July 1999 News and Notes

July 1:

* Bill Thomas will return to the Detroit airwaves beginning July 11th at 11:00pm on WKRK FM 97.1 and host a weekly Sunday program called 'Sunday Big Fun Hour'- Detroit Free Press

July 12:

* On July 2nd at noon, WCXT 105.3 Hart kicked off its new format as 'The Whip'. Format is Rhythmic CHR. New Program Director is Keith Curry who moves from new rival WSNX 104.5 Muskegon/Gd Rapids. The station, along with WKBZ 1520 Muskegon, are being purchased by Harbor Pointe Entertainment. The studios for WCXT have moved from near Hart to Muskegon- Muskegon Chronicle

* WTCF FM 100.5 Saginaw has announced its new slogan- 'Pirate Radio 100.5'. Gone from the station are afternooner Eric Meier and nighttime guy Ronnie Z. The new lineup includes 'Pirate Eric' (Eric Chase) late nights, and 'Pirate Mason' middays- All Access

* WKQS FM 101.9 Negaunee has added the syndicated Delilah program evenings- DX-MidAMerica

* New VP/GM fro WJXQ, WWDX, and WXIK Lansing/Jackson is Nancy Dymond- All Access

* The religious translator of the Calvary Satellite Network in Grand Rapids at 90.7 FM (W214AY) has hit the air full time

* New station with a construction permit at 88.1 in Gaylord has been granted its call sign- WBLW

* CKTY AM 1110 Sarnia, Ontario has fallen silent

July 13:

* Co-founder of WAMM (now WFLT) AM 1420 Flint Al Binder passed away July 9th at the age of 73. Mr. Binder was a Flint businessman who in 1955 started the radio station which was among the earliest radio stations programming to the black community. As a co-owner of a furniture store located in a predominately black neighborhood, he saw that the black population in Flint was being underserved in the broadcast media which inspired starting WAMM. Legendary DJ Casey Kasem landed his first radio gig at WAMM. The station was sold in the early 1960s and continued to program to the African-American population until around 1980 when the then-new WDZZ (FM) in Flint took away most of WAMM's listeners. The call letters were changed to WFLT and the station today is owned by the Christian Evangelical Broadcast Association with a Black Gospel format.

* WAGN AM 1340 Menominee has picked up Westwood One's Nostalgia format, dumping Oldies/Talk- Dx-MidAMerica

* Jim Long, former president of WJR AM 760 Detroit passed away July 12th at the age of 66- All Access

* Temporarily replacing WFAT-FM 96.5 Kalamazoo Assistant Program Director Colleen Adams is current Music Director Tony Travatto; Ace Armstrong is now doing nights at the station- All Access

* From the Detroit Free Press:

  • Stacey DuFord, ex of WNIC Detroit, has been hired by WXYZ TV 7 Detroit for traffic/construction reporting.
  • Reuniting with Bill Thomas on his Sunday WKRK Detroit program is engineer Boutros Boutros LaCroix.
  • WADL Detroit has picked up the new NBC soap 'Passions' after Detroit's NBC affiliate (WDIV) opted not to carry the show. The program airs at Noon weekdays.
  • WWJ TV 62 Detroit announced plans to telecast Fash Bash live on August 11 from the Fox Theatre

* WWJ TV 62 Detroit has increased power to 5,000,000 watts

* FCC Actions: Granted transfer of control from LCH Holdings to LIN Broadcasting for the following stations: WOOD-TV 8, WOWD-LP 15, and WOLP-LP 27 Grand Rapids, WOKZ-LP 38 Kalamazoo, and WOMS-LP 29 Muskegon; WTVS TV Detroit was granted its application for digital facilities on channel 43

July 14:

* WJR 760 Detroit has named Steve Stewart as its Operations Manager.

* New Program Director of WAYK Kalamazoo and WAYG Grand Rapids is Jake Ryan, replacing Scott Veigel

* Spring Phase 2 Arbitrends (12+ ratings, March-May) for Grand Rapids, Lansing, and the Tri-Cities have been released. Grand Rapids' WLAV continues at #1, with former #1 WSNX and Country WBCT continuing to slide. In the always competitve Adult Contemporary battle, WLHT has edged ahead of WOOD-FM. WOOD-AM showed dramatic improvement since the Phase 1 ratings. Over in Lansing, WITL widened its lead over the competition, carding an impressive 13.5 rating. Classic Rocker WMMQ continues its ratings slide. 'KCQ continues to rule the Tri-Cities with a 13.3 rating. WSGW and WHNN remained strong.

