Name: terrestrial radio
Occupation: supposed entertainers and informers of the general public
Last Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: putting money first and people last
Ten years ago, three young children in the Sacramento area lost their mother and a man lost his wife because she did something simple:
She drank water.
A ton of it.
The reason: she, 28-year-old Jennifer Strange was trying to win a Nintendo Wii - which was hard to find at the time - as part of radio station KDND/107.9 The End's infamous "Hold Your Wee For a Wii" contest. She and other contestants drank ungodly amounts of water and she ended up with a massive headache. She went home and an hour later, her own mother found her dead.
She had consumed two gallons of water.
As a result, ten employees from KDND - including the morning show - were let go and Strange's family were rewarded $16.5 million in damages. The FCC announced that they would investigate KDND to see if their license would be appropriate for renewal. Instead, the station's owner found an easy way out.
Recently, it was announced that KDND's parent, Entercom was buying CBS Radio and since KDND was a roadblock in the way to FCC approval, they felt that the only way to get it to pass was to simply send the station's license back to the FCC and silence 107.9 for good. But of course, that didn't kill The End; they simply moved the station to 106.5, formerly "Mix 106.5", an underperforming Hot AC station. The End lives, especially since the FCC could care less about intellectual property and rather the frequency itself. In a way, this has got to be a slap in the face to the Strange family, who had probably hoped to see the end of The End.
True, Entercom is one of a few radio companies that's actually doing OK ($14.70 per share vs. around a buck each for iHeartMedia (Clear Channel) and Cumulus), but it's sad when radio companies once again put the almighty dollar in front of what listeners really want.
Last week, it was announced that up in Petoskey, long-time news/talker WJML 1110 and WJNL 1210 Kingsley/Traverse City were being sold to John Yob for $700,000. Yob is a GOP strategist who worked for Rick Snyder's gubernatorial campaigns, plus the failed presidential campaigns for John McCain and Rand Paul. He made headlines last year when lied about his residency to get voting rights in the Virgin Islands and had his voting rights revoked. Now, he gets to own what's left of what once was northern Michigan's #1 radio station 40 years ago.
Back in the 1970s, WJML was The Music Station, noted for being northern Michigan's first true 24/7 Top 40 station. Before WJML, northern Michiganders got their hit music sound from 50KW AM giants from Detroit and Chicago plus what little other northern Michigan stations offered at the time. WJML remained popular until the early 80s until being overtaken in the ratings by up-and-comer 106 KHQ. WJML spent most of the 80s as an AC station until Northern Broadcast purchased the station in 1991. 98.9 flipped to a simulcast of WKLT 97.5 Traverse City while 1110 fell silent. However, 1110 and the WJML name were sold to Rick Stone, who ended up owning the station for 25 years. Stone allegedly has been trying to sell WJML/WJNL for years, so I don't blame him for wanting to sell to whomever wanted it.
Sadly, as long as I can remember, WJML as a talk station hasn't really had any ratings. I think their best book had them at a 1.1. Hell, the only talk station that actually has ratings up north is WTCM. What's funny is that WJNL doesn't simulcast WJML some of the time because they're in an agreement with fledgling WYPV/94.5 "The Patriot Voice" to carry some of their shows.
What's even more sad is that Stone traded former sister station WARD 750 for WJNL, which ended up killing the progressive talk format in northern Michigan. Stone told the press that he would be keeping some shows, but instead, he canceled them (for instance, Ed Schultz was replaced with Alex Jones).
The sad thing is that radio should be for the public interest, but instead of listening to the listeners, we get right-winged crap and a radio contest where people die. This is why people like Pandora, SiriusXM and Spotify, folks. Radio is doing what it can to chase itself to the bottom.
Instead of piss, radio is full of shit.
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