* Changes at Citadel's Tri-Cities Cluster: Mason will move from evenings at Top 40 WIOG-FM 102.5 to Active Rock WKQZ-FM 93.3 for nights and will also become the station's music director and assistant program director. Mason is taking the responsibilites at WKQZ previously held by Jay Randall, who will shift to the station's morning show and become the new 'Poorboy' after last week's departure of Todd Kangas to Indianapolis- All Access
* Ray Nelson has been let go as general manager for Clear Channel's Ann Arbor stations (Country WWWW-FM 102.9, Adult Contemporary WQKL-FM 107.1, Sports WTKA-AM 1050, and Oldies WHNE-AM 1290).
* On-air: Superior Communications/Northland Community Broadcasters WWKM-FM 88.1 Goodland Twp (Lapeer County) simulcasting sister station WHYT-FM 89.1 Imlay City. The format is Contemporary Christian as 'Joy FM'.
* Radio reading was just a tiny seed in metro Detroit 25 years ago— the budding idea of a few forward thinking founders who saw the potential of using closed-circuit radio to provide cost-effective reading services to a blind and print-impaired audience. Public radio WDET-FM 101.9 offered an available sub-channel and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting opened its pocketbook. Wayne State University met with dozens of service groups. Foundations, businesses, listeners, and other community friends stepped up to the challenge and many continue to support DRIS today with donations of cash, in-kind services, and volunteerism. The Detroit Radio Information Service (DRIS) was born. DRIS will celebrate its 25th year and the contributions of its champions and supporters on Friday, Nov. 7, with an evening reception at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, at Woodward and Warren in Detroit. Guest speaker will be Robert Jones, former DRIS director, WDET blues program host, and current pastor of a Baptist congregation. Another 25th anniversary event will be a spring read-a-thon featuring well-known local celebrities that will serve to boost DRIS awareness, promote literacy and raise funds.
“Even with amazing developments in technology and vision aids, radio reading continues to be a familiar and popular medium,” says DRIS Director Kim Walsh. “Failing eyesight is the leading reason for loss of independent living among older Americans, so it’s no surprise that many applicants are seniors who miss reading the paper.” More than 1,800 DRIS radio receivers are located in private homes, hospitals, nursing facilities, schools, and low vision centers. Cable TV has increased penetration to another 120,000 households throughout Southeastern Michigan. Estimates show that thousands more could benefit from radio reading.
DRIS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing equal access to the press and other date-sensitive items. Using the comforting voices of volunteer readers, DRIS delivers the verbatim reading of 100 newspapers and periodicals a week to some of the community’s most isolated citizens. More than 130 volunteers volunteer weekly to help keep operating expenses low. It also produces specialized topic-based programs to enrich, educate and entertain listeners, like event coverage and a call-in support group. Rated second only to the daily papers are grocery and department store circulars— a critical tool for shopping on a fixed income.
DRIS is largely self-supporting through funds raised from project grants, foundations, civic groups, corporate contributions, special events, and the generosity of individuals. To apply for the service, volunteer your time, make an individual or corporate contribution: Contact Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator Irene Woodell (313) 577-4207 or send inquiries to DRIS@wayne.edu. Or visit www.dris.org.
* Michigan Radio, the public radio stations of the University of Michigan, raised $611,367 during the one-week on-air portion of its successful Fall Fund Drive that ended Friday, October 24. The $611,367 is part of the 2003 Fall Fund Drive that realized a 7.7 percent total increase over the Fall 2002 Fund Drive.
* FCC Action: Granted the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry a construction permit for a new LPFM station at 105.5 to be licensed to Mt. Pleasant.
* Rubber City Radio has proposed to the FCC a change in the FM allotment table to allow its Sports WQTX-FM 92.7 Charlotte to move to FM 92.9 from a new tower location and change its city of license to Grand Ledge. The change would also allow the station to increase its power and coverage area. The public is invited to make comments on this proposal until December 15th.
* Gregg Henson will exit as program director and early afternoon host (1-4pm) at Infinity Sports WXYT-AM 1270 Detroit in order to move sister station Talk WKRK-FM 97.1 where he'll join with Michelle McKormick for 'Motor City Middays'. McKormick's program had been airing from the conclusion of the Howard Stern Show (usually around 10:30am) through noon; Henson and McKormick will replace the Scott (Hasik) and Casey (Bartholomew) Show, who have been let go, and run until 3pm beginning Monday October 27th. Incoming to the PD spot at WXYT, the station's 4th boss in 3 years, will be Kevin Graham, who is a former Sports WDFN-AM 1130 Detroit employee and most recently the program director at Sports WEPN-AM 1050 New York. Art Regner remains in the 1-4 slot at WXYT- Henson's on-air replacement will be named later.
