Mike Austerman: June 2013 Archives

Detroit Free Press:

Pastor Steven Thrasher was in the hot seat today as the first bowler to go before the cameras for the new version of the Detroit 1970s TV classic "Bowling for Dollars."

Full story: Fans flock to taping of Detroit's revived 'Bowling for Dollars' (Sat, 6/1)



Grand Rapids Press:

"Frontlines of Freedom," the weekly military talk show that originated on WOOD Radio, hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem, is returning to its first home. The syndicated talk show that recently aired on WJRW-AM (1340) on Sunday mornings is returning tonight to the Clear Channel Media-owned station that launched it in 2007.

Full story: Nationally syndicated military talk show returns to its home on WOOD Radio (Sat, 6/1)



Fine Tuning:

  • Spring sports championships take center stage on the MHSAA.tv website the next three Saturdays, with over 80 hours of live streaming video beginning with Saturday's (June 5) coverage of running events from the MHSAA Track & Field Finals. Coverage begins at 10 a.m. (EDT) with the morning preliminaries in the Lower Peninsula, and the 3,200-meter relay final in the Upper Peninsula. The U.P. action will run continuously without a break, while the L.P. coverage takes a break after the semifinals in the 100 and 200 dashes and the high hurdles, resuming at approximately 1 p.m. with the afternoon finals. The afternoon session could begin up to 30 minutes earlier based on the finish of the morning session. A complete schedule for both peninsulas, and lists of qualifiers, can be found on the Track & Field Pages of the MHSAA website.

    The track coverage will be followed on subsequent Saturdays with the Boys & Girls Lacrosse Finals on June 8, beginning at 2 p.m.; the Baseball-Softball Finals on June 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m.; and the Girls Soccer Finals on June 15, beginning at Noon.

    All of the live video streams are free and will be archived on the MHSAA.tv website. DVD's will also be available at MHSAA.tv.

    The MHSAA Network will also stream live audio of the Lacrosse Finals on June 8; the Girls Soccer Finals on June 15;, and in addition to the Baseball-Softball Finals on June 15, the Network will also stream live audio of the Semifinal games in both sports on June 14 from Bailey Park in Battle Creek.

    All of the live audio streams, and on-demand archives, will be available at MHSAANetwork.com.


Grand Rapids Press:

WZZM-TV anchor Lee Van Ameyde is leaving the 11 p.m. news, but he isn't leaving the ABC-TV affiliate in West Michigan. Van Ameyde is taking a new role as head of WZZM's "13 On Your Side" watchdog team beginning today.

Full story: WZZM 13 anchor Lee Van Ameyde steps down from anchoring 11 p.m. news (Mon, 6/3)


FOX 17 is in the market for new news director. WXMI-TV news director Kerri Cavanaugh is moving to Indianapolis to become news director of WXIN-TV/WTTV-TV FOX 59.

Full story: WXMI-TV FOX 17 looking for a new news director for West Michigan station (Mon, 6/3)


True North Radio / Alpenanow.com:

True North Radio Network made a format change effective Friday, May 24th at 11am. The station formerly known as Thunder Country at 100.7 FM became Thunder Rock 100.7 FM. "The change was based on surveys from listeners and advertisers in the area", according to General Manager Darrel Kelly. Classic rock is the soundtrack of the baby boom generation. It features the greatest rock from the 70′s , 80′s, and 90′s. The station will be known officially as "Thunder Rock 100.7, The Sunrise side's classic rock." In addition, a new morning show, "Free Beer and Hot Wings" will be on weekdays from 5 until 10am.

Full story: 100.7 Changes Format to Thunder Rock (Fri, 5/24)



Fine Tuning:

  • Dean La Douceur, writer, speaker and professional collaborator, will host a podcast on BlogTalkRadio with special guest Katrina Hancock, former WDIV-TV Ch. 4 Detroit sports reporter and weekend sports anchor, on Wednesday, June 5th at 11:00 am ET.

    Hancock will be making her first public comments since a non-disclosure lapsed from WDIV, and she will be talking about what happened. Katrina is is now President of Media Creations by Katrina, LLC, what she describes as "a multi-faceted media company offering all forms of videos, media training, interview coaching, public relations, marketing, community project organization, and social media education."

    Tune in to On The Dean's list at www.blogtalkradio.com/onthedeanslist/2013/06/05/katrina-hancock.


Grand Rapids Press:

Expect names new and familiar for WLAV's 2013 Blues on the Mall series. Now in its 22nd year, the Wednesday-night staple at Rosa Parks Circle will kick off June 12 with Tommy Castro, the San Jose-based singer and guitarist who, according to Grand Rapids music blogger John Sinkevics, "has cultivated a wildly enthusiastic cadre of West Michigan fans over the years." He'll be accompanied by his backing band, the Painkillers.

