September 2000 News and Notes

September 1:

* The Phase I Summer 2000 Arbitrend 12+ ratings report were released yesterday for Grand Rapids and Lansing.

Classic Rock WLAV-FM continued its run as the number one station in Grand Rapids with Country WBCT-FM moving up to 2nd place, switching spots with Top-40 WSNX-FM. Alternative Rock WGRD-FM remained 4th, while Active Rock WKLQ-FM and Adult Contemporary WLHT-FM improved to a 5th place tie. The move by AC WLHT passed rival competitor WOOD-FM. Among the largest ratings gainers since the Spring book were WLAV, WBCT, WGRD, and News/Talk WOOD-AM.

Top 40 WHZZ-FM and Country WITL were tied on top once again in Lansing, for the 3rd time in the last 5 ratings books. Classic Rock WMMQ-FM improved to 3rd, followed by Oldies WJIM-FM and Adult Contemporary WFMK-FM. Lansing's big gainers this time around were WMMQ, WJIM-FM, News/Talk WJIM-AM, Country WXIK-FM, and Religious WLCM-AM which debuted in the book with a .9 rating.

* The last of the Phase I Summer 2000 Arbitrend 12+ ratings report was released today for the Tri-Cities. The positions of the top 5 stations remained the same with Country WKCQ-FM 1st, Top 40 WIOG-FM 2nd, Oldies WHNN-FM 3rd, Rock WKQZ-FM 4th, and News/Talk WSGW-AM 5th. Stations trending up included WSGW and Country WCEN-FM.

* Sale price of WTRX-AM 1330 Flint from David Lee Communications to Citadel Broadcasting was $180,000- R&R Online

* Doc Reno switches from afternoon drive to mornings at WGRV-FM Detroit, replacing Bill Gable. Mitzi Miles and Foody stay with the morning show; Nikki VanDorne keeps the title of maketing director while switching from WDRQ-FM to WRIF-FM in Detroit- All Access

September 2:

* WMSH-FM 99.3 Sturgis continues to be off the air while engineers work to build a new transmitter. The station hopes to be back on the air soon.

* Detroit's WVMV-FM 98.7 officially launched its website yesterday. Other recent website additions to the Michigan Broadcast Guide listings: WDTR-FM 90.9 Detroit, WGLQ-FM 97.1 Escanaba, WCMM-FM 102.5 Manistique, WGKL-FM 105.5 Gladstone, WCHT-AM 600 Escanaba, WTIQ-AM 1490 Manistique.

September 3:

* WHYT-AM 1520 Marine City has switched format from Country to a simulcast of new sister station WHLS-AM 1450 Pt. Huron. The Oldies stations are using the ID 'Oldies 1450 and 1590, the Blue Water's stations for good time oldies'. Both WHLS and WHYT were recently purchased by Liggett Broadcasting.

* WJBK-TV 2 Detroit sports anchor Dan Miller made his debut with Fox Sports NFL coverage today, handling play-by-play duties for the Detroit Lions - New Orleans Saints game. Miller had worked NFL Europe games for Fox this past summer.

September 5:

* Clear Channel has agreed to purchase 5 more stations from Cumulus Broadcasting in Michigan, this time in Muskegon. The stations that will become part of the Clear Channel portfolio pending FCC approval are WMUS-FM/AM 106.9/1090, WMRR-FM 101.7, WSHZ-FM 107.9, and WMHG-AM 1600. The FCC has flagged this sale to study the market concentration level of Muskegon. Clear Channel currently owns WSNX-FM, which is licensed to Muskegon, plus 5 Grand Rapids stations and 1 in Holland- all in West Michigan. If this transaction is approved, it will push Clear Channel's Michigan station ownership number to 27.

* Is there enough financial support for a non-commercial broadcaster that would take on a classical format? The latest Michiguide poll results show a slight majority of the voters would contribute.

* Radio Sarnia-Lambton has laid off 9 people at its three Sarnia, ON stations- CFGX-FM 99.9, CHKS-FM 106.3, and CHOK-AM 1070. Included in the cuts were K106.3 afternooner Drew Carter and most of the part-time/weekend jocks on both FM stations. The group downsized after upgrading to digital broadcast equipment.

