September 2001 News and Notes

September 4:

* 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. According to Judy Ouvry, director of operations for Lake Michigan Broadcasting's Manistee stations, "It was a most amazing feat - the entire community pulled for them, supported them, encouraged them, and helped them to achieve this tremendous goal. Our staff here at Lake Michigan Broadcasting, and the entire community, is so proud of their accomplishment." During the broadcast Merrill and Robinson raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association- a rough count puts the total raised at about $20,000. Congratulations to all involved!!

* Indiana RadioWatch reports that the morning team of Mike Shannon and Deb Millard have signed off WGTO-AM 910 Cassopolis and are now hosting mornings on an Internet-only station.

* Rogers Media has acquired 3 Sault Ste Marie, ON stations as part of larger deal that moves a total of 13 stations from Telemedia to Rogers. The Sault Stations are Adult Contemporary CHAS-FM 100.5, Country CJQM-FM 104.3 and Information CIRS-AM 530.

* The FCC has 'red flagged' two recent deals to sell stations in Michigan: Clear Channel's pending purchase of WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor and Wilk's pending purchase of WTLZ-FM 107.1. The Commission will study ad-revenue and ownership-concentration concerns before deciding on approval of the deals.

September 5:

* ABC affiliate WBKP-TV 5 Calumet will begin originating its local programming from the Marquette Mall in Marquette instead of Calumet beginning September 17th. Owner Scanlan Communications is working on getting a new full power station on the air in the Marquette area (WBUP-TV 10) sometime in early 2002- the move is in preparation for that event. Currently, WBKP retransmits its programming on a low-powered translator on channel 28 in Marquette. The stations' mall setup will include a studio with a window to the mall- allowing the public to watch a WBUP/WBKP newscast in person.

* Viewers of Detroit's WDWB-TV 20 kicked in over $1.5 million towards the $56.8 million raised by this year's Muscular Dystrophy Assocation Telethon- Detroit Free Press

* FCC Action: Granted WGTU-TV 29 Traverse City its construction permit for digital facilities on channel 31

September 7:

* WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit general manager Elaine Baker is retiring from the station after nearly 20 years; WKBD-TV 50 / WWJ-TV 62 news director Tom Bell has resigned from the stations- Detroit News

* Chili Walker leaves the role of music director at WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola/Flint for the same role at WWDX-FM 92.1 St. Johns/Lansing- All Access

September 9:

* WJOJ-FM 89.7 Harrisville/Alpena hit the air on July 4th with a Contemporary Christian format. The station is owned and operated by the same group that put WHYT-FM 89.1 Imlay City on the air in December of 2000. Known as 'Joy FM', WJOJ broadcasts with 31,000 watts from northern Alcona county. The group also has plans to put another Joy FM station on the air- WJOF-FM 88.1 Monroe is targeted for launch in Spring 2002.

September 10:

* Mike Benson has left his role as program director and morning show host at WOOD-FM 105.7 Grand Rapids. Holding down the interim PD spot is assistant program director and morning news man Rob Westaby; Afternoon jock Chris Hatty gets the music director title at WZUU-FM 92.3 Kalamazoo- All Access

* 4 new FM allotments are under review by the FCC in the Thumb Area. Under the proposals, Caseville, Deckerville, Harbor Beach, and Port Sanilac would all receive a spot on the FM dial. Each of the allotments would be for a Class A (6,000 watts @ 328 feet HAAT maximum) station. All of the proposals were filed by Charles Crawford of Dallas, TX. The deadline for comments to the FCC on these proposals is October 29th.

September 11:

* Radio and television stations across the state ended normal programming in the wake of today's World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in order to provide comprehensive coverage of the terroist attacks that have likely killed thousands in New York City and Washington D.C. In Detroit by 10:00am, most FM stations switched from their normal programming to feeds of TV news from the local stations and/or local and national radio coverage. Many stayed with the coverage until past the dinner hour and at least two stations (WCSX and WOMC) continued their coverage into the night.

September 12:

* Big radio news in the Upper Peninsula: Marathon Media has 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. Northern Star currently owns 9 stations in the northern Lower Peninsula.

September 13:

* FCC Actions: Granted the voluntary assignemnt of license from Conrad Communications to Midwest Communications for WYVN-FM 92.7 Saugatuck; Granted the voluntary assignment of construction permit from Russell J. LaFave to Fort Bend Broadcasting for WSAG-FM 104.1 Pinconning

September 14:

* WDVD-FM 96.3 Detroit officially announced today that Rocky Allen will take over the controls of the station's morning slot beginning Monday. Allen is a veteran of New York radio at WABC-AM and WPLJ-FM.

* Birach Broadcasting has purchased Adult Standards WMJH-AM 810 Grand Rapids and Talk/Sports WMFN-AM 640 Zeeland from Cook Media for $1.9 million. Birach presently owns Ethnic-Talk WNZK-AM 690 in Detroit and Classic Country WCXI-AM 1160 in Fenton/Flint.

