Metro Detroit: October 2009 Archives

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Oct. 1, 2009



Detroit News:

Ed Sullivan delivered a "really big shew" to Detroit Public Television WTVS last Saturday. "Ed Sullivan -- The '60s," a program that included many clips of classic '60s artists, raised close to $50,000, according to Fred Nahhat, director of on-air fundraising. Those are the best fundraising results the public television station has had in three years. The program did so well, WTVS (Channel 56) is repeating it at 8 p.m. this Saturday... WTVS to show re-runs of 'Ed Sullivan' shows from the 1960s (Thu, 10/1)


V 98.7 Detroit drops Smooth Jazz, now stunting but sounding like Contemporary Hits is the future

The end has come for Smooth Jazz on WVMV 98.7 -- at least for listeners without a digital radio -- as CBS Radio has shifted the format to its HD2 signal on 98.7. A 4:30 p.m. retrospective of the station's last 14+ years lasted about 30 minutes, at which time the stunting began.

The new format has not yet been officially announced - instead at 5pm, stunting began with a nod to the frequency's rock past by playing a bit of Guns N' Roses "Welcome to Jungle" and mentioning the handle Detroit's Wheels before switching into a Beyonce Knowles song.

The stunting is being promoted as "98.7 Takeover" and inviting listeners to follow along at and on Twitter at

CBS Radio vice president Dom Theodore, known for pulling off stunts at other Detroit radio outlets (specifically Clear Channel's WKQI FM 95.5 and WDTW-FM 106.7), is reportedly in the building ... leading to speculation that the new format will indeed be contemporary hits based to take on his former stations in the Clear Channel cluster along with Citadel's 96.3 WDVD.



Crain's Detroit Business:

Detroit's self-billed smooth jazz radio station WVMV 98.7 is expected to announce a format switch today. The smooth jazz format is apparently moving to an HD2 channel, but it's not yet clear what the terrestrial broadcast format will be. Station executives would lease only limited information, and said an on-air announcement is coming at 4 p.m. today. Deb Kenyon, CBS Radio's senior vice president and market manager for its Detroit stations, issued a statement: "98.7 Smooth Jazz is moving to a new home. New media and new technologies have given us the chance to still keep this programming on the air. We know that Smooth Jazz is a favorite station for many people and we're glad to say we aren't going away, we're just moving," she wrote... Smooth jazz radio station WVMV 98.7 announcing format switch (Fri, 10/2)



Detroit News:

It appears that the long-rumored flip of CBS Radio Detroit's smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7) might be at hand. Tune in to 98.7 at 4:30 p.m. today, and you'll either hear "stunting" -- some bewildering, out-of-format music -- or you'll hear what the station is going to become... Smooth jazz radio to flip? Tune in at 4:30 (Fri, 10/2)


98.7 Detroit relaunches as Amp Radio

There were no surprises this morning at 8 as CBS Radio's FM 98.7 Detroit officially revealed the name of its new Top 40 format - Amp Radio, "Playing All The Hits". First impressions are that the station will position itself between Citadel's hot adult contemporary WDVD FM 96.3 and Clear Channel's urban-leaning Top 40 WKQI FM 95.5.

Formerly known as V 98.7, the station had featured a smooth jazz format for nearly 15 years before this past weekend when it became '98-7 Takeover' leading up to this morning's announcement. No word yet on who will be behind the mic at the new station which will be lead by program director Dom Theodore.

Smooth jazz fans were encouraged to purchase HD radios to continue to hear that format as it shifted to HD2 on 98.7 or to listen on the Internet via The biggest downside of the shift to HD2 is the dropping of long-time air personalities Alexander Zonjic and Sandy Kovach. For Kovach at least, she remains with CBS Radio/Detroit and is now at classic hits WOMC FM 104.3 overnights.

