Entries in Mid-Michigan Category

The Lansing COL Shuffle

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It seems that several radio stations may be coming to (or leaving) a city near you soon. Here's how the proposed shuffle, regarding three Lansing-area radio stations, shakes up:

WQTX-FM 92.7 (owned by Mid-Michigan Radio Group, or MMRG) has applied for a city-of-license change from Charlotte to Grand Ledge, along with the application for a new transmitter location, increased power and frequency switch to 92.9 FM.

WLCM-AM 1390 (owned by Christian Broadcasting System LTD) has applied for a COL change from Charlotte to Holt, and for addition of nighttime service from a new transmitter location closer to Lansing.

And if that's not enough, the above two proposed changes have sparked the need for yet a third proposed change:

WJXQ-FM 106.1 (also owned by MMRG) has recently applied for a COL change from Jackson to Charlotte (no technical modifications are included in WJXQ's application).

So why all of these changes? The reason for the first two is obvious: both the owners of WQTX and WLCM would like to improve their stations' coverage of the Lansing metro. However, that creates one tiny problem, in that it leaves Charlotte without a licensed radio station, or what the FCC refers to as "First Local" service. Hence, the application to change WJXQ's COL to Charlotte, so that the other two applications can be approved. WJXQ would not need to make modifications to their facilities, since the station already provides a city-grade signal over Charlotte.

One might wonder, though, in this day and age when many stations are tied to their cities of license by nothing more than an hourly ID, whether all of this paperwork and red tape is really necessary, although those who make their living from filing such applications might agrue differently. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out in the coming months.

 

WITL Brings Nascar to Mid-Michigan

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According to their website, WITL-FM 100.7 is bringing a new season of NASCAR racing to Mid-Michigan radio listeners, as an affiliate of the Performance Racing Network (PRN). WITL's sister station, WVFN-AM 730, had previously been an affiliate of the Motor Racing Network (MRN). WITL can certainly deliver a dedicated target audience for NASCAR coverage, making this deal a good matchup.

 

Lansing Baseball Fans Will Have Their Pick

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The Detroit Tigers may be searching for a TV home in their hometown, but at least they have found a radio home in Mid-Michigan for this season.

WTXQ FM 92.1 and WQTX-FM 92.7 (collectively known at The Ticket) will air all regular-season Tiger games this year, along with all regular-season games of the minor-league Lansing Lugnuts. This will be accomplished through the unique ability of the station to utilize both frequencies for separate broadcasts. When both teams are playing, the Tiger games will be broadcast on 92.1 FM, and the Lugnut games will be broadcast on 92.7 FM, and when there is no conflict, either game will be broadcast on both frequencies.

This is an advantage which The Ticket did not enjoy at this time last year, when the station landed the contract for the Lansing Lugnuts, and opted not to renew their contract with the Detroit Tigers (local AM Sports station WVFN picked up the Tiger broadcasts halfway through last season). At that time, 92.1 was still programming a Hot AC format as WKMY. That all changed in July of 2004, when WKMY dropped their format in favor of a simulcast of the All-Sports format on WQTX. The simulcast arrangement has opened up new possibilities, such as multicasts of local high school and college sporting events, and now the ability to carry both the Lugnuts and the Tigers, making many Mid-Michigan Tiger fans much happier this year.

In addition, XM Satellite Radio subscribers will be able to hear all of the Tigers' exhibition and regular season games as part of their regular monthly subscription, beginning this month.

 

A True Gem in Local Radio

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In this day of radio stations selling out to bigger corporations and losing their local flare, it is pretty hard to find a truly local radio station anymore. Sure, you may have a radio station that broadcasts from your hometown, but they might not be very local. They may be completely satellite fed. And if they are techically FROM your town, they may aim all of their programming to the bigger city 25 miles away from you.

