August 2001 News and Notes

August 1:

* Fort Bend Broadcasting will be expanding its Michigan presence again with the purchase of the construction permit for 104.1 FM Pinconning from Russell LaFave. The sale price was $250,000. The station has been assigned the call sign of WSAG but is not yet on the air. Fort Bend has purchased 6 other Michigan stations/construction permits since March 1999.

August 2:

* Top 40 WKFR-FM remained atop the Kalamazoo rating book with a Spring rating of 12.8, down from 14.7 in the Fall. Rock WRKR-FM remained second with a 10.5 rating, Country WBCT-FM was third, Adult Contemporary WQLR-FM finshed fourth, with Country WNWN-FM rounding out the top 5 stations among listeners age 12 and above. WBCT saw the biggest ratings gain of any station, improving 3.2 points.

* New to weekends at WDFN-AM 1130 Detroit is Brandon Tierney- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted WDVD-FM 96.3 Detroit a construction permit for the following changes: ERP from 20,000 to 18,000 watts, HAAT from 240 to 233 meters, tower location change a couple miles northwest within Southfield

August 3:

* Program director / morning co-host Jason Addams leaves WHZZ-FM 101.7 Lansing for a morning role in Austin, TX. WHZZ music director Dave B Goode will act as program director on an interim basis with Brooke Taylor handling the morning gig alone for now- All Access

August 4:

* David Newman, nighttime host at WJR-AM 760 Detroit will be off the air indefinitely as he'll be having heart bypass surgury on Monday. Look for Warren Pierce to handle most of the fill in work while Newman convalesces- Detroit Free Press

August 7:

* Chris Merrill and Ron Robinson of WMTE-FM 101.5 Manistee have announced plans to set a new radio marathon record beginning August 30th. When the duo wrap up their broadcast on September 4th, they will have been on the air for 120 hours- which would break the old record of 100 hours. The goal of the marathon is to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy- All Access

* Upper Peninsula updates:

  • WNGE-FM 99.5 Negaunee is simulcasting WIAN-AM 1240 Ishpeming (carrying Milwaukee Brewers baseball)
  • WMQT-FM 107.7 Marquette has dropped most of the gold tracks from its playlist and is now CHR-mainstream as 'Q107 WMQT The Hit Music Channel'
  • WGLQ-FM 97.1 Escanaba adds the positioner 'Today's Hit Music' to its Magic 97 positioner

* WLSP-AM 1530 Lapeer has returned to the air, format remains Sports talk

* A couple syndicated programming notes: Gone from Classic Rock WZUU-FM 92.3 Allegan is the morning duo of Bob & Tom; Added to the evening lineup at WOOD-FM 105.7 Grand Rapids is Delilah

August 9:

* Congratulations to WHTC-AM 1450 Holland's Julius Van Oss who will mark 50 years with the station tomorrow

* Word is that Rocky Allen will be the new morning show host effective Sept 4 on Detroit's WDVD-FM 96.3- All Access

* Former WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit talk show host John McCulloch has been named a permanent guest host on WJR-AM 760 Detroit- Detroit Free Press

* Flint ABC-TV affiliate WJRT plans to upgrade its current analog facilities and prepare for the launch of digital service and will be off the air for several hours at a yet to be announced time-

August 13:

* WMPL-FM 93.5 Hancock has dropped its Talk/Sports format in favor of Hot Adult Contemporary as 'Mix 93.5' - the station will get new a new call sign, WKMJ-FM. The programming is via satellite (Jones).

* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary assignment of license from Crystal Clear Communications to Fort Bend Broadcasting for WBNZ-FM 99.3 Frankfort

August 14:

* Back in May, outlined several proposals before the FCC that could drastically modify the FM band in Northern Michigan (click here). On August 1st, the FCC published yet another proposal to modify FM allotments in the Northwest part of the state- this one was filed by Northern Radio of Michigan in an attempt to upgrade the facilities for its construction permit at 100.7 in Honor. Their proposal is as follows:

  • Upgrade allotment for 100.7 Honor from Class A to Class C3
  • Move WSRQ-FM 100.1 (A) Bear Lake to 106.1 (A)
  • Move WKLA-FM 106.3 (A) Ludington to 98.7 (A)
  • Move allotment of 98.9 (A) Walhalla to 106.5 (A)

