Metro Detroit: February 2010 Archives

Will HD power boost be boon or bust?



column written by Mike Austerman

Last week's news that the FCC is going to allow FM stations to increase their output power from 1% of their analog output to up to 10% prompted lots of coverage. It's a polarizing issue between those that continue to promote HD as the next big thing for free FM radio and those that think the idea continues to be a horrible mistake that just keeps getting worse.

Truth be told I don't know where I stand, as I can see both sides. I guess I tend to lean toward the technology -- at least for FM -- hoping that the addition of programming can help fill broadcast holes that wouldn't otherwise be served. A quick example: In Angola, Indiana pop WLKI FM 100.3 has recently added HD2 and HD3 programming, providing the area with a sports format (ESPN Radio) and a rock format. Maybe even more intriguing, both formats are also available to analog listeners via FM translators that were recently purchased and moved to Angola. If it weren't for HD, listeners wouldn't have those extra options.

The biggest argument against HD appears to be concerns over interference. If it turns the FM dial into the mess AM has become since HD has come online, this position will be validated. My guess is that many of the protests come from owners of 'rimshot' stations that rely on listeners from nearby larger markets to help keep their stations afloat. If listeners they have today get blocked by IBOC stations, it could very well impact whether or not some of these stations survive. Is this really what the FCC wants -- fewer voices on the airwaves?

In Detroit, the situation could be even worse should HD-caused interference affect stations from nearby southwestern Ontario, which has recently added a number of FMs. Most are just two clicks away on the dial from powerful Detroit FM's that could very well increase digital power and create much more interference in Canada. It'll be interesting to see what happens if/when the juice gets turned up on local HDs.

One thing I can say without hesitation though - if all of this is going to wind up being worth it, a lot more effort is going to be needed in programming the HD2 and HD3 stations to entice listeners to upgrade their radios.


Phlash and ClydeOn a personal note, I pheel compelled to mention a recent loss to the radio phamily. Listeners to Phlash Phelps' morning show (6am - noon ET) on SiriusXM's 60's on 6 understand the connection he had with his beloved beagle Clyde, who was probably one of the best traveled dogs of all time. Phlash and Clyde were best buds phor over 14 years and stuck together through numerous radio gigs and together got the chance to visit 48 states, 5 provinces of Canada, 2 U.S. territories, and Washington D.C. Unfortunately, Clyde didn't make it to see his 15th birthday which would have been in June as he died on Saturday.

Phlash intends to take Clyde's ashes to both Alaska and Hawaii to complete the 50 state tour.

Listeners to the Phlash Phelps Phunny Pharm grew used to hearing Clyde's bark and amazing ability to phind nearly any song request listeners might make. While much of satellite radio can be impersonal, Phlash's program is a refreshing difference. I'm certainly proud to be a Phan and send my condolences to Phlash.

If you feel compelled, reach out to Phlash c/o XM Satellite Radio, 1500 Eckington Place NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Mike Austerman


Lisa Orlando (Lisa Lisa) returns to the airwaves on 106.7 Feb. 8

WDTW-FMGood news for fans of party radio queen Lisa Lisa as she's returning full time to the airwaves of Detroit starting on Monday. She'll be heard from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on adult rhythmic WDTW-FM 106.7, The Beat.

Good news too for fans of The Beat as the station expands their efforts by adding a second hosted daypart - the Joe Show (Joe Rosati) currently holds down afternoon drive (3 - 7 p.m.). The station launched its latest format this past September.

As for Lisa Lisa, she's obviously happy to be back playing the music that keeps her many fans moving telling, "I am sooo very excited to be joining the wonderful group of talent being assembled at The Beat! Our metro Detroit community has been so beat-down as of late and I look forward to bring some "feel good music" back!! As Fergie says, 'I'll be rockin' them beats'!!!"



WMUZ and WJR help raise funds for charity

WMUZ-FM 103.5 listeners working with Compassion International pledged over $85,000 on Monday for earthquake relief in Haiti. Compassion will use the funds raised to re-equip Compassions' local support infrastructure and provide food, water, shelter, medical and counseling services to victims. Up to 25% of the funds raised will be donated to partner with other ministries to meet needs that are beyond the scope of their program.

Visit for more information.


Detroiters once again proved that they are super supporters of the local community by raising over $22,000 last night at an event held at Art Van Furniture to benefit S.A.Y. Detroit ("Super All Year") Charity. Five hundred people came to hear Mitch Albom - best-selling author and popular radio and television broadcaster- speak about his best selling book Have a Little Faith and why he formed S.A.Y. Detroit Charity in 2006 during the Super Bowl to help the homeless in Detroit.

"With the power of the pen and microphone, Mr. Albom has brought voice to the voiceless," stated Gary Van Elslander, President of Art Van Furniture. "He has focused attention on the many Detroiters who are struggling everyday to meet the basic needs of shelter, food and medicine."

The evening began with Albom's live broadcast on WJR Newstalk 760 from the Art Van store in Warren where Mr. Van Elslander announced that they will match donations up to $10,000. Later Albom talked about the story behind his new nationally acclaimed book, and the progress of his important charity.

Pastor Henry Covington, the lead minister of I Am My Brother's Keeper church in Detroit, joined Albom to wrap up the event for open questioning. The church and minister served as an inspiration for Albom's new book.

Donations will continue to be accepted throughout the week. This marks one of the many charity events Art Van Furniture hosts throughout the year to benefit charities throughout Michigan during these tough times.

To learn more about Art Van Furniture's charitable efforts or to donate to S.A.Y. Detroit go to



WDIV's Dr. Frank McGeorge gets national ink for Haiti work

Yesterday's edition of USA Today featured Local 4 News Good Health reporter Dr. Frank McGeorge and recent trip to Haiti offer emergency medical assistance and report for Local 4:

Detroit emergency physician Frank McGeorge says nothing could have prepared him for what he saw in Haiti. Television doesn't do it any justice, says McGeorge, who flew there to help just days after the quake hit Jan. 12. "Unless you're there, you can't really see it, hear it or smell it. The experience is so immersive and painful," he says. Though it was his first time treating victims of a major catastrophe, even doctors seasoned in treating disaster victims say Haiti was unlike anything they've experienced before... U.S. doctors say Haiti stands out from other disasters (Tue, 2/2)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 5, 2010



7th WWJ Radiothon for THAW underway

CBS Radio/Detroit has kicked the first of their 2010 annual Radiothons with all-news WWJ AM 950 helping to raise money for The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) throughout today and up until noon tomorrow.

WWJ RadiothonThe 7th Annual WWJ Newsradio 950 Winter Survival Radiothon is on live from the MGM Grand Detroit to help raise much needed funds for THAW. THAW provides emergency utility assistance to help low-to-moderate income individuals and families in Michigan stay safe and warm during the winter season.

Live interviews with families that THAW has helped will air during the 31 hour Radiothon as will on-air check presentations from sponsors, on-site reporting, and much more. An on-site donation call center will be set up with volunteers taking phone pledges and online donations can be made at Donors can also call (888) 579-4950.

