January 2002 News and Notes

January 2:

* News/Talk WFDF-AM 910 Flint is the latest Michigan station to add the syndicated Sean Hannity program to its lineup. The show airs live 3-6pm.

* Kramer & Twitch pulled a brief stunt this morning on FM Talk WKRK-FM 97.1 when they announced that the station was moving to Classic Rock that Really Rocks in favor of the Talk format. The change? The Mancow program has been dropped after Howard Stern and Kramer & Twitch will start their program earlier. The stunt included an 'announcement' that Bob Bauer had been named program director in favor of Terry Lieberman (who remains in the role) and on-air sweepers.

* The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the staff of Sports WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit. The WXYT staff looks to join the same bargaining unit as AFTRA represented workers at sister station WWJ-AM 950. WXYT and WWJ are currently housed in the same building- R&R Online

January 3:

* Dom Theodore has been officially announced as the new program director for Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 (Q95-5) Detroit. Clear Channel Radio Detroit market manager and executive VP Steve Schram commented "Dom's success history with high profile hit music stations was a strong factor in our selection for this very important position at Q95-5." Theodore commented "Not only am I excited to come home to Detroit and program in my hometown, but I'm equally excited to be back in the Clear Channel family. I'm looking forward to bringing WKQI to the next level." Theodore arrives from programming Top 40 KRBE Houston. Previously he programmed Clear Channel's WFLZ Tampa, as well as earlier experience in Saginaw and Detroit. This will mark Theodore's second stint at Q95-5- he was with the station briefly in the late 80's at the start of his career.

* Fox Sports Net Detroit scored big with the recent Silicon Valley Football Classic (MSU vs. Fresno State). The game had a 9.4 Nielsen rating in the Detroit metro area, which ties it for the 3rd most watched program in the history of the station and the highest rated non-pro event ever. The all-time ratings high is a 9.7 for the Red Wings vs. Islanders on Nov. 2, 2001. It's the only non-Red Wings game on the current top 20 list. Also at FSN, three members of the Red Wings crew have made the Winter Olympic telecast team- primary game producer Gord Cutler will be one of two hockey producers for the games airing on NBC/CNBC/MSNBC. Game director Jim Marshall and pregame producer/backup game producer Mark Iacofano will work on the crew providing international feeds of the men's and women's hockey, and are expected to work up 2 to 4 games a day throughout the tournament.

* WKQI night jock Booker (Tim Herbster) has been hired at Clear Channel sister station WHTZ-FM New York for evenings and will leave Q95-5. Booker had also held the assistant program director role at 'KQI- All Access

* FCC Action: Assigned 99.9 FM Manistique the call sign WPIQ

January 4:

* El Jefe moves from local host of the Bob & Tom Show at Rock WJXQ-FM 106.1 Jackson to nights at sister station Modern Rock WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing- All Access

* FCC Actions:

  • Granted WHSN-FM 100.1 Holton a construction permit for changes: Antenna location change from near Fremont in Newaygo County to northeast of Muskegon in Muskegon County, ERP/HAAT from 3,000 watts / 302 feet (non directional) to 2,900 watts / 472 feet (directional). The move will give WSHN-FM better coverage of Muskegon. The station is owned by Noordyk Broadcasting.
  • Granted WJPD-FM 92.3 Ishpeming a construction permit for changes: increase in antenna HAAT from 469 to 509 feet

January 8:

* Adult Standards/Religious WOAP-AM 1080 Owosso has applied for a major change to its facilites. The station's owners propose moving the station from Owosso to Waverly (Lansing) along with an increase in daytime power from 1,000 to 50,000 watts. In addition, the application proposed nighttime operations at 4,500 watts. Both the daytime and nighttime patterns would aim primarily north from a 6 tower array. WOAP is owned by 1090 Investments- which also owns/operates Catholic WCAR-AM 1090 Livonia/Detroit.

January 9:

* NBC affiliate WDIV-TV 4 Detroit has extended its affiliation deal with the Peacock Network until 2011- Electronic Media

* LIN Television Corp. has reached a deal with STC Broadcasting to manage and operate NBC affiliate WEYI-TV 25 Saginaw and Fox affiliate WUPW-TV 36 Toledo. LIN already owns/operates WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids (NBC), WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek (ABC), and WXSP-LP Grand Rapids (UPN). The management services agreement is for 3 years.

