'Tis the season for making lists. In the spirit of the season, I've put together a roll call of some of the best and worst moments in sports broadcasting throughout the 2006 calendar year. I still get goose bumps thinking about Hall of Fame broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell sitting in for a couple of innings during ESPN's telecast of Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. It just doesn't get much better than his call of a postseason game... Harwell's series call among best of 2006 (Mon 1/1)
Entries in West Michigan Category
Allan Stagg, morning host at Classic Rock WRCC FM 104.9 Marsall/Battle Creek, died on New Years Day from complications of pneumonia. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Stagg spent many years behind the mic at stations across the Midwest. He was probably best known for his years as a jock in Chicago at WCKG-FM, WLS-FM, and WDRV-FM but also worked in Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Lansing, as well as at several stations in Detroit including WABX-FM 99.5, WOMC-FM 104.3, WCAR AM 1130, and WDEE AM 1500.
Stagg's career started in his hometown at WLAV AM, returned to Grand Rapids at WLAV-FM in 2005, and just this past Thanksgiving landed the morning and program director roles at WRCC. His resume also included stops in Denver and Portland in the 1980s.
Stagg leaves behind his wife Kathy and five sons, ages five to 21. According to a release on WRCC's web site, the family says Stagg will be cremated and there may be a memorial service at some time in the future.
South Bend AM Tower Falls: Storms in INDIANA took down the tower of Sports WDND-A (ESPN RADIO 1490)/SOUTH BEND on NEW YEAR'S EVE. The station's tower was on the NOTRE DAME campus and is reportedly airing programming on sister WWLV-A for now. (Tue 1/2)
Regent Broadcasting's popular morning radio program Free Beer and Hot Wings began broadcasting on Charleston, South Carolina's WAVF yesterday, January 8th, marking the 8th radio market to carry the program. The addition of Charleston is the second southern market for the show (Nashville's WBUZ came aboard last month).
Free Beer and Hot Wings' flagship station, Regent's Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9, is based in Grand Rapids, where the show has vaulted into 1st place in less than two years' time.
Co-host Gregg "Free Beer" Daniels, said of the WAVF deal : " I can't believe we got another company to add our show to one of their stations. This is stealing money!"
"Come On Over," the new, locally-produced children's TV show that airs on Saturday mornings, debuted only three months ago on WOTV-TV (Channel 41), and already its first three half-hour episodes are available on DVD. About 300 people were at a DVD release party Thursday evening at Celebration Cinema South. Guest stars Luis Avalos, formerly of "The Electric Company," and Ruth Buzzi, a veteran of "Laugh-In" and "Sesame Street," returned to meet young fans... New kids' TV show also on DVD (Mon 1/8)
Allan Stagg, a DJ who began his career in 1965 at WLAV-FM (96.9), died on New Year's Day after having complications from pneumonia ... News 8 still market leader: According to the November 2006 Nielsen ratings, WOOD-TV (Channel 8) is No. 1 in all newscasts -- daybreak, noon, 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. ... Digital radio: Local Citadel radio stations are joining the HD stereo era. Classic rock station WLAV-FM, new-country station WTNR-FM (94.5) and WHTS-FM (105.3) are now broadcasting in HD stereo... Longtime radio personality dies (Tue 1/9)
Tavis Smiley, an outspoken advocate for political and social change within the African-American community, will speak in Battle Creek on Feb. 1, kicking off Black History Month. Smiley, 42, was named one of America's 50 most promising young leaders by Time magazine, and Newsweek dubbed him a "captain of the airways"... Tavis Smiley to speak in B.C. (Tue 1/9)
Dawn Michaels Joins WTNR: CITADEL Country WTNR/GRAND RAPIDS welcomes DAWN MICHAELS as APD/MD/midday mama. MICHAELS most recently worked at WYGY/CINCINNATI, where she served as MD/night talent until the station was purchased by ENTERCOM in NOVEMBER. (Wed, 1/10)
WZUU-FM 92.3 will undergo a move on your radio dial and a power upgrade today to significantly expand the rock radio station's reach, the station's owner said. Bob Brink, president of Forum Communications, which owns WZUU, said the Otsego-based station will be moving frequencies from 92.3 to 92.5 and increasing its power from 900 to 6,000 watts at 4 p.m. today during the ``The Afternooner'' show, hosted by Scotty ``Bud'' Melvin... WZUU-FM getting power upgrade (Fri, 1/12)
An eight-for-one swap of radio stations between media giants Clear Channel and Cumulus might change the radio landscape in Battle Creek forever.
Four Battle Creek stations and four in Ann Arbor are in the package Clear Channel has agreed to trade to Cumulus for Canton-Akron, Ohio, rock powerhouse WRQK-FM. But the deal is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval. And the FCC isn't letting deals go through these days that give one company ownership of more than half of the stations in a small market such as Battle Creek. There are seven stations here, so Cumulus, which already owns WKFR-FM 103.3, is asking the FCC to bend the rules a bit to let it have four stations — and it would practically give its fifth station away... Companies await FCC decision on radio-station swap (Fri, 1/12)
Expect the unexpected. If nothing else, veteran play-by-play broadcaster Tom Cleary has learned that much while providing the call of the Calvin College-Hope College men's basketball telecasts. Forget the records... Broadcaster expects surprises in rivalry (Fri, 1/12)
Forum Communications, Inc. has announced that WZUU, an FM radio station now licensed to Mattawan, Michigan, is now broadcasting at full power on a full time basis. WZUU FM “The ZUU” previously broadcasting at 92.3 and licensed to Allegan, is now broadcasting on 92.5 as of 4:00 pm today.
WZUU-FM 92.5 provides Mattawan with its first radio station. This new station will cover the counties of VanBuren, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Cass, and Allegan. The music format of “Real Rock” includes current hits, Mancow's Morning Madhouse weekdays from 6 until 10, local radio veteran Scotty "Bud" Melvin hosting “The Afternooner” from 2 until 6 weekdays, and “Turk” taking calls and requests evenings from 6 until 10, rounding out this latest creation from Forum Communications, Inc.
Forum is the last privately held, locally owned, FM broadcasting company in the Kalamazoo metro radio market. Forum Communications, Inc was formed in 1982 and will continue to provide public service and public affairs airtime, giving promotional opportunities to local civic and non-profit organizations.
According to station general manager Tom Flynn, “We are excited to serve Mattawan and it’s citizens with quality programming, music, news, sports, and to be a part of such a large growth effort in Southwest Michigan”. Forum is also the licensee of WQXC-FM 100.9 “Cool 101-The True Oldies Station” in the Kalamazoo market.
Does the thought of driving more than two hours to work and more than two hours back home make anyone a little anxious? Michelle McKormick, former Grand Rapids on-air radio personality, can say goodbye, for the time being, to her days of long-distance driving. She was commuting almost daily to CBS radio station WKRK-FM (97.1) in Southfield for the past 3 1/2 years, until she was fired Christmas Day. "Music was never the product. We are. My listeners knew everything about me," said McKormick, referring to the FM style of talk format she co-hosted on "Motor City Midday" from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Her radio partner was former West Michigan personality Jay Towers, who remains at the station... Broadcaster's commute is over, for now (Sun, 1/14)
WOOD (Channel 8) is putting together a DVD for the Ford Foundation. It will include the station's two, one-hour specials that aired Dec. 27 and Jan 3; a collection of stories and video compilation from the week's events... WOOD to offer DVD of Ford coverage (Sun, 1/14)
WZZM (Channel 13) news anchor Lee VanAmeyde covered President Ford's funeral proceedings, despite the death of his 92-year-old father. Marinus VanAmeyde died Jan. 1... Veteran anchor works despite loss (Sun 1/14)
Emily Zangaro, a Calvin College graduate, is the newest general-assignment reporter at WOOD. She previously worked at Lansing station WLNS (Channel 6)... New reporter takes the airwaves (Sun, 1/14)
Familiar faces in front of and behind the camera at WZZM were brought back to West Michigan to help remember President Ford... Broadcasters return to cover Ford (Sun, 1/14)
Toledo Now Has A Broadway: WBCT (B93)/GRAND RAPIDS nite slammer BROADWAY BILLY MACC has just added tracking duties! He's the new voice the kids of TOLEDO will hear when they are up late doing homework or sneakin' out of the house for late-night make-out sessions. In other words, he's now tracking overnights on WVKS (92.5 KISS FM)/TOLEDO. (Tue, 1/16)
Ford PD At WKDF/Nashville; Stewart Set For WTNR/Grand Rapids
CITADEL Country WTNR (THUNDER COUNTRY)/GRAND RAPIDS hires STEVE STEWART for PD duties. STEWART currently holds the OM title at QANTUM COMMUNICATIONS/MYRTLE BEACH, SC. He has also worked for CLEAR CHANNEL's WPKX/SPRINGFIELD, MA. STEWART replaces BUD FORD, who is moving south to take the PD reins at CITADEL Country WKDF/NASHVILLE. FORD has been with THUNDER COUNTRY since MAY 2005 and replaces DAVE KELLY, who was promoted from OM/PD to Market Mgr. last APRIL. LARRY STONE, who joined WKDF in SEPTEMBER as OM, has been handling programming duties in recent months. Both STEWART and FORD are expected to be in their respective new gigs in late FEBRUARY. (Thu, 1/18)
News-talk WOOD AM was a surprise number one station among all radio listeners in Grand Rapids during the fall ratings book, pushing country WBCT-FM out of the top slot for the first time in at least a couple of years. B-93 finished second, followed by Christmas/soft rock WOOD-FM, contemporary hits WSNX-FM and classic rock WLAV-FM.