Full story: Tommy Castro, a West Michigan favorite, to open WLAV's Blues on the Mall series (Wed, 6/5)


Fine Tuning:

  • After about 3 months on the job, Keith Hastings has bid a hasty adieu to Greater Media/Detroit Classic Rock WCSX-FM 94.7, where he was briefly the station's Program Director, to head for San Antonio, TX where he'll be PD at Classic Rock KISS-FM. Hastings was named as the successor to Brent Alberts - who has since landed in Toledo.




Media General and Young Broadcasting have announced an agreement to merge the two companies. The new company will retain the Media General name and location, based in Richmond, Va. (In Michigan, Young Broadcasting owns/operates CBS affiliate WLNS-TV Ch. 6 Lansing)

Full story: Young Broadcasting, Media General to Merge (Thu, 6/6)



Gannett-owned ABC affiliate WZZM Grand Rapids, Mich. (DMA 39), has created a Watchdog Team headed by veteran reporter and anchor, Lee Van Ameyde who has been with the station for more than 36 years. Van Ameyde, the stations says, "is known in the community and professional arenas as being an advocate for those without a voice and for seeking answers on tough and controversial issues."

Full story: WZZM Launches Watchdog Reporting Team (Fri, 6/7)




LANSER BROADCASTING Contemporary Christian WJQK (JQ 99.3)/GRAND RAPIDS recently partnered with churches in HOLLAND & ZEELAND, MI as a part of their JQ & U Campaign called "ONE LORD, ONE CHURCH," which brought churches together for two weeks to rally the community together all in the name of serving one God.

Full story: JQ99/Grand Rapids Partnering With Churches (Thu, 6/6)



Saginaw News:

Howard Sharper felt a little empty a few weeks ago, as if something was missing in his life.His battle with high blood pressure and congestive heart failure forced him into medical leave from his position as director of programming and production at Delta College's public radio station WUCX-FM, 90.1, "and I was feeling erased," he said.

Full story: Radio icon Howard Sharper says he 'didn't do anything special' as musicians recognize his support (Tue, 6/4)


When Michael Brush headed to Delta College's broadcasting center last February, the jazzman from Freeland was surprised to learn the radio station's director of programming and production wasn't in the WUCX-FM, 90.1, offices.

Full story: Musicians say thanks to radio icon Howard Sharper with scholarship concert at Bay City's State Theatre (Wed, 6/5)



Fine Tuning:

  • Clear Channel/Detroit's 'Mojo In the Morning' crew of Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 is getting lots of attention for its clever stunt earlier this week involving a Ryan Gosling look-a-like. Check out the Lyin' Gosling Street Scam for yourself.

  • Cumulus Media rearranges some of its management personnel in the area, moving VP Market Manager Matt Spaulding from Toledo to Ann Arbor where he'll keep the same role. Filling the position in Toledo will be John Gallagher, who shifts from Kansas City where he was VP of Sales for the Cumulus' cluster there. Gallagher's name might be familiar; he spent time in Detroit in management roles at WJR-AM 760 and Greater Media's cluster that includes WCSX-FM 94.7 / WRIF-FM 101.1 / WMGC-FM 105.1. Spaulding's move marks a return to Ann Arbor for him.


Newsmakers and links: June 10, 2013



Saginaw News:

From music to sugar, all kinds of festivals head to the Great Lakes Bay Region this coming week. Which festival will you attend? Country music musicians Gary Allan and Easton Corbin take the stage at the 22nd KCQ Country Music Fest Free Concert Saturday, June 15, on Saginaw's Ojibway Island.

Full story: Yffy's Top 5: KCQ Country Music Fest top week full of festivals in Great Lakes Bay Region (Mon, 6/10)


Saginaw News:

All the markers point to another grand ol' time at the 22nd annual KCQ Country Music Fest coming Saturday, June 15, to Ojibway Island. Section 98 and Gold Preferred seating areas are sold out, with the free seating still up for grabs on a first-come, first-served basis, said Greg Cole, operations manager and afternoon DJ at WKCQ-FM, 98.1.

Full story: KCQ Country Music Fest 2013 expecting huge crowd on Saginaw's Ojibway Island (Tue, 6/11)


When Margaret Durante played the KCQ Country Music Fest in 2011, a New Face performing on a second stage between sets, she said something prophetic about her struggles in Nashville.

Full story: Maggie Rose pushes the reset button at Saginaw's KCQ Country Music Fest 2013 (Tue, 6/11)



WOOD-TV Ch. 8 Grand Rapids:

Changes could be coming to the B-93 Birthday Bash next year after a number of issues plagued the free country concert last weekend in Martin. A 9-year-old girl was hit by an alleged underage drunk driver, people that pre-paid for parking were turned away when the lot filled up and people abandoned their vehicles along the side of the highway and hiked into the venue.