Listeners are being encouraged to donate by on-air prompting, incentive programs, and other special Radiothon promotions. This year, you can join the 950 Club by donating $250 - you'll recieve a WWJ/THAW thermos to help warm you up this winter plus Mountain Country Coffee courtesy of Coffee Express. Another option is to join the Circle of Warmth Club by donating $1,000 to receive a free energy audit courtesy of Flame Heating, Cooling and Electrical. Additionally, listeners will be encouraged to bid on numerous items available through an Online Auction website.

The goal for this year's THAW Radiothon is $700,000.

On February 26th, look for CBS Radio/Detroit WOMC-FM 104.3 morning host Dick Purtan's 23rd annual Radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Club from Oakland Mall in Troy. The Bed and Bread program brings food, shelter and services to people within our community and provides assistance to get them back on their feet. In December, CBS' WYCD hosted its 10th annual campaign to help raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Great news for fans of radio, jazz and/or nice people: Linda Yohn plans to be back on WEMU radio starting Monday after a roughly two-month absence. The longtime morning-show host and and program director at WEMU (89.1-FM), the public-radio station at Eastern Michigan University, took a leave of absence in early December to have a tumor removed from her lung... Linda Yohn returning to WEMU airwaves (Fri, 2/5)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 6, 2010



WDTW-FM adds Billy the Kidd

Adult rhythmic 106.7 The Beat, WDTW-FM, has added Billy the Kidd to its lineup for evenings starting on Monday. Kidd got his start in radio as an intern for Lisa Lisa - who herself signs on with The Beat for middays on Monday.



Detroit Free Press:

A half-hour documentary from the Detroit Free Press, "Rising from the Wreckage," is to broadcast on WWJ-TV (CBS Detroit) at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. It was produced in conjunction with an eight-part Free Press report published in December chronicling 18-months in which the auto industry nearly collapsed and two automakers were rescued by the federal government... Free Press documentary to air Sunday (Sat, 2/6)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 8, 2010



WWJ's THAW radiothon helps raise $316,000

Listeners to WWJ's AM 950 seventh annual radiothon to benefit The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) pledged over $316,000 during the event on Friday and Saturday. Those donations will translate to more than $600,000 in emergency utility assistance to low-to-moderate income individuals and families in Michigan.

An online auction continues through Thursday at 6 p.m.; visit and bid by clicking here.



Jay Towers slides back behind the mic

Clear Channel puts Jay Towers back to work behind a microphone, hiring him to host from 9am - 4pm on My106.1 in Philadelphia. He'll still be working here in Detroit on weekends too as part of the Fox 2 News team.



Detroit News:

Get ready to feel a slap across the face, Detroit, when PBS airs "Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City ." The special, which airs at 10 tonight on WTVS-TV (Channel 56), opens with a light-rail director in Madrid talking about the importance of infrastructure before cutting to Detroit's infamous eyesore, Michigan Central Station. Producers also discuss how the Big Three hobbled public transportation in the area... PBS special rides Detroit's shortcomings (Mon, 2/8)



Detroit Free Press:

The Detroit Tigers announced their television schedule for this season: 156 games on Fox Sports Detroit, one on Fox Sports Plus and four on Fox. FSD also will air four spring-training games. The lone regular-season game without TV plans is April 7 at Kansas City, the second game of the year. The Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons all are scheduled to be in action at the same time, and the Wings are ticketed for FSD and the Pistons FS-Plus. The network is trying to determine whether it can also distribute the Tigers game... Tigers announce TV schedule, including four spring-training games (Mon, 2/8)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 10, 2010



WDIV set to air Our Journey To Haiti special

WDIV-TV will be presenting a one-of-kind television event, Our Journey To Haiti, which is scheduled to air Thursday, February 11 at 8 p.m. Local 4 News anchor Carmen Harlan and Good Health reporter Dr. Frank McGeorge are the only local television journalists to travel to Haiti to report on the devastation first hand. The program follows their life-changing journey with never-before-seen footage of heartache and hope in the wake of the devastating earthquake.

In Our Journey To Haiti, an all-new half-hour primetime special presentation, Carmen shares the video of her extraordinary and emotional reunion with her own relatives living in Port-au-Prince. Dr. McGeorge, an emergency room doctor at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital, takes viewers along as he carries out his mission of saving lives treating the injured in a makeshift clinic.

Local 4 and Forgotten Harvest have partnered with other distinguished local organizations to launch Help 4 Haiti, a major relief effort that has already raised nearly one million dollars worth of total aid. Partnering with Walgreens, the Detroit Pistons, Project Medishare, Cross International, WJR, Detroit Media Partnership, TMT, Michigan Business and Professional Association, Michigan Food and Beverage Association and over 30 local urban and suburban churches, Help 4 Haiti is sending food, water and desperately needed medical supplies donated by metro Detroiters the hardest hit areas in Haiti.

Help 4 Haiti donations continue to be accepted through Local 4's website,



WJR's Smith all shook up in Chicago

WJR morning host Paul W. Smith is broadcasting live from the Chicago Auto Show during his program this week (5:30 - 9 a.m.) and had the added bonus this morning of being in the Windy City as a minor earthquake struck Illinois. No word if any coffee was spilled or not.



Detroit News:

Hockeytown loves the Winter Olympics. While NBC overspent for the rights to show competitive cold-weather sports and stands to lose a whopping $250 million as a result, Detroit Red Wings' fans and the network's local affiliate, WDIV-TV (Channel 4), will reap the rewards when the 2010 Winter Olympics begin Friday. And it doesn't matter that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will be playing for Sweden. The point is: He'll be playing. "Locally, the Winter Olympics attracts a lot of eyeballs that might otherwise be watching cable sports," says Marla Drutz, WDIV's vice president and general manager. "There's a lot of value to advertisers and our viewers. After all, Metro Detroit loves a good hockey game." The Winter Olympics have long been a TV favorite locally, in part because people here tend to participate in and follow these sports. The same affinity, however, is not shared in states with warmer climes... Winter Olympics promises to be a boon for WDIV (Wed, 2/10)

CRAWFORD BROADCASTING Christian WMUZ/DETROIT morning show "THE MORNING LIGHT" and host SHANNYN CALDWELL will hold the "FIFTH MORNING LIGHT JOY FLASH MOB" at the MIDTOWN WINTER BLAST in downtown DETROIT on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12th. At a specified time and location, the song "JOY" by Gospel artist NIYOKI will begin to play and the group will begin to dance. "Our first JOY FLASH MOB was over 200 dancers and we've not yet had a group smaller than 100 people. That's a whole lot of joy," said CALDWELL... WMUZ Morning Show Plans 5th Joy Flash Mob (Wed, 2/10)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 11, 2010



Detroit Free Press:

It has been some 19 years since Paul Carey left the Tigers' radio booth. For almost a generation, Carey was the voice of the middle three innings during Tigers broadcasts. He also was Ernie Harwell's engineer and an owner of a pretty memorable voice in his own right. Carey worked at WJR for 35 years. At 81, he still loves the game, the team he covered and the state that produced him. Free Press sports writer Shawn Windsor recently caught up with Carey at his home in Rochester. Q: What have you been doing the last 19 years?... Radio voice Paul Carey: Life after the Tigers (Thu, 2/11)


WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) anchor Stephen Clark, Pete Misiak of WJR-AM (760), WJBK-TV (Channel 2) sports anchor Dan Miller and other local personalties are stepping away from their day gigs to share the stage in the Spotlight Players' presentation of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" ... WEMU-FM (89.1) is hosting a benefit Saturday at Ann Arbor's Northside Grill, where the station's personalities will wait on tables. All tips go to WEMU, a public station... Names and Faces (Thu, 2/11)



Detroit News:

Hockeytown loves the Winter Olympics. While NBC overspent for the rights to show competitive cold-weather sports and stands to lose a whopping $250 million as a result, Red Wings fans and the network's local affiliate, WDIV, will reap the rewards when the 2010 Vancouver Games begin Friday. And it doesn't matter Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom will be playing for Sweden. The point is: He'll be playing ... For Olympic junkies who enjoyed seeing events live on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) in years past -- you're out of luck this year. The International Olympic Committee awarded the Canadian broadcasting rights to the 2010 Vancouver Games and 2012 Summer Olympics in London to CTV Inc. That means there is no longer continuous, live Olympic coverage on CBC for audiences in Michigan. CTV is not available in Michigan... WDIV stands to be a winner with NBC (Thu, 2/11)


One of the biggest stories in Detroit morning radio history is breaking today with Dick Purtan's announcement that he's going to be retiring next month. This most certainly will be one of the biggest radio stories of the year and will likely have repercussions for any number of stations as the scramble begins to lure and/or maintain morning listeners as a new landscape takes shape in morning drive.

Here's hoping Mr. Purtan has a long and happy retirement!


Audio of today's announcement, courtesy of WOMC


Press release from CBS Radio Detroit:

Legendary Detroit radio personality and Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Purtan today announced his retirement from CBS Radio Detroit's 104.3 WOMC. After 45 years on the air in Detroit, the last 14 hosting morning drive on WOMC, he will retire effective March 26, 2010.

PurtanPurtan, regarded as one of the country's most respected, revered and recognized air personalities, is an icon in radio broadcasting. During his long career he has been installed in both National Radio Halls of Fame, as well as the Michigan Broadcasters Hall of Fame and has won the coveted "Marconi" as the nation's top radio personality. Along with many other honors and awards, he earned a television Emmy in 1980 for his stellar performance emceeing the Detroit Emmy TV Awards television special and was selected to run as an Olympic Torch bearer in 2002.

Purtan's show is always topical and infused with intelligent comedy - taking listeners to the edge, but never "crossing the line". He is nationally recognized as the father of the original "Put-On Call" which has become a programming staple on many radio stations around the country. Surrounding himself with a cast of characters, both real and imaginary, he excels in what radio was meant to be - "theater of the mind." An equal opportunity satirist, Purtan has good-heartedly skewered everyone and everything in the public eye.

"I was trying to put off retirement until the Lions made it to the Superbowl," said Purtan, "but frankly, I've got to get some sleep."

He added, "It's been my honor to have been welcomed into the homes and lives of the people of Southeast Michigan for the part 45 years. It's been a ball... and besides all of the fun, I hope we've made a difference."

"Unfortunately, we are losing a legend," noted Debbie Kenyon, Vice President and Market Manager for CBS Radio in Detroit. "No one has made more of an impact on Detroit radio than Dick Purtan. He is truly one-of-a-kind. Millions of people have woken up to Dick's voice in the morning...his departure will leave a void I'm not sure anyone can fill."

Purtan's dedication and commitment extends beyond his morning show. The Detroit News recognized his charitable contributions by naming him a "Michiganian of the Year" in 1993. This past September he and his wife Gail were bestowed the honor of being "Goodfellows of the Year" by the Detroit Goodfellows Organization for their on-going commitment to charitable causes.

Throughout his career Purtan has helped many charitable organizations and countless people in need. His annual Radiothon for The Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Program has raised more than $22 million since 1988 to feed the homeless and hungry in the Metro Detroit area. This year's Radiothon will be held on Friday, February 26, at Oakland Mall in Troy from 6:00am-10:00pm and broadcast on WOMC and streamed live on His Radiothon is the largest single day, single radio station fundraiser in the country.

He has also been active in fund raising for Ovarian Cancer Research at the Karmanos Cancer Center through the Gail Purtan Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and has been an avid supporter of Children's Hospital among other charities in the Metro Detroit area.

Purtan's career path began in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. and included stays in Syracuse, N.Y.; Jacksonville, Fla. and Cincinnati, Ohio. While at the latter destination, he personally arranged for The Beatles to perform in Cincinnati during their first tour of America in 1964. He and Gail scraped together $2500 (their life savings) - and convinced four of his fellow jocks to do the same - to secure the Fab Four's performance. When they took to the stage, it was Purtan who introduced them. In 1965, he traveled north on I-75 for his first Detroit job at the legendary WKNR - Keener 13. In 1968, he was wooed to WBAL in Baltimore, where he did the morning show for five weeks before being fired to being "too wild for the town." A month later, he returned to morning radio in Detroit on WXYZ - 1270 where he stayed for 10 years. Then in 1978, he crossed the river to CKLW AM in Windsor, Canada., Four years later, he switched to the FM band (and shortened his commute) by moving to WCZY FM in Detroit - which later became WKQI. In 1996, he moved to WOMC, where he has been ever since.

Purtan and his wife Gail reside in West Bloomfield. Together they raised six daughters (Jennifer, Jackie, Jill, JoAnne, Jessica & Julie) and now boast seven grandchildren (five boys and two girls).



Detroit News:

After 45 years in Detroit, longtime air personality Dick Purtan called it a career this morning, announcing on his "Purtan's People" radio program that his last show will be March 26. Purtan told his WOMC-FM (104.3) listeners that he and wife Gail had decided over the two-week Christmas holiday that it was the right time to hang up the microphone, almost exactly 45 years since he first came to Detroit to take the late-night shift at WKNR-AM (1310) after being hired there in May 1965. "I must tell you, I've been blessed to do something I've loved and that I truly enjoy, but I have to be honest, I have been enjoying it less lately," Purtan noted... Dick Purtan is retiring from radio (Thu, 2/11)



Detroit Free Press:

In between weight-loss jokes and adult-contemporary radio hits, Dick Purtan announced early this morning on his radio show that he will be retiring after 45 years on Detroit airwaves. Purtan said the decision is something that he and his wife Gail have discussed for years, and that it was not easy to come to and that timing it was always going to be difficult, but after 14 years on CBS Radio's WOMC-FM (104.3), he'll step away from his morning-talk mic March 26... Radio legend Dick Purtan to sign off after 45 years (Thu, 2/11)

After 39 years in Detroit radio, preceded by stints in his hometown of Buffalo and Cincinnati, Dick Purtan enters broadcast Valhalla on Saturday night in Chicago. The morning mirthmaker will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame... Flashback: Dick Purtan on his career, inspiration (republished Thu, 2/11)



WDIV-TV Channel 4:

Detroit radio legend Dick Purtan announced moments ago he is retiring. Purtan has worked in radio for 45 years. He has hosted the morning show at WOMC since April 1996. He said he has loved the job with all his heart, but the passion is not there anymore. He said he will spend the next two months doing radio like he has been and then he looks forward to throwing away the alarm clock... Dick Purtan To Leave WOMC (Thu, 2/11)



