Mark Pasman hosted 'Motor City Blues Project' for 26 1/2 years. (Mark Pasman)
Detroit loses another veteran radio personality, as Mark Pasman, longtime host of WCSX-FM (94.7)’s “Motor City Blues Project” was fired last week by the station.
The show, with its “Anything blue will do” tagline, aired from 7 p.m. to midnight Sundays. Because Pasman is a musician as well, it was a reliable way to find out what was happening in Detroit’s blues scene and virtually the only outlet for local blues releases to be played.
Pasman says he was informed of the move in a “three-minute” phone call. He asked to do one last show in order to thank musicians and listeners, but was turned down.
“After a quarter century of being a model employee, it’s kind of crazy,” Pasman says. “Asking to say goodbye was not only appropriate, it would have been an amazing show! B.B. King would be calling in, I’d have the Howlin’ Diablos in the studio. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to thank all these people. I’ve just been sitting here in tears over all the love I’ve been getting over the last few days.”
Greater Media, owner of WCSX, issued a statement via spokesperson Heidi Raphael in response to the Pasman firing: “The station decided to go in a different direction on the weekends. We are very grateful for the contributions Mark Pasman has made over the years to WCSX-FM.”
Greater Media also reports that Pasman’s 7 p.m.-midnight Sunday night shift will be picked up by Pam Rossi, who also hosts the “Over Easy” show on WCSX Sunday mornings. The Sunday night Rossi show will not be a blues program.
Pasman held many jobs over the decades at Greater Media’s WRIF and WCSX, including morning show producer and program director. But the blues show, which ran 26 ½ years, was particularly close to his heart.
“I’ve been a profesisonal musician since I was 13. I fell into radio between bands,” Pasman says. “It was kind of a unique situation.”
He admitted to mixed emotions, and expressed thanks to Greater Media for the “great, great run. They let me play whatever I thought was appropriate, and interview some of the greatest musicians of all time.”
Blues musicians were commenting upon WCSX’s move unfavorably on social media, posting angry remarks on Facebook and launching a page demanding his reinstatement.
One of those expressing disappointment with the move was guitarist Bobby Murray.
“I love Mark,” says Murray. “Elvin Bishop introduced Mark and the Famous Coachman to me in 1995. I was (playing with) Etta James at the Fox, with B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, J. Geils, Magic Dick and Elvin Bishop. (Pasman) is a superb guitarist.”
Pasman wants his fans to know that he appreciates it, but it’s a lost cause to press the station to bring his show back.
“It was a sad parting, but that is life and I’m just thankful to people like (former Greater Media execs) Fred Jacobs and Tom Bender for starting the whole thing, and for giving me the opportunity to do this Sunday night with the ‘Project,’ ” Pasman says.
“At one point we were doing live remotes from Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak, I was onstage with a live band, hosting the show, playing my guitar, jamming with the best people in Detroit and putting it on the radio. I’m very thankful to Greater Media over the years to let me do this.”