Mike Austerman: May 2013 Archives

The Oakland Press:

WYCD-FM's Downtown Hoedown is still a month away, but it's offering a preview of this year's festival Friday, May 3 -- for a good cause. The country music station has joined forces with Quicken Loans and Defeat The Label, a national anti-bullying organization, to present a special Stand4Change Day concert from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit.

Full story: WYCD's Stand4Change includes Casey James, Ty Stone, Paulina Jayne (Wed, 5/1)




Clark Smith, a well-known presence and 30-year employee at WEMU (89.1-FM), is retiring effective this Friday, the station announced.

Full story: WEMU announces retirement of Program Director Clark Smith (Wed, 5/1)




CLEAR CHANNEL MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT/DETROIT has tapped AARON KLAUBER as Dir./Marketing and Promotions, effective immediately. KLAUBER will oversee all marketing and promotions for DETROIT's six stations. He joins from CCM+E/Dayton, where he has spent the last 13 years in a variety of roles including marketing, promotions and on-air.

Full story: CCM+E/Detroit Names Aaron Klauber Dir./Marketing and Promotions (Wed, 5/1)



Fine Tuning:

  • Scripps Broadcasting ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV Ch. 7 Detroit has named Michigan native Fred Corbus as the station's new Director of Sales. He'll take the job on May 6th and is moving to WXYZ from West Michigan where he held the same role at LIN TV's WOOD-TV / WOTV-TV and WXSP-TV Grand Rapids.

    Corbus' appointment fills the vacancy created last year when Mike Murri was elevated from Director of Sales to Station Manager at WXYZ.


Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation opens up Spring Auction to bidders

Bidding is now open for MAB Foundation Spring Online Auction - Bidding ends Wednesday, May 22nd at 3 p.m. To visit the auction, view the items, and bid: visit www.biddingforgood.com/mabfoundation.



Fine Tuning:



As the month of May began, so did Lee Monday's retirement, after 42 years in the radio business. Although his alarm will no longer start chiming at 3 a.m., its likely that Monday - who is lesser known by the name Dave Ernst - will have trouble staying asleep past the hour he has been waking up for 12 years, during his tenure at Delta College Public Radio, WUCX Q90.1.

Full story: Lee Monday leaves Delta College's WUCX after over four decades in radio (Tue, 5/7)



Fine Tuning:

  • Two of the three FM Class A allocations that were up for bid during the FCC's Auction 94 have winning bidders: WGHN, Inc. won FM 97.7 Ludington with a winning bid of $7500 and Michael A. Payne won FM 103.9 Harrison with a winning bid of $7900. The final allocation that was available during Auction 94, FM 102.7 Evart, did not generate any bids.


MyFoxDetroit.com / WJBK-TV Ch. 2:

FOX 2 has confirmed that 101-WRIF Radio morning show hosts "Drew and Mike" will be replaced by Dave and Chuck of the Freak, the former 89X duo. The last 'Drew and Mike" broadcast is scheduled for May 17. Their contract was not renewed.

Full story: LeDuff exclusive interview with Drew and Mike (Wed, 5/8)



Detroit Free Press:

Morning show blockbuster "Drew & Mike" will be replaced on the WRIF-FM (101.) airwaves will be leaving rock station as of May 17, the Free Press has confirmed.

Full story: Drew and Mike to be replaced on WRIF-FM (Wed, 5/8)



Detroit News:

After 22 years, WRIF-FM (101.1) is dropping the popular, long-running "Drew & Mike" morning show, the station's owner, Greater Media, confirmed Wednesday.

Full story: WRIF to no longer air 'Drew & Mike' morning show (Wed, 5/8)

Bill Proctor stepped under the blinding, high-def lights at WXYZ's Broadcast House to be fussed over one last time. When a producer tells him that the light is hitting his distinguished brow perfectly, Proctor laughs.

Full story: WXYZ-TV reporter Bill Proctor leaves a legacy of big stories as he retires (Wed, 5/8)


Dave & Chuck The Freak expected to take mornings at Greater Media rocker

The proverbial other shoe has dropped in the 'Where will Dave & Chuck The Freak wind up' watch - and it looks like a Shaquille O'Neal-sized shoe - as Greater Media/Detroit has announced that the 22 year run of "Drew (Lane) & Mike (Clark)" will come to a close on its Rock WRIF-FM 101.1 next Friday, May 17th, with a final broadcast that is scheduled to take calls from listeners and past on-air contributors from 6 a.m. - 11 a.m.

The legacy morning show, which includes longtime newsperson Trudi Daniels, has long been a mainstay among young male listeners - a demographic WRIF is obviously trying to keep to itself with the pending official announcement that the station has hired "Dave & Chuck the Freak". That duo exited Bell Media's Modern Rock CIMX-FM 88.7 (89X) late last year and has been sitting out a non-compete clause.

"We would like to thank Drew, Mike, Trudi and the entire team for their many contributions to the station over the years in the Motor City", said Greater Media Detroit Market Manager Steve Chessare in a press release addressing the pending departure of Lane, Clark, and Daniels from WRIF. "They are true professionals and we are very grateful to them."

Dave (Hunter) & Chuck (Urquhart) The Freak also posted strong rating numbers among young males in the Detroit market when they were on the air at 89X; listeners that WRIF obviously hopes will make the switch over to 101.1 once they begin hosting mornings at a yet-to-be-announced date.