Fortunately, there is still one radio station that has kept it's local flavor. This radio station is WCSR at 92.1 in Hillsdale. For the record, they also have an AM simulcast at 1340. WCSR is very heavy on local news. They even branch out and report the news for nearby towns like Osseo, Hudson and Litchfield. Communities that would otherwise have little or no means for local news. Their local news also includes local commentary. In addition, they feature a 'Pet Rescue' segment where they announce lost or found cats and dogs. Truly a staple unique only to local radio stations.

Between the heavy local news sets on WCSR, their primary format is Adult Contemporary. But they don't just play the same songs you would expect to hear on any Adult Contemporary station. They play songs that truly do not get any airplay on other radio stations. Not because these songs aren't any good, but because other radio stations simply do not touch these songs. Sunday mornings are unique because they play the best in Big Band and Standards. They do go to the satellite on nights and weekends with the JRN AC feed, but this the only time they are not live.

Perhaps the only bad thing about WCSR is their limited signal. They broadcast on a very crowded frequency. So even with 6000 watts, their signal does not make it out very far. During favorable weather conditions, they can be wiped out even in Coldwater and as close to Hillsdale as Litchfield and Somerset. The AM signal only serves Hillsdale and Jonesville before succumbing to the perils of broadcasting on a 'graveyard' frequency. But if you are within listening range of WCSR, it is definitely worth a listen!

 

Local Broadband Company Prepares to Expand in Clinton County

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Westphalia Broadband Inc is gearing up to offer comprehensive broadband media service to residents of DeWitt and St. Johns, in addition to customers already being served in the company's hometown of Westphalia. Services offered by WBI will include telephone, high-speed DSL internet, and digital TV service delivered via Cat5 cable instead of the traditional coax used by most cable TV companies. According to the company's website, a package deal including telephone, high-speed internet and TV service is offered for less than $100 per month.

It's refreshing to see a locally-owned company jump into the business of delivering these digital media services, especially in a day and age when such services are mostly delivered by the corporate giants, at an ever-increasing cost to the consumer.

 

WJKN signs on

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After a long wait, Spring Arbor University has finally flipped the switch on long-time CP WJKN-FM. They can be heard at 89.3 FM simulcasting sister station WSAE for now, but that will almost certainly change. Spring Arbor surely doesn't need the same station on two FM frequencies licensed to the same city. They even share a tower!

They had to have signed on just today. I was trying to DX last night and 89.3 was dead air. I knew something was up when I actually heard a signal here.

I would definitely expect changes on one of the Spring Arbor stations in the near future. And when I hear any of these changes, i'll share them for everybody here.

 

WJSZ Sold to Former Lansing GM

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Radio & Records online reports that WJSZ-FM 92.5, Ashley (Owosso) is being sold by Curwood Communications to Krol Communications for a reported price of $650,000. Curwood Communications is headed by president Michael Gaylord, and Krol Communications is headed by CEO/president Rod Krol. Mr. Krol was formerly the general manager of Citadel Communications' Lansing group of stations.

WJSZ currently transmits from studios in Owosso and transmitter facilities in Ashley, at an ERP of 2,000 watts. The station signed on in the spring of 1994 with an Oldies format, and later switched to a request-driven Rock/Pop format. Currently, the station is programming a mix of Classic and Mainstream Rock.

 

The saga of WWZP Freeland

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Yet again, it appears that low wattage WWZP-FM 90.9 Freeland (240 watts @ 213 feet) has been sold. This time, Educational Media Foundation is paying $75,000 to owner American Family Association for the station. In the past year, there have been 2 other aborted attempts at selling this station.

In March 2004, Great Lakes Community Broadcasting (owner of several similar low-wattage stations and many translators across the lower peninsula) was to pay $40,000. That deal was approved by the FCC, but apparently never closed as the licensee has remained in the name of AFA.