In Kalamazoo, the top station was contemporary hits WKFR-FM, which led rock WRKR-FM and WBCT. Battle Creek's top station was country WNWN-FM followed by WKFR and news-talk WBCK AM. Finally in Muskegon, country WMUS-FM leads the parade, with rock WMRR-FM and WSNX making up the rest of the top 3 stations.
With 50 years of radio broadcasting behind it, Hope College student radio station WTHS on Wednesday dedicated its new studios in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication. The station's new facility at 10th Street and Columbia Avenue includes two broadcasting studios filled with about $70,000 worth of the latest in digital broadcasting equipment and software... Hope's radio station moves into new studios (Thu, 1/25)
Citadel Expands Brent Alberts' Duties:
CITADEL VP/Rock BRENT ALBERTS adds duties as Dir./Operations & Programming for the MIDWEST region. On FEBRUARY 1, ALBERTS will move his base of operations from GRAND RAPIDS to CITADEL's LANSING cluster, where the 39-year broadcast vet will also program Classic Rock WMMQ. (Thu, 1/25)
Jeff Striegle of Byron Center is about to enter the fast lane as the voice of a pair of prominent NASCAR Nextel Cup Series pre-race shows on satellite and terrestrial radio stations throughout the United States. He has been named host of Motor Racing Network's nationally syndicated "NASCAR Live" and "NASCAR Today" weekly radio shows... Local man goes national on NASCAR radio (Sat, 1/27)
He seemingly channeled the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while reciting the ``I Have A Dream'' speech in high school oratorical events. He won senior class president hands down. Tavis Smiley, 42, best-selling author and host of PBS television's ``Tavis Smiley'' show, is coming to Battle Creek on Thursday to present the keynote address for ``Empowering Community,'' a collaborative fundraising effort of the Young Professionals, the Urban League of Southcentral Michigan and Blacks in Government... Author, PBS host Smiley coming to Battle Creek (Sun, 1/28)
Tyrone Bynum never used to care about the consequences of the radio rip sessions he led on the air at WMFN-AM (640). The Grand Rapids Police Department, politicians, public school and business leaders -- everyone was a potential target of his criticism. And dealing with the angry fallout was just part of his job as station manager and radio personality... William Glenn Trailblazer Award: Tyrone Bynum (Sun, 1/28)
It's big market time for two former anchors at WWMT-TV (Channel 3). Alicia Smith left her anchor spot at Kalamazoo for the Detroit market, where she will be the weekend anchor at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7). She was the weeknight co-anchor at 5 and 5:30 p.m. since joining News 3 in 2002. Also heading east is former morning and co-anchor Ama Daetz, who is the weekend anchor reporter at WDIV-TV (Channel 4) in Detroit. Two from News 3 go east (Tue, 1/30)
Once again, WOOD-TV (Channel 8) and WOTV-TV (Channel 41) will broadcast live from the Miracle Tour Charity Gala to kick off the ninth annual Michigan International Auto Show at DeVos Place. The special airs from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday... Auto Show hits airwaves (Tue, 1/30)
Strickland Dominates Michigan:
In addition to Josh Strickland's regular duties as APD/MD/afternoon host at Citadel top 40 WHTS (Hot 105.3)/Grand Rapids, Strickland is holding it down on the interim programming tip at Hot following Darrin Arriens' jaunt to classic rock sister KHYT (Rock 107.5)/Tucson -- and now he's also been permanently handed the keys to top 40 sister WJIM/Lansing, Mich., following Dan Kelley's departure due to those pesky budget cuts. (Tue, 1/30)
Since April 1999, WVGR has been transmitting from a temporary site, with a reduced operating power of 20,000 watts. In that time, the station made plans to construct its own tower in West Michigan. Funds were raised from member donations, along with significant government and foundation support, and construction began on a new transmitter and tower site in Barry County.
This new, state of the art facility has restored WVGR’s 104.1 FM signal to its original strength, 90,000 watts, allowing the station to broadcast in full digital HD (high definition) audio. This change has greatly improved reception in areas now receiving WVGR, and brought Michigan Radio back to listeners who have been unable to receive the signal since 1999.
“West Michigan is a very important member and listener base for Michigan Radio,” said Stephen Schram, Director of Michigan Public Media. “These upgrades will allow us to continue providing our public radio service with an even stronger and clearer signal. We look forward to serving those listeners and members we’ve missed since 1999, as well as new listeners who are hearing us for the first time.”
Michigan Radio is West Michigan’s most listened-to public radio station, broadcasting on WVGR 104.1 FM. The station also broadcasts on WUOM 91.7 FM in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area and WFUM 91.1 FM in Flint.
It's about time the Detroit Tigers got some respect. Lots of it. The Tigers gave fans in Michigan something to shout about throughout a remarkable 2006 season that concluded with a trip to the World Series ... Catching the wave: WHTC-AM (1450) in Holland has reached an agreement with the West Michigan Whitecaps to air 40-50 games featuring the local Class A minor-league baseball club during the upcoming season... Tigers set to hit airwaves -- a lot (Fri, 2/2)
Allan Stagg Kids Fund:
A fund has been set up to educate the children of ALLAN STAGG, who passed away JANUARY 1: THE ALLAN STAGG KIDS FUND, c/o MARSHALL Community Credit Union, 839 West Green Street, MARSHALL, MI 49068. (Fri, 2/2)
X still marks the spot for over-the-air telecast coverage of an impressive lineup of sports properties, including Big Ten men's basketball. But not for much longer. WXSP-TV enters the home stretch of its three-year run as the broadcast home for Big Ten football and men's basketball games in the West Michigan television market. It all comes to an end March 10. The newly formed Big Ten Network has informed WXSP and other over-the-air stations around the state not to bother bidding for the league's telecast package. It will instead start to hoard most of those events for itself, beginning in the fall, when the conference launches its new digital channel on cable and satellite systems... WXSP losing its Big Ten deal (Fri, 2/9)
The stork is visiting many morning teams at local television stations. Lauren Stanton, news anchor at WZZM (Channel 13) is due June 28 ... WXMI (Channel 17) news anchor Amy Turner is due in a couple of weeks ... At WOOD (Channel 8), morning man Brett Thomas' wife, Gina, is due on March 8 ... And finally, Holly Doyle, news anchor at WWMT (Channel 3) is due July 6 with her first child... TV anchors await new arrivals (Sun, 2/11)
Grand Rapids has a new No. 1 radio station: WOOD-AM. In the recent Arbitron, 12-plus ratings category, WOOD-AM (1300) has toppled sister station WBCT-FM (93.7). "The local shows drove this," said Phil Tower. "I am so proud of (morning guys) Gary Allen, John Matlak and (mid-morning hosts) Rick Beckett and Scott Winters. We are kind of like the Rodney Dangerfield of morning radio -- we get more respect now"... WOOD-AM 1300 takes lead in ratings (Sun, 2/11)
A locally produced television special hosted by Maranda of WOTV (Channel 41) and Eva Aguirre Cooper of WOOD (Channel 8) will examine teenage drinking. "Connect on the Rocks: The Epidemic of Teen Drinking" airs at 7 p.m. Thursday on WOTV and 6:30 p.m. Saturday on WOOD. TV special probes teen drinking (Sun, 2/11)
Kim Carson has made radio her career. She has been on the air since she was 16 and can be heard on WLHT-FM (95.7) where, for the past three years, she has been holding down the midday shift (9 a.m.-2 p.m.). She also is an author, having penned "Essence of Life: A Compilation of Inspiration and Poem"... WLHT personality is a poet, too (Mon, 2/12)
Craig James, WOOD-TV (Channel 8) weather forecaster, has been awarded the prestigious Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, given to distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to television for at least 25 years. James and his wife, Marcie, will attend the Feb. 25 awards presentation in Detroit. Ken Kolbe, assistant general manager at WGVU-TV (Channel 35), also was awarded a Silver Circle. Kolbe, who worked at WZZM-TV (Channel 13) for 15 years as a reporter, editor and news director, has been at WGVU since 1995... Weatherman, WGVU boss win awards (Mon, 2/12)
You may have to find another way to get your Tigers fix this season. WMFN 640 AM radio says they will not broadcast Detroit Tigers Baseball in West Michigan. WMFN's Tyrone Bynum says he does not want to comment on where the Tigers will go. Rob Matwick, VP of Communications for the Tigers says if WMFN does opt out of carrying Tigers games one other local station has expressed interest in signing a contract to air the games this season. WOOD AM radio, who was a source for Tigers related broadcast's discontinued airing games sometime ago... Tigers looking for new home on Radio in West Michigan (Tue, 2/13)
The Detroit Tigers, dropped from the programming lineup at WMFN-AM (640) this week, didn't need long to find a new broadcast home in the Grand Rapids radio market. Classic rock station WLAV-FM (96.9) has reached an agreement with flagship outlet WXYT-AM (1270) in Detroit to air Tigers baseball through 2009, officials from both stations said Thursday. WMFN dropped the team Tuesday. General manager Tyrone Bynum said he "couldn't afford" to continue to air Tigers games. "It never turned into dollars. The business community never supported them," Bynum said. Citadel Broadcasting, the parent company that owns and operates WLAV, will pay "a nominal rights fee" to air each of the ballclub's games throughout its 162-game schedule, said Matt Hanlon, the company's Midwest regional president. WLAV will air night and weekend games, and sister station WBBL will pick up 19 midweek matinee games... WLAV-FM strikes deal to air Tigers games (Fri, 2/16)
