Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Mar 14 - 17




Detroit Free Press:

A new way to get your favorite radio stations has quietly been going on the air in Detroit. Not only does it feature crystal-clear quality -- FM stations sound like CDs, AM stations sound like FM -- but it also includes second channels featuring everything from local artists to deep tracks. And it's not satellite radio. It's free, high-definition radio, or HD radio. All you need to get it is a special receiver... Digital Life: HD the future of free radio (Tue 3/14)

WXYZ-TV news anchor Frank Turner is asking people to pray for divine intervention to sway Channel 7 to allow him to host a religious radio show on Christian WEXL-AM (1340). Turner bills himself as "America's First Evangelical Anchorman" on, a site devoted to his off-camera religious pursuits. There, he wrote that WEXL has reserved a weekday time slot of 10 a.m. to noon. "The only problem," he continued, "has been securing a letter of release from WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) acknowledging an exception to our contractual agreement that will allow our daily radio ministry to be broadcast... Turner asks help toward evangelism (Tue 3/14)

Getting their shot: Coco and Foolish, on Clear Channel's WJLB-FM (97.9) morning show. The station parted company with morning show main man MC Serch last week, and Coco and Foolish will get a tryout. Station officials said they couldn't discuss Serch's departure, but a source who requested anonymity said the departure was not a contract nonrenewal issue... Names and Faces (Tue 3/14)

The Federal Communications Commission proposed an indecency fine of $3.6 million against CBS, its owned and operated stations including Detroit's WWJ-TV (Channel 62) and affiliates Wednesday. At fault was a "Without a Trace" episode that aired in December 2004. It was cited because of graphic depiction of "teenage boys and girls participating in a sexual orgy." Also, the FCC rejected an appeal by CBS, and upheld its $550,000 fine against 20 of the network's stations for the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl two years ago... FCC proposes fine for CBS (Thu 3/16)

The sedate, urbane world of public broadcasting was rattled Thursday as prosecutors charged three former employees of Michigan Public Media with illegally accepting golf club memberships, Persian rugs, airline tickets and massages in exchange for on-air considerations at the state's top public radio station. Each of the men -- current WDET-FM general manager Michael Coleman, Jeremy Nordquist and Justin Ebright -- was charged by Washtenaw County prosecutors in Ann Arbor with embezzlement of under $20,000 while working at Michigan Public Media-controlled WUOM-FM (91.7). Each could face up to five years in prison if convicted... Scandal shakes public radio (Fri 3/17)

Michael Coleman, the embattled general manager of Detroit Public Radio, told the Free Press today that he didn't take food, alcohol, airline tickets and hotel rooms in exchange for on-air acknowledgements while he worked for the University of Michigan's public radio and television stations. Coleman was one of three former Michigan Public Media employees charged Thursday in Ann Arbor on one count of embezzlement under $20,000. He faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted. He may also be required to pay a fine of $10,000 or three times the amount of the alleged embezzlement, according to court records... Detroit Public Radio's general manager says he's innocent (Fri 3/17)

Detroit News:

Turner wants jobs at WEXL and WXYZ: WXYZ-TV Channel 7 anchorman Frank Turner wants viewers and fans to pray that his employers will allow him to host a morning program on WEXL-AM (1340), a Christian station. The plea for prayer can be found on Turner's religious Web site, On it, Turner says the only thing stopping him from spreading the ministry as "America's First Evangelical Anchorman" is a letter of release from WXYZ... Newsmakers (Tue 3/14)

The news had been percolating through channels for a week that veteran Detroit radio executive Steve Schram was being considered for Donovan Reynolds' job as director of Michigan Public Media at the University of Michigan. Finally on Wednesday, U-M made it official. Schram was named interim director effective immediately, replacing Reynolds, who departed March 1. His hiring brings stability as U-M tries to move past the recent dust-up over fundraising irregularities at WUOM-FM... Interim U-M media boss named (Thu 3/16)

