2002 Michigan Broadcasting News Highlights

January:

  • Adult Standards/Religious WOAP-AM 1080 Owosso applied for a major change to its facilites. The station's owners proposed 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
  • LIN Television Corp. 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)
  • Recent sign-on WZRZ-FM 93.7 Frankenmuth launched regular programming under new owner Regent Communications. The station is running an Urban leaning Rhythmic Contemporary Hits format as 'Club 93-7, Today's Hottest Jamz'
  • After being silent since November 2000, Wilks Broadcasting requested that the license for WCEN-AM 1150 Mt. Pleasant be cancelled
  • Fox Sports Net Detroit named Mario Impemba as the new play-by-play man for Tigers' baseball
  • On the air: FM 100.7 Honor, simulcasting Northern Radio sister station Adult Top 40 WKPK-FM 106.7 Gaylord. FM 100.7 changed its call sign to WKVK from WAIR

February:

  • The FCC created a new Class A FM allotment at McBain (Missaukee County) for 107.9
  • Country WIHC-FM 97.9 Newberry/Sault Ste. Marie switched its format to Classic Rock as part of "The Bear" simulcast which also includes WGFM-FM 105.1 Cheboygan / WGFN-FM 98.1 Glen Arbor / WCKC-FM 107.1 Cadillac
  • Adult Urban WGPR-FM 107.5 Detroit tweaked its format by adding more jazz selections to its playlist
  • Top 40 WKQI-FM 95.5 Detroit repositioned from 'Q-95.5' to 'Channel 9-5-5'
  • WSHN-FM 100.1 Holton switched its format from Country to Adult Top 40
  • Oldies WEFG-FM 97.5 Whitehall switched format to Country as "Kickin' Country"
  • Hot AC WTCF-FM 100.5 Saginaw repositioned from 'Mix 100' to 'The Fox'
  • LIN TV announced the purchase of 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 those stations in an agreement that started at the beginning of the year. WEYI becomes the third full-power Michigan station for LIN- joining WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids and WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek.
  • WRXF-FM 103.1 Lapeer dropped its simulcast of Rock WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola in favor of a stand-alone Classic Rock format as 'U.S. 103.1, The Classic Rock Channel'
  • Detroit Tigers radio play-by-play broadcaster Ernie Harwell announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2002 baseball season. Harwell has broadcast Tigers baseball either on radio or TV since 1960

March:

  • The FCC granted WNFR-FM 90.7 Sandusky a construction permit for these changes: Change in class from B1 to B, ERP to increase to 50,000 watts from 18,000, HAAT increase to 492 feet from 328, tower location change from northwest of Sandusky to north of Port Huron (near Sanilac/St. Clair county line), pattern to change to directional
  • Jack Hood, former broadcaster at WJR Detroit, WCEN Mt. Pleasant, WTRX Flint, among other stations, passed away at the age of 60
  • Michigan's first Low Power FM station hit the airwaves in Muskegon as WUVS-LP 103.7 is now broadcasting an Urban targeted format
  • WLXV-FM 96.7 Cadillac ended its simulcast of sister station Adult Contemporary WLXT-FM 96.3 Petoskey (W-Lite) in favor of its own programming as Hot Adult Contemporary 'Mix 96, the best music from the 80's, 90's, and today'
  • Fox Sports Net Detroit agreed to a deal with the Detroit Red Wings that results in the cable station having exclusive rights to regular season Wings' games beginning with the 2003-04 season
  • The FCC granted a construction permit for a new FM station at 98.7 to be licensed to Hancock. Lyle R. Evans, is the owner of permit for the station which is to be 100,000 watts at 522 feet from a transmitter located near Houghton
  • WIMK-FM 93.1 Iron Mountain and WUPK-FM 94.1 Marquette, which had been simulcasting each other with a Rock format as 'K-Rock', have switched their format to Classic Rock as 'The Bear' under new owner Northern Star Broadcasting. The stations air the Bob & Tom morning show. The move expands Northern Star's Classic Rock 'Bear' stations across much of the Upper Peninsula. Earlier in the year, WIHC-FM 97.9 Newberry dropped its Country format for the programming, joining WGFM-FM 105.1 Cheboygan, WGFN-FM 98.1 Glen Arbor/Traverse City, and WCKC-FM 107.1 Cadillac. WIMK and WUPK continue to simulcast each other and are programmed separately from the other 'Bear' stations
  • WMLZ-LP 107.9 Temperance became Michigan's second low power FM station to hit the air
  • Marquette's Country WJPD-FM 92.3 repositioned from 'The Giant' to 'Big Country 92.3' under new owner Northern Star Broadcasting. Although the name is the same as Northern Star's WMKC-FM 102.9 St. Ignace and WAVC-FM 93.9 Mio, programming is separate
  • A construction permit for a new FM station at 103.7 licensed to Harbor Beach has been granted by the FCC to Jennifer and Edward Czelada. The permit is for 50,000 watts at 440 feet (directional) from a tower in Huron County southeast of Bad Axe
  • The FCC granted Soul's Harbor Assembly of God Church a construction permit for a new Low Power FM station at 104.3 to be licensed to Roscommon
  • WWBN-FM 101.5 Tuscola/Flint (Banana 101.5) shifted its format from Mainstream Rock to Active Rock by dropping most of its Classic titles
  • Benedek Communications, owner of Lansing NBC affiliate WILX-TV 10, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
  • WWKK-AM 750 Petoskey dropped its Oldies programming from its weekday schedule in favor of expanded Talk programming, much of it from the Michigan Talk Radio Network
  • Upper Peninsula ABC affiliate WBKP-TV 5 Calumet dropped all of its local newscasts