Then last August, another deal had the CP moving from AFA to Edgewater Broadcasting, a division of Radio Assist Ministry Inc, for $1. Edgewater at closing was to give AFA credit toward the purchase of FM translators, CPs or stations licensed to Edgewater in the amount of $80,000 and also was to give AFA's Great Lakes Community Broadcasting credit toward the purchase of FM translators, CPs or stations licensed to Edgewater in the amount of $10,000. Apparently that deal never closed either. (Edgewater and Radio Assist Ministry are a story for another day....)

Got all that? Me neither.

Now California based Educational Media Foundation will take a swing at aquiring the station. EMF runs two formats across the USA- the Contemporary Christian "K-Love" format heard on WAKL-FM 88.9 Flint and a Christian Rock format called Air 1 heard on WTRK-FM 88.1 Bay City. EMF also holds a number of construction permits for new translator stations here in Michigan. Time will tell if this sale ever completes.

 

WILX Takes the Lead in Lansing TV News Ratings

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The February Nielsen ratings are out, and the results were reported in Friday's Lansing State Journal.

WILX-TV has regained the lead over WLNS-TV in their 6 and 11 pm newscasts, while WLNS maintains a lead at 5 pm. In addition, WILX widened its lead over WLNS in the morning local news block (5 to 7 am). This was a win-back for WILX, since WLNS had previously held the lead at 6 and 11 pm.

It was also a good news book for WSYM-TV, with the Fox affiliate making gains at 10 pm. Former WILX morning news anchor Jason Colthorp recently took over the anchor chair for WSYM's 5:30 and 10 pm newscasts. The move appears to have paid off for WSYM, which entered into a news production agreement with WILX last summer.

 

Lansing Arbitron Ratings Embargoed - Again

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It seems as if it's been only a year since Arbitron lifted its embargo on radio ratings for the Lansing market, but according to the All Access website, the embargo has once again been imposed. This means that, at least for now, the general public or print media will not be privvy to the Lansing Arbitron ratings. This, once again, will create the mystery of who ranks where in the ratings for this market, although most posted and printed ratings are for the 12+ total audience, and not for specific demographic breakdowns.

 

Holman Moves to WILS

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Former WJIM-AM morning show host Chris Holman has found a new home across town, at WILS-AM 1320. WILS is currently airing promos announcing the debut of Holman's morning program this Monday, April 18th, from 6 to 9 am. Holman's co-host and newsperson will be Kate Corolin, former afternoon news anchor for WJIM. The promos announcing Holman's debut are voiced by another 1240 alumnus, former WJIM-AM PD Jack Robbins, who will also be part of the new program. Holman and Robbins exited WJIM when programming changes were implemented in January. The morning show on WJIM is currently co-hosted by Mark Bashore and Joanne Paul.

Holman's new program marks a move toward local programming for WILS, which airs the "Unforgettable" satellite Nostalgia format from ABC Radio.

 

Citadel Seeks Operations Manager for Two Lansing Stations

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Citadel Communications is seeking an operations manager for two of its Lansing radio stations, WMMQ-FM and WJIM-FM, according to a listing in the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Job Bank. WMMQ (94.9) currently programs a Classic Rock format, and WJIM-FM (97.5) programs an Oldies format with emphasis on the 60's and 70's. According to the listing, the person hired for the position would oversee programming for both stations, as well as maintain an airshift on one of the two. Anyone interested is asked to send resume materials to Robert Striker, Citadel's Lansing GM.

 

Liners on WSAE and recent sign on WJKN are promising a big change coming to WSAE on Wednesday, May 18th. The change is a new station to be called 'Home dot FM'. It isn't quite known exactly what kind of changes will be made with the new station, but I will be sure to report on any changes when I hear them on Wednesday!

 

Rumors once again became reality when earlier today Spring Arbor University (Jackson County) changed the format of its FM flagship WSAE-FM 106.9 to a hybrid of Hot Adult Contemporary and Contemporary Christian as "Home.fm". The previous format titled "Power Praise FM", offering more traditional Christian fare, has been moved to SAU's new signal, WJKN-FM 89.3. WSAE and WJKN-FM share the same broadcast tower west of Jackson and enjoy similar coverage areas.

