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WRIF Celebrates 50 Years of Rockin’ Detroit

Sunday, February 14, will mark the official day the station went live on the air in the Motor City. Back in 1971, the station changed call letters from “WXYZ” to the iconic “WRIF” call letters that are now known as Detroit’s preeminent active rock station.

When asked about 101 WRIF, Detroit’s own Bob Seger said “Not many stations reach the stature and influence that have defined WRIF for generations.  For us, when WRIF added our records it was like a force of nature.  When they got behind your record other stations around the country would follow suit.  They are like a rock n roll bell weather.” Seger added, “But most importantly, is all the talented people, both on and off the air, who we have had the privilege of working with, many of whom have become lifelong friends.  Great times, and lots of memories we will treasure forever.” 

In conjunction with this landmark anniversary 101 WRIF has launched a week-long celebration that will culminate this Friday, February 12 with the kick-off of the “Riff Legends Weekend”.  The day will start with Dave & Chuck The Freak doing a special show featuring their favorite moments on the air at WRIF.  Throughout the day, WRIF will also be welcoming some of the station’s legendary personalities into the studio, including Ken Calvert, Steve Kostan, Jim Johnson, and George Baier. Additionally, several musicians and sports stars, including Kid Rock and Nicklas Lidstrom, will be calling in to wish the station “Happy Birthday”. Friday evening will wrap up with a “Best Of Drew & Mike” feature looking back at some of the show’s greatest moments from their 22 years in morning drive on WRIF.

The anniversary programming will continue the entire weekend with vignettes highlighting many of WRIF’s iconic on-air personalities from Arthur Penhallow and Ken Calvert to Karen Savelly and Steve Kostan. Additionally, throughout the weekend several musicians, including members from Shinedown, Halestorm, and Seether, will be taking over the airwaves as Guests DJs.

The weekend will also feature a Riff At 50 Playlist incorporating songs featuring listener favorites from over the past 50 years of rock ‘n roll.

“Very few brands can be Legendary and Cutting Edge at the same time – but The Riff is both, while reflecting the strength and grit of Detroit Rock City through and through,” said Beasley Media Group Detroit Vice President and Market Manager, Mac Edwards. “It’s quite the honor for our team to be entrusted as caretakers of these call letters, with a nod of respect and appreciation to the likes Tom Bender, Allen Shaw, Fred Jacobs, the late Dick Kernen, and all the iconic personalities who made and make WRIF must-listen-radio for 50 years!”     

“WRIF has a deep connection to the city of Detroit, and while this milestone salutes the rich history of a legendary brand, its ongoing influencer status embraces the future of rock radio in the Motor City,” said Beasley Media Group Vice President of National Content and Detroit Director of Programming Scott Jameson.

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