2015 Recap: 'What Gives?' Ex-DJ Asks About Allyson Martinek; Petition Is Posted

December 29, 2015, 7:00 AM

This July 29 repost is the eighth in our set of noteworthy 2015 content, based on readership and editors’ choices. The Top 10 series runs through Thursday. Links to earlier installments are at the end.

A former broadcaster has blunt advice for "the radio axmen" who canned popular WDVD morning co-host Allyson Martinek: "Don’t mess with success and certainly not with successful high-profile drive-time personalities." 


That seemingly obvious suggestion comes from Farmington Hills public relations executive Don Tanner, whose earlier career in Illinois and Metro Detroit included time as a DJ, music director, news anchor and WWJ reporter. As a lifelong radio buff and industry-watcher, he comments pointedly at Tanner Friedman's blog on the 45-year-old's abrupt dismissal July 27, her first day back from vacation:

According to the latest Nielsen report (June 2015), the “Blaine and Allyson” morning show ranked #3 with adults 25-54, trailing only WRIF and Channel 9-5-5′s “Mojo in the Morning” for the top spot. 

So what gives?  The station hasn’t commented, leaving one to speculate that living and dying by the ratings sword has been replaced by bean counters as the radio axmen of the new era. . . .

Allyson has been with the Cumulus station for 20 years and was as integral a part of her morning show as anyone in town; a talented female voice on a station that skewed female in its listeners.

Allyson Martinek "has been with the Cumulus station for 20 years and was as integral a part of her morning show as anyone in town," ex-broadcaster Don Tanner writes. (Facebook photo)

An outcry among WDVD listeners spread from social media (see earlier article below) to the site, where Erin Trainor of Livonia starts a "Bring back Allyson" petition that has nearly 2,600 supporters.

 Dec. 29 updates: The petition now has 4,254 backers.
A career memoir by Martinek, "Living on Air," will be available at Amazon sometime soon. Pre-orders are being taken here.  

The petition says, in part:

We listen and laugh with her every morning. She is a part of our lives, like a member of our family. And Cumulus Media just lets her go like its nothing? We need to take a stand and send a message to Cumulus Media, that as Detroiters we will not accept that and demand her return! 

Tanner hopes the fans' backlash is accompanied by concern among advertisers -- who "must be wondering what is going on as well, especially as the options for their dollars continue to grow," he writes.

Perhaps it is these two key groups – listeners and advertisers – that corporate radio suits will ultimately listen to should they continue to make their confusion and distaste known.  And one hopes traditional radio will take note.

After all, what really differentiates its product from MP3s, online media and satellite radio if not top air personalities that we look to to deliver us live, local news, music and entertainment? If  the powers that be don’t understand that, then there’s too much static going on between the ears of too many key decision makers.

-- Alan Stamm

Original article, July 28:

The firing of Allyson Martinek of WDVD's popular morning radio show, "Blaine and Allyson," has triggered an avalanche of social media comments that range from disappointed to "beyond pissed."

Susan Whitall of The Detroit News broke the word Tuesday that Martinek is jettisoned while partner Blaine Fowler stays.

Typical of Facebook comments:

Carmen Gourlay:  I turned on this morning and immediately it sounded wrong. I am beyond pissed. Allyson was the one I connected with...I enjoyed the banter between her and Blaine but I can no longer listen to 96.3. I just can't 

Carol Mazur:  Allyson and Blaine together is the only reason I listen to 96.3 not listening any longer.

Sheryl Woo: Heartbroken and very disappointed!!!! Blaine and Allyson in the Morning made our morning every morning!!!! 96.3 will Never be the same.....what a huge loss....what a huge mistake!!!! Geo Rap and I are devastated!!! We love you Allyson are a beautiful person both inside and out!!!!

Ann-Marie Grant- McCardell: Thanks for all the years, I have no reason to continue to listen to this station. All the new format changes and now this. Blain AND Allyson was the only reason I stayed as long as I did. With Allyson gone, it's time to see what else is out there for morning shows.

Roman Wierzbicki: What!? She was great!! Loved their program!! Will switch to Jay Towers radio station now.

Michelle Dobbs Mertic: Dumbest move ever, especially since she just celebrated 20 years with the company! Allyson was insanely funny and incredibly relatable-that girlfriend everyone wishes they had! I hope another media outlet snatches her up!

Jacqueline Choate: Really fed up with Detroit media outlets cutting staff, largely women.

Here's some postings on Martinek's Facebook page: 

Taylor Hulyk‎: Now, how am I supposed to get out of bed? You have been perhaps the only force that has gotten me to confront all of those horrible hours before 10 a.m. I am shocked and furious at the same time, but know that good things will come your way. You have an entire community of people behind you. Stay strong. We're moving with you.

Susan Kincaid Thigpen‎: Wow!!! You have a lot of love on your wall (not surprising). Let's hope your next landing spot sees this and realizes all the fans that will come with you.

-- Allan Lengel

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