Anyone else notice the changing voices of the WDET News Team? This week had a woman whose name I could never understand, Celeste Headlee, Jerome Vaughn and Quinn Klinefelter. The weekend edition features Jeff Wattrick. So what happened to Craig and Mark?

Also on the pledge drive, from everything I have heard the Spring 2006 pledge drive was a success. A lot of people called in supporting the changes. I guess no one was too concerned about the general manager being charged with embezzlement.

40 Comments so far

  1. Joan (unregistered) on May 10th, 2006 @ 10:27 pm

    I try to listen to the news and it just drove me nuts, especially the pace the first woman was speaking.

    I don’t think the spring pledge drive was a success; it was longer and think raised less money. I was insulted by some of the remarks made by some of the hosts.

    I miss the music and most of the on-air personalities on the old WDET.

  2. Al Jolsen (unregistered) on May 13th, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

    You ain’t heard nothing yet. There’s a shit-storming coming.

  3. joan (unregistered) on May 13th, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

    Can you give me a hint about the shit-storm?
    The newspaper said they lost 30% of their listeners and the pledge drive did not make it’s goal.
    What else can be happening?

  4. Rex (unregistered) on May 13th, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

    After giving him a new position and promoting a new show that he was going to host and produce (Live From Studio A), Jon Moshier was layed off! I’ve been listening to him for many years now and will miss his ground-breaking Sat. night show. This is just another nail in the WDET coffin for me. I heard that he was one of 5 or 6 people let go and that a few others got their hours drastically cut. My understanding is that the station is in serious financial troubles. All this while their new GM, Michael Coleman will be standing trial later this month on charges that he embezzled cash from his old employer, WUOM. I also hear that we can expect another on-air fundraiser in June! Yeah, bet that’ll go over well.. Coleman sure seems to be f*cking that place up good!

  5. Johnny (unregistered) on May 13th, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

    The people have spoke, yet they still refuse to listen. And now what? We will never have the same station again. Coleman and the others in charge have completely ruined one of Detroit’s finest institutions. Its a tragedy.

  6. joan (unregistered) on May 14th, 2006 @ 8:13 pm

    So, who’s really in charge of WDET now?
    It’s been my experience, when there’s this much change in a work place there’s usually a vaccum filled by someone. That someone usually isn’t the boss.
    What happened to Save Detroit Radio.com?

  7. Johnny (unregistered) on May 15th, 2006 @ 3:34 am

    Its WSU’s board of governors and Coleman. Coleman makes the executive decisions and the board backs him up. I wonder what happens if he is found guilty on the charges at WUOM. Will the board still be behind him like they stated earlier or will he dropped as fast as Bandyke was after accepting concert tickets — like every radio DJ does?

    As for the SaveDetroitRadio people; sorry if I offend, but I never cared for the group. They went too far with the class action lawsuit. If getting their station back to their likings was their goal, a lawsuit wasn’t the solution.

    The least they could have done was keep the people informed about the ongoings at the station. They haven’t made an update since January. The last thing they say is that they had a spot on the Board’s January agenda, Wheres the followup? What happened? They sure got a lot of press, but did they use it? Metroblogging has given people much more insight on the subject.

  8. MGal (unregistered) on May 15th, 2006 @ 8:34 am

    Personally, I am not to heartbroken by any of the music changes. I only listen to WDET for the news – All things considered and Morning Edition are the best sources.

    Heck, I still turn off Ed Love – I love blues and jazz but I can not stand Ed Love as a host.

  9. Elmer Gantry (unregistered) on May 15th, 2006 @ 10:44 am

    It’s hard to drop this totally at the feet of Coleman. I doubt his indictment helped but Wayne State hired him to run WDET and he felt it best to be primarily a news station. That and Martin Bandyke had his hand in a cookie jar for more then a decade. Fine.

    The real problem at WDET, as WDETers (my friends there are still there, thankfully for them) explain it to me, is that Wayne State won’t do shit for the station expect give them hoops to jump through.

