On December 16, Cumulus Detroit’s 760 WJR announced a new on-air programming lineup, just in time for its 100th year anniversary celebration in 2022. The heritage Talk station launched the new ‘All Talk’ show in late mornings, “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz,” capping a year of evolutionary moves that position WJR for its next 100 years serving the Detroit area with news, information, opinion and analysis.
The Centennial retooling of WJR was accelerated by the retirement last December of WJR’s longtime News Director, Dick Haefner, the February death of Rush Limbaugh, a two-decade figure on WJR, and the retirement of 50-year station veteran Frank Beckmann in March. Since then, WJR has put in place a series of moves including:
- Ann Thomas has been promoted from Senior Executive Producer to Assistant Program Director of WJR. Thomas is approaching 30 years at WJR as a news reporter, anchor and morning show producer. The promotion reflects Thomas’ growth in participation and influence on every aspect of WJR programming.
- Paul W. Smith, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary as WJR morning host, is joined by co-host Sean Baligian, who has spent most of his career in Detroit sports, including as pre- and post-game host of WJR’s Detroit Lions coverage. Baligian’s transition to general talk in recent years brings new insights and fresh perspectives as he partners with a Michigan broadcast legend.
- Frank Beckmann’s former late morning shift is rebranded as “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz.” A pair of former TV reporters, Tom Jordan spent the past eight years as morning host at crosstown WWJ and Kevin Dietz joins after a 26-year run as a Detroit TV reporter with a focus on investigative reporting. The show airs from 9AM-NOON, as Jordon and Dietz cover the headlines and happenings that Detroiters are talking about. The highly engaging duo mixes it up with politics, social issues, sports, business news and more.
- Laura Hessen moves from the “Guy Gordon Show” to serve as Executive Producer of “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz.”
- Westwood One’s Dan Bongino was added to the WJR lineup in June, replacing the late Rush Limbaugh.
- Nick Roddy, former Detroit Lions Broadcast Producer, takes the reins as Executive Producer of the 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. “Guy Gordon Show.”
- Blake Majchrzak joins WJR as Studio & Audio Engineer for the “Mitch Albom Show.” Albom, NY Times Best Selling Author, philanthropist and newspaper columnist also celebrated his 25th year with WJR – making his show the longest-running afternoon show in Detroit – from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- FOX News Radio has been added as the WJR network news provider and WJR news reporter/anchor Marie Osborne, WJR producer Chris Renwick and former WJR news reporter Lloyd Jackson have signed on as the first WJR Senior News Analysts, covering, writing and producing stories and presenting them across the day within the local WJR talk shows. The Senior News Analysts present the story, add analysis and participate in discussions with the WJR Talent and listeners. This first-of-its-kind approach strengthens WJR’s local news coverage and provides a cornerstone for the topics covered by WJR on-air hosts.
- Ken Rogulski joins Dayna Clark to provide in-house coverage of WJR’s Traffic and Weather First.
- WJR is also announcing major upgrades on weekends by adding legendary Detroit Morning Show Host Jim Harper with his Great Michigan Weekend Show. Weekday specialty programming additions also include four-time Stanley Cup Champion Darren McCarty, WJR Sports fan favorite Steve Courtney and popular local television personality Jamie Edmonds.<
Cumulus Detroit Vice President/Market Manager Steve Finateri said, “We are extremely proud of this team, their credentials, their integrity and their ability to represent WJR and Cumulus in the tradition expected by all Michiganders! The new talent we’ve added around our longtime superstars Paul W. Smith, Guy Gordon and Mitch Albom makes WJR one of the most powerful and trusted media outlets among all peers. Individually they each are ‘A’ players with big brands, and as a collective group of broadcasters, we feel we have the absolute strongest lineup in Michigan radio, maybe anywhere in the country.”
Cumulus Detroit Programming Operations Manager and Program Director WJR Mike Wheeler commented, “In a transitory business, WJR has been a symbol of permanence in Michigan. Most who come to WJR, stay at WJR. But the last year has brought an unprecedented amount of change and we have used this opportunity to reevaluate and rethink how we do Talk Radio. These changes are the exciting result of that process.”