Metro Detroit: September 2009 Archives

WDFNAfter weeks of speculation, rumors are becoming reality as Clear Channel will once again attempt primarily local-based sports talk on its WDFN AM 1130 in Detroit. Starting on Tuesday, September 8th, the station's new weekday lineup will look like this:

7 - 10 a.m will be hosted by Sean Baligian who returns to the station following what amounts to a nearly 8-month hiatus. Baligian had been hosting mid-mornings for 'DFN until the January 2009 decision to drop nearly all local programming. Sean is a ten year Detroit radio veteran and color commentator for Plymouth Whalers Hockey and will also continue to host afternoons for sister station 96.1 ESPN in the Grand Rapids market.

10 a.m. - noon will be hosted by Ryan Ermanni, best known for his role a sports reporter for FOX 2 television in Detroit.

The highest-profile change to the current lineup at WDFN will happen as the station dumps the syndicated Jim Rome program in favor of ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd. 'The Herd' will be heard from noon - 2 p.m.

Matt Shepard, WDFN's current morning host and Fox Sports Detroit TV personality, will shift to afternoon drive (2 - 6 p.m.) where he'll be paired with Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp.

WDFN also plans on bringing back Tom "Killer" Kowalski, the longest tenured Detroit Lions beat writer, who will be contributing news and commentary throughout the day.

Clear Channel Operations Manager Todd Thomas said, "No radio station in town offers an "inside track" on sports. So, we put together a group of guys that actually hang out with the players, coaches and management of all the Detroit (and Michigan) teams. Not because it's their job... but because they eat, breathe and sleep sports. There is no bigger sports-town in the country than Detroit - don't we deserve a radio station devoted exclusively to talking about what we love?"

WDFN will likely be fighting an uphill battle in trying to gain back listeners in the face of competitor WXYT having advantages such as an FM signal and the broadcast rights to all of the area's major league franchises. The removal of Jim Rome's midday offering will likely receive the most attention as it is had been the longest running program on WDFN - outlasting several morning shows and what had been the station's most popular show hosted by Mike Stone and Bob Wojnowski in afternoon drive until January's massive cutbacks.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 3, 2009



Detroit News:

Detroit Public Radio WDET-FM (101.9) had several announcements today, including, finally, the appointment of a program director. General manager J. Mikel Ellcessor has been doing both jobs for some time. Ron Jones, formerly vice president of programming for Chicago Public Radio, has been named as program director of WDET, to run its broadcast and editorial operations. Ellcessor said Jones' experience will be key in helping WDET build a large, diverse audience and help the station participate as Detroit recovers and "re-images" itself. WDET will launch a monthly open mic The Moth Story/SLAM, premiering Oct. 1 at Cliff Bell's in Detroit. Each show has a theme... WDET-FM appoints program director, launches open mic show (Thu, 9/3)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 4, 2009



Detroit Free Press:

His voice was clear, his spirit strong, his words tinged with humor. But legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell had bracing news to deliver Thursday: He has a tumor in the area of the bile duct. It is incurable. Yet Harwell said he feels calm and prepared for what comes next. "We don't know how long this lasts," Harwell said in a phone interview. "It could be a year, it could be much less than a year, much less than a half a year. Who knows? "Whatever's in store, I'm ready for a new adventure. That's the way I look at it." Harwell, who gained an enormous following during 55 years as a major league baseball broadcaster -- 42 of them with the Tigers -- spent about a week in the hospital in mid-August with an obstructed bile duct, and tests revealed the tumor. He is 91. Harwell, his family and doctors have decided against surgery or other treatment... Not even cancer diagnosis can shake Harwell's spirit (Fri, 9/4)


The public's response to news of Ernie Harwell's battle with cancer has been "overwhelming," according to his longtime adviser, Gary Spicer. "It's going to be hard for him to rest," Spicer said, citing the amount of phone calls, e-mails, cards, blogged well-wishes and interview requests the 91-year-old former Detroit Tigers broadcaster has received since revealing his condition to the Free Press on Thursday... Ernie Harwell receives 'overwhelming' response (Fri, 9/4)



