Monday, August 8, 2016


A very interesting battle is emerging in Detroit. For many years WUOM and WDET have competed head-to-head with news programming.  Now WDET is taking a page from KCRW’s playbook by putting significant blocks of Triple A “music discovery” programming into the mix. The key is WDET’s new daily program Culture Shift, Monday – Friday Noon to 3pm [link].

There are a number of ways two NPR News stations in the same market coexist: In Boston both WBUR and WGBH look for advantages of local and national coverage; In Seattle KPLU’s Jazz programming is a strong contrast with all-news KUOW.  In LA, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic is a signature show, unlike anything on all-news KPCC. Culture Shift reminds me most of Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Culture Shift hosts Travis Wright and Amanda LeClaire play tunes from a playlist of new and iconic artists with a special emphasis on Detroit’s musical legacy.  The Sample Playlist on the right demonstrates the vibe: Spicy tracks from John Lee Hooker and Jeff Buckley combined with can’t miss oldies from Elvis Costello and The Decemberists. Count me in as a fan!

In addition to great tunes, Wright and LeClaire present short features and interviews with musicians, chefs, poets, filmmakers, visual artists and storytellers  - the people who create and nurture Detroit culture.

Culture Shift presents a multi-platform curated calendar of events.  Wright and LeClaire provide recommendations of the most interesting upcoming events and places in the Detroit metro.  Listeners interact in real-time via Twitter and Instagram.

WDET created a cool YouTube video to introduce Culture Shift and the hosts:

Both WDET and WUOM are doing well.  According to estimates for June 2016 from Nielsen Audio, WUOM had 190.900 weekly cumulative listeners (up 21% from a year earlier), and WDET had 184,200 weekly listeners (up 26% from the previous year).

Ann Delisi
To me, one of the best shows on WDET is Ann Delisi’s Essential Music, heard Sundays from 11am to 2pm [link]. Delisi is an iconic Detroit music host, writer and scene-maker.


Podtrac [link], which claims to be the leading podcast measurement and advertising service, has debuted a new top podcast chart.  Public media//radio appears to be doing very, very well according to Podtrac’s initial chart:


Nielsen Audio data via RRC continues to roll in.  Today we have three markets (Cape Cod, Roanoke & Boise) where we compare estimated weekly listeners in Spring 2016 with Spring 2015.

I wish there was data available for Triple A WMVY but apparently they did not subscribe to this “book.”

WVTF’s two stations continue to add listeners in Roanoke and Lynchburg.  WNRN’s Lynchburg repeater WNRS has helped add new listeners.  We will have more about WNRN’s multi-market performance later this week.

The biggest change in Boise is not on this chart.  It is Tom Michael, the new GM of Boise State Radio after building the legendary KRTS in Marfa, Texas.  Best wishes for Tom’s continued success in the Gem City.

Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+
These data are provided for use by Nielsen subscribers ONLY,
in accordance with RRC's limited license with Nielsen Inc. Data Copyright Nielsen Inc. Format distinctions are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.


  1. FWIW, I would expect that WBUR's uptick on Cape Cod is largely due to people getting used to finding them on their new WBUH 89.1 signal. I was out on the Cape for the first time in a couple years yesterday, and that 89.1 signal is MASSIVE. You can hear it in the car easily all the way out at the Cape Cod canal; basically it covers the entire Cape if you're driving out Rt.6 (the main highway).

    Of course, there's also the still-relatively-recent acquisition of the old WMVY, now WBUA, on 92.7 as well...which covers the parts of Upper Cape (like Falmouth) that WBUH doesn't reach as well. Plus 92.7 covers the islands nicely, too.

    Bottom line: I'm sure more and more Cape residents and tourists are realizing they can get WBUR loud and clear on FM nowadays...instead of the little patchwork of tiny high school FM's plus one decent AM that WBUR used to have cobbled together.

    What'd be real interesting to know is if WBUR is eating away audience from WCAI's network...particularly since WCAI has WZAI on 94.3FM. It's a big signal that covers most of the Cape (and has for over a decade), but it's well into the commercial band where a pubradio tourist might not think to look for public radio.

  2. The interesting thing is that WDET was doing AAA about a decade ago during the day before deciding to become all news-talk during the day, with more than the usual angry mobs because a class action lawsuit was filed against the station (I assume that it was resolved in favor of the station). As you may know, they stopped programming jazz weeknights some time ago (although they now have an alt-rock show on Friday nights) and repeat "Cultureshift" (which is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article) in overnights.