Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Mar. 26, 2009




Troubled economy claims two from Purtan's People

John 'Ankles' Stewart and Dana Mills, both longtime contributors to Dick Purtan's morning program heard on oldies WOMC FM 104.3, have been let go as part of cutbacks by CBS Radio. Stewart was the longtime engineer and Mills the news anchor. Their last day with WOMC was yesterday.

Profiles of the duo remained on the WOMC web site this morning:

Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, John Stewart started his radio career in 1974 in Ottawa at CFGO. Two years later, he moved a little closer to home and continued his profession at the Big 8, CKLW in downtown Windsor where he was the FM Production Director. There he worked with the likes of Super Max, Brother Bill Gable, World Famous Pat Holiday, Johnny Williams and Deano Day. In 1978, Dick Purtan arrived on the scene and asked John to fill in for a vacationing engineer. Since then, we have all become accustomed to his contagious laugh and Canadian wit filling the radio airwaves on the Dick Purtan Show.

In December 1983, John became known to the faithful listening audience as "Ankles." Being a Lions fan and desperately trying to receive a blacked out game; he experimented with the reception on his TV by adjusting the antenna. The only thing he adjusted were the bones in his ankle after falling off the roof. As the Morning Show engineer, Ankles is the man who pushes all of the right buttons - usually. But if you hear a mistake on the air, undoubtedly it was John's fault. However, as any regular listener of the Purtan Show knows, Ankles' main responsibility is providing a "live" laugh track to support Purtan and Purtan's People's brand of humor, even when the material isn't very funny. That takes a professional laugher.

Dana Mills is the News Director and News Anchor on "The Dick Purtan Show" on WOMC. She was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. She started her radio career in her hometown, worked in radio and television in Cleveland, then moved to Denver where she lived and worked in radio and TV for 11 years. Dana came to Detroit in 1993 to be the co-host of the Afternoon News Center on WJR . She later joined Dick Purtan and Purtan's People in April of 1996.

Dana has also added several voice characterizations to the show. So, after years of building up a respected journalistic portfolio, Dana has thrown it all down the drain by doing silly voices. Dana has also gained a following with her popular feature "At Home With Dana Mills", which offers Martha Stewart-like tips to listeners. The big difference between Dana and Martha is that people laugh with Dana - and that's a good thing.

Dana has one daughter, 16 year old Samantha. They enjoy Tennis, golf, skiing and spending time "up north" together. They also love their little Lhasa Apso, Missy. Dana Mills and all of Purtan's People can be heard on "The Dick Purtan Show" from 5am to 10am on WOMC.

Purtan commented on the departures during this morning's program, saying that yesterday was a very sad day and wishing the duo well as they continue their careers. Purtan also said the decisions were made by someone higher up in the chain of command at CBS radio.



Detroit Public TV switching off analog transmitter April 16; nearing end of capital campaign

WTVS Channel 56 has filed with the FCC plans to terminate its analog over-the-air signal on April 16th and shift to all-digital transmission. The move is in advance of the new June date that many of the rest of the state's TV station's will follow. Detroit Public TV has been warning viewers that its analog transmitter is nearing the end of its lifespan and that the switch to all-digital would likely be happening before June, possibly without warning.

The Campaign for Detroit Public Television is nearing its goal of raising $22 million dollars by March 31st and at last report was about $500,000 shy of a mark that will kick in a $1.25 grant from Kresge Foundation to complete the effort. Visit to contribute or for more information.



Familiar voices lend hand to help WRCJ fundraiser

Classical/Jazz WRCJ 90.9 is welcoming back WQRS alumni Dick Wallace and Carl Grapentine for some guest hosting in support of the station's spring fundraising drive, which started today and runs through April 5th. Carl Grapentine, who is also the public address announcer for University of Michigan football in addition to hosting mornings at classical WFMT Chicago, will host on 90.9 FM on Saturday, March 28, from 1-4 p.m., and Dick Wallace will be the afternoon music host from 4-7 p.m., from March 30 to April 3.

More info on WRCJ's fundraiser is available at

CJAM/Windsor Gets OK To Change Frequencies: The UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR has received CRTC approval to move its CJAM/WINDSOR, ON from 91.5 to 99.1 FM, reducing power from 914 to 456 watts and going from a directional low-power station without interference protectionto an omnidirectional Class A facility with protection. The move follows negotiations with the FCC and CANADA's Department of Industry to allow the station to change frequencies due to the addition of a noncommercial station on 91.5 FM in CHINA TWP., MI, granted to SMILE FM. (Thu, 3/26)

WYCD Offers A Swift Experience: CBS RADIO Country WYCD/DETROIT is launching the "TAYLOR SWIFT Fearless Experience." The interactive mobile promotional vehicle features TAYLOR memorabilia and music, such as the dress she wore in the "Our Song" video, behind-the-scenes video, tons of photos and more. In addition, fans can sing karaoke to their favorite TAYLOR song and sign a guest book that will be presented to her this summer. The unit will visit shopping malls, schools, festivals and community events throughout the summer, with specific location information being announced on WYCD. MOTOR CITY area high school students are encouraged to visit and enter to have the "TAYLOR SWIFT Fearless Experience" brought to their high school. While at their school, students can compete in a High School TAYLOR SWIFT Karaoke Contest and one lucky winner will win a trip for two to the CMA MUSIC FEST this summer in NASHVILLE. They will also have the chance to show off their vocal skills in front of a BIG MACHINE/NASHVILLE music executive. Visit the website for complete contest rules. (Thu, 3/26)

Ticket/Detroit's Bigby Adds OM Duties For The Fan/Dallas: CBS RADIO VP of Strategic Programming and Sports WXYT-A-F (97.1 THE TICKET)/DETROIT PD TOM BIGBY adds duties as Operations Manager at sister Sports KRLD-F (105.3 THE FAN)/DALLAS, effective MARCH 30. BIGBY will work with PD GAVIN SPITTLE to run the station, which flipped from Talk earlier this year. BIGBY worked in the DALLAS market at Oldies KLUV and News-Talk KRLD-A, and was formerly PD at Sports WIP-A/PHILADELPHIA ... "TOM's vision and outstanding leadership skills quickly helped establish 97.1 THE TICKET," said DETROIT Market Manager DEB KENYON. "I have no doubt he will have a similar impact in the Dallas market. TOM is truly a difference maker." (Wed, 3/25)

Dymond Named Market Mgr. At Connoisseur/Erie: Former RADIO ONE DETROIT GSM NANCY DYMOND lands at CONNOISSEUR's ERIE cluster as Market Manager. DYMOND has been consulting DETROIT PUBLIC TELEVISION since exiting RADIO ONE; she previously served as Market Manager for CUMULUS' FLINT cluster, VP/GM at FRITZ BROADCASTING's LANSING and SAGINAW stations, and VP/GM at REAMS BROADCASTING's TOLEDO and FLINT stations.(Wed, 3/25)







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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 26, 2009 7:35 AM.

Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Mar. 26, 2009 was the previous entry in this blog.

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Mar. 27, 2009 is the next entry in this blog.

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