March 1999 News and Notes

March 1:

* Today's cutoff day for satellite TV customers (DirecTV, etc) that are receiving out-of-market Fox and CBS broadcasts and live within the viewing area of an over-the-air Fox and/or CBS affiliate. The reason? Local affiliates are forcing the satellite companies to drop coverage in order to protect their local ratings and advertising income. Look for ABC and NBC coverage to be dropped for the same reasons soon.

* Michigan Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year awards:

  • Radio, Market 1: WJR-AM 760 Detroit
  • TV, Market 1: WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit
  • Radio, Market 2: WSGW-AM 790 Saginaw
  • TV, Market 2: WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids
  • Radio, Market 3: WHMI-FM 93.5 Howell
  • TV, Market 3: WWTV/WWUP-TV 9/10 Cadillac
  • Public Radio Station of the Year: WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor (also on WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint & WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids)

* WOOD-TV Channel 8 has applied for digital facilities on Channel 7.

March 2:

* The sale of Owosso's WOAP-AM 1080 has been completed from Connoisseur Communications to William and Jessica Janego, returning the station to local ownership after 12 years. The Nostalgia format is expected to remain. Also making news is WJSZ-FM 92.5, as they move their studios two miles into downtown Owosso to better accomodate growing staff and to separate from the Shiawassee Independent newspaper- Flint Journal

* Battle for 5:00pm news ratings too close to call between WXYZ-TV 7 and WDIV-TV 4 Detroit- Detroit Free Press.

* More on WCHB-AM 1200- reports are coming in of more testing, including some gospel programming. The station hasn't returned to regular programming yet however. Apparently the station's plans for 50kw daytime are still in the works; the transmitter has been sent in for a retrofit to 50kw and the reference tower for the array was left up during construction.

March 3:

* WCHB-AM 1200 Taylor (Detroit) has returned to the air. The gospel programming heard between 3:30-4:00pm appears to be automated as the top of the hour station ID actually occured at 3:54.

* The format of WCHB is expected to be primarily gospel oriented; the lone exception being a morning talk show with Mildred Gaddis- Detroit News.

* WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit weatherman Chad Myers and wife/reporter Sandy Heng will be taking 6 weeks off starting next week on an extended vacation that includes travel to Hawaii, Europe, and the Caribbean- Detroit Free Press

* All Access reports a deal has been reached between WKRK-FM 97.1 Detroit (Extreme Radio) and the Tom Leykis show.

March 4:

* Former WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit evening jock Jeff Jennings will be taking the afternoon drive time slot at 102.7 FM Mt. Clemens- Detroit Free Press

* Reports are that WCHB is operating at or near its construction permit power of 50,000 watts during daytime hours

March 5:

* Kiss-FM 102.7 Mt. Clemens (soon to be WKSK-FM) has added jocks and is now airing advertising on Detroit TV.

* WDIV-TV 4 Detroit sweeps 'sweeps'- barely, WJBK-TV 2 Detroit's local am news beats national morning programs- Detroit News

* WDIV-TV 4 Detroit aired its first digital programming on March 1 at 3:00pm on channel 45- a Corvette video program- WDIV

* Gone from WYUR-AM 1310 Detroit's regular lineup is the Warren & Jackie Pierce afternoon program. Their contract was not renewed- Oakland Press

* From All Access: New program director at WDTJ-FM 105.9 Detroit is Nate Bell; WHZZ-FM 101.7 Lansing morning host/program director Woody Houston is out.

* Congratulations to former longtime Detroit jock Karen Dalessandro (WDTX/WDFX/WYCD/WWWW) on winning the Best Morning Show award during the recent Milwaukee Air Awards. Karen is now at country WMIL-FM 106.1 in Milwaukee.

* FCC actions:

  • Call Sign Changes:
    • 03/02/99 - 1520 AM WQWQ Muskegon Hgts. now WKBZ
    • 03/01/99 - 850 AM WKBZ Muskegon now WGVS
    • 03/01/99 - 95.3 FM WKBZ-FM Whitehall now WGVS-FM
  • Transfer of license granted for WOAP-AM 1080 Owosso from Connoisseur Communications to William J. Janego
  • License granted for new low power translator TV station in Alpena, W18BT (Ch. 18), owned by Thunder Bay Broadcasting.

March 6:

* WGRD-FM 97.9 Grand Rapids night jock Tim Hartley has been named Promotion Director and Frank Whalen has been promoted from part-time to night host- All Access

March 8:

* Returning to WDRQ-FM 93.1 Detroit will be Jay Towers for mornings and assistant program director. Jay has been in Philadelphia for the past two years- All Access

* FCC Action: Construction permit granted for a new FM station in Caro. W203AX will be at 88.5 FM and rebroadcast KAWZ-FM; Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, Idaho.

