Mike Austerman: February 2013 Archives

Newsmakers and links: Feb. 1, 2013



Fine Tuning:

  • On the air today from 5 a.m. - 10 p.m and tomorrow from 9 a.m. - noon: CBS Radio All-News WWJ AM 950 Detroit's 10th Annual Radiothon to benefit The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW). The station will broadcast live from the Art Van Furniture location on 14 Mile in Warren to raise money for thousands of Michigan families who are struggling to heat their homes. Details and information on how to donate here.



Detroit Free Press:

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh says he will not run for mayor and plans to return to broadcast television. His decision will end the tenure of the city's first openly gay council member and have a major impact on November's mayoral election, where a poll last fall placed him among the top three contenders.

Full story: Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh to get out of politics, back into news (Fri, 2/1)




WADL has "abruptly fired" general manager Matt Uhl, the Detroit independent station announced Friday in a press release. Uhl was fired for violating corporate policy, including "manipulation by a programmer," according to WADL.

Full story: WADL Fires General Manager Matt Uhl For 'Violating Corporate Policy' (Fri, 2/1)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 4, 2013



Fine Tuning:

  • Oldies WOAP AM 'The Big 1080' Owosso has starting stunting toward a new sound that won't be revealed until Monday, February 25th. In the meanwhile, the station will be feature weeklong looks at the music of the music of the decades of the 1950's (this week), 60's (next week), and the 70's (starting Feb 18th).

  • The Midland-based Great Lakes Loons minor league baseball team is accepting applications for 2013 interns in their departments of TV & Video Production, Communications & Media Relations, Marketing & Promotions, Graphic Design, Finance & Accounting, Stadium Operations, and Ticket Sales. Details at loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.

  • Hired: Patti Taylor as the new General Sales Manager for Greater Media/Detroit Classic Rock WCSX-FM 94.7. Taylor had previously been the Local Sales manager at CBS Radio/Detroit Country WYCD-FM 99.5.



Detroit News:

Sheryl Crow and chart-topper Gary Allan are set to appear at WYCD-FM's (99.5) Ten Man Jam, Feb. 21 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.

Full story: Sheryl Crow, Gary Allan to co-host WYCD-FM's Ten Man Jam (Mon, 2/4)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 5, 2013



Cumulus/Detroit promotes Lori Bennett to PD at 96.3 WDVD

Lori Bennett has been promoted from Promotions Director at Cumulus' News/Talk WJR AM 760 to Program Director at Hot Adult Contemporary/Pop WDVD-FM 96.3 Detroit, effective immediately. Bennett succeeds Jesse Addy.

Jan Jefferies, Cumulus Senior Vice President of Programming, said the combination of Bennett's knowledge, experience, and leadership abilities make her an excellent choice for the position.

Bennett is a longtime veteran of Detroit radio who has been with the Cumulus/Detroit cluster since 2011. She began as a featured personality at WDVD and WDRQ before being named as Promotions Director for WJR. She also has worked for multiple years at several other high profile radio stations in Detroit including WNIC, WMGC, and WVMV serving in a variety of roles including Morning Show Host, Program Director, Operations Manager and Marketing Director.

Lori is also a key in-store voiceover talent for multiple national stores such as KMart and has voiced campaigns for leading brands as Phillips SonicCare. Bennett can also be seen on-camera for local businesses like Hagopian Rug Outlet.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 6, 2013



Detroit News:

Frankie Darcell is returning to Mix 92.3 (WMXD-FM). She will be afternoon host of the Clear Channel station from 3 to 7 p.m. beginning March 4, via simulcast from Philadelphia where she is based.

Full story: Radio personality Darcell returning to Mix 92.3 (Wed, 2/6)


Tigers fans craving baseball will have no shortage of opportunities to catch a game this spring. The Tigers announced Wednesday that 35 of the 36 spring training games will be called on WXYT by Dan Dickerson and Jim Price, with the lone exception being the road portion of a split-squad game against the Yankees on March 2.

Full story: All but one of Tigers' 36 spring training games will be on the radio (Wed, 2/6)



Detroit Free Press:

Frankie Darcell is returning to WMXD-FM (92.3) next month, reps from Clear Channel Radio Detroit confirmed today. The popular radio personality was unexpectedly let go from her long-running "Afternoon Mix" radio show two months ago. But when Darcell returns to the Detroit airwaves on March 4, she'll also be working as the afternoon-drive host on Philadelphia's WDAS-FM.