    Wayne State is getting the radio station it deserves. And if you are a listener or donor feel free to thank Irv Reid, Steve Brown (WSU Marketing Genius), and their mole on the inside Marla Stone. Also, outside consultant Harvey Ovshinsky. I’m sure his check still clears while Jon Moshier and the rest looking for new jobs.

  10. TF (unregistered) on May 16th, 2006 @ 11:19 am

    Greetings…. Well I was in touch with Save Det Radio… I hoped they might save Det Radio.. What happened was when they filed that class action.. Their intent (as I read the tea leaves) was to possible negioate to bring back some music. I think they understood that the changes were going to happen and a done deal and they hope to make the best of the situation. Maybe a good strategy. Well after they filed then there was some sort of techniality that the law suit had to be processed in Lansing ?? Ok so the lawyer who was going to Volunter his services could not go back and forth to Lansing.Then there was talk of a fund raiser to get a Lansing attorney. Well they just lost all momentum. I was ready to contribute but… as I said the momentun was lost. Well its gone… It will not ever be what it was. The PEOPLE who were the voices have been let go. Some have found new empleyment. The direction of AA was taking hold in DET radio; but was squelched by someone with power. Now we have this generally meaningless talk. It’s quite sad… I had it on a while ago and they had an interview with some guy that was the origionator of “spong Bob square pants” then they indicated that this interview was made in 2004.. Goodness a two year old intrerview.. This really Matters today… But after all WDET is Radio that MATTERS…. It seems that what ever their agenda is someone is intent on keeping it… As the Wayne State Board of Goveners will be faced with continued support (they will have to keep writing a check to the radio station) they will continue to down size to fit the available funds.. They just let go of 4 more people on Friday. So Mike will continue to shrink down the station and fill it with crap to maintain the core of their broadcast. Perhasp at some point the BOG will admit failure.. BUT not yet. None the less.. The radio station we knew is gone…. The longer this goes on the more gone it is and the more difficult to bring back AA. I think AA is their only “nitch” with all the other radio stations in Det filling the airwaves with their “same conventional’ broadcast. So sad… they took an award winning station and ran it into the ground in no time flat. I moved on to WRCJ…and in Judy Adams moves to satallite so will I…..

    Take Care

  11. Johnny (unregistered) on May 16th, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

    It seems good radio is so difficult to keep in Detroit. I remember when 96.3 got rid of Big Sonic Heaven. I was devastated. A show I had been listening to for 7 years that had its own cult-like following just gone. When that happened, I moved my radio never left WDET. It’s now only on for Folks Like Us and Seventh Journey (the closest I can get to my old Big Sonic Heaven format). I swear if Chuck Horn leaves, I may never use my radio again.

  12. Rex (unregistered) on May 16th, 2006 @ 12:48 pm

    There’s SO much more to the whole WDET story. I too, know several current and former staffers and have heard earfuls. First of all, the Martin and Judy story has never been fully disclosed. Somebody ought to use the freedom of information act and pull their personnel records (Wayne State is a public institution). My understanding is, they made Coleman’s charges look like child’s play. They are as much to blame for the loss of a great radio station as Coleman (if not more). As far as Coleman, he’s got an agenda and the University is backing him. He is not supportive of any progressive music formats and yes- he’s got some hired goons to help him clean house (Marla and Harvey). It’s a shame for music fans… It’s a shame for the staff… it’s a shame for the city and quite frankly, from what i hear of Coleman- regardless of his agenda- he doesn’t know what the f*ck he’s doing. It’ll be a miracle if he doesn’t steer the whole damned ship straight into the rocks.

  13. Sparky (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 9:44 am

    I concur with Rex. And I’ll add Coleman has backed away from committments to bloster the local news staff. So along with a progressive music format, Coleman has also turned it’s back on Detroit-based news. That’s a shame because those are the two things that WDET did better than anyone else in Detroit.

    It seems like leadership has gone from bad to worse. I don’t miss Judy Adams daily snooze fest but this is hardly an acceptable alternative. I wonder how long before the likes of Quin Kleinfeltor and Liz Couplane are working somewhere else.

