Occupation: radio giant
Last Seen: Rochester Hills, MI
Awarded For: making mornings better
Sinatra. Cher. Elvis. Smitty.
For decades, the entertainment world has seen
its share of comebacks. And now in northern
Michigan, it's Nathan Smith's turn.
The long-time afternoon host at Rock 105
(Straits area) and 95-5 (Traverse City)
recently hung up his headphones for the last
time because he got a nice gig at Right Brain
Brewery in Traverse City. However, he did host
a Saturday night program called The Box
where he played deep tracks and tunes that
haven't been played on the radio for a while.
But now, that show's off the air. The reason?
He's waking up a little early.
Starting today, Smitty's now the morning host
at Classic Rocker 98.1 (Traverse City) and
95.3 (Straits Area) The Bear. The announcement
comes only a few weeks after they parted ways
with Steve "Omelette" Normandin, who was their
wake-up for two years.
Prior to O-Man, the station carried the
once-popular Bob and Tom Show for
nearly 20 years. That show is now carried on
106.3 Mac-FM in the Straits area.
Meanwhile, Normandin's ex-partner, Guy Dark is
now handling nights on Rock 105 and 95-5, the
station's first real night jock since its days
as Modern Rock The Zone. The addition of Dark
at night makes Rock 105 and 95-5 the only rock
station in northern Michigan to have a local
The Bear had phenomenal ratings in the late
90s and well into the 2000s. However, ratings
started to slip when KLT beefed up its classic
rock playlist and added in Omelette for
mornings. When he was fired, The Bear hired
Omelette in hopes of boosting its sagging
ratings. Well, it didn't work.
According to a close source, O-Man made over
$80,000 per year at KLT.
You know, it's wise for Black Diamond - Rock
105/95-5 and The Bear's parent - to put Smitty
in the morning on The Bear. After all, in
Traverse City, it will put him next to good
'ol KLT, a station that tried to lure him to
do mornings when they fired Omelette a few
years ago. Of course, he reportedly said no
TWICE since he didn't want to work for Terri
Ray. So what does KLT do? When Smitty made a
personal attack against KLT on his show on
Rock 105/95-5, well, it depends on who you
talk to. Smitty claimed that KLT afternoon
weasel Tom Devitt - who worked for The Bear
and The Zone two different times - and a jock
on Classic Hits sister The Fox, Mike Misico
made a very vulgar audio file of him bashing
KLT mixed in with a song Smitty posted on his
personal SoundCloud site and told advertisers
that it actually went over Rock 105/95-5's
airwaves. Meanwhile, Jerry Coyne, whose
Blarney Stone Broadcasting was trying to buy
KLT from longtime owner Langer Gokey, who
lives in Minot, ND, told me personally that
they only sent advertisers the unedited clip
of Smitty trashing KLT. The reason being was
due to his wife, Sheryl's involvement in the
Smitty was fired because of the incident, but
rehired three months later.
Since the incident, Blarney Stone - which owns
Rock Q100 and Sports WGRY 101.1 in the
Grayling area - withdrew from purchasing WKLT,
The Fox and ESPN Radio Up North and now
operates N Content Marketing's stations in
Traverse City, including longtime AC 101.9
WLDR. Misico was brought in to host mornings
on WLDR, but was recently fired to make way
for... Omelette's old partner on KLT, Sean
You know, I hate people who ask me why I hate
KLT with a passion. And most of the people who
ask tend to be the morons who grew up with the
station. The reason why is because when I was
a teen, they avoided bands that would become
legends of my generation: KoRn, Rage Against
the Machine, Slipknot, Tool and the list goes
on. Their excuse? "We don't play kids music"
and "the kids already have 106.7 The Peak".
Well, 1) The Peak NEVER played any of the
aforementioned bands because Top 40 radio
ignored them like the plague and 2) the Gokeys
would buy out The Peak and flipped it to an
ultra-shitty AC (remember WSRT?) that had ZERO
Well, it's been 20 years, and 1) BOTH Tool and
Slipknot had #1 albums recently and KoRn's new
album's getting rave reviews (sadly because
many of the songs were inspired by Jonathan
Davis's wife's death) and 2) KLT and Rock
105/95-5 are tied in the ratings. Not only
that, it's the only station of the Gokeys that
has any good ratings since neither The Fox or
ESPN are above a two share. Hell, it's funny
that Taylor Swift's fans call Tool "Grandpa
Rock" on Twitter and just 20 years ago, KLT's
people passed it as "kids music"!
The truth with Black Diamond is that this is a
company that seems to get it. One of the guys
worked for WRIF in Detroit and knows rock.
This is why Rock 105/95-5 might be THE best
Active Rocker in Michigan. No overplayed butt
rock from the 70s and most-importantly in this
time and age of corporate radio, A LOCAL NIGHT
SHOW! Christ, they're eons better than WGRD,
which plays shit like Lynyrd Skynyrd, has a
midday jock with five chins and a shitty
nighttime show that corporate forces them to
air. Yes, Rock 105/95-5 has its flaws, too.
Their midday jock voicetracks her show from
Detroit (though she's way easier on the eyes
than the elderly Terri Ray or the porker at
GRD) and their morning host also voicetracks
out of Green Bay and looks like an old
Look at it this way: KLT is dying and will
continue to die from the fact that most of its
listeners are now fucking old and kiss
Drumpf's ass. Oh, and guess what KLT no longer
has? A NIGHT JOCK! When Ida quit earlier this
year, they never replaced her. It wouldn't
shock me that their shitty business and music
decisions chased away advertisers. Last time I
was up north, I only listened to them for
maybe one minute, especially since they
started playing Kid cRock's overplayed tribute
to northern Michigan set to "Sweet Home
Alabama". I'll betcha that once Terri Ray
retires, the station will finally change to
accommodate the listeners they've
disenfranchised over the years.
But thanks to Rock 105/95-5, SiriusXM,
Pandora, Spotify and others, it will be too
little, too late.
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