December 2001 News and Notes

December 1:

* Active Rock WRXF-FM 103.1 and Sports WLSP-AM 1530 Lapeer have been sold by Covenant Communications to Regent Broadcasting for $1.3 million. Once the deal receives FCC approval, Regent will own 6 stations in the Flint area (WCRZ-FM 107.9 and WFNT-AM 1470 Flint, WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola, WZRZ-FM 93.7 Frankenmuth, plus WRXF and WLSP)- R&R Online

December 4:

* WRXF-FM 103.1 Lapeer (Radio X) has dropped its Active Rock format in favor of a simulcast of soon-to-be sister Rock station WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola (Banana 101.5). WRXF is being operated by Regent Communications as part of a local marketing agreement- Regent is in the process of purchasing the station, and sister station Sports WLSP-AM 1530, from Covenant Communications.

* Weekend anchor/reporter Meg Oliver is leaving Detroit TV stations WKBD 50 and WWJ 62 to take a job as the main anchor in Fresno, CA- Detroit Free Press

* FCC Action: Granted W201CF 88.1 Baldwin (translator of KAWZ-FM, Twin Falls ID) its license to cover for a new station

December 5:

* Patricia MacDonald-Garber will be purchasing the construction permit for WKAD-FM 93.7 Harrietta from Donald Noordyk. MacDonald-Garber will operate the station under the banner Cadillac Broadcasting; she already owns 6 other northern Michigan stations including WKHQ-FM, Lite FM (WLXV/WLXT), and 3 AM's- M Street Daily

* Tony LaBrie survives the Regent purchase of WRXF and is named as music director for Rock WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola. He'll also man the microphone from 2-6pm. Labrie had been program director at Radio X in addition to an on-air role- All Access

December 6:

* Talk WKMI-AM 1360 Kalamazoo has dropped its local morning show, Marci and Company, in favor of the syndicated Imus in the Morning show. This marks the I-man's second go-round at WKMI. There is no word on the status of former host Marci Persky. The move happens just days after the retirement of the station's long time president and general manager Ed Sackley, who also held the same role at sister stations Top 40 WKFR-FM 103.3 and Rock WRKR-FM 107.7.

* The ratings for Fox Sports Net Detroit continue to soar: Through 15 Red Wings telecasts this season an FSN, the average rating is 8.2 -that's a year-to-year increase of 116% (8.2 vs. 3.8). Coverage of the Pistons on FSN is being watched by twice the number of viewers from a season ago. The average rating is 3.4 over the first six telecasts, 100% better than the 1.7 at this stage in 2000. The channel also established all-time marks for its coverage of the 2001 MHSAA Football and Girls Basketball Flnals. The seven live football telecasts on Nov. 23-24 averaged a 1.5 rating, 114% better than the 0.7 average in 2000 and 50% better than the previous high-water mark of 1.0 in 1998. The Division 3 title game between Farmington Hills Harrison and Fruitport earned a 3.0 rating, the most-watched game in the four-year history of FSN's prep football coverage. The three live girls basketball telecasts on Dec. 1 averaged a 0.5 rating - 150% higher than last year's 0.2 average (4 live games) and 25% better than the previous best average rating of 0.4 in 1999 (3 live games).

* FCC Actions: Granted Superior Communications, operator of Contemporary Christian station The Light (WLGH Lansing, WEJC Gladwin, WTLI Boyne City) a construction permit for a new non-commercial Class A FM station at 104.9 at Lake City- power to be 1,600 watts @ 489 feet; Granted WHKB-FM 102.3 Houghton the following modification to its construction permit- power to 6,000 watts from 4,800, HAAT to 328 feet from 344

December 7:

* Longtime sports commentator Ron Cameron returns to the Detroit airwaves for weekend duty at Fox Sports Radio outlet WXDX-AM 1310. Cameron will be heard Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-noon and says he plans to "tell it like it is".

* Add WHLS-AM 1450 Pt. Huron and WHLX-AM 1590 Marine City to the list of stations with Christmas formats- the Westwood One Adult Standards stations began the yuletide programming on Thanksgiving Day.

* Michael Mannino has resigned his position as network director of affiliate relations for the Michigan Radio Network, effective at the end of the year- All Access

December 10:

* Let go this week from Sports WDFN-AM 1130 Detroit due to downsizing by corporate parent Clear Channel were midday co-host Eric Pate and evening host Mike Bower (The Meat Shop). Brandon Tierney takes on the midday slot by himself- he's elevated from weekends; Greg Brady shifts from midday cohost to evenings.

* FCC Actions: Red-flagged the sale of WRXF-FM 103.1 and WLSP-AM 1530 Lapeer from Covenant Communications to Regent Broadcasting to further study ownership concentration in the Flint market; Granted WBUP-TV 10 Ishpeming a modification to its construction permit to increase tower height to 1394 feet from 1352

December 11:

* News and talk stations WJR-AM and WWJ-AM continued to top the fall ratings trends for Detroit according to the numbers released today for September-November. Oldies WOMC-FM remained third followed by Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM and Urban WJLB-FM. Rocker WRIF-FM, which had been the 4th most popular station in the springtime, fell to a 10th place tie with Country WYCD-FM. WWJ enjoyed the biggest ratings gain since the first fall trend, moving from 5.9 to 6.4 for listeners age 12 and above.

December 12:

* Changes at Rock Hits WLLC-FM 106.7 Detroit include the release of night jock Scott Adams and midday host Carey Carlson moving to weekends only. The midday and evening shifts will be cyberjocked. The move to cut Adams and Carlson is part of Clear Channel's downsizing efforts.