Drew & Mike's exit from WRIF adds to the seismic changes in Detroit morning radio that started in 2010 when Dick Purtan retired from WOMC-FM 104.3 followed by Jim Harper's exit from WMGC-FM 105.1 in 2011 and then Joe Donovan's exit from WWJ AM 950 late last year. This departure will likely receive a lot more negative reaction from fans as the departures of Purtan, Harper, and Donovan were all announced as retirements - unlike what for now appears to be the involuntary separation of "Drew & Mike" from WRIF.


Detroit Free Press:

Less than 24 hours after it was revealed that the "Drew and Mike" show would end on WRIF-FM (101.1) May 17, Drew Lane and Mike Clark led a show that looked back at the past, touched upon the present and hinted at the future.

Full story: Drew and Mike address departure, hint at what's next (Thu, 5/9)




It took a while Thursday morning, but Drew Lane and Mike Clark addressed with their traditional off-the-cuff style news reports that their popular radio show "Drew and Mike" will leave Detroit FM radio station WRIF on May 17. Both Lane and Clark confirmed the news and blasted reporters who they claim threw the veteran hosts under the bus now that they're forced to prepare for life after the WRIF and their show that's drawn audiences in for more than two decades.

Full story: 'Drew and Mike' appear open to new job at another Detroit station; they blast local media coverage (Thu, 5/9)



Macomb Daily:

A new free outdoor country music series made its debut in the heart of downtown Mount Clemens on Wednesday night. Titled Nashville in the Neighborhood, the six-date series is presented by WYCD-FM (99.5) with financial support from several sponsors.

Full story: New country series debuts in Mount Clemens (Thu, 5/9)


Detroit Free Press:

It was mostly funny business as usual today for Drew Lane and Mike Clark, who learned this week that their "Drew & Mike" morning show will end its 22-year run on WRIF-FM (101.1) on May 17. They joked about Maxim magazine's just-released list of the world's hottest women and did an abbreviated version of their popular Harris Poll feature, which typically finds the radio hosts dialing up people named Harris and asking them questions about current events.

Full story: Drew & Mike: Don't blame advertisers for end of show (Fri, 5/10)


A week from today, Michigan fans will enjoy one of the favorite days of the off-season. WTKA-AM (1050) in Ann Arbor will host its annual radioathon May 17, with a full day of guests. Michigan stars from the past and some current coaches will help raise money for U-M's Mott Children's Hospital.

Full story: Lineup for Michigan radiothon revealed (Fri, 5/10)



Detroit News:

Long time WDIV-TV (Channel 4) reporter Kevin Dietz has been in the Oakland County Jail since April 18 after being convicted of violating Michigan's tough "super drunk" driving law. According to the office of the Michigan Secretary of State, Dietz was arrested by Bloomfield Hills police on Feb. 2 for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .17 or more.

Full story: WDIV reporter Dietz in jail for drunken driving (Fri, 5/10)




WCSX/DETROIT is hosting a one-day fundraising effort for the family of local firefighter BRIAN WOEHLKE, who was killed in the line of duty. BRIAN WOEHLKE was just 10 months into his dream job when he was killed after a roof collapsed on him during a strip mall fire ... On MONDAY, MAY 13th, CSX personalities JIM O'BRIEN, KEN CALVERT, UNCLE BUCK and JULINE JORDAN will be out collecting for the family at four different locations.

Full story: WCSX Raises Funds For Fallen Firefighter's Family (Fri, 5/10)



Midwest Communications is preparing to breakup its News/Talk simulcast and debut Alternative Rock in Kalamazoo, MI. The News/Talk simulcast of 590 WKZO Kalamazoo and 96.5 WKZO-FM Portage will soon come to an end as 96.5 has applied to change call letters to WZOX.

Full story: Alternative On Way To Kalamazoo (Sun, 5/12)



Detroit Free Press:

Detroiters who missed "Detropia" in theaters in 2012 will get to see it at 9 p.m. Monday, May 13, on WTVS (Channel 56), two weeks ahead of its national PBS airing on "Independent Lens."

Full story: Detroit gets an early look at 'Detropia' on WTVS (Sun, 5/12)




The annual Mott Takeover on WTKA-AM (1050) is a win-win proposition. It helps former Michigan football stars Brian Griese, Steve Hutchinson and Charles Woodson raise money for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital -- to the tune of almost $80,000 last year.

Full story: Star-studded lineup of Michigan football stars to participate in 'Mott Takeover' on WTKA this week (Sun, 5/12)



Grand Rapids Press:

The results of the unofficial battle between "Team TV" and "Team Radio" for the quickest 25K race time in the 2013 Fifth Third Riverbank Run are in and it looks like this year's winners are "Team Radio". Michele DeSelms (FOX17), Shelley Irwin (WGVU Radio), Laura Velasquez (WOOD TV8), and Jackie Green (WGRD-FM) were just a handful of the local media personalities taking part in this year's run.

Full story: Local TV and Radio personalities tackle the Fifth Third River Bank Run (Sat, 5/11)



MIDWEST COMMUNICATIONS splits its News/Talk WKZO-A/F simulcast and signs on "Z96.5FM, KALAMAZOO'S ALTERNATIVE" with 10,000 songs in a row and will add air staff in the coming month. The station is online at Z965FM.com. Upon reviewing key research that showed a demand for Alternative music in KALAMAZOO, the decision was made to launch Z96.5 FM. The Z96.5 format will be similar to MIDWEST's Alternative in LANSING, WVIC (94.1 THE EDGE).

