live special, NAIAS Power Packed Weekend, hosted by Carmen Harlan and Devin Scillian will air at 6 p.m., featuring a recap of the day’s most talked about unveilings.

Monday, January 14 at 7 p.m, another all-new NAIAS Primetime Sneak Peek special hosted by Carmen Harlan and Devin Scillian will wrap up the new unveilings of the day and launch into the media preview week at the auto show.

Then, it’s one of Metro-Detroit’s most anticipated nights, and the biggest black tie extravaganza in town. Local 4 will take viewers inside the NAIAS Charity Preview party with a 2-hour primetime special. This year, the special will air from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Monday, January 21st, giving a chance for those in attendance to later see themselves on TV. The NAIAS Charity Preview is hosted by Carmen Harlan, Devin Scillian, Guy Gordon and Rhonda Walker, along with Chuck Gaidica, Bernie Smilovitz, Kim Adams, Rod Meloni, and Paula Tutman.

The NAIAS Charity Preview event and broadcast will feature a special appearance by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno’s own “Ross The Intern” as a guest of DMC Children’s Hospital, Hoda Kotb from NBC’s Today Show, Deborah Norville from Inside Edition and A.J. Calloway from Extra. The special will also feature an exclusive interview with The Barenaked Ladies who will be performing at the event. The NAIAS Charity Preview special will also feature interviews with top industry executives and a look at some of the show’s most impressive vehicles on a night that raises spectacular donations for local children’s charities.

Two additional Local 4 specials round out the month-long coverage. NAIAS: Weekend Opener on Saturday, January 19 at 7 p.m., will offer viewers the best tips to prepare for their trip down to the Auto Show. And, on Sunday, January 27, at 11:30 a.m., NAIAS: Closing Day will recap the events and memorable moments from this year’s big event. Also again this year, the NBC Network will televise a national special from the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It will air on Local 4 on Sunday, January 27 at 3 p.m.

In addition to all the specials, the latest daily updates and exclusive stories from the show can be found on Local 4’s website,


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 13, 2008



Ann Arbor News:

In advance of Michigan's presidential primary on Tuesday, Michigan Radio, the public radio service of the University of Michigan (91.7 FM), is offering "Select A Candidate,'' an online game lets users assess how their political interests, opinions and views match up with those of the 2008 presidential candidates. By answering a series of issue-oriented questions and then ranking them in terms of importance, voters can find the candidate that best reflects their values (never mind that several of the candidates aren't on the Michigan ballot)... U-M radio site helps you narrow choices (Sun, 1/13)

Detroit Free Press:

The indefatigable and irrepressible Sonny Eliot reports he's doing his all to promote WWJ-AM's (950) 5th annual radiothon Feb. 8-9 for the Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) to keep poor folks warm by helping with winter heating bills. So Eliot convinced his TV weather buddies Chuck Gaidica, Jerry Hodak and Rich Luterman -- a rare feat in today's ultra-competitive TV environment -- plus hockey great Gordie Howe and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to do some typically Eliot-ized public service announcements for the event... Eliot's buddies team up to support THAW benefit (Sun, 1/13)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 15, 2008



WEXL hires Frank Turner for mid-mornings

WEXL AM 1340 will add veteran TV anchor and investigative reporter Frank Turner to their lineup beginning February 4th. Turner, touted as America's first Evangelical Anchorman, brings his testimony and enthusiasm to the airwaves to minister to the Metro Detroit community on Crawford-owned WEXL where his show will air weekdays from 9:30 am - noon.

The Frank Turner Show will focus on bringing Kingdom living principles to everyday life situations through interaction with callers and their issues. "I’m not a counselor; I’m a coach,” Turner states. “A counselor will tell you what they think, but a coach will show you how to run the plays that are in the book – my play book is the Bible.”

Prior to exploring his career as an evangelist, Turner was an anchor for Detroit ABC affliliate WXYZ-TV Channel 7.

