Entries in On The Radio Columns Category

On The RadioSince the November merger of XM with Sirius, listeners have been experiencing what seems like constant change to a channel that had always been among the top three most popular on the XM service, the 60s on 6. Post-merger, Sirius subscribers heard an entirely new personality lineup and were exposed to a much larger selection of songs from the decade than they were used to on Sirius. XM subscribers weren't immune to upheaval either- many of the songs from before 1964 were lopped off the combined channel's playlist and sent over to the 50's on 5 Sirius XM offering. The Wolfman Jack program was inserted for middays (in the eastern time zones) - a strange move that nearly no one understood as these programs are reruns of a nighttime syndicated oldies show from a jock that died in 1995 - long before there was an XM or Sirius.

The station has continued to evolve rapidly- just weeks ago, the jock lineup shifted yet again, with Wolfman Jack being moved back to late nights and Terry 'Motormouth' Young being bumped from afternoon drive, a slot he'd held since the launch of XM, to evenings. A voicetracked program from WCBS-FM New York jock Broadway Bill Lee was plugged in for middays/afternoons (yes, one can hear Lee live on CBS-FM during afternoon drive while simultaneously listening to his voicetracked show on Sirius XM).

Only morning jock Phlash Phelps has maintained his timeslot, 6am - noon eastern. The day after the merger, there was relief expressed from XM listeners when Phelps took to the airwaves and his program sounded essentially the same as it had the day before. He continued to interact with his many phans, play requests and pass on tidbits of info from current events.

Listening to the channel this week, it has now been stripped of all special programming and features. Its only two live jocks, Phelps and Young, have had their microphone time severely curtailed. Their personalities, which helped drive the popularity of the channel, have nearly been muted as programmers have decided to heavily focus on music. At the same time, the number of songs in current rotation has been dramatically cut. At one time, it was virtually unheard of to hear the same song repeated during the same daypart on consecutive days, let alone more than a couple of times each week. Now, it's common to hear many of the same songs during the same program every day.

Gone, at least for now, are specialty programs like Young's popular 'Sonic Sound Salutes' and 'Sweet 16 Music Machine' along with weekend shows Wax Your Woody, Here and There, and My Top 6. In-show features like the Top 6 Countdown, Nam Jam, American Band, 'Chickenman', and the top of the hour Beatles Bell have all been shelved.

In their defense, it's clear that programmers Kid Kelly and Jon Zellner are trying to figure out what they'd like 60's on 6 to be. On the one hand, there are indeed listeners that aren't interested in hearing jock chatter or songs they aren't totally familiar with, thanks to those tracks being pounded in their heads over and over again by terrestrial oldies stations for years.

On the other side of that fence are listeners like me that crave personality, deep playlists, and lots of fun features. The music is important of course, but its everything around that music that really makes it radio.

Zellner comments, "As you can imagine, merging the two networks was not an easy task and the libraries on the XM decades channels were larger than their Sirius counterparts. The challenge is simply keeping both sets of subscribers happy. For every listener that enjoys the deeper playlists, there are others who simply want to hear their favorite oldies every time they tune in and complain about 'B sides' as they call them, or less familiar songs. There are some songs that did very well at the time that our listeners tell us they just don't want to hear or don't expect to hear on the decades channels."

Zellner concludes, "The libraries will increase again. We're in the process of going through feedback, music studies and the like and hope we find the happy medium between where Sirius and XM were. Some of the other stuff will return as well. We wanted to flush it out and see what the best features were."

I've been a subscriber since November 2002 and post-merger I've become discouraged about what I feel is the gutting of my favorite parts of the XM service. The fun of the decades channels wasn't just the music, but also (and more importantly) the hosts live interaction with listeners and current events. If I want to hear Honky Tonk Women or Baby Love 14 times a week, I can do that in numerous other places for free. Not only am I paying for commercial-free music, I thought I was paying for real radio hosted by real people I can relate to. I was getting that, especially from Phelps in the morning.

Now listening as the 60s on 6 continues to evolve into something any MP3 player could be easily programmed for is increasingly hard to for me to do.

As my passion for XM grew, I found myself hating to miss the breaks in between songs because it was great to feel like you were part of something -- and for many listeners that was just it. We felt like we were actually part of the 60s channel and it was so much more than any Internet or FM station had ever offered for me.

I really don't understand the Sirius XM's programmers current obsession with focusing on listeners that might only tune in for 15 or 20 minutes in their car when they are not selling advertising based on cume. Doesn't time spent listening mean anything?

Aren't passionate listeners that help market SiriusXM worth a lot more than passive listeners that wouldn't know if they were listening to some unnamed terrestrial station or a decades channel if it weren't for the lack of commercials? Shouldn't SiriusXM crave listeners that care about the personalities, the features, the music and share their passion with others?

My colleague Art Vuolo also weighed in on this and fired off a letter to Sirius XM execs:

OK....now you've done it! I am (or was) perhaps one of the biggest walking ads for satellite radio. I have BOTH an XM and Sirius Radio in my home and car and, for the first time since I first met Hugh Panero in his 23rd Street DC office in 1999, I now wonder why I would even recommend it to anyone.

If it wasn't for the beautiful music on Escape or the excellent locally produced talk shows on 700 WLW from Cincinnati, I do not feel much of a need for the service anymore. Ask anyone who knows me well, and they'll tell you that I nearly put my coveted moniker (radio's best friend) in sirius jeopardy because of my adoration and strong belief in this exciting new medium! Now, those who are in charge have been successful in making (at least the decades channels) as dull, lifeless and boring as terrestrial radio on it's best day. It is somewhat known that I helped two of the "surviving" 60's jocks; Phlash Phelps and Terry Young, get their jobs at XM. They are probably two of the most popular PERSONALITIES on Sirius XM. Other beloved voices you have let go (for "budgetary reasons") include; Matt the Cat and Ken Smith on the 50's Channel and Country Dan Dixon from XM 10 America, which is also gone. Dan is heavily missed and generated over 4,500 signatures from fans. aka subscribers, who want him back, or have threatened to leave!