Full story: Midwest Communications Launches Z96.5 Kalamazoo's Alternative (Mon, 5/13)



Grand Rapids Press:

Pop singers Jason Derulo and Ed Sheeran will co-headline the 2013 lineup of WSNX-FM's Party in the Park.

Full story: Jason Derulo, Ed Sheeran to headline WSNX's Party in the Park 2013 (Mon, 5/13)




Veteran WDIV investigative reporter Kevin Dietz was released from jail Saturday after serving more than three weeks for DUI, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Full story: WDIV Reporter Released From Jail After Serving 3 Weeks For DUI (Mon, 5/13)


Detroit News:

Nearly 60 percent of Americans predict the death of terrestrial radio will happen within five years, according to results from a Harris Interactive survey released Tuesday.

Full story: Harris survey: 6 in 10 predict demise of terrestrial radio within 5 years (Tue, 5/14)




Bill Spencer has joined Houston NBC affiliate KPRC as a member of its investigative team. "I'm thrilled to be here." Spencer told TVspy. "My first story is an investigative piece on Monday night at 10:00 p.m." In January, Spencer left Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ after 16 years.

Full story: Bill Spencer 'Thrilled' to Join Houston's KPRC (Tue, 5/14)



Fine Tuning:

  • Changes at Cumulus/Ann Arbor Country WWWW-FM 102.9 as Mandy Cooke exits middays; new to evenings at W4 Country is Brian Welch. Also exiting recently was weekender Kyle Linford, who also handled some swing shifts.


Newsmakers and links: May 15, 2013




Popular Detroit radio personalities Drew Lane and Mike Clark are expected to host their final "Drew and Mike" show 6-11 a.m. Friday on 101 WRIF-FM. What happens to their careers after their curtain call on the rock station appears unclear, but at least two experts agree the colorful hosts could be successful at a new home.

Full story: There's radio life for 'Drew and Mike' after WRIF-FM exit, experts say; share your show memories (Wed, 5/15)



Detroit Free Press:

The two-month search for the newest WRIF Rock Girl will end Thursday, May 16, with a concert party at the Hard Rock Café.

Full story: WRIF to crown a new Rock Girl (Wed, 5/15)


Detroit Free Press:

Just hours before his final "Drew and Mike" morning show broadcast on WRIF-FM (101.1), Drew Lane was still focused on making the best radio show possible.

Full story: 'Drew and Mike' crew prepares for final broadcast on Friday (Thu, 5/16)


Jason Strayhorn returned to the Michigan State sidelines for the 2006 season -- John L. Smith's 4-8 exit as head coach -- and has been there for Mark Dantonio's entire tenure. Starting with the 2013 season, Strayhorn will be watching from above. He will replace Jim Miller as color analyst for Spartan Sports Network radio broadcasts, teaming with George Blaha in his 38th season of doing MSU play-by-play.

Full story: Michigan State football radio: Jason Strayhorn replaces Jim Miller as analyst (Thu, 5/16)




Radio has lost a true legend. Top 40 radio pioneer PAUL DREW died of natural causes at VICTOR ROYALE ASSISTED LIVING in GLENDALE, CA; he was 78. DREW launched his radio career in ATLANTA, as a DJ at WAKE, WGST and WQXI -- the latter station promoted him to PD. He also held PD gigs at CKLW/WINDSOR-DETROIT, WIBG/PHILADELPHIA, KFRC/SAN FRANCISCO and KHJ/LOS ANGELES.

Full story: Paul Drew Passes (Thu, 5/16)


Detroit News:

The "Drew & Mike" show headed into its final hours Friday morning with hugs and shots of Jagermeister as Drew Lane, Mike Clark and crew wound down their 22-year run at WRIF-FM (101.1).

Full story: 'Drew & Mike' sign off at WRIF (Fri, 5/17)



Detroit Free Press:

Just as they did much of the past 22 years, Drew Lane and Mike Clark began their radio show at 6 a.m. Friday by cracking jokes, hitting the latest headlines and talking sports. But with local TV crews doing live shots from the show's get-go, a bottle of Jagermeister being passed around, and guests watching from every corner of the studio, the last "Drew and Mike" show broadcast on WRIF-FM (101.1) was an emotional, bittersweet ride.

Full story: Drew and Mike sign off with jokes, guests and a look back (Fri, 5/17)



The Oakland Press:

Did you listen today to the "Drew and Mike Show" on WRIF, 101.1-FM? Drew Lane and Mike Clark wrapped up their popular radio show on the RIF, they highlighted popular past bits from their 22-year run and also interviewed actor-comedian David Spade.

Full story: Drew and Mike wrapped up run at WRIF (Fri, 5/17)




Some Michigan football fans might be doing some double takes around Ann Arbor this weekend as some familiar faces may be walking around town.

Full story: Michigan football alumni take to airwaves to raise money for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital (Fri, 5/17)


Crain's Detroit Business:

The question that has puzzled listeners and radio industry insiders alike in recent weeks is why Greater Media Inc. jettisoned longtime morning ratings kings Drew Lane and Mike Clark from 101.1 FM WRIF. The easy answer is age.

