* Big changes are on the way to the AM dial in Flint, as ABC has reached a deal to purchase News/Talk WFDF-AM 910 from Cumulus. According to M-Street Daily, ABC plans to program its Radio Disney format on the station. When this happens, it will leave Flint without a local mainstream News/Talker.
* WVCM-FM 91.5 Iron Mountain has signed on, the station carries programming from the VCY America network- Upper Midwest Broadcasting
* The Upper Peninsula FM dial continues to fill up. The latest frequency to be granted a construction permit is 102.3, to be licensed to Sault Ste. Marie. Northern Christian Radio gets the CP for a new non-commercial educational Class C3 station (22.5 kW @ 105 meters). Northern Christian radio currently is heard on FM 90.5 Gaylord, 91.1 Cadillac, and 106.1 Tawas City as well as a translator at 88.7 in Newberry.
* Tom Haynes has been added to the staff at WDIV-TV 4 Detroit. He'll anchor the news and provide reports for the station's local segments during NBC's Today program (7-9am). Haynes arrives from CNN- Detroit Free Press
* No word on who will be the new permanent evening jock at Top 40 WDRQ-FM. Tik Tak, the former host of that slot has moved on to Philadelphia.
* WQLR-FM 106.5 Kalamazoo has tweaked its Adult Contemporary format and moved towards Hot AC over the past few weeks.
* News/Talk WJIM-AM 1240 Lansing has added the Sean Hannity program afternoons 3-6pm. Out of the lineup are the Real Money and Jack Robbins programs.
* Michael Grey loses the interim from the title of music director at Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9 Grand Rapids. The station moves Grey to middays and evening jock Remy to afternoon drive; Dave and Geri sign on for 4 more years of morning duties at Adult Contemporary WLHT-FM 95.7 Grand Rapids; Former Country WYCD-FM 99.5 morning co-host Afentra lands in Kansas City at Hot AC KRBZ to co-host mornings. Ironically, the new morning program displaces another former Detroit-area jock- Doc Reno, formerly of Urban Oldies WGRV-FM 105.1; Modern Rock WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing morning co-host Kelly Brady is named as music director and gives up promotion director duties. New to the station for middays and the promotion director role is Melody McCoy, Suzy Cole exits the midday slot- All Access
* Benedek Broadcasting will be aqcuired by Grey Communications for $500 million. Benedek, which filed for bankruptcy protection late last month, is the owner of Lansing NBC affiliate WILX-TV 10.
* WZUW-FM 102.3 New Carlisle/South Bend is now simulcasting the Classic Rock format heard on WZOW-FM 97.7 Goshen/South Bend. The station has dropped it's "Class Rock" positioner in favor of "ZOW - Double Rock". Both stations are recent acquistions of Artistic Media.
* FCC Actions: Granted WFXD-FM 103.3 Marquette its license to cover for changes (increase in HAAT from 515 to 938 feet, tower move to NW of Marquette); Granted W216BX 91.1 Benton Harbor its license to cover (new translator of KAWZ-FM Twin Falls); Granted W205BZ 88.9 Adrian its license to cover (Great Lakes Community Broadcasting); Granted WMLZ-LP 107.9 Temperance its license to cover for new station; Granted WUVS-LP 103.7 Muskegon its license to cover for new station; Granted WVCM-FM 91.5 Iron Mountain its license to cover for new station
* Don Chiodo has been named as the midday host for the Michigan Talk Radio Network (MTRN). Chiodo is a veteran Michigan TV broadcaster, he was seen most recently at Bay City's WNEM-TV 5 over the past 5 years and before that at Northern Michigan's WPBN-TV 7 / WTOM-TV 4. MTRN boss Dave Scott comments, "Don is a great talent and knows the beat. He's as comfortable talking sports as he is politics and best of all, he's not a jerk. There are already enough of those guys on talk radio." Midday Michigan airs from noon-3pm, new host Chiodo kicks off his tenure as host on Monday. The show will feature guests from Michigan politics, business, sports, and the arts. The program's relaxed and informative "magazine" style will enable Don and his guests to fully explore issues in depth.
