October 2001 News and Notes

October 1:

* Arbitron has removed the embargo from the Grand Rapids ratings- the summer Phase 2 (June/July/August) top stations were Country WBCT-FM, Classic Rock WLAV-FM, Top 40 WSNX-FM, News/Talk WOOD-AM, and Active Rock WKLQ-FM. Stations enjoying noteable improvements since the last publicly released book (Winter 2001) are WBCT, WLAV, WKLQ, Oldies WODJ-FM, Urban WJNZ-AM, Country WMUS-FM, Urban Oldies WKWM-AM, Classic Hits WYVN-FM, and Classic Country WSCG-FM.

* Lance Panton has been named Vice President of Programming for Radio One's trio of Detroit stations- WDTJ-FM 105.9, WDMK-FM 102.7, and WCHB-AM 1200; Brian Hayes, Program Director at Active Rock WZUU-FM 92.3 Kalamazoo, adds the same role at sister Oldies WQXC-FM 100.9. Randy Rowley becomes Operations and Technical Director for both stations- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted WKAR-TV 23 Lansing its construction permit for digital facilities on channel 55

October 2:

* WDWB-TV 20 Detroit owner Granite Broadcasting has put the WB affiliate up for sale. Granite currently owns 8 other TV stations across the country.

* FCC Actions: Granted the voluntary transfer of control for WFGR-FM 98.7 Grand Rapids to Regent Broadcasting from G.T. Leasing, Inc.; Granted WOLV-FM 97.7 Houghton a construction permit for changes: increase ERP to 2,400 watts from 880, decrease HAAT to 367 feet from 509, tower location change slightly closer to Houghton.

October 3:

* WNWZ-AM 1410 Grand Rapids has switched its programming from a feed of CNN's Headline News to a lineup of talk programs as NewsTalk 1410 AM. The lineup features the following Michigan Talk Radio Network (MTRN) programs: Good Morning Michigan with Bob White 5-9am, Dave Barber 9-10am, The Captain and Crew 3-7pm, and the Best of MTRN from 1-5am. Also in the lineup are the Neal Boortz Show 10am-1pm, The Clark Howard Show 1-3pm, Michael Savage 7-10pm, and Peter Weissbach 10pm-1am. WNWZ is owned by Regent Broadcasting.

* WHAK-AM 960 Rogers City has 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. WHAK-AM is owned by the Northern Radio Network.

* DJ Fresh joins Urban WTLZ-FM 107.1 Saginaw for nights and mix show director beginning 10/15. Fresh returns to WTLZ, where he was once an intern, from Alabama. 'Long' John, who is currently acting as the station's Program Director, moves to afternoons from nights- All Access

* FCC Action: 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.

October 4:

* WGRI-FM 88.9 Flint is now part of the 'K-Love' network, which features a Contemporary Christian format. The new programming started this past Monday and replaces the station's previous Black Gospel format. The M-Street Daily reports that the change is part of a Local Marketing Agreement between owner Jon Yinger (operating as Gospel Radio International) and the Educational Media Foundation. M-Street speculates that the LMA is a prelude to an outright sale of the station by Yinger to the Education Media Foundation for $450,000. The station will apply for new call letters WAKL.

* The Detroit Pistons announced yesterday that WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit morning man John Mason will be the new public address announcer for the upcoming 2001-02 season. Mason replaces WCSX-FM 94.7 Detroit afternoon jock Ken Calvert, who has stepped down after working as PA announcer since 1985. "After nearly 18 years as the Pistons PA announcer, I felt it was time to let go and totally focus on my WCSX radio program," Calvert said. "This is, arguably, one of my toughest decisions ever."

* WCSX morning show hosts Jim Johnson & Lynne Woodison will kick off two new features that will involve metro Detroit area students beginning this Friday 10/5: At 7:50am, local elementary students will be featured reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Then beginning 10/11 Bragging Rights, a new segment that will feature calls from parents bragging about the exploits of their local high school sports stars, will begin. This feature will run every Monday following sports updates at 6, 7, and 8am.