March 9:

* Transmitter problems knocked Windor's CBE-FM 89.9 (CBC Radio Two) off the air yesterday. Plans called for the problems to be ironed out early this morning.

* The new afternoon guy at WRKR-FM 107.7 Kalamazoo is Dave Doran who also gets assistant program director duties- All Access

March 11:

* Two sets of Arbitrend January ratings from All Access:

In Grand Rapids, CHR WSNX-FM 104.5 has shot to #1 with an 8.5, beating Classic Rock WLAV-FM 96.9 by half a point. The Adult Contemporary battle between WOOD-FM 105.7 and WLHT-FM 95.7 is now a dead heat with both stations carding a 5.8 rating. Country listenership continues to slide- WBCT-FM 92.7 and WCUZ-FM 101.3 both suffered declines.

Longtime ratings leader in Lansing, Country WITL-FM 100.7, is close to losing its #1 position as Adult Contemporary WFMK-FM 99.1 has closed to within .1 of a ratings point. Stations improving their ratings include Classic Rock WMMQ-FM 94.9 and Rock WJXQ-FM 106.1. Stations with declines are Oldies WJIM-FM 97.5, Alternative WWDX-FM 92.1, and Urban WQHH-FM 96.5.

* Former WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit night jock Dave Fuller has accepted a swing shift role at WDRQ-FM 93.1- All Access

* FCC Action: WCSX-FM 94.7 Birmingham/Detroit has been granted its license to cover to change its Effective Radiated Power from 13,500 watts to 14,000 watts and decrease their Height Above Average Terrain from 290 meters to 225 meters.

March 12:

* The top 6 stations in Saginaw/Bay City/Midland maintain their position: Country WKCQ-FM 98.1 and Oldies WHNN-FM 96.1 are still #1 and #2- All Access

* Former late night host Vertical is returning to WPLT-FM 96.3 Detroit for nights- All Access

March 14:

* WTLZ-FM 107.1 Saginaw, now owned by Connoisseur Communications, has shifted its mainstream Urban format towards an Urban AC using the positioner 'Today's Best R&B and Jammin' Oldies, the New Hot 107'. The station's music mix includes R. Kelly, Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, etc. and sounds a lot like Mix 92.3 Detroit.

March 15:

* Leaving the WKFR-FM 103.3 Battle Creek midday and Assistant Program Director posts is Mark Anderson. Starting March 29th, Mark will be the new Program Director at WIOG-FM 102.5 Bay City- All Access

March 16:

* From today's Detroit Free Press: The sell-off of Chancellor Media's radio stations has been cancelled by the parent company.

* FCC Action: WWHK-FM 106.3 Stephenson- Voluntary transfer of control from Pacer Radio of the Near North to Escanaba License Corp.

* WMXD-FM 92.3 Detroit Program Director Janet G. has taken over PD duties at sister WJLB-FM 97.9 Detroit on an interim basis. Jason Gani has also been named Promotion Director- All Access

March 17:

* WDCQ-TV 19 Bay City has been broadcasting at about 5% of its licensed power since "the 'Klystron' tube that creates all of the Radio Frequency that carries our signal went south in a big way and the new $65,000 replacement won't be here until Monday (3/22) at the earliest. Installation and tuning is also a time-consuming and delicate procedure. We're hoping to be back at full power by next Wednesday". The station has been operating this way for at least a couple of weeks now. Thanks to Program Director Kent Wieland for this information.

* FCC Actions: Approved the voluntary transfer of control from Capstar Broadcasting to Chancellor Media for the following stations: WBCK-AM 930, WRCC-AM 1400, and WBXX-FM 95.3 Battle Creek, WNWZ-AM 1410, WLHT-FM 95.7, and WGRD-FM 97.9 Grand Rapids, WTRV-FM 100.5 Walker, and WWKN-FM 104.9 Marshall.

March 18:

* Reporter/weekend anchor Mike Holfeld is leaving WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit in April to accept an anchor/reporter position at the CBS affiliate in Orlando, FL- Detroit News

* New program director for 102.7 Kiss-FM will be J.D. Kunes, effective May 1st- All Access

March 19:

* 3 Windsor stations add Real Audio presence to their web sites; CIMX-FM 88.7, CIDR-FM 93.9, and CKWW AM 580

* FCC Actions: Approved the volunatary transfer of license for WZTU-FM 100.1 Bear Lake and the construction permit for WBVE-FM 92.1 Beulah from Roger L. Hoppe II to D & B Broadcasting.

