On The Radio Columns: August 2008 Archives

By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioLeading off this week, Art Vuolo and I want to extend a huge thanks to WRIF program director Doug Podell and Riff2 afternoon drive host Slayer for the opportunity and help with our guest shot on Nightcall yesterday. Thanks also to all the callers and positive feedback - it was an enjoyable couple of hours talking about radio on the radio.

The two hours went by very quickly and we weren't able to tackle most of the e-mail that was sent in to us. Doug wanted to know, "in this mishmash of programming that is laughingly called radio nowadays, if there is a 'new, improved' format in the future that will be the hot thing, at least for a while? What formats are lurking out there that may catch hold? Alt Country? Classic Country? AAA? Smooth Jazz.....no, wait a minute, that's dead already."

I think there will be less and less emphasis on music formats going forward and instead of having head-to-head battles with stations playing basically the same thing, there will be more single station music formats in most markets and we'll see more talk-oriented outlets on FM. The biggest limiting factor, of course, is finding someone with the money to sink into finding (and keeping) the talent and grabbing the attention of the audience. WXYT is proving that there is an audience in Detroit for talk radio on FM ... and with proven talent like Deminski and Doyle and Drew Lane waiting on the sidelines ...

The 'Reel' Tom Ryan (not the former WOMC jock) wrote in to remind people how easy listening to the radio over the Internet can be with an appliance that connects to your computer network and allows for convenient access thousands and thousands of online radio stations. Check out C. Crane and Sangean for radios that can keep you connected via WiFi without requiring the use of your computer or cell phone.

One thing I can say for sure, it's much more efficient to cover a lot of topics talking about them live versus having to type these things in an Internet or newspaper column ... but I can sure appreciate how hard it is to have fresh content on a daily basis. I have newfound respect for all the radio pros that can keep things fresh and interesting every day.

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Oldies WOMC is doing something cool with the promotion of Dick Purtan's morning show by sending out a weekly video mail hosted by Mr. Purtan himself. It's an effective way to grab the attention of the show's most loyal listeners and help get the word out about things coming up on the program. You can check out last week's v-mail here, complete with a cameo from Big Al to keep things ... err... light.

As the official station of the Dream Cruise, WOMC is hosting a ton of live broadcasts from Woodward through Saturday - check out WOMC.com for a rundown of times and locations. And of course classic rock WCSX is also in on the act and they too will be offering a ton of coverage from what they call the 'Big' cruise on Friday and Saturday.

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Looking at WOMC's recently revamped web site, you'd never know that it's the flagship station for Michigan football as another season gets ready to kick off in just a few weeks. Can't help but wonder if the folks at CBS radio locally have cooled to the idea of having football broadcasts on WOMC and would prefer to have them heard on the FM 97.1 / AM 1270 near-simulcast. Interestingly, CKLW's web site prominently features the fact they also carry the games locally.

And while I'm thinking about sports, I understand how contracts work, but still don't like how exhibition football games get priority over regular season baseball games on WXYT-FM. It shouldn't matter which team is playing ... just that a playoff game should always get the best signal, followed by regular season contests, and then exhibitions.

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Obviously sending Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to jail for a night last week was a big deal and local radio was all over the story as the news broke. If you didn't want to watch the wall-to-wall coverage on Channels 2, 4, or 7, all you had to do was check out WJR, WWJ, or WDET (among others I'm sure) to get the latest info on what has become the biggest local news event in many years.

WDET was on the story starting at 10am Thursday when "Detroit Today" began airing and expanded coverage through 1pm. Station manager Tim Hygh commented, "Because of the magnitude of this story, WDET's News Director, Jerome Vaughn, pre-empted the normally scheduled program Here and Now and continued the live coverage with Quin Klinefelter hosting for vacationing host Craig Fahle, taking advantage of Detroit's largest Public Radio news team."

While the story was breaking guests included, Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel, Craig Rothe of Public Sector Consultants, Bill Ballenger- Editor, Inside Michigan Politics, David Moran-Associate Dean of Law at University of Michigan and WDET Reporters Rob St. Mary and Noah Ovshinsky.

Who knows what'll be next in this seemingly never ending saga in Detroit politics ... but rest assured you'll be able to hear all about it on the radio.

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Mike Austerman covered radio for the Oakland Press from September 2001 through April 2008 and can be reached at ontheradio@austerman.com or at PO Box 99392, Troy MI 48099.


By: Art Vuolo, Jr.

On The RadioWelcome to an early shot at our ordinarily Sunday offering on the local radio scene, but with the Woodward Dream Cruise looming and all that surrounds it, we felt it would be better to "jump the gun" than to speak about everything in past tense.

In recent years, this event has become a media extravaganza with just about every station in town taking part in some form or another. Even public radio WDET-FM (101.9) is scheduled to there! WDET will be revving up to be part of this year's annual Ferndale Woodward Dream Cruise on Friday, August 15. Tune in for a live broadcast from Woodward and 9 Mile on Detroit Today (10am - noon) and WDET will be on-hand throughout the day with contests and giveaways! My, this is sounding rather commercial for a public station.

