Thursday, August 4, 2011

Billy Goes Radio Ga-Ga

Bill Bonds is about to get top billing, once again.

Consider yourself warned. The 78-year-old iconic newscaster, who has been the news almost as much as he's reported it, is teaming with another TV news vet in Detroit, Rich Fisher, and they're going to take radio by storm.

Well, maybe not by storm; let's shoot for by shower.

Bonds and Fisher will co-host, appropriately, "Bonds and Fisher," which will be an afternoon radio show on WCAR-AM (1090), the Little Station That Could. The gig starts on WCAR's 250-watt signal on October 3.

Neal Rubin, over at the Detroit News, gives a much more detailed version of how this all came to be in his column which ran today.

WCAR's station manager, the 33 year-old Sima Birach, Jr., wined and dined Bonds and got Billy to sign a makeshift contract on a cocktail napkin, according to Rubin's account. Hold the jokes about whether there was much more wining than dining. I know what you're thinking.

Birach told Bonds, "I grew up watching you," to which Bonds replied, "How did you like the way I covered the Civil War?"

Oh, that Billy!

Apparently, "Bonds and Fisher" won't be a show that will require cotton in the ears. Birach promises easy banter and discussion on topical issues between two old co-workers of channel 7's heyday.

Here's Bonds on Bonds, as told to Rubin: "My mind still works pretty well, the baby blues are still relatively blue, and the voice isn't bad."

Not sure about the voice. A year or so ago, channel 7 brought Bonds and John Kelly back to co-anchor an 11:00 newscast and Billy sounded a little rough around the edges.

So we'll see how Bonds handles the new radio show, which is set to run Monday thru Friday afternoons.


"Bonds & Fisher" will debut on October 3 on WCAR-AM (1090)


It was longtime friend Fisher who suggested Bonds to Birach, and the young station manager went to work courting a man who was 45 years old and who owned Detroit TV news when Birach was in diapers.

If nothing else, Birach is aggressive and has a vision.

"I'm surprised nobody else has tried this sooner," he says. "I don't care for the under-35 demographic. I want 45-to-75, on up.

"As an advertiser, who do you want to reach — a 25-year-old saving for a pair of sneakers, or a 70-year-old who can spend $300 for dinner?"

I wonder what Birach spent on dinner the night he got Billy Bonds to sign on the dotted line---of a cocktail napkin.

How appropriate, when you think about it.

Sorry---I couldn't resist.

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