Media Monitors:

According to Arbitron, Detroit is the 11th largest radio market with a population of 3,866,500. Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan. Detroit has been the automotive center for more than one hundred years, and is an important source of popular music, thus the nicknames: Motor City and Motown ... But the biggest star in Detroit is the automobile. And so this week, we look at the car and how the manufacturers advertised on the radio... Motor City Madness

MC Serch Returns To WHTD:
RADIO ONE Urban WHTD(HOT1027)/DETROIT format captain AL PAYNE welcomes the return of MC SERCH aka MICHAEL BERRIN. Starting today 1/14 and for the next two weeks, SERCH will be the station’s afternoon driver. SERCH is a native Detroiter who hosted a VH-1 reality series “EGO TRIPS (THE WHITE RAPPER SHOW) last year. A spin-off, "MISS RAP SUPREME," is set to roll out later this year. He’s also credited with having discovered the artist NAS. “Over the next few weeks, we will be showcasing different superstar personalities that once rocked the mic in DETROIT, said PAYNE. “One will be the next HOT-102 all star.” (Mon, 1/14)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 17, 2008



Detroit News:

Let's see. The last time FSN Detroit anchor Mickey York had to move, he went from Detroit to Seattle. Irony was, York was still covering all things Detroit for FSN -- from their network compound in the Pacific Northwest. Something along the lines of, live from Seattle, it's Detroit. Nearly five years later, he has to move again. And in a smart development, York gets to move back to Detroit to cover all things Detroit. FSN is killing its studio show, effective Feb. 1... FSN's York excited to return home (Thu, 1/17)

Don't get too excited, Comcast subscribers, but there have been several reports in recent weeks that say the cable company and Big Ten Network are closer to a distribution deal. One of the most interesting accounts of this progress was from Michigan athletic director Bill Martin in a short briefing to fans that can be found on the athletic department's Web site, "We are optimistic that we can reach agreement quickly with Comcast, and that the remaining cable companies will follow shortly afterward," Martin wrote in a post dated Jan. 10. The briefing included a letter to fans from Big Ten commission Jim Delany and Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman that yet against expresses optimism about the situation... Big Ten Network, Comcast still working on a deal (Thu, 1/17)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 18, 2008



Detroit News:

Dick Purtan will appear Saturday night on the Fox TV show "Talkshow with Spike Feresten" to discuss the winners of the "Wacky Warning Label" contest, voted on late last year by his listeners. The WOMC-FM (104.3) morning host is prerecording his segment via a video camera from his home computer. The show will air on Fox 2 Detroit, WJBK-TV, at midnight Saturday. The "Wacky Warning Label" contest originated with the group Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (MLAW). The contest "honors" the strangest warning labels found on everyday objects, thanks to the zeal of lawyers -- labels like "Coffee may be hot." For the past seven years, Bob Dorigo Jones from MLAW has brought a list of five nominees to Purtan's show and read them on the air. Forty Purtan listeners then call in and vote on the winner... Warning: Purtan wacky label contest on national TV

Readers who called and e-mailed about WDIV-TV (Channel 4) anchor Ama Daetz missing from the station's morning newscast, shouldn't fear. Daetz still works at the local NBC affiliate and can be seen anchoring the Saturday and Sunday newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m. Daetz and many of her co-workers have been reassigned to accommodate WDIV's new format, which gives it the distinction of being the only station in town with a 6 a.m. newscast seven days a week, said Bob Ellis, the station's news director... Format changes shuffle anchors

WJR to continue Auto Show coverage as show opens to public

News/Talk WJR AM 760 will offer a special Charity Preview broadcast with Paul W. Smith from The Ford Motor Company exhibit this evening from 7pm-9pm. Then starting on Saturday, the station plans the following broadcasts from the show floor:

-- Sat 1/19 and Sat 1/26: 9am-11am, The CAR Show
-- Sun 1/20: Noon-2pm, Handyman Show with Glenn Haege; 2pm-3pm, Dailey & Stearn Law Show
-- Mon 1/21 - Fri 1/25: 9am-11:30am, Frank Beckmann Show
-- Tue 1/22 - Thu 1/24: 7pm-8pm, The Big Story with Lloyd Jackson

Business Reality Network moves to WDFN

After almost three years of broadcasting on AM 1310 WDTW, the Business Reality Network radio program will be moving to sports WDFN AM 1130 as of Sunday, January 27th at 10 am.

“It is a great step up” stated host Ren Carlton. “Although we truly enjoyed our time on WDTW, we are thrilled to move to a station with such a large, dedicated audience”.