Who is making the decisions on who goes and who stays and what is played on the air and what is not? Why would anyone PAY for an ultra-tight playlist when that type of radio is available free of charge on most oldies stations across America? Do the suits in the front office not realize that we've heard all of these songs over and over for years? We listen for what lies between the "safe oldies." We seek entertainment and a refreshing blend of, dare I say it, creativity. All of the elements that drew us to radio that we pay for have been gutted and we are left with boring segue-serenade radio. We can get that very easily from an iPod or the Internet. In fact I recently bought a WiFi Internet Radio and honestly it offers a lot of exciting alternatives. Right now I'm listening to www.richbroradio.com with a far better mix of oldies!

All of the wonderful aspects of the 60's channel are gone...Sweet 16, Nam Jam, Flashbacks, Request Hours etc. Only Cousin Brucie, another of my personal favorites, has been allowed to retain any degree of on-air personality.

Does anyone at Sirius XM care about us...the listener, the customer, those of us investing our hard-earned dollars, during a dreadful economic period, for a service that doesn't even resemble the superb service it represented prior to the "merger," (take-over) a few months ago.

Right now, Sirius XM needs all the customers it can attain. Stripping out most of the elements which made this service so attractive, is NOT the way to keep us happy. Please think about what you've done and what you are doing to a concept that once had so much potential.

Recently I noticed that most of the big radio conglomerates all start with the letter "C"....Clear Channel, CBS, Cumulus, Citadel, Cox etc. which could be why radio is so "average" these days. We, who support satellite radio, are looking for something with more to offer than the "average stations," which are free and bountiful. Please consider doing something unique that would truly be appreciated by all of us who care.

Listen to the 20 million people who seek something better.

On behalf of all those who don't take the time to write, I hope that I can speak for them, and more importantly....that you will listen to the listeners. I surely hope to receive a response.

With respect and concern, Art Vuolo, Jr.

So Sirius XM, where did our love go?

 

Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

On The RadioOK, I can wait no longer. I needed to step up to the keyboard and peck out my thoughts of what is happening to my beloved industry of AM and FM radio broadcasting, and my God I barely know where to begin.

There is an excellent source of information for news on a national scope, called Radio Daily News (RDN) edited by longtime radio entrepreneur Larry Shannon. His service is invaluable, but so depressing, as he collects and posts stories from columnists throughout the country about the crisis that radio, and newspapers, are going through.

As you may know, Mike Austerman, webmaster of www.michiguide.com, and myself, wrote a weekly radio column in suburban Detroit's Oakland Press for nearly seven years. I kept hearing about how most people were reading the column on-line rather than buying the paper. I urged them to pop for the fifty cents, or the paper, and certainly our column, would not survive. You know what happened, the column was last seen a year ago. The future of the paper is also unclear. Since the Internet seems to be where most people are getting their news, we also have taken up residence in cyberspace, even though sadly it's an address that comes without a paycheck.

 

The recent rounds of "budget cuts" have seen the radio business lose an incredible number of exceedingly talented people. It sounds like a late-night TV offer...but wait there's more. Clear Channel promised more cuts on February 20 and other companies are sure to follow. One insider at CC-Detroit said that after 7 p.m. there are no humans in any of the studios in the massive Farmington Hills building. Everything on the air on WKQI (Channel 955), WNIC, WDTW (The Fox) and the two AM's, WDFN (1130) and WDTW (1310), is coming from a satellite feed or out of a computer via a process known as "voice tracking." That is the case until the morning talent comes in at 5 a.m. God forbid if some type of emergency occurs during those ten hours. Voice tracking saves money, but doesn't save face.

Jon Quick, director of operations for WIBC Indianapolis, heard first-hand the dangers of voice tracking. He was listening to Sirius XM satellite radio -- just to monitor the competition -- and heard the host congratulate the Arizona Cardinals on their Super Bowl victory. At first Quick thought the guy was dumb, but then realized it was likely a voice track, "the talk host probably did two versions and somebody loaded the wrong one into the system."

Recently a local radio buddy told me how unusual it sounded to actually hear LOCAL news and information on a music station on AM outside Cleveland!

 

Interestingly, traditional radio bitched and moaned when satellite radio came on the scene in the fall of 2001. With many music stations, after the morning show, much of its programming is voice-tracked or network supplied by a syndicator. Most talk radio still has to be done LIVE, yet 80% or more, of the programming on nearly every talk station in America comes off a satellite! The reason for all of this is to save money. Picking up programs "off the bird" or voice tracking the shows is simply cheaper. It often cheapens the product that comes out of the speaker, but that is seemingly not the concern of broadcasters who were granted a license to service their community in the public interest. OK.

The mantra of the radio business seems to be "nobody cares." Sad, but true, as the bean counters continue to hack and cut until there's nothing left. On January 20th, while all of the country (and the world) was caught up in the Obama Inauguration, Clear Channel fired 1,850 people, hoping no one would notice as the news was 99% presidential related. Radio consultant John Gorman in Cleveland, pointed out that, on that same day, the Bose Corporation, makers of those quality Wave Radios, "laid-off" nearly 1,000 employees. Why? People aren't buying radios. Why? As more and more talent is sent packing, there is less and less to listen to.

 

With the switch to digital TV looming, people are buying new big screen HDTV's in droves, most costing well over $1,000. Who do you know that's bought a real quality radio of late? Can you even buy a quality radio? The last one I bought is a WiFi Internet Radio. It was $200, and well worth it. Learn more on-line at www.ccrane.com. On it I can listen to most any Detroit area station crystal clear with zero interference. Stations like WJR (AM 760) and WWJ (AM 950) or even the flea-power WPON (AM 1460) are all mint-quality on "the net." Some AM oldies stations, like Cincinnati's innovative WDJO 1160 are in breath-taking stereo at www.oldies1160.com. The remote lets you pre-set 99 stations. You can tune into the entire USA, and the world for that matter, out of a little black box....it could be considered the "new" short wave radio!

 

Just this week it was announced that Mitch Dolan and Jim Davison, both super big-wigs at Citadel (what was once known as ABC Radio), are leaving the company. KGO in San Francisco is probably the highest rated news-talk station in America, but owned by Citadel, another company making deep cuts to the bottom line. GM Mickey Luckoff had to let numerous quality people go, including his assistant of 41 years. Yikes!

John Gallagher was GM at WLS in Chicago when his hand was forced in a similar manner. He went to WLS after many years as VP of Sales here in Detroit at sister station WJR. After gutting the WLS news department and having to fire many friends in The Windy City, Gallagher resigned his position and returned to Detroit to head up Greater Media's trio of FM's WRIF, WMGC and WCSX in Royal Oak township. Not everyone is that fortunate. Kudos to you John for standing up for what you believe.