April:

  • Benedek Broadcasting was purchased by Grey Communications for $500 million. Benedek had owned Lansing NBC affiliate WILX-TV 10
  • The FCC granted a construction permit to Northern Christian Radio for 102.3 Sault Ste Marie. The new non-commercial educational allotment will be a Class C3 station (22.5 kW @ 105 meters)
  • ABC reached a deal to purchase News/Talk WFDF-AM 910 Flint from Cumulus for $3 million
  • 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
  • Country WKKM-FM 92.1 Harrison was sold by longtime owner David Carmine to Xavier University for $270,000
  • Adult Contemporary combo WLKM-FM/AM 95.9/1510 Three Rivers was sold by Voice of Three Rivers to Impact Radio
  • WRFK-LP 107.7 Mt. Pleasant signed on with a religious format

May:

  • News WWJ-AM 950 Detroit began using its 50,000 watt daytime signal on a permanent basis
  • Cumulus Broadcasting agreed to purchase the following Tri-Cities area 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. The deal would fall through in September.
  • Don Noordyk 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
  • Sports WLSP-AM 1530 changed format to News/Talk
  • WWKM-AM 1540 Harrison was sold by David Carmine to Laurie Foster for $10
  • The FCC granted News/Talk WOOD-AM Grand Rapids 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

June:

  • New website http://www.keener13.com launched. It's a retrospective on former Detroit Top 40 powerhouse WKNR-AM
  • The FCC granted First Pentecostal Church of God in Christ a construction permit for a new low power FM station to be licensed to Battle Creek at 99.5
  • Country WBCH-1220 AM Hastings changed its format to Talk from the Michigan Talk Radio Network. The station had been simulcasting sister station WBCH-FM 100.1
  • The University of Michigan merged together its public radio and television operations under the name of Michigan Public Media. The new organization, to be headed by Donovan Reynolds, will oversee the operations of WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor, WFUM-TV 91.1 Flint, WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids, and WFUM-TV 28 Flint
  • Stephen Clark was hired as reporter and parttime anchor at WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit. Also, Carolyn Clifford has been named as the station's permanent morning co-anchor, replacing JoAnne Purtan who shifts to the role of health reporter
  • WODJ-FM 107.3 Greenville-Grand Rapids relaunched its Oldies format as 'Oldies Radio, the New 107-3; The Greatest Hits of all Time'. The station changed morning shows and began syndicating the Rich Michaels program from Citadel sister station WJIM-FM 97.5 Lansing
  • Three Detroit-area ‘Mr. Fix It’ guys will be changing stations. Murray Gula, whose “Home Improvement Doctor” program had been airing on Christian Talk WLLZ-AM (560) Sunday mornings, will sign a deal with News-Talk WJR-AM (760) to bring the program to that station’s weekend lineup starting as early as next weekend. Meanwhile WJR “Appliance Doctor” host Joe Gagnon will be moving down the dial to Sports WXYT-AM 1270 where he’ll fill the slot formerly held by “Ask the Handyman” host Glenn Haege. Heage show would move to Sports WDFN-AM 1130.