A government crackdown on indecent programming resulted in a proposed fine of $3.6 million against dozens of CBS stations and affiliates on Wednesday -- a record penalty from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC said an episode of the CBS crime drama "Without a Trace" that aired in December 2004 was indecent. It cited the graphic depiction of "teenage boys and girls participating in a sexual orgy." CBS said it strongly disagrees with the FCC's finding. The program "featured an important and socially relevant storyline warning parents to exercise greater supervision of their teenage children. The program was not unduly graphic or explicit," the network said in a statement... CBS fined $3.6M for alleged indecent programs (Thu 3/16)

The head of public radio in Detroit was charged with embezzlement Thursday, accused of accepting money, airline tickets and lodging while he worked as deputy director of a radio station owned and operated by the University of Michigan. Michael Coleman, general manager of Wayne State University's WDET-FM, was charged in 14A District Court in Ann Arbor with one felony count of embezzlement while at his former job at Michigan Public Media's WUOM-FM (91.7). He could face five years in prison, a fine of $10,000 or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is more... WDET chief faces embezzling charges (Fri 3/17)

You can believe this and take it to the bank: Steve Harvey is coming clean. Yes, the veteran standup comedian, one of the "Original Kings of Comedy," known for his uproarious blue jokes and hilarious takes on life, says he's strengthening his relationship with God, praying daily and reading his Bible. He's also working really hard to stop cursing in his comedy shticks. The 49-year-old, who's also a syndicated morning radio show host heard locally on WMXD-FM (Mix, 92.3), says the change came when he pondered these questions: "What does it profit a man to gain the whole word and lose his soul? What is it all about?... Harvey cleans up comedy routine (Fri 3/17)

Ann Arbor News:

The criminal investigation into University of Michigan public radio station WUOM involves the station's fundraising and whether employees improperly received gifts from businesses mentioned on air, said an attorney representing a former employee questioned by police. Dan Geherin, the attorney for Justin Ebright, the station's former development director, confirmed Monday that Ebright was recently interviewed by investigators with the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety... WUOM probe checks gifts, fundraising (Tue 3/14)

Just two weeks before a key fundraising drive, Michigan Radio officials are hoping to minimize the fallout from revelations Thursday that three former employees took gifts ranging from airline tickets to golf club memberships in exchange for on-air mention on the popular public radio station heard across the state. Officials at the University of Michigan-operated station said they will keep the public's support by relying on the service's reputation for quality programming and by a quick response to criminal charges that exposed glaring weaknesses in financial reporting and oversight... Ex-WUOM staffers charged (Fri 3/17)

The next step isn't yet clear following a recent state appeals court decision regarding the firing of outspoken WEMU radio personality Thayrone in 2003. The decision, announced earlier this month, overturned a June 2003 ruling by Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Timothy P. Connors, who had dismissed the DJ's lawsuit against the station. Now, Eastern Michigan University could appeal the reinstatement of the suit to the Michigan Supreme Court; however, the case will more likely return to Washtenaw County for further proceedings - likely a trial... WEMU weighing options in Thayrone case (Fri 3/17)

All Access:

PD Maguire Takes Afternoons At WTKA/Ann Arbor
CLEAR CHANNEL Sports WTKA-A/ANN ARBOR afternoon host DENNIS FITHIAN exits, and PD RYAN MAGUIRE is taking over the afternoon show 3-6p beginning MONDAY (3/20). 6-7p will feature a new show, "IN CASE YOU MISSED IT," a replay of the station's best interviews and guests from the rest of the day hosted by Exec. Producer JOSH VERNIER. MAGUIRE will continue to oversee programming and operations at WTKA and sister Talk WLBY-A. (Fri 3/17)







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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 17, 2006 7:30 AM.

University of Michigan media probe results in charges was the previous entry in this blog.

Michigan broadcasters rack up more awards is the next entry in this blog.

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