Full story: B-93, venue may make changes to Bash (Tue, 6/11)



WZZM-TV Ch. 13 Grand Rapids:

B-93 concert goers who were unable to get into the 21st Birthday Bash this past Saturday have two options for getting a refund if they purchased a two-day parking pass. The first is to mail in their Saturday parking pass along with a self-addressed return envelope included. Only Saturday's parking pass will be refunded, which is $20 of the total $40 weekend parking pass.

Full story: Martin Speedway Encourages Patrons to Mail in Refund Requests (Mon, 6/10)



WWMT-TV Ch. 3 Kalamazoo:

We're now learning why so many ticket holders may have been turned away from the B-93 Birthday Bash over the weekend. This is the fourth year the event was held at US-131 Motorsports Park in Martin. The General Manager of the park says last weekend's event saw an astounding 50,000 people each day, but hundreds of ticket-holders were turned away when the venue reached capacity.

Full story: More details emerge on ticket-holders turned away from B-93 Birthday Bash (Tue, 6/11)



Fine Tuning:

  • Silent WHFB AM 1060 Benton Harbor is being sold by Broadcast Associates Limited Partnership to Gerard Media, LLC for $175,000 pending FCC approval and closing. The deal also involves a time brokerage arrangement that should bring the station back on the air prior to closing.

  • Soft Rock FM 106.3 Onaway has changed call sign from WJZJ to WOEZ; Classic Rock FM 97.7 Cheboygan, which had the WOEZ sign is now WCHY.


Bill Bailey, WGVU AM morning host and radio icon in Michigan, dies suddenly at age 66

WOOD-FM/AM 106.9/1300 Grand Rapids/Muskegon:

West Michigan radio icon Bill Bailey has died. He had a long career that started with Armed Forces Radio when he served in Vietnam, according to his peer and friend Phil Catlett. "Bill was a major-market talent that worked in Washington, DC, and Cincinnati, and the famed WLS in Chicago before he came to Grand Rapids."

Full story: West Michigan Radio Icon Bill Bailey Dies (Wed, 6/12)

Note: Bailey also worked in Detroit and was perhaps best known in that city for his time hosting morning drive at WDRQ-FM 93.1 in the 1970s. His WGVU profile states that he had been in the radio business for more than 30 years with gigs at WLS AM Chicago and WXTR-FM in Washington DC, among many others. Prior to joining WGVU, he was the Program Director and afternoon host for WLHT-FM 95.7 and as Program Director at WTRV-FM 100.5 in Grand Rapids.

His award-winning career included recognition from the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award, winning for Station of the Year in 1998. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 he was a finalist for the NAB's Crystal Award and he was also a finalist for Billboard Magazine's Air Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year.

Bill is survived by his wife Sandy and had one daughter.



WXYZ-TV Ch. 7 Detroit:

After a career in journalism that has spanned more than 35 years, 7 Action News reporter Cheryl Chodun has announced her retirement. Chodun began her career as a freelance newspaper reporter before joining WXYZ in 1978 as a news writer. She went on to report news for WCXI and WWJ radio before being recruited back to WXYZ's 7 Action News as an on-air reporter in 1988.

Full story: 7 Action News reporter Cheryl Chodun announces her retirement (Wed, 6/12)



Michigan Radio receives national UNITY Award

The Radio Television Digital News Association has honored Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor / WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids / WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint) with a RTDNA/UNITY Award for its recent "Infant Mortality in Michigan" documentary. Michigan Radio received the award in the large market radio category. This is Michigan Radio's second UNITY Award; the first was awarded for the station's 2011 series "Muslims in Michigan."

"This national RTDNA/UNITY Award is a tremendous acknowledgement of important journalism from the State of Opportunity team," said Stephen Schram, Michigan Radio's Director of Broadcasting. "We also extend our thanks and congratulations to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation whose sole support of State of Opportunity makes this work possible."


Newsmakers and links: June 13, 2013



Grand Rapids Press:

Radio was WGVU-AM personality Bill Bailey's first passion. Golf was his second. WGVU-AM's "Real Oldies" program director and morning on-air host died in the pursuit of both.

Full story: Bill Bailey, veteran West Michigan radio personality, dies during golf outing (Thu, 6/13)



Kalamazoo Gazette:

Following a record turnout that caused long lines, backed up traffic along U.S. 131 and forced some ticket holders to be turned away on Saturday, organizers of the B-93 Birthday Bash are considering several changes, including a different venue.

Full story: B-93 Birthday Bash to change venue? Organizer says 'everything is possible' (Wed, 6/12)



Saginaw News:

Orange barrels have a way of making people see red, especially when the road construction closes Ezra Rust to two lanes and they're trying to make their way to this Saturday's KCQ Country Music Fest on Ojibway Island.