Spring Arbor hopes the new format will provide a platform for Christian values through a blend of mainstream and Christian music. Listeners will hear familiar music that is appropriate for all audiences. “The most important element of our music is that anyone can listen to it,” says general manager Carl Fletcher. “Every song we play on HOME.fm is ‘family safe’ because we won’t play music with questionable material.”

Accompanying the new sounds of HOME is a revamped format that supplies relevant news and entertaining features for the entire family. “WSAE is being totally transformed to relate to our community in a culturally relevant, relationship-building way that has not yet been explored by other markets,” says Rachel Ryder, music director and assistant program director of HOME.fm.

GM Fletcher, formerly of WONU/Chicago (Shine.fm), WLGH/Lansing (Smile.fm) and WHPO/Hoopeston, IL, will co-host "The Breakfast Table" mornings with Suzanna McGraw. Middays will feature Bill DeWees beginning in June with afternoons hosted by Ryder.

In addition to WSAE, the station is broadcast on 4 translators in southern Michigan: 104.7 Lansing, 99.5 Kalamazoo, 92.5 Battle Creek, and 96.5 Adrian. The station's web site also features a live web stream.

 

There is a new radio station in Jackson today. Spring Arbor University has made the long-awaited changes to 106.9 WSAE, the station formerly known as Power Praise FM, they are now calling known as 'Home dot FM'.

Home dot FM promises to bring family friendly music to the airwaves in South Central Michigan. The station still has a christian lean however, playing about one or two religious songs in the time that I listened today. Most of the playlist would probably best be described as positive and encouraging types of music. Artists I heard on the station this afternoon included John Mayer, Earth Wind & Fire, and Sting. The station seems to be running jockless right now. Liners on the station are pitching more programs coming on June 1st. Some people may argue that this is the same format as K-105.3, but in my opinion, 105.3 has more of a Hot AC approach.

Power Praise FM is not dead though. Many people speculated a Christian CHR/Rock format on 89.3 FM. However, a listen on the radio this morning showed the station now sitting in the non-commercial band. Also, the large network of translators owned by Spring Arbor University that used to repeat the former Power Praise FM on 106.9 are now repeating the new Home dot FM. Power Praise is now only listenable for those within listening range of 89.3. But I think the translator switch is a good idea. Most of the Power Praise translators were located in towns that although did not receive 106.9 with a good signal, listeners could hear the same kind of music elsewhere on the dial. Bringing a fresh format to these cities will put better use to these translators.

Home dot FM may not be done expanding either. There are still more translator construction permits for Spring Arbor University. New stations at 98.3 in Chelsea, 107.7 in Deerfield, and 97.1 in my hometown of Coldwater are still on the dock.

 

FCC Approves COL Change for WJXQ

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The FCC has issued an order approving Mid-Michigan Radio Group's application to reassign the city of license for WJXQ-FM (Q106) from Jackson to Charlotte. The order, which was issued Wednesday and released today, paves the way for two other pending COL petitions to proceed: the reassignment of MMRG's WQTX-FM from Charlotte to Grand Ledge, and the reassignment of Christian Broadcasting System's WLCM-AM (1390) from Charlotte to Holt. WQTX is planning a new transmitter site, power increase, and frequency switch from 92.7 to 92.9, while WLCM plans to add nighttime service from a second transmitter location closer to Lansing.

So why all the shuffle? With both current Charlotte stations applying for COL changes, the Eaton county seat would be left without a licensed radio station, and under FCC guidelines, there must be at least one station licensed to a municipality once it is allocated. Enter WJXQ, which will now be, at least on the FCC books, a Charlotte station; however, I wouldn't expect to hear any farm reports on Q106 in the near future.

