The WRIF Morning Shows
One of the most lasting and enduring features of WRIF has been the personalities of the station, and the WRIF morning shows from the 70s to today have always embodied that irreverent Rock n Roll spirit, and in several cases, dominant radio ratings as well.

The early years of WRIF in the morning featured Hank Mallone followed by Jim McKeon and Tom O'Toole, and from 1975 to 1979, the morning show was hosted by Michael Collins. And then in 1979, the station went away from solo WRIF Morning personalities and morphed into a real Morning Show ensemble with the entrance of J.J And The Morning Crew.

J.J. And The Morning Crew
J.J. and the Morning Crew featured Jimmy "J.J." Johnson, Lynne Woodison, and George Baier (aka Richard T. Bruiser or Dick the Bruiser). They were masters of creating parody songs of timeless rock hits. Question Mark and the Mysterians' "96 Tears" morphed into "96 Beers," Greg Kihn's "The Break Up Song" became "The Wake Up Song" and "Bars" was courtesy of Gary Numan's "Cars."
The show also had fun mimicking NBC's longest running show, Meet the Press with Meet the Bruiser. And even though at the time, WRIF occasionally would spin the disco songs of the day, J.J. and the Morning Crew created "D.R.E.A.D." which was short for "Detroit Rockers Engaged In The Abolition of Disco".

In the mid 80's, after nearly a six year run of success at WRIF, J.J. and the Morning Crew left the station and joined crosstown rock foe WLLZ. In the mid 90's, they would return to WRIF's soon to be sister station WCSX.
The Ken Calvert Years
After J.J And The Morning Crew left WRIF for WLLZ, it would be another six years until a major ensemble morning show would join WRIF. From 1985 until 1991, outside of a brief tenure with Pat Still in 1987, the one constant in mornings for WRIF was Ken Calvert.

In November 1985, actor, children's author and Detroit native Joe Nipote became WRIF's new morning show host. Nipote was teamed up with then-midday host Ken Calvert. Within a year or so, Nipote and Calvert scored some decent ratings before Nipote moved to Los Angeles to return to acting and stand-up comedy.

At this point, then WRIF PD Pat Still took over in mornings but his time there was short-lived. In 1988, Marty Bender replaced Still as the new WRIF PD and once again he called on Ken Calvert to save the day.

"For as long as I've been doing this, it's surprising to look back and realize that I have only actually hired a handful of people over the years," said Bender. "With each of those hires, I knew almost instantly upon meeting them that I wanted them to work for the station or program I was managing. Ken Calvert was one of those. He was already at WRIF, but I knew right away he was the guy for WRIF's morning needs at the time. Ken is comedic, cordial, connected, and was a great host."

Bender teamed Calvert with Lynne Woodison (formerly of J.J And The Morning Crew) who offered up the wonderful combination of both heart and smart. Bender said, "Lynn offered the female perspective but still was very much a guy's gal."

Calvert left WRIF in 1991 and went on to work for cross town WLLZ, as well as a stint at WJR-AM. Calvert also was the public address announcer for the two-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons for 16 years. He returned to WRIF's sister station WCSX for mornings in 2000, before retiring from co-hosting with Trudi Daniels in December 2013.
Drew And Mike - Making WRIF Morning Show History
In 1991, WRIF hired a new morning team from Phoenix, Arizona . It was the Drew and Zip show until Zip left in 1994, replaced by local personality Mike Clark. Drew and Mike went on to become the #1 rated morning show in Detroit, but in September 2007, Drew Lane left WRIF to take care of his girlfriend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

In April 2008, it was announced that Lane would not be returning to WRIF, so the show was renamed "Mike In The Morning" and was hosted by Clark and Marc Fellhauer, featuring Trudi Daniels with the "WRIF Rock & Roll Radio News." A little over a year later, in July of 2009, Lane returned to WRIF once again to team up with his former partner Mike.

This new version of Drew and Mike in the Morning rocked Detroit until May 2013, when it was announced that Greater Media had not renewed their contract. The final Drew and Mike show aired on May 17, 2013 and was covered by all of the major Detroit TV and newspaper outlets. Since 1994, in one form or another, Drew and Mike had entertained Detroit in the morning for WRIF. It was the end of an era.
Dave And Chuck "The Freak" - The New WRIF Morning Show "Bitches"
On May 28, 2013, Pennington called on Dave and Chuck "The Freak" to take over mornings on WRIF from cross-town Alternative rocker 89X. Pennington remembers "It was a seismic change in mornings for WRIF. For 20 years, Drew and Mike dominated in morning drive."