    Like the many buildings Wayne State has demoed, they are doing a bang up job wrecking this once great institution.

  14. MGal (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 10:54 am

    Wow, great discussion here.. It seems the true information is slowly being leaked out but it would be nice if WDET would address the rumors head on.

    Who has been laid off? How much was raised? What is happening? Will WDET still be around in 6 months or will it just be a source of national programs?

    Any thoughts?

  15. Former WDET employee (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 11:16 am

    WDET won’t address anything head on. Wayne State has a gaggle of neutered lawyers that have told them to keep their mouths shut. When Martin Bandyke was fired, they had him dead to rights on some seriously illegal shit but Wayne State said be quiet and it will all pass. Of course it didn’t. How could it? Dumping Martin Bandyke, while wholly justified, was a big deal. Not saying anything about it just pissed off listeners and donors. A child, A FUCKING CHILD, could have told you that. Apparently that proverbial child is smarter that the pencil pushers at Wayne State.

    Then Michael Coleman is indicted for actions at WUOM. Let me make this point as clearly as possible, at WUOM not at WDET, WDET is (or should be) clear of any taint from this scandal.

    But Wayne State kept Coleman and left him to continue running the station. Fine, innocent until proven guilty. But again, WDET wasn’t aloud to say anything about the fact that their employees that didn’t come from WUOM are squeaky clean.

    In fact, President Reid was asked if he would make some kind, any kind, of public statement in support of WDET. He wouldn’t. Mary Sue Coleman, on the other hand, did come to the aid of WUOM. I guess that’s why the University of Michigan is a world-class institution and Wayne State is, to borrow from Russell Kirk, a car college.

    Those two total and complete Public Relations breakdowns cost WDET at least $200,000 in the last pledge drive. I’ll believe that until they put me in my grave. And that budget shortfall cost six (not four as the WDET/WSU spinmeisters claim) of us our job. Several other have been reduced to part-time employment.

    Well that’s history now and we can’t go back. It’s a shame it had to work out this way. I hope Irv Reid, Steve Brown, Michael Coleman, Harvey Ovshinsky, and Marla Stone enjoy the shell of a radio station they will have left when it is all said and done.

    Know this for sure, the six of us let go in last Thursday’s bloodbath will not be the only employees to leave WDET. Whether voluntarily or by further lay-offs the bleeding will continue. As one of my former co-workers (one who got to stay) told me privately Thursday: “I used to like working here, now it is just a paycheck until something better comes along.”

  16. Former WDET redux (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 11:22 am

    When I typed “aloud” I meant to say “allowed”. Emotions sometimes override proofreading. Like John Maynard Keynes once said, when I make a mistake I correct it.

  17. Rex (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

    Update – in addition to the six laid off, several full-time staffers had their hours cut in half including Chuck Horn. It’s a damn shame and it’s only a matter of time until people like him start leaving….

  18. Johnny (unregistered) on May 17th, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    I have a conspiracy theory on Coleman’s plan to drop the music format while gaining approval. When Coleman came to WDET he tried something different with the pledge drive. Rather than the normal drive (ask until you reach your goal), he limited it to about 2 weeks. The “nag time” was also limited to only a few hours a day and — if I remember correctly — weekends were left alone. Soon after, they held an emergency drive to try and reach their goal. You would think a plan that resulted in failure wouldn’t be tried again.

    Fast forward to the last drive before the big changes. Does anyone else remember this drive lasting only a week? I recall turning on the radio hearing a thank you and thought to myself, “Wow, they’re done already. They must have reached their goal pretty fast.”

    The fact was they didn’t reach their goal by a long shot. That motivates people to try a something new and here comes Coleman to save the day. He tells everyone, in short, cut the music, add more news and profits will rise. And to help prove they will, he held the pledge drive for longer than its been in a few years.