Full story: Frankie Darcell to host radio show in Detroit, Philadelphia starting in March (Wed, 2/6)




A two-car accident did extensive damage to the AM 1700 storefront at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Lt. Mike Kouba of the Ypsilanti Fire Department. "The whole storefront is gone--it's pretty intense," said Brian Robb, a city council member and operator of the station."

Full story: SUV crashes into downtown Ypsilanti radio station (Wed, 2/6)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 8, 2013



Grand Rapids Press:

WOTV 4 Women is expanding Maranda's "Maranda Where You Live" show from a half hour a week to a daily show. "Maranda Where You Live" will air weeknights at 7 p.m. on WOTV Channel 4 beginning Monday, Feb. 11, which will be her 250th episode of the show.

Full story: WOTV 4 Women's Maranda marks 250th show as 'Maranda Where You Live' moves to a daily format (Fri, 2/8)


Free Beer & Hot Wings are coming to LaughFest in Grand Rapids. Not the snacks, but Gregg "Free Beer" Daniels and Chris "Hot Wings" Michaels, hosts of the nationally syndicated morning radio show.

Full story: 'Free Beer & Hot Wings' will be at LaughFest 2013 with a live, evening show in Grand Rapids (Fri, 2/8)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 11, 2013



Detroit News:

It was difficult for a young George Blaha to stuff his red portable radio under his pillows at night. The internal power source -- small yellow tubes -- helped bring the world of broadcasting to his Marshalltown, Iowa, bedroom. The problem was, those tubes got hot, and Blaha would have to let them cool down. And under a pillow wasn't the safest place to do that.

Full story: Announcer George Blaha still going strong after 37 years (Mon, 2/11)



Grand Rapids Press:

WXMI-TV FOX 17 is jumping aboard the weekend morning news bandwagon. In March, FOX 17 will add Saturday and Sunday morning news shows, matching their weekday news broadcasts, to air news from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., seven days a week.

Full story: WXMI-TV FOX 17 will add weekend morning news shows beginning in March (Mon, 2/11)



The Oakland Press:

Country music star, actress and Rochester native Jana Kramer will headline WYCD-FM (99.5) Detroit's fifth annual Jammin' for Joseph charity benefit. The annual event, at The Fillmore on March 6, will benefit Team Joseph, a Detroit-based nonprofit that funds research to put an end to Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Full story: Country Music artist Jana Kramer headlines WYCD "Jammin' for Joseph" benefit at the Fillmore (Mon, 2/11)



Fine Tuning:


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 12, 2013



Hackers get access to EAS at pair of Upper Peninsula TV stations, send out zombie hoax

Hackers yesterday gained access to the Emergency Alert System at two Marquette television stations, sending out a scrolling Civil Emergency warning with audio claiming that bodies of the dead were rising from their graves and attacking the living. The hoax aired during the afternoon on PBS affiliate WNMU-TV Ch. 13 and in prime time on ABC affiliate WBUP-TV Ch. 10.

WBUP Station Manager and News Director Cynthia Thompson confirmed the EAS hijacking on WBUP's web site, "On behalf of ABC 10, please know that our personnel are working diligently to close any gaps in our security systems that could allow this to reoccur and to lock out any further intrusions. We've made contact with state cyber crime authorities who will help us investigate this incident. Again, our apologies to those of you who were scared, shocked or confused."

WNMU-TV station manager Eric Smith has also confirmed the intrusion and stated that the Northern Michigan University Public Safety Department, the Michigan State Police, and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters are involved in the investigation that this morning identified the origin of the hacking overseas.

The alert on WBUP was captured and posted to YouTube:


A similar hacking incident was reported yesterday at a TV station in the state of Montana.



The (Marquette) Mining Journal:

The message about dead rising from their graves has created a great deal of buzz on social networking sites and many zombie jokes. While authorities believe the perpetrator in this incident has been found, the hacking of two local television stations' Emergency Alert System Monday could have chilling implications.

Full story: TV's Emergency Alert System hacked (Tue, 2/12)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 13, 2013



Fine Tuning:

  • Hired: Tom Jordan, by CBS Radio/Detroit All-News WWJ AM 950 to be the station's new morning drive co-host, joining Roberta Jasina in March. Jordan, an Emmy-winning weekend anchor currently working for San Diego television station KUSI, takes the spot vacated by the sudden retirement of Joe Donovan several weeks ago.