 

Off the record, I was telling friends that, prior to the presidential election, heavy-duty talk hosts like Limbaugh and Hannity, both of whom are carried on WJR 760 AM, were probably hoping that Barack Obama would be elected so they would have a minimum of four years of "material." However, Rush never imagined that our new Commander-In-Chief would make comments about himself that would give him publicity that you couldn't buy for any amount of money.

Since Rush and Sean are the top two conservative talkers in the U.S., they are basking in the spotlight. Some of the things being said about Obama on the air, however, are so vile that I could hardly believe my ears. Seemingly there was a time (not too long ago) when such hateful things said about the leader of the free world would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Regardless of your political lean, the lack of respect for the office is amazing.

 

Has anyone realized that after all of the analog TV signals disappear that, in a power black-out, no TV will be available. Even if you connect a battery powered television to the cable...the cable (or even satellite TV) box won't work without electricity. Cell phones can't be recharged, all wireless phones won't work and the Internet will be down without power. This can be a major boon for radio! Hopefully radio will realize the advantage they will have and will capitalize from this situation. This is why every home should have a minimum of at least one battery powered radio.

Also, what to do with that TV antenna you might still have up on your roof or in your attic? Before you take it down, consider connecting it to your stereo FM tuner or receiver for amazing results. While a TV antenna is not quite as good as an actual FM outdoor antenna, it's a lot better than the T-shaped dipole strip antenna that most people use. If you still have an outdoor antenna that has a rotor (that still works) you can achieve spectacular FM reception.

 

On the local radio scene WDET-FM (101.9) reminds us that new general manager J. Mikel Ellcessor has added new shows with a revised program line-up which can be accessed at www.wdet.org.

Personally I wonder about all the great Detroit talent that are now "on the street" due to more recent cut-backs. We hear that Alan Almond who hosted Pillow Talk on WNIC for years is talking to a syndicator about doing a national show. At one time WNIC had Almond and WMGC (Magic 105.1) had Johnny Williams who were, arguably, the two best "Love Songs DJ's" in the entire country. Now, both are off the air. Very sad. How about Dave Lockhart? He stayed with WNIC-FM (100.3) when Jim Harper. and crew, took off a few years ago to go to Magic. What did he get for his loyalty to WNIC and Clear Channel? Fired. Will Harper be smart enough to bring him over to his Magic Morning Show? Stay tuned.

The most popular show on the now gutted WDFN-AM (1130) was Stoney and WoJo in the afternoon. Would Tom Bigby, who just grabbed the Pistons for his Ticket...WXYT-FM (97.1 and 1270 AM), be interested in this hip and topical duo? Stoney is still doing the Channel 7 sports show on Sunday nights and WoJo is still at The Detroit News so there could be some nice cross-promotion with radio, TV and newspapers.

Still unsure of Deminski & Doyle now at WCSX-FM (94.7) doing comedy talk on a classic rocker. Personally I think they are sensational talents, but still feel most Detroiters like them best in the afternoon. In the later day-part it affords them opportunities for more events and remote broadcasts at local watering holes which were very popular when they were at the old WKRK 97.1 FM...but it's still early. What about Murray Gula's home improvement show? Shouldn't it be back on WJR or on the newest talker...Salem's WDTK-AM (1400)?

At WRIF, I really feel Mike Clark, Trudy, Mark, and Jamie are all doing an incredible job without Drew Lane. Like so many others, I felt that when Drew left the show would crumble. I could not be more wrong. Mike is a great solo act and if you left, it's time to check back with The Riff 101.1 FM. It is so good, I sometimes drift from my favorite...Bob & Tom to stay with WRIF. By the way have you checked out the Bob & Tom TV show? It's on at midnight on WGN America on most cable systems. If you can't stay up, DVR the one hour replay of their national radio show. Lots of laughs.

 

The attendance and content at three radio conventions I'll be at next month should be interesting. I'll be listening and reporting back to you soon. Sorry for my long absence, but there are never enough hours in the day.

 

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

 

Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

On The RadioIt was an attempt at humor when I used to jokingly say that I hope Paul Harvey has already pre-recorded his own eulogy because no one else could do one better. Yet, there was nothing to smile about when the bulletin came across the news that Paul Harvey had died at his winter home in Phoenix, AZ Saturday February 28th.

When his beloved wife, Lynn "Angel" Harvey passed away from leukemia less than a year ago, I feared we would not able to enjoy this radio icon for very much longer. Even his vocal quality seemed to lose its vibrant and distinctive sound.

After Angel died, Harvey was off the air for several weeks, and some of his affiliates felt he might not come back and dropped his morning and noontime news and commentary reports. WJR Radio in Detroit was not one of them, and kept the program on the air with a number of substitute reporters for weeks on end.

The first time I met Paul Harvey, at his North Michigan Avenue studio in Chicago, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. He was born in 1918 as Paul Harvey Aurandt, but professionally used his middle name as his last. He was as nice as any broadcaster I have ever met and since I was a fan since the early 1960's, it was truly awesome to be sitting in the same studio with him as he fed his noontime report down the network to thousands of stations across the country.

I recall a trip to Chicago when I went up to see the famous studios of WLS Radio on the 5th floor of the Stone Container Building at Wacker and Michigan Avenue. Down on the 4th floor was the FM, known then as WDAI, but also on that floor was the office and studio for Paul Harvey News. There he was pecking out his newscast on a manual typewriter and I just walked in and said hello. I told him a cute story about my mother who, at that time, worked as a lecturer for Weight Watchers. He found the story funny and used it that day in his famous final story.

"Our for what it's worth department hears from Amy Vuolo of Ann Arbor, Michigan whose Weight Watchers class featured a bumper sticker that reads 'my spare tire is in the trunk.' Well one of the ladies in her class put it on her car, which was then broken into and they stole the spare tire!....Paul Harvey, Good Day."

By the end of that day, people from all across the country had heard about my mother on Paul Harvey News.

Through the years we saw each other at countless radio conventions, and at one NAB confab he actually introduced me to Dr. Amar G. Bose, who founded the company that makes the famous Wave Radio and top-quality speakers. Mr. Harvey was a longtime spokesman for Bose Sound Systems.