* Call Sign Change: 03/08/99 - 940 AM WCSY South Haven now WGMY

March 20:

* On-the-air changes at WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit: Jyl Forsyth moves from the 10am - 3pm shift back to the 7pm - Midnight slot. Taking over middays will be Erin Weber, in from WGAR Cleveland. The changes are effective Monday (3/22)- Detroit Free Press

* The first female DJ in Grand Rapids, Dorothy Trommater, passed away on March 10th at the age of 56. In 1962, Mrs. Trommater's broadcast career began at WJFM (now WBCT) and included a stay at WZZM-TV 13- Grand Rapids Press, 3/12/99

March 23:

* Friday's radiothon on WCSX-FM 94.7 Detroit to raise money for the purchase of a Red Cross Bloodmobile brought in over $251,000- Detroit Free Press

* WRKR-FM 107.7 Kalamazoo Program Director Mike Ferris has left the station for the same position in Madison, WI; New to WKFR-FM 103.3 Battle Creek on April 12th will be Brian Hayes as midday host and Assistant Program Director- All Access

March 24:

* FCC actions:

  • Approved the voluntary assignment of licenses for LPTV stations W25BI Grand Rapids and W59AZ Rockford from Donald J. Crandall to WOOD License Co.
  • Approved the voluntary assignment of licenses for the following stations from Ives Broadcasting to Northern Radio Network: WBMI-FM 105.5 W. Branch, WCLS-FM 100.7 Oscoda, WHAK-FM/AM 99.9/960 Rogers City, WHST-FM 106.1 Tawas City.
  • Approved the voluntary assignment of license from Daraka Broadcasting to Northern Radio Network for WHSB-FM 107.7 Alpena.

* Debuting March 29th on WGTO-AM 910 Cassopolis will be the 'The Good Time Oldies Radio Network' with former WHLY South Bend morning hosts Mike Shannon and Deb Millard; New Promotion Assistant at WXDG-FM 105.1 Detroit is Josh Ryan- All Access

March 26:

* In the lastest 3 month Arbitrend report (6am - Midnight, listeners age 12 and above) Detroit's WJR 760 AM has fallen behind Oldies WOMC and News WWJ into 5th place overall- All Access

March 29:

* WDRQ-FM 93.1 Detroit has added some mainstream CHR hits from artists like Goo Goo Dolls, Eagle-Eye Cherry, and Matchbox 20 to its rhythmic CHR format. This from Program Director Alex Tear via All Access: "We are still leaning Top 40/Rhythmic, it's just time we didn't miss massive hit records and our positioner is still `Today's Hit Music 93-1 'DRQ, but we do have new on-air imaging by Imaging Dir. F.O.I.L."

The new airstaff lineup: 6-10a Assitant Program Director Jay Towers & Morning Revolution featuring Rachael Hunter, Clarke Kent, and Hugh Holesome; 10a-1p Jamie Reese upped from swing; 1-3p Dave Fuller; 3-7p Lisa Lisa; returning to nights is Mojo.

Exiting WDRQ is Music Director/middayer Jimi Jamm "who is a fine MD and air talent but he's pursuing other opportunities. Jay and and I will be handling music for the time being," said Tear.

March 30:

* GM of WWWW-FM 106.7 and WDFN-AM 1130 Detroit has now added the same title for WMXD-FM 92.3 Detroit. Former WMXD boss Verna Green keeps her GM position at WJLB-FM 97.9 Detroit. New Program Director at WKRK-FM 97.1 Detroit is Terry Lieberman- Detroit Free Press

March 31:

* What's up with the simulcasting Oldies WMJA-FM 104.5 / WMJK-FM 100.9 Pinconning? As of this evening they are stunting with a coundown clock.

* WCSX-FM 94.7 Birmingham/Detroit has added live webcasts via the Windows Media Player

* Will 102.7 Mt. Clemens really be able to claim the WKSK call sign to replace WWBR? According to the Detroit Free Press maybe not- it seems the FCC has caused a snag in the plan. For now, WWBR lives on for 'Kiss' FM.

* That voice at night on WDRQ-FM 93.1 Detroit belonging to 'Tik Tac' that sounds so familiar? It's the DJ formerly known as Mojo; Lisa Dillon, who was hosting mornings on 'Kiss-FM' 102.7 Mt. Clemens, has left the station. Lisa is one of the few voices heard on the station after the switch from Classic Rock to Adult Contemporary- All Access


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