Guide to Michigan Radio and Television Broadcasting since 1997

 

 

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Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.

On Monday, August 25th I had a chance to visit Mackinac Island for the first time in my life! It has been on my "bucket list" for a while. I mean, c'mon, I've lived in Michigan since 1962 and have never seen, nor set foot on, one of our state's most popular tourist attractions. Oh sure, I've sampled the fudge. We've all been drawn to the Ryba's booth locations at the International Auto Show down at the Cobo Center, but I needed to truly experience the real thing.

So, when it was announced that the 65th Anniversary Summer Celebration of the M.A.B. (Michigan Association of Broadcasters) would be held on the island, I knew it would be my opportunity to step on the island and enter the Grand Hotel for the first time. I figured out the hotel got its name when I checked the room rates. Wow! It was slightly higher than Motel 6.

On the evening of August 26th, at a spectacular dinner, many names you know were inducted into the MAB Hall of Fame. Both George Blaha and Jim Brandstatter were to be honored in a room filled with distinguished guests including: Sen. Carl Levin, Congressman John Dingell and longtime Attorney General Frank Kelly among others. Blaha is the legendary voice of Michigan State football and Detroit Pistons basketball. Brandstatter is the new play-by-play voice of Michigan football, teamed with the renowned Dan Dierdorf. Jim is also the color analyst for Detroit Lions football.

Other honorees that night included Susan Goldsen, co-owner of WKHM AM & FM in Jackson, Mario Iacobelli, President & CEO of WWUP and WWTV 9&10 in Northern Michigan, and Eric L. Smith of WNMU Public Radio at Northern Michigan University.

Shaky, hand-held video shot by yours truly is available on YouTube. George Blaha is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9-U-K0O4gY and the YouTube link to Jim Brandstatter is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovXdOd6Pxms. The video is marginal, but the audio is good.

Speaking of Robbie Timmons' husband, Jim Brandstatter debuted with his new partner, Dan Dierdorf, as the new voice of Michigan football on Saturday August 30, 2014 as the Wolverines pounded Appalachian State 52 to 14. George called an equally easy romp by the MSU Spartans over Jacksonville State 45 to 7.

Jim and Dan have known each other since they were team-mates on the UM squad back in 1969-1970. They have been close friends for all these years and it showed by what came out of the speaker on their inaugural broadcast. They seem to have a magical chemistry. At times I felt like we were listening to a couple frat brothers swapping stories and kidding around with each other. The presentation is warm and friendly, but when Michigan scores, the man formerly known as "Brando," does not hold back with his enthusiastic response!

For fans going to The Big House, you can now take your small portable radio with ear buds or headphones, because finally you can hear the game without delay! All-Sports WTKA-AM (1050) in Ann Arbor, with a 10,000 watt signal, now offers the game in real-time without the annoying 7 or 10 second delay. Thanks to Cumulus Media and IMG Sports with a nudge from the UM Athletic Department for making this happen.

As an archivist of U-M football since 1969, I was honored to be in the booth as Jim and Dan cracked the mic. for the first time together. Video of that initial broadcast (edited down to under five minutes) is also available on YouTube. It even features the editor and founder of michiguide.com, Mike Austerman. The link is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZoBofhDroY

SmithVuoloNext week the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) will hold their annual Radio Show conference in The Circle City of Indianapolis. Gordon Smith, who is the CEO & President of the NAB, was up at the Mackinac Island gathering and I had my picture taken with him. It will be interesting to see and hear what the mood of the convention will be and how they paint the picture of radio's future for the balance of this decade as the medium gets ready to celebrate its 100th birthday on November 2, 2020. I will be in Indy to take the temperature of the industry. My report will be honest. Meanwhile, stay tuned.

 

Contact Art Vuolo, Jr. via e-mail at artvuolo@aol.com

 

Art Vuolo Jr.