July:

  • Country WKKM-FM 92.1 Harrison switched format to Public Radio as a member of the X-Star Network from Cincinnati, OH based Xavier University
  • WCAS-AM 1290 Saline/Ann Arbor switched format from Adult Standards to 50s-70s Oldies with new sign WHNE as "Honey Radio"
  • County WYTC-FM 103.7 Hartford/South Haven dropped the format and its simulcast of sister station WYTZ-FM 97.5 Bridgman in favor of an Urban AC format with new call sign WZBL
  • Oldies WHNN-FM 96.1 Bay City morning show co-host Jody McHugh won over $100,000 on NBC-TV's Weakest Link game show
  • ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV 53 Lansing/Jackson dropped its 11:00pm newscast/talkshow
  • Classic Rock WDTW-FM 106.7 Detroit added the syndicated "Bob and Tom Show" for mornings and repositioned from Alice 106.7 to The Drive
  • The Michael Radio Group (dba Blue Moose Broadcasting)purchaed the FM construction permit at 104.1 (WSAG) Pinconning. Last year, there was a deal for Fort Bend Broadcasting to purchase the permit however this deal fell through. Current owner Russell LaFave will receive $195,000 for the property once the deal is approved by the FCC. The previous deal with Ft. Bend was worth $250,000
  • WPHM-AM 1380 Port Huron morning show host John Hill announced his retirment after 35 years with the station, the last 27 as its morning host. Hill exited the business with 40 years experience overall.
  • WJKN-AM 1510 Jackson was noted as silent

August:

  • The FCC granted Donald James Noordyk a construction permit for a new FM station to be licensed to Newaygo. The CP is for a Class A station at 92.5 with an ERP of 6,000 watts at 328 feet from a tower located near the southwest corner of Newaygo County
  • WFDF-AM 910 Flint dropped its News/Talk format in favor of Radio Disney
  • Michigan broadcasters provided $328 million in community service during 2001
  • The FCC granted Superior Communications a construction permit for a new non-commercial educational FM station to be licensed to Goodland Twp (Lapeer County). The Class A station would be at 88.1 with 2,000 watts (vertical) @ 499 feet from a tower located north of Imlay City

September:

  • News-Talk WJML-AM 1110 and Talk-Oldies WWKK-AM 750 were sold by Rick Stone to Basic Licensing for $900,000
  • Classic Country WSDS-AM 1480 Ypsilanti changed its format to Talk during the week. Its weekend programming remained intact- it's Classic Country format went to the Internet as a feed on the station's web site
  • WTAC-FM 89.7 Burton signed on with a Contemporary Christian format
  • Talk WNBY-AM 1450 Newberry changed its format to Classic Country
  • The FCC ruled that the sale of WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor to Clear Channel from Whitehall Enterprises would likely give Clear Channel too much control over the Ann Arbor market. After assigning the deal to court for an evidentiary hearing, both Clear Channel and Whitehall agreed to walk away from the sale
  • The FCC modified the allotment of FM 98.3 from Monroe to Luna Pier. The frequency is occupied by WTWR-FM.
  • LPFM outlet WFPM-LP 99.5 Battle Creek signed on with black gospel and religious programming
  • Comerica Park's press box was named the Ernie Harwell Media Center in honor of the broadcaster's career, which he retired from at the end of the month

October:

  • Adult Standards WSCG-AM 1380 Greenville changed its format News using CNN Headline News
  • WXDX-AM 1310 Detroit flipped from sports talk to mainstream talk as 'Talk Radio 1310, The X'
  • Adult Contemporary WOOD-FM 105.7 Grand Rapids, one of Michigan's 'superpowered' grandfathered FM stations, applied to change its engineering specifications such that the station would lose its grandfathered status. The application is to reduce power from its current non-directional 265,000 watts @ 810 feet to a directional 50,000 watts @ 446 feet with the transmitter/tower moving off the stick it currently shares with WOOD-TV 8 near Middleville in Barry County to a location in Kent County just east of Caledonia. The station withdrew the application in 2003.
  • The FCC granted two more construction permits for new low power FM stations in Michigan: Oceana Broadcasters was granted 100.5 to be licensed to Hart (Oceana County), and Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference was granted 100.9 to be licensed to Norton Shores (Muskegon County)
  • WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit shifted its Adult Urban Contemporary to all 'Old School' Rhythm and Blues by dropping most current music
  • Fox affiliate WSMH-TV 66 Flint launched a 10pm newscast
  • Starboard Broadcasting agreed to purchase three Upper Peninsula stations in two separate deals worth a total of $1.6 million. First, Starboard will acquire Country WYKX-FM 104.7 and Full Service WDBC-AM 680 Escanaba from KMB Broadcasting for $850,000. The second deal will add Oldies WADW-FM 105.5 Pickford/Sault Ste. Marie to Starboard's new Michigan cluster for $750,000. Seaway Broadcasting was the owner/seller of WADW
  • WMSH-AM 1230 Sturgis dropped its simulcast of sister station Oldies WMSH-FM 99.3 in favor of Sports from ESPN Radio

November:

  • NextMedia Group announced the acquisition of Wilks Broadcasting Tri-Cities cluster of radio stations for $55.5 million. The stations in the deal are Country WCEN-FM 94.5, Adult Contemporary WGER-FM 106.3, Hot Adult Contemporary WTCF-FM 100.5, Urban Contemporary WTLZ-FM 107.1 and News Talk WSGW-AM 790
  • WDHS-TV 8 Iron Mountain returned to the air with religious programming. The station had been silent for at least one year
  • Waters Broadcasting (owner of Adult Contemporary WCXT-FM 105.3) and Synergy Media (owner of Classic Rock WWKR-FM 94.1) proposed to the FCC changing the FM table of allotments as follows: WCXT would change its city of license from Hart to Coopersville and WWKR would change its city of license from Pentwater to Hart to maintain FM service to Hart
  • Robert Schoch, aka Bob Scott, who was an announcer at WJRT-TV 12 Flint from when the station first signed on to his retirement in 1989, has died at his retirement home in Tennessee
  • Religious WLQV-AM 1500 Detroit (Victory 1500) began operating on its new 50kW day and 10kW night patterns
  • WSAG-FM 104.1 Pinconning signed on with an Oldies format
  • Several radio station across the state dropped their regular formats in favor of All-Christmas music. Some of stations included Grand Rapids' WOOD-FM and WTRV-FM and Detroit's WNIC-FM
  • Viacom, owner of WWJ-TV 62 and WKBD-TV 50 Detroit, announced that it has dropped the 11pm newscast on channel 62 and hired the resources of crosstown WXYZ-TV 7, owned by Scripps-Howard, to produce the 10pm newscast for channel 50
  • Urban Old School WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit began broadcasting its in-band on-channel digital signal, becoming the first Michigan radio station - and the first commercial broadcaster in the USA - to move offer digital broadcasts on a full-time permanent basis
  • WDIV-TV 4 Detroit became the first television station in Michigan to broadcast a local program in high definition (HDTV), and one of the first few stations in the country to produce and air a live HDTV event. The station covered Detroit's Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving morning

December:

  • The FCC granted WLKM-AM 1510 Three Rivers a construction permit to move to AM 1520 and add nighttime service
  • LPFM station WAWP-LP 107.3 West Branch signed on the air with religious programming
  • The FCC granted Spring Arbor University a construction permit for a new Class A FM non-commercial educational station at 89.3, ERP 2,500 watts (vertical) @ 272 feet to be licensed to Spring Arbor
  • Dan Dickerson was named as the lead play-by-play announcer for the 2003 Detroit Tigers season
  • WJOF-FM 88.1 Monroe signed on the air with a Contemporary Christian format using the moniker 'Joy FM'
  • The construction permit for FM 98.7 Hancock (WGLI, 100,000 watts @ 522 feet) was sold by Lyle Robert Evans to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community for $650,000
  • The FCC granted American Family Association and Great Lakes Broadcast Academy a swap of construction permits for 88.1 (now owned by GLBA) and 91.7 (now owned by AFA) Muskegon
  • The construction permit for WHTO-FM 106.7 Iron Mountain (1,700 watts @ 623 feet) was sold from Donald Noordyk to Todd Noordyk for $10,000


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