Jim Lutton, WWMT-TV 3 vice president and general manager, sounded like a man who had just matched the winning Lotto numbers upon learning he'd acquired the local telecast rights to Detroit Tigers contests this season. Lutton, on the job since November, has secured the rights to 17 telecasts involving the Tigers, who advanced to the World Series last season. The secondary package, which is being produced and distributed by FSN Detroit, includes a pair of games scheduled to air on the local CBS affiliate and 15 more set to air on the CW affiliate, which is a WWMT sister station in the West Michigan market... Tigers find home on WWMT, CW (Fri, 2/23)
Diane Rehm, host of a popular National Public Radio talk show that attracts the world's top newsmakers, will give a free public lecture at Western Michigan University on March 13. Rehm's talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center... NPR talk-show host Diane Rehm to speak at WMU (Fri, 2/23)
Dustin Yoder found himself doing weird tasks, working crazy hours with lots of weekends spent paying his dues in the promotions department at a locally owned Regent radio station. All in hopes of breaking into the broadcast business. "Promotions assistants are a notch above worms," the 23-year-old joked. But it's all about paying your dues, especially in the radio and TV world, where many graduating college students who studied in communications want the glory of being the on-air anchor in television news or sports, or the highly paid morning drive radio talent... Broadcast: Big break requires paying dues (Sun, 2/25)
Even when he was a youngster growing up in Muskegon Heights, Paul Allen Billings dreamed of being on radio. On some days his bicycle would just sort of steer itself over to the WQWQ studio on Peck Street. There on the sidewalk, straddling his bike, he would stare through the window, captivated by the disc jockey working the mike inside. Did the deejay ever stare back?... Muskegon's black radio stations find community of waiting ears (Mon, 2/26)
Wherever there's a path, someone had to break the trail. On Muskegon's radio airwaves, that someone was Mattie Wesley Davis. It was Les Edwards. It was Saranto "Shabadoo" Waller. Davis, better known as "Mother Davis," was the Jackie Robinson of local broadcasting. In 1947, the same year that Robinson first tugged on a Dodger uniform, Davis broke in with a Sunday morning show on Muskegon's WMUS... They broke the color barrier of the air (Mon, 2/26)
Paul Boscarino Joins Regent/Grand Rapids As Dir./Sales: PAUL BOSCARINO joins REGENT COMMUNICATIONS/GRAND RAPIDS as Dir./Sales after a decade long run at CLEAR CHANNEL/GRAND RAPIDS in the same capacity. PAUL told ALL ACCESS, "When my 10-year position as the DOS for CC/GRAND RAPIDS was eliminated as part of the restructuring leading up to the sale, REGENT was at the top of a very short list I compiled of broadcasting companies I wanted to work for because of their quality operation here and the respect I formed for BILL STAKELIN dating back to when he re-energized the RAB. Upon arrival, I quickly discovered what a truly terrific company REGENT is, and I am very happy to be part of it." (Mon, 2/26)
Thumbs up: The Rampage have assembled a fantastic radio team for the upcoming season. Joe Parson returns for his 10th consecutive season of play-by-play, beginning with Sunday's opener at Colorado on WBFX-FM (101.3). Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Herman Moore debuts as an analyst for all eight home games, including Thursday night's matchup against Las Vegas at Van Andel Arena ... Breaking up: The Grand Valley State University athletic department is searching for a new radio home after ending its relationship with WBBL-AM (1340) and WMFN-AM (640). It terminated its agreement with the two local stations Wednesday due to repeated programming conflicts with Michigan State University football games that forced Lakers football to be pre-empted... Channel chatter (Fri, 3/2)
As always, WGVU-TV (Channel 35) is on the hunt for donations of items for its annual auction -- but this year's event is going to be much different. Gone are the days of the lights, camera and action of live auctioneering. The auction is moving online ... Shelley Irwin, host of WGVU's radio morning show (9-11 a.m weekdays), earned a master's degree and practiced for 15 years as a physical therapist before getting into broadcast journalism. "I took the risk six years ago, attending the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts and getting my feet very wet at WJR radio and WXYZ-TV in Detroit," she said. Now, she is a four-time winner of the Gracie Allen Award from American Women in Radio and Television for Individual Achievement as program host. Irwin was selected from a record-breaking number of entries based on her entry's high quality in writing, production and programming... WGVU-TV moving annual auction online (Sun, 3/4)
"Come On Over," the locally produced children's TV show, has made its mark in the Nielsen ratings of TV viewership. The show that debuted in October on WOTV (Channel 41), an ABC affiliate, made its first appearance in November in diaries kept by viewers and beat out two other kids' shows on FOX-TV and CBS-TV in its 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning time slot... Kids show gets kudos (Sun, 3/4)
Bill Simonson still recalls the suspicious looks and disparaging responses he got from a couple of local radio executives upon his return to Grand Rapids in search of a fresh start to his career more than five years ago. He was told he'd never be accepted here. His opinionated brand of cutting-edge sports talk, which helped propel him to a stint with ESPN-AM (1000) in Chicago, would be much too ribald and much too controversial for a homespun region like West Michigan... 'Huge Show: Sunday Edition' goes national (Fri, 3/9)
A free public lecture by popular National Public Radio personality Diane Rehm, which had been set for March 13 at Western Michigan University, has been rescheduled to April 2. A bout of pneumonia forced the 70-year-old talk show host to postpone public speaking engagements for a few weeks... NPR host's talk moved to April 2 (Thu, 3/8)
The Grand Rapids Symphony is coming to PBS-TV. "Invention & Alchemy," the show featuring harpist Deborah Henson-Conant and the orchestra, will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on WGVU-TV (Channel 35) as part of the station's annual spring pledge drive... Symphony to appear on PBS (Sun, 3/11)
It was a truly extraordinary way to say thanks. To show gratitude to WBCT-FM (93.7) and its listeners, one of the biggest acts in country music, Big & Rich, delivered a free acoustic show Monday evening in The Intersection. The multiplatinum duo -- comprising Kenny Alphin and John Rich -- has embarked on a special 10-city tour, performing in radio markets that helped launch and support its career, and Grand Rapids was the lucky first stop... Free show (and beer) lets fans feel Big & Rich (Tue, 3/13)
WFGR Adds Tom Kent's 'Classic Top 40'
REGENT Oldies WFGR/GRAND RAPIDS will begin airing TKO RADIO NETWORK's "Classic Top 40 Weeknights," hosted by TOM KENT, on MONDAY (3/19). PD LEN O'KELLY said, "WFGR is all about having fun, and TOM's show makes me remember when radio was fun. I expect he'll be a hit with our nighttime listeners." (Wed, 3/14)
WAY-FM Passes 100 Signals
WAY-FM MEDIA GROUP COO LLOYD PARKER announced yesterday (3/13) that WAY-FM now airs on over 100 signals, with two recent CHRISTIAN HIT RADIO SATELLITE NETWORK (CHRSN) affiliate signings, Christian CHR WONU/CHICAGO and Christian AC WJQK (JQ 99.3)/GRAND RAPIDS. “These are two great radio stations, and we’re excited to expand into these new cities,” said CHRSN GM FARON DICE. Although WONU is new to CHRSN, WWJQ is a previous affiliate. WJQK GM TROY WEST said that the station has “received a lot of response to bring TOTAL AXXESS back to JQ-99.” (Wed, 3/14)
WNIL AM 1290 Niles has reportedly changed its format from adult standards to syndicated talk. Earlier this year, the station ended its local-based news and talk programs in favor of all satellite fed music.
Local ABC affiliate WZZM-TV (Channel 13) has announced participants for its second "Dancing with the Stars" local edition. Those brave enough to participate include WZZM anchor Juliet Dragos, WLAV-FM's Kevin Matthews, WLHT-FM morning personality Nanette, Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Bernard Taylor... Local 'celebrities' to dance with local 'stars' (Sun, 3/18)
Female country duo Bomshel was the toast of B-93's 2006 Birthday Bash outdoor concert and performed last fall to an enthusiastic crowd at The Intersection. Singer Buffy Lawson and fiddle player Kristy O. return Saturday night to the 'Section... Birthday Bash favorites return (Sun, 3/18)
Doug Montgomery of WBCT-FM (93.7) has been named one of the top country program directors in the country by Radio Ink Magazine... Magazine lauds Montgomery (Sun, 3/18)
WOOD-TV (Channel 8) producer Joy Wellington is being recognized with a Gracie Allen award for Individual Achievement as a News Producer in a Series or Special. For 10 years, Wellington has served as executive producer of community affairs for WOOD, WOTV (Channel 4) and WXSP (Channel 15)... WOOD producer honored (Sun, 3/18)
Talk about more exposure for regional and emerging bands. Community radio station WYCE-FM (88.1) will up the musical ante by launching two free concert series within the next week -- the ever-popular Hat Trick Concert Series with emerging talent at One Trick Pony and a new set of performances spotlighting Michigan bands as part of the station's spring fund drive. The 12 fund-drive concerts -- which begin at 7:15 p.m. Monday with a performance by Grand Rapids string band Nobody's Darlin' -- will continue nightly through March 29... WYCE launches two free concert series (Sun, 3/18)
WMAX-FM 96.1 Grand Rapids has returned to a Hot Adult Contemporary format after about 17 months with an attempt at Variety Hits 'We Play It All'. Prior to the October 2005 shift, 96.1 had an Hot AC format as "I-96" since 1999.