  • CBS Radio/Detroit Classic Hits WOMC-FM 104.3 is holding its annual Radiothon to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank Of Southeastern Michigan from 6 a.m. - 8 p.m. The station is broadcasting living throughout the event from Gleaners and is asking listeners to become a Hunger Hero. Details on how to help here.

  • Oakland University's WXOU-FM 88.3 Rochester Hills and Michigan State University's WDBM-FM 88.9 East Lansing are among the top 25 student-run College Radio Stations in the country that are vying for mtvU's College Radio Woodie Award. To vote, visit http://blog.ratemyprofessors.com/college-radio-woodie/.

  • Monday's Emergency Alert System security breach wasn't just limited to stations in Marquette. The hackers also reportedly gained access to systems in Montana, Utah, and California as well and generated an avalanche of stories from broadcasting-related organizations across the country. Apparently the source of the intrusions has been tracked down as both radio and television stations begin the work of ensuring the security of EAS by taking steps as simple as changing passwords to reviewing their Internet firewalls to prevent similar intrusions in the future.




Last year, PORT HURON, MI resident and BRUNO MARS fan EMILY TORRES posted an online video plea to the producers of ELLEN. In it, she reworked the lyrics to MARS' hit "Locked Out Of Heaven" into a musical invitation for the singer to attend her junior prom.

Full story: WDZH's Buck & Coop Get Bruno Mars To The 'Prom' (Wed, 2/13)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 15, 2013



Detroit News:

A radio fundraiser has netted nearly $1 million for Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. The annual 104.3 WOMC FM one-day radiothon, held Wednesday in Detroit, wrapped by raising $930,741, representatives said in a statement.

Full story: Annual radiothon collects nearly $1M for food bank (Thu, 2/14)



Fine Tuning:

  • More local content, less sports at Clear Channel's WDFN AM 1130 Detroit: Former WDTW AM 1310 morning host Tony Trupiano returned to the airwaves on January 28th - his new 'Night Shift' program airs from 8 - 11 p.m. on the mostly-sports station. The daily four hour exception to sports program is now from 7 - 11 p.m. with Trupiano and the Jonathan Kinloch show airing from 7 - 8 p.m.

  • Radio in book format: Iconic Chicago jock John Records Landecker has penned a new book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" that's set to go on sale March 28th with preorders beginning March 1st at www.eckhartzpress.com. The book chronicles a career that spans over forty years - one that has it roots in Michigan but is mostly known for his work in Chicago.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 17, 2013



Saginaw News:

Dante Toussaint has left the building. The iconic disc jockey who, along with Kermit Crockett, Tish O'Rea, Donnie Lyons, Don Wiggins and others defined black radio in Saginaw, in late December left WTLZ-FM,107.1, the NextMedia urban station once known as WWWS or W3Soul.

Full story: Saginaw radio personality Dante Toussaint brings an era to a close (Sat, 2/16)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 18, 2013



WGRY-FM/AM 101.1/1230 Roscommon/Grayling flips to Sports Talk

Blarney Stone Broadcasting has changed the formats of its recently acquired WGRY-FM 101.1 Roscommon and AM WGRY 1230 Grayling to Sports Talk using CBS Sports Radio. The stations also add play-by-play coverage for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings.

WGRY-FM 101.1 was known as WQON with an Adult Contemporary format prior to Blarney Stone's purchase of the three station group from Gannon Broadcasting. WGRY 1230 had carried an Adult Standards format.

The company's other station, now known as WQON 'Q-100.3', also recently changed its format from Country to Rock and carries Detroit Pistons play-by-play.



Grand Rapids Press:

If there's one thing you can expect from the Jammies, the annual awards show put on by WYCE celebrating local music, it's always completely unexpected.

Full story: Check out the local music scene at WYCE's Jammies, which also is free (Mon, 2/18)



The Oakland Press:

In addition to being named College Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation, Oakland University's student radio station is up for a huge national award.

Full story: Oakland University's radio station competes for MTV award (Mon, 2/18)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 19, 2013



Grand Rapids Business Journal:

WMKG-CA -- a class A TV station at the Lakeshore -- is up for sale. The station currently airs original and network programming 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Content includes local talk shows, local sports, family programs, local church services, satellite movies and programs from affiliated networks, including Warner Brothers Network, America One, World Harvest Network and The Sportsman Channel.