    But the plan backfired a bit. He wasn’t expecting the outrage. Sure, there were only a laughable few in the streets protesting, but that didn’t mean the non-approvers were still planning on pledging their support. Sadly, if the last drive raised more than last fall, that’s enough proof to the Board that Coleman’s format change was the right choice — regardless of the fact that the spring drive lasted much longer.

    Does anyone agree with me on this?

  19. John (unregistered) on May 18th, 2006 @ 8:14 am

    Okay, some heavy allegations are being made. As I understand some of the innuendo Judy Adams and Martin Bandyke had been embezzling funds as well, but “The Wayne” was trying to sweep it under the rug. I guess what it comes down to is do we keep the crooks we appreciate, or the new one we don’t like. In Coleman’s defense I appreciate him for not pulling the race card in this instance, the other Coleman, Coleman Young that is, made a career out of that move.

  20. Ex-DETer (unregistered) on May 18th, 2006 @ 9:36 am

    “As I understand some of the innuendo Judy Adams and Martin Bandyke had been embezzling funds as well, but “The Wayne” was trying to sweep it under the rug. I guess what it comes down to is do we keep the crooks we appreciate, or the new one we don’t like.”

    No you freaking moron, it comes down to a public radio station (or any organization that solicits contributions) should have no crooks on the payroll. No Martin Bandykes, no Michael Colemans, no Irv Reids. More Jon Moshiers…who deserved so much better than what he got.

    Accepting “crooks we like” is why public radio in Detroit has become so bland. But if “crooks we like” is the way Detroit’s public radio listeners want it…then you get the public radio stations you deserve.

  21. Johnny (unregistered) on May 18th, 2006 @ 10:03 am

    Last I checked, accepting free concert tickets wasn’t a crime. It is, however, against Wayne State policy and therefore Martin was asked to resign. Violating a policy does not necessarily make you a crook. When a high school student curses in class, they are not breaking the law, just school policy. The school sends the kid to detention, not to jail.

    Could someone enlighten me on the Judy Adam’s story.

  22. Joan (unregistered) on May 18th, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

    It’s real obvious that the WDET issue is far from dead. I’m amazed at the passion of some of the comments.

    What stations are folks listening to? I’m constantly switching between WRCJ, WEMU, 107one, and 107five.

    I’ve always said that WSU wanted WDET to fail, so they could sell the station. It’s in a prime spot on the dial.

  23. Ex-DETer (unregistered) on May 18th, 2006 @ 3:02 pm


    I really feel bad for my former co-workers. They put their butts on the line everyday to make that place great and they continue to get shit thrown in their face. They all deserve so much better than Coleman and company.

  24. Dee (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 7:44 am

    Well, the numbers are out and ‘DET is still alive and kickin’.
    “In simple numbers, the station’s average quarter-hour share…is now 161,000 listeners, compared to 149,600 in the fall….” Susan Whitall Detroit News 5-18 8E
    No matter what, numbers don’t lie and numbers are what Wayne State is looking at.
    They didn’t raise the money in the the spring drive that was expected.They will have to find a way to tap those new listeners for cash.
    I think music lovers are more passionate than news lovers and may have been more willing to open their wallets. The economy may have something to do with the lack of pledge dollars.
    When I heard about WDET changing the format, I immediatly purchased an XM radio. I can listen to NPR stuff on 97.1. (I did miss This American Life and Fresh Air when DET took them off. A good mix of music and news is necessary, I think.) I miss the local sound, tho.
    I had actually stopped listening as much due to lack of variety and stopped pledging my piddly $50 a year or so before the format change.
    Are there any facts about Bandyke or Adams embezzeling money or taking gifts? If so, please state them.

  25. ex-WDETer (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 8:14 am


    I know Bandyke had every union protection made available to him as this was investigated and at the end of the day there was no protest made that his termination was unjust in any way. I know exactly what was alleged (and I believe the accusers) but I wasn’t privy to the details of the investigation so I hesitate to speak in specifics. If you are dying to know, it is public record go and FOIA Wayne State about the investigation.

