WDET (101.9-FM), the public radio station based at Wayne State University in Detroit, recently announced schedule changes that include the cancellation of three weekend roots music programs, Matt Watroba's "Folks Like Us," Larry McDaniel's "Arkansas Traveler," and Robert Jones' "Deep River." At the same time, additions to the schedule include two shows from Ann Arbor's Rob Reinhart, including his popular syndicated "Acoustic Cafe." The loss of "Folks Like Us" is likely to be of particular interest in Ann Arbor, with its vibrant folk music scene. Watroba lives in Livingston County, and over its 23-year time span, his show has been an important outlet for exposing the music of acoustic artists who play at local venues like The Ark and the Green Wood Coffee House. "Folks Like Us" -- as well as the other canceled programs -- is well established in the regional roots-music community. But recent years have been a bit rocky; a format change at WDET in 2004 brought about the program's first cancellation, although WEMU (89.1-FM), the public radio station at Eastern Michigan University, picked up the show until it returned to WDET. Recently, "Folks Like Us" has been running on Sunday afternoons/evenings -- generally considered a very bad time slot -- rather than its traditional Saturday-afternoon home. Given the history, the question naturally arises of whether WEMU would again consider offering a home to "Folks Like Us" and/or the other canceled programs. Clark Smith, WEMU's program director, said that the station is considering picking up some of the programs, but no decision has been made yet... WDET changes schedule: WEMU could add cancellations; "Acoustic Cafe" gets new home (Tue, 12/22)
Update on ailing former Detroit D.J. Joey Ryan
Art Vuolo checks in with this update on former WDRQ jock Joey Ryan who is ill in a V.A. Hospital in Grand Rapids:
As we continue to keep friends and fans of longtime Detroit radio personality Joey Ryan updated, here is the latest information. Joey was transferred up to the VA Hospital Caring Center in Grand Rapids on Friday December 11, 2009. Sadly he has no family to speak of and no friends (that he knows of in GR.) It was, therefor, a huge surprise when I visited him one week later on the 18th. I shared with him hi-lites of the 2005 Detroit Radio Reunion video. He loved it! In fact he lit up like a Christmas tree and even laughed at several of MC Dick Purtan's jokes. It was a wonderful visit and huge transformation for Joey.
The next day there was another surprise. I went back with two people that truly brightened his day. Bill Bailey, who worked with Joey in the 1970's at WDRQ and Kim Carson (who worked at Z-95.5) both live and work in Grand Rapids. Kim even brought a pile of old WDRQ survey charts with Joey's picture on them. She said that Joey was the reason she wanted to get into radio. It was so special.
Only God knows how much time Joey has left, but he loves getting cards and letters. Feel free to send greetings to: Joey Ryan Pietruska c/o VA Home for Veterans 3000 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. We are not sure if he can take calls, but the facility number is 616-365-9575. He is in Room 302 on floor 3 Blue. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. "Mr. Boogie" appreciates it.
(pictured L-R above: Teriece, Art Vuolo, Joey Ryan, Bill Bailey, Kim Carson)