2001 Michigan Broadcasting News Highlights

January:

  • WSCG-FM 106.3 Lakeview switched its format from Country to News/Talk as part of the just-launched Michigan Talk Radio Network, which began service on January 1st. MTRN listed 11 stations on its affiliate list as service began.
  • Gene Taylor of Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit passed away at age 53
  • Adult Contemporary WLDR-FM 101.9 Traverse City was sold to Fort Bend Broadcasting by Donald Witala for $3.6 million
  • Country WKJF-FM 92.9 Cadillac was granted a construction permit to move its tower from Osceola county to Kalakaska county. The change would give the station better coverage of Traverse City.
  • New owner 990 Investments took Sports WMAX-AM 1440 off the air in order to make upgrades to the facility. The station was expected back on the air later in the year with religious programming.
  • WKBZ-AM 1520 Muskegon dropped its News/Talk format and was simply playing a loop of recorded music.
  • Johnny Edwards and the rest of the Johnny in the Morning crew were let go from the morning drive slot at Modern AC WPLT-FM 96.3 Detroit
  • WDOW-AM 1440 Dowagiac changed its format from News/Talk to Sports
  • Cable TV station MSNBC announced that it would simulcast WJR-AM 760 Detroit's Mitch Albom Show from 3-5pm

February:

  • WKBZ-AM 1520 Muskegon went silent and then later returned with Radio Disney. Owner WLC Broadcasting filed for
    bankruptcy protection.
  • WGRY-AM 1230 Grayling dropped its simulcast of Adult Contemporary WQON-FM 101.1 in favor of Adult Standards
  • WUPT-LP 49 Crystal Falls rejoined the UPN network
  • Former WJBK-AM and WXYZ-AM Detroit DJ Ed McKenzie (Jack the Bellboy) passed away Monday from multiple illnesses at the age of 90
  • Fort Bend Broadcasting acquired WJZZ-AM 1210 Kingsley from Radio One for about $225,000
  • Top 40 WKPK-FM 106.7 Gaylord refocused as Adult Top 40
  • Country WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit raised over $1 million during a two-day radiothon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Modern Rock WLJZ-FM 94.5 Mackinaw City was granted a construction permit to upgrade its power from 18,500 watts to 40,000

March:

  • WWCK-AM 1570 Flint dropped its simulcast of Top 40 WWCK-FM 105.5 in favor of Gospel programming
  • Low power UPN affiliate WUPN-LP 49 Crystal Falls was granted a construction permit to move to channel 25 with Class A status
  • After dropping its 'Planet' positioner earlier in the year, FM 96.3 Detroit changed its call sign from WPLT to WDVD
  • WJZZ-AM 1210 Kingsley shifted from Oldies to Talk as part of the Michigan Talk Radio Network for most of the day. During afternoon drive the station airs the audio from CNN Headline News.
  • Fort Bend Broadcasting announced the acquisition of Hot AC WBNZ-FM 99.3 Benzie from Crystal Clear Communications
  • The Captain, Bill Vogel, announced his retirement from Top 40 WKHQ-FM 105.9 Charlevoix after about 20 years. He is currently the afternoon host on the Michigan Talk Radio Network.
  • Business Talk WCAS-AM 1290 Saline switched its format to Adult Standards
  • Modern Rock WAVC-FM 93.9 Mio switched from a simulcast of WJZJ-FM 95.5/WLJZ-FM 94.5 to a simulcast of Country WMKC-FM 102.9 St. Ignace
  • Country WXIX-FM 94.1 Jackson switched its format to Classic Hits as WVIC-FM
  • Radio Disney WKBZ-AM 1520 Muskegon went silent
  • Silent WSRI-FM 92.1 Beulah returned to the air simulcasting Adult Contemporary WLDR-FM 101.9 Traverse City
  • Silent WSRQ-FM 100.1 Bear Lake returned to the air simulcasting Hot AC WBNZ-FM 99.3 Benzie

April:

  • WWJ-TV 62 Detroit launched its 11:00pm newscast on April 2nd
  • WADW-FM 105.5 Pickford/Sault Ste Marie signed on the air with an Oldies format as Memories 105-5
  • Bob Driscoll, owner of WION-AM 1430 Ionia, passed away unexpectedly. Before buying WION, Bob owned part of the Michigan Farm Radio Network.
  • Classic Hits WEVS-FM 92.7 Saugatuck changed its call sign to WYVN and repositioned itself as 'The Van'
  • WMPL-FM/AM 93.5/920 Hancock was sold for $237,000 by Copper Country Enterprises to Victor Corporation
  • John Mason exited Urban WJLB-FM 97.9 Detroit. Mason had been the station's long time morning show host. He would reappear later in the year at Adult Urban WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit
  • WLEN-FM 103.9 Adrian was a winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Award- given to stations for their efforts "to improve the quality of life in their surrounding communities"
  • The remaining 70% interest in WCUP-FM 105.7 L'Anse was sold from S & S Broadcasting to Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Keweenaw Bay previously held 30% of the station- the deal pays off S & S Broadcaasting's current debt
  • WMUS-AM 1090 Muskegon dropped its long-time simulcast of Country formatted sister station WMUS-FM 106.9 in favor of News-Talk programming as "NewsTalk 1090"

May:

  • WZRZ-FM 93.7 Frankenmuth hit the air for the first time today with an 80's based Adult Contemporary/Pop format. It is believed the station is still in its testing phase
  • Wilks Broadcasting has applied to change the city of license of WCEN-FM 94.5 from Mt. Pleasant to Hemlock
  • Coltrace Communications sold to Clear Channel 4,900 watt Adult Standards daytime-only WHGR-AM 1290 Houghton Lake for $250,000. The station was later taken off the air to make way for upgraded facilities for Clear Channel owned WOOD-AM 1300 Grand Rapids
  • Winstar Broadcasting has sold the construction permit for new TV channel 19 in Marquette to Montana Broadcasting Group (Equity Broadcasting)
  • WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit applied to increase its daytime and nighttime power to 48,000 watts using a nine tower array from a site in Monroe county
  • Longtime Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 Detroit morning host Jim Harper exited the station and later in the year appeared at WMGC-FM 105.1, which changed its format to Adult Contemporary from Rhythmic Oldies in September

June:

  • Northern Radio Network sold silent station WHST-FM 106.1 Tawas City to Northern Christian Radio
  • WLQV-AM 1500 Detroit along with other 2 other stations on AM 1500 (WTOP Washington D.C. and KSTP St. Paul) have reached a deal on their nighttime operations that will be approved by the FCC. Each station will be able to gain local coverage at the expense of losing skywave protection.
  • WHLS-AM 1450 Pt. Huron and simulcasting station WHLX-AM 1590 Marine City switched format from Oldies to Adult Standards
  • WMPL-FM 93.5 and WMPL-AM 920 Hancock began simulcasting full time with new Talk and Sports programming. WMPL-AM previously aired mostly religious-based talk and WMPL-FM featured both religious and secular talk along with a Christian-based modern rock program nights.
  • Oldies WOBE-FM 100.7 Crystal Falls increased its power to 100,000 watts
  • Talk WSCG-FM 106.3 Lakeview/Greenville switched format to Classic Hit Country. The station was one of the first affiliates of the Michigan Talk Radio Network
  • The Michigan Association of Broadcasters, in cooperation with the Michigan State Police, Michigan Sheriffs Association, and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, organized many of the TV and radio stations across the state and launched the Amber Alert of Michigan
  • The Detroit Pistons signed a deal with Clear Channel-owned WDFN-AM 1130 Detroit to make that station the home for Pistons play-by-play over the next 5 seasons. The Pistons had previously been heard on Infinity's WWJ-AM 950
  • Michigan's first low power FM station was granted a construction permit by the FCC: Prayer Tower Ministry received the CP for a station in Cassopolis at 97.1
  • At 9:00am on the 30th, WGRV-FM 105.1 Detroit 'The Groove' switched format from Urban Oldies to Adult Contemporary. The station changed its call sign to WMGC-FM as 'Magic 105.1'

July:

  • WDVD-FM 96.3 Detroit repositioned itself more towards Hot Adult Contemporary instead of Modern Adult Contemporary and began using on-air positioners incorporating its WDVD call sign
  • Country WKJF-FM 92.9 Cadillac switched its format to Smooth Jazz as 'The Breeze' with new calls WJZQ. The station had previously been simulcasting much of its programming from sister station WTCM-FM 103.5 Traverse City. WKJF-FM plans to move its broadcasting tower north from its current location, resulting in better signal coverage to Traverse City
  • Oldies/Adult Contemporary WUPY-FM 101.1 Ontonagon has switched format to Country as 'Y101 Superior Country'. The Superior Country positioner moves from WCUP-FM 105.7 L'Anse which remains country, but now as 'Eagle Country'
  • WJOJ-FM 89.7 Harrisville/Alpena signed on with a Contemporary Christian format
  • Wilks Broadcasting is expanding its Tri-Cities presence with the purchase of Urban WTLZ-FM 107.1 (Hot 107) from Cumulus Broadcasting for $3.75 million
  • Adult Contemporary WCXT-FM 105.3 plans to downgrade its signal as the station's owner, Waters Broadcasting, will be paid $2.79 million by Salem Communications as part of an agreement that will bring a 105.3 FM online closer to Milwaukee, WI with more power than originally proposed
  • Helen Hardy Brown passed away at age 98. Brown helped found WFBE-FM Flint along with the Flint Youth Theatre
  • WHST-FM 106.1 Tawas City has returned to the air as part of the Northern Christian Radio network
  • WNGE-FM 99.5 Negaunee/Marquette is on the air simulcasting AM sister station WIAN-AM 1240 Ishpeming
  • Regent Broadcasting announced the purchase of two Michigan stations in seperate transactions worth $7 million total: Classical WFGR-FM 98.7 Grand Rapids is being sold by Haith Broadcasting and will be Regent's 5th station in the market. WZRZ-FM 93.7 Frankenmuth is being acquired from Frankenmuth Radio Company and will the the groups 4th Flint-area signal
  • Hot Adult Contemporary WUPS-FM 98.5 Houghton Lake shifted its format to Rock AC
  • News-Talk WOOD-AM 1300 Grand Rapids filed an application with the FCC to change its facilites to 20,000 watts directional both daytime and nighttime from 4 towers in northern Allegan county near Moline
  • Classic Country WDEE-AM 1500 Reed City went silent
  • Adult Standards WHGR-AM 1290 Houghton Lake went silent
  • Midwest Communications purchased Classic Hits WYVN-FM 92.7 Saugatuck from Conrad Communications for $1.45 million. Midwest has been operating the station under a local marketing agreement since January

August:

  • Fort Bend Broadcasting agreed to purchase the construction permit for 104.1 FM Pinconning from Russell LaFave for $250,000. The sale would later fall through
  • WMPL-FM 93.5 Hancock dropped its Talk/Sports format in favor of Hot Adult Contemporary as 'Mix 93.5' - the station received a new call sign, WKMJ-FM.
  • An agreement was reached to sell WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor by Whitehall Enterprises to Clear Channel for $2 million. In 2002, the FCC balked on the deal due to the number of stations that would be owned by Clear Channel in Ann Arbor. Both parties then agreed to walk away from the sale.
  • Northern Radio Network reached a deal to sell off WBMI-FM 105.5 West Branch 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.
  • After nearly 40 years, Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor, WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint, and WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids) officially ended its play-by-play coverage of University of Michigan football. Longtime play-by-play announcer Tom Hemmingway retired after last fall's season.
  • The license for WORB-FM 90.3 Farmington Hills was cancelled by the FCC. WORB was owned by Oakland Community College which voluntarily turned in the license for the station. Operations at WORB ceased on September 22, 1999.
  • WZUU-FM 92.3 Allegan/Kalamazoo switched format from Classic Rock to Active Rock

September:

  • Chris Merrill and Ron Robinson of Oldies WMTE-FM 101.5 Manistee put the wraps on setting a new world's record for longest broadcast by a duo earlier this morning at about 3:15am. The guys kicked off their marathon at 10am Thursday 8/30 and lasted for 112 hours- 27 more than the old record of 85.
  • ABC affiliate WBKP-TV 5 Calumet began originating its local programming from the Marquette Mall in Marquette instead of Calumet
  • Marathon Media agreed to sell all of its U.P. stations for $7.95 million to Northern Star Broadcasting. The 11 stations being sold include: WYSS-FM 99.5 and WKNW-AM 1400 Sault Ste Marie, WIMK-FM 93.1 and WMIQ-AM 1450 Iron Mountain, WIHC-FM 97.9 Newberry, WZNL-FM 94.3 Norway, and in the Marquette area- WJPD-FM 92.3, WUPK-FM 94.1, WNGE-FM 99.5, WIAN-AM 1240, and WDMJ-AM 1320
  • Birach Broadcasting purchased Adult Standards WMJH-AM 810 Grand Rapids and Talk/Sports WMFN-AM 640 Zeeland from Cook Media for $1.9 million
  • The FCC granted the American Family Association a construction permit for a new non-commerical FM station at 90.9 in Freeland
  • David Hicks passed away at age 61. His expansive broadcasting career started as a student and as a co-host of a Saturday morning program on WFYC in his hometown of Alma. He then went on to work at WCER in Charlotte, WILS in Lansing and became Vice President/General Manager of WKFR, Kalamazoo and WKNR, Battle Creek. In 1985 he founded Hick Broadcasting Corporation, which included WKMI, WKFR, WRKR and WRBR in Indiana. In addition to his devotion to his community and to Michigan broadcasting, Mr. Hicks also served on the Michigan Association of Broadcasters' board from 1980-1981 and then as chairman of the Radio Board for the National Association of Broadcasters.
  • WBMI-FM 105.5 West Branch returned to the air with a satellite-fed Adult Top-40 format
  • WDIV-TV 4 weathercaster Chuck Gaidica was announced as the new morning show host at Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 Detroit