September 6:

* WDWB-TV 20 Detroit helped raise $1,520,020 towards the national amount of over $54.6 million during the Labor Day Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon; WWJ-TV 62 and WKBD-TV 50 will report to the same general manager, 62 likely to use 50's news operation- Detroit Free Press

September 7:

* WDFN-AM 1130 / WWWW-FM 106.7 Detroit general sales manager Elizabeth Hamma moves on to Louisville, KY to take on the role of general manager for a 4 station group; Overnighter Misty Moon at Charlevoix has been promoted to promotions director for the entire 6 station MacDonald-Garber group- All Access

September 8:

* FCC Actions: Granted Fant Broadcasting a construction permit for a new television station to serve Ironwood. Station will be on channel 24 with 5,000 kW ERP and 201.2 meters HAAT. The station will transmit from the current tower WIMI-FM is located on in Iron County, WI (just west of Ironwood). Fant once owned KQDS-TV in Duluth, MN, a Fox affiliate which is seen in the Ironwood area on a translator, W32CB (ch. 32).

September 9:

* WMSH-FM 99.3 Sturgis has returned to the air with its new transmitter after being silent for over a week; Jackson's WJXQ-FM 106.1 is operating at reduced power (1000 watts) while a new tower is being installed

September 11:

* FCC Action: Granted WWKK-AM 750 Petoskey its license to cover

September 12:

* Call sign changes:

  • WXYQ-FM 101.5 Manistee has taken the sign of its new AM sister station as WMTE-FM. The now WMTE-FM was recently purchased by Lake Michigan Broadcasting, creating the duopoly.
  • New FM station at 93.7 in Harrietta has been assigned WKAD
  • New FM station at 106.7 in Iron Mountain has been assigned WHTO

September 13:

* The Adult Contemporary format at WRSR-FM 103.9 Owosso is apparently gone as the station has started stunting as of 4:00pm today by playing a novelty song repeatedly. Soft Rock 103.9 has never enjoyed much ratings success in the Flint market competing against WCRZ-FM 107.9 (Cars 108). WRSR-FM recently added Alan Almond's PillowTalk syndicated program from Detroit's WNIC to its evening lineup after losing Delilah to WCRZ. The new format on 103.9 is expected to debut at noon tomorrow.

* Brian Hayes is officially named the program director at Kalamazoo's WRKR-FM 107.7, with Jay Deacon returning for assistant program director, music director, and afternoon on-air roles- All Access

September 14:

* At noon today, WRSR-FM 103.9 Owosso launched its new format- Classic Rock. The new sound includes artists such as Van Halen, Queen, CCR, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, etc. and replaces Adult Contemporary. The stunting, which had started yesterday afternoon, ended with 12 chimes at noon, followed by a preview of the type of songs that will be heard on the station. 'The Classic Rock Authority, 103.9 The Fox' is the positioner for the station. First song played was It's Only Rock-n-Roll by the Rolling Stones.

September 15:

* There were 87 applications filed in Michigan for the new low-power FM allotments. There are several instances of more than one applicant for a particular allotment, especially for 93.1 in Grand Rapids.

* Sonny Andre moves into the afternoon slot at Detroit's WGRV-FM 105.1 starting September 25th. Andre arrives from Kansas City

* Mark Thompson is no longer with Ann Arbor's WIQB-FM 102.9, leaving open his former position of program director

September 16:

* WIMI-FM 99.7 Ironwood on September 14th fell victim to a lightning strike that resulted in fire at its transmitter site, destroying the transmitter, audio processing equipment, as well as much of the building. The station went dark, but hoped to return at low power sometime this weekend. Plans are to complete reconstruction in about 4 weeks- Upper Midwest Broadcasting

September 18:

* The Phase II Summer 2000 Arbitrend 12+ ratings report was released for Detroit today. Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM stays on top with Rock WRIF-FM taking second place alone, breaking the tie with Urban WJLB-FM which fell to third. News/Talk WJR remained in 4th place, followed by Oldies WOMC-FM in 5th. Stations with .5 or better ratings improvements since the Summer phase I book included Alternative Rock CIMX-FM and Modern AC WPLT-FM. In July, WPLT modified its format from Alternative Classics to Modern AC- resulting in a rating of 2.5, up from 1.8 in the Phase I book. Other notable ratings changes: Sister stations Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM 98.7 and Country WYCD-FM 99.5 both suffered big drops; Bay City Oldies station WHNN-FM 96.1 made the Detroit book with a .4 rating.

September 19:

* Interlochen Public Radio signed on their new station at 91.5 FM in Traverse City at 4:00pm last Wednesday (9/13) with NPR's All Things Considered, kicking off a News/Talk format on the frequency. The majority of programming will be from NPR, PRI, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

* Grand Rapids' B93 (WBCT-FM 93.7) raised over $568,000 during last week's Roof Sit benefit for Country Cares for Kids and abused and neglected children in West Michigan.

* According to the just-completed Michiguide Poll, the folks that cared to vote don't listen all that much to sports play-by-play. 41% of the votes were cast for the 'don't listen' selection, 39% only listen to local teams, and 20% tune in to hear both local and national broadcasts.

* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary transfer of license to Central Michigan University from Agri-Valley Communications for WSTD-FM (to be WWCM-FM) 96.9 Standish. Also granted CMU a waiver to the main studio rule so the station can be operated as a satellite station.

September 21:

* Detroit's WXYT-AM 1270 has secured the broadcast rights for two more of Detroit's major league sports franchises, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. The move gives Infinity Broadcasting rights to all 4 Detroit big-league teams with the Detroit Lions also on WXYT and the Detroit Pistons on WXYT sister station WWJ-AM 950. The move marks an end to the Tigers' and Wings' deals with WJR-AM 760, where the Tigers have been heard since the early 1960's and the Wings since the 1970's. The reported deal is for 6 years and worth over $50 million.

September 22:

* Notes from the press conference at Comerica Park about the switch of Detroit Tigers and Red Wings play-by-play radio flagship homes to WXYT from WJR:

  • WXYT will go all-sports 24x7x365, but no official plan has been announced as to timing or future of current programming
  • All Red Wings games for the upcoming regular season will be available on the Internet
  • Goal is to build a similar network for both the Wings and Tigers that the Lions have, about 40 stations across Michigan
  • Handshake agreements are in place for affiliates in Ann Arbor, Port Huron, Saginaw, Flint, and Toledo for the upcoming Red Wings season
  • No official plan has been announced for resolution of conflicts- ie days when two or more of the teams WXYT has the rights to are playing simultaneously
  • The upgrade process to WXYT's signal is expected to take a couple of years
  • * WJKN-AM 1510 Jackson will go dark on September 30th as owner John Salov has sold the property the station's broadcast towers are located on. Salov states he plans on bringing the station back on the air once new property can be located, hopefully within a year before the license for the station must be surrendered to the FCC- Jackson Citizen-Patriot

    * Former WXYZ-AM 1270 Detroit disc jockey Paul Winter has passed away at the age of 77 from lung cancer. Winter was the station's midday jock during its Top 40 days.

    * Joey B adds assistant program director duties to his current role as music director at WKHQ-FM 105.9 Charlevoix. Joey B also swaps on-air shifts with John Kelly, moving to middays from nights- All Access

    September 24:

    * Grand Rapids Classic Country station WCUZ-FM 101.3 dropped the format this afternoon following NASCAR coverage in favor of a Classic Rock format as '101 The Fox Rocks'. New to mornings starting tomorrow will be the syndicated Bob & Tom Show, with former WMRR and WMUS personality Ranger Bob returning for middays. Clear Channel Communications, owner of WCUZ-FM, now takes on Citadel Broacasting owned Classic Rock WLAV-FM 96.9, which has been the recent ratings leader in Grand Rapids in hopes of fragmenting that audience, possibly in order to bring sister Clear Channel station Country WBCT-FM 93.7 (B-93) back to the top of the ratings heap. WCUZ-FM will keep its NASCAR coverage, at least through the end of the current season. Prior to the station's 1980 move to Country as WCUZ, 101.3 in Grand Rapids was known as '101 The Fox' (WFFX) with an Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format- today's change brings some of the same music back to the station. Program director Doug Montgomery commented that the new station was put together in about 3 days in order to fill a void identified by research in the Grand Rapids market. Due to current weaknesses in the Country format, a decision was made to move sister B-93 more mainstream by adding older songs on a regular basis- creating an overlap with the now former Country Gold format on WCUZ.

    * Call sign change: AM 1590 Marine City has started using WHLX, dropping WHYT, to more closely match sister station/simulcaster WHLS-AM 1450 Pt. Huron

    September 25:

    * Michigan was well represented at the Marconi Awards ceremony over the weekend:

    • Infinity's WOMC-FM 104.3 won Marconis for Major Market Station of the Year and Oldies Station of the Year
    • Clear Channel's WOOD-AM 1300 won a Marconi for Medium Market Station of the Year
    • WOMC's Dick Purtan hosted the awards dinner and show. Congratulations to all at both stations!

    * 101.3 Grand Rapids to get new call sign WBFX, Paul Harvey commentaries move to WOOD-AM as a result of yesterday's format change at WCUZ-FM- Grand Rapids Press

    * WWJ-TV 62 Detroit has started airing news and weather updates during NFL broadcasts using WKBD-TV 50's news personalities and facilities. The updates use the title 'Detroit's 62 CBS News' and promote WKBD's 10:00pm newscast.

    * The Zone (WAVC-FM 93.9 Mio / WLJZ-FM 94.5 Mackinaw City / WJZJ-FM 95.5 Glen Arbor) has moved towards a more active rock sound under new program director Kimberly Fox. New artists include KoRn, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock.

    * Petoskey's WJML-AM 1110 has moved completely back to a News-Talk format, dropping all its Oldies programming with the sign on of sister station WWKK-AM 750 which has an Oldies format. New programming on WJML includes Barry Farber, Michael Savage, Computalk, and The Motley Fool.

    * Former WRSR-FM (Soft Rock 103.9) Owosso morning guy Jim Johnson has landed at Flint's WFBE-FM 95.1 for middays, replacing Anne Downey.

    * FCC Actions: Granted WBLW-FM 88.1 Gaylord its license to cover for a new station

    September 26:

    * Where would Infinity get $50 million for the rights to the Tigers and Red Wings? Easy- just sell an AM in Los Angeles to ABC/Disney for that amount. Ironically, the former rights holder to the broadcasts - WJR - is owned by ABC/Disney. Speculation is that the LA station, KRLA, will move from talk to ESPN radio.

    * Earlier this year (Jan 28-Feb 1), the FCC accepted applications for new AM stations and major modifications to current AM stations. In Michigan, there were 16 non-mutually exclusive (only one per allotment) proposals filed.

    * Coming February 21, 2001- the next FCC auction for vacant FM allocations. In Michigan, there are 8 vacant allocations:

    • 94.9 Crystal Falls (Iron County), 6kW @ 100m
    • 96.7 McMillan (West of Newberry), 25kW @ 100m
    • 96.7 Republic (West of Marquette), 6kW @ 100m
    • 98.9 Walhalla (East of Ludington), 6kW @ 100m
    • 99.9 Carney (West of Escanaba), 6kW @ 100m
    • 100.3 Gwinn (South of Marquette), 25kW @ 100m
    • 103.7 Hubbardston (NW of Lansing), 6kW @ 100m
    • 107.3 Powers (West of Escanaba), 25kW @ 100m

    * The FCC has modified its LPFM rules to protect stations offering radio reading services by keeping in place the 3rd channel adjacent rules for these stations. In addition, the Commission has established a complaint procedure for those receiving unexpected from LPFM stations.