Detroit News:

It began in July with what he hoped was just an upset stomach. But it was more than that -- and is more than that. At 91, Ernie Harwell has incurable bile duct cancer. However, with the firm resolve it is "God's plan for me," the Tigers Hall-of-Fame broadcaster who became a part of our lives, a favorite of generations and a friend of those he hadn't even met is facing his illness with the grace that has been the hallmark of his career. He'd like to ask a favor of everyone, though. Wish him well, keep him in your thoughts. Pray for him if you pray. But please don't refer to him yet in the past tense. "I'm not saying goodbye, I'm here," Ernie said on Friday with characteristic spunk. "I plan to live life to the fullest until it's over. In fact, I'm heading out to lunch in a few minutes, and I'm going to have some ice cream. Maybe even some macaroni"... Harwell: 'I'm not saying goodbye; I'm here' (Fri, 9/4)


He'd been waiting for test results. His voice last week sounded strong -- as strong as always. By the end of the conversation, however, it didn't. Ernie Harwell, the treasured voice of the Tigers for all those years, has incurable bile duct cancer. In comments to the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, he said he won't undergo surgery. But in those same comments, he said he's ready for the next adventure. It's been no secret lately that Ernie -- as nearly everyone knows him -- hadn't been feeling well. He was in the hospital, then out. There'd been speculation about pneumonia. But most of all there'd been speculation something was wrong. "Just feeling a little weak at times," he said when called by The Detroit News recently. "We'll see where this takes us. I know I'll be in good hands." Now he also knows what was wrong. "We don't know how long this lasts," Harwell, 91, told the Free Press. "It could be a year. It could be much less than a year, much less than a half year. Who knows? Whatever is in store, I'm ready for a new adventure." That's Ernie for you. Life always has been an adventure for him... Ernie Harwell, 91, has incurable cancer (Fri, 9/4)


After months of rumors, Clear Channel has flipped its Detroit country station "The Fox," WDTW-FM (106.7), to "The Beat," a frothy, upbeat mix of new and vintage dance music. The station launched today with Madonna's dance classic "Into the Groove" and 10,000 commercial-free songs. The music seemed to be mostly from the early '80s to the present... WDTW-FM drops country for dance as 'The Beat' (Fri, 9/4)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 8, 2009



WDFN rethinks 'Herd' mentality

Clones rejoice - the plug has not been pulled on Jim Rome's midday chatfest and will continue to be heard on WDFN AM 1130 from noon-2pm. It appears that he'll still lose the 2-3pm hour - but fans of the show will no doubt be pleased that WDFN gave the show a last minute reprieve and won't be airing ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd in that spot, as was previously announced. Today marks the return of primarily local-based programming after nearly 8 months on WDFN, led of this morning by Sean Baligian.



Detroit News:

Ernie Harwell never asked to be gushed over when he was healthy, and he wouldn't want anyone to start now that he's not. But the next logical time to tell this story would be after his incurable cancer does what incurable cancers do, so why wait? Listeners always had the sense that Harwell was the nicest man on the planet. They were correct. He has a knack for deflecting and refocusing awe -- for turning all of the attention to people who are dumbstruck at being in the presence of William Earnest Harwell. You want to talk about him, but he wants to hear about you. He's a truly humble soul who has accepted last week's diagnosis with the same grace he accepted all the good things to come his way. The Lord giveth a Hall of Fame broadcasting career and the adoration of millions, and the Lord giveth a tumor in the bile duct of a 91-year-old. He knows that's a pretty good trade-off... Ernie Harwell accepts cancer news as humbly as accolades (Tue, 9/8)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 11, 2009



Samuelsen to return to the air; Rome's slot expands

A couple quick notes for sports radio fans in Detroit- Jamie Samuelsen will be joining Deminski & Doyle's morning show (6-9am) on classic rock WCSX-FM, taking over as sports anchor for Jason Carr who's been tasked with extra responsibilities at Fox 2 as that station expands its morning news program and is leaving 'CSX. Samuelsen, who had been part of the ensemble morning show at Greater Media sister station WRIF-FM prior to the return of Drew Lane, remained with the company and will no doubt be excited to get back on the air starting Monday, Sept 14th.