October 5:

* WNIC-FM 100.3 Detroit shifts WJBK-TV 2 Kam Carman's weather forecast features from the morning show to afternoons. The Detroit Free Press reports that this was done after an ultimatum from WDIV-TV 4's Joe Berwanger was issued regarding the availability of WDIV weathercaster Chuck Gaidica as WNIC's morning show host if Carman continued on with mornings.

* FCC Actions: Granted WNGE-FM 99.5 Negaunee its license to cover for a new station; Granted the voluntary assignment of license for WBMI-FM 105.5 West Branch from Northern Radio Network to Independent Television Productions of Michigan

October 8:

* Throughout an entire day's worth of programming this coming Thursday October 11th, Detroit's WWJ-AM 950 will be offering an in-depth look at the impact of September 11th on the region and its residents. Detroit - One Month Later will air throughout the day in a variety of different forms. The station plans to extensively cover the effect of 9-11 on personal lives, how people live and work, our children, the view of the future, and local readiness. It will include interviews with leaders in government, public safety, and business. It also offer a chance for opinion leaders in our community to offer the personal reflections of how they look at the events of the last few weeks and how they see the future.

* WFAT-FM 96.5 Kalamazoo changed its format over the weekend- the station is now Classic Hits, which replaces Adult Contemporary. Replacing Rick Dees for mornings is Bob & Tom. New program director is Bill Martin who replaces Robb Rose. Rose heads to Wausau, WI sister station. Martin formerly was operations manager for Cumulus' Kalamazoo stations (WKFR-FM 103.3, WRKR-FM 107.7, and WKMI-AM 1360).

* WCCW-AM 1310 Traverse City has switched format from Adult Standards to Sports as "All Sports AM 13". Sister station WKJF-AM 1370 Cadillac continues to simulcast AM 1310. All Sports AM 13 is using programming from ESPN Radio.

* Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh revealed to listeners that he has gone 100% deaf in his left ear and 80% deaf in his right- with the likelyhood of total loss soon. Limbuagh states the desire to continue with his program, even with his disability.

* WMAM-AM 570 Marinette, WI (Menominee, MI) has switched from Talk to Sports using ESPN Radio- WI Radio/DX Info

* Construction permit for TV 19 Marquette has been assinged the call sign WMQF

October 9:

* WNGE-FM 99.5 Negaunee/Marquette has dropped its simulcast of News/Talk/Sports WIAN-AM. The new format is Oldies, syndicated from Westwood One.

October 10:

* Arbitron has revised its radio market listings based on new census data. Starting with the Fall 2001 book, here's how Michigan markets will rank:

  • Detroit: 10 (was 7)
  • Grand Rapids: 66 (66)
  • Lansing: 120 (117)
  • Flint: 124 (120)
  • Tri-Cities: 129 (127)
  • Ann Arbor: 145 (146)
  • Kalamazoo: 179 (178)
  • NW Michigan: 192 (198)
  • Muskegon: 222 (220)
  • Battle Creek: 252 (242)

Other nearby markets:

  • Toledo: 81 (81)
  • South Bend: 167 (165)

October 13:

* WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit program director Tim Richards will be leaving the Top 40 station for the same role at Chicago Modern Rocker WQKX- All Access

* A proposal has been filed with the FCC to add a new Class A FM station at Roscommon, MI

* Sammie Jordan has been named as general manager of WFLT-AM 1420 Flint. Former GM Oren Osborne moves to an on-air role at the station- Inside Radio

October 15:

* News/Talk WJR-AM Detroit has finished on top of its first quarterly ratings book in years, displacing Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM. The summer 2001 ratings show that WJR's rating improved to 6.6 from spring's 5.7. WNIC slid to 4th overall- its number falling to 5.3 from spring's 6.3. For the summer of 2000, the station carded a 7.9 rating as the number one station in the market. Finishing second among listeners age 12 and above was Urban WJLB-FM, followed by News WWJ-AM. Oldies WOMC-FM and Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM finished tied for 5th, followed by Rock WRIF-FM, Urban AC WMXD-FM, Country WYCD-FM, and Urban WDTJ-FM. The Top 40 battle is extremely tight- WDRQ-FM led WKQI-FM by only .1. Notable ratings gainers since spring included WJR, WJLB, WMXD, Alternative CIMX-FM, and Hot Talk WKRK-FM. WXYT-AM continued to lead the sports talk battle over WDFN, but the latter has cut the difference to .2- it was 1.6 for the fall 2000 book, just before 'XYT switched from talk to sports.

* Noted back on the air is Jackson's WJKN-AM 1510. The station is now simulcasting owner Spring Arbor College's Religious WSAE-FM 106.9 (Spring Arbor). WJKN had been silent since 9/29/2000 when former owner Coltrace Communications sold the land that the station's broadcasting facilities were located. Coltrace later donated the station's license to Spring Arbor College. WJKN returned to the air under special temporary authority from the FCC.

* Jeff Murri is the new vice president and general manager at Fox-owned WJBK-TV 2 Detroit. Murri also will have responsibility for sales and marketing at Fox Sports Net Detroit- Electronic Media

* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary assignment of license for WTLZ-FM 107.1 Saginaw from Cumulus Broadcasting to Wilks Broadcasting. The deal had previously been 'red-flagged' by the FCC; after review the sale was approved.

October 18:

* New to afternoons at Sports WBBL-AM 1340 Grand Rapids is Bill Simonson. He'll also be heard doing sports commentaries on sister stations WKLQ-FM 94.5 and WLAV-FM 96.9. Simonson, a Grand Rapids native, is also the host of ABC Radio's syndicated Speaking of Sports- Chicago Sun-Times

* Detroit Free Press columnist Steve Crowe passed away yesterday at the age of 47. Crowe wrote extensively about the close relationship between sports and broadcast media for the Free Press.

* Linda Danna has been named as vice president and general manager of Detroit's Viacom-owned CBS affiliate WWJ-TV 62 and UPN affiliate WKBD-TV 50- Electronic Media

* FCC Action: Assigned the call sign WWZP to new 90.9 FM Freeland

October 19:

* Modern AC WDVD-FM 96.3 beefs up its morning show team with the addition of 2 more members: joining host Rocky Allen will be current WKBD-TV 50 reporter Leslie Lo Bue and Brian Whitman's comedy show service from KIIS-FM Los Angeles. Lo Bue will start on Monday and leave WKBD at the end of November. Lo Bue commented "I love everybody as a family and my experience here at UPN50, but it was time to make a change. I really want to do something different and fun!" Whitman will phone in with original characters and celebrity impressions.

* Dan Clark has left his role as program director at Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9 Grand Rapids- All Access

* Country WCMM-FM 102.5 Gulliver/Manistique morning man Jay Scott passed away on Wednesday after a short battle with cancer. Scott was 38- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted the request of WCEN-FM 94.5 to modify its community of license from Mt. Pleasant to Hemlock, effective December 3, 2001.

October 20:

* Congratulations to WKQI-FM 95.5 morning show co-host Spike and his wife Kris- they just became the proud parents to daughter Natalie.

October 22:

* The entry forms and all the details on the Michigan Association of Broadcaster's 2002 Broadcast Excellence Awards are on the MAB website at http://www.michmab.com/beawards.html. This information will also be mailed to stations in the weeks ahead. The awards program is open to all commercial and public stations in Michigan, and is used to award the MAB's "Station of the Year" Award. The awards program is one week earlier this year, so the deadline for entries has also been moved up to Jan. 7, 2002. Several changes have been made in the awards program for 2002. Questions can be directed to MAB's Sarah Beeskow at beeskow@michmab.com. Also, for college and high school stations, the MABF's annual awards program information and entry forms can be found at http://www.michmab.com/hscolawards.html. Deadline for entering this competition is December 11, 2001.

