Paul W. Smith remembers Toledo radio daysWritten by Bill Stewart | | email@example.com
Paul W. Smith told me he’s very much looking forward to doing his WJR morning show from the UT Student Union on Feb. 1.
As reported in last week’s Media Watch column, Smith is trying to help the university’s efforts to recruit students from Southeast Michigan via getting the word out on his highly rated morning show.
Smith, a University of Michigan grad, said he never really lost touch with Toledo since leaving this radio market back in the 1980s. He said he still frequents the Beirut Restaurant on Monroe Street in Toledo and commented, “I’ve been blessed by being able to travel all over the world, but the Beirut Restaurant in Toledo is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire world.”
His WJR duties have enabled Smith to do live broadcasts from Beijing, Paris, Frankfort, Geneva, and other foreign locations.
Smith and I reminisced about our days working together at WSPD in the 1980s. That staff, which included Smith, Jack Mitchell, Mary Beth Zolek, Jerry Anderson, Jerry Keil, Rich Hoffer, Jude Lacava, myself and others was a close-knit group. We got together frequently away from the radio station for cookouts, parties, sporting events and the like. Smith and I concurred that those types of working environments seem to be a thing of the past.
I reminded Paul of the time he and his first wife, Paula, joined my wife Mary and me for a taco dinner at our residence, then on Eber Road in Monclova Township. He recalled that on the way home, while riding passenger and half asleep, Paula exclaimed while driving, “Oh look, there’s a deer; there’s another deer; and there’s another deer; and … (crash) their car hit the deer! Fortunately, neither of the two was injured, but the deer didn’t fare too well, as Paul recalled.
Smith, who has done successful major market radio and TV stints in New York, Philadelphia and Detroit said, “I’m blessed that I can work at a job that I truly enjoy and look forward to every day. The only thing I hate is having to get up each morning at 4 a.m!”
Smith has filled in several times for Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey on their respective national radio broadcasts. Regarding the former he said, “Sometimes I would go to New York to fill in for Rush. Other times I would do the show from the WJR studios, but that was too difficult.” He said “Unfortunately I had to turn down Rush’s show too often, so they haven’t called me in a while.”
He also related a time when he filled in for Paul Harvey while still doing his WJR morning show. He said he was finishing up a talk on the air to his listeners on WJR and then in seconds quickly segued his live opening of the Paul Harvey Show with, “Good Morning Americans, filling in for Paul Harvey this is Paul W. Smith”… etc. The Harvey broadcast starts at 8:30 a.m. while his WJR show continues until 9 a.m.
Smith and his wife of six years, Nyrea, have two children, Sophie, a 4-year-old girl, and an adopted son, Adam, 15. They currently live “east of Detroit in the Grosse Pointe area.”
Smith responded to my question about his folks by sharing that his father passed away about a year ago, but maintains that his mother still lives in Monroe, Mich., and is doing well at 81. He also mentioned that his sister Allison resides in Ottawa Hills and is a VP with ProMedica in Toledo.
Smith’s UT broadcast, once again, will take place from the Student Union at UT on Friday Feb. 1 from 6 to 9 a.m. and will be heard on 50,000-watt WJR 760 AM. Larry Burns, VP for enrollment, marketing and communications at UT told me that the public is invited to attend the live broadcast.
- Two hours of Catholic radio per week will be available to Toledo-area listeners beginning Feb. 3. Annunciation Radio will broadcast Catholic programming each Sunday from noon until 2 p.m. on Cumulus Media-owned SuperTalk 1560 WTOD radio. The broadcasts will be produced locally, combining syndicated programming with some local content, according to a press release. Deacon Michael Learned, president of Annunciation Radio, said its goal is to bring Catholic radio to the entire Toledo Diocese. “I’m very excited about it. This will give our listeners a taste of what we will be broadcasting when we get on the air full time.”
- Denny Schaffer is alive and well and broadcasting daily on the Internet, not to mention on Sunday mornings on a country radio station in Tiffin.
I contacted the former popular Toledo radio personality recently to see how he was doing since departing Toledo for Clear Channel sister station WGST Atlanta. That move eventually left the talk host sans gig when the station voided its local talk hosts.
After filling in on some high -profile radio shows, including the nationally syndicated Glenn Beck Show, Schaffer started doing weekday radio shows on his web site, www.dennyradio.com.
“It is going very well, and my site for some reason is growing without any outside advertising. I am sure it is because every time the Toledo Free Press mentions me I get a huge bump in hits! I am also doing a Sunday morning show on 103.7 CKY from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., which is fun!” Schaffer said. Schaffer says he misses the people in Toledo but not the weather, and when I asked him if he would consider returning to Toledo radio he said, “Yes I would, do you know of any openings? But it’s not up to me, God is in charge.”
CKY refers to a Sunday morning show that Denny started hosting on Jan. 13 on Clear Channel owned-Tiffin, Ohio country radio station, WCKY 103.
- It just so happens that Clear Channel-owned station is programmed by another Toledo radio alum, Johny D formerly of Clear Channel’s 92.5 Kiss FM and Cumulus Media’s Tower 98, 98.3. D was displaced from his midday talk show in Detroit on WKRK at the end of last year, after the station changed format to a sports talk station that is now known as WXYT-FM. Johny told me he actually continued on for a while with the new sports format in Detroit working on the weekends and on the overnight show, but said, “I couldn’t continue to do that because I’m 40 years old and have a wife and three kids.” He continues to live in the Perrysburg area and is now handling a more reasonable commute to Findlay where CKY, although licensed to Tiffin, has its studio. Johny told me that he’s made 103.7 CKY more of a fun top-40-country approach that is different than K-100.
He said the station is 50,000 watts and covers a large listening area that stretches south to Columbus and north to Monroe, Mich., to the north. Johny, besides being the program director, also hosts the afternoon show on the station.
A final note. The day I talked with Johny D on the phone about Denny’s Sunday show, he was about to have lunch with Andy Stuart, marketing manager of Clear Channel Toledo.
Like Denny said, “Stay Tuned!”