Radio

There's a scene in the movie Private Parts where the Detroit radio station Howard Stern works for flips from rock to country. With Eddy Arnold yodeling "Cattle Call," Stern interrupts the record to say that he just doesn't get country music. Wank (L) and O'Brien: Where are the cowboy hats?

"And maybe it's because I went to college and I never drove a truck and had sex with my daddy's sister. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't think I'm the man for this job. So this is your old pal, Hopalong Howie, saying, I quit."

Don't expect a similar bit of insolence when the morning team Wank and O'Brien return to Hank FM - WLHK (93.1) - in about four weeks.

"The one thing to remember about Private Parts is, it is not a documentary," cracks Ed Wank, whose show went on temporary hiatus last month when WENS switched from contemporary hits to country.

Fair enough. Besides, "I've got a lot of friends with college educations who are fans of this music," Wank adds.

Right now, the Wank and O'Brien show is "taking a look at everything we need to take a look at and adjusting the show slightly," Wank says. Whether it'll be all talk or W&O with a modified play list is still being determined. They expect to be back on the air no later than early May.

"The most important thing to remember is, we want to make our program as unpredictable as possible," says Wank, who grew up in Maryland as a fan of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and the Outlaw country movement.

A little more than six months ago, Wank and O'Brien agreed to move from sister station WNOU-FM (93.1) to try to breathe life into WENS. If Wank is unhappy about having to make yet another change, or that he and Dave O'Brien couldn't save WENS, he doesn't let on. "Water under the bridge is water under the bridge," he remarks, then continues, "It's flattering that we were retained. That's really a testament to this building's faith in our abilities. They think this radio show transcends any specific format, that we can appeal to any cross-section of America. And frankly, I think this is going to be a much better platform for the content that we do."

Whether country audiences agree remains to be seen.

Scoffs a general manager at a competing station, "It's hard to picture the same guys that were the 'RZX morning show, then the 'NOU morning show, then the Real 97 morning show suddenly being authentic country music fans."

But Blaine Thompson, the editor of Indiana RadioWatch (www.indianaradio.net), has a different take. "Competent DJs know how to adapt their show to the target audience, and I suspect Wank and O'Brien will do so," he said.

So does Wank. "I feel like our act is a pretty universal act," he says. "I think whether you're a country fan, a rock fan, a pop fan, it doesn't matter. I think our act is going to be very palatable to darn near anybody."

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