    * FCC Action: Granted Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls a minor modification to their construction permit for a FM translator of KAWZ-FM near Baldwin on 88.1 (W201CF)- ERP to 55 watts from 13, HAAT to 0 meters from 118, location change to just east of Idlewild from just south of Wolf Lake.

    September 27:

    * The Michigan Association of Broadcasters annual High School & College Broadcast Awards Competition is accepting entries until December 11th.

    * Call sign change: 101.3 FM Grand Rapids is now WBFX, ex WCUZ-FM

    September 28:

    * 2 Summer Phase II (June-August) 12+ ratings books were released today for Michigan markets-

    * In Grand Rapids, Country WBCT-FM pushed back on top of Classic Rock WLAV-FM, which lost 1.5 points since the Phase I book. B-93 increased its ratings .7 of a point. Top 40 WSNX-FM and Alternative Rock WGRD-FM maintained their spots, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively. Adult Contemporary WOOD-FM moved back up into the market's top 5 stations. Religious WJQK-FM also made an improvement, up .5 of a point.

    * Across I-96 in Lansing, Country WITL-FM stayed on top of the ratings, but this time all alone. Top 40 WHZZ-FM took second spot, followed by Classic Rock WMMQ-FM, Oldies WJIM-FM, and Adult Contemporary WFMK-FM. Stations improving their ratings by at least .5 included Urban WQHH-FM and Detroit's News/Talk WJR-AM.

    * WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit production director J.R. Nelson is retiring effective Nov. 1- All Access

    * FCC Actions: Granted licenses to 2 FM translators of WAPC-FM Terre Haute, IN in Rogers Heights (near Big Rapids)- W206BF 89.1 and W220CW 91.9

    September 29:

    * Ann Arbor's 102.9 WIQB abruptly switched formats from Rock to Country this morning at 10:00am following the Bob & Tom Show, bringing back the name W-4 Country to Southeast Michigan. The WWWW-FM call sign currently resides on Clear Channel sister station 'Alice 106-7' in Detroit, the previous home to W-4 Country from 1980 until September 1999. Expect the WWWW call sign to move to 102.9 in Ann Arbor with 106.7 Detroit getting a new sign - WLLC - to go with its 'Alice' moniker. The format switch happened rather smoothly- during the Bob & Tom program, the advertisement breaks were replaced with rock songs and the former 'Rock 103' liners. Just before 10:00am, the station played its spotload and at about 10:03, announced 'Your listening to Great Country Favorites on 102.9 W-4 Country' followed by Toby Keith's Country Comes to Town. WIQB has had a rock-based format since 1975 until today's switch.

    * Detroit's Public Radio outlet, WDET-FM 101.9, has added a live stream of the station's programming on their web site. Other recent additions to the list of stations webcasting in Michigan: WJSZ-FM 92.5 Ashley, WHZZ-FM 101.7 Lansing, WBBL-AM 1340 Grand Rapids

    * The last of the Phase II ratings was released today for the Tri-Cities. Country WKCQ-FM remained #1, followed by Oldies WHNN-FM which moved ahead of 3rd place Top 40 WIOG-FM. Rock WKQZ-FM and News/Talk WSGW continue to hold spots 4 and 5. Gainers included WHNN, Adult Contemporary WGER-FM, Classic Rock WILZ/WYLZ-FM, and Detroit's News/Talk WJR-AM. WTCF-FM (now Hot AC Mix 100) slipped to its lowest ratings in quite awhile- this is the last trend before the ratings for the new format will be included.

    * Chris Morgan takes the evening gig at Detroit's WGRV-FM 105.1- The Oakland Press

    September 30:

    * WCEN-FM 94.5 Mt. Pleasant has repositioned itself as 'The Tri-Cities Continuous Country, 94.5 The Moose', dropping 'Hot Rockin' Country'. The station is commercial free this weekend.

    * WJKN-AM 1510 Jackson has gone silent; the station signed off at 3:15pm yesterday- Jackson Citizen-Patriot

    * The Careers in Radio seminar scheduled for October 7th at Lansing Community College has been postponed until Spring.


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