October 24:

* Marcel Thorton is leaving his job as afternoon jock and promotions director at Urban WTLZ-FM 107.1 Saginaw for a job in Dayton OH; Jeff Welling has left his role as program director for Modern Rock WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing. Welling's former on-air afternoon role is now filled by music director/midday host Chili Walker who also is named as interim PD. Suzy Cole moves from nights to middays- All Access

October 25:

* Josh Lewin, who handled Detroit Tigers play-by-play for Fox Sports Net Detroit, has stepped down from that position in order to take a yet-to-be announced job within the Fox Sports family.

* FCC Action: Granted West Branch Seventh Day Adventist Church a construction permit for a new Low Power FM station at 107.3 in West Branch

October 26:

* Public TV outlet WCMU-TV 14 Mt. Pleasant was knocked off the air yesterday due to problems with a power divider at their antenna site. The station has returned to the air today at about 10% of its licensed power and hopes to go back to full power within a couple of days if repairs are successful. Translator stations on channel 21 in Manistee (WCMW-TV) and channel 27 Cadillac (WCMV-TV) were also knocked off the air, but have since returned at their full power. WCML-TV 6 Alpena and two Traverse City area translator stations were unaffected by the problem.

* Country WBCT-FM remained on top of the Grand Rapids summer ratings for listeners age 12 and above- the stations number improved slightly over its spring finish. Rounding out the top 5 stations were Classic Rock WLAV-FM, Top 40 WSNX-FM, News/Talk WOOD-AM, and Modern Rock WGRD-FM. Adult Contemporary stations WLHT-FM and WOOD-FM finished in a tie for 6th place. Stations that improved their ratings by at least .5 of a point since spring included WLAV, WOOD-FM, Urban WJNZ-AM (which has moved from 1.0 to 2.5), Urban Oldies WKWM-AM (0.4 - 1.6), Classic Hits WYVN-FM, Ethnic WYGR-AM, and Classic Country WSCG-FM.

* WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing morning show participant Guido wrapped up his stay inside a tent on a downtown parking garage today after helping generate two tons of food for the American Red Cross. Guido was at his post from Monday on- through all the severe weather this week- All Access

October 27:

* WDIV-TV 4 Detroit exec Henry Maldonado is heading to a sister station in Orlando to become president and general manager- Detroit Free Press

October 29:

* LIN TV has apparently purchased ABC affiliate WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek- an application has been filed with the FCC to transfer the license for the station from Channel 41 Inc to WOOD License Company- the LIN-owned company that owns NBC affiliate WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids as well as a series of UPN affiliated low power TV stations (WXSP) in West Michigan. WOOD-TV has been operating WOTV under a local marketing agreement since 1992.

* Morning show co-host Afentra is no longer with Country WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit- All Access

* Former WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit morning show host Frankie Darcell returns to radio by signing up for afternoons at Urban AC WMXD-FM 92.3 Detroit. O'Neal Stevens shifts from afternoons to nights to make room for Darcell who joins Mix 92.3 after being off the air since she was replaced by John Mason at WDMK. Darcell left afternoons at Mix 92.3 sister station WJLB-FM 97.9 in September 1999 for the 'DMK morning job- Inside Black Radio

* FCC Action: Granted new LPFM 97.1 Cassopolis the call sign WLWZ-LP; Granted WBKP-TV 5 Calumet a change to its digtal TV channel from 18 to 11

October 30:

* CMU Public Radio (7 stations based out of WCMU-FM 89.5 Mt. Pleasant) raised over $174,000 during thier fall fundraiser, which wrapped up this past weekend.

* FCC Action: Granted WXYT-AM 1270 a construction permit to increase nighttime power to 48,000 watts from 5,000. The new directional signal will broadcast from a 9-tower array in northeast Monroe county. Earlier in the month, the FCC granted a similar construction permit for a boost to WXYT's daytime power.


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