* Speculation has started about what the future holds for WFDF-AM 910 Flint now that ABC/Disney has reached a deal to buy the station from Cumulus Broadcasting. Published reports have stated that the plans will likely call for Disney's Radio Disney format to be moved on to the station once the deal gets regulatory approval. However, there might be more to this story. ABC/Disney has also recently reached an agreement to purchase WFRO-AM 900 Fremont, Ohio (about 70 miles south of Detroit - Flint is about 55 miles northwest of Detroit). An engineering consultant has postulated that the company could have bigger plans for the AM 910 frequency which might include an power upgrade for the station to possibly 50,000 watts from a transmitter location closer to Detroit. The upgraded facility would still provide enough signal over Flint so that the city of license would not need to be changed. A large upgrade would likely result in WFRO-AM 900 being turned off to 'make room' for the increased coverage area of AM 910. This type of action already has a precedent in Michigan- Clear Channel purchased AM 1290 (WHGR) Houghton Lake and took it off the air to make room for an improved signal for WOOD-AM 1300 Grand Rapids. If ABC/Disney was to succeed in getting approvals to increase the power of AM 910 and move its transmitter closer to the Detroit area, they could create a local AM signal second in strength only to WJR-AM 760, which is also an ABC/Disney owned station. What makes this hypothesis interesting is that ABC/Disney has been very aggresive in expanding its Radio Disney programming to the top markets across the country- in fact, Detroit is one of only two top-10 markets without a Radio Disney outlet (the other being Washington DC). © 2002, Michiguide.com
* Country WBCT-FM continues to hold down the top spot among listeners age 12 and above in the Grand Rapids winter phase 2 ratings. The final winter book could see some significant changes since the fall with several stations making moves this trend. The remainder of the top 5 stations were Top 40 WSNX-FM, Adult Contemporary WOOD-FM, News-Talk WOOD-AM, along with Classic Rock WLAV-FM and Adult Contemporary WLHT-FM tied for 5th.
* Harold Gross, founder of Lansing radio and TV stations WJIM-FM, WJIM-AM, and WJIM-TV (now WLNS-TV) passed away in Arizona at the age of 100- Lansing State Journal
* FCC call sign actions: Granted WCZE to new FM 103.7 Harbor Beach; modified sign for WOBC-LP 20 Battle Creek to WOBC-CA
* FCC Action: Granted WBMY-FM 89.7 Schoolcraft a modification to its construction permit for the following changes: Class A to Class B1 with ERP from 1,100 watts to 10,000
* The Detroit Tigers slow start hasn't been reflected in the ratings for cable outlet Fox Sports Net Detroit. In fact, for the first 6 games broadcast on the station, ratings have been up 54% over last year, averaging a 5.4 rating in metro Detroit according to Nielsen Media Research. This season, viewers can interact live with broadcasters Mario Impemba and Kirk Gibson by logging on to foxsports.com, keyword 'Tigers Booth' during game telecasts. Select messages are read over the air by Impemba and Gibson.
* Frank Turner takes over co-anchor duties for WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit's noon and 7pm newscasts; Erik Smith drops the noon show to focus on his From the Heart segments. Guy Gordon and Dianal Lewis pare back from 7pm and will handle only the 6pm and 11pm programs. Joining Turner at the anchor desk for 7pm will be Christy McDonald, Robbie Timmons maintains her co-anchor duties at noon and 5pm- Detroit Free Press
* FCC Action: Created a new Class A FM allotment at 95.3 to Frederic (Crawford County, between Grayling and Gaylord) effective May 28- the frequency will be auctioned off at a later date
* In the wake of Steve Schram's departure from Clear Channel, he finally got to spend some quality time together with fellow radio vet Scott Westerman in Jacksonville, FL. Even after 20 years, the discussion soon turned to their favorite radio station- AM 1310, WKNR-AM. Scott broke out Ken R's fabulous two CD collection of WKNR jingles (kenr.com), they popped in the incomparable Scott Regan interview CD and hopped over to ReelRadio.com to listen to a Bob Green.com air check, then revisited some of their favorite Keener music guides and grabbed some of the rarer Key Songs off of Audio Galaxy (In The Midnight Hour by The Wanted, I Need You" by the Rationals and Awaiting on You All by Silverhawk are a few examples).
Soon they were totally intoxicated by the memories of that Rock Powerhouse located at 15001 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. Scott thought back to recent conversations with Art Vuolo, Bob Green and Bob "Scott Regan" Bernstein about the important part that the station on 1310 kc played in the history of rock and roll. After a quick Copernic web search and the discovery of a half dozen references to WKNR, all tinged with the same reverence that Keener addicts feel every time the Contact News theme or anything on the Motown label is heard, it was found that nowhere on the web is there a proper shrine to this one-of-a-kind radio station. Then Schram, with that usual "why not" tone of voice that used to get us in trouble during our days-breaking format at WVIC said, "We need to build a website devoted to Keener. A place where everyone who ever knew about Rodney the Rodent or treasured their Burger Club card could come for spiritual sustenance. A place where new generations can hear the Keener time tone and that one-of-a-kind plate reverb unit that Jerry Martin built from scratch." He looked at Scott, raised an eyebrow and said, "You are on a mission from God, and lo, you must make it so." The next steps were to register keener13.com, program the DNS addresses, and add another hard drive on a web server. And now, keener13.com, a field of dreams that must.. that WILL be tilled into an aquamarine and Arial-font electronic edifice, awaits our contributions.