WXYZ-TV Channel 7:

Longtime Detroit radio personality Dick Purtan has announced he is retiring from the airwaves, effective March 26. Purtan made the announcement on his WOMC-FM radio program Thursday morning. In making the announcement, he said "I was trying to put off retirement until the Lions made it to the Superbowl but frankly, I've got to get some sleep." Purtan also said "It's been my honor to have been welcomed into the homes and lives of the people of Southeast Michigan for the part 45 years. It's been a ball... and besides all of the fun, I hope we've made a difference." In addition to his on-air work, Purtan has work tirelessly for charity... Dick Purtan To Retire (Thu, 2/11)



WJBK-TV Channel 2:

One of Detroit's most popular radio hosts is calling it a career. Dick Purtan announced Thursday that he will retire this Spring. The longtime host of the morning show on 104.3 WOMC says his last day will be March 26... Dick Purtan Says He's Retiring in March (Thu, 2/11)

Detroiters received some sad news this morning during their daily commutes -- longtime local radio host Dick Purtan announced he would be retiring in late March of this year. Purtan has been on the air in Detroit since 1965, first at Top 40s stations WKNR and WKQI before landing at WOMC, where he has been entertaining morning listeners since 1996... Detroit radio legend Dick Purtan announces plans to retire (Thu, 2/11)


Dick Purtan hangs up the headphones



column written by Art Vuolo, Jr.

No radio personality in Detroit radio history has been more iconic than Paul Richard Purtan, who along with J. P. McCarthy, is the longest running on-air talent on the Motor City radio dial. McCarthy joined WJR in the late fifties and (except for a brief stint at San Francisco's KGO) remained in the Fisher Building until his untimely death on August 16, 1995. In fact, when I was commissioned to produce a six hour documentary called "The History of Detroit Radio" in 1971, an entire chapter was devoted to "Detroit's Super Stars;" McCarthy and Dick Purtan!

Mr. Purtan, however, had a far more mobile career but, was always true to Detroit. I was familiar with Dick prior to his even coming to Motown. I heard him on top-40 legend WSAI (AM 1360) in Cincinnati, where he helped bring the Beatles to the Queen City. He was Paul Purtan in those years, following Dick Wagner. Back then, in the mid-1960's, stations just didn't put jocks with the same first or last name on the air back-to-back. So, when he arrived in Dearborn at WKNR, the well-remembered "Keener 13," he preceded Paul Cannon, so his real first name of Paul was dropped and he began using the name Dick, since his real middle name IS Richard. He was also clean-shaven in those early days as evidenced by this photo taken in the old WKNR production studio in the summer of 1965.

Dick PurtanDick arrived about the same time as a Kansas City DJ by the name of Rock Robbins...but that was too close to another big name in Detroit radio, Robin Seymour. So, Rock Robbins took the name of Scott Regan and he arrived at Keener 13 just prior to Purtan. Dick needed some promotion to counter Regan's "skateboard contest," and came up with the "picture contest." You needed to draw a picture of what you thought Purtan looked like. Well, I already had an 8 X 10 black and white photo of "Paul" Purtan from WSAI. So, I cheated and drew a darn good rendering of his likeness....but still didn't win the contest.

Dick started at Keener in the 10 pm till 1 am time slot and was truly outrageous. Dick is from Kenmore, NY a suburb of Buffalo. At first he was almost as crazy on the air as another Buffalo native (now in NYC) Joey Reynolds, but later turned out to be as smooth as still another Buffalonian by the name of Tom Shannon. Soon he segued to mornings at WKNR and become increasingly popular. This caught the attention of WBAL Radio 11 (1090 AM) in Baltimore to woo him to Maryland. That lasted less than two months. He used a "non-WBAL" word on the air when he said "guts." He also did a parody about Spiro Agnew, before he was VP of the United States. That didn't sit well with the brass inside the beltway.

So, soon after he left, the Dickster was back in town and spent the next ten years at WXYZ (AM 1270). Infact his program director for part of that run was James K. Davis, aka Big Jim Edwards from the Big 8 CKLW in 1970. Then in another odd twist of circumstances, Purtan wound up across the river in Canada at CKLW (where Davis/Edwards had been, just a few years before, as a Big 8 jock) working for well-remembered general manager Herb McCord. This was just at the tail-end of the "glory days" of CKLW as a Drake-style top-40 powerhouse.

Dick will also be remembered as one of the originators of the "put-on" phone calls, while over at CKLW, since rules about such pranks in Canada were less constrictive than those of our FCC. Personally I will never forget his phony call to the late Bob Ufer, UM's ultimate "homer announcer" offering him a job at ABC Sports! Also, how a clip from his show got my "radio on video" montage banned at a convention of the National Association of Broadcasters. All he did was hold up a pair of dark blue satin underwear briefs, a listener sent him for his birthday, with his first name embroidered on the fly! It was outrageously funny, but the NAB thought it was in bad taste and pulled the plug on the video. Thankfully, they are a lot more progressive today.

After years of cruising through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, Dick flipped to the FM dial at WCZY-FM when it was called Z-95.5. Mid-stream in his tenure next to Mel Farr Ford (Ten Mile & Greenfield in Oak Park) the station changed call-letters to WKQI and was known as Q-95. When he finally felt he couldn't relate to the current hit music anymore, he made the move to "Fashionable Ferndale" the Detroit suburb that is home to CBS-owned WOMC-FM (104.3) which has morphed from a traditional oldies (late 50's, 60's & 70's) station to today's more prevalent classic hits fare (late 60's, 70's & 80's). It's been a 14 year run at WOMC, which (for the past 4 years) has also been the flagship station for University of Michigan Football. It's unsure how Purtan's departure might affect that relationship, but U-M equipment manager, and frequent Purtan guest on Tailgate Shows, Jon Falk, will miss him greatly.

Dick has won just about every award and honor one can achieve in a single lifetime from the NAB, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, trade publications and civic and charitable organizations.

Tongues are already waggin' about who might succeed him. With a glut of out-of-work radio personalities the possibilities are bountiful. J.J. and Lynne and, recently hired for part-time at WOMC, Chris Edmonds and Stacy DuFord seem like a couple of strong candidates. Edmonds and DuFord are currently on Sunday's 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. at 104.3 FM.

Mr. Purtan is the father of six daughters, three of whom are in the broadcasting industry; Jennifer, Jackie, Jill, Joanne, Jessica and Julie. He's grandfather to seven grandchildren as well. I fondly recall videotaping daughter JoAnne's wedding in 1993. I stunned him and his wife Gail by (without their knowledge) getting most of the biggest names in Detroit TV news to congratulate JoAnne and Eric on their nuptials! I also remember him giving me more than I asked for in his compensating me for that video job. What a prince he is! Yup, he's one of the last of the truly "good guys" in radio.

Dan Mason, who runs CBS Radio, started out as a DJ, so he knows first hand, what a loss this is for WOMC...which stands for Wayne, Oakland & Macomb Counties, making up greater Detroit. But, in the fall I tell everyone that WOMC stands for Where Only Michigan Counts! CBS/Detroit VP & Market Manager Debbie Kenyon said, "No one has made more of an impact on Detroit radio than Dick Purtan. He's truly one-of-a-kind."