When WGN Chicago morning personality Bob Collins was killed in a light plane crash in February of 2000, Paul Harvey, who was carried by the powerful AM station, did an on-air eulogy that could make a grown man cry. He concluded with a statement that "someone will take his job....no one will take is place." That certainly applies as well to Mr. Harvey himself.

My greatest thrill was being able to videotape his riveting 17 minute address at the R&R (Radio & Records) Talk Radio Seminar at the Marina del Rey Marriott on March 8, 2003. Numerous people said to me "do you realize what you have there?" I said "yes a really great keynote from a radio legend." Most, however, insisted that I might have just taped Paul Harvey's last speech to the radio industry, and indeed it was. I treasure that recording now, more than ever.

Truly, the Voice of America has been silenced, Paul Harvey and his soul-mate Angel are together again, and the radio waves are washing ashore in a way that suggests that our audio landscape is a little less colorful as broadcasting's most articulate wordsmith moves on, with a distinctive pause.....to Page Two.

 


 

Note: Art was on WWJ AM 950 late last night discussing Paul Harvey with Bill Rapada. Listen to an excerpt of that discussion here. (audio courtesy of WWJ/CBS Radio Detroit and The Michigan Atrium)

 


 

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

 

Commentary by Mike Austerman

On The RadioSo, I'm in Costco the other day and I notice they are selling a tabletop HD radio with an iPod doc for $99 (after a $30 instant rebate). And since I've always been a fan of radio, I figured that it was well past the time to actually take home my first HD radio.

The Teac HD-1 HD Clock Radio with iPod/iPhone Docking is the first HD set I've seen for under $100 that has enough features to make it worth the money. But it, and the HD technology and implementation here in Detroit, still leaves a lot to be desired. That's not to say there aren't some cool things too - and I'm definitely keeping it and find it to be a good value. Below is a pretty comprehensive review of my experience so far.

A word of warning: although it's marketed as a clock radio, in my opinion the display is not good for a bedroom. The clock digits are too small and they are not available at all when you're listening to the AM/FM tuners. Although the display can be turned completely off, at its lowest on level it's just way too bright for use in a bedroom. It's brighter than most nightlights I've ever seen. I used it for exactly one night as a clock radio, then promptly moved it to our hobby room. Teac needs to go back to the drawing board on the display.

TEAC HD-1The biggest highlight of the radio for me has been the selectivity of the FM tuner. From my home in the northwest part of Sterling Heights, it easily receives the strongest 'in between' stations from southwestern Ontario, Pt. Huron/Sarnia, and Flint's WCRZ on 107.9. Reorienting the included double-wire T antenna allows me to switch between Q107 from Pt. Huron and Ann Arbor's 107-1. Reception is also good for many fringe stations on the non-commercial FM band. As far as the in-market stations on FM, they are all rock solid, including the sometimes harder to receive stations like 89X and 93.9 The River. I currently don't own a DX-ing type receiver, so it's very easy for me to say this is the best FM tuner I have in the house right now. It easily compares with the reception of our car radios, if not a little better.

The AM receiver however is quite disappointing. I admit that many of my issues are likely self-inflicted as my home is full of dimmer switches, compact florescent lights, and other interference causing items. Even with efforts to make sure as many of things as possible are turned off, AM reception leaves something to be desired. WDTW 1310 is very hard to receive, even with the radio in several different locations in my home, and with just about every imaginable position of the provided loop antenna. Other fringe stations from my location like WDRJ 1440, WDEO 990, and CHOK 1070 are similarly very hard to listen to reliably (and none of them are ever clear).

TEAC HD-1After using the HD features of the Teac HD-1, I can certainly understand both the excitement and the scourge that others have commented on. HD on FM is easy and reliable thanks to the selective tuner and receiving all the HD signals from the local stations is relatively straightforward. Just tune to the desired station and wait for the HD signal to display, then turn the knob one a notch to get the HD2 station if you'd like (it automatically switches from analog to digital on the HD1 signals). I'll get into the specifics of what kind of programming is currently being offered in another column ... but suffice it to say the quality and value to the listener varies enormously.

In my suburban location, HD reception on FM is rock solid - I have found no drifting between analog and digital. The HD-1 is probably not the best showcase for any sound quality advantages of listening to FM in analog versus digital. While there is a difference, there isn't enough of a contrast to get me excited. For sure, the most enticing thing about HD on FM is the availability of more programming.

TEAC HD-1AM HD is quite the different experience. When (and if) you can get a station to lock in on HD, the sound difference is certainly incredible. Listening to an interference and hum free AM broadcast is nothing short of remarkable. But ... it's incredibly difficult to achieve. I have had the most success with WWJ 950, WDFN 1130, WCHB 1200, and WXYT 1270 ... but not without significant adjustment of the loop antenna. And drifting / HD drop out unfortunately happens too often unless the antenna has truly found a sweet spot (which varies from day to day and even from morning to afternoon). Judging by what I've read elsewhere and what I've experienced on AM, I feel pretty confident in saying that the extra interference on AM is not worth the enhanced listening capability. It's maddening to try and listen to a program when it's shifting in between analog and digital. And even more frustrating to try and listen to stations on AM that years ago would be easy to hear relatively noise-free.

I wish I could be more sure about the reasons my AM reception stinks with the HD-1 - but the fact is that most consumers don't have the patience to fiddle around the way I have with the AM band. It's pretty clear that AM radio right now is pretty much broken as far as most in-home users are concerned and no HD radio is going to fix that without a lot of effort and money.

TEAC HD-1Sound quality overall is very good for a smallish desktop radio -- although this one has a good deal of heft to it. It has both line in and line out jacks, helpful for outputting otherwise inaccessible HD stations to a component system that doesn't have an HD receiver. The input allows me to use my portable satellite radio receiver with the HD-1. The remote control is incredibly bulky and heavy -- it's not cumbersome by any means, but it's easily the beefiest remote I've ever owned for something of this size. The HD-1 also features iTunes tagging, which works great when you have an iPod docked.

All in all, I'm happy I bought this unit - it gives our hobby room a nice little desktop radio that can also be used with an iPod and satellite receiver if desired. The FM radio is great -- but don't expect much out of AM.

Comments and questions are welcomed -- I'll do my best to respond as best as I can.