Here's an offical plea to all those with music guides, photos, air checks, oral histories, and reminiscences of how Keener impacted your life to consider your closets, dusty reels of Mylar and metal shavings, rare vinyl, and conjure up whatever Keener nuggets they might care to share. A big area of help is for radio folks to help fill in the "Whatever happened to.." section with information on the Key Men who played the hits. In no time at all it's hoped that the production of a monument worthy of this broadcast phenomenon will be created. If you know of any classic Keener stuff, scan it, burn it, type it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Every submission will be treated with tender loving care and original material will be immediately returned to you as soon as its been digitized. "So you don't forget, do it before midnight tonight."
Long live the Keener Legacy!
* Country WKKM-FM 92.1 Harrison has been sold by longtime owner David Carmine to Xavier University. Xavier currently owns and operates two other stations in Northern Michigan- WVXA-FM 96.7 Rogers City and WVXM-FM 97.7 Manistee. Both are formatted with Xavier's X-Star Public Radio programming which heavily features talk and a variety of musical shows. Sale price on the deal was $270,000 and doesn't include Carmine's AM outlet- WWKM 1540.
* Sale price of WFDF-AM 910 Flint by Cumulus to ABC was $3 million- R&R Online
* Jeff Bell has been named as local sales manager for the Mid-West Family Broadcast Group in Southwest Michigan (WIRX-FM and WSJM-AM St.Joseph, WCNF-FM Benton Harbor, WCSY-FM and WGMY-AM South Haven, WYTZ-FM Bridgman, and WYTC-FM Hartford)- Inside Radio
* FCC Actions: Granted WHKB-FM 102.3 Houghton its license to cover for changes (power from 1,050 to 6,000 watts; HAAT from 554 to 328 feet; tower location change from south to north of Houghton); Further granted WHKB another modifciation to its license to change from Class A to Class C3 and increase HAAT to 548 feet
* FCC Action: Granted WOLV-FM 97.7 Houghton a modifcation to its construction permit to change ERP to 6,500 watts @ 591 feet with a slight tower location change from its current licensed facilites. The station will also change from Class A to Class C3. The station is currently licensed at 880 watts @ 509 feet
* Public Radio WDET-FM 101.9 Detroit program host Ed Love will receive the “Distinguished Achievement” award from the Motor City Music Foundation tonight during the Detroit Music Awards ceremony. Love is being recognized for bringing the world of jazz to thousands of Detroit radio listeners for more than 40 years. WDET, Detroit Public Radio, has been home to the Ed Love Program for the past 19 years, which is heard Monday through Friday from 7 to 10 PM. “It’s an honor to be recognized with this award,” says Love. “Over the years, I’ve been glad to introduce people to new recordings and revisit many of the classics from years gone by.”
* High School outlet WBFH-FM 88.1 Bloomfield Hills kicks off its 26th “Spring Celebration” Marathon for the March of Dimes at 7 a.m. next Friday. The annual 24-hour broadcast will continue until 7 a.m. Saturday. Listeners can give the students their pledges by calling (248) 645-4740. They can also visit the station, located at Andover High School (Telegraph and Long Lake roads). They can also fax in pledges at (248) 645-4744, or e-mail pledges from the WBFH web page at http://www.wbfh.fm. As an incentive, prizes will be provided by record companies and community businesses for pledges.
* WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit has applied to modify its daytime construction permit to change ERP from 48,000 to 50,000 watts. The application on file with the FCC contains several attachments that show the proposed coverage area and inteference maps.
* FCC Actions: Granted Trinity Broadcasting Network construction permits for 3 new stations to be licensed to Houghton. The permits for Channel 15 W15CE, Ch. 20 W20CE, and Ch. 27 W27CQ all specify 10,000 watts from the same location.