In late May of this year Dick would have been on the air in the Motor City for a remarkable 45 years! A celebration will no doubt mark the occasion and regarding that talk of another Detroit Radio Reunion, Dick emceed the last three such events, and according to local marketing executive and past reunion committee member, Mike Seltzer..."no one in Detroit can emcee like Dick."

Also his annual Salvation Army radiothon has raised over 2 million for the last couple of years which, in this economy, is incredible. He will do the annual event again on February 26th live from the Oakland Mall in Troy.

Purtan's wife Gail is an honest-to-God walking miracle who has survived both breast and ovarian cancer for the past 13 years! She is an incredible woman, and after 50 years of marriage they would like to enjoy the future together at their home in West Bloomfield and their get-a-way place in southwest Florida. Oh yeah, and he plans to do a lot of sleeping after that final show on March 26th.

VuoloHappy Retirement Richard from all of us in your "buddies and pals" club and all listeners whose lives you've touched since your arrival May 24, 1965. Good luck to our AM-FM-MC-DP...DICK PURTAN!


For more on the career of Dick Purtan, be sure to check out too!


Art Vuolo Jr.

Reach Art Vuolo at or visit his web site at


Michigan Almanac: Feb. 12, 2010



Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame adds five

The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, owners, photographers, broadcasters, educators and others who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Since 1985 the Journalism Hall of Fame has continued the tradition of honoring journalists begun in 1952 by the Michigan Newspaper Hall of Fame.

The class of 2010 includes:

  • Bill Bonds- iconic TV anchor at WXYZ-TV 7 and WJBK-TV 2 in Detroit
  • Ron Dzwonkowski- Detroit Free Press associate editor and columnist
  • Dawn Hertz - Media Lawyer with the firm Butzel-Long
  • Jerry Hodak- Detroit TV reporter and anchor since 1965; currently the chief meteorologist at WXYZ-TV
  • James Pooler- Detroit Free Press reporter

The Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for Sunday, April 18, 2010, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Contact Michigan State University's School of Journalism at 517-353-6430 for more information. / Associated Press:

Ernie Harwell will receive the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting. The Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers will receive the award on May 5 in New York. The 92-year-old Harwell was the voice of the Tigers from 1960-02. He said last September he has inoperable cancer, a month after surgery for an obstructed bile duct. He was honored with a tribute during a game at Comerica Park on Sept. 16. Harwell's 55-year career began in Atlanta in 1946. He moved two years later to the Brooklyn Dodgers. After stints with the New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles, he started his long association with the Tigers. Harwell was voted the 1981 Ford Frick Award for major contributions to baseball by the Hall of Fame. The Scully award is named for the longtime Dodgers broadcaster, who won the Frick Award in 1982. Scully helped form Fordham's radio station WFUV, which is the award's sponsor, and joined the Dodgers broadcast crew in 1950. Tigers' Ernie Harwell to receive Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award for broadcasting (Thu, 2/11)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 12, 2010



Purtan retirement announcement gets lots of coverage

The Detroit media is not hesitating to provide coverage to yesterday's announcement that Dick Purtan has decided to retire from the daily radio grind next month. Some of the updated stories are below:


Detroit News:

Detroit radio icon Dick Purtan announced on his morning show Thursday that he's signing off after a long run as host of one of Detroit's top morning shows. His last "Purtan's People" radio program will be March 26. Purtan told his WOMC-FM (104.3) listeners that he and wife, Gail, decided over the two-week Christmas holiday that it was the right time to retire, almost 45 years after he came to Detroit to take the late-night shift at the hot pop music station WKNR-AM (1300) in May 1965... Dick Purtan: Time to retire after four decades on Detroit radio (Fri, 2/12)


Detroit Free Press:

After 45 years on the Motor City airwaves, it's the end of an era for Dick Purtan, known for his distinguished voice, signature moustache and warm-hearted humor. After 14 years on WOMC-FM (104.3) -- and almost 50 years since his Detroit market debut at WKNR-AM -- the legendary broadcaster said Thursday he'll step away from his morning-talk mic on March 26... After 45 years on Detroit airwaves, beloved radio host Dick Purtan will retire in March (Fri, 2/12)


The Oakland Press:

Dick Purtan's fans reacted quickly Thursday to the news he had decided to retire March 26 after 45 years in radio. "I'm holding several hundred messages here in my hands," said Purtan, one of the giants of Metro Detroit morning radio and host of the Oldies 104.3 WOMC Morning Show with Purtan's People... Radio legend Dick Purtan will retire (Fri, 2/12)


WXYZ-TV Ch. 7:

With Videos: Longtime Detroit radio personality Dick Purtan has announced he is retiring from the airwaves, effective March 26. Purtan told his listeners on his WOMC-FM radio program Thursday morning... Radio Legend Dick Purtan to Retire (Thu, 2/11)


WDIV-TV Ch. 4: has several videos available... Search (Thu, 2/11)


WJBK-TV Ch. 2:

With Video: A Detroit broadcasting legend is calling it a career after almost a half-century of making us laugh. Dick Purtan has been a fixture on the radio dial for 45 years. His last day on WOMC is March 26... Dick Purtan Says He's Retiring in March (Thu, 2/11)


Also, please check out Art Vuolo's latest column here on

Dick Purtan hangs up the headphones



NBA's Detroit Pistons set to host 3rd Pistons Care Telethon

The Detroit Pistons plan to continue their tradition of giving back to their community by hosting a day-long telethon on TV, radio, and at the Palace of Auburn Hills on March 2nd. The press release:

The Detroit Pistons have announced that the 2010 Pistons Care Telethon benefiting Food Bank Council of Michigan will take place on Tuesday, Mar. 2. The team is devoting the entire day leading up to the Pistons' game against the Boston Celtics, including their in-arena presentation and game broadcasts, to raise money for FBCM. The telethon begins at 6 a.m. with live radio and television broadcasts at The Palace and runs throughout the day, culminating with Pistons-Celtics game at 7:30 p.m., broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit and 97.1 The Ticket.

As Michigan families struggle to weather the state's troubled economy, the demand on community food banks is higher than ever. This year's telethon benefiting FBCM will dedicate all proceeds to feed Michigan residents in critical need throughout the state. The FBCM also supports Michigan farmers by working with them to provide fresh produce to those in need. The team and entire Palace Sports & Entertainment organization is asking for the support of the Pistons community.

"The Food Bank Council of Michigan has the ability to stretch minimal donations into maximum efforts," said PS&E President and CEO Tom Wilson. "Just $10 feeds a family for a week; $100 provides a student a backpack that can be refilled throughout the school year and $200 feeds a senior for an entire year. We have the opportunity this year to do something great for our friends and neighbors right here in Michigan."

Donations can be made immediately by clicking here. Online donations will be accepted until March 2. Donors interested in participating on the day of the telethon will be provided a toll free number to call throughout the day. To learn about other fund-raising programs that allow individuals, businesses, schools or churches to get involved, please call the Pistons community relations department at 248-377-0100.