Full story: Lakeshore TV station broadcasts it's for sale (Mon, 2/18)



Saginaw News:

The Bob and Tom Comedy Show returns to Saginaw, bringing comedians Drew Hastings, Tommy Johnagin and Tim Wilson on Friday, March 22, to the Dow Event Center, 303 Johnson.

Full story: Bob and Tom comedians on their way back to Saginaw (Tue, 2/19)



Fine Tuning:

  • The Salvation Army's 26th Annual radiothon to benefit the Bed & Bread Club will air on Cumulus News/Talk WJR AM 760 this Friday from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. Details at salmich.org.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 20, 2013



Sinclair Broadcast Group warns DirecTV viewers of possible loss of channels

Sinclair Broadcast Group and DirecTV are in the midst of retransmission rights negotiations and appear headed for a showdown that could shut out Sinclair's stations in 47 markets around the country on the satellite provider starting March 1st.

In Michigan, Sinclair owns/operates CBS affiliate WWMT-TV Ch. 3 Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, FOX affiliate WSMH-TV Ch. 66 Flint/Saginaw/Bay City and ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV Ch. 53 Lansing/Jackson. In addition, Sinclair operates CW affiliates in Kalamazoo and Lansing that broadcast of subchannels of WWMT and WLAJ.

Sinclair's statement to viewers reads, in part: "Sinclair Broadcast Group recently began informing its viewers that it does not expect DirecTV to continue to carry any of Sinclair's stations after the existing carriage agreement terminates on February 28, 2013. Although DirecTV and Sinclair have been negotiating for quite some time in an effort to reach a new agreement, at this time it does not appear that these efforts will be successful. Although Sinclair does not believe that it is constructive to negotiate its private business relationships in public, Sinclair is informing the public in advance of the end of carriage because it is aware of the impact on a segment of the public from the end of the relationship between the Sinclair stations and DirecTV.

"We are very sorry that we have not been able to reach agreement with DirecTV and regret the inconvenience this will cause to DirecTV subscribers who want to continue to watch the extremely popular programming that airs on our stations."

DirecTV has issued a statement in response to Sinclair, "We're engaged in productive discussions with Sinclair Broadcast Group to retain their local stations in the DirecTV lineup. Our customers can be assured that neither DirecTV nor Sinclair has any intention of allowing the disruption of their local stations. These are the same unnecessary threats, posing as warnings, that Sinclair has made to frighten customers of other pay TV providers."

These types of disagreements seemingly have become commonplace in recent years - thankfully most service interruptions, if they happen at all, wind up being relatively short-lived. Most viewers in the affected markets should be able to use antennas and receive WWMT/WLAJ/WSMH over the air should the public squabbling escalate to the dropping of Sinclair's channels from DirecTV.




Martin Bandyke, familiar to radio listeners at the host for 6-10 a.m. "drive time" slot on Ann Arbor radio station WQKL (107.1-FM), will mark his 30th year on the air Feb. 21. The milestone has given Bandyke, 58, an opportunity to reflect.

Full story: 107.1's Martin Bandyke to observe his 30 years on area radio with 2 special shows (Wed, 2/20)



Saginaw News:

The Detroit Tigers will begin their Spring Training season at 1 p.m. Friday and with it, their 46th consecutive season on WSGW-AM, 790.

Full story: Detroit Tigers begin 46th season on WSGW, beginning with Spring Training opener (Wed, 2/20)



Detroit Free Press:

Time is running out to cast your vote for two Michigan stations competing to be the top student-run college radio station in the country. Oakland University's WXOU-FM (88.3) and Michigan State University's WDBM-FM (88.9) are among 25 stations still in the running for for the Woodie Award for best college station.

Full story: 2 Michigan college radio stations in running for mtvU Woodie Award (Tue, 2/19)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 21, 2013



Grand Rapids' Rock WBFX 101.3 to reposition from 'The Fox' to 'The Brew'

On Friday, February 22nd at noon, 'The Fox' will give way to 'The Brew' on Clear Channel's WBFX-FM 101.3 Grand Rapids. The station will keep a Rock format, but make some adjustments to its on-air sound. A new on-air lineup will debut featuring a return to Grand Rapids for new morning host "Puddin" (6 - 10 a.m.) and Matt Walker middays (10 a.m. - 3 p.m.). Aly joins for afternoons (3 - 8 p.m.) with nights hosted by "B-Side", the only holdover from the previous staff.