Looks like some second thoughts were heard about how the midday Jim Rome program was going to be first dropped and then trimmed on renewed local WDFN AM 1130. After the station first announced that the program was being dropped, it relented and added the who back, minus the 2-3pm hour. That lasted all of about a day and Rome is now heard in its entirety from noon-3pm.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 14, 2009



The Moth Radio Hour returns to Michigan Radio

Due to overwhelming interest, Michigan Radio is presenting an encore performance of the special 5-part series The Moth Radio Hour, all this week at 10 pm. This live storytelling show, which recently aired on Michigan Radio Saturdays throughout August, received an unprecedented response from listeners.

The Moth Radio Hour, based on the New York phenomenon The Moth, features true stories told live on stage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment. Each Moth Radio Hour mixes humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant tales...all told with honesty, bravery, and wit.

Michigan Radio listeners reacted to these engaging stories with comments like these:

- "Wow! More, more, more!! I was so moved in many different ways by the stories I heard on your program yesterday."

- "Love, love, love The Moth! Can we have it all the time, not just through Labor Day?"

"The Moth Radio Hour is the best thing on Michigan Radio! It is refreshing, edgy, hip and full of substance. Please keep it up!"

- "There was an episode of the Moth Radio Hour a few weeks back that included the story of a comedian who told the story of his appearances on the Tonight Show as his daughter was battling and died of cancer. What a story! It has stayed with me for weeks and I want others to hear it."

Curious? Tune in to Michigan Radio at 10 pm Sept. 14-18 to hear what the buzz is about!

For more information on The Moth Radio Hour, which is produced by Atlantic Public Media and distributed by the Public Radio Exchange, visit



Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 15, 2009

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Hall of Fame broadcaster and Tigers icon Ernie Harwell will visit Comerica Park to meet with the team and thank fans for their support on Wednesday night, when the Tigers host the Royals. Harwell, 91, who revealed earlier this month that he has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the bile duct, plans to visit with players, media members and friends before the 7:05 p.m. ET game. He'll take an opportunity to thank fans at some point during the game, though it will not come in a formal ceremony in accordance with his wishes, according to a Tigers spokesperson. The team has had an open invitation for Harwell to visit ever since he retired from play-by-play broadcasting after the 2002 season, and he has visited several times. At least a couple players, Brandon Inge and Ramon Santiago, were on the team during Harwell's final season as the Tigers' radio voice. More recently, the club invited him to come out if he wished and felt up to it after his diagnosis. At this point in his battle with cancer, Harwell is strong and moving around well. "He wants to thank the fans for their love and support and gratitude," Tigers vice president of communications Ron Colangelo said. Harwell has received countless messages of support from fans since he went public with the diagnosis. The day the news came out, he said, his phone was ringing non-stop. His representative, S. Gary Spicer, also said he has received countless messages of support. Harwell spent 55 seasons broadcasting in the Major Leagues, the last 42 of them in Detroit... Harwell to visit Comerica Wednesday (Mon, 9/14)

You've seen him on Detroit television and in the newspaper, but starting Wednesday you'll be able to see Mike Wendland in a new program. The former investigative reporter and technology columnist will be hosting a new church program titled "Get Real: A Christian Take on Current Events" at the Woodside Bible Church Troy Campus. People can participate and watch the program live each Wednesday evening at 6:45... Former TV Reporter To Start New Church Program (Sat, 9/12)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 16, 2009



