* NextMedia Group has announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Wilks Broadcasting Tri-Cities cluster of radio stations. Sale price is $55.5 million. The stations to be acquired include 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. The $55.5 million dollar price tag is only slightly below the $55.6 million deal between Wilks and Cumulus Broadcasting for the same stations that fell through in September. The acquistion will mark the entry into Michigan by Denver-based NextMedia.
* WCWA-AM 1230 Toledo has changed its format from Adult Standards to Talk as 'Seaway 1230, Toledo's Talk Station'. The station's lineup will include syndicated programming from Dr. Laura, Sean Hannity, and others weekdays. Overnights will be sports from Fox Sports.
* Modern Rock WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing morning host Mojo moves into a grocery store parking lot next week as the station kicks off its 'Stuff a Bus' campaign. Mojo broadcasts live all week while collecting food for the American Red Cross Food Distribution Center- All Access
* Christian WJQK-FM 99.3 Zeeland has opened a remote studio and merchandise center at Holland's Westshore Mall. The station plans to have live broadcasts at the store from 10am-3pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays- Grand Rapids Press
* Janet G. exits as progam director at Adult Urban WMXD-FM 92.3 Detroit; New to afternoons at Country WYTZ-FM 97.5 Bridgman is Shaun Kelly- All Access
* 100000watts.com reports that WDHS-TV 8 Iron Mountain is back on the air with religious programming from the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN). The station has been off the air for at least two years. Although the station has been licensed for full power operations (316,000 watts visual) as of January 2002, reports from the area indicate the station is currently operating at less than full power.
* The CFCO-AM 630 Chatham repeater at FM 92.9 has received approval from the CRTC to boost power from 50 to 250 watts
* John Pellegrini has been named as creative services director for Regent Broadcasting's Grand Rapids cluster of radio stations (WLHT-FM 95.7, WGRD-FM 97.9, WFGR-FM 98.7, WTRV-FM 100.5, WNWZ-AM 1410)- All Access
* Waters Broadcasting (owner of Adult Contemporary WCXT-FM 105.3) and Synergy Media (owner of Classic Rock WWKR-FM 94.1) have 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.
* FCC Actions: Dismissed the application for voluntary transfer of license for WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor from Whitehall Enterprises to Clear Channel at the request of the applicants; Granted licenses to cover for digital facilites for WADL-DT 39 Mt. Clemens and WZPX-DT 44 Battle Creek; Granted WQBX-FM 104.9 Alma a construction permit to change its antenna HAAT from 302 to 328 feet
* 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- Flint Journal
* Oldies WOMC-FM held the top spot in the first fall ratings trend for Detroit. The remainder of the top 5 stations among listeners age 12 and above were News/Talk WJR-AM, Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM, Smooth Jazz WVMV-FM, along with Rock WRIF-FM and News WWJ-AM which tied for 5th place. WNIC had its strongest month since the dubut of AC rival WMGC-FM- WNIC's ratings share lead over WMGC increased to 5.2 - 3.3. Top 40 WDRQ-FM also pulled ahead of its rival WKQI-FM 4.0 - 3.0. Urban AC WMXD enjoyed the biggest ratings jump over the summer book moving up to 4.3 from 3.5.
* Adult Contemporary WOOD-FM 105.7 Grand Rapids (Star 105.7) was the first Michigan station to flip to All-Christmas this morning at 9:00. Cross-town AC competitor WTRV-FM (The River) joined the all-Yule fray shortly after at about 9:45. Ho! Ho! Ho!
* Religious WLQV-AM 1500 Detroit (Victory 1500) is now successfully operating on its new 50kW day and 10kW night patterns. The final negotiations with KSTP-AM 1500 Minneapolis/St. Paul and WTOP-AM 1500 Washington D.C. called for those stations to pay for the WLQV modifications and legal fees, plus reimbursement of other related expenses. Station owner Jon Yinger reports that while the 50kW day signal is somewhat close to the old pattern (the new one has a bit more power to the west), improvements to the new night signal are dramatic. WLQV is currently in program test authority. The deal between WLQV and the other 2 stations on AM 1500 came about because both KSTP and WTOP desired better nighttime signals and needed WLQV's agreement to accept more skywave interference at night.
* The FCC has red-flagged the sale of Wilks 5 station Tri-Cities cluster to NextMedia- as it did with the sale of the same stations from Wilks to Cumulus that eventually was called off by Cumulus. The FCC had given the green light on the Wilks-Cumulus deal and the same can be expected for the Wilks-NextMedia transaction.
* New to mornings at Country WNWN-FM 98.5 Coldwater/Battle Creek is Chris St. John- All Access
* WSAG-FM 104.1 Pinconning has recently signed on the air for the first time with an Oldies format. The station is owned by Blue Moose Broadcasting.