Full story: For 'RIF, 'W' is for why: Greater Media may be looking to dial in younger market (Sun, 5/19)



Informal Toledo radio reunion set for May 28th

Hot off the e-mail inbox:

Peter C. Cavanaugh, now prominently showcased in Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, will be joined by other past and present Toledo radio broadcasters in an "Informal Toledo Radio Reunion" at Manhattan's Restaurant & Bar Downtown on Tuesday, May 28th, from 5 till 7 PM.

Mr. Cavanaugh was Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Reams Broadcasting from 1983 through 1992, a period of time which witnessed WIOT-FM become the highest-rated Rock Station in America and, with sister facility WCWA, produce dozens of Toledo "River Rallies" in Promenade Park featuring top national attractions. In the same decade, hundreds of thousands were drawn to annual Fourth of July and Labor Day Fireworks presented by Reams Broadcasting simulcast live and synchronized to music and lasers on the banks of the Maumee.

Cavanaugh, now a private broadcast consultant and writer for McClatchy Newspapers, lives with his wife, Eileen, in Oakhurst, California at the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. This "Reunion" at Manhattan's marks his first visit back to Toledo in a dozen years.

"We're calling this an "informal radio reunion" and that's exactly what's planned", reports Cavanaugh. He continues, " You are enthusiastically invited if you have ever worked for -- or listened to -- any Toledo radio station -- ever. All you have to do is show up! "



Fine Tuning:

  • Birach Broadcasting's Sports WCAR AM 1090 Livonia/Detroit has apparently dropped all of its local weekday programming that had been airing from 1 - 10 p.m. and is now instead carrying the syndicated programming from ESPN Radio full time. Missing from the airwaves since they were last heard on Friday May 3rd have been the afternoon programs hosted locally by Damon 'The Dog' Perry, Eddie Mio and Art Regner, and the evening program hosted by Mark 'The Man' Wilson. Wilson had also held the role of program director -- it's not clear if he is even with the station any longer.

    Nothing official has been released by Birach as to the status of its local programming block.


Detroit News:

Dave Hunter and Chuck "the Freak" Urquhart have been named WRIF-FM's new morning show after months of speculation. The show, made popular on Canadian airways via Windsor's 89X (CIMX-FM) with Lisa Way, will run 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. beginning May 28.

Full story: It's official: Dave and Chuck 'the Freak' headed to WRIF (Mon, 5/20)



Detroit Free Press:

It's official: Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart, the former hosts of the "Dave and Chuck the Freak" morning show on CIMX-FM (88.7)," will launch a new show on WRIF-FM (101.1) at 6 a.m. on May 28, the show's hosts just told the Free Press.

Full story: It's official: Dave and Chuck 'the Freak' to replace Drew and Mike (Mon, 5/20)




On Saturday, May 18, Fox O&O WJBK Detroit (DMA 11) supported the 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure. More than 30,000 people took to the streets to raise funds to help fight breast cancer.

Full story: WJBK Detroit Supports Komen Race For The Cure (Mon, 5/20)



The Oakland Press:

Lucky customers lined up at the Mobil Crescent gas station in Waterford Monday to load up on free gas.

Full story: Radio station gives away free gas in Waterford (Mon, 5/20)


Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

It would be difficult to recall a time when so many people were talking about radio, but lately the listeners have been very vocal about what's been going across the dial. Years ago I stated that there was once a question people would ask, "Honey, can I change the station?" Now the station changes for you. The worst part is that it's being done by "corporate decision makers" and without any concern for you, the listener. They don't care. The giant companies which control nearly all of the major market stations across America care only about the profit and loss columns. Period.

VuoloMuch has been written about the Drew & Mike departure from Detroit's Home of Rock and Roll...WRIF. A lot of it has been speculation and perhaps my thoughts will be as well, but I hope that my words will at least resemble the truth..

Those of you who read my rants, know that I've always said that the answer to ALL questions regarding the goings on of the radio business is MONEY. It's always about the money. Drew & Mike were very popular on The Riff, but they were also expensive. Steve Kosbeau was the general manager of WDVD and WDRQ (Doug-FM) and probably saw the writing on the wall when Cumulus Media took over Citadel Communications, the previous owner of the stations in the Fisher Building. So he assumed a similar position at Greater Media of Detroit, which owns WRIF, as well as WCSX (94.7) and WMGC (105.1) the later of which has seemingly lost its identity after the departure of Jim Harper. The Magic name was dropped and so has its audience. While WCSX maintains a solid presence as Detroit's classic rocker with longtime market fixture Ken Calvert as its morning anchor, WMGC has not. The morning show at 105.1 is hosted by the very talented Chris Edmonds, but you'd have to listen closely to even realize that since its highly restrictive format only permits his speaking about four times an hour. Sad.

Kosbeau was recently replaced by a new boss, Steve Chessare who was brought in from New York. His job is to increase the R&R (ratings and revenue) and the best way to do both is by trimming expenses. Upon reviewing the books and history of the Greater Media trio of stations locally he probably saw that the largest salaries were going to WRIF's Drew & Mike, and before his arrival, Magic's Jim Harper. Well, Harper "retired" in December of 2011 saving a lot of money, but at what cost? That station is pretty much a non-entity at this point. It's running cheap, but who is listening?

