History of WRIF Podcast

By History of WRIF Podcast

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Since 1971, Detroit, rock & roll and WRIF have been inseparable. As we lead up to the half century celebration, we dive into the history of the iconic radio station and people who made it the true home of rock & roll.

Episode Date
Chapter XIII - Screamin' Scott
Part One:   (Running Time: 18:05) Screamin’ Scott Randall talks about his early years in radio. Imitating Arthur P and Alan Allman to the point of starting to smoke to get a deeper sounding voice. Working in Ohio and Indiana doing hog reports and them coming back to Detroit to work at The Ritz.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 31:22) Scott makes the giant leap form the Ritz to doing mornings at 102.7 Z-Rock. He talks about how he got the Screamin’ nickname, doing radio with Alice Cooper and dating Ted Nugent’s daughter.  Part Three:   (Running Time: 49:25) Doug Podell hires Scott to do overnights at WRIF and Scott talks about working with him, Anne Carlini, Arthur P., Meltdown and Drew and Mike. Part Four:   (Running Time: 73:36) Of course Screamin’ has a beer with Dave Grohl in Ireland, plays a round of Golf with Alice Cooper, hangs out with Bobby Knight and BJ Thomas. Then there was the time he nearly died while on the air. Part Four:   (Running Time: 91:50) This time Scott really does die, thankfully in the hospital but lives on to create Rock For Tots and his Screamin’ Angles. Scotty also discusses how he was let go after 24 years at WRIF and looks ahead to a bright future. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 13, 2021
Chapter XII - Drew Lane Part 2
Part One:   (Running Time: 18:04) Drew Lane (Drew and Mike) continues his conversation with Mike Staff touching on Delbert, Davie Lee Roth, and the value of paying your dues.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 32:03) Recounting the 9-11 show, Woodstock 94, Cold Call celebrity hang-ups and Drew talks about the role of his producers.  Part Three:   (Running Time: 47:58) Drew and Marc move to 105.1 The Sports Station and have to deal with questionable programing and talk about the late 1990s as Howard Stern, Ted Nugent, Danny Bonaduce, and Bill Bonds all had talk shows. Part Four:   (Running Time: 66:22) Drew’s relationship with Mike during the 22 year run on WRIF, the astounding success of the show and their evolution into Podcasting.  Part Four:   (Running Time: 90:10) The final years at WRIF, Drew’s thoughts on Dave and Chuck The Freak, the loss of Mike Clark and the staying power of The Riff as it approaches the 50th See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 22, 2020
Chapter XII - Drew Lane Part 1
Part One:   (Running Time: 18:10) Drew Lane (Drew and Mike) recounts his early radio days at WVT, WROV, WAAF (Boston) and KMXX (Phoenix) on his way to WRIF.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 33:45) After 3 Years in Phoenix Drew and Zip take over mornings at WRIF. The stories include Arthur P welcoming Drew to town with a trip to the strip club, Trudi joins the staff and Drew meets Mike Clark for the 1st time at The Ritz in Roseville.  Part Three:   (Running Time: 56:53) The Drew and Zip show becomes Drew and Mike and as they evolve into a full-time talk show the ratings explode. There were Lions pre-game shows with strippers, The OJ Trial, Mike crashing his helicopter on the air, the show gets kicked out of the Auto Show and Mickey Redman joins the team during the Red Wings historic Stanley Cup years.      Part Four:   (Running Time: 77:15) Drew and Mark recount some of the wildest interviews of the Drew and Mike show, plus celebrity hang ups, But Mic and a listen comes in to suck Trudi’s toes.  Part Four:    (Running Time: 93:45) Do co-hosts have to get along off the air?, Was syndication ever a possibility? Can rock starts be good radio hosts? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 16, 2020
Chapter XI - Mike Staff
Part One:   (Running Time: 14:15) The usual host Mike Staff is the focus of this discussion as WRIF’s Meltdown talks to Mike about his journey from Central to Specs Howard. Through WJR, WLLZ, WKLT, CD 106 and finally WRIF.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 28:17) Mike Staff reveals what it was like to live his dream of working at WRIF alongside Arthur P., Steve Kostan, Anne Carlini, Doug Podell and Drew & Mike. Plus his interviewing experiences with Alex Van Halen. Armored Saint and Sammy Hagar.  Part Three: (Running Time: 47:46) Some of Mike most memorable moments on the air including the O.J. Verdict, Sam Kinison’s death, interactions with Kiss, Pink Floyd, and his friendship with Motley Crew.     Part Four:   (Running Time: 61:48) Mike Staff literally knocks himself out on the air? Plus some of his finest radio memories and what hosting this podcast has meant to him. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 28, 2020