Dave and Chuck "The Freak" were achieving great success as well and had grown into a great team over the course of 10 years together. Pennington also noted that Dave and Chuck, along with Lisa Way, James and Andy, brought nearly 100,000 Facebook followers and most of their 89X audience with them.

The origins of the Dave and Chuck "The Freak" morning show actually began years earlier when they met while working weekends at an AM News/Talk radio station.

Dave Hunter recalled, "Chuck was the producer and I was the news guy doing updates every half hour. We became friends soon after. He went down the hall to work on the FM Alternative Rock station as the morning show producer and I was moved down there a few months later to do the news updates. After the host left to take another job, we got bumped up to cover the show while they searched for a new host. We knew we could do it, so we basically had an on air audition for months, each day walking past the boss's office as he listened to tapes of other guys. After six long months, they decided to officially give us the show in April of 2001 and we've been working together in the morning ever since."

How did these former AM News/Talk guys end up doing mornings on WRIF?

"It sounds corny, but Chuck and I both always thought working at WRIF would be our dream job," said Hunter. "We weren't sure it would ever happen, but it was the place we wanted to be at. Years ago we got a vague call saying there was interest from another station somewhere in the country and would we be interested in exploring it. We gave a tentative yes, and it wasn't until about six months after that we found out it would be for mornings at WRIF. It was over a year in the works, including a six month sit out for a non-compete, but we launched the show on WRIF on May 28th, 2013."

Now, nearly four and a half years later, the Dave and Chuck "The Freak" show is killing it in mornings for WRIF, following in that great tradition of WRIF morning shows. Their dream of doing mornings on WRIF is a reality and one they don't take for granted.

"WRIF is legendary," states Hunter. "Everyone in the motor city can tell you a story of listening to the station when they were growing up and to think we're a part of those stories now for a whole new generation of listeners is amazing. Our Detroit listeners are proud to be here and have been so loyal and faithful to our show, that's it's been truly humbling. We are open and honest with them, and they have embraced us as a part of their weird, crazy, dysfunctional family."

Weird and crazy are but a few of the ways one can describe the Dave and Chuck "The Freak" show. Here's how they themselves describe some of the more popular catchphrases the show doles out every morning on WRIF.

The Dave and Chuck the Freak Catchphrase Glossary:
It's Friday Bitches: Dave is basically the whitest guy ever and trying to become more hip, he got so excited it was about to be the weekend he declared "It's Friday Bitches". It just caught on from there and now has its own anthem we play on the show to kick off the weekend!
How's She Goin' Eh?: A tribute to our Canadian listeners!

Lifeless Eyes: Andy and Chuck wouldn't shut up about Jaws one day and that's a famous line said by Quinn in the movie that has caught on as a greeting.

Tell that Bitch to be Cool: A discussion about Pulp Fiction led to Andy blurting this out and it took off after that.

The Legion: This is a term we use to describe someone who has been very sexually active as in "That lady has had a legion of dongs in her."

WRIF Morning Shows through the Years
Hank Mallone 1971 -1973
Jim McKeon 1973 - 1974
Tom O'Toole 1975
Michael Collins 1975 - 1979
J.J. and the Morning Crew 1979 - 1985
Nipote and Calvert 1985 - 1986
Pat Still 1987
Ken Calvert & Lynn Woodison 1988 -1991
Drew and Zip 1991 - 1994
Drew and Mike 1994 - 2008
Mike in the Morning 2008 - 2009
Drew and Mike in the Morning 2009 - 2013
Dave and Chuck "The Freak" 2013 - present
NOTE - some dates above are approximates
And Then There Was Arthur P - Afternoons from 1970 to 2009...Baby!!!
Arthur Penhallow was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1943 but he spent his formative years growing up in Marin County, California just north of San Francisco. He served in the Air Force from 1962 through 1968 and is proud to call himself a Vietnam Veteran.

His introduction to Rock music came during the famous psychedelic 60s in the San Francisco Bay Area. "I actually played drums in a folk rock band in the Bay Area called The VeJetables," recalls Penhallow. "We actually toured for a short time with the Mamas & the Papas, among others."

In summer of 1968, Penhallow heard an ad on the radio for the Career Academy School of Broadcast Arts in San Francisco, and shortly after he applied. "I showed up at the school with long hair and beard, and they said they'd make room for one more applicant, but I'd have to cut my hair and wear a suit and tie. I actually did it and was never late for a class."