Detroit News:

Think of it as a celebration. Ernie Harwell will speak into a microphone tonight at Comerica Park. But it won't be like old times. It never again will be like old times. He's not returning for an inning to the broadcast booth. He won't be telling us a man from Portage caught that ball. He won't be saying a hitter was guilty of excessive window shopping -- as much as we wish he would. As much as we wish he could. But when he's about to convey what we all have meant to him, aren't we doing Ernie a disservice to think only in terms of what he's meant to us, however natural it is? This man has been part of our lives a long time. His voice came into our living rooms. It mowed the lawn with us. His voice soothed us when we lost the loved ones with whom we used to listen to the games. Dad. Mom. Uncle Henry. They all were part of the Ernie era. But our friend is ill now. Seriously ill. His cancer is being called incurable. We know what that probably means. So does he. We can't honor him in loftier fashion, though, than to meet the challenge he's facing the same way he is. With peace. With serenity... Thank you, too, Ernie (Wed, 9/16)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 18, 2009



Crazy Al saying goodbye

Crazy Al and Larry Matthews will be air their final live shows on WPON AM 1460 Pontiac the week of Sept. 21-25, from 8am to 10 am live. The final show will air on Friday, Sept. 25 at 8 am live. Listeners who know and love them are encouraged to call 1.866.9.oldies that week and/or email them at or The new show will be a classical/inspirational talk show for business that can be heard by going to or ITunes, talk, WVSN Visionary Radio.



Detour radio show takes a detour of its own

The Detour Radio Show is moving from its former home at WRDT AM 560 Monroe/Detroit to WDTR FM 88.1 Monroe (Smile FM). The program can be heard Saturday nights at 9 p.m.

From the program's Myspace: When you hear the word 'Detour', what do you think of? Road closed ahead, bridge out, a safe way to get around danger ahead? At The Detour Radio Program, our aim is just that. On today's radio airwaves, there is a lot of negative stuff out there. Bad lyrics, bad hosts, bad commercials, all promoting the wrong behaviors. We aim to change that in our radio program. Positive, local music with the youth's taste in mind, call in time to discuss issues, and just a great program to listen to, instead of all the trash out there. So what are you waiting for? Tune in!

Dale Baker and Pastor Joe Kimbrough are the program's primary hosts. Visit Detour Radio Show's web site at or



John Smyntek breaks down August radio ratings

No one can analyze radio ratings as well as YourNews Detroit's John Smyntek and he's at it again looking at August's numbers. Go to, then enter a zip code from Wayne, Macomb or Oakland county (48093 for example), click on the Entertainment menu bar, then Sminty's Snark Central to check it out.



WXYZ Channel 7 news director exits

Scripps Howard ABC affiliate WXYZ TV 7 Detroit has parted way with now former news director Andrea Parquet-Taylor who had been with the station in that role for most of the 2000s. A search for her successor is underway.



Detroit News:

WADL-TV announced today that it is pulling "Sixty Seconds with the Mayor" following complaints that Mayor Dave Bing was receiving free air time before the Nov. 3 election. Lewis Gibbs, the president of WADL-TV (Channel 38), told The Detroit News that it will resume the unfettered 60-second slot for whoever wins the election between Bing and Tom Barrow. The station had considered giving Barrow equal time, Gibbs said, but decided it was more prudent to stop airing the spots in which the mayor speaks about issues facing the city... Complaints prompt TV station to yank Bing from air (Fri, 9/18)



CKWW helping to wind down summer

As we head in to the last official weekend of summer, AM 580 is keeping the sounds of summer going with a "Summer Songs Weekend". Throughout the weekend the station will spotlight some of the best "summer oldies" from the 50's, 60's and 70's. From the Beach Boys to Stevie Wonder, the sounds of summer will be heard on Detroit's Station for Great Fun and Great Oldies, AM 580.



Where are they now?