It does not take a legal mind to ascertain which large paycheck would be the next one to trim....the boys at Riff. Add to the fact that after 22 years, they (and their audience) was getting older and things starting looking grim. The same could be said of The Bob & Tom Show syndicated nationally from Clear Channel flagship WFBQ in Indianapolis. The youngest member of that show is over 50. They still attract a large audience, are still funny have won more Marconi Awards (Radio's Oscar) than any morning show in America. But, aside from the awards, the same can be said of Drew & Mike.

Dave, Lisa, Chuck The FreakSteve Chessare's job is to improve the bottom line. Although management was being very reluctant until this afternoon to confirm the reports that former 89X morning jocks Dave and Chuck the Freak would soon occupy the morning shift at WRIF, they have finally made official what had to be the worst kept secret in local radio. The new show starts the day after Memorial Day, Tuesday May 28th.

It's also been said that you never want to be the person(s) who follows a legend. Just ask Paul W. Smith. Even though he had nearly a full year of Jimmy Barrett filling in after the passing of JP McCarthy, he still fights for acceptance as the heir to the WJR AM drive throne. Today, Smith is doing very well, as is Jimmy Barrett at Richmond's 50,000 watt powerhouse WRVA (1140).

Remember Deminski & Doyle at 97.1 FM? They didn't mesh well with the change to sports and the relocation to mornings from an excellent and lengthy run in afternoons. After a failed attempt at WCSX and sitting out about two years of not working, they jumped at an opportunity to return to New Jersey 101.5. That's the same station they came here from about 13 years ago. So, I guess you can go home again after all. Interestingly for a whole year they fielded calls that began with "Welcome back guys!"

So the speculation is running wild as to where Drew Lane, Mike Clark, and Trudi Daniels, will wind up. Will they have to remain off the air for the traditional six months before another station can hire them? Not sure. Theories that WCSX or WMGC will pick them up are slim to none. Companies don't let people go and then re-hire them for another job within the same building. Yet, it's rare to let radio talent do a final week on the air and host a final show as well. I was able to be in-studio with my HD camcorder for their final show, but management had me leave prior to the actual sign-off. Bummer.

Let me finish with my feeling as to what could happen to the ousted Riff crew. Out in San Diego there was a similar high-priced popular morning show known as DSC (Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw) at KGB-FM (101.5) close frequency too. In a similar fashion, their contract was not renewed (mostly over money) imagine that. The show was in limbo from January 2012 through August. KFMB AM-FM-TV (another rare combination) picked up the trio for KFMB-FM, known these days as Jack-FM. It's a station very similar to Detroit's WDRQ-FM (93.1) known as "Doug-FM." Ironically KFMB-AM is at 760. Do you see a pattern here? WDRQ's AM sister station is WJR. A shift to 93.1 would not displace any existing morning show since the entire station runs out of a hard-drive in a computer. The station already has a spacious hardly used studio, right next to sister FM station WDVD-FM (96.3) which hasn't been used since Jay Towers hosted the WDRQ morning show over six years ago. It seems so logical that it will probably never happen, but we can hope.



Finally, in switching gears, I want to drop in a shameless plug for a new toy that I acquired about three months ago called a Sling-Box. If you don't know what it is, let me give it to you in a few simple sentences. With this device you can, on your tablet or smart phone watch anything on your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) in your home, anywhere in the world. All you need is an Internet Wi-Fi connection! While recently out in the Las Vegas area visiting my folks, there I was at their kitchen table with my iPad watching, in HD the news on Local 4 Detroit crystal-clear in real time with incredible video quality. It even works in an airplane, but not in the HD mode. Even if you don't travel extensively, it gives you great control because you can record or playback anything in your home DVR from anywhere. The unit costs $299, but there is a $149 version too and no monthly subscription. On the west coast I could watch my favorite DJ's on Fox 2's Dish Nation at 9 pm without having to wait till midnight. Ain't technology grand? Happy Summertime!


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


Art Vuolo Jr.


Fine Tuning:

  • The FM dial in Northern Michigan underwent some big changes yesterday with multiple stations swapping frequencies/formats and one returning to the air:

    * WAVC FM 93.9 Mio has returned to the air with a talk format, simulcasting WYPV FM 94.5 Mackinaw City. The stations identify as 'The Patriot'.

    * The WYPV format and calls moved from FM 106.3 Onaway. That frequency is now has the call sign WJZJ and is carrying a soft rock format as Easy 106.3. This station plays the same music as WQEZ FM 95.5 Glen Arbor / Traverse City but with different advertisements and positioning.

    * FM 94.5, which was part of the Classic Rock 'The Bear' service also heard on FM 98.1 in the Traverse City area and FM 107.1 in the Cadillac area, had been using the call sign WLJZ through December when it switched to WOEZ, followed by WJZJ on May 1st, and now WYPV.

    * Classic Rock 'The Bear' is now heard on FM 97.7 Cheboygan and that station has the currently has the WOEZ call sign.

  • In Sarnia, Ontario CHOK AM 1070 and its FM simulcaster on 103.9 has changed its music from Country to a variety of Soft Rock. The station maintains its full-service approach with news, talk, and sports content to go with its music.




TALK MEDIA NETWORK's "FRONTLINES OF FREEDOM" with ARMY Lt. Col. DENNY GILLEM (Ret.) is returning in the GRAND RAPIDS market to its original home, CLEAR CHANNEL Talk WOOD-A-F/GRAND RAPIDS, for SATURDAYS 6-8p (ET), beginning JUNE 1st.