It is possible that the FCC will make a ruling that fits two proposals- combining the one above from Northern Radio and the one from Fort Bend filed earlier in the year. Here is what the changes may look like:

  • WKLA-FM 98.7 Ludington (A)
  • WSRQ-FM 99.9 Bellaire (C1)
  • WAIR-FM 100.7 Honor (C3)
  • new 100.9 Manistique (A)
  • new 106.1 Bear Lake (A)
  • WHAK-FM 106.3 Rogers City (C2)
  • new 106.5 Walhalla (A)

Once an FCC ruling is made, will report on which station is going where.

* FCC Action: Granted WMKG-LP 38 Muskegon Class A status

August 15:

* The Michigan Talk Radio Network (MTRN) has added the Great Lakes Prep Roundup to its Friday lineup beginning August 24th in cooperation with the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Michigan High School Sports Network. High School sports scores and features will be broadcast during the fall and winter sports seasons starting at 9:30pm and running to Midnight as part of MTRN's regular Michigan Sports Tonight program. The show is an enhanced and expanded verion of the Great Lakes Prep Roundup that was previously distributed by the Michigan High School Sports Network. Veteran high school sportscaster Jeff Hager again hosts the program that will provide scores and game reports from high school football and basketball games played all across Michigan. It will feature interviews with coaches, administrators, and personalities from around the state in all sports.

* Spring ratings were released last week for two more Michigan markets: Battle Creek and the Tri-Cities. In Battle Creek, Country WNWN-FM moved back ahead of Top 40 WKFR-FM into the top spot after falling to second last fall. Following WKFR was News/Talk WBCK-AM and Rock WRKR-FM which tied for third overall. Rounding out the top 5 was Rock WJXQ-FM. WNWN-FM, WRKR, and Rock Hits WVIC-FM had the biggest ratings gains since the fall among the top 10 stations.

In Saginaw/Bay City/Midland, Country WKCQ-FM was the number one station this spring followed by News/Talk WSGW-AM, Oldies WHNN-FM, Top 40 WIOG-FM, and Urban AC WTLZ-FM. This is the first publicly released ratings for the Tri-Cities since the summer 2000 book. Other Michigan markets with ratings embargoes include Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, and Northwest Michigan.

August 16:

* New program director for WJLB-FM 97.9 Detroit is K.J. Holiday- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted WJRT-TV 12 Flint its construction permit for digital facilites on channel 36

August 20:

* The summer phase 1 (May-July) trend for Detroit was released today- Adult Contemporary WNIC continues to lead the pack followed by News/Talk WJR, News WWJ, Urban WJLB, and Rock WRIF.

August 21:

* FCC Action: Granted Bedford Public Schools a construction permit for a new Low Power FM station at 107.9 in Temperance. The station has been assigned the call sign WMLZ-LP

August 22:

* Today's M-Street Daily reports that Infinity Broadcasting has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Pentwater's WWKR-FM 94.1 asking them to stop using the 'K-Rock' slogan. Infinity owns and operates several 'K-Rock' stations across the country and is apparently beginning to defend that slogan - even in markets where it doesn't operate.

* Call sign changes (effective 8/13):

  • WLDR 101.9 Traverse City became WLDR-FM
  • WJZZ 1210 Kingsley became WLDR

August 23:

* WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor has been sold by Whitehall Enterprises to Clear Channel, pending FCC approval. The sale price for the Full Service formatted station was $2 million and will give Clear Channel 5 signals in the Ann Arbor market as WAAM will join Sports WTKA-AM 1050, Standards WCAS-AM 1290, Country WWWW-FM 102.9, and AC/Oldies WQKL-FM 107.1. Clear Channel owns the largest number of stations across the U.S.A.- the deal to purchase WAAM pushes the company's station count to 1201 - 29 of them in Michigan.

* FCC Actions: Granted WZRZ-FM 93.7 Frankenmuth its license to cover for a new station; Granted WSHN-FM 100.1 Holton its license to cover for changes (ERP from 2,750 to 3,000 watts / HAAT from 295 to 302 feet)

August 24:

* Northern Radio Network has reached a deal to sell off another one of its silent stations- WBMI-FM 105.5 West Branch has been dealt to Independent TV Productions, headed by Richard Senninger, for $100,000. This will be Independent TV Productions' first radio station. WBMI's previous format was Oldies before going silent in November 2000.