* Multiple industry reports state that CBS affiliate WWJ-TV 62 Detroit will soon drop its 11:00pm newscast and that UPN-affiliated sister station WKBD-TV 50 will keep its 10:00pm news program, albeit using the resources of crosstown WXYZ-TV 7 (ABC affiliate). A formal announcement on the future of news at 62 and 50 could come as soon as tomorrow- Detroit Free Press
* Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 Detroit has switched to an all-Christmas format as of this morning. The "Sounds of the Season" runs through Christmas Day.
* Kudo's to Modern AC WDVD-FM 96.3 Detroit on helping raise 402 bikes and nearly $165,000 in last Thursday and Friday's fundraiser for Variety- The Children's Charity.
* Viacom, owner of WWJ-TV 62 and WKBD-TV 50 Detroit, has confirmed that it will cancel its 11pm newscast on channel 62 and hire the resources of crosstown WXYZ-TV 7, owned by Scripps-Howard, to produce the 10pm newscast for channel 50. Look for news to disappear on 62 by the end of the month and the WXYZ newscast to debut on 50 as early as the first week of December as UPN Detroit Action News. Channel 50's 10pm report will be 60 minutes long weekdays and 30 minutes long on weekends. The weekday program will be anchored by Frank Turner and Christine McDonald with Jerry Hodak on weather and Don Shane on sports. There is no word on the future of current staffers at WWJ/WKBD in regards to the new operation- Detroit News, Detroit Free Press
* Longtime Adult Contemporary WNIC-FM 100.3 Detroit evening host Alan Almond has been let go from the station as of yesterday when holiday music took over the airwaves. Almond's show Pillow Talk had been a mainstay at the station for years.
* Phil Hendrie makes his debut tonight Talk WXDX-AM 1310 Detroit and will be heard live weeknights from 9-11PM
* MC Serch joins the morning show at Urban WJLB-FM 97.9 Detroit- Detroit Free Press
* Bill Walters has returned to Active Rock WKLQ-FM 94.5 Grand Rapids for afternoons after spending a year doing swing and weekends at Rock WRIF-FM 101.1 Detroit. Christie Cantle moves back to nights from afternoons at 'KLQ with former nighttimer Tom 'The Wiz' moving to swing duties.
* Congratulations to Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3 Detroit morning man Dick Purtan on being nominated for induction into the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago
* All 5 of Wilks' Tri-Cities stations (WSGW-AM, WCEN-FM, WTCF-FM, WGER-FM, and WTLZ-FM) were knocked off the air yesterday afternoon for about 90 minutes due to a power outage caused by birds that flew into a substation and caused fuses to fail- Saginaw News
* Metro Networks has named Amy Watson as its new assistant director of operations in Grand Rapids
* FCC Actions: Granted WJRT-TV Flint (DTV channel 36) and WWMT-TV Kalamazoo (DTV channel 2) licenses to cover for thier digital facilities
* FCC Action: Granted WHST-FM 106.1 Tawas City non-commercial educational status
* Urban Old School WDMK-FM 102.7 Detroit began broadcasting its in-band on-channel digital signal this past weekend, becoming the first Michigan radio station to move offer digital broadcasts on a full-time permanent basis.
* New reporter and weekend anchor at WXMI-TV 17 Grand Rapids is Pat McConigle- Grand Rapids Press
* John Boyle has been named as program director at Modern Rock WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing effective next Monday. Boyle arrives from Akron, OH where he was promotions coordinator for Rubber City Radio sister station WONE-FM. Former WWDX PD Chili Walker lands in Albany, NY for program director and midday duties- All Access
* Adela Uchida has been named as co-anchor for the 6 and 11pm weekday newscasts at WILX-TV 10 Lansing. Uchida shifts from her role as co-anchor of the 5-7am weekday newscasts for the station- Lansing State Journal
* Country WBCT-FM was the top station among listeners age 12 and above in the first fall trend for Grand Rapids. WBCT increased its lead over second place Top 40 sister WSNX-FM (10.4 to 7.0). WSNX was down from an 8.1 share in the summer book. The remainder of the top 5 stations were Classic Rock WLAV-FM, Modern Rock WGRD-FM, and News-Talk WOOD-AM. In the Adult Contemporary battle, WLHT-FM was up 4.6 to 5.3 to finish ahead of WOOD-FM which was flat at a 4.9 share.
* Longtime Detroit TV and radio personality Teresa Tomeo will host a new issues and interviews radio show starting next month. Called the "Catholic Connection," the hour-long show will air 8-9 a.m. weekdays on WDEO-AM 990 Ypsilanti. Tomeo is a former reporter and anchor for WKBD-TV 50 and WXYZ-TV 7.
* WXYZ-TV 7 Detroit will begin producing the 10pm newscast on WKBD-TV 50 beginning December 4th. Weekend anchors on the channel 50 newscasts will be Heather Catallo and Ray Sayah, with Jay Berry sports and Shay Ryan weather.