Full story: KCQ Country Music Fest 2013 offers ways around Saginaw's road construction on Ezra Rust (Thu, 6/13)



USA Today:

Gannett Co., the diversified media company that owns USA TODAY and TV stations, said Thursday it will buy competitor Belo Corp. for $2.2 billion in a deal that will make Gannett the fourth largest owner of major network affiliates in the U.S., reaching nearly a third of U.S. households.

Full story: Gannett to acquire Belo in $2.2 billion deal (Thu, 6/13)

In Michigan, Gannett owns ABC affiliate WZZM-TV Ch. 13 Grand Rapids and a number of newspapers including the Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal and Battle Creek Enquirer.




A lawsuit filed by SETH EPSTEIN and PEACOCK PROPERTIES INVESTMENTS, INC. against CUMULUS MEDIA, INC. (CITADEL BROADCASTING CO.) has been moved from a MICHIGAN state court to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of MICHIGAN, LANSING Division.

Full story: Cumulus Gets Suit Over Barter Deal Moved To Federal Court (Thu, 6/13)



Fine Tuning:

  • Regional web site americajr.com is offering coverage of Saturday's 'KCQ Country Music Fest including an exclusive interview with artist Maggie Rose.

    Information on the Fest, including parking details, is also available from the WKCQ web site. MacDonald Broadcasting owns the station heard at 98.1 in the Saginaw market.


Remembering Bill Bailey

Longtime West Michigan radio icon Bill Bailey died suddenly at the age of 66 on the golf course after suffering an apparent heart attack on Wednesday, June 12th at the age of 66. He was working a station event for Public/Oldies WGVU AM 1480/850 in the Grand Rapids area where he was the Program Director and morning host. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Listen back to Bill when he was hosting mornings at Detroit's WDRQ-FM 93.1 back in the 1970s on George Griggs' Motor City Radio Flashbacks site.


Art Vuolo remembers Bill with a Video Air Check featuring some of his work at WLHT-FM 95.7 Grand Rapids and at a WLS Chicago rewind, seen below:




Detroit Free Press:

Matt Dery of 97.1 The Ticket has a new gig with an old franchise. The sports radio personality will be the new host of the rebooted "Bowling for Dollars." The iconic Detroit game show that ruled the local airwaves in the 1970s is being revived by WADL (Channel 38) starting this weekend.

Full story: 'Bowling for Dollars' names Matt Dery new host (Fri, 6/14)


Saginaw News:

A huge crowd estimated at 110,000 people biked, walked and boated its way to Saginaw's Ojibway Island to see country music headliner Gary Allan perform his chart-toppers at the KCQ Country Music Fest. The event has drawn country music fans to Saginaw for 22 years and surpassed the Saginaw County Police Department's initial expectations of 90,000.

Full story: KCQ Country Music Fest draws estimated 110,000 fans as country star Gary Allan plays Saginaw's Ojibway Island (Sat, 6/15)


The coolers have been packed, cowboy hats have been bought and the crowds have gathered as the KCQ Free Country Music Fest kicked off on Saginaw's Ojibway Island. Some fans camped out starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, like Saginaw resident Ashley Hummel, 32, who set up chairs for her friends and family next to a willow tree.

Full story: Saginaw's Ojibway Island two-stepping with country fans at KCQ Country Music Fest (Sat, 6/15)



Flint Journal:

Gospel radio host Sam Williams used to end his shows with the phrase, "What on Earth are you doing for Heaven's sake?" Flint radio listeners have been able to answer that question for him for more than 50 years as he hosted his Sam Williams Sunday Morning Gospel Show for more than five decades.

Full story: Sam Williams has served up gospel to Flint for more than 50 years on Sunday radio show (Sat, 6/15)



Detroit News:

There is not a day that goes by without me thinking about my father ... Some baby boomers and most of their parents would remember Dick Westerkamp as a pioneer and icon of local Detroit broadcasting from the mid-1950s through the late 1960s.

Full story: Father's Day tribute: Remembering Detroit TV pioneer Dick Westerkamp (Sun, 6/16)




WKAR kicks off its fifth season of its televised series BackStage Pass with free concerts in East Lansing this week, offering local music fans the chance to be part of the television audience.

Full story: WKAR-TV's Backstage Pass invites you to 3 nights of free concerts this week (Mon, 6/17)



Fine Tuning:

  • A memorial celebration for former WGVU AM morning host / Program Director Bill Bailey will be held Sunday, June 23 at the Eberhard Center, 301 Fulton St., Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1pm - 5pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to operationhomefront.net. Donations provide aid to service members' families. The family welcomes memories and messages in their guest book online at mlive.com which will be active on Friday, June 21.

  • Congratulations to all the EMMY winners announced on Saturday evening at the 35th Annual EMMY Gala hosted by the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. A complete list of all the winners is available at natasmichigan.org.


