Detroit Radio Salaries

In late 2003, The Detroit Free Press reported that Drew & Mike signed a contract that would pay them a reported $2M each. At the time, Mike said he would not confirm nor deny the figure but stated he was happy with the contract reach. The pairs’ agent said that they accepted a “hometown discount” to stay with Greater Media – Infinity and Clear Channel-owned competitors were interested in the dou and would’ve launched a bidding war. The deal also included a share of any syndicated monies should any portion of the show go national, although that never happened. The same article mentions what it believed to be the salaries of select Detroit (then)-leading media personalities: Dick Purtan $5M, Drew & Mike $2M each, Chuck Gaidica, $1.2M, Carmen Harlan $1M+, John Mason $1M. 

In 2006, the Freep reported that Lou Kasman (an A2-based media consultant) estimated Drew & Mike were responsible for “75% to 85%” of WRIF’s $20M in annual revenues – or $15M to $17M. 

In 2007, Drew took his first leave to deal with family issues. D&M’s ratings ultimately plunged, nearly being overtaken by Steve Harvey’s syndicated program. According to the Freep, industry sources believed Drew used this as a bargaining chip for a better pay day. But Dominsky and Doyle’s show soon ended in a contract dispute, and D&M’s ratings stabilized and Drew returned. 

In 2013, the Freep reported that D&M finished 2012 as the #2 show among 25-54 with a 7.4 rating – a 50% drop from 10 years before.

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(1) Even in the 2000s, Detroit had some of the country’s highest paid media personalities.
(2) Yes, the demographics of metro Detroit are shifting, with the market increasingly becoming older and poorer; population growth in 2013 was about half the national average.
(3) The demographics of terrestrial radio and television are shifting, with the market increasingly becoming older and poorer. Audios are shrinking, radio in partially, with the younger generation increasingly turning toward digital music players and streaming Internet radio.
(4) The trend of ditching high-priced talent in favor of lower-priced talent, syndicated programming and sometimes no talent whatsoever is national. It’s happening in NYC. It’s happening on network TV: Jimmy Fallon is reportedly earning between $8M-$12M compared to the $25M Leno hauled in at his peak. NBC was also reportedly interested in expanding the Tonight Show to 90-minutes as its sole late night option; pretty amazing for a network that offered four-hours of late night programming less than 10 years ago.

Alas, it has more to do with the decline of traditional radio than that of the decline of metro Detroit. Sadly, there will likely never be a high-quality locally orientated morning show like D&M ever again.


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