 

 

 

WXYZ-TV Ch. 7 Detroit:

Dave Rexroth has a new eye. WXYZ's Chief Meteorologist received a prosthetic eye this week and sent along a pair of photos. Looking at the photos, it is difficult to tell that Rexroth lost his left eye in a July 4 fireworks accident. With surgery behind him and his prostheitic eye in place, Rexroth says he is ready to come back to work. Dave will be back in the 7 First Alert weather office next week for rehearsals. And with the goal of returning to our Action News newscasts the following week.

Full story: Chief Meteorologist Dave Rexroth reveals prosthetic left eye, announces return to WXYZ-TV (Fri, 8/29)

 

Also from WXYZ: WXYZ unveils Sunday sports lineup (Thu, 8/28)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • Launching: Hourlong 4 p.m. newscasts on both E.W. Scripps ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV Ch. 7 Detroit and Tribune FOX affiliate WXMI-TV Ch. 17 Grand Rapids on Monday, September 8th.

    WXYZ's show is part of Scripps rollout of a non-traditional newscast titled "The Now", focusing on current social media trends with audience interaction. There will be both national and local segments on "The Now" - Glenda Lewis, Brad Galli, Andy Choi, and Rosemary Wlodarczyk have been tapped as WXYZ's local faces.

    Fox 17's effort will be a more traditional locally-based newscast.
  •  

  • Expanding: TV newscasts in Toledo, OH on Channels 13 and 24. The Toledo Blade has the details.

 


 

Muskegon Chronicle:

For the last three months, John Alan has spent the majority of his time at home, throwing electricity into the air. Among corn fields and trees of Whitehall is a house that sits on top of a hill, secluded from the average passerby. Inside the house - which Alan and his wife purchased almost three years ago - is enough equipment to duplicate a control room at NASA. Through this venue, the Whitehall resident runs a non-profit radio station that pumps numerous songs and melodies through the airways.

Full story: A golden opportunity: Whitehall man transforms home into non-profit radio station (Thu, 8/28)

 


 

MIchigan High School Athletic Association Web-Radio-TV programming set for Autumn

A new look awaits visitors to the MHSAA.tv website this season, a makeover which will allow fans to clip and share highlights, and easily track their favorite school.

MHSAA.tv is one of over 40 states on the NFHS Network, powered by PlayOn! Sports. The highlights clip and share features, among others, are available with free basic memberships. Viewers can subscribe to watch live and freshly-uploaded sporting events, with a portion of the subscription going back to their school. Contests being aired involving schools using Digital Scout for statistics may also include live stats. Games become available for free viewing after 72 hours.

The MHSAA.tv relaunch coincides with the first full week of competition for the 2014-15 school year and fresh school-created content; plus the season debut of MHSAA Football Friday Overtime on FOX Sports Detroit, and MHSAA Perspective on a statewide radio network.

The School Broadcast Program gives members an opportunity to showcase excellence in their schools by creating video programming of athletic and non-athletic events; with students gaining skills in announcing, camera operation, directing/producing and graphics. The program also gives schools the opportunity to raise money through advertising and viewing subscriptions. As many as 60 MHSAA member schools annually participate in the program, which is in its sixth year. Schools interested in becoming a part of the School Broadcast Program should contact John Johnson at the MHSAA Office.

Beginning this Friday, August 29th, and running for 13 weeks at Midnight is MHSAA Football Friday Overtime on FOX Sports Detroit. Mickey York and Rob Rubick return to host the weekly 30-minute highlights show. The show will re-air Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sunday mornings- check your local listings. (This week at Noon).

MHSAA Perspective, presented by the Michigan Army National Guard, will air on over 75 radio stations across the state, generally during the local broadcasts of high school games. The program runs for 30 weeks through the end of the winter sports season. MHSAA Perspective can also be accessed from the home page of the MHSAA Website, mhsaa.com.

 


 

The Rapidian:

The Grand Rapids Community Media Center is pleased to announce that AJ Paschka has accepted a position as the new station manager for community radio station WYCE. Paschka currently works as the Exhibitions Curator at the UICA, and will be moving to his new position in October.

Full story: CMC announces new station manager for WYCE radio (Thu, 8/28)

 


 

Detroit Free Press:

Michigan will have a new radio play-by-play announcer and new radio analyst for the first time in the past three decades for Saturday's opener against Appalachian State in Ann Arbor.