"The New Max 96.1" features artists such as Chris Daughtry, Sheryl Crow, the Pussycat Dolls, The Fray, and Mat Kearney.
Clear Channel adult hits WMAX (96.1 Max-FM)/Grand Rapids PD Jack Lawson lets go of the reins to concentrate on programming his other baby, classic rock WBFX (101.3 the Fox), and WOOD PD Tim Kiesling extends his broadcast day to now include programming Max. Kiesling also introduces air talent to Max, putting local boys Todd Michaels, Hollywood and Doug On Demand on-air, as well as Tony Travatto, PD of CC sister KXXM/San Antonio. (Wed, 3/21)
Justice Gets WOOD For Weekends:
CLEAR CHANNEL Talk WOOD-A/GRAND RAPIDS fill-in host JUSTICE adds weekend duties with "THE SHOW WITH JUSTICE," SATURDAY afternoons. JUSTICE, the former WKLQ /GRAND RAPIDS, WKLS (96 ROCK) and WMAX (REAL RADIO)/ATLANTA and KCXX (X103.9)/SAN BERNARDINO personality, is still on the lookout for his next fulltime gig; check him out at fmjustice.typepad.com. (Tue, 3/20)
Morning co-host/producer Couture (aka Riley) exits from Clear Channel CHR WSNX/Grand Rapids. In Brief (Tue, 3/20)
You wanna be a sportscaster? The local sports leader is preparing to make that dream come true through a "Sportscaster Idol" contest on WBBL-AM (1340), beginning next week. Bret Bakita, WBBL program director and host of "On the Bench" weekdays from 10 a.m. until noon, is conducting a talent search to find someone who'd like to experience calling the play-by-play of a real game on the radio station... Are you the next 'Sportscaster Idol'? (Fri, 3/23)
Program director and morning show talent Len O'Kelly of WFGR-FM (Oldies 98.7) has the right idea: "We are getting rid of satellite-delivered ABC programming and going all local," he said. The changes started bright and early Monday. The music mix is different, most on-air talent's been changed, new jingles jangle the air waves and localism is the name of the game. "It will sound like a brand new station," O'Kelly said... Oldies station goes local (Sun, 3/15)
The Michigan Association of Broadcasters gave out its 2006 Broadcast Excellence "Station of the Year" awards on March 14 in Lansing. The awards are based on the cumulative number of points scored from the broadcast excellence competition's 13 categories. WOOD-TV (Channel 8) received its fifth consecutive Station of the Year award from MAB... WOOD-TV named station of the year (Sun, 3/15)
Tune in to WLHT-FM (95.7) from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturdays to hear John Gonzalez, Press Entertainment Editor and creator of Gonzo's Top 5, and Gerry Barnaby, former reporter at WOOD-TV (Channel 8) and WOTV (Channel 4) on their new radio show. This weekend marks their fourth program, and their on-air rapport has been great fun... 'Barnaby & Gonzo' take to the air (Sun, 3/25)
GVSU documentary to air on PBS (Sun, 3/25)
Angie Joins Puddin' For WSNX Wakeups:
CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40 WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS PD ERIC O'BRIEN didn't have to go farther than weekender ANGIE VUYST, who is also the APD at sister N/T WOOD-A, to fill the morning co-host slot with PUDDIN'. ANGIE replaced RILEY, who left last week. (Mon, 3/26)
Wisconsin Loves Free Beer & Hot Wings:
The syndicated FREE BEER & HOT WINGS SHOW debuted on MAVERICK Rock WDRK (99.9 THE CARP)/EAU CLAIRE, WI last week. “This is a great opportunity for us at another great station. I can’t believe we’re on one station, much less this many,” said HOT WINGS. Look for more announcements of new stations in the coming weeks. (Mon, 3/26)
I've put together my third-annual list of the most powerful sports broadcasting professionals in the West Michigan area. The definition of powerful? It is open to interpretation, but I considered on-air personalities, programming chiefs and front-office executives in TV and radio. 1. Matt Hanlon: Midwest region president of Citadel Broadcasting keeps pumping up the volume on local sports programming... Sports TV, radio personalities ranked 1 to 20 (Fri, 3/30)
Spring break sometimes means trips to museums and parks with moms and dads. For those staying home this week, some special friends are inviting you to come on over -- and you don't even have to leave home. "Come On Over!" the children's TV show co-produced by the Grand Rapids Children's Museum, will be seen every day this week on WOTV-TV (Channel 41)... Local show airs daily for break week (Sun, 4/1)
According to the February ratings book, WOOD-TV (Channel 8) continues to dominate as the local television news leader in all newscasts. The station has the highest ratings in all news time periods... WOOD-TV newscasts lead ratings (Sun, 4/1)
The spring's first Hat Trick Concert Series show was a record-breaker. Pete Bruinsma, music director for WYCE-FM (88.1) reports the station collected $2,500 in donations at Monday night's concert by folk-rock's Amy Speace and the Tearjerks, more than doubling the previous high... Hat Trick show scores (Sun, 4/1)
Raquel Segerra (a.k.a. Riley) was the morning show producer/talent for one year on WSNX-FM's (104.5) Puddin's Playhouse. "She is not with the company right now but has offers all over the country," said Eric O'Brien (EOB) program/Web content director and on-air talent (2-7 p.m.). Riley's replacement is Angie Vuyst, who has worked in a variety of capacities for Clear Channel radio for 8 years... Changes at WSNX, WMAX (Sun, 4/1)
Add another station to the list for nationally syndicated, "Free Beer and Hot Wings." This time, it's on Maverick Rock WDRK (99.9) in Eau Claire, Wis., which debuted the program last week... Wisconsin gets 'Beer and Wings' (Sun, 4/1)
It's a confident clubhouse. The Detroit Tigers open the baseball season with a sense of accomplishment after their appearance in the World Series last season. No other American League team can make that claim. "There's a swagger about them," FSN Detroit play-by-play broadcaster Mario Impemba said of the Tigers during the final week of spring training in Lakeland, Fla. "There's a quiet confidence about them. They know they're good"... FSN ready to ride Tigers bandwagon (Mon, 4/2)
In an attempt to further raise the profile of its football basketball programs, the Grand Valley State athletic department felt it needed to find a new local radio partner. The search didn't take long. A week after terminating its relationship with WBBL-AM (1340), GVSU has struck a partnership with Clear Channel Radio of Grand Rapids that makes WMAX-FM (96.1) the new flagship station for football and basketball... WMAX to air football, men's basketball games (Fri, 4/6)
Radio is changing right before our ears. So far, it's subtle. But it's happening, and soon enough, it might alter how we listen to the radio, in West Michigan and everywhere else. High-definition radio has started its takeover of the industry. Most West Michigan stations have been broadcasting in HD for months, if not years, and as HD radios are becoming more widely available, listeners soon will notice the differences. First is digital broadcasting with CD-quality sound. Second, and perhaps more important, is the possibility for each station to carry up to two secondary channels... Highly defined: Digital radio brings extra channels (Mon, 4/16)
With a new general manager and news director on board, changes are continually being made at WWMT-TV (Channel 3). WWMT expanded the morning newscast to three hours, from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., including two seven-minute segments from the CBS Morning Show at 7:20 and 7:45 a.m... Channel 3 beefs up morning newscast (Mon, 4/16)
Andy Pepper, new weekend sports anchor at Channel 3 , spent his first week on the job covering the Detroit Tigers' opening day... New sports anchor checks out Tigers (Mon, 4/16)
Many West Michigan residents returned from their spring vacations in tropical climates to low temperatures in the ever-changing Michigan weather... How to read the Weather Ball (Mon, 4/16)
Spade Named PD At WHTS/Grand Rapids:
CITADEL Top 40/Mainstream WHTS (HOT 105.3)/GRAND RAPIDS has a new PD, with former WQSL & WZKL/GREENVILLE-NEW BERN, NC PD JACK SPADE taking over PD duties. SPADE's first day is today (4/16). (Mon, 4/16)
The Secret Service is serious about protecting the president. Just ask WOOD Radio's Rick Beckett and Scott Winters. The talk show hosts apologized Friday for an earlier remark in a discussion about the Virginia Tech gunman. Their discussion included the thought the media made a celebrity of Cho Seung Hui. Beckett reportedly said a crazy person in Grand Raoids could make a name for himself by shooting at the president. That brought the Secret Service to WOOD Radio... Radio remark brings Secret Service (Fri, 4/20)
Michelle McKormick has been busy since being fired from WKRK-FM (97.1) in Detroit on Christmas. She was well-known in our area as the morning co-host at Clear Channel's WVTI-FM (96.1), now WMAX-FM. "I've been doing shows all over the country (voiced from studios in Grand Rapids). Been offered jobs in California, Las Vegas and The Playboy Channel. I'm just waiting for the right thing," she said... McKormick staying busy, eyeing job prospects (Sun, 4/22)
Gerry Barnaby, feature reporter and public relations man, has found new challenges since he was fired from WOTV/WOOD in December. Listeners can hear him every Saturday on WLHT-FM (95.7) from 7 to 10 a.m. with John Gonzalez, Entertainment editor at The Press... Gerry Barnaby branching out (Sun, 4/22)
