February 2002 News and Notes

February 1:

* Country WIHC-FM 97.9 Newberry/Sault Ste. Marie has switched its format to Classic Rock as part of The Bear (WGFM-FM 105.1 Cheboygan / WGFN-FM 98.1 Glen Arbor / WCKC-FM 107.1 Cadillac) simulcast under new owner Northern Star Broadcasting. The station will eventually get its own local ads, news, sports, and public service messages targeted towards the Eastern U.P. Northern Star recently purchased the station from Marathon Media, along with 10 other stations across the Upper Peninsula.

* Out as general manager at Clear Channel Detroit stations WKQI-FM 95.5 and WNIC-FM 100.3 is Steve Schram. No word on who will take over. It appears likely that this is not the only shake up within the Detroit cluster.

* Sports WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit air talent, producers, reporters and board ops yesterday voted to join the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists by an overwhelming majority. There were 18 "Yes" votes versus 3 "No's" - an 86% majority in favor of AFTRA representation. On March 6, 2002, the remaining non-union personnel (technical operation employees) will have the opportunity to join AFTRA when they hold their NLRB election. Sister station WWJ-AM 950 newsroom employees have been represented by AFTRA since 1996- WXYT and WWJ share the same facilites. This past fall, employees at Metro/Shadow in Detroit voted by a 2 to 1 majority in favor of AFTRA representation. They are currently negotiating their first contract.

* Detroit's WKBD-TV 50 and WWJ-TV 62 will soon get separate anchors for their newscasts. Anchors Rich Fisher and Amyre Makupson will drop the 10pm broadcast on channel 50 and be responsible only for channel 62's. New to channel 50 will be Donna Terrell and another yet to be named anchor. Weather guy Jim Madaus and sports host Chuck Garfein will still be seen on both newscasts once the change is made later this month- but they too will likely only be featured on one station once new station boss Ken Jobe completes his plan to separate the almost identical newscasts and have each station target its core viewing audience- Detroit Free Press

* Fall ratings for Kalamazoo and Battle Creek were released earlier this week. In Kalamazoo, Top 40 WKFR finished first among listeners age 12 and above, followed by Rock WRKR-FM, Urban Adult Contemporary WNWN-AM, Adult Contemporary WQLR-FM, and Country WBCT-FM. WNWN-AM had the market's biggest ratings jump, moving from 4.7 in the spring to 7.7 this fall.

Country WNWN-FM led the Battle Creek book, followed by News/Talk WBCK-AM, WRKR, WKFR, and Rock WJXQ. WNWN-FM and WBCK shared the biggest ratings improvement, each were up 2.5 points since spring.

* Oakland Press sports reporter Pat Caputo shifts his parttime/fill-in work from Sports WDFN-AM 1130 to rival WXYT-AM 1270.

* FCC Action: Created a new Class A FM allotment at McBain (Missaukee County) for 107.9, effective March 18th. Applications for the frequency are not yet being accepted.

February 4:

* WGPR-FM 107.5 Detroit launched its new sound today. The station remains targeted at an Adult Urban audience however the daytime music playlist now includes about 50% Smooth Jazz and 50% Soft Urban Contemporary/R&B selections. The change puts the station in direct competition for some listeners of Smooth Jazz/NAC WVMV-FM 98.7. WGPR maintains its positioner of 'The Rhythm'. Prior to today, the station programmed a more typical Adult Urban Contemporary format- an area crowded in Detroit radio by WMXD-FM 92.3 and WDMK-FM 102.7. WGPR is owned by the International F. & A.M. Masons, Inc and is the market's lone remaining independently owned commercial FM station.

* The 'Q' is gone from Q95-5 Detroit - replaced this morning at 10:00am by 'Channel 95-5'. The station still is calling itself 'Detroit's Hit Music Channel'. The on-air lineup is listed as Mojo in the Morning 5:30-10am, Michelle Taylor 10am-3pm, and J Love 3-7pm. No jock is noted for evenings in Booker's old slot.

* WPHM-AM 1380 Port Huron helped raise over $210,000 during their recent Jail & Bail event. This year's record fundraiser was the 45th annual with proceeds going to the Southeast Michigan and Thumb chapters of the March of Dimes. Congratulations to program director Jerry Noble and everyone at WPHM!

February 5:

* New night host at Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit (Channel 95-5) is Buckhead. He'll be moving to Detroit from Clear Channel sister station Star 98.7 in Los Angeles to reunite with program director Dom Theodore for a live/local program. Buckhead worked for Theodore at WFLZ Tampa and also has experience in Las Vegas on his resume.

February 6:

* WSHN-FM 100.1 Holton has switched its format from Country to Adult Top 40 as the station prepares to move its transmitter closer to Muskegon. The station is owned/operated by Noordyk Broadcasting, which also owns News/Talk WSHN-AM 1550 Fremont. Noordyk is also operating Oldies WLCS-FM 98.3 North Muskegon, Adult Standards WUBR-AM 1490 and WEFG-FM Whitehall under a Local Marketing Agreement from Pyramid Broadcasting. WEFG is currently formatted with Oldies after the satellite Rhythmic Oldies format it was airing was dropped by the syndicator.

