Skip to comments.Clear Channel to take WDTW AM 1310 Detroit dark on December 31 (prog talker)
Posted on 12/17/2012 7:01:24 AM PST by raccoonradio
On the heels of the announcement that Clear Channel will be donating Progressive Talk WDTW AM 1310 Detroit to MMTC (The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council) comes the news that the station will end operations and go silent at midnight on December 31st. WDTW's six tower array along I-94 east of Telegraph in Taylor will be dismantled after the station signs off.
Current morning show host Tony Trupiano broke the news at the end of his 6 - 10 a.m. program this morning. The decision to shutdown the station will cost Trupiano his gig after about 18 months with his last show taking place next Friday, December 21st. A clearly emotional Trupiano explained to listeners that he had been given two different explanations for the shutdown of the station, one official and one unofficial - and that he tended to believe the unofficial version. He told listeners he would be posting further information for listeners on his Facebook page.
Outside of the live/local morning drive show, WDTW primarily airs syndicated programming that includes shows from Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Phil Hendrie, and Alan Colmes.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, AM 1310 was the home of legendary Top 40 station WKNR, known as Keener 13. It had been the longtime sister station to WNIC-FM 100.3 and was at one time the flagship station for Detroit Tigers baseball.
The station first began operations on December 29th, 1946 on AM 1540 as WKMH and moved to AM 1310 in 1948. The original owners were Fred Knorr, Bill McCoy, and Harvey Hansen ( thus the original "KMH" call sign). Knorr later bought out his partners and became the station's sole owner. After ownership passed from the Knorr family in 1972, ownership of the station (along with sister station WNIC) shifted among several different companies, ultimately becoming part of Clear Channel in 2000.
After the station's days as Keener 13, it went through a number of different formats including periods simulcasting WNIC-FM. Most notable of the station's formats over the last 40 years prior to the current Progressive Talk offering were perhaps the attempts at Full Service and a combination of Full Service and Classical as WYUR ('Your Radio'), Children's programming as WDOZ 'Radio AAHS', Sports as WXDX 'The X', and Classic Soul/Motown Gold as WMTG.
It's unclear how long the station will be silent pending the donation to MMTC which will attempt to find a minority owner that would likely launch its own programming.
Keener 13 was a Detroit legend. When I lived there the station was playing Motown Gold, which is a vast improvement over its current lineup.
This Minority Media Foundation is going to have one helluva time getting this station back up without towers. That’s a very expensive proposition. My bet is this station never returns to the air.
AM radio stations are facing the same fate as drive-in movie theaters. The real estate that their towers sit on has become more valuable than what they could ever make selling ad time to a dwindling audience.
The demise of Keener 13 (Tiger’s Flagship).
Probably a good thing tho since it was currently a “LibTalk” station (so they were going broke!).
Yes.. note the following comment from their facebook
posted back in November, though! The first sentence
>>So why is Clear Channel turning all its financially successful progressive/liberal talk radio stations and turning them into barely successful Fox Sports clones? Did you not think that folk would miss KPOJ 620AM in Portland or KTLK 1150 AM in Los Angeles? Is Willard Romney really that big of a whinny sore loser that he would chose to lose money just to hurt folk would can realize that he would be bad for America’s economy? With business skills like this no wonder he lost by over 100 Electoral votes.
As I pointed out sports is big money and they’d rather sell (ads for) Bud to younger adults, not ads for Utne Reader
to older ones.
I guess I’m wondering how anyone would cost effectively rebuild a 6 tower array even with the core license being donated.
Again, as in Columbus, OH, where lib talk just dies, this is another signal hampered station that would struggle with just about any format.
I always go back to the Boston example of how well conservative talk does on a signal hampered station. Clear Channel’s 1200 AM frequency was a bust with Rush as it’s anchor. Being on AM is tough these days. Not being a blow torch signal is even tougher.
Not sure I see the problem.
Have Jessie shakedown Google for servers and bandwith, Apple Itunes for music, have the lib talkers donate their shows to this important cause and let Obama broadcast it to the installed Obamaphone base on taxpayer money.
That’s new American Capitalism isn’t it?
I need to get hired by a lib think tank. I’d be a millionaire overnight.