 

Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

On The RadioA recently completed documentary that I had the privilege of contributing video clips for, is entitled "The Rise and Fall of Rock and Roll Radio." It was produced by Carolyn Travis and Chris Gilson of Travesty Productions in Miami, FL. In the opinion of many radio listeners, including myself, another such program could be produced now by simply dropping the words "rock & roll."

What has happened to radio of late? Does anyone care? Bloggers like Jerry Del Colliano and John Gorman speak the truth about the radio industry and a great deal of the "industry leaders" categorize them as nutcases who are just bitter about how they have personally been treated by the big conglomerates who own the majority of major market radio stations. They are not. One high-level executive who works for Citadel Broadcasting recently told me that he reads Del Colliano's postings almost daily and feels he is right on target...and his company is often the topic of these bloggers who DO care about the future of radio.

Anyone who is currently working in radio, collecting a paycheck that clears, and has a solid contract offering at least some degree of job security is indeed blessed. Anymore loyalty and a long track record of success means nothing to bankers and bean counters who have erased any and all of the luster the radio broadcasting industry ever had. If you need proof of this, you need not look very far, since right here in southeast Michigan we have seen our share of un-welcomed changes and alterations in our local radio dial. Folks used to say "honey can you please change the station?" Now, the stations change on their own and usually it is not appreciated by the people they surely should avoid upsetting...YOU the listener!

My goal with the balance of this column is not to jeopardize the relationships I personally enjoy with dozens of local broadcasters. These are solely MY opinions, because I care as well. Every decision that is made by radio executives can usually be traced back to "the bottom line." I vividly recall respected local icon Tom Bender being quoted "it was a business decision" when he flipped the 37 year format of, then classical , WQRS-FM (105.1) to a trio of tries at it morphed into The Edge, The Groove and finally Magic.

Now that same company, Greater Media, considered one of the best in the business, has been recently criticized. Drew and Mike reduced to solo Mike Clark, Arthur Penhallow, after 39 years, suddenly gone, Doug Podell is off the air...and all of that, just at WRIF-FM (101.1). Across the hall at classic rock WCSX everyone knows that longtime morning hosts Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison were let go in favor of popular talk duo Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle. A recent ratings report shows D&D not doing as well as JJ & Lynne, but it's still early. When programmers mess with the morning routine of the radio listener, it's (at best) risky. Perception is another important factor. Even though the former WKRK-FM (97.1)...now WXYT The Ticket, moved D&D into mornings prior to not renewing their contract 16 months ago, the audience thought of Jeff and Bill as a personality-driven afternoon show from 3 to 7 p.m. on an FM Talk Station. They did a lot of personal appearances and promotions incorporated into remote broadcasts at popular eating and drinking venues. Such listener involvement is difficult in morning drive.

Speaking of mornings, what is going on at Oldies 104.3? Whoops I guess they chased that terrible word "oldies" off the frequency AGAIN. This has to be burdensome to Detroit's most beloved radio legend Dick Purtan. He had a hard time remembering to stop saying "oldies" the first time it was dropped. So, they brought it back and returned a visual logo very similar to their long-time red and white trademark. Now, along with another change comes even more with, the exodus of Purtan's news gal Dana Mills, whom he attracted away from WJR-AM (760) many years ago. Then, he suffered the loss of his side-kick engineer, chief laugher and longtime friend John "Ankles" Stewart, who has run Dick's controls for nearly 30 years! Blamed on the proverbial "budget cuts" these changes have seriously altered the sound of a program that has been a staple in this radio market for decades. Then if all this wasn't enough, the final hour, from 9 till 10 a.m. of Purtan's show, was eliminated. Lastly, unless I'm imagining it, there seems to be less comedy and a lot more music on the program. When radio loses its personality, we might as well just load up our iPod's for a non-stop musical marathon.

Regarding the music, WOMC seems to be going through a significant change of life. As one who graduated from high school in the mid-1960's, I am not fond of the new direction that the music has taken. When I hear the "Loco-Motion" I want to hear it by Little Eva, with no disrespect to Flint's Grand Funk Railroad, who did the cover version in 1974. It was a jolt to hear "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," not by The Tokens, but the 1972 remake by Robert John. Yikes! This reminded me somewhat of the 1950's when white artists covered songs originally recorded by black singers, known as "race records." Thank God that type of discrimination no longer happens. Do not misunderstand. I love the oldies from the 1970's, but I also like the music I grew up on from the 50's and 60's as well.

We now have three radio stations all playing similar music; WDRQ (as Doug-FM 93.1), WCSX-FM (94.7) and now WOMC. I realize program directors and most radio people would argue that statement, but to the average listener they all sound somewhat alike, and there are more listeners in the audience than radio people and PD's.

This is all the fault of the advertising community. I have written about this before, but perhaps it needs to be repeated. The people who place advertising on radio and television control what you see and hear. TV seems to have learned that people beyond the age of 55 not only spend money, but actually have more time to do so than young people. Yet, the radio time buyers are still stuck in a rut which dictates that only people between 25 and 54 are attractive to advertisers. That is insane. Until this changes, radio is suffering from a type of "commercial cancer" that is killing it in a slow and agonizing manner. Do us all a favor, if you work at an ad agency, or know someone who does, print out this portion and post it on the door of the head media buyer.

Before I am charged with relentless rambling and ranting about how bad things are, I still believe in commercial terrestrial radio, but now for MY favorite music I am being forced over to the satellite offerings of Sirius XM, where live on-air personalities are also becoming scarce. So, let me end with some timely local news and updates.

During the middle two weeks of April I was outlining the state of Florida, putting a staggering 1,715 miles on my rental car and listening to a lot of radio and much of it all sounded the same. I recall that the last time I was in the Sunshine State, I got a call from Mindy Markowitz telling me that she and Tom Ryan were let go at WOMC. This time I return just in time to watch the same thing happen to Ryan's replacement Ted "The Bear" Richards. During last years Dream Cruise it was so great to hear him, along with former CKLW traffic reporter Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor. Now, after barely 15 months, Richards is gone. He spent over 15 years out in Colorado doing mornings on dozens of oldies stations nationwide via major syndicator Jones Radio which is now known as Dial-Global. A popular local DJ said "This gets scarier by the day. Ted Richards shows up for work, is told that 'OMC and 'YCD are "consolidating" talent, and is shown the door. Give me a break!" On a lighter note one big fan of Ted the Bear quipped "this makes 104.3 a little less bear-able."