Grand Rapids Press:

WOOD Radio's farewell for announcer Gary Allen is going to be unlike anything ever heard before. Special guests including Suzanne Geha and Peter Chan will be on WOOD Radio on Thursday during a 12-hour salute to Allen, who retires on Friday.

Full story: WOOD Radio says farewell to Gary Allen with 12-hour, 50-guest radio show on Thursday (Wed, 6/19)


The voice of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Bob Kaser, called Tuesday "a night of joy like no other I've experienced." He wasn't alone in the sentiment.

Full story: Calder Cup victory 'emotional' for Griffins play-by-play announcer (Wed, 6/19)



Oakland Press:

After creating countless memories for Spartan and Piston fans for decades behind a microphone, play-by-play broadcaster George Blaha created one more memory on Monday. Except this time, it was on a golf course. The voice of the Detroit Pistons and Michigan State football was the man behind the 24th George Blaha High Hopes Golf Outing, held at Knollwood Country Club, which has raised over $1.5 million to date for Vista Maria.

Full story: Pistons announcer George Blaha helps raise $1 million for at-risk kids (Wed, 6/19)




Viewers of WEYI were not happy after the station took a power hit that knocked the Flint, MI, NBC affiliate off the air during the finale of the NBC show "The Voice." Viewers screens froze around 10:25 p.m. last night during the build up to the announcement of the winner.

Full story: WEYI Pushes News Back to Let Viewers Watch 'Voice' Finale After Power Outage (Wed, 6/19)



Fine Tuning:

  • If the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are extended to a Game 6 on Monday June 24th, Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV Ch. 4 will not carry that particular game as it devotes its evening to covering the fireworks show along the Detroit riverfront. Instead, game coverage will shift to WADL-TV Ch. 38 for that night only. The games can also been seen in the Detroit area on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBET-TV Ch. 9 from Windsor, ON.


Grand Rapids Press:

Gary Allen, longtime broadcaster for WOOD Radio for more than 30 years, retires Friday, June 21, 2013. But today, WOOD Radio is celebrating "Gary Allen Day" with Allen and some 50 special guests broadcasting from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Full story: It's Gary Allen Day at WOOD Radio; Check out the quips and comments from the live broadcast (Thu, 6/20)


Newsmakers and links: June 23, 2013



After five years at WWMT-TV Newschannel 3 as the morning anchor, Josh Roe is leaving the broadcast news station for an opportunity in Chattanooga, Tenn. "We are going to miss Josh terribly," said Steve Koles, WWMT-TV news director.

Full story: Josh Roe, WWMT-TV Newschannel 3 morning anchor, moving to station in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Sat, 6/22)


Veteran reporter Dave Fortin returns to TV in Northern Michigan

A familiar face to northern Michigan TV viewers is back on air. Dave Fortin, who reported for WPBN in Traverse City for 42 years before retiring in 2006, has joined 24/7 local news channel MI News 26, and will be expanding the station's presence in Traverse City this summer.

Dave Fortin 

Fortin will report from popular events in the area, including the Cherry Festival and Traverse City Film Festival. He'll also focus on spot news coverage and feature reports from around northern Michigan.

"I spent over 40 years as a television journalist here in northern Michigan," explained Fortin, "Eventually, the excitement wore off... but I'm 're-excited' after discovering MI News 26; I'll once again be covering news from this area."

Fortin has a long history in local news. In addition to interviewing high-profile personalities including Johnny Cash and Bob Hope, Fortin has won numerous awards for his work in journalism, including the Farm Bureau Agriculture Reporter of the Year and Traverse City's own Very Cherry Award for coverage of the cherry industry.

"We're very excited to be working with Dave Fortin," said Eric Wotila, who owns and serves as the General Manager at MI News 26, "He is, without a doubt, one of northern Michigan's best and best-known journalists, and we're looking forward to working with Dave to expand our coverage of Traverse City news and events."

MI News 26, based in Cadillac, was launched by 24-year-old news entrepreneur Eric Wotila in early 2011. The station is available to Charter Digital Cable subscribers throughout northwestern Michigan on SD channel 73 and HD channel 789. It also broadcasts to Wexford, Missaukee and Osceola counties on antenna channel 26, in addition to streaming live online at MINews26.com.



Detroit News:

Scott Lewis, part of WXYZ-TV (Channel 7)'s investigative team since July 2010, will leave the station in July, when his contract is up. The announcement came from Lewis' publicist, Mort Meisner.

Full story: Scott Lewis leaving WXYZ investigative news team (Mon, 6/24)



WJBK-TV / Fox 2 Detroit:

Fox 2's Lee Thomas told the world about his struggle with vitiligo a few years ago. Now after searching to find a treatment for the medical condition, he has finally found something this is working. This is his inspiring update. I have a disease called vitiligo. Over the years, my skin pigment had been slowly leaving until at one point it was all the way gone, but it is coming back.