The Business Reality Network is a one-hour program specifically designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners make business happen. For more information, visit their website at

Martin Bandyke of WQKL-FM (107.1/ will feature selections from vocalist Shelby Lynne's new album "Just A Little Lovin'" this Sunday, Jan. 20 at 4pm on his Fine Tuning program. Lynne's latest features songs made famous by the late, great Dusty Springfield, including The Look of Love and I Only Want To Be With You.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 20, 2008



Ann Arbor News:

The radio ratings for the fall are in, and they contain some surprises for local stations. As usual, Detroit AM powerhouse WJR remains strongly on top in this market. It's followed by WWWW-FM (Ann Arbor-based W4 Country) and Detroit rock station WRIF-FM, which enjoyed a jump from a 1.8 to a 4.6 share (the percentage of those listening to the radio who are listening to a particular station) between the spring and fall periods (ratings are only measured here twice yearly). Perhaps the biggest change involves Ann Arbor station WQKL, which fell from third place in the spring, when it had a 4.8 share, to 15th place, with a 2.0 share. A call to station management was not returned. News-talk WAAM, which recently let go its longtime morning host Lucy Ann Lance, rose in the fall ratings period from 1.5 to 2.6 share (perhaps it's not too late to pick up the phone and invite her back)... WJR tops, WQKL drops in radio ratings (Sun, 1/20)


Crain's Detroit Business:

The best drama not on television — the Hollywood writers strike — could soon be over — a happy ending for local affiliates worried about advertising revenue. It's still too soon to say if the new three-year deal reached by the television and movie directors union with the studios late Thursday will lead the striking writers to come quickly to an accord of their own — and stave off steep advertising rate cuts looming for networks and affiliates in Detroit and elsewhere. If the strike, which began Dec. 5, lingers into the spring it could force a drop in local television advertising rates by up to 35 percent, local media buyers predict... A happy ending in view for local TV affiliates? (Mon, 1/21)

Detroit News:

Chris Edwards has been off the air for most of the last three years, and strangers still tell him they watch him every morning. What makes that particularly mystifying is that back when he was the chief meteorologist for WJBK-TV (Channel 2), he worked nights. Strangers have also suggested that he's crazy for quitting a plum job with a six-figure salary. But they're outnumbered by the damp-eyed dads who understand what he did. "I've had men come up to me and say, 'I want to know how you're doing, because I want to do the same thing,' " says Edwards, 46. "I've had them say, 'I wish to hell my father had done something like that, because I never knew him' "... Raising kids is priceless for local weatherman (Mon, 1/21)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 22, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

Immediately after he awakes Friday on his 90th birthday, Ernie Harwell plans to do a series of exercises. First, he will do 50 whirling dervishes -- a stretching maneuver in which he fully extends his arms and alternately turns his upper body to the left and right as fast as he can. Then he will do about 25 lunges and 25 deep squats. Then he will jump rope for about 300 repetitions. "Or maybe about 30 more, to figure I counted wrong -- for good measure, as they say," Ernie says. Then he will get on his back and pull his knees to his chest, then do about 50 sit-ups, then stretch his back. After that, he will do deep breathing and -- still on his back -- pull his knees to his chin several times. This won't be a onetime demonstration of feisty fitness, meant to show himself just what he can do on his 90th birthday. He does this series of exercises to start every day. And that is part of the reason why Ernie Harwell, the legendary radio voice of the Tigers, has hardly slowed down... Ernie Harwell, ageless voice of the Tigers, turns 90 on Friday (Tue, 1/22)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 23, 2008



Two new weekday call-in shows to debut on WAAM

Ann Arbor First Ventures LP, the new owner of WAAM Talk 1600, announced two new listener interactive shows in the important morning and afternoon drive times as the first step of several planned improvements to the station.

Weekday mornings from 6 am to 9 am “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” gives listeners the day’s first look at the latest scoop and then opens the phone lines so listeners can go one-on-one with headline- making guests. This national show will be carried live and will be paired up with WAAM News and Community Affairs Director Dan Martin covering local news, sports, traffic and weather.

Weekday afternoons from 4 pm to 6 pm, WAAM has announced the return of local favorite Thayrone with his popular and controversial live and local talk show “On The Edge”. WAAM touts the new program with Thayrone as rant, rave, opinion, listener call-in compelling radio at its best. “On The Edge” offers a strong conservative message in a hip and indisputably interesting way only Thayrone can deliver.

Thayrone was born in Detroit and has lived in the Ann Arbor area since 1966. He has hosted shows on public and commercial radio since 1984 and his band The Witch Doctors regularly performs throughout the region. Thayrone’s “Bone Conduction Music Show” appears exclusively on WAAM Sundays 7 pm - 11 pm and he also nationally syndicates a similar show on the radio and streams it on the web.