To wrap up the news from the WOMC building in "fashionable Ferndale" it was announced that sister station country WYCD-FM (99.5) will be re-locating from their longtime home in the Travelers Building at Evergreen and I-696 in Southfield into the building CBS Radio owns near I-696 and I-75 as a consolidation of facilities to further reduce costs. In an unprecedented move, they will also be sharing staff. Multiple stations under the same roof has now become commonplace, but sharing employees, especially on-air talent is something new. WYCD program director, Tim Roberts, will now double his responsibilities as PD of BOTH 99.5 and 104.3. Hey Tim, that's one way to get a press box pass to U-M football games this fall, since WOMC is the flagship for the games...and remember that the call-letters now stand for Where Only Michigan Counts! With the huge Downtown Hoedown coming on May 15th, and then The Dream Cruise in August, it will be a busy summer for Timothy who is one of Detroit radio's "nice guys."

Old business: While I was out of state I got word of the passing of the legendary country personality Deano Day. He was perhaps THE most notable country jock ever in Motown, with tours of duty at The Big Dee WDEE-AM (1500) now WLQV, CKLW-FM (93.9) now the River and most notably at WCXI-AM (1130) now WDFN. Longtime fan, Scott Price of Southfield, recalled "back in 1980 when I worked as a press agent for the Michigan Opry and we had a show with Hank Williams Jr. and his Whiskey Bent and Hellbound tour. Deano Day was the emcee and he pulled up in his brand new Don Massey Cadillac and left it parked in front of the theatre. The police were ready to tow it away because he was blocking traffic and Deano flipped me the keys and told me to move it. He than went on stage with his wit and comedy and knocked the audience dead and the crowd really enjoyed him. Those were the good ole days and Uncle Deano will be missed by many country music fans." That says it all Scott.

Some great news and time to mark your calendar. This Memorial Day Weekend, Detroit native (Farmington) Jim Hampton will return to present a special Detroit DJ Reunion on WPON-AM (1460) and on line at www.wpon.com. Jim will play many Top 40 hits from the beginning of rock 'n roll, plus the hard to find rare songs that are uniquely Detroit. Hampton has compiled actual airchecks from many of Detroit's Top DJ's from the 60's that performed on WXYZ, WJLB, WJBK, CKLW, and WKNR. Celebrities such as: Tom Clay, Bud Davies, Robin Seymour, Terry Knight, Frantic Ernie Durham, Paul Winter, Joel Sebastian, Tom Shannon, Bob Green, Lee Alan, Dave Shafer, Dave Prince and many more will be featured throughout the shows. And, there will be some special surprise in-studio guests, too. Mike will have more information soon on the web site.

Spring has sprung and the leaves and dandelions are returning...and so are some of your radio favorites. The man who used to write the Names and Faces column in the Detroit Free Press and cover radio news almost as extensively as Mike and I do (LOL), John Smyntek, can't handle retirement and is coming back to an on-line paper called www.Yournews.com and by entering your zip code you get the local version and his column regarding media. Perhaps Sminty saw what we did when The Oakland Press dropped our column and now going to do this Internet version. Welcome back John.

Lastly, the much anticipated return of the Home Improvement guru Murray Gula is scheduled for the first weekend in June on Saturday and Sunday from noon till 2 pm on 50,000 watt WDFN-AM (1130). Gula was last heard on that frequency about a year ago. He is still seen on Channel 7's web chat show Thursdays at noon on "Lunch with Murray," on www.wxyz.com. Best wishes to Murray as he recovers from some serious knee replacement surgery. We await his return. My return will be in May with more news about what's ON THE RADIO.

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

 

Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

On The RadioFor those of you who read my writings and rants about the industry I love dearly, realize that, just like those who routinely criticize the radio business do so because we care.

As most of you know, I attend a great deal of radio gatherings. Some are called conventions, seminars or conferences. All have experienced decreases in attendance this year, as could be expected. With the current economic climate being more like winter than summer, it provides an easy excuse for people to stay away. The longest running such confab is the Country Radio Seminar (CRS) held every year in Nashville (why not?) and this year, celebrated forty (40) years. Yet, attendance was down about 35%. Only a week later, the Radio & Records Talk Radio Seminar (TRS) was held in Los Angeles hosting a mere 150 attendees. In better times, TRS would attract between 400 and 500. Coming up next month will be the New Media Seminar presented by Talkers Magazine. It should be interesting to see who shows up. I will be there and will be "taking the temperature" of the room. I fear it might be on the cool side.

The mantra of nearly every confab, where radio people assemble, is LIVE and LOCAL. This is how terrestrial radio would win out against satellite radio and the dreaded iPod. The sad thing is now more than ever, and it has become extremely prevalent, here in the Detroit area (like it has nationwide), that very little of what comes out of your radio speaker is neither live nor local. I recently spoke to Steve Schram, who now runs the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service. He was the person who secured the former A&W Root Beer headquarters in Farmington Hills, as the new home for Clear Channel Radio Detroit. Sadly, the company known for letting people go, didn't hold on to Steve long enough for him to ever actually occupy that facility. Actually, the population of that building has been steadily dropping.

The last wave of CC layoffs was reported as being 590 nationally. In reality, about 1,000 employees were let go. Among the local casualties were Chad Mitchell and the entire morning show at country WDTW-FM (106.7) known as The Fox. The station currently has no local or live DJ's on the air, and had been without a local program director for several weeks prior to this recent exodus. The stunner came from a studio just down the hall as pop hits WNIC-FM (100.3) dismissed popular morning icon Chris Edmonds, who (with impressive ratings) was preparing to celebrate 21 years at the station! WNIC also tied with cluster-mate WKQI (known as Channel 9-5-5) for the top spot in local ratings. I'm trying to figure this out. He's on the top station, with the top ratings and for all his accomplishments he gets let go. I know, it all about the money...but this still makes no sense at all. Even longtime CC phone receptionist Pam Caldwell was let go with various staffers handling her duties.