Mary Eileen Lyon, former news anchor for WZZM-TV and WWMT-TV (Channel 3) and current assistant vice president for news and information services at Grand Valley State University, continues to be an award winner. She has won four Videographer Awards, an international awards program directed by communication professionals to honor those who are raising the standards in the industry... Former anchor wins videography awards (Sun, 4/22)
WZZM-TV (Channel 13) on-air promotional spots for 13 XRad 3-D weather leave some of us confused. What exactly is 3-D weather? Chief meteorologist George Lessens explains: "It is the first 3-D radar display in Grand Rapids, giving you a three-dimensional look inside a storm. Like a 'CAT scan,' we can slice through severe weather, revealing the most accurate 3-D view of a thunderstorm"... 3-D weather delivers slices of storms (Sun, 4/22)
The station's spot on the radio dial is still the same: 106.5 FM. But a long-standing identity crisis has led Midwest Communications to change WQLR's call letters -- the alphabetical identifier used by radio and television stations -- to WVFM. ``Nothing was wrong with the original call letters,'' said Station Manager Peter Tanz, ``except when it came time for the Arbitron ratings, which track how many listeners you have.'' Subscribing to Arbitron is strictly voluntary. ``The incentive,'' Tanz said, ``is that the higher a station's ratings, the more attractive they become to advertisers, which subsequently affects a station's profitability margin''... dentity crisis on the radio (Wed, 4/25)
Meringue and salsa don't just mean foods to me anymore. Now, they conjure up images of a group of dedicated professional and amateur dancers getting ready for the local benefit called WZZM 13 Dance Off. The event begins at 8 p.m. May 18 at the Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids, 5700 28th St. SE. Tickets are $25 and available at wzzm13.com. Proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. WZZM-TV (Channel 13) will air a special at 7 p.m. May 22, and the "Take Five" program will feature behind-the-scenes footage May 14-18... Dance Off benefit/contest keeps media on toes (Sun, 4/29)
Grand Haven radio station WGHN (92.1 FM and 1370 AM) is being sold to a Lansing man. WGHN Inc. President and General Manager Bill Struyk announced Monday that he and Vice President Ron Mass are selling their stock to Will Tieman, who owns the Spartan Sports Network and does the play-by-play for Michigan State University men's basketball radio broadcasts. Struyk, 68, and Mass, 59, are currently the only shareholders of WGHN Inc. They bought out four other shareholders in the business in 1997. "It's time retire," Struyk said. "I will be 69 in June, and Ron is ready to hang it up soon, too." The application for transfer of control was filed with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday... WGHN radio being sold to Lansing man (Tue, 5/1)
Officials at Grand Haven radio station WGHN (92.1 FM, 1370 AM) announced Monday that the station is being sold to Lansing-area broadcaster Will Tieman. WGHN owners Bill Struyk and Ron Mass said the purchase, which was filed Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, D.C., will take 60-90 days to complete... Local radio station sold to Lansing firm Tue, 5/1)
Tieman Buys WGHN/Grand Haven, MI
WILLIAM STRUYK and RONALD MASS are selling their stock in WGHN INC., licensee of AC simulcast WGHN-A & F/GRAND HAVEN-MUSKEGON, MI, to MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY football broadcaster WILL TIEMAN for $1.15 million. (Mon, 4/30)
Will Tieman is an unabashed Michigan State University sports fanatic. But his purchase of WGHN (92.1 FM and 1370 AM) doesn't necessarily mean Grand Haven's radio station will soon end its long affiliation with the University of Michigan sports broadcast network. "The contract is in place for one more year," Tieman said in a phone interview Wednesday. "After that, if the community wants its Michigan Wolverines football, we're not going to take it off. "And, no, it's not true we're going to an all green-and-white format," he joked... No MSU sports for WGHN — for now; radio station's new owner runs Spartan Sports Network (Thu, 5/3)
Jack Doles has been watching Floyd Mayweather's preparations for his fight Saturday night against Oscar De La Hoya. "Floyd is a very complex character," said the WOOD-TV 8 sports director, who has followed the Grand Rapids native's boxing career since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. "He's in a spotlight so much bigger than he's ever been in before. Floyd likes the attention and he's doing his part to make this fight as big as it can be"... WOOD-TV sends pair to cover fight (Fri, 5/4)
Tim Keisling is program director at MAX-FM (96.1.) In addition, he is mid-afternoon talent and program director at WOOD-FM and also does an on-air shift from midnight to 6 a.m on MAX. Does the guy ever sleep? In charge at MAX since March, Keisling has made some noticeable changes. Disc jockeys are back on the air... Changes at MAX (Tue, 5/8)
Morning on-air personalities Steve and Sabrina and the rest of the staff at WOOD-FM (Star 105.7) raised more than $188,000 for DeVos Children's Hospital during The Children's Miracle Network Radiothon, a significant increase from last year's $151,000. All the money pledged stays in West Michigan for children's services and programs. Speaking of Sabrina, she and Maranda from WOTV (Channel 4) host "In Tune," a one-hour contemporary Christian music show from 7 to 8 a.m. Sundays... WOOD-FM helps hospital (Tue, 5/8)
Think comfort food. Think bacon and eggs, rich whipping cream, meats marinated in butter, barbecue, stuffing and seafood gumbo. Now, think popular radio morning man Kevin Matthews from WLAV-FM (96.9.) Who would have thought Kev is an author of a cookbook -- and is writing another? "In 2001, I wrote and printed my first cookbook," Matthews said. "It is called 'This Book Could Kill You -- Recipes to Die For.' Well, to say the least, it did very well and sold out in one year. ... I said 'yes, let's reprint it' and it is on sale right now in all Meijer stores here in Michigan and coming soon, if not now, in Chicago"... Cooking with Kev (Tue, 5/8)
Judging by the words of Will Tieman, loyal listeners of Grand Haven radio station WGHN (92.1 FM, 1370 AM) can expect broadcast as usual. "We don't have any major changes in mind," said Tieman, who is in the process of buying WGHN from its local longtime owners, William J. Struyk and Ronald Mass. "We're a Grand Haven radio station, and there's no reason to think we would be anything other than that. That's what we want to be. We want to be that station for that city." Struyk and Mass, who have run WGHN since 1983, announced May 1 that they were selling the station to Tieman... New owner plans to keep WGHN local (Tue, 5/8)
It's sweeps month in television. The most competitive month on the calendar for local TV affiliates, however, doesn't prevent the sports directors from all three Grand Rapids-based stations -- or local radio personalities -- from joining the same team for one night. The 10th-annual Mentor West Michigan Sports Awards, which takes place Monday night at DeVos Place, is a special event that unites all of them... Awards banquet unites TV, radio personalities (Fri, 5/11)
I have always been fascinated with radio. As a kid, I remember working with my brother to build our own radio in the basement. I was thrilled when it worked. We turned the dial and shouted with glee when we heard broadcasts. It was astonishing to think that this sound just came through the air all around us, like magic. As I grew up, my interest in radio continued. I was more particularly concerned with content, such as finding out about new music and staying informed with news reports... Local radio provides more than one kind of rhythm (Fri, 5/11)
I blame Richard Gere. No, not for smooching that Bollywood star in India a few weeks ago and almost getting himself arrested for public display of affection, but for renwed interest in ballroom dancing. It was late 2004 when that adorable movie, "Shall We Dance?" came out. You know, the one in which Gere plays a workaholic whose "whole life changes when the sight of a beautiful dance instructor inspires him to break out of his mold and sign up for ballroom dancing lessons." Six months later, in the summer of 2005, "Dancing with the Stars" foxtrotted across our television screens, eventually luring some 30 million of us to become addicted to the sight of B-list celebs and their exotic partners cha-cha-cha-ing. A coincidence? Now in its third season, "Stars" contestant and former N' Sync-er Joey Fatone has shown he can do a mean Paso Doble. (Well, not as mean as that cute Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno.) There's even a local edition of "Dancing with the Stars." Five Grand Rapids luminaries will swing, rumba and meringue in the 2007 WZZM 13 Dance Off competition on Friday, to raise money for breast cancer research... Dance-off lets GR 'celebs' step up for charity (Sun, 5/13)
Broadcast Notes By Colleen Pierson
Thunder morning man settles in
Steve “Scrubs” Stewart is enjoying doing mornings at country radio WTNR-FM (94.5).