Another apparent victim of changes at CBS Radio/Detroit was WOMC evening jock Beau Derek who had also been doing much of the production work for that station. Former 'Hot Hits' WHYT 96.3 jock J.J. Walker will be returning to the Detroit airwaves in that timeslot. Walker is also heard on SiriusXM's 70's on 7 channel.

Former WVMV program director and WXYT-FM/AM assistant program director Tom Sleeker also exited with the flip at 98.7.


Detroit News:

As radio wars go, this one is hot. Radio titans CBS Radio and Clear Channel are fighting it out in Detroit over a coveted audience of 18- to 34-year-olds who want to hear "contemporary hits," and over the weekend it ended up literally in the street, as CBS Radio Detroit staffers tried to "take over" several Channel 95.5 events, covering a 95.5 van parked outside the Emerald Theater in Mount Clemens with shrink wrap and 98.7 stickers on Friday night. After a 14-year run of smooth jazz, at 8 a.m. Monday CBS Radio "flipped" the format of its Detroit smooth jazz station WVMV-FM, 98.7, to "98.7 AMP Radio," a contemporary hits format it launched this year in Los Angeles and New York... Station's new format heats up radio war (Tue, 10/6)


The Michigan-Michigan State game is over, but the rivalry could heat up even more after Spartans coach Mark Dantonio's emotional exchange Monday with a Detroit radio host. Apparently Paul W. Smith of WJR got Dantonio agitated when the self-proclaimed Michigan fan shared his late game observation of MSU's 26-20 overtime victory on Saturday. Smith told Dantonio in an on-air interview that his fans appeared to have that "Oh no, here we go again" look on their faces when his team lost a 14-point fourth quarter lead. Dantonio's response: "Well Paul, hold on a second, Paul, hold on a second, because the look I saw on Michigan's faces was 'Oh, no, the Spartans beat us again'"... Dantonio defends Spartans in radio spat (Tue, 10/6)



Detroit Free Press:

Michigan week and the days following the game seem to bring out the feistier side of Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio. During an interview on WJR-AM (760) with Paul W. Smith and Steve Courtney today, Dantonio got a bit testy when he thought Smith focused more on U-M's comeback from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit than MSU's effort to win the game, 26-20, in overtime. "This is the way you expected it, didn't you, Coach?" Smith opened... MSU's Dantonio peeved about radio interviewers' focus on U-M (Mon, 10/5)



Broadcasting & Cable:

t's hard to overstate just how rough things are in Detroit: the 29% unemployment rate, the increasingly barren stretches, the NFL squad that went the whole of 2008 without a win. Most troubling was the ignominious collapse of the city's famed auto industry earlier this year. "We've been eyewitnesses to the economic crisis," says WDIV VP/General Manager Marla Drutz. General managers in the No. 11 DMA say 2010 looks to be a lot better. Civic projects backed by stimulus money are popping up, some automotive plants are hiring, the local alternative energy industry is growing, and a governor's race will kick cash to station coffers. A sense of optimism rises above the misery, some of it fueled by press about the city's plans to rebound... Market Eye: Jump-Starting Motown (Mon, 10/5)


Detroit News:

I've had more than a few calls and emails from unhappy WVMV-FM smooth jazz listeners who don't know what they'll do, now that their music has been dumped for teenager-friendly Top 40/contemporary hits. Most say they're not interested in buying a new radio right now, or listening online -- neither option will solve their listening in the car or at work dilemmas. Jazz during the day is pretty nonexistent on the Detroit area dial, the corporations who own most of the stations don't care about jazz fans. However, there has to be five or six stations now that will play Lady GaGa for you...OK, so that's not an option. WRCJ-FM (90.9) hopes to pick up listeners, but they don't play jazz during the day, only after 7 p.m... Finding jazz on the FM dial... (Thu, 10/8)