Full story: Vitiligo update: Lee Thomas regaining his skin pigmentation (Mon, 6/24)



Fine Tuning:

  • Hockey fans in the Detroit area looking for NBC's coverage of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins can find the game on WADL-TV Ch. 38 this evening at 8 p.m.; the game broadcast is being preempted by WDIV-TV Ch. 4 due to that station's coverage of this evening's fireworks on the Detroit River.

    Another option for fans is to tune into CBC's CBET-TV Ch. 9 Windsor, ON - available over the air with an HD signal as well on many cable systems in the region.


Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

It's a fair statement to describe me a person who, for over fifty years, has loved radio passionately. Certainly there are others who fit that description as well. People like Bruce Morrow, Randy Michaels, Ed Christian, John Records Landecker, Shotgun Tom Kelly and Scott Shannon.

But, let's look closer. When CBS Radio in New York changed the format of America's top oldies station, WCBS-FM on June 3, 2005, Cousin Brucie was one of a plethora of top-notch personalities who were all let go. So, he left terrestrial radio and joined Sirius (now SiriusXM) Satellite Radio. Randy Michaels, is considered one of radios true mavericks. Not everything he's done worked. Some were massive and expensive failures, but he is one of the most daring and outspoken members of our radio fraternity. Ed Christian ran Detroit's WNIC in the late 1970's. Today he owns one of America's best non- corporate radio companies, Saga Communications, but owns no stations here in Michigan. Chicago radio legend, John Records Landecker, is an Ann Arbor native who just penned a hot-selling book entitled "Records Truly is My Middle Name." He has inspired countless "wanna-be's" to become radio DJ's, but today, this Michigan State alum has been reduced to playing over-exposed music, reading liner cards and only speaking about four times per hour. Southern California's Shotgun Tom Kelly made it big in both San Diego and Los Angeles by never forgetting how to have fun on the air and letting that translate through the microphone, the radio tower and finally the speaker of the end user, the listener. He rightfully received his own star on April 30th along Hollywood's Walk of Fame! Scott Shannon is the co-creator of the Morning Zoo format which swept the dial nationwide in the 1980's. He's perceived to be among the most creative broadcasters in America, and some thirty years ago gave me the moniker "Radio's Best Friend."

VuoloThese are just a few of my personal favorites, but there are dozens more, like Dick Purtan, Joey Reynolds and Bob & Tom. Some are retired, some are considered no longer relatable to today's audiences, and others are seemingly always ahead of their time on just about every level. What radio seems to be suffering from in 2013 can best be described in an old limerick "the tried and the true and nothing new." There is still good radio, but like good television, you need to search deep through a lot of weeds to find the flowers. My emphasis here will be on talk radio and the agonizing death of the AM band.

Jerry del Colliano is a radio guy who is concerned about what is happening to the industry and writes a daily blog warning us how large corporations are destroying the medium so many of us love dearly. I know Jerry, and I like him, but don't want this piece to be perceived as a "doom and gloom" manifesto that paints a picture of no hope for the wireless. My personal goal is simply to make people aware of where things are heading before we lose what's left of the audience.

At the September 2011 National Association of Broadcasters Radio Convention in Chicago, I stood at a microphone and asked six of radio's biggest CEO's a simple question. "In the year 2020 commercial radio will be one hundred years old. What will be on the AM dial by that time? Conventional-wisdom feels the AM band would be mostly brokered shows, foreign language or religious-oriented programming. Do you agree?" Only Dan Mason, president of CBS Radio (who brought back 'CBS-FM in New York) offered a truly plausible solution suggesting that AM radio be converted to a digital platform similar to what happen with TV, but what about all those radios out there? Radio is still more portable than TV, but smart phones, tablets and the Sling-Box is changing all of that as well. My personal lean is for AM stations, with FM's in their cluster, simulcast their AM programming on an FM-HD channel. It would give listeners a reason to purchase still struggling HD Radio and offer a clearer method of listening to "Rice Crispy Radio" [AM] with its snap, crackle and pop! AM stand-alone stations face a more difficult option.

What's going to happen next? The very fact that every professional sports team in the Motor City is now carried on The Ticket is proof positive as to what the trend is. CBS Radio in Detroit, which holds to the broadcast rights to University of Michigan football and basketball, clears all those games on their all-news station WWJ-AM (950). Interestingly, U of M sports cannot be heard on FM anywhere in southeast Michigan, yet they can in East Lansing. Go figure. For thirty years prior, the Wolverines were a staple on Michigan's biggest signal, WJR-AM (760) but, that's another long story which can be read on my web site www.vuolovideo.com/umfootball.

It was only a dozen years ago that radio stations nationwide were concerned about the advent of satellite radio. Then it was quickly realized that programming covering the entire nation from 22,000 miles out in space could not be LOCAL. Today, the vast majority of talk stations take more than 75% of their programming from syndication networks which, oddly enough, deliver their shows via satellite and it's NOT local fare.