* Country WKCQ-FM 98.1 Saginaw music director and night host Dave Jackson has left the station to pursue opportunities outside radio; Sean Kelly moves from Top 40 WIOG-FM 102.5 to sister station Rock WKQZ-FM 93.3 as music director. Former 'KQZ MD Rebel Scott James leaves- All Access

* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary assignment of construction permit from Donald James Noordyk to Cadillac Broadcasting for WKAD-FM 93.7 Harrietta

January 10:

* For years its been stated that the age of AM radio is over- don't tell that to Detroiters! The Fall 2001 Arbitron book was released earlier today, and among listeners age 12 and above, the top 2 Detroit stations were on AM- News/Talk WJR-AM was first, followed by All News WWJ-AM 950. Of course the events of September 11th have likely added to the amount time spent listening to news and information on the radio, and it appears that much of this time is spent on AM. The remainder of the top 10 stations were: Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM, Oldies WOMC-FM, Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM, Urban WJLB-FM, Urban WDTJ-FM, Urban AC WMXD-FM, Top 40 WDRQ-FM, and Adult Contemporary WMGC-FM. The fall book highlights several interesting battles: on the Urban front, WDTJ has pulled dead even with heritage WJLB. Among the Urban AC's, WMXD continues to be a strong player and newer entry WDMK-FM has surged to its best ratings ever after the addition of morning man John Mason. The Adult Contemporary battle is also tightening- WMGC-FM has moved into the top 10 for the first time, closing the gap on heritage WNIC in the process. Rock and Country struggled this book- both Rocker WRIF-FM and Country WYCD-FM finished outside of the top 10 stations. The Top 40 battle also cooled off a bit in the fall with WDRQ moving ahead of WKQI-FM by over 1 point. Overall, the big ratings winners since summer included WDTJ, WMGC, and WDMK. Stations suffering the biggest declines in audience were WNIC, WJLB, WRIF, WYCD, WKQI, and Modern AC WDVD-FM.

* Recent sign-on WZRZ-FM 93.7 Frankenmuth launched regular programming under new owner Regent Communications at 6pm on Tuesday. The station is running an Urban leaning Rhythmic Contemporary Hits format as 'Club 93-7, Today's Hottest Jamz' targeting 18-34 year-olds in the Flint market. The station is currently running a jockless and commercial free set of 5,000 songs which should last until the end of the month. Program director for the station is JJ Shades who brings programming experience from WWCK-FM 105.5 where he served as assistant program director and music director from 1997 to 2000. “I am excited to fill a major void in the Flint radio market” said Regent Operation Manager, J. Patrick. “Club 93.7 will attract anyone searching for current popular artists -- Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Ludacris and Ja-Rule--Today’s Hottest Jamz”.

* Urban WTLZ-FM 107.1 Saginaw interim program director John Long is leaving the station effective Jan 18, replaced by Eugene Brown who will also move from middays to afternoons and give up the role of production director. New interim production director will be current night host/mix show director DJ Fresh- Urban Insite

* After being silent since November 2000, Wilks Broadcasting has requested that the license for WCEN-AM 1150 Mt. Pleasant be cancelled.

* FCC Actions: Granted WYGN-LP 25 Berrien Springs a construction permit to increase its power from 5,400 to 47,400 watts and move its tower from north of Berrien Springs to south of South Bend, IN

January 11:

* Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit midday host and local native Nikki Chuminatto is leaving the station in the next couple of weeks for a midday role in Chicago at Modern Rocker WKQX- the home of former Q95-5 program director Tim Richards; Mason Lucas is bumped up from weekends to evenings at Top 40 WIOG-FM 102.5, replacing Sean Kelly who moved over to WKQZ. WIOG midday host and music director Brandon Edwards has added the role of assistant program director. Former APD Aaron Adams gave up that role to focus on his afternoon shift- All Access

January 14:

* Fox Sports Net Detroit has named Mario Impemba as the new play-by-play man for Tigers' Baseball on the cable station. Impemba will be returning to his hometown from Anaheim, where he has been the radio play-by-play voice for the Angels over the past 7 years. The move fills the spot left open by Josh Lewin when he left to do Texas Rangers broadcasts. Impemba, 38, looks forward to returning to Detroit and the opportunity to broadcast games of his hometown team. "I had two goals when I got into this business," said Impemba. "One was to broadcast big-league baseball, which I achieved with the Angels. The second was to do that in Detroit. I never thought the opportunity would present itself. That's what makes this so special."

Like many others, Impemba credits Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell as one of several announcers who influenced his career. "I always admired Ernie and Paul Carey. I spent a lot of time (as a youth) listening to Major League broadcasts. Not only the Tigers, but many other teams as well. I would pull in St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts and listen to Jack Buck," said Impemba. "Also, Dick Purtan was one of my favorites."

"I believe viewers will find Mario both fresh and familiar at the same time" said John Tuohey, executive producer at Fox Sports Net's Detroit-based regional network. "His play-by-play call is top notch, plus he has the understanding and appreciation of the Tigers' heritage."

A graduate of Michigan State and Stevenson High in Sterling Heights, Impemba will debut with color analyst and WXYT-AM 1270 radio host Kirk Gibson on March 5th for a spring training telecast.