“’Scrubs in the Morning’ is a fun, interactive show that is in touch with the interests of the Thunder listener. Our goal every morning is to make the listener the star of the show and to interact in a way that shows we are part of their community,” he said.
He came to Grand Rapids from radio stations in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Auburn Alabama, and enjoys the West Michigan area immensely.
“From Holland to Muskegon and everywhere in West Michigan--I feel like you can do just about anything here. Go to a ball game, camping, head to Meijer Gardens--there is just so much. The other thing I have been really excited about is meeting all of the great Thunder audience. They have all been so inviting and have really made me feel welcomed into the community.”
Scrubs replaced Bud Ford, who is now the program director of Citadel’s WKDF in Nashville TN.
Matthews’ silly string It’s really not such a silly idea at all
Morning man Kevin Matthews from WLAV-FM (96.9) helped our community gather 16,000 cans of silly string for our troops.
“They use the silly string to find wires in combat zones. This project has introduced me to the highest officials in our military. I do know that the 578 and 579th California guard will be using this string and so will others, said Matthews.
Later this year Kev will call upon friends in Hollywood and Chicago to entertain our men and women in combat zones, hospitals, or any area needed.
105.3 HOT FM names new program director
Jack Spade begins his tenure as the new program director of WHTS-FM (105.3) Hot FM “Today’s Hottest Hits”. He most recently worked for Next Media as program director of WQSL-FM and WQZL- FM “The Beat of Carolina” in North Carolina. Jack was born in Kalamazoo. His family relocated to the south several years after he was born. He has a wife and four children.
And settling in nicely, with almost a year under their belts at Hot FM, is the morning team of Dave and Geri. The pair was thrilled to win the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Community Service Award for the first time and it was one of the first awards Hot FM had earned.
“We told Matt Hanlon about two months ago that he had made this feel like ‘our station’ and we're very grateful for the way everyone made us fit right in. Kevin Matthews thinks Dave has too much estrogen on the show, so in trying to get Kevin in the 'estrogen spirit', we've started calling him Karen Matthews. Every day is just kind of like playing on the playground--and we're extremely lucky to work not only with the people on our station, but with all the other stations in our building as well. We're truly blessed to be here,” said Geri Jarvis.
The winter Arbitron ratings for West Michigan radio are in. The numbers, for listeners age 12 and older in the Grand Rapids metro area, break out as follows for the top 5: 1) WBCT-FM -- 8.2 2) WOOD-AM -- 7.8 3) WSNX-FM -- 6.6 4) WGRD-FM -- 5.7 5) WLAV-FM -- 5.1 Doug Montgomery, regional vice president and operations manager at WBCT-FM (93.7), said he remains pleased with his station's progress... WBCT tops winter radio ratings (Sun, 5/20)
After more than 31 years in local radio, rock jock Allison Harte has left the airwaves. She is probably best remembered for her tenure at WLAV-FM (96.9), where she worked for 10 years. For the past six years, she had worked at Clear Channel's WBFX-FM (101.3) on the noon-3 p.m. shift. Her resignation was effective Monday, and Harte looks forward to her new role in marketing for River City Slims, a blues nightclub slated to open in mid-July ... On another matter at The Fox, Jack Lawson is no longer program director there. Essick did not say much, but confirmed that Lawson was "no longer with the station"... Rock jock Harte moves into marketing (Sun, 5/20)
'Come On Over," the locally produced children's TV show, has been nominated for 10 Michigan Emmy Awards. The show, a co-production of the Grand Rapids Children's Museum and its creator and star, Holland artist and musician Joel Schoon Tanis, debuted in October on WOTV-TV (Channel 4). "We are thrilled with these nominations that validate the amazing efforts of so many talented people who have made this show possible," said Teresa Thome, executive director of the Children's Museum and CEO of Enthusiastic Productions, the company that produces the show. The Michigan Emmy Awards will be presented June 16 in Detroit... 'Come On Over!' up for statewide Emmys (Wed, 5/23)
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and WOTV-TV (Channel 41) are teaming up for the 18th annual Celebration Telethon broadcasting live from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. WOTV and WOOD-TV (Channel 8) personalities Maranda, Eva Aguirre Cooper and meteorologists Bill Steffen and Terri DeBoer will host the Celebration. They will be joined by radio partners, Gary Allen of WOOD-AM (1300) and Steve and Sabrina of WOOD-FM ( 105.7)... Telethon benefits hospital (Sun, 6/3)
Rumors abound concerning the possible sale of WOOD, WOTV and WXSP-TV, which are owned and operated by LIN TV Corp. Courtney Guertin, public relations specialist for LIN, said they're all just rumors at the moment... Still just rumors (Sun, 6/3)
Susan Samples, former reporter for WOOD-TV, was spotted back on the air waves last week. Patti McGettigan, the station's news director, clarified Samples' on-air return... Pressed into service (Sun, 6/3)
Kristi Andersen, education reporter and weekend morning co-anchor for WOOD-TV, is moving to another broadcast market... Andersen moves on (Sun, 6/3)
WKFR Adds Matt Walker To Morning Show
MATT WALKER has been tapped as co-host for the morning show at CUMULUS Top 40 WKFR/KALAMAZOO. MATT’s a 10-year veteran in WEST MICHIGAN radio and was most recently in afternoons at CITADEL Country WTNR (THUNDER 94.5)/GRAND RAPIDS before relocating to KALAMAZOO last year with his wife. He joins SHELLY RAY on the show just in time to send her on the roof for KFR’s "Roofsit." SHELLY RAY will be living on a roof through SATURDAY to help raise money in the fight against child abuse in WEST MICHIGAN. Last year’s event garnered over $150,000 in donations during the "sit." (Wed, 6/6)
This performance commands attention. First, it's a fundraiser presented Monday by Circle Theatre benefiting the nonprofit organization Mixed Greens -- growing kids who grow gardens. Second, it's a one-man show with two personas by Tim Cusack. Called "One Moment Please," it focuses on key moments in life -- funny, unexpected, meaningful and poignant... Kevin Matthews sidekick in one-man show (Sun, 6/10)
The afternoon airwaves at WTNR-FM (94.5, Thunder Country) sound a little different. Ditch Cooper, formerly a part-timer for Thunder, is the new guy bringing listeners home from 3 to 7 p.m. daily... Ditch Cooper new WTNR afternoon DJ (Sun, 6/10)
Muskegon's WSHZ-FM (107.9) is giving one lucky couple everything they need for their wedding -- if they're fast enough to outrace others down the "aisle." Ten couples will compete -- in wedding garb -- in a footrace at Great Lakes Downs at 7:30 p.m. June 16... Contest is a race to the altar (Sun, 6/10)
Brandon Lacic is resigning as editor of the Sentinel-Standard to take a job as a television news producer. Lacic, who has worked at the Ionia newspaper for six years, including 1 1/2 years as editor, was hired by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. Lacic oversees the daily operation of the Sentinel-Standard newsroom, its editorial content and the company's Web site... Ionia newspaper editor stepping down to accept job at WOOD-TV (Wed, 6/13)
When Chris Cole operated a family-oriented Niles video store six years ago, it led to JC Advertising, but he didn't see that developing into running a radio station, let alone two completely different formats in another town. Yet here he is in Dowagiac at Oldies Radio (WGTO 910 AM), which streams live 24 hours a day on the Internet at www.WGTORadio.com, with plans to use WDOW's 1440 AM frequency for not only Fox Sports Radio, as Joe Jason did, but also live sports talk "so we can bring local students and coaches on from area schools to talk about what's going on with their programs"... Local radio bounces back (Fri, 6/16)
It's that time of year again. The temperatures outside are beginning to rise, and West Michigan country-music fans are coming down with what has become known as "Bash Fever." Of course, we're talking about the B-93 Birthday Bash, the annual free concert put on by local country radio station WBCT-FM (93.7) to celebrate its existence and to thank its loyal listening audience. B-93 threw the first Birthday Bash on July 24, 1993 (exactly a year after the country station took to the air), which featured Sawyer Brown, Joe Diffie and Robert Ellis Orrall. It drew an estimated 30,000 fans, and the event has grown enormously, in crowd size and the number of acts on the bill... Count on changes as Birthday Bash turns 15 (Sun, 6/17)
To mark the 15th anniversary of Birthday Bash, B-93 staffers share their favorite memories... The best Bash? B-93 staff reminisces (Sun, 6/17)
Nick Alan remembers the night he and his younger brother, Chris, stayed overnight in the studios of Grand Rapids radio station WCUZ-FM, where their father, Brent, was on the air. Brent Alan was hosting the 7 p.m.-midnight shift on WCUZ (now WBFX-FM), which had a country music format at the time. At midnight, the announcer that was scheduled to come in failed to show up, so Brent had to stay on the air until 5 a.m. the next day. Brent planned on calling the boys' mother, Christine, to pick them up. But 8-year-old Nick and 5-year-old Chris begged their father to let them stay so they could sleep on the blue leather couch in the station's lobby... Thunder 94.5 host, 19, picked up tips from dad (Sun, 6/17)