Personally, the two stations that I find most palatable come from Ohio and New Jersey. Cincinnati's 50,000 watt blow-torch 700 WLW is known as "The Big One." Because its owner, Clear Channel has three other AM properties in that city, two can feature ESPN and Fox Sports respectively and the third has space to clear a large roster of syndicated programs offered by their internally owned Premiere Radio Networks. This leaves WLW, once known as "The Nations Station," free of network obligations keeping it 100% LOCAL and it shows in the ratings and revenue it generates. Most stations are not afforded such a luxury.

From The Garden State, my favorite is an FM talk station, known as New Jersey 101.5 and similar to the Cincinnati station is all local around the clock. Best of all, the great majority of their programming centers around what is commonly referred to as pop-culture topics. High-profile personalities, with excellent on-air chemistry, results in a radio station that is exceedingly entertaining. Entertainment is the missing ingredient in most of today's radio regardless of format. Even though NJ Governor Chris Christie guests on the FM talker each month, the topics are mostly non-political.

On June 12th, 2013 one of radio's true good guys, Bill Bailey, died of a heart attack while participating in a golf outing sponsored by Grand Valley State University's WGVU-AM, where Bailey did the morning show and was program director. The huge turn-out of major radio people and friends at his Celebration of Life ceremony on June 23rd was testimony to how appreciated personalities, who care about their audience, are in this day and age. Some of you may recall when Bill's rich deep voice did wake-up duties at Detroit's 93.1 WDRQ back in the 1970's. He will be missed.

Last fall during the months which led up to the presidential election, I seriously wondered if radio could talk about anything other than politics. So, it was hardly a stunning revelation when a recent radio research project stated that listeners seem to be "burning out" on political talk. Wow, hold the front page!


With the recent departure of popular morning duo, Drew & Mike, at Detroit's rocker WRIF, radio keeps striving for a younger and younger audience, seemingly unaware it's a demographic that's straying from radio in droves. Many Riff-listeners were very displeased. Only time will tell if Dave and Chuck the Freak will be well received by Detroit's "Home of Rock & Roll," as the company that owns WRIF attempts to reach a younger audience while spending less money on talent.

Ever since 2009 just about every single automobile has been equipped with an auxiliary jack on the car radio. Many vehicles even feature USB ports so that you can easily plug in your iPod, iPhone, satellite radio or anything you prefer other than traditional AM or FM offerings. Radio no longer has the stage (known as the dashboard) all to itself and as the years go by, the competition for your attention, while driving, will continue to intensify.

What concerns me the most is where are we headed? So much of what is on the air today sounds the same. We have truly witnessed the "McDonald's-ization" of our medium. Spin the dial overnight and notice how many times you will hear Detroit-native George Noory discussing the paranormal. Listen to the anger and hate spewed by the right versus the left from Republicans and Democrats with speculation already as to who will replace President Obama in the 2016 election. It has made us more like the Divided States of America. Please show us some mercy.

Innovation and creativity seem to no longer be in the equation of what makes for stimulating content. At every radio conference I attend, and I go to a lot of them, all I hear is LIVE and LOCAL, yet the majority of what gets transmitted by AM and FM stations these days is NOT local and much of it is voice-tracked rather than live. In times of truly important news or an emergency situation, how can radio serve its community if there are no human beings in the building. Remember the mantra "the lights are on...but nobody's home?"

Radio people should NOT rush to drink the Kool-Aid. Sure it may look good and easy to swallow, but today it can have a bitter after-taste because it's laced with bad things. Radio is being run by big businesses, for stockholders on Wall Street and the bean counters who cannot see beyond the bottom line. Let's keep what's ON the air fresher than what's IN the air before we choke the life out of the beloved wireless medium we know as RADIO.


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


Art Vuolo Jr.


Fine Tuning:

  • Former WRIF-FM 101.1 Detroit morning co-host Drew Lane returns to the Internet with a podcast co-hosted by 'Drew & Mike' producers Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer on SoundCloud. Listen: soundcloud.com/mikewolters16/dm-m-podcast-062613.

  • Religious/Christian WCTP 88.5 Gagetown/Bad Axe has expanded its reach with the addition of an FM Translator at 105.1 in Saginaw that is now on the air.

  • Former Escanaba radio host (WDBC/WYKX) Lee Wayne Jeffries died earlier this month at the age of 50: Obituary.


WJR's Paul W. Smith gets call into National Radio Hall of Fame

Paul W. Smith, morning man at News/Talk WJR AM 760 Detroit since 1996, has been selected for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame (NRHOF). Smith was part of the Class of 2013 that was announced today that also includes Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, Charley Steiner, and Powel Crosley Jr. (posthumously).