* Country WWWW-FM was the top station among those originating from Washtenaw county according to the Arbitron fall 2001 ratings for listeners age 12 and above. The station improved its rating from 1.9 (as Rock WIQB) to 5.9 in one year. News/Talk WJR-AM 760 was the top station overall, followed by W4, Modern Rock CIMX-FM, Top 40 WKQI-FM, and Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM. Gold-based Adult Contemporary WQKL-FM and Full Service WAAM-AM finshed tied for 7th overall and tied for 2nd among Washtenaw stations. Stations with ratings improvement of at least .5 point since the spring book included WJR, WWWW, CIMX, News WWJ-AM, WAAM, Urban WJLB-FM, Adult Contemporary WMGC-FM, Hot Talk WKRK-FM, Adult Contemporary CIDR-FM, and Religious WMUZ-FM.

* New to the lineup at Rock Hits WLLC-FM 106.7 Detroit is Jon Ballard middays (9am-2pm) and Randi West (7pm-midnight). Both jocks will be cybertracking from other locations: Ballard from Washington D.C. and West from Cincinnati- Detroit Free Press

* Radio One (WDMK-FM, WDTJ-FM, WCHB-AM) Detroit account manager Dorothe Riley-Green is retiring after 30 years in the market. Prior to the Radio One cluster, Riley-Green spent time at WJLB-FM, WOMC-FM, and WQRS-FM- Detroit Free Press

January 15:

* Internet broadcaster ClassicalMusicDetroit.com ranked 4th highest among classical stations according to recently released ratings from Arbitron. The cyberstation finished 18th overall for the month of December. ClassicalMusicDetroit.com began service as an Internet music station in October 2000 from its offices in southeastern Detroit, marking the return of the classical music format from and to southeast Michigan. Streaming music on the web 24-hours-a-day, ClassicalMusicDetroit.com spotlights the words and selections of Davis Gloff, Jack Goggin and Pat McElroy, all distinguished voices in Detroit radio and broadcast radio veterans of the former WQRS-FM. Local events, music and recording artists also are important parts of ClassicalMusicDetroit.com webcasts. Visitors to the web site also have access to arts and entertainment information in southeast Michigan and also can leave messages for discussion. This represents a unique virtual community where Detroiters and their friends can meet through their interest in classical music and the Motor City.

* FCC Action: Granted WGDN-AM 1350 Gladwin a construction permit for following changes: decrease daytime power from 1,000 watts directional (2 towers) to 250 watts non-directional (1 tower)

January 16:

* There was no surprise at the top of the fall ratings in Flint- Urban WDZZ-FM continues to lead the market among listeners age 12 and above. The rest of the top 5 included Adult Contemporary WCRZ-FM, Top 40 WWCK-FM, Country WFBE-FM, and Oldies WHNN-FM. Biggest improvements since spring were enjoyed by WDZZ, WHNN, News/Talk WJR-AM, and Urban Oldies WOWE-FM.

* WHNN finished atop the Tri-Cities ratings, moving ahead of Country WKCQ-FM and News/Talk WSGW which finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Rounding out the top 5 were Top 40 WIOG-FM and Urban AC WTLZ-FM. Noteable ratings improvements since spring were seen at WHNN, WIOG, Adult Contemporary WGER-FM, and Classic Rock combo WILZ/WYLZ-FM.

* Tim Bronson has resigned from his role as afternoon drive co-host and music director at Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9 Grand Rapids, effective January 28th. Bronson plans on leaving the business to join the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as a development manager for the MS 150, a fundraiser bicycle ride. He was with WGRD for 7 1/2 years; Overnight jock 'Big' Steve Duncan has left Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit; Former WOOD-FM Grand Rapids afternoon jock Michael Sirianni has landed at crosstown Oldies WODJ-FM 107.3 for afternoons and the promotion coordinator role- All Access

* FCC call sign actions: WOGC-LP Grand Rapids now WOGC-CA, WOHO-LP Holland now WOHO-CA, WOKZ-LP Kalamazoo now WOKZ-CA, WOLP-LP Grand Rapids now WOLP-CA, WOMS-LP Muskegon now WOMS-CA, WXSP-LP Grand Rapids now WXSP-CA

January 19:

* On the air: FM 100.7 Honor, simulcasting Northern Radio sister station Adult Top 40 WKPK-FM 106.7 Gaylord. The stations are identifying themselves as 106-dot-7 and the new 100-dot-7 The Peak. FM 100.7 will change its call sign to WKVK from WAIR.

* New program director at Rock WRKR-FM 107.7 Kalamazoo is Mike McKelly- R&R Online

* Mark Hayes, former 5pm anchor and current special projects reporter at WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit, will be exiting the station- Detroit News

* The National Weather Service has brought Michigan's 16th NOAA weather radio station on line in Escanaba. The station, at 162.500 MHz, serves Delta and Menominee counties with 1,000 watts.