* Hot AC WIMI-FM 99.7 Ironwood adds the slogan "The Storm". Joining thie on-air staff is Scott Michaels, who exits Hot AC rival WUPM-FM 106.9 Ironwood. WUPM general manager Chuck Gervasio takes over Michaels' former morning slot at that station- Upper Midwest Broadcasting
* Adult Standards WAKV-AM 980 Plainwell has installed a new transmitter, replacing the 1950s era one that the station had been using. Station owner, programmer, and morning man Jim Higgs comments, "For people who listen, they'll have a more reliable signal (with the new transmitter). We're cleaner, brighter, louder, and people on the fringes of the coverage area will get the signal much clearer."- Allegan County News
* Detroit News/Talk outlet WJR-AM continued to lead the Arbitron ratings for listeners age 12 and above this past winter. The station increased its lead over All-News WWJ-AM to .8- it had been .1 last fall. Following WWJ were Urban WJLB-FM, Oldies WOMC-FM, and Rock WRIF-FM. The biggest share increases since the fall book were at WJLB, WRIF, Adult Standards CKWW-AM, and Modern AC WDVD-FM. Among direct-format competitors, WJLB held the ratings edge over WDTJ-FM, Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM was ahead of WMGC-FM and CIDR-FM, Urban AC WMXD-FM led WDMK-FM, Top-40 WDRQ-FM topped WKQI-FM, with Sports WDFN-AM and WXYT-AM finishing tied.
* Sunday night's NBA playoff game between the Toronto Raptors and the Detroit Pistons registered a 10.0 household rating on Fox Sports Net Detroit, making it the most watched program in the regional network's five year history. An average of 187,900 households in the metro Detroit area tuned in throughout the 8:30-11:00 PM telecast (one rating point equals approximately 18,790 households). The audience peaked at an 11.8 reading (221,722 households) from 9:30-9:45 PM as the host Pistons were en route to an 85-63 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The game was FSN's first postseason telecast for a major Detroit pro franchise. The previous most watched program on FSN Detroit was Nov. 2, 2001 when the Detroit Red Wings-New York Islanders game earned a 9.7 rating. The highest FSN Pistons rating prior to last night was 5.1 for a February 8, 1999 game against the Washington Wizards.
* Adult Contemporary combo WLKM-FM/AM 95.9/1510 Three Rivers has been sold by Voice of Three Rivers to Impact Radio. Terms of the sale were not available- Inside Radio
* The Tri-Cities NBC affiliate, WEYI-TV channel 25, has completed its first phase of the conversion to digital broadcasting. The technical changes included installation of a new analog transmitter, upgrade to the tower, and adding digital transmission capabilities. The station returned to full power today. Coming in June, phase 2 of the transition will start and the station will again be operating at reduced power in order to replace the station's antenna, transmission line and guy wires.
* FCC Actions: Granted WRFK-LP 107.7 Mt. Pleasant its license to cover (new station); Granted the voluntary transfer of control for WEYI-TV 25 Saginaw from Smith Broadcasting Partners to LIN TV Corp; Granted Great Lakes Broadcast Academy a construction permit for a new Class A non-commercial educational FM station at 91.7 licensed to Muskegon. CP states ERP of 6,000 watts @ 328 feet.
* Detroit Public Radio station WDET-FM 101.9 ended its week-long spring fundraiser drive today at just past 9:30am after getting $605,000 in pledges from listeners. The tally set a new record total for the station.
* Sports WBBL-AM 1340 Grand Rapids host Bill Simonson, the voice of "NFL Blitz 2002" video game will reprise the role for "NFL Blitz 2003"- Chicago Sun-Times
* Dave Justus has been named as imaging/production director at Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9 Grand Rapids replacing Dave Cuddohy- All Access
* The FCC received the proposal by WGTQ-TV 8 Sault Ste. Marie to change its digital channel from 56 to 9. Comments on this change are due to the FCC by 7/17/02.
* Rob Otto exits the assitant program director and music director roles at Classic Hits WHMI-FM 93.5 Howell; Jake Allen is new to weekends at Top 40 WTWR-FM 98.3 Monroe. Allen is also the morning host at High School WSDP-FM 88.1 Plymouth- All Access
* The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has granted a construction permit to the Canadian Broadcasting Company for a new station to be licensed to Windsor, ON at 107.9 FM. The station will be Class A, with an effective radiated power of 3,360 watts- likely giving it decent coverage over the city of Detroit and possibly some neighboring suburbs. Programming on the station will come from Toronto station CJBC-FM, 'La Chaine Culturelle'- roughly the French language equivalent of CBC's English language 'Radio Two' service. The station must be on the air within the next 12 months.
* Also across the border, Chatham, ON stations CKSY-FM 95.1 and CKUE-FM 94.3 will be trading frequencies on Saturday May 4th at 6:00pm. The Adult Contemporary format of 95.1 moves to 94.3 and will be known as 94.3 CKSY, Chatham-Kent's Perfect Music Mix. The rock format on 94.3 (The Rock @ 94.3) moves to 95.1 and will change its moniker to The Rock 95.1. In the Detroit area, the signal of 94.3 is slightly better than that of 95.1, mostly due to co-channel interference from Flint's WFBE-FM 95.1. Both CKSY-FM and CKUE-FM are owned by BeaVer Communications.