CBS RADIO's new Top 40/Mainstream 98.7 AMP RADIO/DETROIT has hired its first on-air personality, PAT "GROOVES" CERULLO., to do nights, 7-11p, effective immediately. "GROOVES" is a six-year night show veteran, including a stint at CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40/Mainstream WIHT (HOT 99.5)/WASHINGTON D.C., and he also takes on APD/MD duties as well... AMP/Detroit Gets Into The 'Grooves' As APD/MD/Nights (Tue, 10/14)



Detroit Lions punch their Ticket for 3 more years

The NFL's Detroit Lions have extended their play-by-play contract with CBS Radio's WXYT-FM 97.1 for three more years, taking the agreement through the 2012 season. The previous agreement was set to expire at the end of the current season and the extension puts to rest rumors that the team might be landing with a new flagship station.


97.1 The Ticket gets new program director

Sports WXYT-FM/AM has announced that Jimmy Powers will be joining the station as it's new program director. Prior to this appointment Powers was program director for WBNS Columbus, OH and WCNN in Atlanta. He takes the role vacated earlier this month when Tom Sleeker was let go.

"I'm excited to have Jimmy on board at 97.1 the Ticket," CBS Detroit SVP/Market Manager Debbie Kenyon said. "He's a solid programmer who understands the Sports format and building great team relationships. Jimmy's background and experience will be a definite asset to help the station continue to grow and dominate the Detroit market."

Powers said, "Working for the number one Sports station, the Ticket, at the number one broadcasting company is a great honor. Detroit has the most loyal sports fans in the country, and I'm looking forward to this great opportunity."

CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40 WHTZ (Z100)/NEW YORK late night jock JOE ROSATI segues to sister Top 40 WKQI (CHANNEL 955)/DETROIT as imaging director for 'KQI and sister Rhythmic AC WDTW (106.7 THE BEAT OF DETROIT). PD MICHAEL MCCOY says, "JOE has been doing imaging for a number of stations as well as holding down late nights on Z100. His start date is TBD as he's trying to sell his house in JERSEY... Joe Rosati To WKQI (Thu, 10/15)


Detroit News:

WDIV-TV (Channel 4) is dodging the Jay Leno bullet. All over the country, in cities like Baltimore and Kansas City, Mo., NBC's experimental prime-time talk offering "The Jay Leno Show" is wreaking havoc on ratings for the 11 o'clock newscasts that follow. Leno is barely pulling in 6 million national viewers a night at 10 p.m. weekdays (his Sept. 14 debut drew 18 million) and that small audience means even smaller numbers for local news broadcasts. NBC opted to give Leno the show, which is cheaper to make than scripted dramas, but the move appears to be costing affiliates money in the meantime. This is not the case in Metro Detroit, where local Peacock affiliate WDIV has miraculously stayed in the No. 1 spot in spite of Leno. In fact, WDIV's newscast has better numbers with a 9.5 rating/18 share than it had this same time last year (8.8 rating/16 share)... WDIV newscasts defy Leno factor (Wed, 10/21)


TV icon Soupy Sales dies at age 83

Legendary TV comedian Soupy Sales passed away at a hospice facility in the Bronx, NY yesterday at 9:51 p.m. at the age of 83. Sales got his start in TV on Channel 7 in Detroit in the late 50's at WXYZ-TV. He had a popular kids show called "Lunchtime with Soupy." One of his most memorable "stunts" was when he asked the kids to get a dollar, money with presidents pictures on them, and send it to him. Some reports say Soupy got nearly $20,000!

In 1998 Soupy came back to Detroit and was the guest of honor at the Detroit Radio Reunion. He was introduced by popular Detroit radio icon Dick Purtan. He did about 7 minutes of hysterical stand-up comedy.

In the early 1990's Soupy was a guest morning host on WKHM-AM (970) in Jackson, MI 80 miles west of Detroit, 35 miles south of Lansing. He was "on fire" all morning long says Radio's Best Friend...Art Vuolo who got it all on videotape.

Joey Reynolds also featured Soupy at the famous Wax Museum in New York City for a video when Soupy posed as a wax statue and fooled sight-seers who didn't know he was REAL. Priceless.