Longtime morning radio personality Geri Jarvis has been off the air at WHTS-FM (105.3) for at least two weeks now, dealing with some health issues. Out of respect for her privacy, station management is not giving more detail... Geri Jarvis off the air (Sun, 6/17)
What do an "Australian Outback Survivor" cast member," a host who worked the red carpet for the TV Guide Channel and the new morning and noon weekday anchor at WWMT-TV (Channel 3) have in common? They are the same person. In addition to his lengthy and impressive resume, Jeff Varner has a "great personality" and is a "terrific anchor," said James Lutton, Channel 3's general manager. Varner will begin in late June and will replace Mike Bridges, who will remain as a weekend anchor and reporter as well as doing fill-in work for News 3... Ex-'Survivor' contestant daytime anchor at WWMT (Sun, 6/17)
Former Fox 17 investigative reporter David Bailey will return to West Michigan later this month as the new shoreline/Grand Rapids reporter for WWMT. He replaces Natalie Shepherd... Reporter David Bailey back at WWMT (Sun, 6/17)
In other WWMT news, Kate Tillotson has been named the new morning reporter. She comes to Kalamazoo via CBS-affiliate WRDW-TV (Channel 12) in Augusta, Ga., where she served as an anchor/reporter... Channel 3 names reporter (Sun, 6/17)
B-93 Birthday Bash will mark its 15th anniversary with outstanding country music and comfort. That's what organizers from sponsoring radio station WBCT-FM (93.7) are saying about B-93's annual free concert for fans at the Ionia Fairgrounds. For the second year in a row, B-93 has expanded the concert to include two full days, Saturday and Sunday, and will feature performances by headlining stars Dierks Bentley and Sara Evans, as well as several newcomers, including The Wreckers, Bucky Covington, Luke Bryan and Whiskey Falls...B-93 Birthday Bash is country comfortable (Thu, 6/21)
Crowd-loving, heat-seeking country-music fans get their fix this weekend when the 15th annual B-93 Birthday Bash hits Ionia for two days of free music. Here are some survival tips... A Birthday Bash tip sheet (Thu, 6/21)
At 6-foot, 4-inches tall and 245 pounds, the guy with the Drew Carey glasses and haircut could be a one-man buffer zone between fans and performers at the annual B-93 Birthday Bash. He's also "the enforcer" on a men's hockey team and has the penalty minutes to prove it, but Doug Montgomery doesn't work crowd control. You're more likely to find him backstage glad-handing performers and making sure the annual country music festival this weekend in Ionia flows as smoothly as a drawn-out note from a steel guitar. Montgomery, 40, is the pit boss who oversees the free country music festival. It's probably the most visible part of his job as program director for West Michigan's top-rated radio station, WBCT-FM (93.7), known to listeners as B-93... Profile: B-93's Doug Montgomery (Sun, 6/24)
The B-93 Birthday Bash turned 15 Saturday on a beautiful, sun-drenched day with temperatures near 80 degrees. Traffic and crowd problems were minimal as about 65,000 people gathered at Ionia Fairgrounds for the annual free country music concert with headliner Dierks Bentley... Beautiful day for a Bash (Sun, 6/24)
Speculation has been running rampant for several weeks now that Hot-FM's husband and wife team Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis would soon be off the air at WHTS-FM (105.3). Today, the duo was off the air. And "it's doubtful they will be coming back," said Christina Elsenbroek, of Citadel Broadcasting. Producer and daughter Casey Ann is on vacation, and Jagger is staying home with Jarvis, who is battling some undisclosed health issues, Elsenbroek said... Dave and Geri off the air (Wed, 6/27)
Grand Rapids Press:
In the past decade, Brian Nelson has embarked on a career path that featured stints at radio stations WJQK-FM (99.3) and WAYG-FM (89.9), where he helped turn contemporary Christian music into a significant format on the local scene. He's now following a new path in broadcasting. Nelson, 34, has pulled into the fast lane as a producer for the syndicated Motor Racing Network, leaving behind his gig as WJQK music director and afternoon host... Local broadcaster heads to Motor Racing Network (Fri, 6/29)
Medical breakthroughs, local and national health headlines, early disease detection and healthy eating and exercising tips are just a few topics that will be featured in a new Sunday morning health program on WZZM-TV (Channel 13). The 30-minute program, "Healthy You." is hosted by Valerie Lego, health reporter and weekend anchor, and airs at 11 a.m... WZZM adds Sunday a.m. health show (Mon, 7/2)
WGVU-TV and radio volunteer George McKellar helps out at the stations for the sheer joy of it. He didn't expect to receive the Pioneer Award from the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters for his efforts... WGVU volunteer honored (Mon, 7/2)
Joe Stokes had been out of radio for six years when he received a phone call one night from David Roper, a co-worker at the former WEVS-FM. Roper asked if the two former air personalities could get together to discuss an idea he had. "He came over and said, 'I have an idea and wanted to get your input,'" said Stokes, who was a nighttime air personality at the former oldies station from 1990 to 2001. Roper proposed creating an Internet radio station with virtually the same format as WEVS, a Saugatuck-based station on air at 92.7 FM from 1987 until 2001, when owner Chris Conrad sold the station to Midwest Communications of Wausau, Wis. The station's format was later changed to classic rock and its call letters became WYVN ("The Van.") Stokes agreed to become one of the on-air voices behind the venture, Lakeshoreradio.net, with Roper being the other... Internet radio station targets oldies fans (Sun, 7/1)
WJQK Hosts 40K-Plus At July 4 Celebration
LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS had its annual CELEBRATION FREEDOM FEST yesterday (7/4) at an area park off LAKE MICHIGAN. Attendance estimates ranged between 40,000 to 50,000 people. The free event featured local bands, carnival games, food and a fireworks show. A 2007 HARLEY DAVIDSON and brand-new hot tub were given away. (Thu, 7/5)
The event was huge. And personnel from West Michigan television stations' won big. Michigan Emmy awards were presented last month in Detroit's Gem Theater. "Come On Over," the locally produced children's TV show, received six awards. Other local winners... Michigan Emmys presented (Sun, 7/8)
The spring ratings book for television is in. The May 2007 Nielsen ratings show WOOD-TV (Channel 8) is watched for news and weather by more West Michigan viewers than any other local news station and is No. 1 in all newscast times.,, WOOD-TV news tops May Nielsens (Sun, 7/8)
Two area radio stations are holding benefits for Kailey Ann Kozminski, the 3-year-old daughter of slain GRPD officer Bob Kozminski. Thursday night, B-93 will hold a benefit concert at The Intersection after the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill show at Van Andel Arena ... WGRD's Free Beer & Hot Wings Morning Show will broadcast live from 5/3 Ballpark Friday night beginning at 5 p.m., before the Whitecaps game against Beloit begins at 7 p.m. They'll be collecting donations, and the fund will be administered by The Thin Blue Line of Michigan... Radio stations hold benefits for officer's daughter (Wed, 7/11)
Meteorologist Joe Sullivan is heading home. In early August, he will leave WOOD-TV (Channel 8), where he has worked for almost nine years, to go back to his home state of Minnesota. Sullivan will work as a meteorologist/production manager at a firm that works in the wind energy field... Forecaster moving to wind-energy business (Sun, 7/15)
What would 261,181 pounds of food look like? West Michigan food pantries are about to find out. WZZM-TV (Channel 13) surpassed its goal of collecting 200,000 pounds of food. The "13 Food for Families" campaign, partnered with Spartan Stores, ACCESS and radio station WLHT-FM (95.7) in collecting food for West Michigan pantries... TV13 surpasses food goal (Sun, 7/15)
West Michigan radio stations are raising funds to support slain Grand Rapids Police Officer Robert Kozminski's 3-year-old daughter, Kailey Ann. WBCT-FM (B-93) raised $12,000 at a party held July 12 after the Faith Hill and Tim McGraw concert. The multitalented couple donated $5,000. WGRD's (97.9) "Free Beer and Hot Wings " morning show teamed up with the Whitecaps during a live remote at a recent baseball game. "The event went very well. We raised a little over $3,000 for Kailey through the Thin Blue Line, a nonprofit organization that assists and supports the families of injured or deceased officers of law enforcement agencies in Michigan," said Nicole Havener, director of promotions for Regent Broadcasting. WLHT-FM (95.7), First Responders Fund and LaSalle Bank are working together for the next 25 days, hoping to raise $10,000 for the immediate needs of the Kozminski family... Stations pitch in for slain officer's daughter (Sun, 7/22)
Essick Named Dir./Ops At KMJ/Fresno
PEAK BROADCASTING Talk KMJ-A/FRESNO names CLEAR CHANNEL/GRAND RAPIDS VP/Market Manager EDWARD "SKIP" ESSICK as Dir. of Operations for KMJ and its website, kmj580.com. ESSICK had been with the GRAND RAPIDS cluster for 11 years and previously worked at WJR-A/DETROIT and WHAS-A/LOUISVILLE; he replaces the retiring JOHN BROESKE effective immediately. (Tue, 7/24)
WJQK Listeners Bike For Charity
LANSER Christian AC WJQK (JQ99)/GRAND RAPIDS held its annual JQ99 FAMILY BIKE RIDE SATURDAY, JULY 21. Nearly 1,500 bikers strapped on helmets and pads to pedal and earn money for local charities. (Wed, 7/25)
Todd Chance is having one busy summer. He got married two weeks ago, is moving from Saginaw to Grand Rapids and starts as the new morning on-air personality Monday at WHTC-FM (105.3), replacing Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis. "I love to entertain, inform and connect with listeners," he said during a phone interview... Saginaw personality fills Dave and Geri slot (Sun, 7/29)