* The FCC officially announced yesterday a plan to reorganize the Mass Media and Cable Services Bureaus in to one unit to be lead by current Cable Services chief Ken Ferree

* Frank Turner is returning to the anchor desk for WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit's 5pm newscast effective Monday. Turner, who held the same position with the station in the 1990's, has been anchoring weekend newscasts for the station. Mark Hayes, the current 5pm co-anchor, moves to an investigative reporter role. The move reunites the anchor team of Turner and Robbie Timmons, popular for most of the 1990's. Turner's initial tenure with WXYZ ended in 1998 after fallout from a phone sex scandal- he was rehired in April 2000 for weekend duties- Detroit Free Press

September 17:

* FCC Actions: Granted the American Family Association a construction permit for a new non-commerical FM station at 90.9 in Freeland; Granted WDCQ-TV 19 University Center its constuction permit for digital facilities on channel 18

September 18:

* 7 Detroit area stations (WMXD-FM 92.3, WKQI-FM 95.5, WJLB-FM 97.9, WNIC-FM 100.3, WLLC-FM 106.7, WDFN-AM 1130, and WXDX-AM 1310) will launch an unprecedented 24-hour fundraising simulcast beginning Thursday (9/20) at 6am. The event will be headquartered at Oakland Mall (corner of I-75 and 14 Mile Rd. in Troy). Titled Detroit Radio for Relief, the broadcast will raise money to aid the victims (and their families) of Tuesday's devastating attacks. All the stations involved in the broadcast are owned by Clear Channel Communications.

* News/Talk WJR moved back atop the Detroit area ratings among listeners age 12 and above during the past month. The former number one, Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM, slipped to 3rd overall behind Urban WJLB-FM. Rounding out the top 5 were All-News WWJ-AM and Rock WRIF-FM, which finished in a tie for 4th. The ratings battle between sports talkers WXYT-AM 1270 and WDFN-AM 1130 was closer than ever- the two stations finished just .1 point apart. The ratings game is likely to experience a major shakeup with future reports as the audience adjusts their listening to reflect the new awareness on national events related to the terroist attacks of Sept. 11

* New WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit general manager will be Maureen Lesourd- she also holds the same role at Infinity sister stations WVMV-FM 98.7 and WYCD-FM 99.5

September 21:

* As the Detroit Radio for Relief radiothon wrapped up this morning just past 9am, the 7 Detroit area stations that were participating had raised over $700,000 for the Clear Channel Relief Fund.

* Obituary: David Hicks- Lifelong friend of radio. David Hicks, recently died at his home after a battle with cancer. He was 61. David was born October 4, 1939 in Alma, Michigan. He grew up in Alma and attended Ferris State University. 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. David is survived by his wife, Sally, his daughter Jane Johnson of California, Jynell Kristal of Martha's Vineyard, Jeffrey Hicks of Alexandria, VA, his mother Charlotte Vernon Hicks of Alma, his sister Carol Hicks Hannig of Holt, and five grandchildren.

* Listeners of Flint's WWCK-FM 105.5 kicked in over $20,000 for the Red Cross in less than an hour as the station sold 'Proud to be an American' t-shirts- All Access

* Former Detroit Pistons player Bill Laimbeer will take over color commentary from another former Piston, Kelly Tripucka, on WKBD-TV 50 Detroit's telecasts this season. Tripucka leaves the telecasts after 8 seasons for a full-time radio job with the New Jersey Nets.

September 23:

* WBMI-FM 105.5 West Branch has returned to the air with a satellite-fed Adult Top-40 format from Jones Radio Networks. WBMI had been silent since November 2000 when its owner, Northern Radio Network, took the Oldies-formatted station off the air. A deal was recently reached to sell WBMI to Independent TV Productions.

* Ron Jolly has returned to the WTCM-AM 580 Traverse City morning show. Jolly left the station to host a midday talk show on the Michigan Talk Radio Network- Traverse City Record-Eagle

* With Kevin Wall moving from 10am to 6pm on WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit, Damon 'The Dog' Perry moves from part-time to Wall's old 10am-noon slot starting Monday (9/24)

September 24:

* WNIC-FM 100.3 made it official today and named WDIV-TV 4 weathercaster Chuck Gaidica as the station's new Breakfast Club morning show host. Gaidica hosted his first morning show today. Stacey DuFord, who rejoined WNIC earlier in the summer, program director Lori Bennett, and newsman Dave Lockhart stay with the program- Chris Edmonds moves back to his afternoon drive shift. Gaidica will continue his weather duties at WDIV in addition to his new responsibilites at WNIC.

* Detroit market veteran Dana Lundon signs on at WXYT-AM 1270 as an account executive- All Access

* FCC Actions: Granted WEUL-FM 98.1 Kingsford its license to cover for changes (ERP from 240 to 1000 watts, HATT from 482 to 466 feet); Granted WMJZ-FM 101.5 Gaylord a construction permit to change from Class A (6,000 watts @ 325 feet) to Class C2 (50,000 watts @ 492 feet) with new tower location; Granted WSYM-TV 47 Lansing its construction permit for digital facilities on channel 38

September 26:

* Erin Weber has been let go from her midday role at WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit. Mike Scott takes over the 10am-3pm shift on an interim basis.

September 27:

* Steven Handrich has resigned his position on the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Board of Directors and has also resigned as General Manager for Marathon Media's Marquette stations (WJPD, WUPK/WIMK, WNGE, WDMJ, WIAN). Marathon is in the process of selling its 11 station Upper Peninsula cluster to Northern Star Broadcasting.

* FCC Action: Granted WVXM-FM 97.7 Manistee a construction permit for changes (ERP from 6,000 to 2,500 watts, HAAT from 100 to 157 meters)

September 28:

* Beau Daniels adds the program director title to his afternoon on-air repsonsibilities at Flint's WWCK-FM 105.5. John Shomby, operations manager at Cumulus' Flint cluster, adds the same title at sister stations WKFR-FM 103.3, WRKR-FM 107.7, and WKMI-AM 1360 Kalamazoo- All Access


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