In NYC Soupy was the mid-day host in the later 1980's at WNBC-AM (660) between after Don Imus and before Joey Reynolds.

Soupy's health had been slipping for the past couple of years. He would have been 84 this January. Soupy has thrown his final pie, and he WILL be missed.

contributed by Art Vuolo



Detroit News:

Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian whose anything-for-a-chuckle career was built on 20,000 pies to the face and 5,000 live TV appearances across a half-century of laughs, died Thursday. He was 83. Sales died at Calvary Hospice in Bronx, New York, said his ex-manager and longtime friend, Dave Usher. Sales had many health problems and entered the hospice last week, he said. At the peak of his fame in the 1950s and '60s, Sales was one of the best-known faces in the nation, Usher said... Comedy's pie-faced Soupy Sales dies (Fri, 10/23)


After decades in the historic Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit, urban radio stations WJLB-FM (97.9) and WMXD-FM (92.3) are moving to owner Clear Channel Detroit's corporate headquarters in Farmington Hills in mid-November. Clear Channel Detroit president/market manager Til Levesque told her staff that the move was the last step in a six-year process to consolidate Metro Detroit operations in one central location... Detroit radio stations move to Farmington Hills (Thu, 10/22)



Detroit Free Press:

Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian who made an art form out of taking a pie in the face and delighted a generation of Detroiters with his loopy TV show on Channel 7 in the 1950s, died Thursday night in New York. Sales, who had been in ill health for several years, was 83. His former manager, Dave Usher, said Sales last week entered a Bronx hospice, where he died. He is survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony. "He was the first person from Detroit television whose first name had instant recognition from coast to coast," said former Channel 7 anchorman Bill Bonds... Detroit entertainer Soupy Sales is dead at age 83 (Fri, 10/23)


Wolfman Mac extends his reach: Fans of Wolfman Mac's Saturday-night "Chiller Drive In" variety show on Detroit's WMYD-TV (Channel 20) should be howling at the moon now that his fictional Hauntington Woods neighborhood is expanding. About two weeks ago, Traverse City's WLLZ-TV (Channel 12) and WNFM-TV in Ft. Myers, Fla., picked up the Wolfman's show... Names & Faces (Fri, 10/23)



Michigan Radio shortens Fall membership drive and exceeds goal

Michigan Radio, the public radio service of the University of Michigan, finished a very successful fall membership drive on Wednesday evening. The on-air fundraiser, which ran from October 14 - 21, generated over 7100 pledges totaling more than $850,000 from donors across southern Michigan and northern Ohio. The money raised helps pay for programming costs at the station, with membership support being the station's single largest source of income.

Remarkably, contributions exceeded the fundraising goal of $712,000, even though Michigan Radio reduced the amount of on-air fundraising time in comparison to previous years. In response to listener requests, the station cut back its fundraising hours by over 25% compared to the 2008 fall drive and over 35% compared to fall, 2007.

As part of this effort to reduce on-air fundraising time, Michigan Radio tested an innovative approach on the first day of the membership drive. On Wednesday, October 14, the station attempted to raise the entire first day's goal in just one hour, between 7 - 8 a.m. This move proved to be very successful, and donations during that single hour surpassed the goal threefold.

Total contributions during Michigan Radio's 2009 fall membership drive exceeded fall 2008 numbers by more than $80,000, making this the most successful fall fundraiser in station history. Of the money raised, over 2,000 pledges came from first time donors to the station. Listeners could contribute either by calling in their pledges to phone volunteers or by pledging online via

"We're extremely grateful that our Michigan Radio listeners continue to place strong value on our service with their demonstration of outstanding financial support," said Director of Broadcasting Steve Schram. "Thanks to this record setting response, we hope to continue to reduce the hours of on-air fundraising, and bring our listeners more of their favorite public radio news and information programming."

