* The Michigan Talk Radio Network (MTRN) went live today with a total of 11 stations that will be at least partial affiliates. This number includes two Upper Peninsula stations yet to sign on (WHTO 106.7 Iron Mountain and a new station in Manistique). Expected soon is an affiliate in the Flint market.
* As part of the roll-out of MTRN, Lakeview station WSCG-FM 106.3 switched its format from Country to Talk as the main affiliate of the new network. The station is using the on-air positioner "106.3 The Source". WSCG-FM/AM were recently purchased by Stafford Communications Group.
* Way FM (WAYK Kalamazoo / WAYG Gd Rapids) program director Jason Wert has resigned in order to move back to Missouri- All Access
* FCC Actions: Granted WTVS-TV 56 Detroit its license to cover for digital facilites on channel 43; Granted WICA-AM 91.5 Traverse City its license to cover for a new station
* Program director of WVIC-FM Charlotte-Lansing (92-7 The Ticket) is Jason Hamilton. He reports the station is now on-air with its full-time programming featuring Fox Sports Radio with Jim Rome. The station will also be carrying play-by-play for the following Detroit pro teams: Red Wings, Tigers, and Lions. Look for The Ticket to also carry play-by-play for events such as the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and NHL All Star Game.
* Mark Scott and John McCulloch have been let go by WXYT-AM Detroit in advance of sports programming scheduled to kick off January 5th.
* Detroit's WWJ-AM has reached a new 4-year labor agreement with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). The deal, which covers all full-time and part-time anchors, reporters, writers and editors at the station, provides for 3 percent annual salary increases and and improvements in holiday pay, overnight premium pay and health insurance and retirement contributions- Detroit Free Press
* Lisa Knight adds morning news duties to her midday role at Charlevoix's WKHQ-FM, Tammy Paige lands the night gig at the station- All Access
* Tim Snodgrass is the new sales manager at 4 of Midwest Family's Southwest Michigan stations (WCSY-FM, WGMY-AM, WYTZ-FM, WYTC-FM)- Inside Radio
* WCSX-FM Detroit morning show hosts Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison will host their January 19th program from the Washington DC offices of US Rep. Joe Knollenberg. The duo will also provide reports for Saturday's presidential inauguration- The Oakland Press
* WXYT-AM Detroit is set to unveil its newest local sports-talk host: Kevin Wall host the "Wall-to-Wall" show from 10am - noon beginning Monday- The Oakland Press
* Flint's WTRX-AM 1330 adds Dave Barber's talk show from the Michigan Talk Radio Network starting Monday. Barber returns to WTRX - where his radio career started in 1971 - and to Flint where his last show, on WFDF-AM 910, was heard in July 2000. Barber and WFDF parted ways after allegations of harassment were made by a female employee. WTRX will also be adding an affiliation with Fox Sports Radio in February, dropping One on One Sports and the Sports Fan Network.
* Windsor's CKLW-AM 800 will be on board when Art Bell returns to the airwaves on Feb. 5. Bell's show will begin at 1am on CKLW- Detroit Free Press
* Gene Taylor, who wrote much of the content for and also produced Dick Purtan's morning show on Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit, passed away suddenly late Saturday night from complications of asthma. Taylor, 53, was at a northern Michigan resort over the past weekend when he was struck with an asthmatic attack from which resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful. Taylor also portrayed "The Bagman" and had been friends with Dick Purtan for over 35 years.
* FCC Action: Granted WDQV-FM 88.5 Mackinaw City its license to cover for a new station.
* WKZQ-FM 93.3 Midland/Saginaw Assistant Program Director Todd Kangas gives up the title to Rebel who is also the station's music director. Rebel also moves to afternoon drive, with Kangas moving all of his focus to his morning show duties- All Access
* WLDR-FM 101.9 Traverse City has filed an application with the FCC for the voluntary transfer of control of the station from current owner Donald Wiitala to Fort Bend Broadcasting.
* WKRK-FM has modified its weeknight lineup, adding more local programming. Rob Parker and Mark Wilson will host "Sports Night with Parker & The Man" from 10pm-1am starting Monday. The change moves the show from its previous slot on weekends and drops one of Mancow's two daily taped delayed programs out of the lineup- that show will now only run 3-6am, with a short live segment from about 11-am to noon (between the end of Howard Stern and the start of Ed Tyll)- The Oakland Press
* FCC Actions:
* Rep. Fred Upton (R) from Michigan's 6th District (Kalamazoo & SW Michigan) has been selected as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications by Billy Tauzin (R-LA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman. The Subcommittee on Telecommunications is charged with interstate and foreign telecommunications- including, but not limited to all telecommunication and information transmission by broadcast, radio, wire, microwave, satellite, or other mode. In a nutshell, this means that Upton will chair the committee that oversees the Federal Communications Commission.