Kevin O'Neill, more than likely, feels lucky to still have a job. He was moved into the morning show with Lisa Berry when Edmonds was shown the door. O'Neill is unquestionably one of the absolutely NICest people on the Detroit radio dial. The only time the WNIC studio is occupied for an entire live and local show is between 5 and 9 a.m. Every other time slot is either voice-tracked (pre-recorded) or imported from another city. If you check the web site www.wnic.com you will find for large segments of the broadcast day that no DJ's are listed, just "more music variety."

Most radio stations here, and across the country, have few (if any) humans in the building after 7 pm. God help us all if something catastrophic should happen between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. With TV dropping all analogue on-the-air signals on June 12th, radio will be the only way people can get information fast. Let's not fail them.

Whenever people call WWJ radio in Southfield, and have a question about a particular radio station, the operator always gives them MY phone number because she feels I know everything about local radio. I don't, but I always try to help out.

While actually writing this column I received such a call from a concerned mother by the name of Lisa in Northville, MI, who's raising teenagers. She was outraged by the sexual content she heard in the last hour of the MoJo in the Morning show on WKQI-FM (95.5). She wanted to know who she could express her concern to. I was honest and said that MoJo has the hottest morning show in town and makes a lot of money from and for Clear Channel. Her comments and concern would probably fall on deaf ears, because the dollar speaks the loudest. I could hear, in her voice, how upset she was, but knew that hers would be an uphill battle with station management. I wished her luck.

Sports WDFN-AM (1130) is another station in that Clear Channel fortress that pretty much cleaned out most of its live and local voices earlier this year and is now trying to at least return some locally-originated programming directed at helping listeners in our area. A few weeks ago I hinted that Murray Gula, our own Mr. Home Improvement, would be making a triumphant return to the radio dial, and after exploring a number of options, he'll be returning to right where he was last heard on AM-1130 both Saturday and Sunday from noon till 2 p.m. called "Your Home with Murray Gula." The first show will be on the 6th of June...which sounds a lot like the beginning of C. W. McCall's hit song from 1975 called "Convoy." Murray continues to host a web-cast for Ch. 7 at www.wxyz.com each Thursday at noon with co-host Joe Giordano, and he guests each Friday with Bob Allison on multi-formatted WNZK-AM (690) at 10:30 a.m.

For quite sometime we have been reporting on new technologies putting the squeeze on radio's reign as king of in-car listening, and may not be over, but there IS a new threat. Autonet Mobile has begun selling Wi-Fi for the car at more than 3,300 stores nationwide, including Best Buy. Locally-based radio trend follower Jacobs Media conducted a survey that finds only 6% want Wi-Fi in their next car, and that most prefer an iPod connection. Personally I like the idea of Wi-Fi in the car, but not as a means of surfing the net or reviewing your e-mail while driving. What excites me is having the ability to listen to ANY radio station in America that streams on-line but then I'm a radio-aholic and having the ability to tune in stations from LA, or Little Rock...from Chicago or Cincinnati is very cool indeed. At least it's still listening to radio and not just a mini-hard drive with bunch of my own tunes.

Rock WRIF-FM (101.1) has assembled a newly configured weekday lineup. As expected, given the station's heritage, all the jocks involved have long histories with The RIFF: Twenty-year station vet Anne Carlini is now doing 10am-3pm, the shift formerly done by former WRIF PD Doug Podell before he became the hugely important Director of Rock Programming for both WRIF and WCSX. Afternoons, which had been the domain of market legend Arthur Penhallow for 39 years, now belongs to Meltdown, WRIF's longtime night jock, who has been covering afternoons since Penhallow left in February when he and the station couldn't come to terms on a new contract. Scott Randall, a 'RIF veteran since 1997, easily slides into nights, while Mike Clark & Company remains in control of mornings remarkably well without Drew. There were major rumors floating around town that Drew Lane was coming back to The Riff as the afternoon host, but it looks as though the "Doc of Rock" Mr. Podell, has his team set, at least for the time being. Radio has never been known as a bastion of stability. BTW what ever happened to that strange dude "Mr. Positive?" He's actually Greg Balteff, a personal trainer at a Westland fitness club, and was a semi-regular when Doug Podell hosted mid-days on WRIF. His status is somewhat unclear.

What puzzles me is why wouldn't either Arthur P. or Greater Media Detroit (the station owner) go for one last year, make it an even forty years and then send Mr. Penhallow off into retirement with a big party? I guess things like that only happen in the movies. Considering that Arthur came to the 101.1 frequency when it was still known as WXYZ-FM in 1970...and the humble beginnings he had in Howell and Ann Arbor...and the fact that he has probably made enough money to live comfortably...it just doesn't seem right to end it all this way.

We wanted to wait until this event was just around the corner, because most people have short memories and even shorter attention spans these days, but, it will be VERY special Memorial Day weekend in Motown! Even with a terrible economy. Even though most stations will be running lots of repeats and "best of shows," that will not be the case in the Motor City! LA based Jim Hampton, who grew up in Farmington and worked at WXYZ in the mid-1960's will be presenting a very special Detroit Flashback Weekend for a total of four (4) nights May 22-25, 7 pm till 10 pm EDT on suburban WPON-AM (1460) and streaming on-line at www.wpon.com which, considering the coverage of the 1,000 watt station broadcasting from just west of Walled Lake, most people will hear better on their computer. With a plethora of nostalgic oldies, memorable station airchecks, and special in-studio guests including; Lee Alan, and others, this will be a MUST for ANYONE who grew up listening to Detroit radio! Hampton will have many of the (still living) legends on the phone and some are already pre-recorded. This should represent 12 truly memorable hours of nostalgic radio. Get ready to roll tape!!!

WELCOME RACE FANS...is the cry of all those headed to Indianapolis for the 500, or just those of us who travel I-275 or I-696. This year the Indy 500 will be carried on both Sirius and XM, which are united, but the race will be on different channels depending on which service you might have. For XM subscribers it's on channel 145 and Sirius folks will find "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on channel 211, if your have the "Best Of XM" package. Do you know anyone looking for the broadcast in Spanish? Indy's Hispanic station WEDJ-FM (107.1) will stream it at www.wedjfm.com live. Start time will be 1 p.m. Sunday May 24th.

Should you have friends or family in other parts of the country who are on the road vacationing but want to hear the Red Wings push toward another Stanley Cup Championship and our beloved Ken Kal shouting out "He Scores!!!" you can hear the NHL Hockey Play-Off's on XM channel 204 known as Home Ice. The Blackhawks announcer is one click away on channel 205. Sirius fans need to have that "Best of XM" package to hear hockey. It's a legal thing...don't ya know?

