November 2013 Archives

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 1, 2013

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Saginaw News:

Earlier this year, Art Lewis turned 70. The Great Lakes Bay Region's radio icon also is celebrating 50 years in broadcasting, his Robert H. Albert Lifetime Community Service Award from the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and the release of the 11th "Listen to the Mrs." cookbook, titled "The Art Lewis of Cooking."

Full story: Radio icon Art Lewis to be roasted at The Dow Event Center's 'Uncorked' (Thu, 10/31)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

The price for the previously-announced sale by ARMADA MEDIA - MENOMINEE, INC. of Country WLST (CAT COUNTRY 95.1) and Sports WMAM-A (ESPN 570)/MARINETTE, WI; AC WSFQ (HOTS 96)/PESHTIGO, WI; and Oldies WHYB (HOMETOWN RADIO 103.7 FM) and Talk WAGN-A/MENOMINEE, MI to CHRISTOPHER A. BERNIER's RADIO PLUS BAY CITIES, LLC is $1.9 million, according to the contract filed with the formal paperwork for the deal at the FCC.

Full story: Price For Armada-Radio Plus Wisconsin-Michigan Deal: $1.9 Million (Thu, 10/31)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 2 - 3, 2013

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MLive.com:

WeatherNation TV, Inc., announced its partnership with ABC12 WJRT-TV to broadcast a 24-hour local weather channel for the Flint-Saginaw-Bay City markets starting in early November 2013.

Full story: ABC12 launches new 24-hour weather channel for Flint, Saginaw, Bay City regions (Sat, 11/2)

 


 

Cornerstone University Herald:

Chuck Gaidica, lead meteorologist for WDIV Channel 4 Detroit, is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership through Cornerstone University's online program.

Full story: Detroit television meteorologist attends GRTS (Sat, 11/2)

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

A fake Halloween radio broadcast about a train chemical spill leading to zombie-like behavior fooled some people calling 911 in Grand Traverse County.

Full story: Fake Traverse City radio broadcast on chemical spill, zombies leads to 911 calls (Fri, 11/1)

 


 

Detroit Free Press:

Frank Beckmann was joking, saying that all he hoped was Michigan would score a point Saturday against Michigan State. "I don't know if they will," he said, before wondering aloud in jest to broadcasting partner Jim Brandstatter whether the pair should even bother to show up to Spartan Stadium.

Full story: Michigan radio's Frank Beckmann accepts excellence award for Detroit broadcasting, reflects on rivalry vs. Michigan State (Wed, 10/30)

 


 

Michigan Association of Broadcasters:

The National Radio Hall of Fame will induct WJR-AM (Detroit) talk show host Paul W. Smith as part of its 2013 Induction gala on November 9. Smith will be sharing the stage with other inductees including Steve Dahl and Garry Meier (Chicago), Blair Garner (Nashville), John Lanigan (Cleveland), Eddie "Poilin" Sotelo (Los Angeles), Charle Steiner (Los Angeles) and (posthumously) Powel Crosley, Jr. (Cincinnati and Sarasota-Bradenton, FL).

Full story: Radio Hall of Fame to Honor Paul W. Smith November 9 (Fri, 11/1)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 4, 2013

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Flint Journal / MLive.com:

Workers at WNEM TV 5 picketed outside studios in Flint and Saginaw in hopes of getting back to the bargaining table, according to union officials. Photojournalist Tom Knaub was one of seven people holding up signs outside the WNEM-TV5 office along Saginaw Street in downtown Flint on Monday, Nov. 4.

Full story: WNEM television workers picket downtown Flint studio (Mon, 11/4)

More: WNEM TV-5 employees protest outside Saginaw studio as part of ongoing labor dispute (Mon, 11/4)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

GREATER MEDIA's Classic Rock WCSX/DETROIT invited listeners to join them in an exclusive WCSX Hangout session with TED NUGENT. WCSX afternoon host DOUG PODELL hosted the Internet hangout with several listeners who were able to use virtual time and interact live with NUGENT.

Full story: Ted Nugent To Run For President? (Mon, 11/4)

 

GREATER MEDIA's Active Rock WRIF/DETROIT is doing its part to raise awareness of men's cancer. During the entire month of NOVEMBER, WRIF morning show hosts DAVE and CHUCK "THE FREAK" are growing mustaches to raise awareness of men's cancer and support patient care and research at KARMANOS CANCER INSTITUTE.

