May 2002 News and Notes

May 1:

* Is your favorite Internet radio stream off line today? Stations across the country, including Rock WRIF-FM 101.1 Detroit, are taking part in an online 'day of silence' today to protest fees that would be charged to webcasters if a proposal before the U.S. copyright office is enacted.

May 2:

* News-Talk WJR-AM 760 Detroit will be celebrating its 80th Anniversary over the next couple of days with special broadcasts that will begin at 5:30am tomorrow during the Paul W. Smith program. The station plans to look back at the history of the radio station and also to look ahead to the next 80 years. Planned Friday guests include Gov. John Engler, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and other surprises. On Saturday (the actual anniversary date) from 7pm-midnight, Mike Whorf's 80th Anniversary special compilation that highlights all the great voices, sentimental bits and pieces, and more will air.

* As of yesterday, Flint's WJRT-TV 12 is broadcasting via its digital facilities over channel 36

* FCC Action: Granted WLNS-DT 59 its license to cover (digital facilities)

May 3:

* Out as morning co-host at Country WFBE-FM 95.1 Flint is Jim Biggins (JB). Program director Chip Miller will join co-host Kristine Miller on an interim basis until July 1st when new morning man Tony Magoo takes over, with Miller shifting to 9am-1pm. Magoo was previously part of the morning show at Detroit's WYCD-FM 99.5- he left that gig today and will sit out until July as part of a non-compete clause in his deal at 'YCD; Mort Crim Communications reaches a deal with Talk America Network for distribution of Crim's Second Thoughts and News You Care About radio features- All Access

* Also exiting is WZZM-TV 13 Grand Rapids sports director Tim Swore. Prior to moving to Grand Rapids, he was the sports director at Detroit's WKBD-TV 50

* WTOM-TV 4 Cheboygan has proposed to the FCC substitution of channel 35 for 14 for its digital facilities

* FCC Action: Granted WWJ-AM 950 Detroit its license to cover for its 50,000 watt daytime facilites on April 12

May 4:

* Call sign actions: Construction permit for FM 102.3 Sault Ste. Marie has been assigned WTHN; construction permit for LPFM 104.3 Roscommon has been assigned WRDS-LP

May 6:

* Top 40 WSNX-FM Grand Rapids finshed the winter Arbitron race in second place, but closed in to .1 behind first place Country WBCT-FM (B93). The ratings share for B93 fell from 10.0 in the fall to 8.3 and WSNX was up a full point from 7.2 to 8.2. Adult Contemporary WOOD-FM improved to 3rd place among listeners age 12 and above, its ratings increased from 4.7 to 7.4. Next was Rock WKLQ-FM, followed by WLAV-FM, News/Talk WOOD-AM, Adult Contemporary WLHT-FM, Modern Rock WGRD-FM, Oldies WODJ-FM, and Classic Rock WBFX-FM rounding out the top 10 stations.

* The Detroit area is slated to hear the debut of Wednesday's Bill O'Reilly program on WLLZ-AM 560 Monroe. The station plans to air the show live from noon-2pm weekdays. The show is also set to air on Traverse City's WTCM-AM 580 on a tape delayed basis from 5-7pm.

* Lots of happenings at Classic Hits WHMI-FM 93.5 Howell: Overnight host Renee Hakim and news director Todd Kulman left the station last month, morning co-host / news anchor Louise Brock will be leaving soon, as will news personality Sue Kinney who will be taking a position at Specs Howard. The station has named Jon King as the station's news director- All Access

May 7:

* A big transaction was announced today in the Tri-Cities area as Cumulus Broadcasting has agreed to purchase the following stations from Wilks broadcasting: News/Talk WSGW-AM 790, Country WCEN-FM 94.5, Hot AC WTCF-FM 100.5, Adult Contemporary WGER-FM 106.3, and Adult Urban WTLZ-FM 107.1. The price tag on the entire deal was $55.6 million, more than double the nearly $26 million it took for Wilks to build the cluster over the past couple of years. Of note in this deal is the return of WTLZ to Cumulus- it sold the station to Wilks last July for $3.75 million. After this transaction, and the sale of WFDF-AM 910 Flint to ABC, Cumulus will own 13 stations in Michigan with other clusters in Flint and Kalamazoo. Cumulus also owns WTWR-FM 98.3 Monroe in addition to 7 Toledo, OH stations. Once the FCC approves the deal, Wilks will be exiting Michigan.