 

Stevens Departs WMMQ

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WMMQ/East Lansing PD Mark Stevens has reportedly exited the station. Stevens joined the Citadel Classic Rock outlet as PD in 1997, and had previously held the same post at crosstown AOR WJXQ.

 

Bashore Announces Departure from WJIM-AM

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WJIM-AM morning show co-host Mark Bashore has announced his departure from the station, following Wednesday's (6/15) program. Bashore made the announcement during Tuesday morning's program, citing a desire to sleep in and enjoy more time with his family. Prior to assuming the morning slot at WJIM in January, Bashore hosted morning drive on sister station WFMK. He moved to WJIM to join co-host Joanne Paul, following programming changes which precpitated the departure of Chris Holman. Holman, along with former WJIM PD Jack Robbins, have since assumed the morning slot at crosstown WILS-AM.

 

Morning Show Shuffle at Citadel

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One day after the departure of Mark Bashore from the WJIM-AM (1240) morning program, the morning air talent shuffles at two of Citadel's Lansing radio stations, WJIM-AM and WMMQ (94.9).

Deb Hart, best known as Tim Barron's co-host on the WMMQ morning show, takes over as morning show host at WJIM. At least for now, Hart will be paired with rotating co-hosts, including Rob Bennett (formerly of WVIC), Ken Kluge, and WJIM morning sportscaster Tim Nester. This morning's co-host was Mark Addy.

Meanwhile, Joanne Paul, who had originally been paired with Bashore at WJIM, moves to WMMQ, where she will now co-host the morning show with Barron.

This move marks a major change in the makeup of Lansing morning radio, as Barron and Hart have worked together for nearly 15 years. Prior to moving to WMMQ (then WVIC) in early 1997, the two held down the morning fort at Rocker WJXQ.

 

Former St. Johns Broadcaster Dies at 75

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Robert D. Ditmer, who was an integral part of radio broadcasting in St. Johns and Clinton county over the course of four decades, passed away Tuesday (6/21) at the age of 75. Mr. Ditmer purchased WRBJ-AM 1580 in the 1960's, and launched WRBJ-FM 92.1 in 1972. The stations, with studios and transmitters located on Parks Road south of St. Johns, provided Clinton county listeners with various music formats, local news and talk, agricultural information, and local high school and college sports, and were part of a dying breed of small-market, community radio stations with a truly local flavor.

Ditmer originally sold WRBJ-AM/FM in 1981, but repurchased the AM side in 1986, relaunching it as WWSJ. The format of WWSJ was similar to that of WRBJ, offering a variety of local programming to Clinton county, along with a mix of Country music and syndicated talk programs. Ditmer sold WWSJ in 1995. The station currently programs an Urban Christian format.

In addition to his interest in radio broadcasting, Mr. Ditmer also served as Pastor of the Eureka Christian Church, and his son, Robert Ditmer Jr., is a correspondent for Focus On the Family Ministries. The younger Ditmer also served as general manager of both WRBJ and WWSJ.

 

New WJIM Morning Show Partners with MTRN

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Lansing's WJIM-AM 1240 has launched a new morning program, which appears to be a joint venture with the Michigan Talk Radio Network. The host of the new program is MTRN founder and CEO Dave Scott, who had previously hosted the morning show from the network's Charlevoix studios, but now moves to WJIM's Lansing facilities. Scott's co-host is Joanne Paul, who held the same duties on WJIM's previous morning show with Mark Bashore. Also present is WJIM ND and morning anchor Gary Austin, who now does newscasts across the network. The key difference it that now, it appears that the entire morning program, originating from Citadel's Lansing studios, is distributed across MTRN, replacing MTRN's previous morning program with Scott and co-host Laurel Hess.

Citadel has been auditioning new morning hosts for WJIM since Bashore's depature last month, so it's difficult to tell if the new program is a trial, or more permanent. Only time (or a Citadel press release) will answer that question.