Full story: WRIF Presents Movember Mustaches For Cancer (Mon, 11/4)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 6, 2013

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Fine Tuning:

  • Don PhillipsFormer Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit overnight and weekend host Don Phillips passed away earlier today after a long illness. Phillips was also known for his work as a DJ at JR's Bar & Grill (now known as The Emergency Room) in suburban Westland.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 7, 2013

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Fine Tuning:

  • If you guessed November 7 at about 8:30 a.m., then you were correct as to when Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 Detroit would make its annual flip to All-Christmas music. Expect many more holiday season flips across the state in the coming days. WNIC has also apparently scrubbed away the 'Fresh' name from its on-air presentation and is again referring to itself as simply WNIC 100.3.

 


 

WXYZ-TV Ch. 7 Detroit:

The Detroit Pistons and WXYZ have partnered to deliver the team's official television show on a weekly basis to millions of basketball fans across Southeast Michigan and beyond. "State of the Pistons" will debut Sunday, November 10 at 12 p.m. and will regularly air in that timeslot throughout the season, immediately following Ford Lions Report Live, which airs at 11 a.m.

Full story: State of the Pistons debuts on WXYZ Sunday, November 10 (Tue, 11/5)

 


 

Information added/updated periodically throughout the day; Refresh page for the latest version.

 

Vuolo: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

The GOOD: It took a little adjusting of the format back to its adult contemporary roots to prompt Clear Channel to see the light, but today (11-07-13) local Detroit area VP of programming, Tony Travatto flipped the identity of 100.3 FM from "Fresh" back to 100.3 WNIC at the same time the station launched its annual All-Christmas marathon. Changing back to the name that most listeners still used anyhow was a brilliant move! Tony is among the best in this business and it's nice (no pun intended) to see the company let him actually do his job.

VuoloIt was not that long ago that we got together for lunch and I remarked that nobody knows the name "Fresh." Most people think it's a description of Subway sandwiches or the Markets at Meijer. Everyone knows 100.3/WNIC which easily flows off the lips as well. So, my hat is off to Tony and his staff.

 

The BAD: Speaking of cut-throat, I know it's no big secret that the AM talk station that I feel is the best in America is the one also known as "The Nation's Station" and that is 700 WLW from down in Cincinnati. Well the man who set up that format of original and local news and talk programming has been let go. His name is Darryl Parks. Those of you who have driven down I-75 to Florida have perhaps noticed the huge diamond-shaped 900 foot tower off to the east in Mason, OH just north of Cincinnati and tuned in the station known as "The Big One."

For 11 years WLW was programmed by Parks who finally got frustrated by the direction that Clear Channel wanted to take the station that he resigned. Afraid that he might sign up with a competitive company, CC-VP Tom Ownes (originally from Cincy) resurrected a position that had been eliminated to keep Parks on board; VP of News-Talk Stations for all of Clear Channel. That is a job that had previously been held by industry vet Gabe Hobbs at WFLA in Tampa.

Everything was good until, as is the case each year, the holidays are coming and so are the cut-backs at Clear Channel. Someone with a Scrooge-like attitude at the company seems to feel it's best to cut jobs before the year ends and just ahead of the Holiday Season...and that leads us to...

 

The UGLY: Find me a city where an AM station still maintains double-digit ratings. They are very rare and yet 700 WLW is there! Gabe Hobbs, who has a very keen insight on the news-talk format, said "WLW has the best talent in the world (even better than KFI) but they DO need to be managed."

He's right.

KFI in Los Angeles, WIOD in Miami and WTAM in Cleveland are all good CC news-talk stations, but much of their schedule is syndicated fare provided by The Premiere Radio Networks. Premiere is owned by Clear Channel and is an excellent provider of top-notch talent like: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. However, because CC in Cincinnati owns FOUR AM stations, they place the network shows on 55 WKRC, the FOX and ESPN sports on 1530 and 1360, leaving WLW free to boast a schedule of ALL live and local programming.

Industry insiders feel the real reason Parks was cut was (like it always is) money. His job will be rolled into the responsibilities of Executive VP of Talk Programming at Premiere, Carl Anderson and the company reduces its pay-roll. Unfortunately, it also cuts an excellent programmer and terrific talk host from 50,000 watt 700 WLW.

Sad.

My prediction as we near the end of 2013, is that when WJR loses Sean Hannity in exchange for Michael Savage after January 1st, that Clear Channel may very well pick up the popular host and convert AM 1130, now known as The Fan, from sports to news-talk. It would be a smart move. Detroit now has TWO FM sports stations with 97.1 The Ticket and newcomer Sports 105.1. Add to this, WXYT-AM 1270, WCAR AM 1090 in Livonia and WTKA-AM 1050 from Ann Arbor and that's a lot of Jock-Talk!