* Top 40 WDRQ-FM 93.1 Detroit general manager George Kenyon has resigned to pursue other opportunities- Detroit Free Press

* M-Street Daily reports that Don Noordyk has filed to acquire the assets of the bankrupt Pyramid Broadcasting- Oldies WLCS-FM 98.3, Country WEFG-FM 97.5, and Standards WUBR-AM 1490 all in the Muskegon area. Noordyk, who also owns Hot AC WSHN-FM 100.1 and News/Talk WSHN-AM 1550 in the area, has been operating the former Pyramid properties as a debtor-in-possesion. In addition, M-Street reports that Noordyk has won a settlement agreement for a new FM to be licensed to Newaygo. The price of the deal was not revealed.

* FCC Action: Granted W208BB 89.5 Royal Oak a modification to its construction permit to change ERP from 2 watts to 45 and slightly modify tower location

May 8:

* The Flint area now has a News-Talk station as WLSP-AM 1530 Lapeer becomes the latest affiliate of the Michigan Talk Radio Network. WLSP will carry all of MTRN's programming with the exception of the "Don Chiodo Show" (N-3pm) as the station will be the Flint area affiliate for "The Radio Factor" with Bill O'Reilly. WLSP dropped their all sports format yesterday. MTRN CEO Dave Scott told Michiguide.com, "We're very excited to a part of WLSP. We think this is a solid move by Mark Thomas and the people at Regent Flint, especially considering the forthcoming format shift at WFDF. WLSP has a great signal that touches Flint, Saginaw, and Port Huron", Scott said. This move brings the popular "Captain and Crew" show back to the region and puts Dave Barber back to back with Bill O'Reilly. WLSP Becomes the 27th affiliate of the Michigan Talk Radio Network.

* More on the recent changes at Howell's Classic Hits WHMI-FM 93.5: New news director Jon Kings arrives from sports reporting duties at Detroit's WWJ-AM 950 and WXYT-AM 1270. Prior to his work in Detroit, Jon spent time at WSJM-AM/WIRX-FM St. Joseph and WTWR-FM Monroe. Jon will also soon be adding morning anchor duties with the departure of Louise Brock, who's joining fiancé Rob Bennett for mornings at Classic Hits WVIC-FM Jackson/Lansing. Also joining the WHMI newsroom as afternoon anchor/reporter is Greg Stahl, formerly of WTCM Traverse City fame. Evening reporter Sue Kinney is leaving radio to join the instructor ranks at Specs Howard. Overnighter Renee Hakim also recently left to pursue interests outside of broadcasting. Buzz Elliot is in his fifth year in mornings and was this year's winner of the MAB Market Two award. Julie Wood continues to dominate middays, Tim Brown has settled in nicely after taking over afternoons and the music director last fall from Rob Otto. Jennifer Dean returned to evenings following maternity leave last fall. "I'm thrilled with the team we've assembled", said WHMI Operations Manager Reed Kittredge. "We're a community based radio station that takes major market standards seriously. We want to have fun doing great radio". Owners Greg and Marcia Jablonski will unveil their new state-of-the-art WHMI facility at a by-invitation dedication on Thursday May 23rd.

* High School station WSDP-FM 88.1 Plymouth/Canton is hosting its 14th annual Radio Auction to raise money for future station upgrades on Saturday May 11. The auction will take place from 9am-10pm and feature guest auctioneers such as Holly from CIMX-FM 88.7, Stacey DuFord and Chris Edmonds from WNIC-FM 100.3, and Jeff DeFran of WTKA-AM 1050. The day kicks off with a special edition of the the Jake in the Morning show at 6am. The auction can be heard live on the station's web site at http://www.881theescape.com.

* Greater Media Detroit, which consists of Classic Rock WCSX-FM 94.7, Rock WRIF-FM 101.1, and Adult Contemporary WMGC-FM 105.1, has broken ground on a new facility that will bring all three stations together under one roof. The new building will be in southern Oakland county, near where Ferndale, Royal Oak Twp, and Oak Park meet. The estimated price tag on the new digs is $12 million.

* On the air: West and Mid-Michigan Pax affiliate WZPX-FM 43 with its digital facilities on channel 44. It operates daily from 8pm to 11pm with Pax programming, and its on occassionally for testing during the daytime.

* Back to the future? AM 1210 Kingsley has changed its call sign back to WLDR from WWJR. The station changed to WWJR from WLDR back in January.

May 9:

* Detroit-area listeners were left out in the cold by WLLZ-AM 560 for yesterday's noon-2pm debut of Bill O'Reilly's Radio Factor show. Seems that the deal between syndicator Westwood One and station owner Crawford Broadcasting isn't quite done yet.

* The FCC has flagged Don Noordyk's (as Unity Broadcasting) purchase of WEFG-FM 97.5, WLCS-FM 98.3, and WUBR-AM 1490 in the Muskegon area to study owner concentration levels in the market.