    Your question is valid and proves are royally Wayne State screwed this pooch. Because in the end why believe some person speaking with second hand knowlege on the internet? The facts are on the record, check them out for yourself. Don’t believe me, don’t believe Bandyke, don’t believe Wayne State. Check the facts and you’ll find what I’m saying is true.

  26. tf (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 8:41 am

    Well WSU made their position clear.. They said

    “It’s welcome news that Michael has successfully resolved this situation with the University of Michigan,” said Louis Lessem, interim executive vice president of Wayne State University, in a statement.

    “We are looking forward to continuing the momentum we are seeing at WDET under Michael’s leadership.”

    Disappointing but thats what they said….

  27. Rex (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 9:53 am

    First of all, It amazes me that Wayne continues to support Coleman like they do. In my business, if the CEO pleads no contest to embezzlement charges at his former employer, he’s fired. And WDET relies on donations! Even if I didn’t stop supporting them when the music was gutted, I sure wouldn’t now! it’s crazy! And If I were an underwriter, I’d give it serious question as well.

    Secondly, it appears that with Coleman continuing at the helm we can expect WDET to be just like every other NPR station in the country… the uniqueness that was WDET is gone. I remember how they used to get on the air during pledge drives and talk about how unique they were- “travel around the country and listen to the radio…, etc.” I was a proud supporter. Yesterday I was channel surfing and caught “Day to Day” on WUOM and after the show was over, switched to WDET to see what they had on and guess what show was just starting? “Day to Day”! Oh boy! Now, THAT’S serving the community!!

    What made WDET special was unique and talented people bringing unique programming to the radio. While there are a couple of interesting shows left, the station is losing it’s originality. Ed Love used to call WDET “one of America’s great radio stations”… if 90% of the programming can be found on public radio stations around the country, then he ought to be saying simply “one of America’s radio stations”… no wonder they got rid of “a different kind of radio” … there’s very little that makes it different..

    As far as Bandyke and Adams is concerned, my understanding is that it def. involved WAY more than accepting free concert tickets and they both deserved to go a long time ago. But beyond that, Bandyke’s ego was so out of control that he made me sick and Adams was so out of touch musically that it was sad to listen to her (Jade Warrior or Pat Metheny anyone?)…I wasn’t at all sorry to see them go.

    what really sad is Coleman’s lack of support for music in general & anything vanguard in radio programming.

    Welcome to the snooze-fest.

  28. Dee (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 11:15 am

    Thanks for the update on the Adams and Bandyke. I had no idea. I haven’t been following the gossip or details at all. Just heard rumors from other listeners. Like you, Rex I was getting tired of both of them way before they changed the format. I never Listened to Judy Adams…Tangerine Dream? Puh-leeze.
    Has anyone noticed that the live music available since DET is gone, has slipped? I haven’t seen any thing I want to go see. Maybe “Springsteen does Seeger” at DTE but,I won’t pay 100 bucks for that ticket. I’m not really into the lawn atmosphere but those tix are only $25.

  29. Joan (unregistered) on May 19th, 2006 @ 7:03 pm

    I agree that Judy Adams had stayed too long. But, I enjoyed Bandyke’s music.
    I stopped financially supporting WSU (though a graduate) long ago. WSU lacks vision, it’s just this monster-sized school, that goes from crisis to crisis.

  30. Ed M (unregistered) on May 20th, 2006 @ 11:07 am

    I agree with TF on Bandyke’s effete style of music. I’ve sat through hours of his Celtic journeys and tributes to The Clash waiting for it to get better.It hardly ever did. I liked John Penny though. He could keep it rockin’ and interesting.

  31. Tom (unregistered) on May 20th, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

    I just found this site today as a result of reading Susan Whitall’s story in the Detroit News, 5/18/06 and I really appreciate all the insight here as well as inside info. Just want to say that I started listening to WDET in 1975 with Judy Adam’s “Morphegenisis” program. This was during a time in Detroit radio right after what was called “free form” or “underground” radio had held court for awhile on stations like WABX. The idea back then was you got some knowledgable, hip, DJ’s together, put them on the air and let them play whatever they wanted. The emphasis was on the music, not on the money! But by 1972 or so the corporate bean counters had got a hold of everything and started dictating to everyone the music they had to play and we started seeing things like National play lists.All the individual personality & uniqueness quickly disappeared from any local programming.