 

The GREAT: Saturday night in Chicago, WJR morning man Paul W. Smith will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago! I will be there and will report on how it went. Paul, who was J.P. McCarthy's personal choice to succeed him, has done an outstanding job over the past 16 years and is most worthy of this coveted honor on November 9th. Regards, Paul W. Smith, you deserve it all.

Contact Art Vuolo, Jr. via e-mail at artvuolo@aol.com

 

Art Vuolo Jr.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 8, 2013

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Grand Rapids Press:

It's Christmas time again in Grand Rapids, at least on the radio. In West Michigan, Star 105.7 today made the switch to all holiday music, all the time, for the next seven weeks ... The River 100.5 followed suit...

Full story: Christmas music all the time returns to two Grand Rapids area radio stations (Fri, 11/8)

 


 

Detroit Free Press:

J.P. McCarthy spent more than 30 years entertaining Michigan and the region on WJR-AM (760). But he was more than a radio personality. He was a force of nature, who broadcast reports from auto shows around the world, hosted the annual Auto Show Charity Preview in Detroit and interviewed famous Wolverines the day before the fierce, annual University of Michigan's game against Ohio State University.

Full story: Paul W. Smith to be inducted in National Radio Hall of Fame (Fri, 11/8)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

On MONDAY (11/11), the popular game-show LET'S ASK AMERICA will air a new episode featuring four well-known radio personalities in their "BATTLE OF THE DJs," where each DJ will compete for a prize that will benefit a charity of their choice. The contestants participating on the show include ... CBS RADIO Country WYCD/DETROIT afternoon co-host LINDA LEE ...

Full story: Let's Ask America To Air 'Battle Of The DJs' (Fri, 11/8)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 11, 2013

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MLive.com:

A group of radio stations plan to hold a donation drive Tuesday for the burial of three men who died last week when a gunman opened fire on a Detroit barbershop. Four Radio One affiliates, WCHB AM 1200, Praise 102.7, KISS 105.9, and HOT 107.5 will be raising funds for the family of Joezell Williams, 61, of Detroit, Bryan Williams, 29, of Detroit and Kevin Perryman, 40, of Clinton Township.

Full story: Detroit radio stations to raise funds for burial of three men killed in barbershop shootings (Mon, 11/11)

 


 

Windsor Star:

The University of Windsor's radio station wants a more powerful voice. Vernon Smith, station manager for CJAM 99.1 FM, said Monday that the not-for-profit broadcaster hopes to hear over the next several months whether its application to quadruple the power of its signal will be approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. He said the station has already raised almost $50,000 in donations to pay for equipment to spread its signal beyond Windsor and downtown Detroit.

Full story: CJAM radio to seek power increase (Mon, 11/11)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • Cumulus Media Detroit, which includes Pop WDVD-FM 96.3, News/Talk WJR AM 760, and Variety Hits WDRQ-FM 93.1, in partnership with MJR Digital Cinemas will host the 8th annual Canned Film Festival food drive to benefit Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan. Moviegoers on Thursday, November 14th to bring five canned good items to any of the seven participating MJR Digital Cinemas in the Detroit area to receive free admission to any movie, that day only, any time from 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. All canned food donated during the Canned Film Festival will be collected and distributed by Gleaners Food Bank to food providers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston Counties.

    More info at 963wdvd.com or www.mjrtheatres.com" target="_blank">mjrtheatres.com.
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  • Cumulus Media has announced plans to roll out a new national evening show to all 84 of the company's country-formatted radio stations. "Nash Nights Live" will be hosted by Los Angeles based Shawn Parr and launch on January 6th.

    Cumulus' Michigan Country stations include WWWW-FM 102.9 Ann Arbor, WTNR-FM 94.5 Grand Rapids and WLAW-FM 92.5 Newaygo, and WFBE-FM 95.1 Flint.

    Country Lansing (WITL-FM 100.7) is in the process of being acquired from Cumulus by Townsquare Media and the future of that station's on-air lineup is not clear.

 


 

Detroit News:

If all goes as scheduled, tonight I will join "the giants of a medium that has permeated American society for most of the 20th century, and today in the 21st century." Tonight, in Chicago, I will be inducted in to the National Radio Hall of Fame. "The National Radio Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to recognizing those who have contributed to the development of the radio medium throughout its history in the United States."