* FCC Actions: Granted WCXT-FM 105.3 Hart a construction permit for the following changes: ERP from 28,000 to 50,000 watts; HAAT from 659 to 492 feet; Tower location change from east of Hart to south of Hesperia on the same tower used by WBLV-FM 90.3. The change will keep the station at its 50,000 watt equivalant power, but move the station's coverage area further south towards Grand Rapids; Granted WKVK-FM 100.7 Honor its license to cover (new station).

May 10:

* After years of reading about how high the selling prices for radio stations have gone, here's a different twist: WWKM-AM 1540 Harrison has been sold by David Carmine to Laurie Foster for the grand total of $10 according to R&R Online. Carmine reached a deal in April to sell his FM property (WKKM-FM 92.1) to Xavier University - who Foster is associated with - for $270,000.

* New local sales manager at WEYI-TV 25 Saginaw is Becky Butcher

May 11:

* Beau Daniels has resigned as program director at Top 40 WWCK-FM 105.5 Flint, effective June 18th. No word on what Dainels' future plans might be.

May 13:

* Congratulations to the folks at WSDP-FM 88.1 (The Escape) Plymouth-Canton on raising an unprecedented $7,100 during Saturday's on-air radio auction. The station airs a mix of independent and alternative music along with a variety of specialty shows.

* Added: WSDS-AM 1480 Ypsilanti to the list of The Radio Factor affiliates, scheduled to be effective later this week

* New swing shifter at Contemporary Christian WLGH-FM 88.1 Lansing is Tim Chappell; Cerell Mack has been promoted from event coordinator to marketing director at Classic Hits WLLC-FM 106.7 Detroit- All Access

May 14:

* New general sales manager at Gannon Broadcasting's WGRY-FM/AM 100.3/1230 Grayling and WQON-FM 101.1 Roscommon is Hank Burch who exits the rold of vice president/sales at the Michigan Talk Radio Network

* Michigan is among a group of states that get added to Sirius' service area for its satellite radio programming beginning tomorrow. The additions will bring the service area up to 28 states with a full nationwide implementation scheduled for July 1.

* One night this month, each Fox Sports Net regional affiliate is inviting local and national celebrities into their broadcast booths to be guest analysts. Tomorrow is Fox Sports Net Detroit's turn when the Tigers take on the Angels at 7 pm. Scheduled to join Mario Impemba and Kirk Gibson during the telecast are WRIF-FM's Drew Lane and actor/writer/director Jeff Daniels. Invitations have been extended to Scotty Bowman and/or Steve Yzerman or another member of the Red Wings, however no confirmation has been received for them as of yet. Kid Rock also was invited but unable to participate because of his tour schedule.

May 15:

* Rob Milford, Plymouth Salem Class of 1973 and WSDP Alumnus, will speak at the radio station's annual banquet. Milford will share his experience at the banquet on Tuesday May 21, 2002 at 7P.M. at the Salem High School Cafeteria. He was one of the students who started WSDP in 1972. He started work as an air personality at WABB in Mobile, Alabama less than a month after graduation. In his 30 years in radio, Rob has "been there, done that", including: Youngest newsman ever for RKO Radio, at WHBQ-Memphis, at age 18, less than a year out of high school; National News Director for Doubleday Broadcasting with stations in New York, Detroit, St. Louis, Denver, Minneapolis; Network Anchor for Mutual Broadcasting at age 23, at ABC Radio at age 26; One of the pioneering News Personalities for FM Talk Radio, at KKHU-Houston, and WTKS-Orlando; Reporter for CBS Radio Network since 1998, most recently at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he covered the Taliban detainees. Rob credits WSDP for the "fast track" start in his career, and continues to have fond memories of his first station. He says, "The biggest credit has to go to Bonny Dore, the teacher who had the dream that high school students could be trusted with the public airwaves. She overcame skepticism and doubt, and made all this happen." Milford adds, "Quite simply, WSDP gave me the start on what has been an exciting and challenging life". The station will also present three scholarships along with director and staff awards.

* Fox Sports Net Detroit adds stereo with the May 22 broadcast of Tigers' baseball

* FCC Action: Granted WBXD-LP Detroit a construction permit to move from channel 5 to channel 23. The station will change its ERP from 40 to 50,000 watts and its antenna location will move from the Renaissance Center to WWJ-TV's new tower along 8 Mile Rd. in Oak Park. The pattern will remain directional.