“The new energy at WAAM is converging with the economic and political turmoil in the country to make it an exciting time to be WAAM listeners and advertisers,” said David Drolshagen, general manager of the station. “Ratings for WAAM have surged 66% over the last 6 months, as reported recently by Arbitron, in large part due to our world class line-up of talk show hosts. These two new live shows can only add to this momentum.”

Ronald Unkefer, the CEO of Ann Arbor First Ventures LP, also announced today that new marketing, a new website and more program improvements for the station will be rolled out over the next 90 days. “Our goal is for WAAM to be recognized as one of the best middle market radio stations in America. As part of this plan, we intend to increase local features and double the number of local weekend shows such as Joe Gagnon’s popular Saturday morning ‘Appliance Doctor’ show,” Unkefer commented. “As the news, talk and information station for Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan, we can offer local businesses and experts from our community the opportunity to partner with us to produce weekend shows that highlight their trade or passion in an informative and entertaining way,” Unkefer continued. “Listeners are invited to check out the new shows and other changes and then let us know how we can further improve the station to benefit our community.” Unkefer promised that the new website will be open for business and listener feedback in a few weeks.

WAAM Talk 1600 is licensed to Ann Arbor and has been on the air since 1948. The current lineup includes Fox News 24/7, local news and talk, and top national shows such as Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingram, Dr. Laura and Michael Savage. Ann Arbor First Ventures LP was formed to purchase WAAM and operates it under an agreement with Mighty Media Group LP. Ronald Unkefer is CEO of both companies and has owned and operated over two dozen radio stations over the past 16 years. His first station was the now legendary KSFO in San Francisco which he converted to a talk format in 1993.

WRIF to air select Indy Car and Nascar races in 2008 seasons

Rock WRIF FM 101.1 has formed a partnership with the IMS Radio Network to air a select number of 2008 Indy races along with the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race. The following is a schedule of the races that will be aired on WRIF:

Homestead, Miami- Saturday, March 29th; Indy 500- Sunday, May 25th; Brickyard 400 (NASCAR)- Sunday, July 27th; The Detroit Grand Prix, Sunday, August 31st

In 2007, WRIF aired the Detroit Grand Prix to help support the return of Indy racing to Downtown Detroit and to see how the listening audience would respond to live racing on a rock music format.

“The feedback from the listening audience was indeed very positive and so we decided to take it up a notch”, said Doug Podell, WRIF's program director and operations manager. “We’re excited to be able to offer this kind of programming to our listeners”.

WMUZ's Dutko to expand audience

Bob Dutko, veteran broadcaster for Crawford Broadcasting's Christian WMUZ FM 103.5 will take his controversial Christian talk show to another level by syndicating his hot topics to fourteen stations including Detroit with “Defending the Truth,” beginning February 4, 2008.

Defending the Truth will tackle tough theological issues using logic, science, history, evidence and intellectual reasoning to defend the truth of Jesus Christ. Through interviews, commentary and respectful debate, Bob will prove the evidence of the Resurrection, God's existence, Biblical Creation versus Evolution, the historical accuracy of the Bible, America's Christian Heritage, and more.

Dutko’s show will begin this hour at Crawford Broadcasting stations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Oregon, and in Detroit on WRDT 560 am from 4:00pm until 5:00pm weekdays.

"I’ve always believed our faith as Christians is not dependent upon science, logic and intellectual reasoning but it is backed up by science, logic and intellectual reasoning, and that’s what we’re going to continue to show with this new program," Dutko commented. “I’m excited about the opportunity to show more people the true logic of the Christian faith. To believe in God, in His word, in Biblical creation or in Jesus’ resurrection does not make you part of this flat earth society. We’re not leaving our brains at the back of the church door. We’re actually using our brains by welcoming debate and intellectual discussion.”

Crawford Broadcasting employees take part in Dr. King walk

Detroit’s Christian Station WMUZ 103.5 FM – The Light, Gospel Station AM 1340–WEXL and Word Station AM 560–WRDT joined over 500 walkers in West Bloomfield, Michigan for the 14th annual United We Walk event on Monday, January 21st in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

“We were so glad to join our listeners in this demonstration of peace and unity in the name of Dr. King,” said morning show co-host Shannyn Caldwell adding, “Braving this cold was the least we could do for a man who braved so much more for all of us.”