Full story: Nothing but thanks for a Hall of Fame career (Sat, 11/9)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 12, 2013

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TVSpy.com:

Meteorologist Derek Kevra is joining WJBK in Detroit, a spokesperson for the Fox O&O confirms to TVSpy. Kevra comes from WWL, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans. Kevra, who joined WWL in 2009, is the noon and 5 p.m. meteorologist at the station. With his move to Detroit, he returns to the station where he began his television career as an intern.

Full story: Meteorologist Derek Kevra Set to Join WJBK (Tue, 11/12)

 


 

TVNewsCheck.com:

As they said they would last week in the wake FCC approval, Media General and Young Broadcasting closed on their merger Tuesday. The combination creates a mega-group with 31 stations operating in 28 markets, reaching 16.5 million, or 14%, of U.S. TV households. On the pro forma basis, the merged company had 2012 revenues of $605 million.

Full story: Media General, Young now officially one (Tue, 11/12)

Note: Young Broadcasting was the owner of CBS affiliate WLNS-TV Ch. 6 and ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV Ch. 53 in Lansing Jackson. Young has also been operating MyTV affiliate WHTV-TV Ch. 18 in the market.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 13, 2013

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WSDP/Plymouth 88.1The Park hosting on-air pledge drive

88.1 The Park (WSDP-FM Plymouth-Canton), is hosting the "Thanks for Giving Pledge Drive November 11-16 to provide listeners, alumni, and friends of the station the chance to show their support for student radio that is focused on Plymouth and Canton.

"We're excited to bring the community Plymouth and Canton's Hit Music," said Program Director Dallas Haselhuhn. "But we provide so much more including local news, high school sports, broadcasts from local events, Plymouth Whalers Hockey, and announcements about local non profits."

The station is committed to providing radio powered by students. In addition to serving the community, 88.1 The Park is focused on investing in the lives of young people through broadcast and business training, providing students with a place to connect on a large campus, and by giving students a chance to serve their community.

"If it is preparing somebody for a life's work, they're doing it at WSDP, and I'm a living example of it. Scores of people graduated from WSDP and used that as a launching pad for life," said Dave Snyder, 1983 Plymouth Canton graduate and Anchor for WCJB TV in Gainesville Florida.

During the six-day pledge drive listeners are encouraged to make a pledge of financial support for WSDP. In addition to pledges, credit card donations can be made through 88.1's website (www.881ThePark.com). Look for the DONATE NOW link on the left side of the page. Donors can choose WSDP when they are asked to select a fund.

"We're asking people to invest in 88.1 but in reality their gifts directly touch the community through programming focused on Plymouth and Canton and the impact on student's lives," said James Kuchta, Fundraising Director.

Marybeth Levine of the Detroit Area Diaper Bank has seen that impact. In an email she wrote, "I saw a car pull up late this afternoon and found a Plymouth woman leaving an enormous box (228) of size 2 diapers AND a box of 900 wipes on the porch - she said she'd planned to return them to the store for money, but then she heard the public service announcement on 88.1 and brought them to us instead!"

Throughout the week the station will have special guests stopping in to help the students with the pledge drive. Those guests will include station alums, friends from area non-profit groups, teachers, and listeners.

88.1The Park is owned and operated by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. The station has been on the air since February 14, 1972.

 


 

USA Today:

Political campaigns will spend billions of dollars on television ads in 2014 -- but not in Ohio, Colorado and other states that got flooded during last year's presidential election. Arkansas and Michigan will draw the heaviest barrage of political advertising in the 2014 midterm elections, fueled by lots of competitive House races and statewide elections with vulnerable incumbents, according to an analysis by a broadcasters trade association.

Full story: Arkansas, Michigan to host 2014 political air wars (Wed, 11/13)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • CBS Radio/Detroit Top 40 WDZH-FM 98.7 will be helping collect food to fill Mayflower moving vans at four locations in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties for four days starting tomorrow. Donations will help stock Gleaners Community Food Bank just ahead of Thanksgiving. Amp Radio (WDZH) will be offer up live broadcasts throughout the weekend to help drive donations. Details at 987ampradio.cbslocal.com.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 14, 2013

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Fine Tuning:

  • Josh Garber is exiting as morning co-host at MacDonald-Garber's Top 40 WKHQ-FM 105.9 Charlevoix/Traverse City to take on afternoons at Townsquare Media's Top 40 WLHT-FM 95.7 Grand Rapids later this month. Garber will also take on the role of Assistant Program Director at both Channel 95-7 and sister station Adult Contemporary WTRV-FM 100.5.