 

Barron Departs WMMQ

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Tim Barron has exited Citadel's Lansing Classic Rock outlet WMMQ-FM (94.9), after eight years as the station's morning co-host. Barron, along with co-host Debra Hart, joined WMMQ (then WVIC a.k.a. Buzz 95) in January 1997, following a successful morning run at crosstown Rocker WJXQ (Q106). Hart and morning show producer Keith Pelligrini remain with WMMQ, and are joined by a new co-host known as "The Beagle", formerly of the late WWDX (92.1 The Edge).

Barron's departure marks the latest in a number of personnel and programming changes which have taken place at Citadel's Lansing cluster since top management changed late last fall.

 

WQTX Receives Approval to Change Frequency and COL

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The FCC has approved the petition of Mid-Michigan Radio Group (MMRG) to jump the frequency of WQTX-FM from 92.7 to 92.9 MHZ, and change the station's city of license from Charlotte to Grand Ledge. The move also involves a power increase and greater coverage area for the current Class A FM.

The petition was one of two actions filed by Charlotte radio stations to modify their COL's. Another petition, filed by Christian Broadcasting System LTD, seeks reassignment of WLCM-AM (1390) from Charlotte to Holt, along with addition of nighttime service. Both of these changes precipitated yet a third change - the reassignment of MMRG's WJXQ-FM (Q106) from Jackson to Charlotte, in order to comply with the Commission's requirement that at least one station remain licensed to Charlotte.

WQTX currently offers a Sports Talk format, which is simulcast with sister station WTXQ-FM (92.1), licensed to St. Johns.

 

Mid-Michigan Radio and TV Stations Join Forces for Katrina Relief

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Mid-Michigan radio and televisions stations have banded together to provide essential relief to hurricane-ravaged areas of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. WILX-TV aired an NBC hurricane relief concert Friday evening, along with local cut-in's from Lansing's Celebration Cinema Theaters, raising more than $230,000 in aid. Particing radio stations in the effort were WFMK, WITL, WJIM-AM/FM, WMMQ and WHZZ. WLNS-TV, which headed fundraising efforts earlier in the week, raised over $70,000 for hurricane relief. That brings the cash donations of Mid-Michigan residents to a total exceeding $300,000. Also in participation was Dan Henry Distributing, which, under the supervision of marketing director Mark Stevens, donated a semi-truck full of fresh water to the victims. All of this is a prime example of how local media competitiveness can be set aside in times of need.

 

Z-101.7 Gives Way to "Mike"

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WHZZ-FM (101.7) Lansing has dropped its fairly successful CHR format in favor of a "Jack" style format, rebranding itself as "101.7 Mike FM". The new format, which is currently running without live announcers, features a mix of 70's, 80's and 90's hits. WHZZ's parent company, MacDonald Broadcasting, implemented a similar format on sister station WMJO-FM Bay City last year, and has enjoyed reasonable success with the format in the Tri-Cities market.

This effectively ends speculation that Citadel's WMMQ-FM might adopt the "Jack" format in light of the departure of morning host Tim Barron. However, WHZZ's switch to this format is a total surprise, since their CHR format was garnering respectable ratings. I guess the next question is, who, if anyone, will pick up the CHR torch in the Lansing market?

 

Fig returns to CK 105.5

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WWCK-FM "All The Hits CK 105.5" announces "Fig", Brian Figula, as Program Director beginning Monday, September 19, 2005. Fig will also host his 3-7pm show beginning Wednesday, September 21, 2005.
Cumulus Flint Operation Manager, Jeff Wade says, "We are excited to name a person to this position that understands the Flint Market. Fig has the passion, drive and leadership ability that will help us to continue building upon the recent successes of CK 105.5."