* The first of the Fall 2000 Arbitron ratings books for Michigan markets was released yesterday. On top of the ratings pile once again in Detroit was Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM. Urban WJLB-FM moved back into second place overall, followed by News/Talk WJR-AM, News WWJ-AM, and Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM. 3 Infinity-owned stations, Country WYCD-FM, and talkers WKRK-FM and WXYT-AM were among the biggest winners since the Summer book- WYCD improved from 3.6 to 4.9, moving it into a 6th place tie with Rock WRIF-FM for listners age 12 and older. Sister station WKRK-FM improved from 1.5 in the Summer to 2.2, and the then Conservative Talk WXYT-AM scored a 3.0 rating for 13th place overall. The talk stations likely benefited from the November presidential election controversy.
* Rich Fisher and Amyre Makupson replace Rich Mayk and Vickie Thomas as hosts of WWJ-TV's "InDepth Detroit" newsmagazine- Detroit Free Press
* WMAX-AM 1440 Bay City has been taken off the air by its new owners (990 Investments) for equipment upgrades. The station should return to the air sometime during the Spring with its new Religious (Catholic) format.
* Leaving the Mornings @ Large program on Bay City's WIOG-FM is Man at Large as he heads for a job in Dallas beginning at the end of February; Chris West has left WFAT-FM Kalamazoo, leaving open his former positions as afternooner, music director and assistant program director- All Access
* The FCC has made two new allocations for Class A FM stations in Michigan: 103.9 Pentwater and 96.3 Ludington
* Citadel Communications has been sold to buyout firm Forstmann Little & Company in a deal worth about $2 billion
* Fall 2000 ratings for Ann Arbor were made available today. News/Talk WJR-AM continues to be the top overall station in the market, followed by Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM, Top 40 WKQI-FM, Gold-based Adult Contemporary WKQL-FM, and in a three-way tie for 5th overall, Country WYCD-FM, Top 40 WDRQ-FM, and Rock WRIF-FM. WKQL led all Washtenaw County stations with its 4th place finish- Full Service WAAM-AM made an impressive jump to 8th place overall, improving its rating from 2.1 in the spring to 3.5 in the Fall. Other Washtenaw stations: Country WWWW-FM 15th/1.9, and Sports WTKA-AM 22nd/1.3.
* In a decision released this afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the appeal brought by the state broadcasters associations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, challenging as unconstitutional the broadcast affirmative action regulations adopted by the Federal Communications Commission early last year. The Court overturned those regulations in their entirety.
* New to mornings at WWCK-FM Flint effective Monday will be Andrew Z., promotion director Scott Mansell adds midday duties; Bill Elliott has left WMMQ-FM Lansing after 11 years for a role as program director in New Jersey- All Access
* WKBZ-AM 1520 Muskegon has dropped its News/Talk format, which included both local and syndicated programming, and is currently airing taped music. The station may announce future plans, including a possible sale, later this week. The station is currently owned by WLC Broadcasting.
* Urban WDZZ-FM continued to lead the Flint market in the Fall 2000 12+ ratings released today. Adult Contemporary WCRZ-FM was second, followed by Top 40 WWCK-FM, Country WFBE-FM, and Oldies WHNN-FM. WRSR-FM, which switched from Adult Contemporary to Classic Rock improved to 6th place overall, up from 15th in the Spring (1.5 rating to 4.4).
* FCC Actions:
-- Granted licenses to cover for WJML-AM 1110 Petoskey and WMHG-AM Muskegon
* Alex Caruso is the new assistant music director and night personality at WVTI-FM Holland/Gd Rapids- All Access
* Out at WPLT-FM Detroit is the "Johnny in the Morning" show. The contracts of Johnny Edwards, Hadji, and Chris Zito expired today and were not renewed by station management after continued disappointing ratings. Current overnighter Allyson will hold down mornings while station brass perform a national search for a replacement show- All Access
* Fort Bend Broadcasting hopes to complete its acquistion of two more Traverse City stations by the end of March, bringing its station total to 5 in Northwest Michigan. WLDR-FM 101.9 (Sunny 102) is being purchased from Don Witala for $3.6 million, making it the highest-priced single station deal to date in Northern Michigan. Fort Bend is also expected to announce the acquistion of WJZZ-AM 1210 from Radio One and plans to operate WLDR, WJZZ, and its 3 other properties (WSRI-FM 92.1, WSRQ-FM 100.1, and a construction permit for WTCU-FM 95.9- none of which are currently on the air) from one location in Traverse City- Inside Radio
* Art Renger has officially left his role as late morning host at Sports WDFN-AM for new Sports talker WXYT-AM effective next Wednesday. Regner will immediately take over as the in-studio host for Red Wings broadcasts and add midday (noon-3pm) chores once the Rush Limbaugh program moves off WXYT in March. WDFN maintains the naming rights to the show Ice Time, which will now be hosted by Sean Baligian.
* WDOW-AM 1440 Dowagiac is now all-sports affiliated with Fox Sports Radio. The change was made January 1st.
* Kirk Montgomery has left the news team at WLAJ-TV Lansing/Jackson.