October:

  • News WNWZ-AM 1410 Grand Rapids switched its programming from a feed of CNN's Headline News to a lineup of talk programs as NewsTalk 1410 AM
  • WHAK-AM 960 Rogers City returned to the air after being silent since November 2000. The station's format is talk with programming from MTRN. Before going silent, the station's format was Classic Country.
  • The FCC granted WXYT-AM 1270 a construction permit to increase daytime power to 48,000 watts from 5,000. The new directional signal will broadcast from a 9-tower array in northeast Monroe county. The commission would later grant a similar construction permit for nighttime operations
  • WGRI-FM 88.9 Flint joined the 'K-Love' network with new call sign WAKL, which features a Contemporary Christian format. The new programming replaced the station's previous Black Gospel format
  • Adult Contemporary WFAT-FM 96.5 Kalamazoo changed its format to Classic Hits
  • WCCW-AM 1310 Traverse City switched format from Adult Standards to Sports as "All Sports AM 13". Sister station WKJF-AM 1370 Cadillac continues to simulcast AM 1310
  • WNGE-FM 99.5 Negaunee/Marquette dropped its simulcast of News/Talk/Sports WIAN-AM in favor of Oldies
  • WJKN-AM 1510 Jackson returned to the air simulcasting owner Spring Arbor College's Religious WSAE-FM 106.9
  • Country WCMM-FM 102.5 Gulliver/Manistique morning man Jay Scott passed away after a short battle with cancer at age 38
  • The FCC granted the request of WCEN-FM 94.5 to modify its community of license from Mt. Pleasant to Hemlock, effective as of December
  • Josh Lewin, who handled Detroit Tigers play-by-play for Fox Sports Net Detroit, stepped down
  • LIN TV purchased ABC affiliate WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek

November:

  • UPN affiliate WUPT-CA 49 Crystal Falls moved to channel 25
  • WJR-AM 760 Detroit evening host David Newman suffered a stroke and is off the air while recuperating
  • WJR's Mitch Albom has offically pulled the plug on his afternoon show's TV simulcast on MSNBC, which had been preempted since Sept. 11
  • Adult Contemporary stations WOOD-FM and WTRV-FM Grand Rapids both dropped regular programming to take on All-Christmas formats
  • The FCC granted WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola a construction permit to move tower from near Millington in Tuscola County to near Otisville in Genesee County. Power will decrease to 1,800 watts from 6,000, HAAT to increase to 489 feet from 328, pattern will change from directional to non-directional. The change is being made to better cover the city of Flint

December:

  • Active Rock WRXF-FM 103.1 and Sports WLSP-AM 1530 Lapeer were sold by Covenant Communications to Regent Broadcasting for $1.3 million. WRXF dropped its Active Rock format in favor of a simulcast of soon-to-be sister station Rock WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola
  • Patricia MacDonald-Garber purchased the construction permit for WKAD-FM 93.7 Harrietta from Donald Noordyk
  • The FCC 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
  • Oldies WKNX-AM 1250 Bay City added talk programs to its weekday schedule
  • The FCC 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
  • Rhythmic Oldies WKWM-AM 1140 Grand Rapids changed its format to Adult Standards
  • Smooth Jazz WJZQ-FM 92.9 Cadillac began broadcasting from its new facilities in Kalkaska county. The station's old transmitter was located in northern Osceola county.

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