* WHWG 89.9 Trout Lake (NW of St. Ignace) has hit the air, simulcasting 95.7 WHWL Marquette- DX-midAMerica

* FCC Action: Shut down a pirate FM station operating from Cheboygan on June 15th

* Ann Arbor's WTKA 1050 was the victim of a lightning strike July 4th that knocked the station off the air. After occasional interruptions this week, the transmitter has been repaired and the station is back at full power

* New night host at WLHT FM 95.7 Grand Rapids is Kevin O'Brian; Phil Becker moves from parttime status to Assistant Music Director and night host at WSNX FM 104.5 Muskegon/Gd Rapids- All Access

July 15:

* An unconfirmed report states that WGLQ FM 97.1 Escanaba has moved from Hot Adult Contemporary to CHR

* From the Detroit News

  • Former WWWW, WYCD, and WXYT Detriot morning host Joe Wade Formicola is leaving the area to host NASCAR Country/Racing Country USA, a syndicated two-hour weekly radio show that combines NASCAR news and country music interviews. The show, carried on about 370 radio stations nationwide, is based in Charlotte NC.
  • WDRQ FM 93.1 Detroit will be moving its studios from Southfield to the Fisher Building in Detroit- home of sister stations WJR and WPLT.
  • WXYZ TV 7 Detroit moves 'The View' from 3:05 am to 11:00am beginning 7/19. The Roseanne Show moves to 1:35am.

July 16:

* WDFN 1130 Detroit program director/afternoon host Gregg Henson has added operations manager to his responsibilities with the station- Oakland Press

* New program director at WXIK FM 94.1 Jackson is Brad Walker, moving up from Music Director

* WWJ-TV 62 Detroit is now broadcasting digital programming on channel 44, forcing WDWO off the air. WDWO has a construction permit to broadcast on channel 18, but has yet to begin operations on their new frequency

July 19:

* The Detroit quarterly Arbitron ratings have been released with Adult Contemporary WNIC and Urban WJLB continuing to hold the 1-2 spots. Although still #1, WNIC's ratings have dipped from 8.2 in the winter to 7.1- just .1 ahead of sister WJLB, which increased from 6.6 to 7.0.

News/Talk WJR continues its comeback, scoring a .9 increase to 6.3. Calm summer weather, along with a slow news period have contributed to WWJ's tumble out the Top 5. Other stations with notable ratings decreases include: Oldies WOMC, Smooth Jazz WVMV, Classic Rock WCSX, Urban AC WMXD, Hot AC WKQI, and Talk WXYT.

The big winners in this ratings book were Rock WRIF, which jumped from 9th overall in the winter to 5th this period (ratings of 4.1 to 5.2), and Nostalgia/Classical WYUR which moved from 0.3 to 0.9. Other stations making gains included Urban WDTJ, CHR WDRQ, Country WWWW, Urban Oldies WXDG, and Alternative CIMX.

Detroit's stations with recent format changes, Urban Oldies WXDG and Adult Contemporary WDMK, are experiencing opposite ratings success- although WXDG remains 18th overall, ratings have improved past those of any ratings period with the Alternative Rock format. WDMK's ratings remain flat, not achieving the numbers obtained by hard Classic Rock.

* Joining WIOG 102.5 Bay City on August 2nd for music director and middays will be Brent Carey, who moves from WKPK 106.7 Gaylord. Current midday host on WIOG Aaron Adams moves to afternoons, replacing Mark McGill who was filling in on an interim basis. Mark is pursuing programming opportunities elsewhere- All Access

* FCC Actions: Approved the voluntary transfer of control for WBUM FM 104.3 Baraga to VCY America from Keweenaw Bay Broadcasting; corrected the coordinates of WEXL AM 1340 Royal Oak

July 20:

* New call sign for 92.1 FM Beulah - WSRI; changed from WBVE

* WCUZ 101.3 Grand Rapids midday jock Bob Simonson has left the station- All Access

July 21:

* No longer with WIOG 102.5 Bay City is weekend personality Dylan Forbes who was let go after both an on-air prank involving a Britney Spears song and an on-air comment were not received well.