* FCC Action: Granted WLJZ-FM 94.5 Mackinaw City its license to cover for changes (Class C2 40,000 watts ERP from Class C3 18,500 watts ERP)

August 25:

* WSRQ-FM 100.1 Bear Lake has changed its call sign to WCUZ- previously the call sign for FM 101.3 Grand Rapids when that station had a Country format. WCUZ is currently simulcasting the Hot Adult Contemporary format of WBNZ-FM 99.3 Frankfort and is owned by Fort Bend Broadcasting.

August 27:

* Former longtime WQRS-FM Detroit host Dick Wallace leaves Toledo's WGTE-FM to take on the program director role at Classical WIAA-AM 88.7 Interlochen- All Access

August 28:

* Sean Hannity coming to WJR Detroit? According to Matt Drudge, ABC Radio has struck a deal with the conservative Fox News Channel host for an afternoon drive program to be syndicated across the country from WABC-AM New York. The show is set to debut September 10th.

* After nearly 40 years, Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor, WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint, and WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids) will end its play-by-play coverage of University of Michigan football. Longtime play-by-play announcer Tom Hemmingway retired after last fall's season- leaving the University-owned stations without a comparable play-by-play broadcaster. The games can still be heard on a 27 station strong network under flagship WJR-AM Detroit.

* WTCM-AM 580 Traverse City has switched its afternoon syndicated programming from G. Gordon Liddy to Michael Medved

August 29:

* Communications Daily is reporting that the Mass Media and Cable Services Bureaus are poised to be merged in to one unit as soon as September 13th when the FCC holds an open meeting. This new bureau would also gain jurisidiction over direct broadcast satellites (currently under the responsibility of the International Bureau) and would be headed by current Cable Services Chief W. Kenneth Ferree. If this merging of bureaus comes to fruition, it will likely have a major effect on traditional radio and television broadcasters- dealing with an agency with broadened responsibilites instead of one focused on over-the-air broadcasting could prove to be much more challenging and time consuming.

* Employees of Metro/Shadow Networks Detroit office, which provides traffic and other information to most area radio and TV stations, have voted in favor of union representation from AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). Of the 31 employees that voted, 21 cast in favor of unionization.

* FCC Action: Cancelled the license for WORB-FM 90.3 Farmington Hills. WORB was owned by Oakland Community College and voluntarily turned in the license for the station which ceased operations on September 22, 1999.

August 30:

* WZUU-FM 92.3 Allegan/Kalamazoo (The Zoo) switched format from Classic Rock to Active Rock yesterday. Program Director Brian Hayes hopes the move will fill an underserved niche in the Kalamazoo market. The Classic Rock genre is pretty well covered by Grand Rapids based stations WLAV (96.9) and WBFX (101.3) as well as by Kalamazoo's Mainstream Rock station WRKR (107.7)- moving in an Active Rock direction will position The Zoo towards a younger audience. The on-air lineup on The Zoo remains the same with Mike Machuta doing mornings along with co-host Hayes and newscaster Allison. Hayes will also continue middays, Chris Hatty handles afternoons and Allison is back on the air for nights.

* Ray Rajewski will take over as interim general manager of WKBD-TV 50 and WWJ-TV 62 Detroit, replacing Mike Dunlop- Detroit Free Press

* Catherine Black leaves her role as music director/program director at WYCE-FM 88.1 Grand Rapids- All Access

August 31:

* Rob Sanford leaves his job as news director at WOOD-AM 1300 Grand Rapids for a job at Detroit's WXYT-AM 1270; Staffers from WLLC-FM 106.7 and WDFN-AM 1130 Detroit competed in what should be recognized as the longest softball game ever last weekend. When they wrapped up, the game had lasted 366 innings over 54 hours- All Access

* FCC Actions: Granted WMKG-LP 40 a modification to its construction permit to move to channel 38- a power increase from 13,500 watts to 33,800; Granted WJOJ-FM 89.7 Harrisville its license to cover for a new station




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