With his music career in the rear view mirror, Penhallow graduated from Radio school and landed his first radio gig in a small town in northern Arizona called Showlow. "KVWM was an automated country station with the calls standing for the Voice of the White Mountains," recalls Penhallow. "I voiced the music intros to the songs. I lasted about three weeks before I quit and went back to California."

Penhallow lasted a bit longer at his next radio station in Grand Cooley, WA. "KDFR was an MOR and Country station but they let me do a Rock show on Saturday afternoon, plus I did some sports color commenting for one of the local teams."

Soon after, Penhallow left Washington and drove across the country to a little town in Michigan called Howell. "I had a lady friend there who eventually got me a job at the local radio station WHMI," said Penhallow.

From there he moved to Ann Arbor to work for an AM/FM combo which soon became WNRS and WNRZ. It was early 1970 and Penhallow worked on the FM Rock station WNRZ under the name Cicero Grimes. "I took the name from the Western movie Hombre," said Penhallow. "Cicereo Grimes was the crudest dude in the movie."
In May of 1970, Penhallow moved to WRIF's predecessor, WXYZ-FM, which at the time was airing a syndicated progressive-rock format distributed by ABC called "Love Radio". Penhallow was the first "live" DJ on XYZ-FM and stayed on as one of the local announcers as the station transitioned to an all-local air staff and moved from progressive rock to the then-new "album oriented rock" format as WRIF.

When WXYZ became WRIF on February 14, 1971 Penhallow stayed on doing the afternoon shift, a slot he'd occupy until early 2009.

During his 39 years in Detroit, Penhallow gained notoriety for many of his famous slogans, but none more famous than his signature "Baby!" Penhallow remembers the genesis of this simple phrase. "In the mid 70's, I used to back sell ‘That's the J. Geils Band on 101 WRIF with the Southside Shuffle...Baby!' Shortly after, I was in a bar one night when I overheard one of the listeners saying...'that's the guy that says BABY.' I guess it stuck!"
Stuck is an understatement. When Penhallow suggested the station produce some "Baby" bumper stickers, the powers that be were a bit skeptical. "I actually went on the air a couple of times and said if anyone wants a WRIF "Baby" bumper sticker, to send the station a postcard. The station received thousands of requests and the rest is history."
Besides "Baby," he's has been called "The Poobah", "The Poob", or "The Grand Poobah." But Penhallow won't take credit for that one. "Our midday guy Ken Calvert started calling me the Grand Poobah, and it stuck. I'm not one to name myself, but others certainly liked too."

Another one that stuck was "Big Daddy." Penhallow said, "That came from my Mom in 1970 when my son was born, and from several girlfriends soon thereafter until a few of my co-workers overheard some dancers at a topless joint calling me that behind the scenes. I guess that one stuck as well."

So Penhallow ran with it and started calling himself "Big Daddy Arthur P" or simply, "Big Daddy," and his fans typically refer to him simply as "Arthur P".
As for the Rock stars the legendary Motor City DJ interviewed during his 39 years? "I talked with them all including the big local rock stars like Bob Seger and Kid Rock, as well as Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS and Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band. And then there's that Four hour radio show I did with Van Halen's David Lee Roth, fueled by too much Sake. Many of the stories are actually not suitable for printing."

Arthur Penhallow hosted afternoons in Detroit from 1970 to 2009. In January 2009, his contract expired and his final day on the air at WRIF was February 4th, 2009. After months of negotiations, WRIF management and Penhallow were unable to come to an agreement on the terms of his contract.

On March 27, Penhallow posted this on his Facebook page: "It appears that my days in Detroit radio are over for now. Thanks for your support over the last 39 years." On March 30, 2009, WRIF owner Greater Media announced that the station and Penhallow had been unable to come to terms on a new contract. It was the end of an unprecedented era for the legendary WRIF personality.

In September 2012, Penhallow announced a permanent goodbye to Detroit, relocating to Texas to be closer to his grand kids. "About a year or so after I got there, my son moved his family to Austin, way west of where I was living at the time," said Penhallow. "I eventually decided to move back to Michigan."

In May of this year, Arthur Penhallow moved back to Howell, Michigan, the little town just outside of Detroit he first moved to many years ago. In two short years it'll be 10 years since he's rocked WRIF in the afternoon. But the impact he's made will never leave the Motor City. Baby!!!!
The WRIF Crew - 5 Questions About "60 Years Of Experience"
While the WRIF "personality" has gone a long way in Mornings and with an iconic personality like Arthur Penhallow, the rest of the WRIF personalities have also contributed greatly to the WRIF legacy.