BLACKBURN RADIO Country CJWF (FM 95.9)/WINDSOR, ONTARIO (CANADA) has announced its first-ever station concert with CANADIAN Country artists JOHNNY REID and VICTORIA BANKS, even though the station hasn't yet signed on the air. CJWF is hosting the show with REID and BANKS on DECEMBER 11th at the WINDSOR FAMILY CREDIT UNION CENTRE and is offering an exclusive ticket pre-sale through their website beginning WEDNESDAY (10/28) at CJWF Announces Station Concert Before It Hits The Airwaves (Mon, 10/26)

editors note: CJWF is on the air with test programming



CKWW AM 580 to air "The War Of The Worlds" Halloween Night at 10 PM

On Halloween night, AM 580 will once again turn back the clock to air one of the most infamous radio broadcasts of all time. "The War of the Worlds" was originally broadcast in 1938 as part of the "Mercury Theatre On The Air" program. Based on the H.G. Wells science fiction novel, this radio show starring Orson Welles had a nation convinced aliens were invading. Despite numerous disclaimers, the simulated news bulletins were so believable that panic gripped the country as thousands actually thought aliens had landed in Grover's Mill, New Jersey and were taking over the world.

AM 580 has re-played this historic broadcast every year at Halloween since the early 1990's.


WDIV-TV's "All 4 Halloween" primetime special set to air tonight 8:30

It's one of metro Detroiters' favorite holidays - and WDIV Local 4 will help celebrate by airing a primetime All 4 Halloween special along with exclusive features on Local 4 News, contests and photo sharing on, and a Halloween-eve Freaky Forecast on

On Wednesday, October 28 at 8:30 p.m., Local 4's resident Halloween expert, Chuck Gaidica, hosts a half-hour All 4 Halloween special, taking viewers on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Erebus, the haunted house that was voted No. 1 scare by Local 4 viewers in the 2009 Vote 4 The Best Haunted House category. Witness the birth of animated monstrosities created by Monster-Tronics in South Lyon and destined to unleash terror around the world. Then, see how Troy resident Tom Nardone has taken pumpkin carving to a new extreme using pyrotechnics and power tools.

The All 4 Halloween special also brings you a captivating and creepy look at the accidental mummies from the historic exhibit at the Detroit Science Center. And, contestants of The Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition share recipes for healthy Halloween treats, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Plus, see childhood photos of your favorite Local 4 personalities dressed up for Halloween - can you guess who is who? Don't miss All 4 Halloween Wednesday, October 28 at 8:30 p.m., following NBC's Monsters vs. Aliens Halloween special at 8 p.m.

In addition, all week on Local 4 News look for special All 4 Halloween features, including Halloween Haunts showcasing outrageous front lawn displays and the annual much-anticipated reveal of Chuck's own very special trick-or-treat costume.

And Local 4, which is calling itself the official station of Halloween, has a web full of eerie interactive entertainment on, where more people click than on any other web site in metro Detroit. Can you guess how many pumpkin candies are in our ghostly jar? Enter the Ghost How Many contest for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Meijer. See amazing photos from metro Detroiters of pets and kids in cool and creative costumes. Check out the 4 The Best Guide to your favorite Haunted Houses and Cider Mills in southeast Michigan.



Detroit News:

Rain or shine, meteorologist Kim Adams delivered weather forecasts to viewers of WDIV-TV (Channel 4) off and on for seven years. But when motherhood beckoned for a third time, Adams had to make a decision, and she chose her husband and kids. Last week, station management announced the move was mutual and Adams would not be returning. "In the end, I decided I couldn't 'have it all' and chose to resign," says Adams, who gave birth to her third child, Alexander William Daudert, in April. Her contract with the local NBC affiliate expired while she was on maternity leave. "The people at WDIV have been so kind to me, and it made the decision very difficult. I still can't watch the news without feeling a little sad. But my children are my world, and I don't want to miss these years with them." Viewers who miss Adams, a Mount Clemens native, and her sunny disposition can look for her in her new role as spokeswoman for 1-800-Hansons, a local windows and home improvement company. She shot her first commercial last week... Kim Adams puts her family ahead of forecasting (Wed, 10/28)


