Mid-Michigan: September 2005 Archives

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!

 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Mid-Michigan category from September 2005.

Mid-Michigan: August 2005 is the previous archive.

Mid-Michigan: October 2005 is the next archive.

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