WRIF PD Mark Pennington notes, "In our 46 year history, we've only had two afternoon drive hosts, and our current midday, afternoon and evening hosts, Anne Carlini, Meltdown and Screamin' Scott have a combined 60 years of experience on the WRIF."

We asked the rest of the WRIF crew five questions about their time at the station and what makes this Motor City rocker so special.
1) When did you break into radio and what was your radio background prior to working for WRIF?
I went to broadcasting school when I graduated high school. I worked at stations in Ohio and Flint then WLLZ/Detroit.

2) How did you end up working for WRIF and how long have you been at the station?
I left WLLZ/Detroit, eventually making my way to WRIF. I've worked at the station for 30 years.

3) What shifts have you worked since you started at WRIF?
I started out in mid-days, went to nights 6-10 then back to mid-days.

4) Do you do any special benchmark features for your midday show on WRIF?
I try to bring not only music info, but also human interest stories to my audience. I was born and raised in Detroit, so anything that's happening in the Motor City takes priority on my show

5) What makes WRIF such a unique and special radio station for you and the Rock listeners in Detroit?
I grew up listening to the Riff, so it's a dream that I've been able to spend the bulk of my radio career here. Being a Detroiter I bring my hometown love of the city and the station to the airwaves every day! It may have been the music that got people to listen to the Riff but, it was always the unique personalities that kept them listening!
1) When did you break into radio and what was your radio background prior to working for WRIF?
As a kid I worked at the local bar doing dishes and cleaning on Monday and Tuesday mornings before going to school for my senior year. I was kind of thinking about what I was going to do with my life when I heard a voice. Being a music fan I always had the radio cranked up those early mornings to keep me company. One night I heard a guy on the radio that was so bad, it hit me like a hammer to the head - "I could do that!" I interviewed for a board-op position at the AM station 1400 the same day my mother had a mastectomy, September 28th 1989. I left the interview and went right to the hospital to tell her the good news that I'd gotten the job. It lifted her spirits. I've never looked back, always trying to pry open the doors in front of me. I did my first air-shift on Feb 10th 1990 on WUFX, The Fox - Buffalo, where I grew up. I worked there until June of 1995 when the station was sold and became WEDG.

2) How did you end up working for WRIF and how long have you been at the station?
I spent the summer of 1995 looking for a job. I was told by Fred Jacobs that something was going to break, but I have to be patient. Of course, I continued searching for work. One day, while sitting around watching OJ Simpson stuff on TV in mid-October, I got a call from Doug Podell. He asked me if I was interested in coming to Detroit. I told him that I wasn't doing anything now. I remember leaving the house I grew up in, in small-town USA, and ending up in Detroit six hours later with my head spinning wondering what I had done. My dad said give it six months and see if you like it. That was almost 22 years ago. My mom passed away in 1992 and it was tough to leave my dad, but I had to take a shot.

3) What shifts have you worked since you started at WRIF?
I started on WRIF at 2am November 1st 1995. I was doing 2-5:30. A few months later I was bumped to 12-5:30am. After a couple years I went to 7-mid until Feb 10th 2009, when I started doing 3-7pm where I am today.

4) Do you do any special benchmark features for your midday show on WRIF?
I don't really, but I have an interview podcast that I'm super proud of. My latest interview is with Kid Rock. I kinda started it at the beginning of 2016 with the goal of doing one a week. It was a lofty goal at the time, but I did it. This year I've had weeks where I've done 3-5 interviews, with 7 interviews either in the can, or upcoming.

5) What makes WRIF such a unique and special radio station for you and the Rock listeners in Detroit?
I'll never forget pulling up to the station for my interview and seeing the WRIF vans in the parking lot with the iconic logo on them. When I was in the building I was introduced to Arthur P. and Drew and Mike....legends in the business. The station is, in some ways, a reflection of the blue collar atmosphere of the city. After all, Detroit is 'Detroit Rock City'. I played that song on the air for years, but once about 4 or 5 years ago I had an epiphany when I played that song on the Detroit on WRIF. How much cooler does it get? I also love the fact that we play and add songs that we want to. Not because someone has told us to. WRIF is not cookie- cutter at all. There's only one WRIF. PD Mark Pennington does a great job of just letting us do our thing. I met a guy at the Kid Rock show last night from London that LOVES the station. Oh, and the obvious history the station has. The fact that I've been here for almost half its existence blows my mind. Broadcast legends have walked these halls. Some I've learned a lot from by asking them questions, others just by listening to them on the air. Some, like Anne Carlini, are still here. To say that working for RIFF is an honor, would be an understatement.
1) When did you break into radio and what was your radio background prior to working for WRIF?
In 1979 I had a wonderful start with a High School radio station that's been on longer then WRIF. It's Cousino High School in Warren WPHS . After a wonderful stint at Spec's Howard I landed my first gig in 1983 at WAXC 92 in Wapakoneta, and a six year run at WQTZ in Ft Wayne/Decatur, Indiana. I came home to try my luck in Detroit radio but they weren't ready for me yet, so went back to work at the famous RITZ in Roseville, MI as an assistant booking agent. I helped book acts like Kid Rock and Toby Redd Strut. Then I was discovered by a New Rock station in town, 102.7 WDZR Z ROCK where I got a break doing mornings up against Drew & Mike at the peak of their popularity. I held my own lasting three plus years in the morning until Doug Podell hired me. On December 12th it will be 21 years at WRIF. I'll be Legal!

