THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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THE JEWISH NEWS
Robin Seymour, audio to visual
"My years on radio were
as a crusader, introducing
new things and new
He reminisces about his radio
years as a time of innovation. "My
, years on radio were as a crusader,
introducing new things and new
sounds." He talked about remotes —
broadcasts away from the studio —
all over the city, where he met with
individuals and made new friends.
Today, only WHND-AM, the all-
oldies station, regularly has remotes.
Inform and entertain, that's the
service he said he provided.
Called "the best known ex-
Detroit jock there is" by Purtan,
Seymour said he dislikes the em-
phasis AM and FM radio stations
now place on promoting the 6-10 a.m.
disc jockeys, while letting the rest of
the program schedule slide.
"Just as an objective listener, I
can't figure out why, for the most
part, the radio stations put all their
power into the morning humor and
personalities from 6 to 10 and for all
intents and purposes after 10 a.m.
they don't do anything, such as, you
know, promote a name.
"They push 6 to 10 in the morn-
ing and then at 10 in the morning,
pshew. I'm sure people don't turn the
In Seymour's heyday, in the '50s
at WKMH, where he was front of
the mike for 18 years, radio stations
promoted their air personalities to
the hilt. A local retail record com-
pany executive said the big names in
Detroit radio in the '50s were: Ed
McKenzie, Bob Murphy, Don
McLeod, Bob Maxwell and Shorr.
And in the '60s, who can forget Tom
Shannon, Terry Knight, Tom 'Clay,
Lee -Alan, Joel Sebastian, Purtan,
Scott Regan, the late Don Zee, Gary
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Continued from Page 80
why the show was such a success."
Seymour recalled that two or three
Motown acts appeared on the show
every week. He still tries to see the
performers whenever he can.
Seymour has seen a lot of
changes in pop music, from the Big
Bands, the Eddie Fisher era, Elvis,
Chuck Berry, Phil Spector's "wall of
sound," Motown, the Beatles,
psychedelic music, the non-
gimmicky 1970s (such as Carole
King, Barry Manilow and Neil
Diamond), new wave, punk, heavy
metal and now Michael Jackson.
Which era does he like the best?
"The Motown era, because of being so
close to it. It is Detroit's own sound."
What about the music heard on
"I'm not really that excited (ab-
out it). It's so darn repetitious. It's all
basically the same, without newness
Friday, August 10, 1984 -57
Stevens Bob Green, and of course,
"Bobbin' with Robin"?
But in the '50s and '60s when AM
rock 'n roll radio was hot, program
directors depended on 45 rpm hits by
individual artists and groups to fill
airtime. It was a time when "make it
or break it" meant the beginning of a
successful recording career for a new
', artist or group, even with one hit re-
cord,,or a slide into rock 'n roll obliv-
Today, the emphasis, particu-
larly in Detroit, lies with FM, and
what is known in the trade as
album-oriented rock (AOR). No
longer do radio stations try to jam 25
or 50 hits into an hour. The rah-rah,
smash, boom, blam, "ramma lemma
ding dong" pace of the '50s and '60s is
Radio in the '50s and '60s was
also broadcast in a mode called
monaural —one channel — and most
of us were content with table model
and transistor radios. In the late '60s
stereo — muliple channels — came
into play and it made a major impact
on how music was recorded and how
we listened. Stereo components —
speakers, turntables and receivers —
and large consoles were popular. And
records, how they were manufac-
tured and recorded, and radio sta-
tions, all had to be changed to ac-
commodate the new technology.
Seymour says the advent of
stereo contributed to the downfall of
AM and the popularity of FM sta-
"Because of stereo, the AM sta-
tion today, as far as records are con=
cerned, is passe. It's quite obvious. I
don't think there's any AM station
that means anything musicwise. I'm \
not saying it can't. They're not doing ,
anything to make it any different.
They've put themselves in .a position
where they feel the only way they can
make it is with news, talk and-that's
it." (Some AM stations, such as
CKLW, have begun broadcasting in
However, he was quick to point
out that there are AM stations' that
can exist, quite nicely, in fact with
these formats. He cited WXYZ, a
former rock music leader in the '60s,
now all "talk." (Its FM sister station,
WRIF, is a leader in the Detroit AOR
He also lauded WWJ, the all-
news station. "I think the only two
AM stations that mean anything in
town would be 'XYZ and WWJ. WJR
is an institution. I never really con-
sidered it a 'disc jockey' station. Your
top music stations here in town and
probably all over the country are FM
Would he like to get back in front
of the mike? You bet. He did a brief
stint spinning records at a local bar,
but only once and only as a favor.
"rm not interested in spinning
records' at bars. I've paid zny dues:-":':'
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