Originally starting out as a small fundraiser to raise money for a soccer team, The Woodward Dream Cruise weekend is best known for being the world's largest one-day automotive event. The Ferndale Woodward Dream Cruise will kick off on Friday, August 15 with The Emergency Vehicle Show, Lights and Sirens Cruise and a Ribbon Cutting ceremony. This is followed by the actual Classic Car Cruise and show on Saturday the 16th, which has been known for drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe, from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the former Soviet Union.

The Cruise has become a week-long event and even though WOMC-FM (104.3) is the "official station" you can expect to see and hear just about every major player on the local radio scene to be on hand. Probably the most up-beat show on WOMC, the Friday night Tom Kent Radio Party, will be missing so a special program broadcasting live from the Dream Cruise can air instead. TK will be back 7 pm till midnight next Friday night on Oldies 104.3.

If you really want to get nostalgic record a bunch of old shows from WKNR off the www.keener13.com web site or some old CKLW from www.detroitradioflashbacks.net.

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Last Sunday night your recently absent radio reporter along with michiguide.com webmaster Mike Austerman, were honored to be called upon by WRIF PD Doug Podell to co-host the top-rated Peter Werbe talk show known as "Nightcall." I must say it was the fastest two hours of my life. The phone lines were popping from 11 pm till 1 am. And it was a blast. Podell told us that The Riff has received excellent feedback and he felt that perhaps we might have to do it again. Just say when...Doug!

However, if you were one of a plethora of people who simply could not stay up till the ungodly hour of 11 o'clock and missed this award-winning show you can hear it all or however much you feel that you can stand by clicking on the link from WRIF's web site. It's www.wrif.com/podcast/nightcall/. Mike and I will await the reviews on how we did on Detroit's original Home of Rock & Roll...WRIF.

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It seems as though I attend a different radio convention in each month of each summer. In June it was the Talkers Magazine New Media Seminar in New York City, then in late June and early July it was The Conclave in Minneapolis. In late July and early August it was the Morning Show Boot Camp in Denver. Next in September, if I get to attend will be the combo NAB/R&R confab to be held in Austin, TX.

The Morning Show Boot Camp is always a fun gathering and often it scares me how many people know who I am at that event which moves around to various cities each year. I recall how it was in New Orleans just two week prior to Hurricane Katrina devastated that popular tourist destination.

This year in the Mile High City of Denver it was exceptional, but as usual not well represented by the Motor City. The only two morning hosts from our town were WDVD's Blaine Fowler and WDTW (The Fox) morning man Chad Mitchell. Channel 9-5-5's MoJo and crew are often in attendance, but they were a no-show. Perhaps they could handle the altitude, or it could have just been a scheduling conflict.

One thing that hasn't changed at this conference is the noticeably high degree of swearing by the various morning jocks. I attend a lot of conventions, and this one has a strong R-rating due to language. I guess they feel it's a place where they can speak more freely, but it's enough to make some people blush. Denver was also in the midst of a heat wave that saw over 21 days over 90 degrees smashing a 107 year old record!

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Last Friday, rock legends The Who announced that all of their earnings from the October 21st concert at The Palace of Auburn Hills will benefit Detroit area charities. Singer Roger Daltrey says "Pete and I are very aware of the problems people are having in Michigan and feel we should give something back for all the support we have had over the last 40 years."

The Who have teamed up with 94.7 WCSX in selecting Gleaners Food Bank and Focus: HOPE as beneficiaries. 94.7 WCSX Operations Manager Doug Podell "For over 20 years, WCSX has been committed to the Motor City. We were proud to be called upon by The Who to help in their effort to raise awareness and funds for these two worthwhile organizations."

94.7 WCSX invites Classic Rock fans to "Join Together With The Band" to help these great local organizations while experiencing a night of amazing Rock 'n Roll. Tickets for The Who, October 21 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, start at $39.50 and are on sale now. Tickets available at livenation.com, palacenet.com, the Palace box office and TicketMaster.

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Believe it or not college football is only a couple of weeks away. The Spartans at MSU open on the road out in California for a Saturday night game at 8 pm local time on Labor Day weekend. The Michigan Wolverines kick off at home in a "pardon our dust" Big House which is undergoing MAJOR renovations. If you haven't seen the stadium since 2007, you will be amazed. This year there will be a new coach, new playbook, new uniforms and new upgrades around the facility in Ann Arbor. No new radio stations though. Michigan State will again be on WJR-AM (760) and the Maize & Blue remain on FM at 104.3 WOMC...Where Only Michigan Counts! For AM listeners and those who are outside of the 'OMC coverage area in Ohio and Indiana, U-M games will again be available on CKLW-AM (800)...dangerously close to WJR with the Green and White!

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







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About this Archive

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

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

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

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