The walk, which took place in sub-zero wind chill conditions, was the culmination of a two-day event which included a speech by Nigerian Christian artist Timothy Orikri, a candlelight vigil, and a round table discussion about the “State of the Dream.”

WMUZ was the presenting media partner for this multi-cultural event and looks forward to working and walking with United We Walk for many years to come. More information is available at:

Detroit News:

Paula Tutman went to the auto show and found her mother a car. Then she found herself an epiphany, which is not as easy to come by. Elaine Tutman wants a minivan. After patrolling Cobo Center on behalf of WDIV-TV (Channel 4), where she's been a reporter since 1992, Paula Tutman decided her mom would look just right in a Chrysler Town & Country. Task complete. Tutman has been steering people toward American cars for awhile now. A friend was getting ready to turn in one leased Lexus SUV for another recently, she says, "and I talked her out of it. She went home with a Hummer H3, and she loves it." As for Tutman, she drives a Lexus... TV reporter says she's driving a guilt trip (Wed, 1/23)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 24, 2008



Detroit News:

Have a yen for backstage passes to meet "Elmo" or a hunting trip with Ted Nugent? (Or both?) You can bid on those things and more online today as part of the J.J. & Lynne Show's annual 15-hour Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan Radiothon, which takes place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Oakland Mall in Troy. The WCSX-FM (94.7) morning hosts have raised a total of $2.9 million for the foundation in previous radiothons. Bids can be made until 8 p.m. today at , where you can see the complete list of auction items, including a hunting trip to bag wild boar with Ted Nugent ; meet-and-greet passes to "Elmo Makes Music," Feb. 8 at the Fox Theatre; Beatles "Help" lobby cards and the chance to have a live broadcast of Pam Rossi's Saturday or Sunday "Over Easy" show broadcast from your home... 'CSX's radiothon raises money for charity (Thu, 1/24)

The fight between Comcast and the Big Ten Network is effectively in its eighth month, and customers have no idea when it will end. The sides say they're talking, which is lovely. However, Comcast is still running its bombastic commercials about how outraged we all are at not being able to see college basketball. The BTN smartly ratcheted down its trash-talking early in the football season, something for which we all should be grateful. The bottom line is that a lot of people still cannot see the BTN. Which led me to one thought: what exactly is all this fighting over? I sat down and watched the Big Ten Network for an entire day. Yes, a one-channel lockdown, and I kept my fingers off the remote control. And it wasn't easy... Big Ten Network elicits a Big Yawn (Thu, 1/24)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 25, 2008



Detroit News:

Don't miss your opportunity to be a contestant on CBS' hit reality show "Survivor." WWJ-TV (Channel 62) is hosting a casting call from 2 to 5 p.m. today at the television studios. Interested candidates must be 21 and older ... Jennifer Purtan has been named vice president of sales for WWJ-TV and WKBD-TV (Channel 50), the CBS owned duopoly in Detroit. Trey Fabacher, vice president and general manager of both WWJ-TV (the CBS affiliate) and WKBD (The CW affiliate), made the announcement this month... CBS searching for next 'Survivors' (Fri, 1/25)

Rest assured, if Ernie Harwell felt compelled to blow out all his birthday candles today, he could -- and after that, he'd probably skip rope for 10 minutes and run up a flight of stairs 30 times. "That's not going to happen, though. I don't think they make a big-enough cake," Harwell, the annually viable candidate for most popular person in town, said with a laugh. He's retired now, of course. But not. His Hall of Fame broadcasting career is over, but his era as a corporate spokesman is in full swing... Ernie Harwell turns 90 (Fri, 1/25)

Detroit Free Press:

Drew Lane, away from his highly rated WRIF-FM (101.1) morning show on a personal leave since late September, said Thursday that if he was on the air, he’d have noted that “the joke about ‘if a lawyer’s lips are moving he’s lying’ needs to be changed for the mayor ... WJR-AM (760) early morning voice Paul W. Smith said his Kilpatrick story callers—mostly suburban, Smith said — “were completely angry…it was an explosive reaction. People were just very upset”... Radio airwaves buzz with Kilpatrick chatter (Thu, 1/24)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 26, 2008



JJ & Lynne’s Radiothon gathers musicians, athletes, entrepreneurs and survivors to benefit Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan

JJ & Lynne, morning talk show hosts of Classic Rock WCSX-FM 94.7 talked to internationally-known musicians, business notables, professional athletes, major league coaches, local citizens and leukemia survivors in order to make the phones ring and bring attention and dollars to the cause of Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan (CLF). For 17-years, Jim Johnson (JJ) & Lynne Woodison have supported the agency with their Radiothon, raising nearly $80,000 in 15-hours for CLF, a 55-year old, independent foundation providing information, financial assistance and emotional support to Michigan families facing the challenges of leukemia and lymphoma. Over the years, the total raised is nearly $3 million dollars to help children and adults in their battle with these diseases.