* Summer ratings for Grand Rapids were released today- the top station once again was Country WBCT-FM, followed by Top 40 WSNX-FM, Classic Rock WLAV-FM, News-Talk WOOD-AM, and Modern Rock WGRD-FM. The Country format overall was strong when compared to the spring book- WBCT had the biggest share gain (9.5-11.7) and Muskegon Country WMUS-FM 106.9 also enjoyed a big jump (1.0-2.4). Clear Channel held a 40.1 share of the total market this time out, far outdistancing the other local clusters.
* New vice president and general manager for Next Media's Tri-Cities 5-station cluster is David Smith. He'll be responsible for News-Talk WSGW-AM 790, Country WCEN-FM 94.5, Top 40 WTCF-FM 100.5, Adult Contemporary WGER-FM 106.3, and Urban AC WTLZ-FM 107.1- R&R Online
* FCC Action: Granted WUPX-FM 91.5 Marquette its license to cover for changes (ERP increase from 200 watts to 360)
* Detroit public radio station WDET-FM 101.9 hoped to raise $40,000 in pledges with one hour of listener calls yesterday morning during the station's first ever 'Power Hour' fundraiser. It worked so well the phone lines jammed and more than $43,000 was raised, avoiding a traditional full day of on-air fundraising, says news director Joan Silvi.
* Rubber City Radio Group names Kevin Conrad as the new program director for Classic Hits WVIC-FM 94.1 Jackson/Lansing; he'll also be on the air for middays. Conrad had been music director and midday host at sister station Rock WJXQ-FM 106.1.
* FCC Actions: Granted the voluntary assignement of license for WAAM-AM 1600 Ann Arbor from Whitehall Enterprises to Big D Broadcasting; Granted W258AH 99.5 Kalamazoo (translator of WSAE-FM 106.9 Spring Arbor) a construction permit to change power from 55 watts to 19 watts and move tower west; Granted WOTV-DT 20 its license to cover (digital facilities); Granted Sunrise Assembly of God a construction permit for a new LPFM station to be licensed to Rogers City at 101.7 FM
* The video documentary about the top 40 days of CKLW-AM 800 Windsor titled "Radio Revolution - The Rise and Fall of the Big 8" has finished production. It runs 72 minutes in length (a television hour and a half). The film features appearances by everyone who was at last year's Big 8 reunion, along with Les Garland, Dave Marsh, Wayne Kramer, Alice Cooper, Tony Orlando, Martha Reeves, Mitch Ryder, Jack Richardson, Pat Holiday, and many many more. Look for a website soon, as well as more information on how you can get to see it. The first broadcast will be on History Television in Canada, likely in April 2004 (That is an anniversary month for both the birth of the Big 8 and the death of the format). Prior to the first broadcast, there may be a screening of the film for a Windsor Charity, possibly in March.
* 'Don' Ron Jamez adds weekend duties at top 40 WTWR-FM 98.3 Monroe/Toledo to his schedule that already includes weekend work at top 40 WDRQ-FM 93.1 Detroit. Jamez also particpates in WDRQ's evening show hosted by Man @ Large- All Access
* 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. The Johnson's bought WAAM in 1983, the station is the sole independently-owned commercial broadcast outlet in Washtenaw County.
* FCC Action: Granted the voluntary assignment of license for WCFX-FM 95.3 Clare from Goldsen Broadcasting to Grenax Broadcasting
* Vista Communications has applied to the FCC for a 5,000 kW NTSC TV station on channel 46 to be licensed to Bay City. In August, the FCC changed the table of allotments for Bay City to reflect that channel 61 was replaced by channel 46 - Vista had previously applied for a station on channel 61. If the station is approved, it would cover primarily the following counties with a city grade signal: Bay, Midland, Isaballa, Gratiot, and western Saginaw. This station would displace LPTV station W46CR, which last known programming had been religious.
* WDIV-TV 4 Detroit has appointed Matthew Kell to the position of general sales manager. Since joining WDIV in 1999, Kell has held the positions of both local sales Manager and national sales manager.
* Freedom Broadcasting, which in Michigan owns CBS affiliate WWMT-TV 3 Kalamazoo and ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV 53 Lansing, has announced a recapitalization plan that will keep the company independent and intact. The owners of the company had agreed earlier this year to explore a sale, which generated interest from would-be suitors including newspaper giant Gannett, owner of ABC affiliate WZZM-TV 13 Grand Rapids and several newspapers across the state including the Detroit News and the Lansing State Journal.
* Grosse Pointe Farms based Saga Communications announced today its inclusion in the Forbes 200 Best Small Companies list. Saga was chosen for the third time in 4 years, being named number 148 this year. Previously Saga was named number 156 in 2002 and number 160 on the 2000 list. Ed Christian, chairman and CEO of Saga, said, "It is wonderful to be recognized by Forbes as one of the 200 Best Small Companies again this year. Saga receives this honor due to the hard work and ongoing efforts of all the members of our company. Since founding the company 17 years ago, we have taken great pride in being the best in our business." Saga owns or operates broadcast properties in 24 markets, including 49 FM and 26 AM radio stations, 4 television stations, 3 LPTV stations, the Michigan Radio Network, the Michigan Farm Radio Network, and the Illinois Radio Network.