Full story: 'Frontlines Of Freedom' Returns To WOOD (Tue, 5/21)


Grand Rapids Press:

Tara Hernandez can come up with many favorite memories from five years as a sports anchor at FOX 17. But, as she prepares for her final broadcast, finding No. 1 was elusive.

Full story: FOX17 sports broadcaster Tara Hernandez prepares for final show (Mon, 5/20)




WXIN, the Tribune owned FOX affiliate for Indianapolis, IN, has named Kerri Cavanaugh as news director ... She comes to WXIN from Tribune's WXMI in Grand Rapids, MI, where she has been the news director since 2010.

Full story: WXIN Names Kerri Cavanaugh News Director (Wed, 5/22)



Broadcasting & Cable:

The on air talent at WLNS Lansing finds itself waking up at strange times this week, as the morning and evening/late news teams have switched places for the week. Young Broadcasting owns the CBS affiliate in DMA No. 115. Jane Aldrich, Sheri Jones, Greg Adaline and meteorologist David Young are anchoring during the 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. shift, while the morning team of Chivon Kloepfer, Evan Pinsonnault and meteorologist Jake Dunne are taking on 5, 6 and 11 p.m.

Full story: WLNS Lansing Anchors Switch Dayparts for Week (Wed, 5/22)



Fine Tuning:

  • Taconite Broadcasting is purchasing FM translator W227CJ 93.3 Marquette from David Stout for $40,000. The transfer application shows that Taconite plans to rebroadcast its Sports WZAM AM 970 on the translator.


Detroit News:

Ryan Field's first appearance on national television came 12 years ago in Hollywood, where, as a baby-faced 20-something just graduated from Michigan State, he appeared on "The Price is Right" -- and won four mountain bikes and a trip to Barcelona. He's hit it big again. And again, he's off to Los Angeles.

Full story: FSD correspondent Ryan Field gets national call-up from Fox (Thu, 5/23)



Grand Rapids Press:

WOOD TV8's Ryan Takeo, a California native, is heading home to the Golden State. Takeo is joining KPIX-TV in San Francisco as a general assignment reporter/MMJ, the CBS-TV owned station announced Wednesday.

Full story: WOOD TV8's Ryan Takeo leaving Grand Rapids for a Top 10 TV market (Thu, 5/23)



Fine Tuning:

  • Another FM translator sale 'Up North' will get an AM on FM: Richard Stone is purchasing FM translator W236CB 95.1 Charlevoix from Fred Hannel for $10,000. Stone plans on rebroadcasting his News/Talk WJML AM 1110 Petoskey on the translator according to the FCC transfer application.


Newsmakers and links: May 24, 2013



Detroit Free Press:

In 1930, Detroit was the fastest-growing city in the world. Today it's the fastest-shrinking city, with families fleeing every day. That's one of the sobering facts shared in "Detropia," the powerful 2012 documentary about the once-thriving Motor City.

Full story: 'Detropia': PBS to air powerful Detroit doc nationally (Fri, 5/24)




In the aftermath of one of the worst tornados in U.S. history, Scripps-owned WXYZ Detroit (DMA 11) stepped up to help those affected by the deadly tornado that struck Moore, Okla. In partnership with the American Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Region, WXYZ hosted a live telethon on Wednesday, May 22, to raise money for those affected by the Oklahoma disaster.

Full story: WXYZ Detroit Okla. Telethon Raises $85,000 (Fri, 5/24)



TheTicker - Traverse City:

TV 7&4 and 29&8 anchors Erika Erickson, Brody O'Connell and Kate Fox are all moving on from the station they've reported news from the past three years. Erickson and O'Connell are jumping to larger markets; Erickson will be reporting for WJBK-TV FOX 2 in Detroit and O'Connell for WBTV in Charlotte - a Top 50 market.

Full story: Anchors Away: Local NBC, ABC Affiliate Sees Changes (Thu, 5/23)



Detroit Public TV planning coverage of next week's Mackinac Policy Conference

Detroit's WTVS-TV Ch. 56 (DPTV) will offer live broadcasts, live webcasts and keep viewers up to date on analysis and behind-the-scenes information from the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference. It's three days of the most important issues facing Michigan, and the next best thing to being there.

Viewers can tune in for the station's "MiVote Mackinac" nightly wrap-ups airing May 29-31 at 7:30 p.m. ET on the main Channel, 56.1.

There will also be full-length coverage of the Conference in Metro Detroit on DPTV's Channel 56.2 for over-the-air viewers, Channel 287 on Comcast, Channel 155 on Brighthouse and Channel 432 on Charter:

  • Wednesday, May 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 30th from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 31st from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The same coverage will stream live on the MiVote.org website and on many commercial news organizations' websites. MiVote.org will also feature edited segments of Conference sessions and interviews with newsmakers at the Conference, as well as social media interaction through @MiVote.



Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation (MAAF) elects 2013 officers

Newly elected officers include: President, Ellyn Davidson, Managing Partner at Brogan and Partners Communications (Birmingham); Vice President, Rhonda Huffman, MAAO III, PPE, Real Estate Manager, Adams Outdoor Advertising (Lansing); Secretary, Mary Worland, Development Coordinator for the Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation (Lansing); Treasurer, Tom Hahn, Finance Manager for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (Lansing); Immediate Past President Michael Gottlieb, Vice President, Signal Installs (Novi).

