2003 Michigan Broadcasting News Highlights

January:

  • WKAD-FM 93.7 Harrietta/Cadillac signed on with an Oldies format. The station is owned by MacDonald-Garber Broadcasting
  • Talk WNWZ-AM 1410 Grand Rapids changed format to Spanish CHR
  • Religious/Talk WWJQ-AM 1260 Zeeland changed its focus to a more traditional religious format, adding more music-based and preaching type shows. The station also changed its call sign to WPNW
  • Jerry Colvin, general manager of WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek, passed away
  • The FCC granted WOBE-FM 100.7 Crystal Falls its license to cover for changes (ERP from 350 watts @ 121 feet to 100,000 watts @ 653 feet and Class A to C1)
  • Detroit area former radio and TV broadcaster Robert Stone passed away
  • LPFM WFPM-LP 99.5 Battle Creek signed on the air with religious programming
  • WCZW-FM 107.9 Charlevoix signed on simulcasting the Oldies format of WCCW-FM 107.5 Traverse City. Both stations are owned by Midwestern Broadcasting
  • ABC affiliate WBUP-TV 10 Ishpeming/Marquette signed on. The station is simulcast on WBKP-TV 5 Calumet, which has been operating since 1996. Both stations are owned by Scanlan Broadcasting.

February:

  • WMQF-TV 19 Marquette began on-air testing. The station signed on with color bars and audio from FOX programming. The station would later air programming from FOX, UPN, and PAX
  • WLKM-AM 1510 Three Rivers moved to AM 1520 and changed format from Adult Standards to Classic Country. The station also added nighttime service, but only at 8 watts
  • Childrens WFDF-AM 910 Flint applied for a daytime power boost to 50,000 watts from an 8-tower facility that would be located near Carleton in northern Monroe county. The pattern of the station would point primarily north and continue to provide Flint with a daytime 5 mV/m contour, in addition to adding good coverage to most of metro Detroit. If no night changes are made, the station would then become a two-site operation, with nighttime facilities remaining in Genesee county. The approval of the application would be contingent on WFRO-AM 900 Fremont, OH becoming silent. ABC owns both WFRO and WFDF.
  • WGLI-FM 98.7 Hancock/Houghton signed on with a Rock format as "The Rockin' Eagle". WGLI is the second station owned/operated by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, joining Country WCUP-FM 105.7.
  • The FCC granted Jeffrey N. Eustis a construction permit for a new AM station to be licensed to Manistique. The CP is for AM 650, with 30,000 watts daytime, 20,000 critical hours power (4 towers), and 212 watts nighttime (3 towers). The array would be located southwest of Manistique in Schoolcraft County
  • The FCC granted Breckenridge Community Services a construction permit for a new LPFM station to be licensed to St. Louis. The CP is for 100 watts and would be located in St. Louis (Gratiot County)
  • The 16th Annual Dick Purtan Radiothon was held on February 21st, benefiting the Salvation Army's Bed & Bread Club. For the first time ever in a one-day radiothon, an amazing donation total of $1,003,796 was pledged. No other radio station in any other city has ever helped raise so much money during a one day radiothon.
  • Country simulcasters WBYB-FM 94.3 Leland/Traverse City and WBYC-FM 92.5 Atlanta changed format to Classic Hits as "The Fox".

March:

  • WTCF-FM 100.5 Carrollton/Saginaw tweaked its format from Hot AC to Top 40/Contemporary Hits. The station still calls itself 'The Fox', with the positioner as 'Today's Best Music' instead of 'Today's Best Mix'.
  • A budgetary committee at Northern Michigan University in Marquette recommended the shutdown of public media outlets WNMU-TV 13 and WNMU-FM 90.1 in 2005
  • Spring Arbor College owned WJKN-AM 1510 returned to the air with religious programming separate from sister stations KTGG-AM 1540 and WSAE-FM 106.9.