The FBCM provides statewide leadership to food banks in their efforts to alleviate hunger through the distribution of surplus food to those in need. FBCM gathers food and funds to help stock Michigan's food banks. The food is then distributed throughout the statewide food bank network. Millions of pounds of this food are surplus vegetables, fruits and other grocery items that, for one reason or another, cannot be sold. For more information, please visit

"It is always heartwarming to see a community come together to help one another," said Jane Marshall, executive director of the FBCM. "Michigan food banks are stretched beyond the limit and cannot keep food on their shelves to keep up with the increased demand. The financial disaster of Michigan is taking a toll on Michigan families, so we hope those who can donate help in some way."

In 2008, the Pistons became the first professional sports team in Detroit and in the NBA to present an entire home game as a charitable fundraiser. The 2009 Pistons Care Telethon benefiting Feed The Children raised more than $450,000 in pledges and helped to provide food and personal care items to 25,000 families across Michigan.


Movin' on Sunday



Two veteran Detroit-area radio personalities announced plans to move on from their current gigs on Facebook this morning:

Lisa Jesswein, morning show co-host at pop WDVD-FM 96.3 posted on her Facebook account the following-

I invite you to take joy in all that is new in your life. I have decided to leave the morning show on 96.3 WDVD to forge a new path. I am so very grateful to all who have followed me over the years, those who met me at WDVD and those who will continue to watch my progress. Where will I end up? Hmmm...stay tuned! :-)



Weekender Steve Black of rock WRIF-FM was less mysterious about his destination on his posting-

Time to announce my new job. Starting tomorrow I'm the Program Director at 103.9 The Fox in Flint. I will be on the air weekdays starting Wednesday. I will be finishing up my WRIF duties over the next couple of weeks. I'm excited to be going back to my hometown! I can't thank Doug Podell and Mark Pennington enough. They have taught me well. I'll have a new Fox FB page up on Monday. please friend us when you can.

Black grew up in Flushing and has been on Detroit radio for nearly 20 years at six different stations including WRIF. The Fox 103.9 is Cumulus Broadcasting's classic rock WRSR-FM Owosso/Flint.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 16, 2010


JIM MARIK (A.K.A. J-R NELSON) passed away in his sleep this afternoon after a three-year battle with cancer. J-R is probably best known for being part of the original Z100/NYC morning show with SCOTT SHANNON. He also ran his own voiceover service for years and most recently, worked at CBS RADIO/DETROIT... J-R Nelson Succumbs To Cancer (Tue, 2/16)



Fox Sports Net/Detroit updates Pistons schedule

During the course of the season, FOX Sports Detroit picked up two Detroit Pistons games that were originally scheduled to be nationally televised on ESPN - Dec. 9 vs. Philadelphia and March 21 at Cleveland. In exchange, two games have been removed from the local TV schedule - Feb. 27 at Golden State and March 13 at Atlanta. These games will not be available for local viewers.

The Pistons' schedule with TV availability can be viewed at

last updated 8:36 p.m.


column written by Art Vuolo, Jr.

Frankly I'm getting tired of losing so many friends in radio. It's is one of the worst parts about getting older. James R. Marik, best known to radio people, as J. R. Nelson, was not a close friend, but we've known each other since first meeting in 1983 at this new station in the swampy Meadowlands of New Jersey. It was a Newark station called WVNJ at 100.3 FM, that had just undergone a complete makeover by Scott Shannon. It was now WHTZ Newark, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut's Hot Rockin', Flame-throwin' Z-100! I was there on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1983, less than four months after the station signed on back on August 2nd. I even brought the legendary Joey Reynolds (now at WOR NYC) who Scott Shannon allowed to audition (on the air) for a job. It made for a great, and now priceless video. J. R. Nelson was part of that original staff. The video of him and Ross Brittain and Jonathan Bell (who's still at Z-100) all singing "Shout" by the Isley Brothers is still vivid in my mind.

J. R. Nelson died yesterday, February 16th from, what his partner Sue Peters felt was a heart attack. The Oak Harbor, OH native was only 60, and would have been 61 next month. He was going to lay down for a nap and fell on the bed. He had also been battling from bladder cancer. In recent years J. R. has been in Detroit as Director of Imaging and Creative Services at country WYCD-FM (99.5) and later at classic hits WOMC-FM (104.3) both owned by CBS Radio. He and Sue shared a home in Rochester Hills, in suburban Detroit.

J. R. Nelson had one of the best sets of pipes in the business. A distinctive voice that was immediately recognizable. He...and it, will surely be missed. I know that I will certainly be sending a DVD of that November 1983 video to Sue Peters. It may make her cry, but I know it will also make her smile.

Rest in peace were among the best.


Art Vuolo Jr.

Reach Art Vuolo at or visit his web site at


Is That My Truck?



Guest column by Bill Kalmar, former Director of the Michigan Quality Council

Country singers have a way of expressing their thoughts and views unlike any other artists. How else can we account for songs such as, I Guess I Had Your Leavin' Coming, or I Bought The Shoes That Just Walked Out On Me, or how about, If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me. Rhett Akins had a hit a couple of years ago with a ditty titled, That Ain't My Truck. Here's a verse: "That ain't my shadow on her wall, Lord this don't look good at all, Cuz that's my girl -- my whole world... But that ain't my truck".

And while on the subject of trucks, every day thousands of our fellow citizens look for the distinctive red and white Salvation Army Bed and Bread trucks that traverse through the various neighborhoods of our community. These are people who through no fault of their own have become disenfranchised. Imagine, if you can, being hungry and homeless - especially during this coldest time of the year! It's a heartbreaking thought but unfortunately for many in our community it's a way of life.

Fortunately, the Bed and Bread trucks of The Salvation Army have become a lifeline for the underprivileged. Each day The Salvation Army Bed and Bread trucks serve nearly 5,000 meals on the streets of Detroit. In some cases, the cup of soup, sandwich, and perhaps a cookie, is the only sustenance some of our fellow citizens will receive for the entire day. And no matter the weather, the Bed and Bread trucks are there to provide what is a life saving meal for too many.

PurtanMost of us in the area have never seen the trucks and that is a good sign. It means that we are in the warm confines of our homes, gainfully employed, and have never experienced the trauma of life on the streets. Not seeing The Salvation Army Trucks means that our lives have not been impacted by the strains of unemployment or some tragedy not of our making. As such, I think it is incumbent upon us to assist those people who look for and see the Bed and Bread trucks everyday!

The country song may state that "it's not my truck", but I truly believe that the Salvation Army trucks belong to everyone in the community who want to assist those less fortunate. The Salvation Army trucks make no distinction to race, color or creed because the trucks provide nourishment to everyone! And, believe it or not, there are in fact people who have had the trucks in their lives and as a result of the assistance from The Salvation Army are now back on their feet and are contributing to the Bed and Bread campaign themselves.

How can we be a part of this tremendous movement? On Friday, February 26th from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Dick Purtan of 104.3 WOMC will be hosting his 23nd Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon live from the Oakland Mall to raise money for the Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Club. To support this very worthwhile endeavor, you can become a member of The Bed and Bread Club by contributing just $120 (or just $10 a month), which will help feed one person in Detroit for a year. Or, for $240 (or $20 per month) you can help feed two people. And for that $240 donation you will receive a commemorative collectible plate signed by Dick Purtan.