Detroit Free Press:

If you're hoping to catch several Detroit Tigers spring training games on television, you may be in luck. Though many of them will be tape-delayed on MLB Network, the Tigers will have a total of 13 Grapefruit League games air on television.

Full story: Got MLB Network? Tigers to have 13 spring games on TV, many tape-delayed (Thu, 2/21)



Fine Tuning:

  • Southwestern Ontario AM daytimer shuts down: CKOT AM 1510 Tillsonburg ON, Canada's last daytime only AM station, has been silenced as of February 17th. The station had been operating solely as a daytime repeater of CJDL-FM 107.3 for more than five years prior to its final shutdown. Tillsonburg Broadcasting President and General Manager John Lamers commented the costs of maintaining operations far exceeded any possible income, leading to the end of the station.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 22, 2013



Grand Rapids Press:

Beer City, USA, is about to get rocked by a new radio station - "101-3 The Brew." Grand Rapids' WBFX-FM "The Fox" 101.3 is revamping with a new format and on-air staff to highlight Grand Rapids as "Beer City, USA."

Full story: West Michigan's 101.3 The Fox is set to become 101-3 The Brew in Beer City, USA (Fri, 2/22)


Watch the in-studio launch of the new 101.3 The Brew from Clear Channel (Fri, 2/22)



Lansing State Journal: ($$)

For local radio listeners, the morning news-and-talk scene is about to get even busier. On Monday, Michael Patrick Shiels adds WQTX (92.1-FM)., from 6 a.m.-9 a.m. That has him collide with three other local shows; it also puts him directly against his former station.

Full story: Michael Patrick Shiels' talk show back on local radio (Thu, 2/21)



ClickOnDetroit.com / WDIV-TV Ch. 4 Detroit:

A meeting of the Milford Township Board of Trustees went deep into the night Wednesday with a discussion about plans to erect a series of radio towers. Birach Broadcasting, which owns AM stations in metro Detroit and in other states, wants to relocate seven 200-foot towers from Fenton, Mich. to Milford Township.

Full story: Plan for radio towers stirs heated debate in Milford, Wixom (Wed, 2/20)



Detroit Free Press:

Starting Saturday, fans of Wolfman Mac can get their hairy paws on hundreds of costumes, coffins and props used on his "Chiller Drive-In." The Wolfman and his friends are giving up on the show, which showcased old horror and sci-fi movies.

Full story: Need a coffin? Wolfman Mac is selling TV show horror props (Fri, 2/22)



Saginaw News:

According to those who knew him well, Dave Shore could be remembered for his immense passion for his hometown of Bay City, his opinionated nature, or his vast knowledge on an array of subjects - but he will definitely be remembered for his voice.

Full story: Bay City's Dave Shore will be remembered for his 'golden pipes' (Fri, 2/22)

hat do Brett Mitchell and I have in common, besides the fact that we're both appearing on Delta College's Channel 19, WDCQ, this coming Saturday?

Full story: Brett Mitchell rocks Delta College's WDCQ in "Q the Music Presents" (Fri, 2/22)



Fine Tuning:

  • Raised: Over $1.3 million by Cumulus News/Talk WJR AM 760 Detroit and the Salvation Army in the 26th Annual Bed & Bread Radiothon. WJR hosts Paul W. Smith, Frank Beckmann and Mitch Albom were joined by legendary jock Dick Purtan during the 16-hour event that was held at Oakland Mall in Troy.

  • Dropped: Half of the morning show duo at CBS Radio/Detroit Contemporary Hits WDZH-FM (98.7 Amp Radio) with the exit of Buckhead, leaving the show as The Coop Show ... at least for now.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 23 - 24, 2013



Grand Rapids Press:

The 14th Annual Jammies Awards presented by WYCE were held at the Intersection on Friday, Feb. 22, with one of the biggest crowds the event has ever seen.

Full story: WYCE Jammies 2013 recap: The Soil and The Sun take top trophy (Sat, 2/23)



minbcnews.com / WEYI-TV Ch. 25:

Heartfelt congratulations going out to NBC25 morning anchor Joel Feick who has been inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Science's "Silver Circle."

