Vuolo Commentary: March 2010 Archives

No More Joey Showey

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column written by Art Vuolo, Jr.

Art Vuolo Jr.Recently, progressive-talk WDTW (AM 1310) added The Joey Reynolds overnight show 1 am-6 am. WDTW-AM (once the mighty WKNR Keener 13 in the 1960's) is one of a number of AM signals in Detroit (Dearborn technically) which is unknown to most local radio listeners. Joey was one of only a few programs that actually got this 5,000 watt station noticed. Sadly that is now coming to an end.

The radio station where Joey's program originates, WOR-AM (710) in New York City has decided that the bottom line is far more important than the all-night audience who listened in droves to the last overnight radio show that was actually entertaining! They will pull the plug on Joey's show on April 2nd. He did it for just over 14 years. Reynolds, often referred to as a "radio rebel" had 38 jobs prior to joining New York's oldest station, which has been doing talk for 88 years. He is considered to be the father of "shock radio" years before Howard Stern was ever heard from. His style today, however, is 180 degrees from those days. He also did the first simulcast on both radio and TV at KOA-AM (850) in Denver and KOA-TV Channel 4. It was innovative and wildly entertaining. He broke the first hit by the Four Seasons "Sherry" in 1962 while working in Hartford, CT. His opening theme song was a custom creation by Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons as a token of appreciation.

ReynoldsSo, now after nearly a decade and a half, WOR has decided to push fun radio out the door in exchange of George Noory's AM Coast-to-Coast. Interestingly George is a Detroiter, who has spent much of his career in St. Louis. Noory's show centers heavily on the paranormal and extraterrestrial topics. It is also carried on over 500 stations across the country. It was on in New York, opposite Joey's show, on WJR's sister station WABC-AM (770). Joey did very well. It was a national show that was VERY entertaining and very New York. The studio was often jammed with people even at 2 or 3 in the morning!

When WABC had a new overnight show called "The Red-Eye Radio Show" hosted by former KABC Los Angeles morning host Doug McIntyre, it pushed AM Coast-to-Coast off the powerful Citadel talker. That move sent shock-waves throughout the NYC radio community. Most figured it would only be a matter of time (and of course money) before Noory's show would resurface on another station. Sadly for fans of "fun radio" it was at the expense of losing Joey Reynolds. It's easier and cheaper for stations to plug in a syndicated national show than to do a live and local program. So, once again, the listeners are the losers. Radio keeps drinking the Kool-Aid and wonders why it has a stomach ache.

There should be enough room on the radio dial to do the big nationwide broadcasts AND a local show which, although Joey is nationally syndicated as well, was heavy on New York based stars and entertainment. The theatre-community, in particular, will be upset by this action, since Reynolds featured Broadway cast members, singers, musicians, comics and a plethora of big stars on his show every night. Rarely (if ever) were politics discussed and he very rarely used the phones. His was similar to TV legendary Ed Sullivan Show of the 1950's & 60's.

VuoloIf you spin the AM dial overnight you will hear George Noory, who is a nice man and has a big audience, on literally dozens of stations, but now we won't hear one of the most creative and innovative broadcasters to ever grace the airwaves with the absence of Joey Reynolds. My personal hope is that some savvy radio company picks him up before he even hits the ground, but for now, the last FUN show on radio will broadcast for the final time on Friday April 2nd....and that's no post April Fool's Day joke. Good luck Joey...radio needs you.

 

Reach Art Vuolo at artvuolo@aol.com or visit his web site at vuolovideo.com

 

The date has been set and preparations are being made for what promises to be THE must-attend media event in Detroit for the year 2010! A cast of half a dozen people who organized the last such gathering in 2005 have re-assembled and are planning a LAST BLAST Detroit Radio Reunion for Saturday September 25th. The exact location is being currently decided, but will likely be in the Novi area. The 2005 and 1998 events were at the Hilton (turned Sheraton) Hotel at 8 Mile and Haggerty in Novi.

A number of milestones are occurring this year. Among them are Specs Howard celebrating 40 years of the famous broadcasting school, now with the emphasis on the media arts. Hot and heavy rumors have also been circulating of a possible WSHJ-FM reunion of alumni from the famous Southfield High School station at 88.3. Radio Reunion organizers are hoping that gathering can be slated for Friday night the 24th so WSHJ staffers coming in for the Radio Reunion can attend the both events. In a tight economy, it just makes sense to schedule such gatherings on the same weekend so attendees only have to make one trip instead of two.

Organizers are planning to honor at least 3 people at the Detroit Radio Reunion: Dick Purtan, Specs Howard, and Sonny Eliot. Purtan, for his 45 years of entertaining us at WKNR, WXYZ, CKLW, WCZY/WKQI and WOMC. Howard, for his 40 years of running the famed school that bears his name in Southfield. Finally, Sonny Eliot who (later this year) celebrates his 90th birthday still doing weather on WWJ, which also turns 90 years old in August as the first station on the air in the USA.

The last Detroit radio reunion was held in late September of 2005, and although it drew just over 300, a number of people missed it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was Hurricane Rita headed for the Texas coast. This year we are hoping for good weather and a great chance for hundreds of radio folks to come together one last time for a "group hug." According to our records, since the last get-together we've lost over 22 more of our friends. So, we thought we'd better hurry.

The reunion committee includes; Mike Seltzer, Millie Coffey, Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor, Terry Holmes, Dick Kernen, and Art Vuolo.

If you ever worked in any capacity at any station in southeastern Michigan or surrounding areas, please get in touch with Art Vuolo at artvuolo@aol.com so we can make sure that you're on the roster of those attending.

Since there is never enough time to visit at such affairs, an after-glow birthday party is also being planned by Art for the day after. So things should be hopping Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will be a trifecta weekend for everyone! Please spread the word, via phone, e-mail, regular mail, Facebook, Twitter or smoke signals to anyone you feel should be at this event!

Keep watching DetroitRadioReunion.com for more information!

 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Vuolo Commentary category from March 2010.

Vuolo Commentary: February 2010 is the previous archive.

Vuolo Commentary: April 2010 is the next archive.

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