Fig will depart his afternoon show and assistant program director position at CBS/Infinity?s "Q104" WQAL-FM Cleveland, Ohio September 16, 2005. Fig started his radio internship at WWCK in 1994 and later started his career at WCRZ/WWBN/WFNT. In 2003, Fig was awarded the Illinois Silver Dome Award for outstanding achievement in broadcasting in the category for best local radio station personality at WDBR, Springfield, IL.

This will return Fig to his family and hometown of Flint. He's a business graduate of Baker College and a 1994 graduate of Kearsley High School in Flint.

 

Lansing radio shake-up!

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At 9 a.m. this morning, September 15th 2005, Citadel Broadcasting in Lansing, Michigan is really shaking things up and we all know how much the listening audience loves change.

Much of this was generated by cross-town WHZZ-FM (Z-101.7) which MacDonald Broadcasting just switched, on the 12th, from CHR to the "Jack-FM" format calling itself "Mike-FM." This left Michigan's capital city with no hit music.

So, upper management decided to do what is happening all over America. They blew up WJIM-FM (97.5) which was best known as Oldies 97.5 at 10 a..m. Thursday. This change moves long-time morning icon Rich Michaels over to classic rocker WMMQ-FM (94.9) to be teamed with Deb Hart. Hart was partnered for many years with long-time market morning guy Tim Barron. Barron's future is unclear. Rich Michaels' long-time news partner Monica Harris is being relinquished to the morning show on soft-rock WFMK-FM (99.1).

Obviously, all of these stations are part of the Citadel cluster, which also owns news-talk WJIM-AM (1240), sports WVFN-AM (730) and country WITL-FM (100.7).

The announcement was made by Michaels and Harris on the air along with General Manager Rob Stryker and Corporate VP Matt Hanlon. Interestingly this move places Rich Michaels on the same exact frequency where he started in the early 80's at Lansing's (then CHR) WVIC The New 95 (94.9). The WVIC calls are now on Rubber City's classic hits FM at 94.1. That station was once WIBM-FM from nearby Jackson, MI. Confused? So is the audience.

The last song on WJIM-FM was "American Pie." The music IS dying...all over the country as terrestrial radio continues to chase the audience who are over 50 years old to satellite companies like XM and Sirius. And the beat goes on.....for a small monthly fee!

 

Big Changes at Citadel-Lansing

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Citadel Broadcasting has announced changes affecting formats and lineups at three of their Lansing radio stations. The announcements were made at 9:00 this morning on Oldies WJIM-FM (97.5) and Classic Rock WMMQ-FM (94.9) by Citadel-Lansing GM Rob Stryker and VP of Operations Matt Hanlon. Here's a rundown of the announced changes:

  • WJIM-FM is dropping its Oldies format in favor of CHR, the format dropped by MacDonald Broadcasting's WHZZ-FM just two days ago.
  • WJIM-FM morning show host Rich Michaels moves to mornings at WMMQ, where he will co-anchor the morning show with Deb Hart. WMMQ's Classic Rock format will remain the same.
  • Michaels' co-host Monica Harris moves to WFMK, where she will co-anchor mornings with Danny Stewart.
  • Hart's current WMMQ morning co-host, Dave Beagle, moves to mornings at the "New 97.5", with its relaunched CHR format. Beagle joined WMMQ following the departure of Tim Barron last month.
  • Broadcasts of Michigan State University football and basketball games will move from WJIM-FM to WMMQ.

These moves answer the question of who will pick up the CHR torch which was dropped when WHZZ switched to a "Jack" style format as "Mike FM" on Tuesday (9/13). Of course, now this leaves a void for the Oldies format in Lansing, so we'll see if anyone picks that torch up and runs with it.

 

Details on the Citadel-Lansing Switch

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The following was published to the Radio and Records website Monday (9/19), regarding the format switches of last week:

He Who Hesitates Gets Stuck With The Crappy Format.