"I am thrilled to contribute my time as the new president of the Michigan Amber Alert Foundation Board," said Ellyn Davidson. "There is nothing more important to me than ensuring the safety of all Michigan children, and I'm happy to use my talents to help this great foundation."

The MAAF also welcomed the following members to the board of trustees: Al Blinke, Vice President and General Manager for WNEM-TV, Meredith Corporation (Flint/Saginaw), Bruce Law, Director of Sales for Clear Channel West Michigan, Lila Lazarus, Owner/Producer/Talent of Lila Productions, LLC (Detroit)


Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr. and Jon Quick

Jon Quick worked at WCCO in Minneapolis when I first met him. He spent a decade as program director of the Indianapolis radio station where my radio career began, WIBC. He is today a respected radio consultant and wrote a piece to broadcasters after the horrible tragedy in Moore, OK on May 20th. Here are his words...Quick and to-the-point.


The General Manager from one of my client radio stations asked a very timely and important question of me today. Should we have a disaster plan? The answer is absolutely! An EF-5 tornado in a densely populated area makes you rethink things.

So, in light of the latest tragedy in Oklahoma City, it is again another example of where radio is providing a lifeline to the victims for critical information. But, if you're not on the air, obviously you cannot perform this potentially life-saving public service.

The FCC has a ready made set of guidelines for radio preparedness. See the links below. The first is more general; the second a guide specific to radio stations, and very comprehensive. One thing for sure, be prepared first and foremost with an alternate broadcast location that is working. They recommend running test drills with your staff switching to and broadcasting from that location. The listener doesn't even need to know. I know that stations I was involved with after 9-11 took this seriously and made plans. But it's been a long time and it's one of those things we sometimes neglect to think of -- until the next tragedy strikes. It's time for a refresher course.

You'll need maybe one turntable, a microphone, a way to air the commercials (when appropriate), and connection to news networks. Maybe even food and water. I know many stations have it rigged so you just pull a switch and everything switches over to the "new studio." Let's hope none of us ever need it but we'll thank God that it's there if we do.

I would also recommend running promos encouraging people to add the "Tune-In Radio" app to their smart phones so they can hear you anywhere (if you don't have your own app). If you have an iPhone, try the "Streams hi fi" app. One day soon FM chips will be in the phones too, thanks to the dedication of Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan and the FCC. A no-brainer. Many times if people have to flee, they don't think to grab a radio, but will have their smart phones. Fifty percent of your listeners have smart phones these days. I wish I could remember who said it recently, but the smart phone has become the "remote control" of our lives.



Mr. Quick nailed it! Just a couple of days prior to the destruction in Moore, OK, Jon responded to my column about what is happening to the radio industry in here the 21st century:


Broadcasters must realize that they need to become a brand, with their radio content being available in a choice of ways. Not just on-air, but online, and on smart phones. I believe it's still all about content. If it's great and unique they will find you. This also points to the importance of the personality. I can get the music anywhere. But, I can't get a John Landecker or a Joey Reynolds. I work with several Midwest stations that are big with farm and agri-business news. Today the farmer gets the markets instantaneously on their ... yes, smart phones.

The brands that are making it, offer additional commentary and grass roots connections with the farmer (who are more sophisticated than many give them credit for). So maybe listening ON-AIR will go down ... but if your content and branding is great and compelling.... they will still EXPERIENCE you ... but on different platforms. Let's not disregard the recent survey saying the vast majority of people, including the younger ones still want a radio in their cars.


Final thoughts from Art Vuolo

Really well put, and probably one of the reasons Jon Quick is such a respected radio executive. It's just so sad that as I monitored Oklahoma City's primary news-talk station, KTOK-AM, owned by mega-owner Clear Channel, budget and staff cuts deprive the listeners, of the type of coverage they deserve. KTOK, like so many stations in cities outside of the top ten, runs syndicated network programming after 6 pm, so all they could do was provide the audio track of NBC affiliate KFOR-TV. I hope that would not happen in Detroit.

This is the peak severe weather season for southeast Michigan. The 2012 Dexter tornado was strangely in the winter, on March 15, six days before the official start of spring. March 20, 1976 was when a twister took aim at the intersection of Maple and Orchard Lake Road. God forbid if that was to be repeated today. However, tornadoes in Flint hit on June 8, 1953, in Novi on June 21, 1987, also June 21 in 1996 hit Frankenmuth and just beyond June on July 2, 1997 there were multiple hits in the metro Detroit area and radio here responded in a big way. We are blessed to have two well-staffed AM news-talk and information stations in WJR-AM 760 and WWJ-AM 950. As we head into a critical time for tornadoes in our part of the country you can rest assured that these stations will not simply plug into TV audio to serve our community. Have a safe summer!

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

Contact Jon Quick via e-mail at jonqconsulting@aol.com


Art Vuolo Jr.


Detroit Free Press:

After nearly six months of radio silence, Dave Hunter, Charles (Chuck the Freak) Urquhart and Lisa Way know they won't have any problem finding things to talk about when they make their WRIF-FM (101.1) morning-show debut Tuesday. But it might be another thing altogether finding the right knobs to turn and switches to flip so their buzzed-about "Dave and Chuck the Freak" show is heard by anyone outside their new studio.