April:

  • The FCC proposed a fine of $27,500 against WKRK-FM 97.1 Detroit for what was determined to be an indecent broadcast in 2002
  • Country WUPY-FM 101.1 Ontonagon was granted a construction permit to boost its ERP to 100,000 watts from 30,000
  • WLKM-AM Three Rivers changed frequency from 1510 to 1520 and added nighttime service
  • Sports WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit began operations with its new 50,000 watt facilities in Monroe County. The station had previously operated with 5,000 watts from Southfield in Oakland County.
  • LPFM station WLWZ-LP 97.1 Dowagiac is reported on-air
  • LPFM station WMMT-LP 106.1 Muskegon is granted its license; it went on the air with an urban oldies format last year
  • The FCC granted Montcalm Public Radio a construction permit for a new LPFM station to be at 92.9 licensed to Fenwick

May:

  • The FCC granted 5 construction permits for new non-commercial educational FM stations as follows- Great Lakes Community Broadcasting, 88.5 Jackson (100 watts @ 112 feet); Broadcasting for the Challenged, 90.9 Charlevoix (6,000 watts @ 43 feet); Michigan Community Radio, WJOM 88.5 Eagle (Ionia County, 4,500 watts @ 89 feet); Michigan Community Radio, WJOG 91.3 Good Hart (Emmet County, 7,200 watts @ 518 feet directional); Michigan Community Radio, WJOH 91.5 Raco (Chippewa County, 3,800 watts @ 328 feet directional)
  • LPTV station WUPT-CA 25 Crystal Falls dropped UPN programming. WMQF-TV 19 Marquette began offering UPN shows as a secondary affiliate shortly after its sign-on earlier in the year.
  • Scanlan Communications Group announced that it agreed to sell ABC affiliate WGTU-TV 29 Traverse City and WGTQ-TV 8 Sault Ste. Marie to Max Media of Virginia Beach, VA for $8 million. Max Media currently owns TV stations in Montana and Kentucky, and radio stations in North Carolina.
  • WUBR-AM 1490 Whitehall switched format from adult standards to sports with ESPN radio
  • Adult contemporary WNBY-FM 93.7 and classic country WNBY-AM 1450 Newberry were sold by F&W Broadcasting to Sovereign Communications for $400,000.
  • Talk WXDX-AM 1310 Detroit dropped its weekend sports programming from Fox Sports Radio in favor of shows from the Michigan Talk Radio Network.
  • WSDS-AM 1480 Ypsilanti dropped talk programming from the Michigan Talk Radio Network and moved back to a Classic Country format.
  • The FCC granted construction permits for 4 new low power FM stations in Michigan: Kettering University on 94.3 in Flint, Marshall Christian Radio on 93.1 in Marshall, Life Search Radio on 96.3 in Berrien Springs, and Community Access Center on 92.7 in Kalamazoo.

June:

  • Goodrich-owned Adult Urban WJNZ AM 1680 moved to AM 1140 where the calls WKWM and adult standards format were replaced. On AM 1680, the calls became WDSS and the station was brokered to ABC/Disney for its Children's Radio Disney programming.
  • Longtime Michigan broadcaster John Carroll Sr. passed away at age 83 on June 11th.
  • Low power TV station WUHQ-LP channel 29 serving Grand Rapids signed on. The station was carrying "America's Store" from the Home Shopping Network 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.
  • FCC Actions:
    • New station licenses to cover granted to: WLWZ-LP FM 97.1 Cassopolis and WEJC-FM 88.3
    • Licenses to cover for changes granted to: WXMI-TV 17 Grand Rapids (ERP to 1,700kW from 1,290kW), WFAT-FM 96.5 Portage (ERP from 3,600 watts @ 259 feet to 6,000 watts @ 249 feet); WAOR-FM 95.3 Niles (ERP from 3,300 watts @ 299 feet to 5,500 watts @ 276 feet with a tower location change south from Berrien County to St. Joseph County, IN)
    • Construction permits for new stations granted to: The City of Benton Harbor for a new low power FM station to be at 96.5; Chapel Hill United Methodist Church for a new low power FM station to be licensed to Battle Creek on 97.1
    • Call sign changes: WFVX TV 45 Vanderbilt became WFUP on April 28th; CP for FM 92.9 Fenwick was assigned WDLP-LP on May 5th; CP for FM 88.5 Jackson was assigned WJKQ on May 8th
    • Dismissed WOAP-AM 1080 Owosso's application for a major change to move to the Lansing area (Waverly), increase daytime power, and add nighttime service
    • Deleted W276AD 103.1 Ironwood which had been silent for a number of years

July:

  • Infinity Broadcasting announced that the Detroit Lions would switch their play-by-play broadcasts from WXYT-AM 1270 to sister station WKRK-FM 97.1 for the upcoming football season.
  • Friends Communications' WMXE-FM 102.5 Hudson/Hillsdale changed format from hot adult contemporary to classic rock.
  • Radio First WBTI-FM 96.9 Lexington/Port Huron shifted its format from CHR/top 40 to hot adult contemporary as "The Bluewater's Best Of The 80's, 90's and Now".
  • WADW-FM 105.5 Pickford/Sault Ste Marie was reported as silent.
  • Scanlan Communications announced the sale of Upper Peninsula ABC affiliates WBKP-TV 5 Calumet and WBUP-TV 10 Ishpeming/Marquette to Thunder Bay Broadcasting, owner of CBS affiliate WBKB-TV Alpena, pending FCC approval.
  • FCC Actions:
    • New station licenses to cover granted to: Great Lakes Community Broadcasting for two translators- W206AZ 89.1 Fremont and W207BL 89.3 Pinnebog; WGLI-FM 98.7 Hancock
    • Licenses to cover for changes granted to: WTWR-FM 98.3 Monroe (change City of License to Luna Pier and move its transmitter/antenna into Lucas County, Ohio. The station is now 3,400 watts @ 440 feet directional); WQHH-FM 96.5 DeWitt (ERP from 3,000 watts @ 328 feet to 6,000 watts @ 322 feet)
    • Construction permits for new stations granted to: Great Lakes Adventist Academy for a new LPFM station to be licensed to Cedar Lake (Montcalm County) at 93.5; The Flats Economic Development Corp. of Michigan for a new LPFM station to be licensed to Benton Harbor at 105.3; John R. Powley for a new LPTV station to be licensed to Manistique on channel 12 (note: the coordinates on the FCC have the CP located in Kentucky); Michigan Community Radio for a new non-commercial educational FM station to be licensed to Rust Twp (Alpena County) at 88.5
    • Construction permits for changes granted to: W27CN LPTV 27 to move its antenna into downtown Lansing; WMMT-LP 106.1 Muskegon to slightly change its tower height and location; WJOH-FM 91.5 Raco (ERP from 3,800 watts directional to 5,500 watts non-directional)
    • Call sign changes: Construction permit for FM 90.9 Charlevoix was assigned WWCZ on May 15; WBHC-LP assigned to FM 96.5 Benton Harbor on July 16
    • Swapped the digital TV allotments for the two CMU public TV stations in Cadillac (was 58, now 17) and Manistee (was 17, now 58)

August:

  • Upper Peninsula low-power TV outlets WUPT-CA 25 Crystal Falls and its simulcast station WUPT-LP 43 Republic Twp. went silent. The station had been an affiliate of UPN until May and signed off, likely for good, last month.
  • Great Lakes Radio's WHTO-FM 106.7 Iron Mountain signed on with an 80's based format.
  • ABC affiliate WOTV-TV 41 Battle Creek eliminated its news department. The station's newscasts are simulcast from LIN Television sister station NBC affiliate WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids.
  • Full service WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor was sold for $1.5 million by Whitehall Enterprises to Big D Broadcasting, which is a subsidiary of First Broadcasting Company.
  • Top 40 WCFX-FM 95.3 Clare/Mt. Pleasant was sold by Goldsen Broadcasting/Jackson Radio works for $2.88 million to Florida-based Greenax Broadcasting.
  • Talk-full service WION-AM 1430 Ionia was sold for $100,000 by Agricultural Resource Group to Stafford Broadcasting.
  • FCC Actions:
    • Construction permit for changes granted to: WKNX-AM 1250 Bay City (add nighttime service at 129 watts from the same 3-tower array the station currently uses for daytime operations)
    • Call sign changes: WLLZ AM 560 Monroe became WRDT on Aug 11; 100.9 LPFM Norton Shores assigned WMBC-LP on Aug 18; 100.9 FM WIZY East Jordan became WICV on Aug 11; 105.3 LPFM Benton Harbor assigned WVBH-LP on Aug 10; 102.5 FM WMXE Hudson became WBZV on Jul 23
    • Granted the voluntary assignment of licenses for WNBY-FM 93.7 and WNBY-AM 1450 Newberry from F&W Broadcasting to Sovereign Communications.
    • Granted the voluntary assignment of licenses for WGTU-TV 29 Traverse City and WGTQ-TV 8 Sault Ste Marie from Scanlan Communications to MTC License (Max Media)

September:

  • Christian WSNL-AM 600 Flint made a major change to its facilities by removing 3 of its 4 towers which were torn down to make way for a residential subdivision. The 4th tower is scheduled to come down in March 2004 after the station receives approval from the FCC for new facilities further west in Genesee County. Until then, the station will operate with special temporary authority from the FCC from its now-modified single tower site.
  • Rubber City Radio Modern Rock 'The Edge' WWDX-FM 92.1 Lansing changed its format to Hot Adult Contemporary as WKMY, "My 92.1".
  • Low-power TV station W68CH (channel 68) Detroit completed its move to channel 33 as W33BY and abandoned ch. 68
  • Bob Butler retired from adult contemporary WLEN-FM 103.9 Adrian after 35 years as the station's morning host.
  • FCC Actions:
    • New station license to cover granted to: WHTO-FM 106.7 Iron Mountain
    • Construction permits for changes granted to: W54CR Traverse City (increase ERP from 9,600 watts to 30,400 watts); WGLI-FM 98.7 Hancock (frequency change to 98.5); WCCW-AM 1310 Traverse City (add 130 watt directional nighttime service and and increase daytime power from 5,000 watts nondirectional to 15,000 watts directional)
    • Modifications to construction permits granted to: WMQT-FM 107.7 Marquette (HAAT from 525 to 636 feet); WPIQ-FM 99.9 Manistique (change of tower location, HAAT from 171 to 151 feet)
    • Call sign changes: W54DA LPTV Flint became WXON-LP on Sept 24; W12CX LPTV Traverse City became WLLZ-LP on Sept 24; 93.1 LPFM Marshall assigned WMLY-LP on Sept 23; 92.1 FM WWDX St. Johns became WKMY on Sept. 18

October:

  • Regent Adult Contemporary WCRZ-FM 107.9 Flint won a Marconi Award as 2003 Small Market Station of the Year. The station shared the honor with KLVI Beaumont, TX.
  • Goodrich Radio sold urban AC WJNZ-AM 1140 Grand Rapids to station manager Mike St. Cyr for $360,000.
  • WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor owner Lloyd Johnson died at the age of 81. Johnson, along with his wife Mabel, was in the process of selling the station at the time of his passing- the sale was still expected to be completed.
  • Superior Communications/Northland Community Broadcasters WWKM-FM 88.1 Goodland Twp (Lapeer County) signed on simulcasting sister station WHYT-FM 89.1 Imlay City. The format is Contemporary Christian as 'Joy FM'.
  • FCC Actions:
    • New station licenses to cover granted to: P&P Cable Holdings LPTV stations WLLZ-LP Ch. 12 Traverse City and W44BO Ch. 44 Pinconning; WOTV-DT 20 Battle Creek (digital facilities)
    • Licenses to cover for changes granted to: WIBM-AM 1450 Jackson (ERP increase to 810 watts from 780 with a slight tower location change); WUPX-FM 91.5 Marquette (ERP increase from 200 watts to 360)
    • Construction permits for new stations granted to: Sunrise Assembly of God for a new LPFM station to be licensed to Rogers City at 101.7; Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry for a new LPFM station to be licensed to Mt. Pleasant at 105.5
    • Construction permits for changes granted to: WTCM-AM 580 Traverse City (increase its daytime power to 35,000 watts from 15,000 and nighttime power to 1,100 watts from 800); WGTU-TV 29 Traverse City (increase its ERP from 1,175 kW to 1,303 kW); W258AH 99.5 Kalamazoo (change power from 55 watts to 19 watts and move tower west)
    • Modifications to construction permits granted to: WNFR-FM 90.7 Sandusky (slight change to tower location)
    • Call sign change: 93.5 LPFM Cedar Lake assigned WGLN-LP on Oct 28
    • Amended the FM Table of Allotments for Michigan to add a new Class A allotment for Harrison at 103.9 FM
    • Granted the voluntary assignment of license for WCFX-FM 95.3 Clare from Goldsen Broadcasting to Grenax Broadcasting
    • Granted the voluntary assignement of license for WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor from Whitehall Enterprises to Big D Broadcasting

November:

  • Mid-West Family WGMY-AM 940 South Haven changed its format from Adult Standards to Oldies
  • LPFM station WEEH-LP 100.5 Hart signed on with a Hot Adult Contemporary/Classic Rock format.
  • Sovereign Communications purchased Rock WSUE-FM 101.3 and Full Service WSOO-AM 1230 Sault Ste. Marie from Fabiano-Strickler Communications.
  • Several stations across the state switched to an 'All-Christmas' music format once again this year. Some of the stations this year were WNIC Detroit, WOOD-FM and WTRV Grand Rapids, WGDN-FM Gladwin, and WSHZ Muskegon.
  • Gospel Opportunities' Mackinaw City translator of Religious WHWL-FM 95.7 Marquette at 101.5 FM moved to 102.1 to avoid interference with WMJZ-FM 101.5 Gaylord.
  • FCC Actions:
    • Call sign changes: 19 TV WDCQ-TV University Center changed to WDCP-TV on Nov 28; 35 TV WDCP-TV Bad Axe changed to WDCQ-TV on Nov 28; 101.5 FM W268AD Mackinaw City changed to 102.1 W271AG on Nov 20; 96.3 LPFM Berrien Springs assigned WSFT-LP on Nov 7
    • Cancelled the license for W201BP 88.1 Ironwood (translator of WVCY-FM Milwaukee) at the request of the license holder

December:

  • The FCC approved a construction permit for ABC/Disney Children's (Radio Disney) WFDF-AM 910 Flint to move its daytime operations from Genesee to northern Monroe County and increase its daytime power from 5,000 to 50,000 watts. The actual construction of the facility - which would provide most of Metro Detroit with a very good signal - is far from certain however as the township where the proposed towers would be located has not approved the station's plans. WFDF's nighttime facilities are not affected by this construction permit.
  • Death notices:
    • Tom McNamara, longtime news anchor at Infinity All-News WWJ-AM 950 Detroit, at the age of 61 after a fight against lymphoma.
    • Rita Bell Hansen, San Diego: Host of popular movie show that in Detroit 18 years
    • Gary Ballard: Saginaw ad agency owner, former DJ and radio station owner. He worked at WMRP, WKMF, WCZN (former WMRP) and WWCK (former WMRP-FM) in Flint, WHNN and WKNX in Saginaw, co-owned WBUK in Portage/Kalamazoo, and managed WFXZ in Pinconning and WBCM in Bay City.
  • Great Lakes Community Broadcasting's WJKQ-FM 88.5 Jackson signed on as a simulcast of WAAQ-FM 88.3 Onsted; the primary format is Oldies.
  • Longtime ABC/Disney News-Talk WJR-AM 760 Detroit weekend host Mike Whorf retired after 39 years at the station. His Sunday morning programs, 'Kaleidoscope' and 'Patterns in Music', were retired along with the host.
  • FCC Actions:
    • New station licenses to cover granted to: W206BI 89.1 Hamtramck
    • Licenses to cover for changes granted to: W27CN LPTV Ch. 27 Lansing (move from channel 69, tower location change); W54CR LPTV Ch. 54 Traverse City (power increase to 30,400 watts from 9,600); WFUM-TV 28 Flint (ERP from 2,450,000 watts @ 869 feet to 2,160,000 watts @ 846 feet); WUFN-FM 96.7 Albion (ERP from 1,500 watts @ 472 feet to 3,200 watts @ 456 feet); WDMJ-AM 1320 Marquette (nighttime power from 1,000 watts using 3 tower directional array to 135 watts nondirectional); WMMT-LP 106.1 Muskegon (location change, HAAT from 62 to 94 feet)
    • Construction permits for new stations granted to: Children Saving Children Services for a new LPFM station to be licensed to Mt. Pleasant at 98.9; Great Lakes Community Broadcasting for a new non-commercial Class A FM station at 88.1 to be licensed to Rogers Heights (Mecosta County, near Big Rapids); Washtenaw Community College for a new LPFM station at 95.9 to be licensed to Freedom Twp
    • Modifications to construction permits granted to: WDWB-TV 20 Detroit (change to reflect directional signal); WMCQ-FM 91.7 Muskegon (HAAT from 328 feet to 302 feet, slight tower location change)
    • Affirmed the $27,500 fine proposed this past April against Infinity FM Talk WKRK-FM 97.1 Detroit for a broadcast of the "Deminski and Doyle Show" in 2002 that was determined to willfully broadcast indecent language.
    • Granted the voluntary assignment of licenses for WSUE-FM 101.3 and WSOO-AM 1230 Sault Ste. Marie from Fabiano-Strickler Communications to Sovereign Communications

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