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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Mathew Blades will go to Phoenix to do what he came to Milwaukee to do.

In Movies & TV Commentary

Does Howard Stern make any sense at all as an "American Idol" judge?

In Movies & TV Commentary

Jay Leno's 9 p.m. run ends tonight on Channel 4.

OnMedia: Mathew Blades heading to Phoenix


Mathew Blades came to Milwaukee back in 2007 to take over an established morning show on what was then WKTI.

But a format change hit in November 2008 and the Journal Broadcast Group station morphed into WLWK-FM (94.5) -- better known to listeners as Lake FM -- and Blades found his job changing dramatically. He not only moved to afternoon drive time, but he went from a station that was heavy on personalities to one where personalities barely existed and the music was the focus.

Blades announced Monday that he's moving to Phoenix, Ariz., where he'll go back to mornings on Clear Channel's KMXP-FM, which calls itself Mix 96.9. He's expected to start sometime next month.

"I am so excited to get back to what I love," he says. "Crazy as it sounds I love waking up early and getting ready for a show each day. I miss being creative."

The big move returns Blades to a hot adult contemporary station, where he'll have far more to do than he does at Lake FM, a station that pushes its large play-list over personalities.

His initial job here was a Herculean task, replacing Milwaukee radio legends Bob Reitman and Gene Mueller in the morning on WKTI. His second job didn't allow him full use of his radio talents.

But you won't hear him badmouth the current Lake FM format, particularly with Milwaukee radio moving to portable people meters to measure radio ratings later this year.

"Once PPM starts up later in the year Milwaukee radio is in for the shock of its life," he said, terming WLWK's format "PPM perfection.

"All of the heritage morning shows will have a rude awakening. It would be interesting to take a look at all of the morning shows on right now and see how many are left in two years. I wish everyone the best though."

This is, indeed, a good move for Blades, who goes from the nation's 37th largest radio market, according to Arbitron's rankings, to number 15. For the record, Phoenix has already made the PPM switch.

And with tough times in the radio business, I asked Blades if he felt lucky to land the job.

"My take is that good things happen to good people. I have never burned a bridge, and because of that a connection turned me on to this new job," he said. "On the other hand we tried to make a few things work out here in Milwaukee but that looked like a long shot so it was time to look outside the market."

Blades said he'll miss the area after the short time he spent here.

"We were lucky to live here," he said. "It's got a good pace for family life, plenty to see and do if you want it and I think its on the upswing for even more good stuff. We will miss our new friends, and our favorite playground up in Port Washington."

Vote for Milwaukee music: WYMS-FM (88.9) has launched its third annual Milwaukee Music Awards, with nominees in 16 categories. Six of the categories are open to listener votes: Artist of the Year, Best Music Video, Milwaukee Best DJ Night, Saturday Session Mix of the Year, Most Memorable Live Show, and Blog of the Year.

You can vote here until Feb. 21.

Winners will be announced in a two-hour program airing on the station at 4 p.m. Feb. 25. A station benefit will follow that night at 8 p.m. at Whiskey Bar, 788 N. Jackson St.

On the radio: Speaking of WYMS, the station has hired former WJMR-FM (98.3) senior account executive Devin Hudson as sponsorship director, and former Milwaukee Art Museum membership marketing coordinator Elizabeth Egan as membership director.

  • This week marks a sad anniversary, the death of radio personality Bob Collins in a small plane crash in 2000. Collins, who worked at Milwaukee's WOKY-AM (920) and the old WRIT-AM before hitting the big time at Chicago's WGN-AM (720), is profiled with great links, at Chicago Radio and Media by Chicago radio expert Larz.
  • Howard Stern tells his Sirius satellite radio listeners that he's considering leaving radio and taking Simon Cowell's place on Fox's "American Idol" next year. The first part is possible, the second makes little sense, considering the young female target audience for "Idol."
  • Speaking of "Idol," I'll be talking about it in the 7 a.m. hour Wednesday with Dave Murphy and Meg McKenzie on WRIT-FM (95.7).

Jay signs off tonight: The final episode of Jay Leno's failed prime-time NBC show airs tonight at 9 on Channel 4. He returns to his old "Tonight Show" desk on March 1.

In the meantime, his motivation for sitting down on a couch with arch-enemy David Letterman, separated only by Oprah Winfrey, was a topic of Monday's penultimate show.

"No matter what animosity there is among comedians, a good joke is a good joke," said Leno.

Here's the video:


Talkbacks

cuprisin | Feb. 10, 2010 at 3:05 p.m. (report)

I think Mathew's right on the money. I wouldn't make any specific predictions, but based on what's happened in other markets where PPM is instituted, some traditional ratings winners could find themselves in a bad spot.

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alba | Feb. 10, 2010 at 2:55 p.m. (report)

Tim - do you think his views on PPM are correct? Will Bob and Brian and WKLH really have "a rude awakening" in the mornings or is he referring to lesser-known shows?

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ktroboat | Feb. 9, 2010 at 8:14 p.m. (report)

Blades is a CLASS ACT. When it was announced in a staff meeting about the changes at KTI, he talked to the crowd (after having his life turned upside down in about 2 minutes time) and encouraged everyone....saying something to the effect that even though he wouldn't be waking up everyday doing his dream job...that the change would be a good thing for the station. I don't remember the exact words, I remember the emotion though. It was a pleasure to work with him, and he will succeed wherever he goes.

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cuprisin | Feb. 9, 2010 at 3:39 p.m. (report)

Taz, I don't think anybody suggests PPM brings music diversity... Or diversity of any kind. You're absolutely right... this is BROADcasting, not narrowcasting. And the best thing serious music lovers can do is build their own play-lists on their iPod or however they listen to music.

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taz | Feb. 9, 2010 at 3:32 p.m. (report)

The PPM will do the opposite of bringing diversity to the radio music scene. Mass Media is about Mass ... the masses like 3 basic genres of music, rock, pop and country. Stray to far away, and you can't build critical mass. Hard to hear for we music heads ... but we are not the norm. No use whining - buy mp3s.

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