Of course no donation will be refused and all are certainly welcome! Dick Purtan has been conducting this Radiothon for 22 years and because of his commitment and the generosity of the community, nearly $22 million has been raised for The Salvation Army's Bed And Bread Club. Last year's campaign raised more than $2.2 million!

If you have never seen the Bed and Bread trucks, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. However, we need the trucks to keep running for those less fortunate. And yes, I know that there are many worthwhile charities that need our support. But the Salvation Army campaign strikes at the very heart of our own community, so won't you somehow find it in your heart to contribute to The Bed and Bread Club? Just call (248) 307-1043 between now and February 26 and make your donation so that those who rely on the trucks will continue to see them everyday. Don't be the person in the song, If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me. Dick Purtan and his team are waiting for your call! Make their phones ring!

And if you happen to pass one of the trucks on the road, give a wave knowing that your contribution is helping to provide a lifeline to many of our community's neediest citizens. And contrary to the country song, that truck belongs to all of us! I'll be doing my part - won't you join in too!


For more information on the 23rd Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon visit

Online donations are also being accepted right now! Click to make your secure donation.

Be sure to become a fan of the Radiothon on Facebook: Dick Purtan Radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army's Bed & Bread Club page


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 18, 2010



Detroit Free Press:

CNN's Soledad O'Brien will lead a panel discussion at Ford Motor's 29th annual Black History Month Celebration on Friday. O'Brien will moderate a program titled "Voices of Communication: Shaping the Story of Black America." Also participating: syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, Essence magazine's Angela Burt-Murray, TV One's Jonathan Rodgers and filmmaker David Wilson. WDIV-TV (Channel 4) anchor Rhonda Walker and state Sen. Martha Scott, D-Highland Park, will be honored for their community work at the event, which is open to the public... Ford Motor to salute Black History (Wed, 2/17)



Detroit News:

Jerry Hodak , the chief meteorologist for WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), and his former colleague, retired anchorman Bill Bonds, are being inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, broadcasters, educators and others who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Hodak and Bonds are part of the group's 25th anniversary class... Jerry Hodak, Bill Bonds to enter journalism Hall (Thu, 2/18)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 20, 2010



New York Times:

It was an instinctual move, honed through years of watching the Olympics on television. Tom August, a resident of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., changed channels to see what was on CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It's an option available to many American border cities like Detroit, Buffalo and Seattle, and a secret escape for Americans who do not want to watch NBC. But as August soon realized, that option was not available for the Vancouver Games. CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, won the rights to broadcast the Vancouver Games, and August's cable company does not carry it... Canadian TV Switch Displeases Americans (Sat, 2/20)



Detroit Free Press:

Paul Carey, who was Ernie Harwell's partner on Tigers broadcasts for 19 seasons, said it's "heartrending" to see Harwell deal with his terminal cancer. "He's the most gentle, the most tolerant, most patient man I've ever known," Carey said Friday morning at the Tigers' spring training camp. "He's just one of a kind. There will never be another Ernie." Carey said he has been talking to Harwell about once a week. Their most recent conversation was Monday... Ernie Harwell's ordeal saddens Paul Carey (Sat, 2/20)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 21, 2010



Detroit Free Press:

"Mojo in the Morning" is celebrating its 10th anniversary on WKQI-FM (95.5) this week. It's been a decade of jokes, phone scams, celebrity dirt and engaging interviews from the team that includes Mojo, Spike and homegrown cohost Shannon Murphy. The show, a consistent top 5 performer in the morning ratings race, might be best known for good times, but leader Mojo says the most gratifying thing about his involvement is its connection to the community. "Success was always the plan, but the coolest thing is interacting and working with our listeners through Time Team Detroit," Mojo said of the organization established to coordinate volunteer efforts and mobilize the show's listeners... Mojo's morning crew reaches a milestone (Sun, 2/21)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 22, 2010



Detroit's Downtown Hoedown sets 2010 dates

The 28th annual Downtown Hoedown has been set for May 14th - 16th and will once again be sponsored by country WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit. The artist lineup will be revealed starting on March 12th. For details on what's been billed as the USA's largest free country music festival, visit



Crain's Detroit Business:

When yawning and bleary-eyed metro Detroiters begin their day on March 29, absent from their car radios for the first time in 45 years will be the voice of Dick Purtan. Known for his humor, charity work and trademark mustache, Purtan announced on Feb. 11 that he's retiring next month from oldies station WOMC-FM 104.3, ending a career that began more than 50 years ago. That includes on-air stints at different Detroit stations since 1965. Widely considered a pioneer of the modern morning radio format of comedy bits, chatter and music, and the recipient of nearly every imaginable award in the business, Purtan exits the industry at a time of immense change. Some of that change has been pressure from radio station managers and owners to talk and laugh less on air, and play more music instead... Dick Purtan leaves a changing industry (Sun, 2/21)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 23, 2010


WCBNThe Federal Communications Commission recently granted WCBN-FM -- the University of Michigan's nearly 40-year-old, not-for-profit, student-run radio station -- the opportunity increase its power from 200 watts to 3,000 watts. But in order to take advantage of this, WCBN must purchase a new transmitter and antenna (the station has received quotes in the range of $20,000-$80,000 for each, plus the cost of installation), and the FCC has provided WCBN with a window of 3 years to make the change. To this end, WCBN is now seeking listener testimonials, which will be used to petition for support from the university and other student organization umbrella groups... U-M's student radio station, WCBN, seeks listener testimonials for funding petitions (Tue, 2/23)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 25, 2010



Detroit News:

The 23rd Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army kicks off Friday at Oakland Mall. Because Purtan announced his retirement from radio earlier this month, all are hoping for a blowout, with more donations than usual. Over the years, the radiothon has raised more than $22 million for the Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Club, which feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless in Detroit. "It's such an important program, so many people are fed off of it," Purtan told The News in an interview earlier this month. "It feeds, oh gosh, nearly 5,000 people a day, 365 days a year. It shelters 570 people (men, women and children) 365 days a year." Purtan's last day on the air on WOMC-FM (104.3) will be March 26. The radiothon will continue after that, but Purtan's involvement going forward is still being worked out... Purtan kicks off radiothon Friday (Thu, 2/25)



Detroit Free Press:

The 23rd Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon being held Friday to benefit the Salvation Army, will be the last for the WOMC-FM (104.3) radio personality before his retirement in March. The radiothon, which is being held in Troy at the Oakland Mall Center Court between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., has raised nearly $22 million for The Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Program since its' launch in 1988... Purtan to host his last radiothon Friday (Thu, 2/25)



WDIV hires Gary Macko as new GSM

WDIV-TV Ch. 4 has announced the hiring of Gary Macko as General Sales Manager of WDIV Local 4, the flagship station of Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc. Macko, a veteran television general sales manager for over ten years at stations in New York and Tennessee, will assume the role in mid-March.

"We're thrilled to have Gary join the Local 4 team. He's just the right guy to take on this critical role," said Marla Drutz, WDIV Vice President and General Manager. "Gary's years of experience in the industry and enthusiastic leadership of our sales team will be a great benefit for all of our clients looking to create effective and innovative campaigns on-air and online."