January 22:

* Changing stations: Lisa Jesswein, longtime member of the Purtan's People gang, is moving on from Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit to Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 where's she'll be executive producer for the Breakfast Club morning show. Jesswein over the years has supplied many of the impressionist voices for Purtan's program- she'll continue in a similar role at 'NIC. The new voice at WOMC will be host Dick Purtan's daughter Jackie- Detroit Free Press

* FCC Actions: Granted licenses to cover to WDHS-TV 8 Iron Mountain and WUPT-CA 25 Crystal Falls for changes

January 23:

* FCC Action: Granted WCXT-FM 105.3 Hart its license to cover for changes- Class C1 to C2, ERP from 100,000 to 28,000 watts, and HAAT from 650 to 659 feet (note, WCXT has applied to change its facilites again: power to 50,000 watts @ 492 feet, tower move to just south of Hesperia)

January 24:

* WGPR-FM 107.5 Detroit plans to modify its current Adult Urban Contemporary format on February 4th by moving to a 50/50 music mix of Jazz and R&B with no rap or hip-hop. The new programming will air Monday-Friday. Also changing will be the on-air lineup: Moving from nights to morning drive 6-10am is Maxine Michaels, program director Rosetta Hines remains on during middays 10am-2pm, current morning host Tony Rankin shifts to 2-7pm, and Dallas Keith will be now be heard 7pm-midnight. Lew Michaels keeps his weekday overnight slot. Calvin Euseary also remains for weekend overnights, when the station will feature jazz. The station plans to maintain its Sunday Gospel programming.

* FCC Action: Granted Trinity Broadcasting a construction permit for a new low power TV station licensed to Marquette: Channel 31 W31CJ, ERP 6,000 watts, tower between Marquette and Ishpeming

January 25:

* Country WBCT remained on top of the 12+ Arbitron ratings for Grand Rapids this past fall. The station finished ahead of News/Talk WOOD-AM, Top 40 WSNX-FM, Rock WKLQ-FM, and Classic Rock WLAV-FM. Stations with ratings gains of .5 or more since summer included WBCT, WOOD-AM, WKLQ, Adult Contemporary WTRV-FM, Contemporary Christian WJQK-FM, and News/Talk WHTC-AM.

January 28:

* Country WITL-FM 100.7 Lansing music director Chris Tyler adds the role of assistant program director- All Access

January 29:

* Music director and evening host Alex Caruso leaves Hot AC WVTI-FM 96.1 Grand Rapids. Program director Jeff Andrews gets the added role of MD- All Access

January 30:

* The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has announced the first batch of 2002 Broadcast Excellence Awards. Winners in the categories of Breaking News, Hard News, Mini-Documentary/Series, Feature/Use of Medium, TV Weather, Broadcast Personality/Team, Sports, Newscast, News Special, Special Interest Programming, Commercial, Community Involvement, and Marketing Materials/Promos were released. Several of the awards for Detroit-area TV stations will be released on Friday. Winners of the MAB Station of the Year will be announced during the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, February 19, at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & EXPO in Lansing.

* The Detroit radio winners included WWJ-AM for Breaking News and Newscast; WJR-AM for Hard News, Feature/Use of Medium, Sports, News Special, Commercial, Community Involvement, and Marketing Materials/Promos; WDET-FM for Mini-Documentary/Series; Damon 'The Dog' Perry of WXYT-AM for Broadcast Personality; WOMC-FM for Special Interest Programming and Marketing Materials/Promos; WYCD-FM for Special Interest Programming.

* Moving out of the program director chair at Country WYCD-FM 99.5 will be Lisa Rodman to make room for Mac Daniels who’s moving here from Austin, TX. He'll get the titles of operations manager and program director when he starts on February 18th. Daniels was the operations manager for a group of stations in Austin that included a popular country outlet. Prior to that, he worked at country stations in Washington D.C. as program director and Dallas as music director. Rodman moves to Infinity sister station Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) as that station’s music director.

* News director Robert Parson of WUFN-FM 96.7 Albion (Family Life Radio) has been awarded Best Newscast by Scribe Media. The Madison, WI organization for Christian radio journalists received entries from broadcasters across the nation. The entries were judged based on the newscast's ability to illuminate the events of the day for the listener, through content and presentation. Judges evaluate writing clarity, audio editing, story selection, delivery, originality, immediacy, and depth and breadth of coverage. The winning newscast from August 23rd, 2001 was selected for its heavy local news coverage.

* New director of affiliate relations for the Michigan and Illinois Radio Networks is Howard Packowitz- Chicago Sun-Times

* Call Sign Change: AM 1210 Kingsley has changed its call sign from WLDR to WWJR

January 31:

* WSJM-AM 1400 St. Joseph program and news director Mike Frazer exits to join Wireready NIS as Midwest sales/marketing & web development specialist- All Access


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