* Also out of a job due to downsizing is WJLB-FM 97.9 afternoon traffic host Cheron Mann. In addition, WJLB has been instructed to release its programming assistant as part of Clear Channel's cutbacks- Inside Black Radio

December 13:

* Another round of Detroit-area radio layoffs- this time at News WWJ-AM 950: Let go due to 'rightsizing' were sports reporter Tom Balog, and midday co-host Pat Vitale, and overnighter Earle Dickinson. Afternoon co-host Jayne Bower will add some midday hours, she'll be on-air from noon-2pm and again from 3-6pm. WWJ and sister station Sports WXYT-AM 1270 will now share sportscasts.

December 14:

* Bill Anthony has been named program director of WBXX-FM 95.3 Battle Creek- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary assignement of license for WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek from Channel 41 Inc to WOOD License Company

December 17:

* Format change for WKNX means more talk: WKNX-AM 1250 Bay City will change it's station name from Memories 1250 to Talk/Oldies 1250 effective December 19th when it begins all Christmas programming through Christmas day, from 6am till 5pm. The name change will promote programming changes that officially begin on Wednesday, December 26th, to include daily Talk programs between 9am and 6pm. WKNX has served the Saginaw Valley and Thumb area since 1947 and originally broadcast at 1210 kHz. John W. and Kathy (Libbey) Blehm, of Birch Run, own WKNX radio and have operated it through J&K Media Co. since 1994. The station moved into a new studio/office building, on Gabel Road in Saginaw, last January.

WKNX was Saginaw's original all music radio station and has featured Family Friendly Oldies for many years. According to General Manager John W. Blehm the wide variety of Oldies will not disappear, but Family Friendly Talk will be added. The daily morning lineup will start with Ric Allen playing Oldies from 6 till 9am, a one hour talk program with veteran broadcaster Bob Dyer and a swap shop show with Casey Graves. Bob Dyer will feature more Oldies from 11am till 1pm followed by Focus on the Family with James Dobson. Janet Parshall's America will air at 2pm followed by the The Michael Medved Show at 4pm. SRN News, Business Briefs and Sports Headlines will be added along with more short features like The Cal Thomas Commentary. The Family Friendly theme will continue in all programming with new talk shows that the whole family can listen to. Morning programs will be of a local nature with some nationally syndicated afternoon programs covering topics that affect families around the nation. The program guide on the station's website, http://www.wknx.com, will be updated when the changes take place. Most changes affect daily programming, but some weekend Talk will also be added. Blehm said "whether it's information or entertainment WKNX will continue to be the conservative voice for the families the Saginaw Valley".

* Released: DJ Marc Hunter from WMXG-FM 106.3 Stephenson/Escanaba. Hunter also hosted a Friday evening rock/metal program.

* Former Tigers catcher Lance Parrish will join Frank Beckmann as color analyst on WKBD-TV 50 Detroit's broadcast of Detroit Tigers baseball this summer- Detroit Free Press

December 18:

* Taking over as morning co-host at Country WITL-FM 100.7 Lansing will be Banana Don Johnson. Johnson will be paired with Stephanie McCoy. Former morning co-host Scott Miller is no longer with the station- All Access

* New music and assistant program director at Classic Rock 94.7 WCSX Detroit is Laura Lee. She also will he heard on-air for fill-in duties. A Cleveland native, Lee arrives from Rockford, IL where she was program and music director for Classic Hits WYHY. She replaces Chris Herrmann, who left in August for WBOS Boston.

December 19:

* WHTC-AM 1450 Holland is once again operating 24 hours/day. The station is authorized for overnight operations, but since the mid-1980's has signed off at about midnight. The overnight shift will be staffed by Dani Richards. The station's morning show has new faces as well- Greg Borgman moves from Metro Traffic to the 5-9:30am shift, joining news director Gary Stevens who arrives from WFDF-AM 910 Flint. Christian talker WWJQ-AM 1260 Zeeland has added some secular talk to its lineup of mostly Christian-based programming. The station has affiliated with CNN and now features Larry King Live weeknights at 9pm- Grand Rapids Press

December 21:

* Dana McDaniel has been named as news director for WJBK-TV 2 Detroit. McDaniel had been in the job on an interim basis since the departure of Neil Goldstein in August- Detroit Free Press

* FCC Action: Granted Todd Stuart Noordyk (Great Lakes Radio) a construction permit for a new class A FM station to be licensed to Manistique. The frequency was won at auction in October 1999 for $196,000. The station will be 6,000 watts at 171 feet.

December 26:

* WKWM-AM 1140 Grand Rapids has dropped its Rhythmic Oldies format in favor of Adult Standards. The programming is syndicated from Jones Satellite Networks' Music of Your Life feed- DX-midAMerica.com

* Smooth Jazz WJZQ-FM 92.9 Cadillac is now broadcasting from its new facilities in Kalkaska county, which results in a better signal over the Traverse City area. The station's old transmitter was located in northern Osceola county.

December 28:

* Country WBCT-FM remained the top station in Grand Rapids for the Sept-Nov reporting period among all listeners age 12 and above. News/Talk WOOD-AM moved into second place followed by Top 40 WSNX-FM. Rounding out the top 5 were Classic Rock WLAV-FM and Active Rock WKLQ-FM.

December 30:

* All Access reports that the new program director for Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit is likely to be Dom Theodore, who will be returning to his home town from Houston. An official announcement is expected soon. In the same report, it's noted that night jock Booker is reportedly headed off to New York City.

* Replaced: The Dr. Laura Slessinger program, formerly heard 3-6pm on WKMI-AM 1360 Kalamazoo by Sean Hannity, who's program takes the same time slot


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