On Tuesday, Lansing, MI lost its only Pop station when McDonald Broadcasting flipped WHZZ to the Jack-esque "Mike-FM." Within the space of two days, however, Citadel dove right into that gaping hole by flipping WJIM from Oldies to an adult-targeted CHR under the working slogan "The New 97.5." "This has been the fastest 48 hours of my life," says Dan Kelley, who remains in place as OM/PD of WJIM and Classic Rock sister WMMQ. Chris Reynolds, PD of AC clustermate WFMK, adds MD duties for The New 97.5. In other moves, longtime WJIM morning man Rich Michaels will swap shifts with WMMQ morning talent Dave Beagle. Joining Beagle will be Lisa G, a refugee from the late WHZZ, where she did afternoons.

Kelley lets ST Daily in on the company's decision to make this sudden move and describes the accelerated timeline and behind-the-scenes drama: "WHZZ abandoned the format and left the door wide open for someone to take the position; it was a no-brainer decision and a race to see who would do it first," he says. WHZZ flipped at 1pm on Wednesday. "By 3pm, we were already having meetings about it," says Kelley, who enlisted the help of Chris Abrams at sister KKOB-FM/Albuquerque to start pulling some music together. "We got the final approval from [Citadel COO] Judy Ellis at 6:20pm ET Wednesday. We started loading in the music, cut some liners, started generating music logs and launched at 10am Thursday," he says.

The only discrepancies in the R&R article were that WHZZ switched formats at 1 pm last Tuesday (9/13), and that Dave Beagle's morning host is Lisa D (R&R reported her name as Lisa G). In any event, the lightning speed with which the staff on Pine Tree reacted to the changes on Cavanaugh is staggering, and shows just how fast things can move in the radio business, especially in this technological age!

 

WQTX Switches to Smooth Jazz as WJZL

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The Lansing radio changes continue! Mid-Michigan Radio Group has ended the simulcast of Sports Talk outlets WTQX-FM (92.1) and WQTX-FM (92.7), by flipping the latter to a Smooth Jazz format. The former WQTX (now WJZL) recently received FCC approval to proceed with plans for a COL change to Grand Ledge and frequency change to 92.9, which will provide the station with substantially better coverage of the Lansing market. In the meantime, however, it appears that MMRG has decided to proceed with programming changes for 92.7 FM. WJZL is airing the Smooth Jazz format from Jones Satellite Networks.

Lansing Community College's WLNZ-FM (89.7) currently offers Jazz programming in the daytime. The last commercial Jazz outlet in Lansing was WXMX-FM (now WTXQ), which programmed the format from 1991 to 1993.

WTXQ continues with Sports Talk as "The Ticket".

 

"Rock the House" Returns to WOES

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Locally-produced music program "Rudy and Dolph Rock the House" returns to WOES-FM (91.3), Ovid-Elsie, on October 21st. "Rock the House", which features a mix of Oldies and Classic Rock with emphasis on B-sides and seldom-heard tracks, will air Fridays at 9:00 pm, or immediately following the Ovid-Elsie football broadcast. The program will repeat Saturdays and Sundays at 6:00 pm on Clinton County Radio, and on WITT, Comcast cable channel 12 in the DeWitt area.

 

WSYM-TV Manager Heads for Warmer Climate

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Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group, owner of Lansing's WSYM-TV (Fox 47), has announced the appointment of WSYM vice president and general manager Judy Kenney to the VP/GM post of newly-acquired WFTX-TV 36, the Fox affiliate serving the Fort Myers/Naples, Florida market. Journal recently completed the purchase of three television stations from Emmis Communications, including WFTX, KGUN-TV (an ABC affiliate in Tuscon, Arizona) and KMTV-TV (a CBS affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska).

Ms. Kenney joined WSYM-TV as VP/GM in 1993. During her tenure, she oversaw the creation of a local news department at WSYM in 1997, as well as a news production agreement between WSYM and Lansing NBC affiliate WILX-TV in 2004. She has also served as a past treasurer for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.

 

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Mid-Michigan category.

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