    When Judy Adams started her show it seemed to be a return to that great “free form” style that I had missed for a couple of years. The thing that was great about “free form” radio formatting is that the DJ’s had so much freedom to play whatever they liked & became more like a tour guide on an exciting musical adventure than just somebody spinning records for a living & yapping at you at warp speed. This of course only works if you have DJ’s talented & knowledgable enough to pull it off & an audience open minded enough to ride the trip out and enjoy it.

    We are in different times now for sure! WDET was the last bastion of “free form” radio here, and perhaps in the whole country. It was a place for serious music fans to continue their adventurous exploration of all different forms of music. That has come to an end thanks to Michael Coleman and the bean counters. Everyone is right to say that WDET will never be what it once was.

    I am sad to see people making comments derogatory about the choice of music being played on Judy and Martin’s shows. I love Tangerine Dream along with B.B.King,Willie Nelson,Eric Clapton,Ornette Coleman,Bob Dylan,Miles Davis,The Clash,& the list goes on & on. Yes, I even like Yanni. You people need to broaden your perspectives and expand your minds and stop acting like some close minded immature frat boys who need to pigeon hole everyone & sit in judgement on them. It’s about the music man!Not about your ego’s. Any music of any style played well by musicians committed to their craft! WDET represented an open minded approach to life that didn’t acknowledge,tolerate, or accept prejudice or close mindedness. It’s especially ironic that the man responsible for bringing this all down is someone who really ought to understand how vital that is.

    As far as you news & talk fans go, there are plenty of other places you can hear all the news or talk you would like. I definitely have always enjoyed Morning Edition & All Things Considered but how dare you come into my living room on my radio station (Yes, I helped pay for it for the last 30 years!)and force me to listen to more of the same crap I can hear everywhere else. Go back where you came from and get out of my living room!This has not ever been a news & talk radio station. This is a music station, so if you don’t like the music, go somewhere else & stop ruining my fun.

  32. mgal (unregistered) on May 21st, 2006 @ 8:08 am

    Welcome to the discussion, Tom, and thanks for bringing a new perspective. It is all the more evident this is a very emotional issue for many people, whether you liked the music or news format.

  33. Johnny (unregistered) on May 21st, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

    Tom, I cannot agree with you more on the issue of Judy and Martin’s programs. What exactly was it that people expected to hear instead? The motto for WDET used to be music variety. Martin and Judy brought something to the airwaves that couldn’t be heard elsewhere. Sure, Judy for a while wouldn’t stop playing Pat Matheny. If anyone else is like me, I’m sure there were a few accidents from people falling asleep at the wheel. But where else would you hear that music?

    You may have not enjoyed everything that was played, but you were given a chance to form an opinion on it. If you were never turned on to a new artist during your time listening to her program, you probably enjoy something closer to a top 40 format. You can easily switch to another station and find something you like.

    On the other hand, those of us who enjoyed the wide variety of music played on WDET, do not have the option of switching the dial. There is no alternative. If you are looking for AA music in Detroit, its been pushed into the midnight hours, but how long will someone like Chuck Horn take the mistreatment? He once was on a prime Friday night spot, then on to a lunchtime show. Now? Sunday night/Monday morning.

  34. TF (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2006 @ 10:39 am

    YES Tom WDET WAS MUSIC… Maybe there was music that I did not resonate with.. But.. it was music that I did not hear elsewhere.. Who would have thought that I would listen to “blue grass” But I did and learned to give it a try.. And must say that Ralph Stanley can rock Bluegrass like no one else… I would not have discovered his talent had it not been for WDET. AND maybe some time I did ot like the play list of Judy or MArtin BUT I survived and if I got really out of sinc with what was played I turned it off (like I frequently did with Ed Love).. IT WAS THE MUSIC…. Very simple…

    Mike C I don’t sense was the master mind of this all.. Someone higher up perhasp wanted to go down this path… Mike C sounds so much like a polititian.. Anyone with a reasonable ounce of grey matter can see thru his sham statements..

