If you ever needed an example of what it is like to be a Detroiter, there was never any better than the response from the Detroit community on the death of Detroit Lion beat writer Tom Kowalski.
Today Detroit wrapped one of their own in their arms and embraced him for his work in the paper, the community and as a human being. It was a perfect example of the feelings that Detroiters have for one another, even though at times we aren't always given credit for the caring soul of our city.
Killer's death was heartbreaking but what makes you want to cry even more is the sincere compassion of his collegues, competitors and fans. Today I heard genuine compassion for a guy that most don't even know personally. It is a tribute to Tom that so many fans loved him. It isn't easy to win the fans over in this day and age, but I think Lion fans really connected with Tom's passion for the Lions and their fans. Unlike a lot of us, he didn't lose his cool with fans, he keep it real and he kept his cool, even when he was annoyed.
The response and fallout from Killer's passing has been heartwarming and a great source of pride for a displaced Detroit sports fan. If you would of asked me this morning who's death in the media would have elicited this type of response, I think Killer would have been at the top of the list, but it was bigger than I could have ever expected.
WDFN gave Tom his start on the radio, thanks to a recommendation from his co-worker at The Oakland Press, Pat Caputo. I signed Tom up and quickly realized he was a hit. I know he was frustrated with me because I never offered him a show, but there was never an opening that I thought was right for him. Maybe I typecast him as a "football guy" and for that I am forever wrong.
He was funny however, every year when it came time to negotiate a new "insider" contract he would push really hard for more money. I knew he was offered more money from other stations, but I just didn't have any extra money in the budget for him....he always stayed....because he loved WDFN and the fans. We had a good laugh every year at negotiation time, he'd bust my balls and I'd laugh and tell him he loved the radio station too much to leave. Luckily I was right and Killer NEVER left.
The outpouring of love and respect for Killer today was the sum total of his life's work and he would be proud of that! I'm proud of the Motor City today.
Rest in peace Tom. You did great work while you were here and we will miss you!
Please leave your comments....I'd love to hear your thoughts on Killer!!!
I was alerted this morning by a Detroit e-mailer that Frank Beckmann and Mitch Albom were going at each other this morning on WJR over film subsidies in Michigan.
This was very reminicent of my own battle with Mitch back in the WKRK days, which you can hear here. In true Mitch form he tried to filibuster and run but to Beckmann's credit he wasn't having any of it. He forced Mitch to stick around and have a great give and take over Mitch's lack of transparency regarding his own advocacy of the Michigan film take credit. Frank did a great job of making sure Mitch was accountable.
The bottom line, Mitch has a credibility issue, nobody believes a word he says because of his fake column about Michigan State a few years ago. That is exactly why Mitch should have been fired from the Free Press, he lacks serious credibility. The irony is unbelievable as Mitch attempts to create credibility. Why wasn't he this throughout when he was fabricating a column about Michigan State basketball. Bottom line, Mitch is forced into this position because of his past lack of honesty.
Longtime Detroit Radio Host and my former partner Jamie Samuelsen seems to have left the Drew and Mike Show on WRIF. There was a blurb in the Free Press on Sunday that said "Samuelsen will leave the show." I called Jamie but have not heard back from him yet. His byline with the Freep also has removed the part about WRIF.
he hasn't been fired from Greater Media and they are looking for
another position for him in the company. My guess is that he could end
up doing some sports work at WCSX as D & D don't like to do sports in their show.
departure from Drew and Mike isn't a surprise given the economic
realities facing radio these days, they simply didn't need him to do
what he was hired to do any longer so they pulled him off the show.
wish the best for Jamie but I don't worry about him, he's smart enough
to have taken care of business, he and his family will be just fine
regardless of what they decided to do in the future. Radio is in a
tough situation these days....maybe we all just have to wait it out.
Click the "Gregg and Jamie" link to the left if you want to hear some VERY early Jamie and Gregg Shows. I found these shows while I was moving to a new house here in Round Rock. I can't believe how different Jamie and I sounded when we first started.
I have a lot of other audio that I will digitize and put here on the web site if you are interested.
I got this e-mail from a WRIF listener. It appears that Drew and Mike are reuniting on WRIF July 13.
All of us at 101 WRIF appreciate your loyalty as a listener and member of the RIFF Cybercrew.
Our team here considers all Cybercrew members a part of the WRIF family. Like any team member, we want you know about announcements and changes before you hear it in the news.