Chapter X - Meltdown
Part One:   (Running Time: 12:31) Afternoon Drive host Meltdown talks about growing up outside of Buffalo and getting the call to move to Detroit to work at WRIF at age 26 and the idea of being born in Buffalo but made in Detroit.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 24:12) Meltdown reveals the story behind his nickname, working as a custodian calling into radio stations, his first radio gigs, his other nickname for a while The Big Unit and 3rd shifter parties.  Part Three:   (Running Time: 35:02) A conversation of working overnights at WRIF for two years, live broadcasts, Harleyfest, Hockey and a few of his famous friends.     Part Four:   (Running Time: 58:53) Meltdown’s crossovers with Arthur P. moving into the afternoon drive spot in 2009, his interviewing style and the Talkin’ Rock Podcast. Part Five:   (Running Time: 74:55) Mike and Meltdown wrap up the fireside chat with rock star stories and tales of interviews both good and bad. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 14, 2020
Chapter IX - Peter Werbe
Part One:   (Running Time: 14:57) The host of Night Call and one of the original WRIF DJs Peter Werbe talks about the change over from WXYZ-FM to WRIF. The self-described anarchist, atheist and vegetarian talk show host talks about the early days with Dick Kernen, Russ Gibb, John Sinclair the 1968 riots and their connection to 2020.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 27:40) Peter talks about the changing culture and how Night Call survived over the years as WRIF’s ownership changed multiple times. Being terminated at what was probably the right time and the evolution of owners becoming less conservative over the years while the air personalities became more conservative.  Part Three:   (Running Time: (53:21) From 1973-1976 Peter did a full time talk show and later he and Juline Jordan took the Night Call format into syndication. Peter also explores the changes that have been driven by social media and technology.    Part Four:   (Running Time: (72:06) Peter looks back at the different decades and personalities like Arthur P., Drew and Mike, Jerry Lubin, Barba Holiday, Lee Abrams and the shifting of rock genres as WRIF is approaching the 50 year mark. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 14, 2020
Chapter VIII - Steve Black
Part One:   (Running Time: 15:28) Weekend Personality and syndicated radio host Steve Black talks about growing up in Flint and listening to WWCK along with the Detroit stations WRIF and WLLZ.  Steve’s journey from dreaming of being a Foley Artist to becoming a musician and finally a DJ.  Part Two:   (Running Time: 25:00) The Ted Nugent years. Steve and Mike explore the rivalry between Z-Rock and WRIF. Becoming the co-host for the Ted Nugent Morning show and the mammoth task of competing with Drew & Mike.  Part Three:   (Running Time: 38:18) Steve joins a Riff staff in 2003 that includes Drew & Mike, Doug Podell, Arthur P., Meltdown and Screamin’ Scott. Creating the Chop Shop syndicated guitar show in 2004 and some of the 1500 plus career interviews with artists like Rob Zombie and Slash.    Part Four:   (Running Time:   58:13) Steve’s syndication business expands, his first wife Sabrina’s illness and working with Detroit-based charities like Gilda’s Club. Plus his stories of working with Dave & Chuck The Freak, Meltdown, Arthur P and what has made WRIF so strong for 49 years and counting. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 29, 2020
Chapter VII - Tom Bender & Fred Jacobs
Part One:     (Running Time: 15:51) Former WRIF Program Directors Tom Bender and Fred Jacobs recount their journeys to the Riff and explain the roles of a Program Director, General Manager and Consultant.   Part Two:     (Running Time: 29:21) The evolution of WRIF under the watch of Tom and Fred including the hiring of Ken Calvert and JJ and The Morning Crew. Arthur P organically helps to rebrand the station as The Home of Rock & Roll. Part Three:     (Running Time: 42:47) The iconic WRIF bumper stickers are born, the D.R.E.A.D Car and Maui Time all help the Riff stay at the top. Part Four:     (Running Time: 77:25) Tom and Fred talk about Drew & Mike, Doug Podell, Anne Carlini, Meltdown and Arthur Penhallow. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 14, 2020
Chapter VI - JJ and the Morning Crew