    Well it is gone (for now.. maybe permenately) Much or radio has gone this way.. Perhaps it’s cheeper to broad cast mostly meaningless talk then produce the Free Form music type of show…It certinly gives you power to influence the mass media audience. You get to “advertise” your own agenda.. Influence people to think the way you wish…. (that was what WDET stayed away from… It was a musical island away from all the stuff we are bombarded with all the “Talk” on radio AND TELEVISION too)

    I’ll buy a SERUS receiver….. I get enough talk.

    A a matter of curiousity I wonder where the listener numbers go in say another 6 months as WDET runs lower on funds.. it might sprial further down the drain..

    Will these TALK listeners support the station with real money ??? They did in Ann Arbor.. But DET and Ann Arbor are two different universes… with overlaping geogrephy. Can’t they see that WDET NEEDED to define itself as something unique from WUOM..

    I think WDET’main problem was advertising.. They just did not advertise the unique radio format well enough…. Ok enought from me.. Take Care

  35. Joan (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2006 @ 11:44 am

    Re: TF’s comments about talk listeners financially supporting the station.
    I don’t think the new talk listeners will support the station since they can choose to give to WUOM or WDET. Few people give to Wayne State unless they have some type of connection.
    Why I think WDET didn’t succeed? I think the lack of vision at WSU prevents anyone from realizing the treasure WDET was. Remember “In the cultural center of Detroit?”

  36. TF (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

    I found this old article in the Mertro Times while doing a web search…. Perhasp C Mathis should also be held accountable.. It was under her lead that the station realized slipping contributions and actions taken while she was in charge.. Todays WDET is also the result of her leadership and she is not under the spotlight now… Im still not sure they have it right.. Even if they are “experts”.. The result is today we see WDET Spiraling down the drain.. I think the troubles are yet to be fully appreciated.. They just dumped a lot of people just after they claimed great sucess in their spring pledge drive and rumors of another pledge drive coming.. No Flushing down is a better description…

    OK some reading from the past (taken from a Dec 2005 article that appeared in the Metro Times.

    When it comes to the format changes that occurred last week at Detroit public radio station WDET-FM, the bottom line is the bottom line.

    “We couldn’t afford another year like last year,” says Michael Coleman, who became the station’s general manager in August. “Our survival was in jeopardy.”

    Coleman says the station racked up a $300,000 deficit for the fiscal year that ended in September, and then fell $100,000 short of the goal set for its fall pledge drive.

    To stem the flow of red ink, Coleman instituted a major overhaul, eliminating locally produced weekday music programming and replacing it with national news-talk shows.

    The change reflects a broader trend in public radio, experts say. “WDET is one of the last stations in a major market to make that kind of change,” says Jack Mitchell, a professor of mass communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The choice has been overwhelmingly to go to all news talk.”

    Part of the motivation behind that shift has to do with technological changes in the music industry.

    “Stations are finding that playing CDs is not a very good competitive situation no matter how good the local host is,” says John Sutton, founder of a company that provides research, marketing and management consulting services to public radio stations. “What’s happening is that people are going online and getting their music there. They’re using the shuffle mode on their iPod or MP3 player, and they’re learning about new artists from the Internet. They’re going to announcer-free channels on satellite radio.

    “Unfortunately, the age of the well-versed announcer introducing people to new music and sharing insights is coming to an end.”

    Tied into this is the counterintuitive notion that stations can achieve more financial support from listeners by narrowing the range of programs offered. Experts say that, though it would seem to make sense that the more listeners a station brings in, the more successful it will be financially, in the world of public radio it’s the amount of time a person listens that’s most important. And so, in the case of WDET, shifting from NPR’s early news program “Morning Edition” to music during the day, and then back to news with NPR’s “All Things Considered” in the afternoon, ran the risk of fragmenting the station’s audience. The people interested in news weren’t likely to want music, and vice versa.