Full story: NBC25's Joel Feick honored (Sat, 2/23)



Fine Tuning:

  • Fans of the Big 8 years of CKLW have a couple things to tune in to today for some retro radio: At noon Rewound Radio will feature CK during their DJ Hall of Fame Show. Then from 3 - 5:30 p.m. on WJCU-FM 88.7 Cleveland, their Retro Radio Show with 'Jumpin' Joe Madigan will be saluting CKLW by playing many songs that were on 'The Big 30' from 1969. You will also hear many "Big 8" jingles. Click the links for the Internet streams.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 25, 2013



WOAP AM 1080 Owosso ends stunting, repositions

No major changes after weeks of stunting in the Mid-Michigan region on WOAP AM 1080 Owosso which has simply repositioned itself from "Michigan's Big Oldies" to "Super Hits 1080". The station's music, which had already been leaning toward Classic Hits in the months before the stunting started, now fully features the hits of the 1950s - 80s, perhaps leaning more heavily to the 70s and 80s than it did previously.

The station's staff remains in place.



Crain's Detroit Business:

Fans watched the American League champion Detroit Tigers in record numbers last season on Fox Sports Detroit, and the regional cable network is capitalizing on that thirst this year with double-digit advertising rate increases.

Full story: As Tigers roar on field, Fox Sports wields clout with TV ad rate hikes (Mon, 2/25)


The ubiquitous "1-(800) Call-Sam" advertising slogan will be part of Detroit Tigers' radio broadcasts this season in a marketing expansion for the Southfield-based Sam Bernstein Law Firm that was announced Monday.

Full story: 'Call Sam' ads join Detroit Tigers' radio broadcasts (Mon, 2/25)



Detroit Free Press:

It's been a difficult time for fans since Dave Hunter and Charles (Chuck the Freak) Urquhart departed their popular CIMX-FM (88.7) morning show back in November. However, there was some encouraging news over the weekend and it came via a brief message posted to Dave and Chuck's Facebook page.

Full story: 88.7's Dave, Chuck the Freak hint at new job on Facebook post (Mon, 2/25)




Has morning co-host BUCK "BUCK HEAD" WISE flown the "COOP" at CBS Top 40 WDZH (98.7 AMP RADIO)/DETROIT? It would seem that way based on a email sent by Promotions Mgr. ROBERT ARCHER.

Full story: WDZH Morning Co-Host 'Buck' Exits (Mon, 2/25)


...The 26th annual SALVATION ARMY Bed & Bread Club Radiothon brought PURTAN out of retirement again, and last Friday in one day -- on one station -- in 16 hours -- they raised an amazing $1,364,122!

Full story: Dick Purtan And WJR Raise $1.3 Million For Detroit's Salvation Army (Mon, 2/25)


NEXTMEDIA Country WCEN (94.5 THE MOOSE)/ SAGINAW PD/afternoon host JOBY PHILLIPS will be sporting a new 'do next month, as he has agreed to shave his head for charity.

Full story: WCEN's Joby Phillips To Shave Head For St. Jude (Mon, 2/25)


Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

Unlike most people, I read a LOT of radio industry trade publications. Most of them, just like this column was, are delivered via e-mail. I wish you could read some of this stuff. A few are truly unique like R.A.M.P. (Radio And Music Professionals) which is written in a creative manner that often makes fun of the silly press releases they get on a daily basis. In a recent issue when commenting on a format flip of a Tucson station from news-talk to country they wrote "the station will be trying a revolutionary new idea of playing 10,000 songs in a row." That technique has been used hundreds of times by dozens of stations nationwide. They further stated, "reach out to the new station by an amazing new technology called e-mail." I love it. Another trade, called Jockline Daily, targets morning DJ's and often includes actual video and/or audio links to stories they cover! Very cool.

VuoloIt's rare to read any press release pertaining to the radio industry without seeing words like "thrilled" or "excited" or "legendary" or "iconic." A typical story might say "I am thrilled to be starting at the legendary (name of station), and excited to be working with an iconic program director like (insert name)." The words legendary and iconic are now overused as much as amazing and awesome once were. Newsflash! One more new word is about to be "worn out" and it's epic. Now, you'll start to notice its over-use.

Other popular phrases include format flip rather than a format change. Flipping has become very in vogue. When referring to another competing station in the same market most publications use the term crosstown like "this flip leaves crosstown WXXX as the only AC station in Balookaville." This is especially humorous when the two radio stations happen to be owned by the same company and are located in the same building, often just down the hall from each other! By the way AC (in radio) does not stand for air conditioning, or alternating current. It's adult contemporary music.


