On The Radio Columns: April 2008 Archives

By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioIf you are one of the thousands who enjoy waking up to the antics of Dr. Don Carpenter with Rachael Hunter, Steve Grunwald and the 300 lb. Cowboy Intern, there is cause for celebration since the Doctor is in... at least for another three years as he re-signed with country WYCD-FM (99.5). So, the laughs, along with the country music hits will keep on comin'. Mark your calendar for the 2008 Downtown Hoedown scheduled for May 9 through 11.

Speaking of WYCD, they have launched a new 24 hour Psychic Radio channel on their HD3 frequency for those of you who have bought one of those new HD Radios. It's devoted to the mind, spirit and soul. The shows are streamed worldwide through www.psychiconair.com via all CBS Radio streaming players, including www.wycd.com. Of course if you were truly psychic you would have already known about this. Do you think WRIF contributor Mr. Positive a.k.a. Greg Balteff, was aware of this?

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Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) has announced that Doug Podell, the station's program director / director of rock programming, along with Mark Pennington, Riff's music director / assistant program director, have been elected into the FMQB Hall of Fame for achievements in the radio industry. The magazine will be honoring the individuals who have been elected in the upcoming 40th Anniversary Issue and at a gala event to be held in Philadelphia this Thursday, April 10. FMQB (Friday Morning Quarter Back) is a respected radio industry trade publication. Sadly, we learned this past week that Doug just lost his father. Condolences can be sent to Doug Podell, c/o WRIF One Radio Plaza, Detroit, MI 48220.

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Radio One/Detroit has realigned programming duties at urban WHTD-FM (Hot 102.7) and urban-pop WDMK (105.9 Kiss FM). Operations Manager Al Payne , who retains his role as Program Director at gospel/talk WCHB, fills the PD opening created by the December departure of Spudd. After being promoted to music director of Hot 102.7 in December, late night personality Ms. Smiley has been elevated to APD of the station and PD of 105.9 Kiss FM. She has been assisting Payne with the programming of 105.9 Kiss FM since January, and Smiley will continue to handle all of her previously assigned duties at Hot 102.7. Confused?


WYCD's Downtown Hoedown returns



By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioMark your calendar and get your cowboy boots ready for the 26th Annual Downtown Hoedown May 9-11. Presented by country WYCD-FM (99.5) once again this year, Detroit's Hart Plaza will host an estimated one million music fans over those three days for what's billed as the largest free country music festival in the world. Headliners among the 49 acts scheduled to appear include Trisha Yearwood, Gretchen Wilson, Jewel, Lonestar, Billy Currington and Detroit's own American Idol superstars Phil Stacey and Josh Gracin. More info is available at www.wycd.com.

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Friday nights are about to become much more exciting on Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) as the station has added the high-energy Tom Kent Show to its lineup from 7 p.m. 'til midnight starting April 25th.

Kent, who along with XM Satellite Radio's Terry "Motor Mouth" Young, are among the last up-tempo DJ's who have the knack of making radio fun and entertaining for the listener nearly every time they open their mikes. Sadly, Jack Armstrong, a pioneer of the fast-talking style employed by Kent and whom Young considered his mentor, died a couple of weeks ago at just 62 years old. Armstrong, who once held a Guinness World Record for "fastest talking human alive," was well known in Cleveland for his work at WKYC-AM (1100) and WIXY-AM (1260) and his career included stays in Buffalo, Toronto and Los Angeles, among other cities.

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The city of Fenton will be hosting Casey Kasem Day on Saturday April 26th as part of a fundraiser for a proposed $3.5 million cultural center addition to the Fenton Community Center. Kasem, the longtime voice of numerous pop music countdown shows since the 1970s, in addition to his many contributions to television and movies, grew up in Detroit and has strong family ties to the Fenton area. His vintage American Top 40 countdown programs are among the most popular shows on XM's '70s and '80s channels where they are heard several times each week. More information on Casey Kasem Day can be found at www.fentoncommunitycenter.org.

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The student staff members of the Bloomfield Hills School District's radio station WBFHFM (88.1), known as "The Biff", were set to broadcast their 32nd Annual 24-Hour Marathon Broadcast this past Friday and Saturday to help collect money and pledges from listeners in the community to help underwrite radio station operating costs.

"Our pledge drive is a fun event for the radio students and it gives listeners a chance to support community radio with their donations" said WBFH Marathon Chair and Andover High senior Corey Berkowitz.

All 21 WBFH staff students from Andover and Lahser High were scheduled to be on the air live throughout the 24 hours, some staying up for the whole event.

Although the event is over, you can still support the station and its students by contacting them either at (248) 341-WBFH or www.wbfh.fm.


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."


By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioWhen Mike Austerman and I began writing this column in September of 2001, our country had just suffered the worst catastrophe in our lifetime and more than 75 percent of the nation's population heard about it first on radio. It was a sad way to start this run which has lasted over six and a half years

Unfortunately we're going to end in much the same way.

The biggest news of this past week was probably the worst-kept secret in Detroit radio. It was the hardly unexpected departure of Drew Lane from the top-rated Drew & Mike morning show on rock WRIFFM (101.1). It has been extensively covered in both newspapers and TV, but the saddest news came from behind the scenes at The Riff.

It was the most untimely death of Bob Kozaitis who was the director of Sales and Events and Online Marketing for WRIF. General Sales Manager John Long said "it was a very difficult week for everyone in the building and it truly puts the Drew Lane story in proper perspective."

Kozaitis was on calls for the radio station and reports say he had pulled off the M-59 freeway near Squirrel Road to check on his vehicle and stepped too close to the highway when a truck struck him. He was reportedly killed instantly. It's a tragedy and the fact that he was only 36 years old made it even worse. Bob had been with WRIF for the past 10 years, in charge of many station events including Harley Fest, and the Stars and Stripes Festival in Mount Clemens. He will surely be missed.

On a related note, I want to commend Mike Clark, Trudi Daniels, Mark Fellhauer and Mike Wolters for a masterful job of "facing the music" and presenting a most difficult program to broadcast last Wednesday while dealing with the loss of a close friend and colleague and the front page story of a longtime team member seemingly leaving the family.

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Ten days ago I attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas and was proud to watch local radio icon Ed Christian given the Ward L. Quaal Pioneer Award. Quaal, a Michigan native from Ishpeming, attended the University of Michigan and the event was a proud moment for Christian, who is the president and CEO of Saga Communications, which owns stations throughout the country, but none locally. Quaal is the genius who built WGN in Chicago into one of America's most legendary radio stations.







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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the On The Radio Columns category from April 2008.

On The Radio Columns: March 2008 is the previous archive.

On The Radio Columns: May 2008 is the next archive.

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