 


 

AllAccess.com:

CBS RADIO in DETROIT recently completed construction of a state-of-the-art performance studio. To celebrate the occasion, Top 40 WDZH (98.7 AMP RADIO) and sister Country WYCD (99.5 WYCD) joined their hugely successful 'Switch Party' and 'Studio 995' series to present superstar HUNTER HAYES. The intimate event that gave fans an up-close-and-personal experience with an amazing artist.

Full story: CBS/Detroit Unveils New Performance Studio; First Performer: Hunter Hayes (Thu, 11/14)

 


 

DetroitLions.com:

The Lions aren't scoring points only on the playing field or limiting their impact to the NFC North standings. Their games are scoring big numbers in the Metro Detroit television ratings. And like their performances of late, they're gaining momentum. Whether it is the offense engineering a game-winning drive or the defense coming through with a clinching stop, ratings are peaking late in games.

Full story: Winning Lions are also scoring big in Metro Detroit television ratings (Tue, 11/12)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 15, 2013

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Detroit News:

With all the media hand-wringing over WDIV Local 4 reporter Lauren Podell'saccidental F-bomb dropped on the air Wednesday morning up at the Lapeer fire, we surely thought the world would come to an end ...

Full story: Society Confidential: Media news and notes (Fri, 11/15)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • Dick Purtan, legendary former Detroit radio personality will tell his story of surviving prostate cancer as part of the latest episode of the public television series "The Embrace of Aging: The Male Perspective of Growing Old" on Sunday November 17, 2013 at 6:30pm on Detroit Public Television, WTVS-TV Channel 56.

    The series is produced and directed by local Emmy winner Keith Famie.

    This episode also includes a gathering of a group of men hosted by well-known New York restaurateur Drew Nieporent and actor Steve Schirripa (from the HBO series "The Sopranos"), where they talk openly about their prostate issues. Dr. Kenneth Pienta, Professor of Internal Medicine and Urology/American Cancer Society at the University of Michigan, talks about urology and men's issues. He explains the importance of prostate exams. The episode follows the story of one his patients who is battling late stage prostate cancer. He is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran whose prostate cancer is due to exposure to Agent Orange while serving in the jungles of Vietnam.

 


 

Detroit Free Press:

Fox Sports Detroit today announced the addition of former Detroit Pistons player Jerry Stackhouse as a studio analyst for select "Pistons Live" shows this season. Stackhouse averaged almost 17 points per game during his 18-year NBA career, including 1997-2002 with the Pistons.

Full story: Jerry Stackhouse joins FSD as Detroit Pistons analyst (Fri, 11/15)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

The deals by which CUMULUS MEDIA spun off stations in 12 markets to TOWNSQUARE MEDIA and PEAK sold its BOISE and FRESNO clusters to TOWNSQUARE, then CUMULUS acquired the FRESNO cluster for 15 stations in DUBUQUE and POUGHKEEPSIE, has closed. The deal sent 53 stations in the BATTLE CREEK, MI; CEDAR RAPIDS, IA; DANBURY, CT; FARIBAULT-OWATONNA, MN; KALAMAZOO, MI; LANSING, MI; PORTLAND, ME; PORTSMOUTH-DOVER-ROCHESTER, NH; QUAD CITIES, IA-IL; ROCHESTER, MN; ROCKFORD, IL; and WATERLOO, IA markets to TOWNSQUARE as well as the DUBUQUE, POUGHKEEPSIE, and BOISE stations has closed, according to paperwork filed with the FCC.

Full story: Cumulus-Townsquare-Peak Deal Closes (Fri, 11/15)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 16 - 17, 2013

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Saginaw News:

NextMedia Group Inc., which owns radio stations including Mix 106.3 and country music station 94.5 The Moose, has reached an agreement to sell its 33 radio stations to newly-formed Digity LLC, company officials report.

Full story: 5 Saginaw radio stations, including The Moose and WSGW, part of NextMedia's sale of 33 stations (Sat, 11/16)

 

Vuolo: Big Al & Ed Kelly sub for Mitch

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Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

While Mitch Albom is on a heavy schedule of promoting his new book "The First Call From Heaven," listeners are in for a treat once again as Big Al and Ed Kelly sit in for the author/talk host. Big Al Muskovito, as he was called for many years on the Dick Purtan Show at WOMC, is wildly entertaining and very funny. When you add in the multi-voiced Ed Kelly it gets even better. Then toss in Kevin O'Neill on traffic and STOP THE MUSIC! Oh, that's right there is no music on WJR. It's a talk show for God's sake!