Recently an interesting quote came from well-known iconic Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl, who once worked here in Detroit on the one-time legendary WABX (99.5). He stated, "Radio died the day they started using the Personal People Meter (PPM)."

I actually applauded PPM as being infinitely better than the old system of gathering rating information for radio stations. PPM electronically hears and measures everything you are listening to. The prior method relied on people's memory to write down which stations they listened to. The only problem is that PPM tends to track long-term listening, like in the work place, where the preferred fare is lots of music and little or no talking. Many of us in the radio industry are convinced that it is why PPM is killing personality radio, where entertainment is the key ingredient. Dahl made the statement because his show, while on terrestrial radio, played NO music, it was only talk. He now does an Internet podcast via a paid subscription and still plays no music. He has a huge number of people who pay to hear him talk. Interestingly, Dahl celebrated 35 years on Chicago radio February 23rd. I've always said that people will PAY for what they want, which explains the success satellite radio is currently enjoying.


Speaking of personality radio, there was surely an abundance of marquee names on hand for the 26th Salvation Army Radiothon on February 22nd at the Oakland Mall in Troy. This event began when Dick Purtan called a meeting in 1988 and said "let's do a Radiothon for a charitable organization", and The Salvation Army was selected.

WJR Radiothon Final Tally

Purtan's longtime producer and writer, Gene Taylor, got heavily involved and joined the Salvation Army and helped make it a successful annual event. It stayed on that station even after it's identity was "flipped" to WKQI (Q-95), it's now Channel 9-5-5. When the Dickster segued over to WOMC the event moved out of the studio and into the mall, but Purtan was always the main attraction of the event. After he retired in March of 2010, WOMC didn't want to do it anymore so it shifted over to WJR AM. After a year of absence in 2011, Purtan returned as a special guest star in 2012 and again this year, but, with a sluggish economy and a glut of other fund-raisers, this year the final tote was about $400,000 less than the previous year. All of that withstanding, the bottom line was still an impressive $1,364,122. Not too shabby.

Frank Beckmann and Kevin MethenyOne of the many highlights was WJR's Frank Beckmann (pictured on the left with new WJR Program Director Kevin Metheny to his right) submitting to having his head shaved after $10,000 in pledges. Remembering how fastidious the 33 year voice of the Michigan Wolverines is about his hair in years of having his photo on those annual WJR RADIOGUIDES, I was personally stunned by his adaptation of the Mr. Clean look. The last few months have seen many stations locally asking for your donation; WYCD is the home of the St. Jude Drive, WWJ with its efforts for T.H.A.W., and WOMC now tied in with Gleaners Food Drive just to mention a few. The metro Detroit area is known for its generosity, but with so many events asking for your support, it's understandable how goals are more difficult to attain. Finally hats off to Dave Scott and his crew from Woodward One digital for the outstanding job in video streaming the WJR Radiothon on the Internet. He will be at it again on March 15th for Paul W. Smith's annual St. Patrick's Day Party from the D.A.C. So, in case your invitation gets lost in the mail, you can attend on-line!


WWJ NewsRadio 950 is set to welcome a new morning anchor who will join the legendary Roberta Jasina, Tom Jordan from KUSI-TV 51 in San Diego. Who is the brilliant sales person that convinced him to leave "America's Finest City" to come here for a 3 a.m. wake-up call? WWJ boss Pete Kowalski better place a TV camera in their new studio so Mr. Jordan will feel comfortable in our wonderful picture-free medium.


On a personal note, I just got a Slingbox, a device which allows me the ability to watch any program that's on my home DVR and even record shows all by remote control on my iPad from anywhere in the world where I can get an Internet connection! I'm certain that I will be thrilled with its capabilities. I'm excited to see how it works and will give you a full report soon in this space. Such technology is absolutely epic. Thanks for your valuable time to better understand "Words," and I'm not talking about the song by that iconic group known as The Bee Gee's. Meanwhile keep the radio on, because the Bee Gee's might be coming up next!



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


Art Vuolo Jr.


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 26, 2013



Fine Tuning:

  • The National Association of Broadcasters has released the 50 finalists for the trade organization's 26th Annual Crystal Radio Awards. Making the cut are CBS Radio/Detroit's News WWJ AM 950 and Sports WXYT-FM 97.1, joining multi-time nominee Lenawee Broadcasting Company's WLEN-FM 103.9 Adrian.

