Saturday, October 22, 2016

The "WION-ness" (uniqueness) of Local Radio...

It's a Saturday. It's autumn of our 12th year and I sit listening to the program "Ionia Underground Audio" which is a cooperative effort between WION Radio and Main Street Music of Ionia.  It's not a paid program, it is something WION felt there was a need to do, and luckily for Ionia, we have Main Street Music which, in turn has Husband-Wife team of Jim and Gretchen Killion.

Main Street music was one of the "specialty" businesses that Main Street Ionia needed to help revive our downtown brick-street, and I'm proud of the risks they took to make this store happen!  We, at WION understand risks, because 12 years ago there were plenty of office pools betting against WION's survival, but our team has proudly made it happen.  If you enjoy the show we've created with Main Street Music, please think of them when you buy musical Christmas and other gifts, and support the causes they are so deeply involved-with.   They're another example of a local success story (like WION) when the odds were against them but they MADE it happen.  Keep it up, Jim and Gretchen!

Along those lines, I got thinking while scanning the dial on a recent long weekend trip  that I HOPE, as program director, and co-owner of WION  that our station stands-out among the offerings on the radio today.  Mainly in my travels I heard network shows, talk, and not much "local" content.  It seemed a big contrast to what we try to do at WION.  We bring you a unique lineup each week. Randy Edwards does "Edwards Archives" only for us, (though I hope he will expand nationwide soon) and, he also does a weekday feature for us called, "Turntable Trainwrecks".  That particular show is unique, as it grew out of a conversation Randy and I had one evening discussing how "trainwrecks" in radio of the old top 40 days are missing in today's broadcasting. That was the era when you never knew what was coming next...and you might find Frank Sinatra back to back with the latest top 40/Rock hit.  A few weeks after our conversation, WION's "Turntable Trainwrecks" was born. Both of the shows, by the way are locally sponsored so Randy can be paid to do what he loves doing...making GREAT radio shows!

WION's other choices in feature programming may not be unique to us, but when combined into our daily schedule, we're darn proud of the lineup we've chosen.  Audio books are on the upswing, and we've had "The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas"  for over a decade now.  We've visited the 90's and now settled into the 80's with Dave Stewart from 9 to 11 on Sunday mornings.  Sundays on WION are indeed unique, (and I'm qualified to judge this, having begun my radio career 28 years ago as the God Squad announcer on WBCK down the road in Battle Creek.)  Our 8AM program known as his "Message from the Lighthouse" is, by far, the most listenable Sunday morning program I've ever heard, presented by Pastor Ken Harger of Shiloh Community Church. It's just good!  Along the way, Barry Scott hosting "The Lost 45's lights up our streaming board  Saturday nights and generates lots of local comments. Each Monday through Friday morning you can also catch his daily edition of "The Lost 45's."   We hope to interview Barry on WION soon, and learn more about his passion for chatting with the artists we've heard on the radio all these years.

Now MORE unique fun:

Halloween night, WION will present the very BEST lineup anyone could ask-for on the radio.  Barry Scott has a fantastic Halloween show every year, and that kicks things into "Halloween mode!"  Here at WION we hope you'll take the kids trick or treating with Barry Scott on your car radios....maybe take your earbuds and tune in on your phone, too!  Most of the local towns end their door to door ghoulish fun at 8PM, and you'll have another hour to enjoy at home.  Then, after that...turn down the lights, gather near the jack-o'-lantern, and special arrangement with "" TWO great chilling stories that have NEVER been broadcast anywhere in the world!  Join us for "The Ghosts of Flannan Lighthouse" followed by "Woods Ferry."  These two stories will make you want to turn the lights back on...but don't!

Two of what I think are the best Twilight Zone Radio dramas follow...the first being "Night Call", the second, "To Serve Man."  If you know these from their TV counterparts, imagine how great the pictures will be in your mind when you hear them on the radio!

Then, to finish the evening, it's the CBS Mystery Theatre, revived in the 1970's with host E.G. Marshall.  It's the one-hour version of "Dracula"...and we are sure you'll be drawn in!

As you can see, we're proud of the lineup for Halloween, and, the music and information each day on WION.  Please spread the word about our Halloween night programs, and let's get as many ears tuned to WION as we can "scare!"

We're already planning our Christmas programming, including the very popular "Morning Show Community Christmas Party" which has grown over the years. Details soon....

Ionia County DOES have a unique radio station for our unique county!  If you've not caught some of the feature programming on weekends and midddays, please make an effort!  You can download a brochure about WION's schedule from our website at   and, each weekend, we post our specific program titles and lineups on our "listener pages" at the top of any page of   We also post links to the schedule on our Twitter feed and on Facebook.

It's our hope that new listeners, if they give us an hour or so will get a very inviting feel to Ionia, and that our programming keeps listeners engaged through your workdays, as well as  at home, and in your "downtime" when other media is just too "in your face."

Join us Halloween night...Thank Main Street Music for their help with our unique local talent show, "Ionia Underground Audio"...and, to quote our friend Charles Osgood, 

"See you On the Radio!"