    “The notion of consistency is really important,” Mitchell says. “Pledging is totally dependent on how much a person listens. If you listen for an hour or two a week, it’s most likely that you won’t contribute. If you listen for 30 hours a week, it’s very likely that you will contribute.”

    Marc Hand, a consultant to public radio stations, offers a similar analysis, saying the key to financial success at public radio stations is building as large a core audience as possible. “If you offer more of a mix, your audience is more fragmented. You might reach a broader audience, but they will listen less, and when they listen less, they will contribute less.”

    Focusing format, he says, translates into more revenue.

    WDET, as Coleman is quick to point out, has not forsaken music. There’s still plenty of music to be found in the evenings, overnight and on the weekends. “I have trouble, really, with the notion that WDET has killed the music,” Coleman says. “We will never do that on my watch.”

    “It’s an absolutely rational change,” says Tom Thomas, co-CEO of Station Resource Group, which provides consulting services to 48 public radio stations. “It’s a move toward programming that seems to be enjoying the widest interest by the public at this juncture. If all goes as trends suggest, it should result in more people tuning in, with those who are tuning in staying longer, and being more generous in their financial support.”

    But the move to news talk on weekdays is not seen as risk-free. For one thing, it places WDET more directly into competition with Ann Arbor public radio station WUOM, which also focuses on news and talk programming during weekdays. People on the west side of metro Detroit can pick up the signal of either station. It remains to be seen how many WUOM listeners WDET can attract now that the two stations have similar formats.

    There’s another potential pitfall in this format change. The uproar from loyal music listeners has been intense. There is talk of protests, boycotts, even a class-action lawsuit. If WDET loses these people, will they be able to attract enough new listeners to put the station on a sound financial footing?

    Caryn Mathes, Coleman’s immediate predecessor at WDET, says the station had been expecting a drop-off in support after several popular programs — both local music and national talk — were dropped in an attempt to “smooth out the bumps” in the station’s programming last year. Those changes came after more than two years of research and market study, says Mathes, who earlier this year became general manager of a public radio station in Washington, D.C. The way she sees it, the “tweaking” of a two-prong format that relied on the support of both news and music fans hadn’t been given the chance to fully play out.

    “We assumed it would take 24 to 46 months for the new schedule to really take hold,” she says.

    Instead, it was scrapped after a little more than a year. Nationally produced news programs are considerably more expensive than locally produced music shows, and when Mathes was in Detroit, she didn’t see how donors would be inspired to contribute enough to make up the difference if the switch to more news was made.

    “I think it’s a very risky move,” she says. “But, who knows, it could work.”

  37. ex-WDETer (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

    Caryn Mathes deserves some blame, in that she kept Judy Adams on as Program Director long after it was clear that Adams wasn’t up to the job.

    WDET had serious problems when Coleman came aboard, no doubt. But his efforts to right the ship have been ham-fisted at best and the fact that he was under indictment on charges of embezzling from a public radio station during the Spring 2006 pledge drive didn’t help. Now that he’s been convicted of embezzling from a public radio station, it’s not going to get much better.

  38. joan (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2006 @ 11:39 pm

    I agree that Caryn kept Judy Adams on too long, but at least neither one of them embezzled the station. I have real problems giving money to a station or college that supports an embezzler.

  39. ex-DETer (unregistered) on May 24th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    Joan, I agree

  40. lori (unregistered) on May 26th, 2006 @ 9:15 am

    i find it fascinating that those who verbally supported the music format on WDET contributed so very little to it’s success financially. Surely you must be completely out of touch to think that metro area business owners and those with high qualitative levels won’t support a news/talk format. Download your triple A music like the rest of your compatriots – get your news and NPR from your local public radio station WDET – and get over yourselves. Oh, and put your money where your mouth is and support WDET or one of us commercial radio flunkies will buy it and then you’ll really be screwed!

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