Mega-Kudos to Tim Roberts, Deb Kenyon, Jay Jennings, Susanne Bellinger and the entire staff of Detroit's Country WYCD-FM (99.5) for a phenomenal job on the Downtown Hoedown that drew record crowds and a provided a good time for all. Now, rest up Tim and get ready for the Woodward Dream Cruise on August 15th.

If you're reading this before the 22nd of May, I hope you have a safe Memorial Day weekend and don't forget what this holiday truly stands for. Click on this link www.leealancreative.com/AM from the legendary Lee Alan to hear his tribute to those who fought for our freedom.

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

 

Opinion by Art Vuolo, Jr.

On The RadioEach year on the first weekend in November, the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago hosts a gala black-tie fund-raiser event called the National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

This year for the third time, Joey Reynolds has been nominated and this is the year he should get in. Nobody deserves it more. Joey has lived life, experienced far more than most people. He has walked the walk and talked the talk. He has had 38 jobs in radio, but his current one, as a wildly entertaining overnight talk host of New York's WOR, has lasted over 13 years! His program is nationally syndicated over the WOR Radio Network, and he has the ability to fill a studio far beyond its capacity at 2 o'clock in the morning!

In his category he shares the ballot with the Public Radio program "This American Life" with Ira Glass, Bob Brinker of "Money Talk" syndicated by Citadel Media, and Neal Boortz, the out-spoken national talk host from WSB Atlanta. Joey worked in Detroit twice, at WXYZ in1966, and at WHYT-FM (96.3) in 1984.

While in his early twenties, Joey was the number one DJ in the country in 1962 and 1963 while at 50,000 watt WKBW in Buffalo, NY. He was the first radio personality to host a LIVE simulcast on both radio and television in 1982 at KOA Radio 850 and KOA-TV Channel 4 Denver, CO. He has always been ahead of his time. Now is his time. Please vote for Joey.

Another great talent up for induction was also nominated last year, Gary Burbank but lost out to LA's Charlie Tuna, another great jock. Gary worked as "the morning mouth" at CKLW back in the early 1970's, but made his biggest splash in Louisville at WHAS and was at the top of his game at 700 WLW "The Big One" in Cincinnati for 25 years. He is up against LA radio icon Art Laboe, Buffalo Bills sports announcer Van Miller and Washington, DC legend Ed Walker. My vote is for the incomparable Gary Burbank and his alter-ego Earl Pitts...Uh-merican!

You can vote via this web site: https://nrhof.votenet.com/nrhof/register.

The 2009 National Radio Hall of Fame categories and nominees are (information below courtesy of the National Radio Hall of Fame):

LOCAL OR REGIONAL - PIONEER

  • Gary Burbank - the former Billy Purser began his radio career in the mid 1960s but took the name Gary Burbank as a tribute to radio and TV legend Gary Owens and his famous "Laugh-In" introduction. Burbank then dominated Cincinnati radio on WLW-AM until late in 2007.
  • Art Laboe - the Los Angeles disc jockey, songwriter, record producer and radio station owner, was the first disc jockey to play rock and roll on the radio on the West Coast during the 50s. His "Killer Oldies" show can now be heard on various West Coast stations.
  • Van Miller - the longtime play-by-play announcer of the Buffalo Bills who called games from 1960-1971 and 1977-2003. Miller holds the record for NFL announcers with the same team.
  • Ed Walker - the Washington, DC legend whose program "Ed's Play it Again, Ed" aired on WMAL and garnered one of the largest audiences in DC radio history. Walker currently hosts the nostalgia show "The Big Broadcast" on WAMU airing radio programs from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

NATIONAL - PIONEER

  • Dr. Demento - the program created by Barret Hansen in 1970 that developed a cult following with its trend setting collection of novelty songs and comedy skits.
  • Dick Orkin - the award-winning voice actor known for his humorous commercials and the man who created the comedy serial "Chickenman", which satirized the TV show "Batman."
  • Suspense - the CBS program was "Radio's Outstanding Theater of Thrills" for over 20 years. The devotion to suspense over horror allowed the show to go in directions that no other show could go.
  • WLS Barn Dance - the program debuted on April 19, 1924 on powerhouse WLS/Chicago's first day on air and became an instant hit, introducing country music to the masses with a heavy dose of down-home comedy.

LOCAL OR REGIONAL - ACTIVE

  • Terri Hemmert - a disc jockey known for her encyclopedic knowledge of music and especially the Beatles, the civically-active Hemmert made Chicago radio history in 1981 when she became the first female morning drive personality on WXRT-FM.
  • Tom Moffatt - a Michigan native, Moffatt first gained notoriety in Hawaii at KGU-AM 760 and later as part of the popular "poi boys" crew of DJs at KPOI-AM 1040. A Hawaiian radio institution, he is now heard Saturdays on 107.9/Honolulu.
  • Neil Rogers - a solid ratings king and outspoken talk show host in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market for over 30 years, the caustically pointed "Uncle Neil" recently departed his long-time home at 560 WQAM.
  • Wendy Williams - a sassy talk show host for more than 20 years, Williams got the radio bug while in college and after stops at WVIS/St.Croix and WOL/Washington DC she landed in New York City, where the media spotlight and massive ratings followed.

NATIONAL - ACTIVE

  • Neal Boortz - the opinionated host of the Atlanta-based "Neal Boortz Show," which airs throughout the United States on affiliates of the Jones Radio Network.
  • Bob Brinker - the knowledgeable host of "MoneyTalk" on Citadel Media Networks for over 20 years, Brinker shares investment advice and analysis with his audience.
  • Joey Reynolds - the legendary host of the nightly "Joey Reynolds Show" is heard nationally on the WOR Radio network, and was one of radio's original "Top 40" superstars during the 1960's.
  • This American Life - the critically acclaimed weekly exploration of the off beat and obvious aspects of life in America is hosted by the curious and inventive Ira Glass, and shared nationally via Public Radio International.

The National Radio Hall of Fame online balloting is now in progress and will end at midnight on August 1st. Votenet, a highly respected online vote tabulating firm, will supervise the balloting and final results will be ratified by the Steering Committee of the NRHOF in early August.

 

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