* Cable station MSNBC will carry Mitch Albom's 3-5pm weekday radio show from the WJR-AM studios in Detroit- Detroit Free Press
* WPLT-FM 96.3 Detroit has dropped "Planet" from its slogan and is now using "96.3, Modern Hits of the 80's, 90's and Today". The Modern AC playlist appears to be unaffected by this change.
* FCC Actions: Granted the voluntary transfer of license from Cumulus to Clear Channel for the following Muskegon area stations- WMRR-FM 101.7, WMUS-FM/AM 106.9/1090, WSHZ-FM 107.9, WMHG-AM 1600; Granted WADW-FM 105.5 Pickford its license to cover.
* WKBD-TV Detroit raised over $500,000 during last weekend's telethon for the Michigan Humane Society- Detroit Free Press
* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary assignement of license from Crystal Radio Company to Results Broadcasting of Iron Mountain for WOBE-FM 100.7 Crystal Falls
* Scott Miller, formerly of WOMC-FM Detroit and more recently WJMK-FM Chicago, joins WGRV-FM Detroit for weekends- Detroit Free Press
* Remy loses the interim of his title of promotions director at WGRD-FM Grand Rapids- All Access
* The morning team at WGTO Cassopolis/South Bend remains in place, but is renamed as 'The Big Beat with Shannon in the Morning and Deb' and features the best of the 50s, Do-Wop and early 60s complete with original commercials, jingles and fun.
* Will WDRQ-FM Detroit night jock Tik Tak be back next week? He's threatening to walk away from the station if the City of Redford follows through with plans to fire 11 teachers due to budget issues. Tik Tak is trying to raise $250,000 to pay the salaries of these teachers- if he doesn't do it by 12:01AM Saturday, he may be gone from 'DRQ- All Access
* WJR-AM Detroit newscaster Michael Barr is headed for New York to be part of the ABC Radio News team- Detroit Free Press
* FCC Actions: Granted WDWO-LP 18 Detroit its license to cover for changes; Granted the voluntary assignment of license from Thunder Bay Broadcasting to Trinity Broadcasting for W18BT Alpena
* Fall ratings were released yesterday for Lansing and Grand Rapids. Country WBCT-FM repeated its summer performance by coming in on top of all other stations. Top 40 WSNX-FM moved from 4th to 2nd, News/Talk WOOD-AM was up 2.1 points and improved to 3rd from 8th, Classic Rock WLAV-FM dropped to 4th from 3rd, and Adult Contemporary WLHT-FM moved from 6th to 5th overall. Stations with a 1.0 or better ratings increase from the Summer included WSNX, WOOD-AM, Nostalgia WMJH-AM, and Adult Contemporary WTRV-FM.
There's a new number one station in Lansing with Adult Contemporary WFMK-FM moving to the top spot ahead of Top 40 WHZZ-FM and former number one Country WITL-FM. WFMK's 2.2 point gain moved it from 4th in the summer up to the top among listeners age 12 and above. Oldies WJIM-FM and Classic Rock WMMQ-FM round out this periods top 5 stations. Along with WFMK, notable gainers included Urban WQHH-FM and Nostalgia WILS-FM.
* Tim Kiesling has resigned as Program Director/PM Drive air personality at 99.1 WFMK-FM 99.1 Lansing. His last day is Feb 22. Tim has been hired as Director of Marketing for Clear Channel Communications' cluster in San Antonio, Texas. His first day in the Lonestar State is Feb 26. WFMK finished #1 12+, 25-54, and 18-49 (among several key demos) in the Fall 2000 Arbitron ratings.
* FCC Action: granted the voluntary assignement of construction permit from Barbara J. Unger to MS Communications for W31BI Petoskey
* Midday host Jeff Jennings has left WDMK-FM 102.7 Mt. Clemens/Detroit. Donnie James is currently sitting in- Detroit Free Press
* Fall 2000 ratings were released yesterday for Muskegon and Battle Creek. In Muskegon, Top 40 WSNX overtook Country WMUS for first place among listeners age 12 and above. Following secnd place WMUS was Classic Rock WMRR-FM, Rock WKLQ-FM, and Oldies WLCS-FM. WKLQ increased its 5.1 Spring rating up to 9.3. Other notable ratings gainers were Urban Oldies WEFG-FM, Country WBCT-FM, News/Talk WGN (Chicago), and Oldies WODJ-FM.
Another Top 40 station took first place in Battle Creek with WKFR-FM displacing Country WNWN-FM which fell to second. News/Talk WBCK-AM, Oldies WWKN-FM, and Rock WJXQ-FM maintained their third through fifth positions respectively. Battle Creek Adult Contemporary station WBXX-FM rebounded with a strong fall book- its rating came in at 6.9 (up from 2.9 in the Spring) putting the station in a fifth place tie with WJXQ. Other stations with big ratings gains were WKFR, WJXQ, Rock WRKR-FM, and Classic Rock WMMQ-FM.