* FCC Actions: Granted P&P Cable Holdings licenses to cover for LPTV stations WLLZ-LP Ch. 12 Traverse City and W44BO Ch. 44 Pinconning
* News-talk WJR-AM returned to the top spot among Detroit's radio stations during the summer 2003 book. Among listeners age 12 and above, WJR finished ahead of all-news WWJ-AM, rock WRIF-FM, oldies WOMC-FM, urban WJLB-FM, and smooth jazz WVMV-FM. WRIF's finish, tied for second with WWJ, showed the strength of the station over the summer- its jump from 4.6 to 5.5 was the largest share increase in the market. The adult contemporary battle between WNIC and WMGC, the top 40 contest between WDRQ and WKQI, and the the sports war between WDFN and WXYT each remained close; WNIC, WKQI, and WDFN all claimed a .1 advantage over their respective competitor. Among the clusters, Infinity continued to lead Clear Channel, Greater Media, ABC/Disney, and Radio One.
* Steve Black has exited Clear Channel rock WDTW-FM 106.7 Detroit. Black had been the station's evening host.
* Infinity country WYCD-FM 99.5 Detroit raised $12,800 for Gleaner's Community Food Bank by auctioning off 2 pairs of front row seats to a Shania Twain concert.
* Goodrich Radio has spun off urban AC WJNZ-AM 1140 Grand Rapids to station manager Mike St. Cyr for $360,000, pending FCC approval. Goodrich still owns children's formatted WDSS-AM 1680- the station is brokered to ABC/Disney for its Radio Disney programming.
* The Port Huron March of Dimes has named Jerry Noble of Radio First hot AC WBTI-FM 96.9 Lexington/Pt. Huron as its Volunteer of the Year. Noble is program director and morning show host for the station. The award was given for Noble's participation in many of the March of Dimes throughout the year, including Blue Jeans for Babies, Jail & Bail, WalkAmerica, and a golf outing. Noble, an advisory-board member, has served as a communications committee member for all events and generated about $25,000 in public-service announcements. He also served as emcee for events including Theme Night at the Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron, Hockey Night at the Huron Athletic Club in Port Huron, and at the Yale Dance and Auction- Port Huron Times-Herald
* The FCC has amended the FM Table of Allotments for Michigan to add a new Class A allotment for Harrison at 103.9 FM
* Citadel Top 40 WIOG-FM 102.5 Bay City switches program directors- out is Mark Anderson who heads to Top 40 WKST-FM Pittsburgh as that station's new PD. WIOG's new boss is Brent Carey, who was last at Top 40 ABC/Disney WDRQ-FM Detroit where he was working on-air as a swing shifter. It marks a return to WIOG for Carey, who previously held the title of music director at the station.
* FCC Actions: Granted WGTU-TV 29 Traverse City a construction permit to increase its ERP from 1,175 kW to 1,303 kW; Granted WIBM-AM 1450 Jackson its license to cover for changes (ERP increase to 810 watts from 780 with a slight tower location change); Granted WNFR-FM 90.7 Sandusky a modification to its construction permit to change tower location slightly.
* Sovereign Communications adult contemporary WNBY-FM 93.7 Newberry has applied to the FCC to change its frequency to 93.9, increase its power from 6,000 watts @ 262 feet directional (Class A) to 50,000 watts @ 492 feet nondirectional (Class C2), and move its tower into Chippewa County, closer to the higher population center of Sault Ste Marie.
* Regent adult contemporary WCRZ-FM 107.9 Flint has won a Marconi Award as 2003 Small Market Station of the Year. The station shares the honor with KLVI Beaumont, TX.
* Greater Media classic rock WCSX-FM 94.7 raised an estimated $357,000 during its annual radiothon to support the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. The 28-hour event, hosted by the morning team of Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison, wrapped up with the announcement that a listener from West Bloomfield had won the station's Stone Soup 1967 Mustang- a car that had been being rebuilt with the help of listeners over the past 7 months. Supporters of the Stone Soup project kicked in over $100,000 toward the final tally of the radiothon.
* Clear Channel urban WJLB-FM 97.9 Detroit program director K.J. Holiday has been promoted to director of urban programming for the Detroit cluster. In addition to adding oversight of urban AC WMXD-FM 92.3, Holiday has signed a new multi-year contract with Clear Channel. Current WMXD program director Jamillah Muhammad will now report directly to Holiday- All Access
* Ryan Schram exits as director of Internet services for Clear Channel Detroit- All Access
* FCC Action: Granted WTCM-AM 580 Traverse City a construction permit to increase its daytime power to 35,000 watts (from 15,000) and nighttime power to 1,100 watts (from 800)
* Michigan State University's Department of Telecommunication dedicated the "Dick Purtan Studio." A rebuilt Studio A in MSU's Communication and Art's Building was named after the legendary Detroit DJ; much of the funding coming from a donation made by Purtan years ago.