Former WOMC afternoon drive jock Ted "the Bear" Richards, who was exited the station last April, is now working at WVCO 94.9 The Surf in Myrtle Beach, SC. Richards loved being back in Detroit while it lasted, but is now closer to his mother and kids. "Instead of walking the dog in ice and in snow, I'll be walking her and Mrs. Bear on the shore in sand," Ted reports.

Check out the surf at


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 19, 2009



Detroit Free Press:

His distinctive voice was his calling card, and anyone who encountered Bruce Brown readily understood why. Deep and rich in its resonance, it was used for announcing news and advertisements, local emceeing and occasionally singing the national anthem at area sporting events, family members said. Mr. Brown, a native Detroiter and former TV and radio news broadcaster with several local stations, died of colon cancer Tuesday at Detroit Receiving Hospital. He was 74. "If you ever heard that rich baritone sound of his, you never forgot it," said his sister Barbara Brown King, who indicated that her brother identified himself as the Voice on his business cards. "It was unmistakable and immediately captured everyone's attention." ... Mr. Brown worked with several radio and TV stations in New York and California before returning to Detroit, where he became a news anchor on "Evening Edition" with WTVS-TV (Channel 56), Detroit's public television station. He later worked as a morning news announcer with Detroit radio station WLTI-FM for two years prior to going to WDIV-TV (Channel 4) as a 24-hour Newsbeat announcer... Bruce Brown: Broadcaster made mark with rich voice (Sat, 9/19)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 22, 2009



Michigan Public Media names Jennifer White to new role

Michigan Public Media is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer White to the position of Director of Media Outreach and Community Relations.

White has served Michigan Public Media in a variety of capacities throughout her 10 years of service. Most recently, White served as Station Manager for Michigan Television in Flint, a role she will maintain as the station transitions to new ownership. She will also continue her role as co-executive producer and on-air host talent for the upcoming second season of "Out of the Blue - The Michigan Difference." "Out of the Blue" is a television program produced by the Office of the Vice President for Communications and Michigan Public Media on behalf of The University of Michigan for national broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Among White's new responsibilities will be the development and maintenance of cooperative relationships with representatives of the extended community served by Michigan Radio, MPM's public radio service. As Director of Media Outreach & Community Relations, White will recruit and maintain a Community Advisory Board for Michigan Radio to focus on strengthening the presence of Michigan Radio through community relations. Additionally, White will manage The Michigan Channel, the University of Michigan's cable channel devoted to intelligent talk and lifelong learning.

"We are very pleased that Jennifer will make new contributions to our team at Michigan Public Media," says Stephen Schram, Michigan Public Media's Director of Broadcasting. "She brings tremendous experience to this position, and her enthusiasm and commitment to public media and outreach makes her ideal for this new role."



Tigers/Indians gets HD add from FSN Detroit

The Detroit Tigers three game series with the Cleveland Indians, which starts tonight, has now added high-definition broadcasts. Tune in Fox Sports Detroit's HD channel to catch the action.



Detroit News:

Blaine Fowler wondered aloud the other day about the best way to slither out of jury duty. Since he does his wondering into a microphone, his random musings tend to get more attention than most people's. And because the co-host of "Blaine & Lisa with Allyson" on WDVD-FM (96.3) meant it -- he really, truly didn't want to serve on a jury -- he posted the same question on his Facebook page. Via phone and keyboard, suggestions poured in. "Tell them you're nursing," said a woman from Milford. "Tell them you'd be a great juror," said a paramedic from Monroe, "because you can spot guilty people" -- snap! -- "just like that!" To be fair, there were also a few stalwart citizens who urged him to do his part. More important, there were 14 wise words from one of the few other people besides a drive-time jock who'd be online and coherent at 4:42 a.m... Radio host Blaine Fowler comes down with jury duty syndrome (Tue, 9/22)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 24, 2009



Detroit News:

Before there was MTV, before the Internet and YouTube, if you wanted to see what your favorite musicians looked like, you had to tune in at 8 o'clock Sunday night to the "Ed Sullivan Show." The whole family would watch the plate twirlers, the Vegas comedians, the puppet Topo Gigio, the indescribable Senor Wences, until finally, stiff-necked Ed would present, "for the youngsters in the Yew-nited States and Canada," the hottest pop music act of the week. This Saturday at 9 p.m., Detroit Public Television WTVS will air "Ed Sullivan -- The '60s," ahead of most of the country (it airs nationally in December). The show is hosted by producer T.J. Lubinsky, Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer and radio personality Jay Thomas. Music clips from the vast Ed Sullivan library have been shown before, but this is the first time so many from the '60s are being shown together as intact performances... WTVS airs the best musical performances from 'Ed Sullivan' (Thu, 9/24)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 25, 2009



University of Michigan hockey returns to AM 580

University of Michigan Hockey will be returning to CKWW AM 580 for another season starting October 3rd. AM 580 is scheduled to air 29 regular season games as part of the 2009/2010 schedule. The action gets underway Saturday, October 3rd with the "USA NTDP Under 18" game starting at 7:35 PM. Al Randall enters his 15th year as the play-by-play voice for Michigan ice hockey.

CBS RADIO Country WYCD/DETROIT will host the "Rebels For A Cause - Maddie's Ride" MAKE-A-WISH fundraiser, featuring CURB/NASHVILLE's RODNEY ATKINS. The ride will take place OCTOBER 4th, beginning at the DETROIT HARLEY-DAVIDSON and ending at BLAKE's ORCHARD and CIDER MILL in ARMADA. RODNEY will perform a concert after the ride. The event is being held in honor of MADDIE TRUDEL, who was 7-years-old when she passed away from bone cancer in NOVEMBER 2006. Prior to her passing, MADDIE's "Wish" was granted by the MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION of MICHIGAN for a trip to DISNEY WORLD. MADDIE's father, PAUL, created the "Rebels For A Cause" ride to help other children's wishes come true in memory of MADDIE. For more info, click here.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 28, 2009



The Oakland Press:

On a cold winter evening in December 1990, I answered the phone and a warm summer breeze wafted over me. It was the mellifluous baritone of Ernie Harwell. We talked a few moments, then Ernie said he had a favor to ask: Would I be able to come to the Tiger Stadium the next day? He wanted me to be there with him for a press conference. Marcy and I had been with Ernie and Lulu for dinner not long before and both seemed in good health. Still, my first thought was that Ernie was going to announce his retirement. But I knew if he wanted me to know the purpose of the press conference, he would already have told me... Ernie Harwell: 'The Inferno at Michigan and Trumbull' (Mon, 9/28)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Sept. 29, 2009



Detroit News:

The Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts has been around so long, it's easy to forget there is a living, breathing man behind the name. January marks the 40th anniversary of the school that longtime air personality Howard founded in 1970 with two turntables, two tape recorders and 600 square feet of space in a Redford Township storefront. Four decades later, the Southfield-based Specs Howard has evolved beyond a tight radio/TV broadcast focus and now offers study in video, film and graphic arts. The school has graduated 10,000 students, an influential part of southeastern Michigan's broadcast community that includes WXYZ Channel 7 reporter/anchor Glenda Lewis and Fox 2 News legal analyst Charlie Langton (see box). Howard, 83, was honored for his 60-year career with a Lifetime Achievement Award in June by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He founded Specs Howard in 1970 as a way to wind down his on-air career and keep his family in one city. At the time, there were several correspondence-style broadcast schools in Metro Detroit, including the Columbia School of Broadcasting, but only one other school offered actual studio training... Specs Howard continues tradition of producing top Metro Detroit air talent (Tue, 9/29)







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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Metro Detroit category from September 2009.

Metro Detroit: August 2009 is the previous archive.

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