A few weeks ago when Kevin and Big Al (who's not as big as he once was...weight-wise) did a show together, I phoned WJR program director Kevin Metheny and told him to sign these two guys to a long-term contract immediately. It was, hands-down, the most entertaining radio I have heard on the 760 AM frequency in a very long time.

What a joy it is to listen to a program where I hear nothing about Obama-Care or democrats versus republicans and hatred being spewed all over the giant 50,000 watts of the Great Voice of the Great Lakes. If you read this in time, Big Al & Ed plus Kevin will be available on WJR-AM 5 pm till 7 pm Monday and Tuesday November 18th and 19th. DO NOT MISS IT!

Contact Art Vuolo, Jr. via e-mail at artvuolo@aol.com

 

Art Vuolo Jr.

 

Written by Art Vuolo, Jr.

Just last Thursday I was honored to join a table-full of iconic Ann Arbor area sports broadcasters for their weekly lunch at Banfield's Sports Bar on the east side of town. It was good to see Tom Johnston, who I've known since the late 1960's. He was a true sports innovator. I had no idea it would be the last time that I would see Tom. Another longtime friend and chronicler of media in Washtenaw County, Dale R. Leslie, was also at that lunch and provided the following account of Tom Johnston's amazing career:

"Tom Johnston was an Ann Arbor Hometown Boy who grew to earn utmost respect in the collegiate and professional sports world and was paid to do what he loved best- Broadcast Sports. Johnston passed away on Saturday, November 16, 2013 in his residence in Ann Arbor. Memorial Services are slated for mid-December."

Tom Johnston Tom, pictured at right, was an innovator over the course of his career with WAAM AM 1600 Ann Arbor and WKBD-TV Channel 50, one of the nation's first all-sports channels. He encouraged the novelty of a tape delay broadcast when the station's schedule became full. With the blessing of University of Michigan Athletic Director Fritz Crisler in the 1960s, he initiated the Coaches Corner show on WAAM that was broadcast during the U-M football, hockey and basketball seasons and was built around the format of a public luncheon. The current U-M Monday noon public meetings with coaches are not broadcast but evolved from Johnston's Coaches Corner.

Tom Johnston was a charter member of Kaiser Broadcasting's WKBD-TV, Channel 50 in Detroit which was a forerunner of today's ESPN when WKBD launched with all-sports format in 1965. Johnston brought television cameras into the dusty, high corners of Big Ten field houses and did play-by-play of Michigan's Cazzie Russell-era exciting basketball teams. I remember seeing Johnston- sitting on a stool, smoking a cigar, alone in a Channel 50 studio- and delivering a detailed sportscast without a stitch of notes.

But his lasting legacy is in the hearts of those he trained and gave a chance to begin a broadcasting career. As a middle-school student, I was his shadow at WAAM radio. "Can you type?" he asked. When I said I could he gave me a story to rewrite. What faith! What a thrill! I can see him rushing down the hall to the broadcast studio completely encased with wire sports copy and smoking a big cigar. He would deliver a polished broadcast and no listener could guess that much of what he was reading was for the first time.

A consummate professional sports broadcaster- that was Tom Johnston. Arrangements are being made through Muehlig Funeral Chapel in Ann Arbor.

Contact Art Vuolo, Jr. via e-mail at artvuolo@aol.com

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 21, 2013

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Oakland Press:

Rochester Hills-based Avon Players is proud to present Marty Bufalini's "It's a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play," opening Friday, Nov. 29. The play, an adaptation of Frank Capra's beloved holiday classic, is set in a 1940s radio studio with actors playing the many parts and performing the radio sound effects of the timeless story of George Bailey learning what life would be like if he had never been born. Bufalini, an on-air personality on WWJ-AM950, is the director of the show and also performs several of the key voices, including that of Mr. Potter.

Full story: Radio personality and original Lone Ranger cast member perform 'It's a Wonderful Life' at Rochester Hills theatre (Thu, 11/21)

 


 

Oakland Press:

Rochester Hills-based Avon Players is proud to present Marty Bufalini's "It's a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play," opening Friday, Nov. 29. The play, an adaptation of Frank Capra's beloved holiday classic, is set in a 1940s radio studio with actors playing the many parts and performing the radio sound effects of the timeless story of George Bailey learning what life would be like if he had never been born. Bufalini, an on-air personality on WWJ-AM950, is the director of the show and also performs several of the key voices, including that of Mr. Potter.