* Sam Merrill will return to CBS affiliate WNEM-TV 5 Bay City for anchor duties- Flint Journal

February 7:

* New to the lineup at WPHM-AM 1380 Port Huron is Sean Hannity, whose show will air 3-6pm. The move displaces Michigan Talk Radio Network's The Captain and Crew.

* Central Michigan University has filed a proposal with the FCC to allot channel 23 to Traverse City for use as non-commercial digital TV station.

February 8:

* New program director at Classic Hits WYVN-FM 92.7 Saugatuck/Holland is Jas Caffrey who replaces Tim Harris. Harris has moved on to Classic Rock WWKR-FM 94.1 Pentwater; Eugene Brown has been named PD at Urban WTLZ-FM 107.1 Saginaw- All Access

* Granted channel 33 Highland Park (W68CH) Class A status

February 9:

* Pallas Hupe will be exiting her role as parttime reporter and weekend weather host at Detroit's WJBK-TV 2 to take on an anchor role at WKBD-TV 50 Detroit beginning Feb. 18th. Hupe, along with Donna Terrell will co-anchor the station's 10:00pm newscast. Current anchors Rich Fisher and Amyre Makupson will continue on at sister station WWJ-TV 62 as that station's 11:00pm anchors. Before joining WJBK, Hupe anchored newscasts at WPBN-TV 7 and WTOM-TV 4 Traverse City/Cheboygan- Detroit Free Press

February 11:

* WEFG-FM 97.5 Whitehall switched its format from Rhythmic Oldies to Country earlier today. The station serves the Muskegon market and is using the positioner "Kickin' Country".

* The Michigan Association of Educational Broadcasters (MAEB) announced its officers at a meeting in Lansing on January 28, 2002:

  • President: Bill Keith, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
  • Vice President: Susan McGraw, Henry Ford Community College
  • Treasurer: Pete Bowers, Bloomfield Hills School District
  • Secretary: Randy Carr, Bloomfield Hills School District
  • Members at Large: Carl Jacobson, Spring Arbor College; Dave Downing, Lansing Community College; Julea Ward, Southfield Public Schools
  • Web Master: Ron Wittebols, Bloomfield Hills School District

The meeting was held at member station WLNZ Radio, on the campus of Lansing Community College. The MAEB was formed in 1977 to develop and promote low-power educational broadcasting in the State of Michigan.

February 12:

* Underway: Country WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit's Country Cares for St. Judes Radiothon. Station personalities will be broadcasting their shows live from Oakland Mall in Troy today and tomorrow until 7pm. Last year's Radiothon raised over $1,000,000 for St. Judes.

* Country WTCM-FM 103.5 Traverse City program director Mark Staycer has left the station- All Access

February 14:

* Raised: By Country WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit's two-day Radiothon for St. Jude Research Hospital- $502,385

February 18:

* Hot AC WTCF-FM 100.5 Saginaw has dropped its Mix 100 slogan and reverted back to 100.5 The Fox- the moniker previously used by the station during its days with a Top 40 format. In June 1999, the station moved towards a Rhythmic Top 40 direction and dropped the Fox in favor of the Pirate Station. That format gave way to Hot AC as Mix 100 under new owner Wilks Broadcasting in August 2000. Also dropped today was the syndicated Rick Dees morning program.

* Staffers from Top 40 WKHQ-FM 105.9 Charlevoix/Traverse City completed the 10-day “Father Fred Frostbite Marathon” on February 10 a little tired, a little cold, but extremely happy! Their work paid off, with over $50,000 in canned goods and non-perishables having been collected during the 8th annual food drive for the Father Fred Foundation. Keith Michaels, 106 KHQ Morning Show host, says the fact that the canned goods were on a deep discount at Meijer helped. “Had these canned goods been purchased outside of the Meijer Brand Sale, the dollar amount may have been higher, but the quantity may have been lower and quantity is the key. We now have a safe level of food in the Father Fred Pantry, which will take us through Summer. Our sincerest appreciation goes out to the folks at Meijer for their contributions, as well as the staff of KHQ.” Area residents and businesses donated a staggering 66,000 items ranging from canned peas and corn to pasta and peanut butter.

* Contemporary Christian WLGH-FM 88.1 Lansing (The Light) and The Salvation Army of Lansing are coming together again this year to help 300 families in Lansing have a great Easter meal. Each year, 88.1 The Light’s listeners donate hundreds of food baskets which the Salvation Army distributes just before Easter. Last year, Light listeners provided more than 400 Easter food baskets to The Salvation Army. This year, in addition to their goal of feeding 300 families through 300 Easter Baskets, 88.1 The Light’s listeners will provide extra food for The Salvation Army’s food bank though a benefit concert. On Friday March 1st at 7 PM, Reunion Records recording artist Jake will perform at South Baptist Church. Admission will be one non-perishable food item per person. The non-perishable food will go to The Salvation Army’s food bank.