Highlights of Paul W. Smith's career include his WJR gig where he's been a mainstay since July 1996 as well as being a regular fill-in on programs such as "The Rush Limbaugh Show," "The Sean Hannity Show", and even as a primary sub for the legendary Paul Harvey. Paul W. has hosted shows on the ABC Radio Network and the former Financial News Network as well as in Philadelphia, New York City, and Toledo.

A University of Michigan graduate, Smith devotes time to many public service groups, including Think Detroit PAL.

The black-tie induction ceremony, hosted by broadcast icon Larry King, will take place on Saturday, November 9 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Jim Bohannon of Dial Global Networks will be the announcer for the ceremony and broadcast.

More info on all the inductees and the induction ceremony at www.radiohof.org.



IPR to add Stateside with Cynthia Canty in July

Michigan Radio's (WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor / WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids / WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint) weekday local talk show, Stateside with Cynthia Canty, will begin airing in Northern Michigan on Interlochen Public Radio beginning July 1, 2013. Stateside will be broadcast live, Monday-Thursday from 3-4 PM on IPR News Radio stations 91.5 FM, Traverse City; 90.1 FM, Harbor Springs/Petoskey; and 89.7 FM, Manistee/Ludington.

With conversations about what matters in Michigan, Stateside with Cynthia Canty covers a wide range of Michigan news and policy issues--as well as culture and lifestyle stories. Guests on the show include newsmakers, politicians, writers, artists, and cultural influencers of all stripes. Veteran Detroit radio personality and Emmy Award winning news anchor, Cynthia Canty, has hosted the show since its premiere on Michigan Radio in September 2012. Zoe Clark serves as Executive Producer of the show.

"We are excited to broaden the listening area for this dynamic and compelling show," said Stephen Schram, Director of Broadcasting at Michigan Radio, "Stateside, anchored by an experienced professional like Cyndy, helps listeners make sense of events and issues affecting their lives and lifestyle here in Michigan."

Stateside originates from Michigan Radio's studios in Ann Arbor, and can be heard across southern Michigan, Monday-Thursday from 3-4 PM with a repeat from 10-11 PM.

Cynthia Canty is veteran Detroit radio personality and Emmy Award winning news anchor. Prior to joining Michigan Radio, she served as a news anchor and morning show personality with Jim Harper at WNIC-100.3 FM, WDTX-99.5 FM and WMGC-105.1 FM. She has also hosted public affairs programs at WKBD-TV, and served as reporter and anchor on WKBD's "Ten O'Clock News."



Fine Tuning:

  • Great Lakes Radio has dropped the talk format formerly heard on FM 92.7 Manistique/Escanaba in favor of a simulcast of Classic Rock WRUP FM 98.3 Palmer/Marquette. FM 92.7 has also changed its call sign from WPIQ to WRPP. The stations ID as 'Real Classic Rock, Coast-to-Coast.


Michigan Association of Broadcasters recognizes broadcasters with Michigan Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement, and Pioneer honors

Thomas Scanlan, retired CEO and owner of Scanlan Communications Group, will be receiving the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB). Scanlan served in the broadcast industry for over 45 years striving to be the best in broadcasting. His love of the industry and his innovative ideas drove him to great heights. Scanlan has been recognized both at the local and national levels for his contributions to broadcasting, especially for his innovations to the Armed Forces television and radio networks.

The 2013 inductees to the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame include Christopher H. Cornelius, President and Chief Operating Officer for Barrington Broadcasting; Will Tieman and Wendy Hart, President and Vice President/Co-Owners of the Spartan Sports Network; Robbie Timmons, Retired News Anchor and Reporter for WXYZ-TV (Detroit).

In addition, the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters has recognized Edward B. Grant, general manager for Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting, as its 2013 Pioneer Award recipient.

These broadcasters will be recognized formally during the MAB Foundation Awards Banquet held at the Grand Traverse Resort on Monday, August 19 as part of the MAB and MAB Foundation Summer Celebration and Annual Business Meeting in Acme on August 19 - 20.

For more detailed biographies on the honorees and information on the Summer Celebration, visit the MAB web site.


Detroit Free Press:

A staple of Fox Sports Detroit's broadcasts is hanging 'em up. No, not Mickey York or Shannon Hogan or John Keating or any of the cast of characters who bring your Detroit sports teams to the television sets, but rather Lauren, one of two charter members of the Fox Sports Detroit Girls. In a heartfelt YouTube video Lauren said good-bye to the great Detroit fans.

Full story: Ticker: Longtime Fox Sports Detroit girl Lauren retires (Sat, 6/29)



Grand Rapids Press:

Christian radio personalities Chris and Emilee, who formerly were heard on WJQK-FM in Holland, are returning radio. Make that Internet radio.

Full story: Christian radio personalities Chris and Emilee plan return to radio online (Sun, 6/30)







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

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