These signal hampered stations used to do rather well with Fringe Kook Talk (Art Bell, Chuck Harder, Alex Jones)
1200 did OK by day in many areas but I think many talk fans just spurn AM—though WRKO does okay; and the FM talker 96.9 may soon be changing format but it could be lack of good talent there (since Severin left etc.) Many prog talk fans
prefer NPR, on powerful FM stations.
Prog talk still isn't on a fulltime Boston station at this point but maybe our future secretary of state could change that--after all he got many millions of dollars via his second wife's first husband's trust fund (pass the ketchup).
Teresa Heinz Ketchup, er Kerry, with her first hubby
(The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council)”
...”minority” anything makes me ill. I stop reading when I see sh&& like this. Besides, the good news was in the headline!
JohnDavis wrote on a radio messageboard:
>>>>Political talk is going the way of the dinosaur, regardless of the left-right spectrum. How much money does Salem shovel into getting a 0.6 with its hosts? How long can they afford to do that?
Sports makes money. That’s why everyone is getting on that train. Once they’ve oversaturated the market with too many third rate network shows, they’ll find something else. But let’s face it, the future of AM is brokered ethnic or turning in the license and selling the tower site. The real estate is worth more than most AM stations. As for progressive talk, the more interesting shows aren’t on the radio, they’re podcasts. Some are even worth paying for.
Agreed. Selling the tower site—it’s like the old days when the drive in theatres went away and the land was sold to developers to put up shopping malls. (And I don’t know if
prog talk shows are really interested but some like them—via podcast. I was at work and saw a woman listening to something on her smartphone—the screen read “Alex Jones
Still some conservative talk can work...but libtalk is fast shrinking...blame Bain and Romney!
It’s not just the towers (antenna array). The transmitter goes too.
To put up another transmitter isn’t a huge deal. To replace that array of towers... that’s a huge deal. AM radio stations don’t do squat without at least a large (200’+) tower for an antenna.
Yep. Multi-tower directional arrays, acres of copper grounding wire. None of it comes cheap. A station up in Johnstown, PA just went dark because they had a 9 or 10 tower directional array. One of the towers crapped out and the owners could not justify the cost of replacing it.
It is too bad that clear Channel is shutting down WDTW AM 1310. Keeping that station on the air could be a real public service. These people need somewhere to vent. If they keep all that hate bottled up in side of them they could become very dangerous. After all a vessel building up steam without a vent will eventually blow up. :>)
They’ll have plenty of places to vent including other spots on radio (Democracy Now, NPR, college radio perhaps—maybe even calling in to conservative shows, which is always a hoot)...podcasts...the Net, TV, movies...Just wait for the latest Chris Rock shocker, the latest Chris Matthews
tingle up his leg, etc.
By all measures, 1200 failed. And that’s why CC took Rush off a CC owned station and allowed the show to migrate back to a blow torch signal. The signal impaired 1200 frequency damaged their marque product. It really took the prog talk can’t make it in the ratings when in fact 1200 was still an overall dog in the market and did little better with Rush et al than it did with prog talk.
Gee, local small business doesn’t buy ad time during lib talkers who are generally trashing the successful entrepreneur. Who would have guessed?
Chuck Harder hasn’t been remotely a factor since before Y2K and is totally gone now. I can’t think of but a handful of major stations where he was heard. Most were small town outlets. Bell was no longer a factor after his first retirement and by that time he was being cleared on blow torch outlets. Other than knowing of Alex Jones, I’m unfamiliar with any affiliates.
Where I was I got it fine but yes the signal may not have been the best! They did hire two local hosts, Katz and Severin.
Tried to promote it.
Some like radio expert Mark Schynder figured it was a mistake to take Rush off RKO—even if Boston was one of his weakest markets—and when he came back people agreed it was for the best. RKO GLADLY took him back. Agreed with what you say.
I'm white - for Detoilet, that is the minority. Should I apply to the minority council to try to revive the underlying license?
The only time I heard him was driving to an evening class I took. Entertaining for the 3 months of the class. I guess he was on a 1Kw station in a city that I drove by on an interstate.
No signal from that station on the way home.
I would come across on SW, hawking his dvds.
He went really nuts after his 2nd wife died. Not that he was wasn't tightly wound before, but the quality of his sporadic weekend/guest appearances went straight downhill. His replacements during his "retirements" went from bad to mediocre, and the remnants of the show have generally been unlistenable for years.