Full story: Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf excited to debut as Michigan football radio partners (Fri, 8/29)

 

 

 

Michigan Association of Broadcasters wraps up Summer Conference, recognizes award winners

The MAB and MAB Foundation (MABF) presented the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, the Distinguished Lifetime of Public Service Award and inducted the 2014 class of the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Tuesday, August 26 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Also presented was Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters' (MAPB) Special Tribute and the MAPB Professional Pioneer Award.

Award recipients were honored during the MAB 65th Anniversary Annual Meeting at the Awards Banquet surrounded by family, friends and colleagues.

 

Press release: MAB Honors Senator Carl Levin

 

Press release: MAB Honors 2014 Award Recipients

 


 

WXYZ-TV Ch. 7 Detroit:

Sixty-six years after WXYZ-TV Channel 7 flickered to life on TV sets across southeast Michigan from its first Woodward Avenue studio in Detroit, the station is expanding its operations with a new, highly visible studio in the heart of downtown. The glass-enclosed, outward-facing studio will be located inside the ground-floor lobby of Chase Tower at 611 Woodward Avenue.

Full story: WXYZ-TV to expand with new studio in the heart of downtown Detroit (Thu, 8/28)

 


 

Fine Tuning:

  • Michigan State University's student station WDBM-FM 88.9 East Lansing is planning a 25th Anniversary Homecoming Dinner. Details at spartanpartners.msu.edu/2014/08/wdbm-fm/
  •  

  • Cumulus Media/Ann Arbor Sports WTKA AM 1050 and the University of Michigan Athletic Department have announced that the radio broadcasts of home U-M football games will be provided without the delay that has frustrated fans when trying to listen in sync to what they are watching in person. No word in in this U-M release about any possible plans to include an Ann Arbor FM signal for games that end after dark when WTKA powers down - especially for the home game scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on October 11th against Penn State.
  •  

  • Midwest Communications/Kalamazoo and Western Michigan University have extended their partnership through the 2019-20 sports season, ensuring the WMU Broncos flagship station Alternative Rock WZOX-FM 96.5 will continue to carry football, men's basketball, and hockey.

 


 

Ann Arbor News:

There comes a point during the preseason when players don't want to talk about football anymore. Or practice. They want to get on the field, and hit somebody. While Jim Brandstatter's playing days might be a few decades behind him, he has reached a similar point.

Full story: Radio broadcaster Jim Brandstatter hoping Michigan football fans appreciate natural approach in new play-by-play role (Thu, 8/28)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

CUMULUS/DETROIT has named GREG SMITH as VP/Sales for Hot AC WDVD and Country WDRQ (NASH FM 93.1). SMITH moves over from the crosstown GREATER MEDIA cluster and previously spent 17 years at CBS RADIO's DETROIT stations.

Full story: Greg Smith Named VP/Sales At WDVD And Nash FM/Detroit (Thu, 8/28)

 

MMTC BROADCASTING LLC is selling Silent WDTW-A/DEARBORN-DETROIT, one of the AM stations donated to it by CLEAR CHANNEL, to PEDRO ZAMORA for $100,000. ZAMORA owns three stations in IOWA and ALABAMA.

Full story: MMTC Finds A Buyer For WDTW-A/Detroit (Thu, 8/28)

 

CUMULUS TOLEDO/MONROE has added CHRIS KING as PD/Morning Show Host for AC WMIM (MY 98.3). KING was formerly APD/Promotions Director for CCM+E Country WCKY/TOLEDO.

Full story: Chris King Named PD And Morning Show Host WMIM (Thu, 8/28)

 


 

Detroit Free Press:

Dick Nelson, the "Voice of Laker Football," announced that he will step down due to lingering health concerns. Nelson was set to begin his 38th season broadcasting Grand Valley State football this Thursday at Azusa Pacific over the 16-station Grand Valley Sports Network.

Full story: Grand Valley State football radio voice Dick Nelson steps down (Thu, 8/28)

 

 

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