Monday, December 3, 2012

Detroit Radio Wonders Where Dave & Chuck Will Go Next

Detroit's morning radio landscape is braced for another shake-up: where the "Dave and Chuck the Freak" show and its lucrative ratings end up.

Chuck, Dave, Lisa
The sudden departure last month of the show's hosts from the Windsor-based alternative-rock station "89X" -- the on-air branding for CIMX 88.7 FM -- with what's thought to be more than two years left on their contract is the latest major local morning radio change since Dick Purtan retired in March 2010 from WOMC FM 104.3 and Jim Harper retired from WMGC 105.1 FM in December 2011.

No one in Detroit radio seems to know where "Dave and Chuck the Freak" will end up, or isn't talking publicly about it. But Bill Shea at writes radio insiders are speculating heavily that the hosts will remain in this market.

89X's management publicly acknowledged that another station offered the hosts a better deal than its owner, Toronto-based Bell Media Radio, was willing to match.

"We're sad to lose them, but we wish them well. It's business. We'll grow something new again," said Eric Proksch, vice president and general manager for Bell Media Radio.  Other than to say the hosts didn't disclose to him what station they were going to, Proksch declined to discuss any details.

"Dave and Chuck the Freak" went on the air in April 2001 and consistently has been first or second in its targeted demographic: men 18-34.

The show's talent -- Dave Hunter, Charles Urquhart and Lisa Way -- is believed to have a six-month noncompete contract clause that will keep it off the local airwaves until April or May.

The market leader for the past three months in the male 18-34 demographic has been WXYT FM 97.1, which is branded as "The Ticket" and is the sports-talk station that carries all game broadcasts of Detroit's pro sports teams.

The station's morning drive-time program is "Stoney and Bill," hosted by Mike Stone, Bill McAllister and Sara Fouracre.

The Ticket's 6-10 a.m. rating for September through November was 1.6, and 89X was second at 1.5, according to data from Arbitron.

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