May 16:

* Clear Channel has announced that Dave Pugh, market manager for the company's Milwaukee cluster, will take over as Regional Vice President/Market Manager for Detroit stations WMXD-FM, WKQI-FM, WJLB-FM, WNIC-FM, WLLC-FM, WDFN-AM, and WXDX-AM. Pugh takes the role that was formerly held by Steve Schram. The company also announced the promotion of Grand Rapids Market Manager Skip Essick to Regional Market Manager covering its Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Muskegon clusters.

* Radio One Detroit (WDMK-FM, WDTJ-FM, and WCHB-AM) General Manager Tamara Knechtel has added the responsibility of Vice President/Operations for all of Radio One.

* The Federal Communications Commission began a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking this morning to set penalties for TV stations that miss digital conversion deadlines. The proposed penalties would begin with a letter of admonishment and gradually escalate to revocation of the station's DTV construction permit. In such an extreme case, the station might also have to face competing applications if it eventually wants to switch to DTV on its original analog channel. "It demonstrates that while there are opportunities for waivers, that the leash is short, as it must be," said FCC Chairman Michael Powell. "We're not going to be unreasonable about it. The transition is complicated. There are bumps on the road that are beyond people's control." The Chairman added that the FCC's intention is that the transition continue "quickly but prudently."- Radio Business Report

* NewsBlues.com is reporting on the possibility of a station swap between WB affiliate WDWB-TV 20 Detroit owner Granite Broadcasting and ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit owner Scripps-Howard that would result in Scripps obtaining WDWB. The deal would be part of a larger 4-station swap involving other stations in San Francisco, Tulsa, and Baltimore. If this does come to fruition, the move would create Detroit's second TV duopoly- Viacom owns WWJ-TV 62 (CBS) and WKBD-TV 50 (UPN).

* FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy has been confirmed as a speaker for the Michigan Association of Broadcaster's Annual Conference on July 26, 2002. The conference will be held at Soaring Eagle Resort in Mt. Pleasant. The Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Sean Joyce.

May 17:

* The FCC has amended the FM table of allotments in northern Michigan for 3 new stations, effective July 1, 2002:

  • FM 106.3 Onaway (class C2)
  • FM 97.7 Cheboygan (class C3)
  • FM 100.5 Custer (class A)

The proposals, counterproposals, and reply comments that created these new allotments were quite complicated and covered two separate rulings. Two of the more noteable proposals that were denied: An upgrade of WKVK-FM 100.7 Honor from Class A to Class C3 by Northern Radio Network; A move of WCUZ-FM 100.1 Bear Lake to Bellaire with an upgrade from Class A to Class C1 by Fort Bend Broadcasting. The application period and any necessary auctions for these frequencies will come at a later date.

* UPN affiliate WHTV-TV 18 Jackson/Lansing has signed an agreement to have ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV 53 handle sales and some operations of the station. WHTV operations will be moving to the WLAJ facility in the very near future. WHTV is owned by Spartan TV, WLAJ by Freedom Communications.

* The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has launched a new member service (free to all member stations in good standing): the MAB Engineering Hotline. Complete details can be found at the MAB web site: http://www.michmab.com

* Folks in Flint have been observing some interesting activities at the Miller Road Big Boy location the past few Wednesday mornings. The Country WFBE-FM 95.1 morning show has been having fun with breakfast foods and rewarding participants with prizes such as this past week's giveaway- tickets to see Diamond Rio live at MGM Casino Detroit with limo transportation. Kristine Miller and Chip Miller hosted a morning of pancake mayhem, complete with 'Pancake Plinko' from 20 feet in the air and a one-of-a-kind pancake toss....where the goal was to stick as many pancakes as possible to a syrup-y Kristine.

* The Northern Paul Bunyan Radio Company has proposed to the FCC 3 new FM allocations in northern Michigan as follows:

  • FM 93.1 Harrisvlle (class A)
  • FM 93.3 Presque Isle (class A)
  • FM 105.7 Alpena (class A)

Comments are due to the FCC by July 8, 2002

May 20:

* Troy Hanson will be exiting as music director and assistant program director at Rock WRIF-FM 101.1 Detroit to take on the role of director of rock programming for an Active and Classic Rock combo in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.

May 21:

* The first ratings trend of the Spring 2002 book was released for Detroit today. There was no change from the Winter book at the top of the numbers as News/Talk WJR-AM once again was on top followed by News WWJ-AM and Urban WJLB-FM. Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM and Rock WRIF-FM rounded out the top 5. Of note in this trend was the near dead heat between Adult Contemporary stations WNIC-FM and WMGC-FM. WNIC, which routinely held the top spot among all stations prior to the arrival of WMGC, finished 10th among listeners age 12 and above with a 4.0 share. WMGC was 11th with a 3.8. Sports talkers WXYT-AM and WDFN-AM continued to be tied.