The 15-hour Radiothon took place on location at the Greater Media Studios in Oak Park on January 24th, 2008 beginning at 6:00 A.M. A group of area leukemia or lymphoma survivors were interviewed and shared their stories of hope and how the foundation came to assist financially as well as helping them cope during their ordeal. Melissa Berman of Waterford, Jennifer Valinski of Belleville, Brenda Bratt of Troy, Jennifer Wiser of Holly, Christine Kowalski of Dearborn Heights, and Jessica Carty of Royal Oak spoke to JJ and Lynne about their experiences.

Glenn Trevisan, President and CEO of CLF said, “We are thankful for JJ & Lynne, everyone at WCSX and their loyal listeners who, all told, have raised more than $3 million for CLF in 17 years. We are deeply grateful. We are a local, state-wide organization and support a great cause for families here. And the effort of supporting our mission is even more satisfying because of the many great people we work alongside of such as JJ & Lynne and all the people who give their time to this event.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to JJ & Lynne’s Radiothon or for additional information about CLF, should go to Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is a statewide organization that provides information, financial assistance and emotional support to adults and children affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and other related blood disorders.

WRCJ set for another Symphony Bowl

You know that incredibly super-hyped sporting event that everybody gets all worked up about every year at the beginning of February? Did you ever wonder what might happen if we lived in a world where we got equally geeked about the arts? Specifically, a championship contest between two symphony orchestras?

Well wonder no longer; Symphony Bowl MMVIII is here, pitting the New York Philharmonic against the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

It all started in 1989 when Chris Felcyn, hosting a classical music program one Super Sunday morning on a Detroit public radio station, decided to play samples from the orchestras of the cities competing in that other event. Now the Symphony Bowl is ready for prime time on Public Radio International, and as in previous years you'll hear a thrilling demonstration of competitive symphonics between two determined symphony orchestras. In addition to authentic recordings from each organization, we'll feature celebrity cameos and interviews (The CBC's Tom Allen explains the differences between the Canadian and American Symphony Leagues; Maestro Leonard Slatkin will appear as Blimp Grand Marshal during a 3-ship formation fly-by) as well as an actual musician from each competing orchestra. It's all packaged with the twists and turns and atmosphere of a live contest, as we create an epic "battle of the bands" right before your very ears.

Hear WRCJ's exclusive coverage of the Championship Concert of the National Symphony League. It's Symphony Bowl MMVIII, coming Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 10 a.m. to 90.9 FM.

WUOM, WDET to air State of State address

Michigan Radio, WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor/WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint/WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids, will air live coverage of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s State of the State Address to the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday, January 29th at 7 pm. Michigan Radio will produce and broadcast this live event, which will also be carried by Michigan Public Radio Network stations across the state.

Following a bruising budget battle in 2007, the governor is expected to address how she plans to deal with the state’s continued economic challenges and efforts to diversify Michigan’s economy.

Michigan Radio’s Charity Nebbe will host the live broadcast, with political analysis from Jack Lessenberry. Michigan Public Radio Network correspondent Rick Pluta will provide reaction from the state capital. Following the governor’s address, Michigan Radio will also broadcast the Republican response from Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.

Detroit's WDET-FM will also have coverage from 7 - 8:30 PM. On Tuesday, February 5, WDET will carry NPR's programming on the 22 Super Tuesday primaries beginning at 9:00PM. The special broadcast is expected to run until 3:00AM and will include NPR's national coverage and analysis.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 27, 2008



Ann Arbor News:

Evelynn Hawkins is the new host of the weekday evening jazz program on WEMU, 89.1 FM. She started work earlier this month, succeeding Michael G. Nastos, who retired last July after 27 years at WEMU. Hawkins has been in radio since 1984 as an announcer and producer, and has programmed classical as well as jazz. She came here from WDUQ-FM in Pittsburgh, and she has co-hosted the national broadcast of the Detroit International Jazz Festival. She has served on the boards of both music and community non-profits... And all that jazz: New EMU host Evelynn Hawkins grew up in a family surrounded by music (Sun, 1/27)

