column written by Art Vuolo, Jr.
On Monday, May 24th WOMC-FM (104.3) will premier it's new morning show. Ever since Dick Purtan did his last program on March 26th Chris Edmonds and Stacy Duford have been keeping the seat warm. My guess was that THEY would be the successor to Dick and Purtan's People. When I heard them the following Monday, I feared that my hunch was not going to pan out. Yet, I recall telling WOMC program director Tim Roberts that it was a brilliant move bringing them on board for weekend duty, so they'd be "in the house" to take over mornings when Mr. Purtan decided to retire. So much for second-guessing.
Let me say from the start...or almost the start, that I think Tim is one of the best PD's I've ever met and feel he will keep both of his stations (WOMC & WYCD) high in the local ratings. He and his crew did an incredible job with the recent Downtown Hoedown and this summer we can expect big things on August 21st at the Annual Woodward Dream Cruise. In fact, the huge Motor City Radio Reunion being planned for late September started with an idea from Tim Roberts! This is why I am somewhat perplexed by the new host of WOMC's morning show.
It's an interesting cast. I was happy to get a call from Dr. Don Carpenter of WYCD telling me the good news that ace news personality Bob Schuman was returning to Motown. He left a couple of years ago to anchor the morning news on 50,000 watt WOKV down in Jacksonville, FL but things didn't work out. After significantly increasing the ratings, they let him go. Go figure. So, Robert K. Schuman returns and he's the best! For weather, the TV personality with the most radio experience, WDIV-TV's Chuck Gaidica will handle the highs and lows and that's a good move because the Chuckster is the best! To produce the morning show and dilute the in-studio testosterone, Rachel Nevada will be segueing up to Fashionable Ferndale from the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building and WJR. She had been the longtime producer of The Mitch Albom Show. Good move. She has major name recognition and should bring much to the table.
The big surprise came with the choice of the host of the show...Bobby Mitchell. Don't misunderstand me, Bobby is a great talent and for "radio geeks" (like myself) who have real good memories, Mitchell did his first tour of duty in Detroit at the old WHYT-FM (96.3) back in the mid-1980's under PD (now consultant) Gary Berkowitz. Oddly enough he worked with Bob Schuman who had also just come to Detroit. When Bobby left town he went to Houston, Miami and Dallas. Again, he's a very good jock with a great personality....BUT (there it is...the anticipated BUT) I do not understand why an "out-of-towner" was brought in when we have, not one or two, but three excellent morning show talents in town and all three are currently "available." They are: Jim (J.J.) Johnson formerly of WCSX, Chris Edmonds formerly of WNIC and Kevin O'Neill also formerly with WNIC. Each of these three has over a quarter of a century of tenure on the Detroit radio dial and have had good ratings and a large fan-base. Sadly, there is enough unemployed radio talent in this city to staff several entire radio stations. It just makes me ask, why are people being brought in from elsewhere? Just thinking out loud. How dangerous is that?