Prior to joining WDIV, Macko served as general sales manager at WMC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee, since 2001. Before that, Macko held the role of general sales manager at WKBW, the ABC affiliate in Buffalo, New York, and WTVH, the CBS affiliate in Syracuse, New York, where he had been promoted from the position of local sales manager.

Macko will oversee sales efforts for WDIV-TV's programming including Local 4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. and Local 4 News at 11 p.m. (the number one-rated newscast in Michigan and top NBC affiliate local newscast) and signature events including exclusive television coverage of the International Freedom Festival Fireworks, America's Thanksgiving Parade, and the Olympics.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 26, 2010



Detroit Free Press:

It's just a little bit after 10 a.m. and more than $580,000 has been raised at Dick Purtan's annual radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army. The scene at Oakland Mall today is filling up quickly with fans and longtime friends who share a sense of community with Purtan, who announced two weeks ago that he will retire his "Purtan's People" morning show March 26, the final bow of a nearly 45-year Motor City broadcasting career... Dick Purtan radiothon raises thousands (Fri, 2/26)


It will likely be an emotional scene today as Dick Purtan hosts his final radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army. "For me, this is the culmination of these past 23 years of work," Purtan told the Free Press of the Dick Purtan Radiothon, which has raised nearly $22 million for metro Detroit's homeless and hungry people. Purtan announced two weeks ago that he will retire his "Purtan's People" morning show March 26, the final bow of a nearly 45-year Motor City broadcasting career. The news of his retirement is sure to put an even brighter spotlight on his biggest annual event... Broadcasting legend Purtan to host final radiothon today (Fri, 2/26)


After nearly a decade of busting bad guys, bulldog Channel 7 investigative reporter Steve Wilson is losing his job. But he's not losing his sense of humor. "Isn't it ironic that Kwame Kilpatrick still has his job after I'm losing mine?" he observed wryly this week. "That will teach you a lesson in fairness." In a way, Wilson outlasted the man perceived to be his nemesis. Arriving just before Kilpatrick finished first in the 2001 mayoral primary, Wilson stuck around as chief investigative reporter at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) well after Kilpatrick resigned as mayor, spent 99 days in jail and moved his family to Texas. That's cold comfort in a television market that just a few years ago bristled with investigative reporters. Wilson's imminent departure in what he characterized as a cost-cutting move, coupled with Scott Lewis' sign-off at WJBK-TV (Channel 2) in December and cutbacks in the investigative unit at WDIV-TV (Channel 4), show that one way local stations are dealing with financial pressures is by shrinking the high-impact -- but high-cost -- special project teams... Reporter Steve Wilson losing job at Channel 7 (Fri, 2/26)



Detroit News:

Steve Wilson, the dogged Channel 7 chief investigative reporter known for pursuing ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for alleged misdeeds from Detroit to California, is being ousted, he said Thursday. "It's a business decision made by a corporate owner who is not in this community," Wilson told The Detroit News on Thursday night. He said he was given notice that his contract would not be renewed when it expires next month. Wilson also posted the news on, a popular local Web forum. "Simply put, Channel 7's corporate management in Cincinnati just does not see the value in continuing to invest in me and the work I do here in Detroit," he wrote on the forum. The award-winning reporter, who joined WXYZ in 2001, said he hopes to launch a nonprofit that would house an investigative reporting team producing items for other media outlets... Steve Wilson loses job as TV reporter at Ch. 7 (Fri, 2/26)



A Prairie Home Companion announces special musical guests for Detroit show

Michigan Radio and Olympia Entertainment will present a special live performance of A Prairie Home Companion, this Saturday, February 27. Host Garrison Keillor and special guests will take the stage at Detroit's historic Fox Theater for a live, national broadcast beginning at 5:45 pm.

Saturday's show will feature live performances by special musical guests, including blues and soul legend Bettye LaVette, Detroit singer and songwriter "Sir" Mack Rice, and gospel singers Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele. Host Garrison Keillor will weave local humor into the show and share his signature monologue, "The News From Lake Wobegon," with Detroit audiences, in addition to performing comic skits with the Prairie Home cast.

Bettye LaVette, who has been recording soul music since 1962, is best known for her 2005 album I've Got My Own Hell To Raise and Grammy-nominated 2007 album The Scene of the Crime. She has previously appeared on NPR's All Things Considered as well as Late Night with David Letterman, The Conan O'Brien Show, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

"Sir" Mack Rice has been a nationally prominent songwriter for over 50 years, and lives in the Detroit area. He has written compositions for artists including The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, Johnny Taylor, Rufus Thomas, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Busta Rhymes, and Ike and Tina Turner. Among his best known compositions are "Respect Yourself" and "Mustang Sally," a song he wrote and recorded, that gained even greater popularity after Wilson Pickett covered it in 1966.

A Prairie Home Companion is currently carried coast-to-coast on over 580 public radio stations, with a nationwide audience of over 4 million listeners. The show regularly airs across southern Michigan on Michigan Radio (91.7 FM in Ann Arbor & Detroit, 91.1 FM in Flint, 104.1 FM in West Michigan) Saturdays at 6:00 pm and is repeated Sundays at noon.



Flint Journal:

For the uninitiated, it might be hard to grasp exactly what "A Prairie Home Companion" is, and what makes it so popular. It's a throwback serial radio program, sure, but one that combines live theater, music, comedy and melodrama into an entertainment stew that works unbelievably well... Love 'Prairie Home Companion'? See it live Saturday in Detroit (Fri, 2/26)


A nice scene at Oakland Mall in Troy this evening just past 10 o'clock as Dick Purtan and crew put the wraps on their 23rd successful Radiothon to benefit the Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Club in Southeast Michigan. After the final tally of $2,339,440 was announced, Purtan spent several minutes shaking hands and chatting with the standing-room only crowd that had gathered at the mall for the duration of the 16-hour event.

Although the pledge tally fell about $60,000 short of their all-time record, the amount did surpass the $2.2 million raised in 2009.

Purtan is retiring from WOMC FM 104.3 on March 26th and this was his last Radiothon as host.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Feb. 28, 2010


WEMU (89.1-FM), the public radio station based at Eastern Michigan University, has announced new overnight programming starting Monday. Replacing the syndicated "Jazz with Bob Parlocha" will be a new national show with a broader musical focus called "Undercurrents." It includes jazz but also a variety of other genres. The full press release from WEMU: 89.1, WEMU, Eastern Michigan University's public radio station, will debut a new overnight music service beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, March 1. "Undercurrents," hosted by Peabody Award winner Greg McVicker, comes from RadioCamp LLC and distributed by Native Voice One: The Native American Radio Service, replaces the previous overnight program, the syndicated "Jazz with Bob Parlocha." "Undercurrents" is called "American music with a passport" and lives up to that claim with an intriguing, well-produced, expertly hosted, and very listenable mix of rock, blues, jazz, folk, native, Americana, funk, electronica, reggae, roots, world, dub, and alt country music" said WEMU's program director, Clark Smith... WEMU changing overnight programming with "Undercurrents" (Sun, 2/28)







Home Page | Contact | Station Listings | History | Links

Search | About | Shop | Sitemap | Weather



Twitter Facebook E-mail Feed


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Metro Detroit category from February 2010.

Metro Detroit: January 2010 is the previous archive.

Metro Detroit: March 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.