By: Mike Austerman
Sports WXYT-FM has a great opportunity for a special night this week with the broadcast of the remaining game(s) of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wings will have their first chance to capture their 11th Stanley Cup at Joe Louis Arena tomorrow evening, a great treat for broadcasters Ken Kal and Paul Woods. Although the days of having the TV and radio broadcast in sync are pretty much over, do yourself a favor and tune in to the local guys doing the call of the game even if you're watching on TV. While hall-of-famer Mike 'Doc' Emrick does an outstanding job for NBC and Versus, getting some home cooking is the way to go, especially for extra special games. If you're not able to catch the WXYT broadcast over the air, XM satellite radio will continue to carry the 'XYT feed for the rest of the Finals.
If you're looking for unapologetic home enthusiasm after the Red Wings play, be sure to tune in to Art Regner on SportsRadio 1130 WDFN. As host of the station's long-running Ice Time, it's hard to find anyone that can express the feelings of the fans - from frustration over losses to exuberance over wins. If the Wings do clinch the Cup this week, Art's postgame will be radio gold.
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The first ratings trend of the spring found four stations within .1 of each other at the top of the 12+ numbers. Hits WKQI Channel 95.5 and Newsradio WWJ 950 shared the top spot with a 5.5, followed closely by urban WJLB FM 98 and News-Talk WJR 760 with 5.4. The top station in the winter book, adult urban Mix 92.3 WMXD fell off to fifth place overall with a 5.2.
Country WYCD 99.5 surged back into the top 10 stations, likely helped by the attention leading up to last month's Downtown Hoedown. WXYT also enjoyed a big boost as listeners seem to respond to the station's emphasis on call-driven shows as well as the start of baseball season and the Red Wings' playoff run.
The second spring trend will be released toward the end of June with the full spring book due out in July.
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Home improvement guru Murray Gula hosted his last program yesterday after a year at WDFN. Gula and the Clear Channel-owned station couldn't come to terms on a new contract, putting Gula in search of another home for his weekend radio efforts. Fans of Gula can still catch him as a guest on Bob Allison's "Ask Your Neighbor" on WNZK AM 690 each Friday from 10:30 - 11 am. The "Lunchtime with Murray" web cast will also continue on Channel 7's web site, www.wxyz.com, each Thursday at noon. Gula reports that the Channel 7 web show is very popular and will stay in place while Gula searches for that new home on the radio dial.
Interest in weekend home improvement programming on the radio appears to have cooled off dramatically from several years ago when the local stations seemed to be fighting over hosts like Gula, Joe Gagnon, Glenn Haege, and Adam Helfman. Now Gagnon is back in Ann Arbor on tiny WAAM focusing primarily on appliances again and Gula is essentially off the radio. Haege maintains a high-profile gig on WJR.
Adam Helfman was kind enough to contact me and correct some information I had wrong at the initial posting of this column. His "Hire It Done" program is heard locally on both WRIF-FM 101.1 and WMGC-FM 105.1 weekend mornings with big plans for a national roll out planned for the 4th quarter of 2008 and early 2009. Additionally, Helfman is doing some home improvement news features FOX2 Saturday Morning news. Find more information at www.hireitdone.com.
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John Moran came from MTV and took over as the Director of Sales for CBS Radio here in Detroit, but now has resigned after just about two weeks on the job. Insiders seem to indicate that a possible reason for the quick about-face was added responsibilities that were not disclosed when he first took the job. The hasty exit also, supposedly, was influenced by his having to dismiss other people to reduce overhead at the company.
Longtime WJR local sales manager, Bob Schick has resurfaced at CBS Radio/Detroit, but not as a replacement for Moran. That job is still open. Perhaps CBS market manager Deb Kenyon should look at a pair who left Radio One recently over budget cuts. Carol Lawrence and Nancy Dymond are available and would do a fine job.
Also exiting WXYT this week was program director Dan Zampillo as he heads to his hometown of Chicago for a great opportunity to take on the role of assistant PD for the legendary WGN AM 720. Operations manager Tom Bigby will likely take over the rest Zampillo's duties. Bob Shomper is WGN's program director.
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Columnist Mike Austerman covered radio for the Oakland Press from September 2001 through April 2008 and can be reached at email@example.com or at PO Box 99392, Troy MI 48099.