Full story: Radio personality and original Lone Ranger cast member perform 'It's a Wonderful Life' at Rochester Hills theatre (Thu, 11/21)

 


 

RadioInk.com:

Whether or not this makes good radio remains to be seen, however, it's importance is unquestioned. 97.1 The Ticket's morning hosts Stoney and Bill will be getting a prostate exam in the studio, while on the air.

Full story: Detroit jocks getting live prostate exams (Thu, 11/21)

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

Kevin Matthews, a Grand Rapids radio icon who spent many years in Chicago, is returning to the airwaves of the Windy City, virtually speaking.

Full story: Grand Rapids DJ Kevin Matthews set to be voice of WGN online (Thu, 11/21)

 


 

Flint Journal:

A former Flint DJ and Michigan history author is promoting a documentary that looks back on a tragic event in Michigan -- one he says most Michiganders don't know about, but should, especially in Flint.

Full story: Former Flint DJ promotes documentary showcasing centennial of tragic Michigan event (Mon, 11/18)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • Cumulus Media Detroit's Hot Adult Contemporary WDVD-FM 96.3, News/Talk WJR AM 760, and Variety Hits WDRQ-FM 93.1, in partnership with MJR Digital Cinemas and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, are thanking listeners that contributed to make this year's Canned Film Festival an overwhelming success. Due to the generosity of thousands of metro Detroiters, 46,488 pounds of non-perishable food items have been donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank to help feed the hungry of southeast Michigan; a 7% increase over last year's total.

    In addition, Kroger had issued a challenge to the public that for every Kroger brand canned good donated, Kroger would donate $1 up to $5,000 - a goal that was exceeded that goal by almost 2,000 cans.

    All canned food donated during the Canned Film Festival will be distributed by Gleaners Community Food Bank to food providers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston Counties.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 25, 2013

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Fine Tuning:

  • The recent Low Power FM application window with the FCC finds 46 attempts to land a new LPFM across Michigan from Addison to Wyoming.

    Some of the highlights include three applications in Detroit, all on frequencies (95.9, 96.7, 102.3) currently in use by radio stations in southwestern Ontario that are easily received in Detroit.

    In Grand Rapids, there are three organizations attempting to use 97.3 - and in Flint, there were four applications for 96.7.

    Take a quick look at all 46 applications here (.pdf), or straight from the FCC here.
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  • The Great Lakes Bay Area is fully celebrating the Christmas spirit, at least on the radio, with Classic Hits WHNN-FM 96.1 Bay City flipping late last week, joining WSAG-FM 104.1 Linwood / WSAM AM 1400 Saginaw.
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  • Named: Jim Brandstatter, longtime commentator for Detroit Lions and University of Michigan football, to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

    Other 2014 inductees will include Nicklas Lidstrom, retired Detroit Wings defenseman, Jason Hanson, retired Detroit Lions placekicker, John Smoltz, retired Atlanta Braves pitcher, Percy Snow, former Michigan State All-American, Dorne Dibble, former Michigan State All-American, Tom Mach, Detroit Catholic Central football coach, and Alexi Lalas, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook and World Cup soccer player.

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

WWMT Newschannel 3 will welcome a new morning anchor to its news team in January. Kirk Mason, of WSBT-TV in South Bend, Indiana, moves to the Battle Creek-Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo TV market, the 39th largest in the United States, to serve as morning and noon anchor at the station headquartered in Kalamazoo.

Full story: WWMT Newschannel 3's new morning anchor is coming from South Bend (Mon, 11/25)

 


 

Detroit Free Press:

Sure, Charlie LeDuff is a Motor City maniac. But GQ's uncontested Mad Man of the Year? That's the fact, Jack. National taste-maker magazine GQ has bestowed the title on LeDuff and it says it made the choice based on a string of stories LeDuff has done for local Fox affiliate WJBK-TV (Channel 2)

Full story: Charlie LeDuff wins GQ's Mad Man of the Year title (Mon, 11/25)

 


 

Cornerstone University Herald:

WaYfm will cease to exist on Nov. 29. Chris Lemke, executive director of CURadio, has seen significant growth in both WCSG and Mission Network News in the last few months, but WaYfm listener numbers have stagnated. WaYfm services over 35,000 listeners in West Michigan, while WCSG sits around 150,000.