* Classic Rock WMMQ-FM 94.9 Lansing morning host Tim Barron has just inked a new deal keeping him on board with the Citadel-owned station until 2004. The 2 year agreement kicks in during April. Barron, a 17 year Lansing radio vet, is beginning his 11th year with co-host Debra Hart.

* Kudo's to Adult Contemporary WOOD-FM 105.7 morning guy Robb Westaby on raising over $93,000 to benefit DeVos Children's Hospital and the Children's Miracle Network by holding a four-day Radiothon over the weekend; Ryan Dobry adds responsibility as interim program director at Country WTCM-FM 103.5 Traverse City- All Access

February 20:

* Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9 imaging director Dave Cuddohy has left the station- All Access

* WZUW-FM 102.3 New Carlisle, IN (near South Bend) has dropped its Contemporary Christian format 'The Pulse' in favor of Classic Rock. The station's current owner, Summit Radio, is in the process of selling the station to Artistic Media. Artistic is also purchasing Goshen Classic Rock station WZOW-FM 97.7. LeSea Broadcasting had been leasing the 102.3 stick for its Pulse FM programming for the past 5 years.

* New program director at Classic Rock WAOR-FM 95.3 Niles/South Bend is Dave 'Rye' Ryerson- Indiana RadioWatch

February 21:

* The 2002 Michigan Stations of the Year were announced earlier in this week at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo. The winners were:

  • Market 1 (Detroit): WJBK-TV 2, WJR-AM 760
  • Market 2: WZZM-TV 13 Grand Rapids, WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor
  • Market 3: WPBN-TV 7 / WTOM-TV 4 Traverse City/Cheboygan, no radio winner
  • Market 4: WLUC-TV 6 Marquette, WJNR-FM 101.5 Iron Mountain.

* FCC Action: Granted WLJN-FM 89.9 Traverse City its license to cover for changes: ERP from 12,500 watts to 39,000 watts vertical only

February 22:

* Congrats to the Purtan's People gang of Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit on helping to raise about $870,401 (as of 10pm) during today's Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Club Radiothon. This year's total tops last year's $864,000 total. Morning man Dick Purtan personally kicked in $20,000 for the cause. All the money raised in this Radiothon stays in metro Detroit and helps feed about 1500 people daily via the organization's two trucks that distribute meals through the area.

* LIN TV has announced that it will be purchasing 6 stations from Sunrise Television, including NBC affiliate WEYI-TV 25 Saginaw and Fox affiliate WUPW-TV 36 Toledo, OH. LIN previously had taken over day-to-day operations of the stations in an agreement that started at the beginning of the year. WEYI becomes the third Michigan station for LIN- joining WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids and WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek. Separately, LIN announced plans to become a publicly traded company.

* New to evenings at Country WITL-FM 100.7 Lansing is Mike Marshall. He arrives from crosstown Top 40 WHZZ-FM 101.7. Former WITL evening host Jeff Michaels moves over to Citadel Lansing sister station Classic Rock WMMQ-FM 94.9 for afternoons.

February 24:

* WRXF-FM 103.1 Lapeer has dropped its simulcast of Rock WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola in favor of a stand-alone Classic Rock format. The station is billing itself as 'U.S. 103.1, The Classic Rock Channel'. WRXF is currently being operated by Regent Communications under a local marketing agreement as part of the deal that will result in Regent acquiring the station from Covenant Communications once FCC approval is granted. Before beginning the WWBN simulcast in December, the station's previous format was Active Rock.

February 25:

* Detroit Tigers radio play-by-play broadcaster Ernie Harwell has announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2002 baseball season. Harwell has broadcast Tigers baseball either on radio or TV since 1960.

* Detroit 12+ ratings were released for the first phase of the winter book today. News/Talk WJR-AM and News WWJ-AM remained 1-2 with unchanged ratings since the fall book. Moving up to third was Urban WJLB-FM, followed by Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM, and Oldies WOMC-FM. Classic Rock WCSX-FM enjoyed the biggest ratings gain, up 1/2 a point since fall.

* Monica Starr is out as program director at Urban AC WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit due to budgetary issues. Lance Panton takes over the role- All Access

February 27:

* Half of the morning team at Rockin' Hits WLLC-FM 106.7 Detroit is no longer with the station. According to program director Jay Nachlis, co-host Darla Jaye has left the station to pursue other opportunities. Jaye's partner Mark Davis will continue on as solo host for the program that will heavily feature the station's variety of rock hits from the 80's, 70's, 90's, and today.

* Call sign change: FM 93.7 Frankenmuth is now WRCL in place of WZRZ

February 28:

* Suzy Cole has left the midday role at Modern Rock WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing (The Edge)- All Access




Follow Michiguide on Facebook