2) How did you end up working for WRIF and how long have you been at the station?
It'll be 21 years in December. WRIF was my goal since I played it with a cassette player in 1974 recording Arthur Penhallow. I said to myself, that would be a cool job. So I went from wanting to be a Fireman to becoming a Radio personality.

3) What shifts have you worked since you started at WRIF?
I started off doing weekends for six months, then Overnights for 11 years and 7pm to Midnight ever since. I'm also always a phone call away from any fill in shift as needed.

4) Do you do any special benchmark features for your midday show on WRIF?
I try to hit the Men's room, In and Out with my hands washed in less than four mins. LOL ;) What I love is the interaction with the callers when you give them a prize, tickets or even a trip somewhere to see a concert.

5) What makes WRIF such a unique and special radio station for you and the Rock listeners in Detroit?
The WRIF brand itself and for 46 plus years being the best. From my co-workers and the legends I've got to work with like when I first started to work with Ken Calvert, Carl Coffee, Arthur Penhallow, Steve Kostan, and Doug Podell. These guys are my heroes and I still get to work with the best like Anne Carlini, plus I am taller than Meltdown. There's also the family of workers from Sales, long-time friend Kathy Flesher and in Programming ...Mark Pennington and Ken Waselewski have always been a constant inspiration because they are the best in the business. Put the whole package together and now with the addition of Beasley, our family just got even larger and I look forward to what we all can do next. I also notice the WRIF brand all over the United States from T shirts to the famous WRIF Oval stickers that have been stuck all over including TV shows, Movies and even on a Stop sign or two. A lot of credit goes to the loyal listeners who have been with us since Feb 14th, 1971 through good times and bad. The product of WRIF on air from the best jocks to the incredible music for all demographics, has always been a benchmark for others to follow. Many have tried in the Detroit market to topple us off the mountain but in the end, we still keep going and going and going. I'm so blessed to be a part of this great American radio station.
Growing Up With WRIF - A Fan's Perspective
With KISS having taken possession of my seven-year old soul in 1976, it wasn't long before I was a full-blown rock and roll addict. My station was WRIF.

With WRIF I was getting a mainline fix of all the hard rock I was growing to love, but I was also being introduced to new bands. Alongside AC/DC, Alice Cooper, and Aerosmith, I'd hear the likes of: Cheap Trick, Romantics, The Cars, and Iggy Pop. That was something I wasn't getting from the four other stations in the market. Simply put, WRIF represented the spectrum of rock that I craved. And somehow, they made it feel like they were speaking directly to me. How? Because of the great personalities, and fantastic marketing.

WRIF has always had an iconic logo and it's an amazing brand. It's always been well-marketed as well. Touring artists coming through the Motor City would see their logo on WRIF's sticker, and it was fantastic cross-promotion. When Penhollow, Savelly, or Kostan would get on the air and tell me that I could have a KISS, or Sabbath, or Priest sticker for the price of a self-addressed stamped envelope, well I was in. My teenage bedroom door was full of WRIF stickers.
My formative years of rock and roll discovery in the late 70s and early 80s was absolutely inspired by the great WRIF. The programming. The marketing. The personalities, and the music: it all worked. While decimating the competition, WRIF inspired me to follow a path in music marketing - and I'd like to thank them for that.

It's a beautiful thing, this Detroit radio station called WRIF. Today they continue to entertain and inspire, as Carlini, Black, Meltdown, and Jade influence new generations of rock fans. Long live WRIF!
Coming Next Week:
Part Three - Marketing The Motor City's Iconic Rocker