Ann Arbor's WQKL (107one) announces release of "Live From Studio A2, Volume 2" to benefit The Michigan Theatre

Since its introduction to our airwaves, homes, and day-to-day activities, ann arbor's 107one has become a welcome staple of the community and the Ann Arbor lifestyle. With the acclaimed Studio A2 and Studio A2 On The Road broadcasts, listeners have tuned their radios and opened their ears to thousands of live and local performances that we all talk about and remember.

Last year marked the first time those memorable performances were captured on disc for everyone to enjoy. The result was the Live From Studio A2, Volume One benefit CD, which helped raise thousands of dollars for the Michigan Theater Foundation and its focus for live entertainment for more than 80 years: the historic Michigan Theater on Liberty in downtown Ann Arbor.

The station is pleased to announce that they have taken the newest and best live performances, both from artists' visits to their studio and adventures across the area to create Live From Studio A2, Volume Two.

With songs handpicked and carefully re-mastered to showcase the amazing talent that comes through our town, Live From Studio A2, Volume Two boasts a pedigree of emerging and chart-topping artists and acts that will be the perfect complement to your collection.

With stand-out tracks from artists on the rise like James Morrison, Brett Dennen, Vienna Teng and Donavon Frankenreiter, to artists you've loved for years like Feist, Indigo Girls, They Might Be Giants and John Hiatt, Live From Studio A2, Volume Two illustrates what makes Ann Arbor truly special with its eclectic mix of talent and artistry. The project is made possible once again by the generous support of our friends at Bank of Ann Arbor and Sesi Motors.

Proceeds from the disc will benefit The Michigan Theater Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to operate, preserve and maintain Ann Arbor's historic Michigan Theater for the benefit of the community and the arts. Established to save the theater from demolition in 1979, the foundation works every day to raise the considerable funds needed to maintain the theater and its programs.

Live From Studio A2, Volume Two to benefit the Michigan Theater will be released Tuesday, November 3rd and available exclusively at Borders stores in Ann Arbor (downtown Ann Arbor on Liberty, Arborland on Washtenaw and Water's Place on Lohr Road), Brighton, Canton and Novi with the introductory price of $12.99.

Don't have Live From Studio A2, Volume One yet? What are you waiting for? Borders will be offering BOTH volumes together for $20. That's a savings of over six dollars and the perfect way for you or a friend to check out what truly rocks in Ann Arbor.


Detroit Free Press:

Federal authorities say a Detroit television reporter tried to use underhanded means to gain access to a Madison Heights veterinarian clinic where an FBI dog was being treated for mortal wounds resulting from a shootout with the leader of an Islamic fundamentalist group. And now she could be in hot water. The owner of the Veterinary Emergency Service clinic in Madison Heights said WDIV-TV (Local 4) reporter Natalie Sentz told the manager that she had been sent to the facility Wednesday by the FBI to make arrangements for disposing of the dog's remains... WDIV reporter used false story to try to see shot FBI dog, feds say (Fri, 10/30)


Jazzy Detroiter and former WVMV-FM (98.7) morning host Alexander Zonjic is ready to pay tribute to the station's now defunct smooth jazz format with a double-header celebration tonight and Halloween at the flutist's Seldom Blues supper club. "This is not going to be a pity party; it's really a tribute to the station," Zonjic says of the celebration, which will feature artists like Tim Bowmand and Dave McMurray and some of the station's former personalities. Zonjic, the morning host for the last dozen years on V98.7, did his last show Oct. 2, the Friday the adult contemporary station flipped formats and became mostly Top 40. He says he's been bombarded since then with e-mails, Facebook messages and tons of questions and support... Parties honor jazz station (Fri, 10/30)







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

Metro Detroit: September 2009 is the previous archive.

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