Full story: 'Dave and Chuck the Freak' ready to keep rockin' Detroit radio (Sun, 5/26)



Fine Tuning:

  • FOX TV owned WJBK-TV Ch. 2 Detroit has added its first digital subchannel. WJBK 2-2 is currently airing a promo loop for "Movies!", a new digital multicast television network that is co-owned by FOX and Weigel Broadcasting, that is set to debut regular programming at 8 a.m. tomorrow, May 27th.

    Movies! will air "a variety of theatrical motion pictures in a new, viewer and advertiser friendly format, not seen on broadcast television to date", according to the new service. Programming will be broadcast in 16:9 widescreen format.



A new radio era began Tuesday morning at Detroit's WRIF-FM as "Dave and Chuck 'The Freak'" kicked off their first show on the station.

Full story: New era in Detroit radio: 'Dave and Chuck' start first day at WRIF-FM; future for 'Drew and Mike' unclear (Tue, 5/28)



Detroit Free Press:

There was a surreal beat of silence. After the final thank-yous and good-byes were issued Tuesday, Dave Hunter, Chuck (the Freak) Urquhart and Lisa Way sat in silence for a moment.

Full story: 'Dave & Chuck' takes over at WRIF (Tue, 5/28)


Welcome to our tournament to determine the best sports broadcaster in Michigan.

Full story: Bracket: Who is the best sports announcer in Michigan? (Tue, 5/28)


Detroit Free Press:

"Bowling for Dollars" fans, have any time to spare this weekend? The public is invited to the taping of the return of the Detroit TV classic.The first taping for the updated "Bowling for Dollars" will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, the original home of the beloved local game show.

Full story: Public invited to 'Bowling for Dollars' taping Saturday (Wed, 5/29)


Frank Beckmann, the radio voice of Michigan football and host of a daily talk show on WJR-AM (760), today issued an apology for a recent column on golfer Sergio Garcia's reference to "fried chicken" when talking about black golfer Tiger Woods. Beckmann's column in the Detroit News on Friday drew fire from some people who found it racially insensitive.

Full story: Michigan football voice Frank Beckmann apologizes for column on 'fried chicken' flap (Wed, 5/29)



Detroit News:

After talking with some good friends and reflecting on my Friday Detroit News column, "Sergio Garcia 'chicken' gaffe reveals our thin skin," I think I was off base. In my effort to emphasize my disdain for political correctness, I conflated it with the Sergio Garcia/Tiger Woods situation and that was a mistake on my part.

Full story: Frank Beckmann: For my Sergio Garcia column, I apologize (Wed, 5/29)




Congratulations to CBS RADIO Country WYCD/DETROIT, which marked its 20th anniversary YESTERDAY (5/28). In 1993, then-owner ALLIANCE flipped NEWS/TALK WOW-FM to YOUNG COUNTRY, just it had previously done with properties in DALLAS, SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO.

Full story: WYCD Turns 20 With Hoedown Throwdown (Wed, 5/29)


Newsmakers and links: May 30, 2013



Detroit Free Press:

The University of Michigan today condemned an "offensive" newspaper column by U-M football announcer Frank Beckmann, but has taken no disciplinary action against him, despite concern from some members of the U-M Board of Regents over Beckmann's views.

Full story: Michigan condemns Frank Beckmann for 'fried chicken' column, but does not discipline him (Thu, 5/30)



Fine Tuning:

  • Trudi Daniels, who had apparently just left the Greater Media/Detroit complex last week with the departure of the Drew and Mike show from Rock WRIF-FM 101.1, is now on board as morning host at sister station Classic Rock WCSX-FM 94.7 as of Monday, June 3rd. She'll be joining Ken Calvert for the 5 - 9 a.m. shift - which will be re-titled to give Daniels co-billing.

    Market manager Steve Chessare commented in a release, "The WCSX air staff is a collection of outstanding on-air personalities from Detroit rock radio history. Trudi is an outstanding talent and the perfect choice to co-host the morning show with Ken Calvert. We are thrilled she will continue to remain a part of the Greater Media/Detroit family."

    Daniels added, "I spent most of my life going to concerts and had to find some way to keep getting free tickets. I'm also going for the record for shortest radio move -- about 40 yards and across the hall!"

  • Tim Roberts, already operations manager for Country WYCD-FM 99.5 and Classic Hits WOMC-FM 104.3 at CBS Radio/Detroit, has added the same responsibility for Top 40 WDZH-FM 98.7 (Amp Radio). Tim Rainey continues on as Program Director for Amp.



Saginaw News:

Meredith Broadcasting and Channel 5, WNEM have given the 1250-AM radio station to Ave Maria Communications. The former news and talk radio station, which featured syndicated talk shows including Neal Boortz and Dave Ramsey, is off the air. It will begin offering Catholic programming within the next few months.

Full story: WNEM, Channel 5 gives 1250-AM radio station to Ave Maria Communications for Catholic programming (Thu, 5/30)



Kalamazoo Gazette:

The B-93 Birthday Bash continues to roll out locations for its free ticket giveaways for the major country music festival on June 8-9 at the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, 1249 12th St. in Martin.

Full story: B-93 Birthday Bash 2013: Ticket giveaways in Kalamazoo today, other West Michigan locations through June 7 (Thu, 5/30)







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

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