    Finalists are chosen by a panel that represent broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations firms. Finalists will be honored and winners announced at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 9th.



The Oakland Press:

Potential students visiting Specs Howard School of Media Arts for the first time are always surprised to see 86-year-old Specs Howard still coming to the school on a daily basis. "Visiting employers for the first time, the question I'm most often asked, is if there really is a Specs Howard," explains President Lisa Zahodne.

Full story: Jerry Liebman aka Specs Howard still greeting students at Southfield media academy (Sun, 2/24)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 27, 2013



Fine Tuning:

  • CBS/Detroit boasts two Gracie Award winners: Stacey DuFord, morning co-host at Classic Hits WOMC-FM 104.3, is the winner of the 2013 Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series or Special in the Radio - Local Market category. In the same category Country WYCD-FM 99.5 morning co-host Rachael Hunter is the winner as Outstanding Host - News/Non-Fiction. The Gracies are presented by the Alliance for Women In Media Foundation. Gracie Award winners for excellence in local, online, public and student markets will be honored on June 26, 2013, at the Hilton in New York City.

  • The major awards keep rolling in for CBS Radio/Detroit: Country WYCD-FM 99.5 has scored an Academy of Country Music award for Major Market Station of the Year, announced earlier today in Nashville.




GREATER MEDIA Classic Rock WCSX/DETROIT has named KEITH HASTINGS its new PD, replacing BRENT ALBERTS who left the station in NOVEMBER (NET NEWS, 11/15/12). HASTINGS' new position will begin immediately.

Full story: Keith Hastings New WCSX PD (Wed, 2/27)



Radio Ink Magazine:

As the Country Radio Seminar Kicks off today in Nashville, Radio Ink is honoring the programmers who make the country format one of the most popular with consumers. CBS Radio's Tim Roberts (pictured) of WYCD & WOMC in Detroit has been named the Best Country Program Director in America by Radio Ink Magazine. This is the second year in a row Roberts has won the top spot.

Full story: Roberts named best Country PD (Wed, 2/27)



Grand Rapids Press:

Bret Bakita, who has been a fixture on local sports radio for 19 years, broadcast his final show this morning on WBBL-FM (107.3). Bakita, who was program director at WBBL for most of his tenure with the station, announced at the start of Wednesday's "Bakita & Bentley" morning show that he will be leaving.

Full story: Bret Bakita hosts final show on WBBL before leaving for job with Clear Channel (Wed, 2/27)



Detroit Free Press:

Mitch Albom announced Tuesday from his WJR-AM (760) show that "Ernie" -- Albom's stage play about the late Detroit Tigers' broadcaster Ernie Harwell -- will return for a third season this summer ...//... On Monday commuters got a taste of WDZH-FM(98.7)'s Buck-less new "The Coop Show" morning show.

Full story: Names & Faces (Wed, 2/27)


Newsmakers and links: Feb. 28, 2013




LANSER BROADCASTING Contemporary Christian WJQK (JQ99)/GRAND RAPIDS names former AC WTRV (100.5 THE RIVER) midday talent KIM CARSON to host "FAITH HOPE AND LOVE SONGS" SUNDAYS from noon-3p, and online at WWW.JQ99.COM.

Full story: Kim Carson To Host WJQK's 'Faith Hope And Love Songs' (Thu, 2/28)



Lansing State Journal ($$):

Lansing radio-listeners will have another local talk show Monday. This one, however, avoids the morning pile-up. "The Drive With Jack Ebling" will be a sports show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays.

Full story: Jack Ebling launches sports radio show (Thu, 2/28)




Nima Shaffe will be leaving his hometown of Kansas City to join Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ. Shaffe, who is currently a reporter for CBS affiliate KCTV, said in his station bio page he's always thrilled his family gets to see him on air.

Full story: Nima Shaffe to Join WXYZ in Detroit (Thu, 2/28)



Detroit Free Press:

Bettelou Peterson, who worked at the Free Press for about 50 years -- including four decades as a TV beat writer, a position she helped create during the early years of television -- died Friday. She was 87.

Full story: Bettelou Peterson: Pioneering Free Press TV, radio writer gained a national audience with columns (Thu, 2/28)


The Academy of Country Music announced Wednesday that metro Detroit's WYCD-FM (99.5) has been named its major-market radio station of the year.

Full story: Academy of Country Music names WYCD-FM its major-market station of the year (Wed, 2/27)







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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Mike Austerman in February 2013.

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