The "area" CC simulcasting talkers were sold a few years back. FM went to stereo music, and the AM lost Rush, but kept C2CAM.
And if you lose the site, you may never find another one where you can stay on the same frequency, serve more then a sliver of your traditional area, and have a pattern with fewer than six nulls.
My hometown station outside Chicago got lucky, I guess. A daytimer that went on the air in 1949, my boss (the PD and CE) told me in 1961 that it would cost them about a hundred thousand (in 1961 dollars!) to go nighttime.
Years later, they did it. Took 4 towers, and a site far from their original one. They probably paid for the new plant with proceeds from the sale of the old site, which had become valuable commercial property by 1980 or so.
I got out of the USAF just before Christmas 1963, and was immediately drawn to WKNR. They played my kind of music. The Motown Summer of 1964 saw Keener in the forefront of the Motown movement.
I knew him and worked with him a bit when he was just getting started on my hometown station around ‘64.
A french name, no?
Is it pronounced De-twa-LAY?
Utne’s got their start in your neck of the woods and I kinda knew them...the two brothers
Even in Detroit?
KTLK in Minneapolis was flipped with a AM talk station. I assume you mean KTLK AM in la.
The FM one is now a sports talk station and the FM news talk (Rush, Hanity, Lewis) got dumped on the low power AM station.
The person whom I quoted above had said “KTLK AM 1150 in Los Angeles” and they still are prog talk. As for Minn., I do remember the flip of sports to FM and cons talk (Rush etc) to AM, but the call letters they now use are KTCN.
(Wiki.: “KTCN (1130 AM)branded News/Talk 1130is a commercial radio station licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, broadcasting a conservative news/talk format. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications, and serves the Twin Cities market”)
I think as a news talker (forget the freq.) they were KTLK, yes.
Someone on the radio insight board, re: WDTW AM, said:
Very suspicious move. Bain Capital is attempting to silence Liberal talk in a huge martket.
Writer Lance Venta replied:
>>NO. NO. NO. There is NO political conspiracy here. The station had a 0.3 rating. NOBODY was listening. If there was such a conspiracy against Liberal Talk, (then why) did Clear Channel drop Conservative Talk from similarly struggling stations in Boston and Atlanta in the past couple months? Its business, nothing else.
Lance also says:
>>Bain owns Clear Channel, Bain DOES NOT operate Clear Channel. BIG DIFFERENCE. There is NO right-wing conspiracy afoot. AT ALL. Clear Channel is DONATING the station that began this discussion to a minority non-profit. So they will not be the ones who drop the programming, which invalidates your argument. And as mentioned, Conservative Talk is slowly dying as well. Clear Channel itself dropped the format in two markets of similar size to Detroit and has taken it off FM in San Diego. As we reported this week, Boston could soon go from the three conservative talkers it had in August to possibly one.* The problem is the content on both ends attracting listeners and more importantly advertisers.
*—(me): At the start of this year, WRKO 680, WXKS AM 1200,
WTKK 96.9—also WBZ has a conserv talk host at night.
WXKS flipped to comedy and rumors are rampant of a format change of 96.9 to a music format. The hosts are a morning team—liberal and moderate—and a conservative in the afternoon. Late morning host Doug Meehan left today to
take a job in TV
I like OTR, and the both "The Lone Ranger" and "Challenge of the Yukon" originated at WXYZ.
I listened to his show the first few days after Y2K and his listeners were asking for refunds for the survival kits they purchased that were needed. It was sad.
I assume you’re talking about Chuck? I believe he got started in Illinois didn’t he?
Jim Quinn here in Pittsburgh had the same thing happen. He was pushing Y2K really hard and then —poof— nothing.
I remember being in rural areas of Ohio and Michigan in the 90’s where the locals were into Harder bigtime. If he had told them to lock and load and march on Washington, I have no doubt they would have done it.
I got to meet Chuck one time when I was in Florida on vacation at the Telford. Let's say it was a different place.
Two guests that he seemed to have on all the time were Ralph Nader and Nick Begich, an academic from Alaska who had written a conspiracy theory book about Project HAARP (I believe he often did Art Bell’s show too).
Begich’s brother is now the Junior Democrat Senator from Alaska.
Forgot Nader. What a snore. And of course Eutus Mullins.