Fans of National Public Radio personality Ira Glass should mark this date down immediately. The host of the public radio (and now, Showtime television) program "This American Life'' will celebrate the show, and the DVD release of the first season of the television version, with an appearance Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at the downtown Ann Arbor Borders Books and Music store... ON THE AIR: Meet host of 'American Life' (Sun, 1/27)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 29, 2008



Detroit News:

Longtime WWJ-AM (950) vice president and general manager Ritschard "Rich" Homberg has been named president and general manager of Detroit Public Television, a job vacant since Steve Antoniotti resigned last April. Detroit Public Television operates WTVS Channel 56,, DPTV Media and classical/jazz radio station WRCJ-FM (90.9). In a statement, Stephen Strome, chair of the DPTV board of trustees, said: "Rich Homberg has certainly demonstrated a deep commitment to southeast Michigan, and he has a clear understanding of the important role a broadcaster can play in helping our community achieve its goals"... Rich Homberg takes over Detroit Public Television (Tue, 1/29)

Comcast Corp. apologized today for the way it handled a proposed shift of community access programming in Michigan that would force customers to get converter boxes or new TVs to continue to watch local government meetings and high school football games. Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and congressional Democrats criticized Comcast and AT&T Inc. for giving the public, educational and governmental programming, or PEG programming, what they termed "second-class" status. "PEG programming deserves first-class treatment, not second-class billing," said Dingell, D-Dearborn ... David L. Cohen, Comcast's executive vice president, told the panel that "in retrospect, we failed to communicate adequately our goals and to work cooperatively with our local partners to produce a 'win' for everyone." "That is not the way we want to do business -- in Michigan or in the rest of the country -- and I want to apologize for that," he said... Comcast promises to fix community access channel issue (Tue, 1/29)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 30, 2008



Detroit News:

THAW (The Heat and Warmth Fund), along with WWJ-AM (950), AT&T and WJBK-TV (Channel 2), have teamed up for the Fifth annual Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW, a 31-hour on-air extravaganza. The excitement begins 5 a.m. Feb. 8 and continues through Feb. 9 at the Boll Family YMCA, 1401 Broadway St., in Detroit. The goal this year is to raise $500,000 to provide emergency heat and lights for struggling low-income families and senior citizens throughout Michigan with special concentration in Metro Detroit... 31-hour THAW fundraiser is Feb. 8 (Wed, 1/30)

Detroit Free Press:

After a nine-month search, Detroit public television station WTVS-TV (Channel 56) has found its new leader in the middle of Detroit's AM radio dial. Rich Homberg, vice president and general manager of all-news WWJ-AM (950) since 1996, has been named president and general manager of Detroit Public Television. The move, announced Tuesday, fills the top slot left vacant last April when former president and general manager Steven Antoniotti resigned unexpectedly... Detroit Public Television names radio chief to its top post (Wed, 1/30)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Jan 31, 2008



WWJ AM 950 knocked off air

No word yet on what happened, but at about 9:30 this morning all-news WWJ lost transmitter power at its facilities in northern Monroe county and remained off the air for about an hour. The station's programming continued to air over the Internet via its web site at during the outage.

When the station resumed its over-the-air broadcasts at about 10:35 am, they appeared to be at less than the station's licensed 50,000 watts as the station's normally strong signal was subject to more interference than usual from along the border of Troy and Sterling Heights. It's possible that WWJ resumed broadcasting using a back up transmitter located near 8 Mile Rd. and Meyers Rd. in southern Oakland county -- the site the station broadcast from for years until it moved further south to increase power from 5,000 to 50,000 watts in 2000.

Detroit News:

If you're having trouble lately pulling in a good signal from your favorite radio station, it's not just that your radio dates from Marconi's heyday. Radio signal interference has become a big problem in Metro Detroit since the advent of HD (high definition) broadcasting ... Mildred Gaddis's morning talk show on WCHB-AM (1200) has been on fire all week over the mayoral text message scandal ... WDET-FM (101.9) will be holding a Valentine's Day fundraiser, "For the Love of WDET," on Wednesday. Listeners are invited to share why they love WDET, as they pledge donations... HD signal wreaks havoc with analog radio (Thu, 1/31)







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This page is a archive of entries in the Metro Detroit category from January 2008.

Metro Detroit: February 2008 is the next archive.

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