* General Motors has decided its GM Mediaworks will now get oversight of $800 million plus in advertising billings, taking over all local spot buying for the automaker from Interpublic Group sister Local Communications (LCI), a unit of Universal McCann. GM has also reportedly upped its spot buying to the $800 million dollar mark from $300 million- Radio Business Report

* FCC Actions: Granted WTAC-FM 89.7 Burton the following modifications to its construction permit: ERP from 15,000 (V) to 1,000 (V) watts, HAAT from 128 to 187 feet, Class B1 to A, and tower location change from northeast of Flint to near Dort Hwy and Coldwater Rd; Granted WBNZ-FM 99.3 Frankfort a construction permit for the following changes: ERP from 50,000 (H) to 27,000 watts, HAAT from 410 to 571 feet, and tower location will move from between Frankfort and Benzonia to northern Manistee County, near Benzie County line.

May 22:

* FCC Action: Granted a construction permit modification for WKAD-FM 93.7 Harrietta to change ERP from 6,000 to 4,300 watts, HAAT from 328 feet to 390 feet, and tower location change from just south of Harrietta to southeast of Harrietta, closer to Cadillac

May 23:

* The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has announced this year's inductees into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame inducts 5 broadcasters as well as the recipient of MAB's highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. For the first time, the MAB will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to TWO broadcasters: William "Joe" Blake and the late Les Biederman. The other five Hall of Fame inductees are: Bill Burton, Mort Crim, Sonny Eliot, Tom Scanlan and Richard Tuisku. Details on these broadcasters and the Hall of Fame can be found at: http://www.michmab.com/awards.html

May 24:

* FCC Actions:

  • Granted WOOD-AM a construction permit for the following modifications: Change daytime and nightime ERP from 5,000 to 20,000 watts, modify directional patterns (will be same day and night), modify tower location to south of Grand Rapids near Dorr. Completion of construction permit is contingent on owner Clear Channel surrendering the license for the now silent WHGR-AM 1290 Houghton Lake
  • Granted WOGC-CA 25 a modification to its construction permit- ERP to 30,000 watts, city of license to Holland, tower location change from east of Grand Rapids to near Zeeland (note: station will switch from simulcast of UPN WXSP-CA 15 to simulcast of NBC WOOD-TV 8 due to interference from a digital station on ch. 8 Milwaukee, WI)
  • Granted WJKN-AM 1510 Jackson a construction permit to modify its licensed tower array location (note: the station is currently operating with special temporary authority at a different location from its license)

May 25:

* JoAnne Purtan will be leaving the WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit morning co-anchor role after next week. She'll remain with the station as its health reporter. Longtime morning co-anchor Erik Smith will remain in place and Purtan's replacement will be named soon. There is currently no word as to what role current health reporter Carolyn Clifford will have with the station.

* WDIV-TV 4 Detroit will claim the NBC soap 'Passions' for its lineup at 2pm beginning June 3rd. The show, which had been airing on WADL-TV 38 at noon, will replace the now out-of-production 'Sally' talk show.

May 29:

* Terry Arnold has resigned as general manager of Detroit's Urban WJLB-FM 97.9 and Adult Urban WMXD-FM 92.3 in order to move on to new challenges. He was in the role since March 2001; New weekend weathercaster at WDIV-TV 4 Detroit is Andrew Humphrey who arrives from WUPW-TV 36 Toledo- Detroit Free Press

May 30:

* News/Talk WJR-AM 760 will be broadcasting live from Mackinac Island over the next couple of days for the annual Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce leadership conference. The county executives from Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties along with Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick plus various corporate big wigs are all in attendence. Morning man Paul W. Smith covers the event from 6-10am and Warren Pierce from 10-11:30am today and Friday. Paul W. Smith will also be on live Saturday from 9-11am. In addition, the three county execs and the Detroit mayor will have a discussion with Smith as moderator that will air from 3-5pm Sunday.

* The FCC has 'red-flagged' the 5-station acquision of Wilks Tri-Cities cluster of stations by Cumulus in order to further study the ownership concentration in the market. Approval of the deal is still expected. Stations involved in the proposed transaction include WSGW-AM, WCEN-FM, WTCF-FM, WGER-FM, and WTLZ-FM.

May 31:

* Jake Allen will be hosting his final morning show at WSDP-FM 88.1 Plymouth on June 5th as he exits to join WTWR-FM 98.3 Monroe. The final Jake in the Morning show will feature "Best Of" clips from the last two years.


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