Part One:                                                                    Running Time:            15:34 The radio background and real story of how Jim Johnson and George Baier got together to become JJ and the Morning Crew. With stops at WWWW from 78-79, WRIF from 79-86, then WLLZ from 86-92 and finally at WCSX from 92-08. Part Two:                                                                  Running Time:            29:19 ABC Radio assembles the first Riff All-Star lineup with JJ, George, Ken Calvert, Arthur P., Steve Kostan and Karen Savelly. The historic TV commercials start to air with the real Dick the Bruiser (the wrestler) coming to town to be part of the fun. In addition, the Dick The Bruiser Band is born. Part Three:                                                                 Running Time:            45:37 Recording parody songs including “Dancing in the Seats” with the real Martha Reeves. And the start of WRIF’s war on disco with the D.R.E.A.D. Card. Part Four:                                                                   Running Time:            38:11 Radio chaos that includes calling the White House, a 4th of July visit to a Navy ship with strippers, free concerts at Heart Plaza and “drunk” Meet the Bruiser.   Part Five:                                                                    Running Time:            38:11 Stories of other radio personalities along the way including Arthur P., Howard Stern, Mark Addy, Ken Calvert, Karen Savelly and ultimately leaving WRIF.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 14, 2020
Chapter V - Dick Kernen
Part One:     Running Time:     11:25 Dick’s journey to working at WXYZ and becoming the 1st Program Director at WRIF.  Part Two:     Running Time:     25:27 Making the decision to hire Cicero Grimes (Arthur Penhallow) from a station in Ann Arbor and the loyalty he and other personalities like Dan Carlyle, JJ & The Morning Crew and Dave and Chuck the Freak were able to build with the listeners. Part Three:     Running Time:     38:11 The longevity of WRIF, radio’s future and the amazing legacy Dick has built as the Vice President of the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 14, 2020
Chapter IV - Steve Kostan
Part One:   (Running Time:     15:27) Steve’s radio journey growing up in Detroit and going to Redford Detroit high school. Attending Lawrence Tech, O.C.C., and Western.  Dan Carlyle taking Steve under his wing. The first gig a WABX.  Part Two:   (Running Time:    32:24) Turing down WPLJ in New York and getting hired by WRIF. Playing Pine Knob in 1981 with the Dick The Bruiser Band. Local bands and the power line-up of WRIF in the 80s with Arthur P., Ken Calvert and Karen Savelly. Part Three:   (Total Time:    52:21) A not so great interview with Lou Reed. Being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Steve's thoughts on the city of Detroit and the legacy of WRIF.                        (Total Time:     1:11:45)   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 14, 2020
Chapter III - Karen Savelly
Part One:   (Total Time:     11:25) Karen’s journey growing up in Detroit and going to school at Wayne State. The collage years working at WAYN, WDTE and WWWW. Karen’s four years at W4 and three at WABX leading to her spot at WRIF.  Part Two:   (Total Time:     25:27) Working in the old broadcast trailer and the 80s all-star lineup at the Riff. Karen’s long relationship with Bob Seger, having dinner with Queen and seeing The Who at the Silverdome. Part Three:   (Total Time:     38:11) Working with J., George, Ken Calvert, Arthur P. and Steve Kostan. A short run doing the morning show on WRIF with Lynne Woodison. Seeing Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker at the old Eastown and being recruited to WCSX.  Part Four:   (Total Time:     42:44) The Van Halen interview that included the whole band and a few strippers. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 14, 2019
Chapter II - Ken Calvert
Part One:     (Running Time:     17:59) Ken falls in love with radio as a kid, and describes his 1st overnight shift in Detroit along with his journey from Collage radio to WWWW. Plus his interview with Queen.  Part Two:     (Running Time:     39:53) Ken's 1st gig as a Program Director. Working for Epic and Columbia Records along side Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen, In 1979 JJ and The Morning Crew encourage him to join the team at WRIF.  Part Three:     (Running Time:     56:11) Working with Karen Sevelly, the "remarkable mouth" TV commercial, Steve Kostan's $5,000 mistake and moving to mornings.  Part Four:     (Total Time:     71:38) Working for the Detroit Pistons and Ken's time at WLLZ, WJR and WCSX. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 14, 2019
Chapter I - Arthur Penhallow
Part One:     (Total Time:     12:23) Arthur’s journey from his birthplace in Hawaii, to San Francisco and into the U.S. Air Force. Joining a band called The Vegetables and becoming The Magic Rooster in Ann Arbor.  Part Two:     (Total Time:     23:01) Who is Cicero Grimes? WXYZ becomes WRIF and Ken Calvert, JJ and The Morning Crew join the team.  Part Three:     (Total Time:     49:30) The Home of Rock & Roll, Baby! WRIF bumper stickers and Maui Time.  Part Four:     (Total Time:     60:25) The Up Side of Anger movie, Induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, What makes WRIF so special and a surprising departure. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 11, 2019