Full story: CU radio stations set to merge (Sun, 11/24)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 26, 2013

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Broadcasting & Cable:

Sinclair Broadcast Group has closed on its $370 million acquisition of Barrington Broadcasting. The 24 stations, including WEYI Flint-Saginaw and WNWO Toledo, are located in 15 markets and reach 3.4% of the U.S. TV households. The acquisition was funded through cash on hand ... In addition, the license assets of WBSF Flint and WGTU-WGTQ Traverse City-Cadillac were purchased by Cunningham, while the license assets of WEYI Flint and WWMB Myrtle Beach were purchase by Howard Stirk Holdings. Sinclair will provide services to the stations.

Full story: Sinclair Closes on $370 Million Barrington Deal (Mon, 11/25)

 


 

Detroit News:

As the Islanders carried the puck through center ice, a forward rifled it into the Red Wings' end behind Jonas Gustavsson. A sharp rebound off the end boards in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum created a scoring chance. "Yeah, you're going to get about the same bounce off the boards here as you do at Joe Louis," said Chris Osgood, on the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast.

Full story: Ex-Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood smooth in booth, too (Tue, 11/26)

 


 

Ann Arbor News:

Thanksgiving weekend just wouldn't be complete - at least musically - without Matt Watroba's annual fall folk show at The Ark, where he performs on Friday night.

Full story: No turkey: Matt Watroba's annual Thanksgiving weekend show marks 25 years at The Ark Friday (Tue, 11/26)

 

It may come as a surprise to some, but Jews have a proud history of loving, parodying, and even writing Christmas carols. In nearly every community across the country, there is at least one radio station that indulges my -- and the general public's -- love for the holiday songs.

Full story: Carolers rejoice: Christmas songs hit the airwaves earlier than ever at WNIC in Detroit (Tue, 11/26)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • Matt Hendricks exits as midday host from Townsquare Media's Classic Hits WFGR-FM 98.7 Grand Rapids.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 27, 2013

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Flippin' for St. Nick at WOMC/Detroit

Detroit has a new entry in the All-Christmas on the radio marathon with CBS Radio's Classic Hits WOMC-FM 104.3 flip to all holiday tunes this morning at 7:00 a.m. The station, ID'ing itself as "Detroit's Christmas Hits" is for the first time taking on the all-holiday sound for the month leading to Christmas and will be playing the usual traditional holiday favorites and also feature eclectic Motown covers.

WOMC program director Tim Roberts commented, "We have an awesome playlist of all Christmas classics, and offer a different holiday experience to our listeners. WOMC will play a huge variety of Christmas music, with favorite Christmas classics from everyone like Elton John, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks with Motown covers and all time classics. We have a lot of festive holiday events planned for our listeners as well!"

The change at 104.3 gives Detroit its second all-Christmas station, as has been the case for the past several years. Clear Channel's heritage Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 has been making the switch for years, but lost an in-format and all-Christmas competitor with this autumn's change from soft rock to Sports at Greater Media's WMGC-FM 105.1 - the other Detroit station that had been making the holiday flip in years past.

For it's part, WOMC is going all-in on the Christmas theme and will roll out a new float during tomorrow's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Morning show hosts Bobby Mitchell and Stacey DuFord will share in the Christmas spirit from float, which of course feature a Christmas theme. The station will also be hosting numerous community-based activities and events for families throughout the entire holiday season.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 29, 2013

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WNEM-TV Ch. 5 Bay City/Saginaw:

TV5 is deeply saddened to report the passing of a member of our family. A family member has confirmed that former TV5 Reporter-Anchor Brian Wood died on Thanksgiving Day. He collapsed at his home and was rushed to Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw where he died. Brian recently retired after 27 years of service to TV5 News and the Mid-Michigan community.

Full story: Veteran TV5 reporter Brian Wood dies (Thu, 11/28)

 


 

Ann Arbor News:

Only time will tell how much Frank Beckmann will miss doing the only thing he grew up wanting to do. For 33 seasons, Beckmann has been the radio voice of University of Michigan Football. But Saturday, when the Wolverines take on Ohio State in Michigan Stadium, will be his last time in that role.

Full story: Frank Beckmann contemplates last game as radio voice of Michigan Football (Fri, 11/29)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • All-Christmas returned to radio in the Eastern Upper Peninsula with the with the annual flip of Oldies WNBY-FM 93.9 Newberry earlier this week. The station has been making the switch for several years near Thanksgiving for the holiday season.

 

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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