That's why I'm asking you to join us in welcoming Drew Lane back to the airwaves here at 101.1 WRIF as he reunites with Mike Clark to bring back Detroit's most popular morning show.
Drew's first day back on the air will be Monday, July 13th.
Your loyalty to WRIF Mornings over the past year has been greatly appreciated by Mike, Marc, Trudi and Jamie.
This news is a little odd. It raises more questions than it answers. Why is Drew coming back to the show that he left a year ago? Is "Tess" all better now? Does Drew need the money or just some time off? Isn't the lifestyle still difficult? What happened to a potential show with Mr. Skin? Is Jamie Samuelsen staying or will he be a budget cut?
People have told me that there were "other" reasons that Drew left WRIF, I'm not going to go into them, but maybe he just needed some time off to get himself together, who knows.
The latest Detroit radio ratings are in and the results are surprising in some areas, yet not so surprising in others.
WXYT became the # 1 station in Detroit and while it is a surprise, maybe it shouldn't be such a shock. I never suspected the stations switch from AM to FM would propel it to # 1, I was certain it would mean the end of WDFN and it was, but going all the way to # 1 is a bit of a surprise.
WXYT likely got a boost from the Red Wing's Stanley Cup run and from residual Tiger listening, but congratulations are still in order for the Air Staff at WXYT. Even without the play-by-play ratings, WXYT is still posting strong numbers in all its dayparts. The morning show is strong, Karsch and Anderson are performing and Valenti and Foster are #1 in PM Drive.
Credit also has to go to Tom Bigby for getting everybody on the same page, it would be easy to write WXYT's success off as having a big FM signal, but clearly people are liking what they hear and WXYT now sets the standard nationally for sports radio ratings. The Ticket in Dallas, WIP in Philly and WEEI in Boston are always strong in the ratings, but none have achieved the success of WXYT in DETROIT. Congrats to WXYT for putting it all together. Let's see if Bigby pulls the same trick in Dallas.
CLearly Tom Bigby is the top sports programmer in radio, he's now built two HUGE sports stations, WIP in Philly and WXYT in Detroit. The guy is tough but he knows how to win and his triumphant return to Detroit is a big win for all Detroit sports fans.
WRIF is still leaking listeners, while still # 1, the show is a shadow of its former self without Drew. Mike in the Morning is a strong show, but listeners are clearly drifting from the old morning stalwart.
I noticed today that since my last post about D & D's show being in trouble at WCSX Jeff has deleted the archives of his web site which included a couple of posts where he ripped management at the radio station. My guess is the chiefs at Greater Media gave him the business for airing his dirty laundry on their web site. Deminski's blog has been reduced to a daily rundown of the show. Freedom of speech doesn't apply when you work for a big company.
I'll reiterate the problems and the solutions. I worked on the WCSX morning show for seven years, I think I know the audience pretty well.
1. The show isn't a fit for WCSX. The WCSX listener LOVES the music and they are passionate about it, they don't want to hear dumb stunts with Rudy or about Jeff's infected toe. They need to be talking about the WCSX lifestyle and about the music, their main job should be discussing the day's issues, not making up topics to get phone calls. Content creation is key.
2. 6 records minimum per hour. That is why the audience is coming to WCSX, a talent on a music station should NEVER get so arrogant that they think they are the reason people tune in to MUSIC RADIO. They are there to enhance the music, not the other way around. This is the fastest way to get the ratings up in a hurry. Play the hits.
3. At least act like the music matters, even if it is old, people still like it. The should really go out of their way to create some music related content, etc.
4. Stop with the "topics" and start talking about what is happening in Detroit and the world like real people, just because you are playing 30 year old music doesn't mean you can't be current. "Topics" are designed to get multitudes of phone calls for talk stations, they aren't always interesting and they slow the pacing down.
5. Pick up the pace. On a talk station you can be a little laid back, on a music station you need to keep the pace up and move the show along. Long, drawn out discussions really hurt the momentum of a great morning show on a music station.
6. Do what management tells you to do, this is a tough economy, jobs aren't going to be easy to find. The people at WCSX have been through this before, they know how to win, listen to them and stop with the "we know everything" routine.
My prediction is...before they let the show go belly up they will FORCE D&D to play SOME classic rock in the morning.
I may be "a guy who thinks he's an insider" according to Jeffrey, but I can promise you I nailed the issues they are having at WCSX in that blog post.