Thursday, July 17, 2014

7.17.14 Bee-otch of the Day: northern Michigan radio

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Name: northern Michigan radio
Age: various
Occupation: various
Last Seen: Traverse City, Cheboygan, Petoskey, etc.
Bee-otched For: 
STILL not giving a damn about their listeners
I still fondly remember that fateful day on April Fools Day of last year when Real Rock 105 and 95-5 imploded.

The week before, the syndicated Free Beer and Hot Wings show was canceled. Listeners complained and both PD Brian "Cartman" Pfifer and MD Nate "Smitty" Smith told listeners that it was due to ratings and revenue. The week after, the 95.5 signal - which covered the Traverse City and Cadillac areas - flipped to super-boring AC as "EZ 95-5" while 105.1 stayed with rock as simply Rock 105. Cartman moved to mornings, a position he has been familiar with since he was the ex-morning man of one of Rock 105's predecessors, alt-rocker The Zone.

If you're a young male up north, you're SOL when it comes to a decent morning show unless you have a smartphone hooked to the web. OK, most males 18-34 do, but on a local scale, come on! Cartman sounds like an annoying CHR jock, Bob and Tom (The Bear) are older than dirt and Omelette (KLT) is an unfunny Howard Stern wannabe.

But, at least for a while, there was a silver lining to all this.

For several months, FB&HW's website listed Beulah's WOUF 99.3 The Wolf as an affiliate. Now, 99.3 and 92.3 WBNZ have been off the air since early last year for unknown reasons except the fact that when they were on the air, they aired little-to-no advertisements. Of course, now that 95.5 is aimed for the old farts living in Glen Arbor, 99.3 would make a killing with the right promotions and the right strategies.

But, it might as well never happen.

A few weeks ago, the FB&HW website yanked WOUF from their affiliate listings, which means that any chance of the show returning to northern Michigan - unless you're lucky to get 100.7 out of Oscoda - is null and void. Some suggest that 99.3 and 92.3 should be donated to non-profits, so who knows?

Point is, the radio station owners up north are just about as STUPID as the Clear Channels and Cumulus's of the world. They think that catering to the same audience they had 20 years ago will create superb ratings and revenue. But, I beg to differ. I was talking with a friend of mine up in Traverse City and he told me that a lot of the time, WTCM-AM airs a TON of PSAs with no ads. Gee, maybe it's because the talk audience they've had all this time is getting older? Look at KLT, too: many years ago, yeah, they played a lot of butt rock, but at least they played *some* new rock too. Now, it's about 99% classics to make the hicks in Manceltucky happy with their three teeth.

As for Del Reynolds, the owner of Rock 105 and The Bear, I honestly think the reason for the destruction of Real Rock was to save The Bear. Bob and Tom haven't been relevant for years and since they're northern Michigan boys, he wanted to preserve their heritage up north instead of embarrassing them with these two young punks from Grand Rapids. So FB&HW went bye-bye.

But, let's not forget that I left out another rock station in northern Michigan: Grayling's WQON - Q100.

The station's owner/PD/afternoon guy, Jerry Coyne is a regular reader to this blog and I love the fact that he has the anti-corporate approach to radio. You listen to Q100 and you'll never know which song is next. Yeah, the station goes into unfamiliar territory a lot and I have to utilize my phone's Shazam app a lot while listening, but there's a reason why I like this station over the "big three" rockers up north: they don't take shit from anybody.

I know that JC wants Q100 to give KLT a run for its money, but I wonder if he would be interested in getting FB&HW for mornings? I think it might work. The station will get a lot of P2s and it might get them further on the map. Plus, they're in talks to upgrade to 100,000 watts (they're at 60,000 now), so who knows? True, they do have a morning guy (Dave Sherbert), but he can be moved to middays, can't he?

As the old saying goes, just a thought....


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