Play it again

The recent controversy over programming changes at 101.9 FM WDET has left Detroiters on both sides of the fence. Some are happy with the change, saying they prefer the all-news all-day format, while others — a slightly more excitable bunch — have been devastated by the about-face, citing the change as little more than an affront the local music scene. Lawsuits have been filed and media coverage has been ample — but for longtime WDET DJ Martin Bandyke, the first of the DJs to go, it’s been an object lesson in loyalty. Though several weeks have passed since fans of his program have heard him spin, this weekend, if only for an evening, he’s back.

This Friday, Bandyke will appear for a one-off engagement at the new iLounge in Pontiac (downstairs from Clutch Cargo’s).

“There’s been so much support and I am dying to see everybody and play some music,” Bandyke says. “I feel like that’s what I was put on earth to do.”

Bandyke worked at WDET for 22 years; his weekday afternoon radio show was a favorite among local music lovers. It’s obvious that he’s chomping at the bit to get back into the mix.

“I just hope people will brave the cold January night. It will be all kindred spirits up there,” Bandyke says.

Like his colleagues, Bandyke has struggled with the change, but he wants fans to know that he’s humbled by the support.

“I am feeling amazingly optimistic about being able to do what I love, which is play music on the radio,” Bandyke says.

His nostalgia is a reminder of this. “I want to play a lot of the stuff I was playing when I first started DJing at WDET. The Cure, XTC.”

And like any good DJ, he’s already fleshed out some new tunes to share — new music from ex-Kinks frontman Ray Davies and singer-songwriter Beth Orton is in the mix.

And though radio is a tetchy business, and finding a new job in the industry isn’t always the easiest task, Bandyke has high hopes. He does not want to leave the area.

“I am a hometown kid. I want to stay here if I possibly can. You know, for years I carried around this quote from Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. It read, ‘There’s no greater city in the country for music than Detroit.’ Why would I want to leave?”


9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13, at iLounge, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac; 248-333-2525. Eve Doster is the listings editor for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]
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