* Replacing Margot Smith as program director at WGRD 97.9 Grand Rapids is Tony Williams, effective Monday 7/26- All Access

July 22:

* Arbitron 12+ ratings have been released for two Michigan markets that are only surveyed twice per year (Spring and Fall)- Ann Arbor and Flint. In Ann Arbor, WJR is #1- among Washtenaw County stations, News/Talk WAAM leads over WQKL, WIQB, and WTKA. WQKL 107.1 has suffered a ratings decline from 5.3 to 2.9 with the station's format change from all Oldies to 'Gold' based Adult Contemporary. Both WIQB and WTKA enjoyed ratings increases.

The top 5 remains unchanged in Flint- those stations are Urban WDZZ, CHR WWCK, Adult Contemporary WCRZ, Country WFBE, and Oldies WHNN.

* An out of court settlement has been reached between Advantage Communications, operators of WYUR 1310 Detroit, and owner AMFM Inc. concerning a $100,000 right-of-purchase deposit that the operators wanted applied to monthly operation fees- Detroit Free Press

* WHTV 18 Jackson has signed on and is carrying Bloomberg TV

* Moved to morning drive from afternoons is WDMK 102.7 Mt. Clemens DJ Jeff Jennings

* New night jock at WTCF 100.5 Saginaw is Robb Tracy- All Access

July 23:

* Sold: The silent WWON 1160 Fenton for $708,000 to Birach Broadcasting (owner of WNZK Dearborn) by GWC Inc- Radio & Records

July 25:

* WGLQ 97.1 Escanaba has indeed switched format to CHR, dropping almost all of its 70's and 80's pop music. The station is playing artists such as TLC, Brandy, Lenny Kravitz, Puff Daddy, Pearl Jam, Jennifer Lopez, and Will Smith using the liners 'Today's Hits' and 'Today's Top Hits'. The change happened about 3 weeks ago.

* The new station at 106.3 Stephenson (near Menominee) has been heard testing, format will be CHR as 'Mix 106.3' as WMXG.

* Severe weather in SE Michigan knocked many stations either off the air or to reduced power. Most stations resumed normal service within a few hours. Stations with problems included WTVS ch. 56, WPLT 96.3, WKRK 97.1, WVMV 98.7, WRIF 101.1, WDMK 102.7, WRXF 103.1, WDTJ 105.9, and WGPR 107.5

* WYCD 99.5 Detroit afternoon driver Eddie Haskell is leaving the station for to take over program director duties in Denver; WSNX 104.5 Muskegon/Gd Rapids adds assistant program director duties to nighttimer Phil Becker's responsibilities- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted WUPY 101.1 Ontonagon a construction permit to increase power from 30,000 watts to 100,000 watts, HAAT will decrease to 185 meters from current 189 meters.

July 26:

* WBGV 92.5 Marlette has finished testing and is on the air full time with a Country format

July 27:

* Michigan Radio (WUOM Ann Arbor / WFUM Flint / WVGR Grand Rapids) won first place awards from the Public Radio News Directors, Inc. in two categories - Best Newscast (8 a.m. newscast of November 4, 1998, election results) and Best Interview/Call-In Program (The Todd Mundt Show)- Ann Arbor News

* FCC Actions: Approved the voluntary transfer of licenses for WNIL 1290 and WAOR 95.3 Niles from Niles Broadcasting to Pathfinder Communications.

July 28:

* All Access is reporting that the sales of Goodrich stations WSNX 104.5 Muskegon/Gd. Rapids to Clear Channel and WODJ 107.3 Greenville/Gd. Rapids to Bloomington Broadcasting have been signed. WSNX sold for $10 million, WODJ for $7.5 million. Pending FCC approvals, Local Marketing Agreements will kick in on August 2nd for WSNX (Clear Channel takes over operations) and on August 9th for WODJ (Bloomington takes over operations).

* New afternoon team at WKRK 97.1 Detroit effective 8/23 will be Jeff Deminski & Bill Doyle, replacing the Don & Mike show; WJR has welcomed back Ken Calvert as a fill-in host, he held down the morning show on Monday and Tuesday this week- Detroit Free Press

July 29:

* WJZZ 1210 Kingsley (Traverse City) has returned to the air daytime only with an Urban Oldies format. The station is being run from Radio One's studios in Detroit.

July 30:

* Sold: WKBZ 1520 Muskegon for $434,000 from WLC Broadcasting to Harbor Pointe Broadcasting


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