The "Free Beer and Hot Wings" show continues to build its base in syndication, adding its 17th station. Beginning Monday, the morning show on WGRD-FM (97.9) also will be heard on classic-rock radio station WMGK-FM in Philadelphia. "Being back on the air in Philly is fantastic, and it's made even better by the fact that we are doing it from here in West Michigan," said Greg (Free Beer) Daniels... Philly gets 'Beer and Hot Wings' (Sun, 7/29)
Skip Essick, who has led Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio stations in Grand Rapids for the past 11 years, is heading to central California. He will be director of operations for Peak Broadcasting's KMJ-AM (580) in Fresno. KMJ is a 50,000-watt news-talk station with a target audience of adults age 35-64. Like Clear Channel's WOOD-AM (1300), the station is home to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in its market. Essick has had a successful career in broadcasting, having held leadership positions at WJR-AM in Detroit and WHAS-AM in Louisville, before coming to West Michigan... Clear Channel's Skip Essick heading west (Sun, 7/29)
Looking to soak up as much of the summer weather as you can? The second annual Back Deck Acoustic Music Fest could be the ideal destination for those looking to enjoy summer tunes outdoors. The event -- a fundraiser for community radio station WYCE-FM (88.1) -- is 2-10 p.m. today on the back deck of Driftwood Bar and Grill, 7456 Croton-Hardy Drive in Newaygo... Music fest to benefit WYCE (Sun, 7/29)
WJQK Helps Raise Over $40K For Haiti
LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS held its fifth annual MEDICAL SUPPLIES FOR HAITI fundraiser on TUESDAY (7/24). Over the course of 16 hours, CROSS INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES worked with the station and listeners to raise nearly $40,000. The one-time gifts paid shipment costs to send $9.8 million in much-needed basic medical supplies to the poor in HAITI. (Thu, 7/26)
Justice Goes To Tucson
ALL ACCESS hears that CLEAR CHANNEL Talk WOOD-A and WTKG-A APD/weekender JON JUSTICE is getting the full-time nod as the morning man at JOURNAL Talk KQTH (104.1 THE TRUTH)/TUCSON. JUSTICE, who has been one of several hosts to try oput for the gig, worked in the TUCSON MARKET co-hosting mornings with JOHN MICHAEL, now a weekender at KROQ/LOS ANGELES, at Alternative KFMA in 1999-2000. His experience also includes stints at WKLQ/GRAND RAPIDS, WKLS (96 ROCK) and WMAX (REAL RADIO)/ATLANTA and KCXX (X103.9)/SAN BERNARDINO; he finishes up at WOOD on AUGUST 9. (Tue, 7/31)
The first time she stepped onto the set, Jessica Camacho stammered, slipped off her stool and stared at the TV cameras with a shell-shocked, deer-in-the-headlights look. That wasn't a problem for the cast and crew of "Come On Over!" That's what the script called for. By the time the episode was filmed, everyone knew she loves flowers, does animal noises and has "a great desire to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks." Camacho, as a shy girl named Joy, joined the cast of "Come On Over!" as the locally produced children's TV show, which debuted last October, began taping episodes for its second season on WOTV-TV (Channel 41)... 'Come On Over!' builds momentum (Sun, 8/5)
When you tune in to WHTS-FM (105.3) at night, expect to hear -- "It's all Gravy, Baby!" That's what the new voice to the night airwaves says to West Michigan listeners. His real name is Kevin Canup, but now he simply goes by the name of "Gravy." He signed on for his first night shift at Hot FM on Monday. His program, which airs 6-11 p.m. weeknights , will feature new music, a countdown of top hits and a focus on engaging the listener... HOT FM has new night DJ (Sun, 8/5)
Dawn Michaels Leaves WTNR
CITADEL Country WTNR (THUNDER 94-5)/GRAND RAPIDS, MI PD STEVE STEWART tells ALL ACCESS the APD/MD/midday mama DAWN MICHAELS is leaving the station to head back to CINCINNATI for family reasons. Her last day with the station will be WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15. She joined the THUNDER staff in JANUARY and prior to that held the same position at WYGY/CINCY until this past NOVEMBER when ENTERCOM purchased the station from CUMULUS.
Arbitron's spring 2007 ratings are in for commercial radio stations. WGRD-FM's (97.9) ratings are up, placing the alternative station in second place behind country station WBCT-FM (93.7). Adult contemporary WLHT-FM (95.7) and Top 40 WHTS-Hot FM (105.3) are tied for 10th place. Radio ratings are out (Sun, 8/12)
Jon Justice is moving on. Justice's most recent radio gig was at WOOD-AM (1300). He was on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m. during "The Show with Justice." He also filled in for weekday hosts Rick and Scott and was the regular all-around fill-in guy for vacationing on-air talent. His last day on-the-air in West Michigan was Aug. 4. Now, he is heading to Tucson as the morning man at Talk KQTH-FM (104.1) -- The Truth Tucson's News FM... Radio host moves on (Sun, 8/12)
Rachel Calderon, WXMI-TV (Fox 17's) weekend co-anchor/reporter, got married last month, and is moving to Southern California. Her last day at the station was Friday. Her husband has taken a job in engineering for Boeing and the opportunity was too good to pass up. "This is a bittersweet move," she said... Calderon goes West (Sun, 8/12)
Negotiations between the Big Ten Network and cable giant Comcast bubbled over Friday, with dueling press releases from each side about their impasse. Essentially, the Big Ten Network wants to go onto Comcast's expanded basic cable tier, while Comcast wants it in the digital realm. The network is overreaching. I can reel off at least a dozen networks to add to expanded basic before round-the-clock college swimming and wrestling. But Comcast isn't exactly to be trusted, either. Its digital subscribers saw the NFL Network as part of their package for about a year, before it suddenly it was transported to an upgraded payment realm. The NFL is livid, and the Big Ten wants to protect against a similar situation... Big Ten, Comcast need to get in tune (Sun, 8/12)
Rabbit ears are officially going out of style. Consumers who have depended on TV antennae to receive analog signals will have to upgrade to a digital receiver by Feb. 18, 2009. Those 20 percent of TV viewers will get a fuzzy screen after the conversion, but consumers who subscribe to cable or satellite service will not be affected. Local electronics retailers are making it a priority to inform their customers of the change... 'Rabbit ears' going off air Feb. 2009 (Sat, 8/11)
WGRD announces new night jock
Modern Rock WGRD-FM 97.9 program director Jerry Tarrants (JT) has announced that Lynae Cuddy has been appointed new night-time goddess for the nations #1 Rock Alternative radio station, 97-9 WGRD. Lynae is already on the job assuming her nightly duties including the 90's @ 9 specialty show.
"Everyday I would pour through applicants and everyday Lynae's propaganda would end up at the top of the pile...oddly enough it happened the most when I would leave my office vacant for a few moments," said Tarrants. "We're very excited about having her on the team and helping GRD maintain it's broadcasting dominance in the Grand Rapids market."
Lynae can be heard terrestrially on WGRD Monday thru Firday from 7pm - midnight or on line at www.wgrd.com.
Grand Rapids Press:
Country music radio station WBCT-FM (93.7) certainly is consistent. Clear Channel's country powerhouse station is still No. 1 with listeners (12-plus) in Kent and Ottawa counties, according to the spring Arbitron ratings book. "It is great to be a part of station that is successful consistently on many different levels. The philosophy we always have believed in is that if you serve your community well and take care of your customers, great things will come," B-93 program director Doug Montgomery said. He was especially pleased that B-93 has increased its audience size to more than 324,000 listeners in the West Michigan Designated Marketing Area (DMA), which encompasses the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Muskegon metro areas. "We remain on top in the total listening area for over 12 straight years now," he said...B-93 rules radio ratings, again (Sun, 8/19)
Longtime local morning show hosts Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis continue to keep West Michigan listeners up-to-date on what they are doing since they have left the airwaves at Hot FM, WHTS-FM (105.3)... Dave and Geri update (Sun, 8/19)
Nearing the end of a $2.4 million capital campaign, Grand Rapids Community Media Center is making a final push to guarantee a $300,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation. "We've made amazing progress," executive director Laurie Cirivello said. "We're running toward the finish line, but we don't want to lose that $300,000." The campaign, launched three years ago, has an overall goal of $2,434,800. If the CMC raises $2,134,800 by Sept. 30, the Kresge Foundation has pledged to top off the campaign. As of Wednesday, CMC was $186,169 short. "We're casting the net widely so everyone can participate," Cirivello said. A series of fundraising events are being planned, she said, as well as appeals televised on the media center's community access television stations, GRTV (Channel 25) and Live Wire (Channel 24), public radio station WYCE, 88.1 FM... Community Media Center makes fundraising push (Sun, 8/19)
Grand Haven Tribune:
Dapper Bill Struyk, wearing a light-blue pinstripe jacket and flashy Larry King-style yellow tie, was at his best as guest speaker this week for the Grand Haven Rotary Club. His humor was surprisingly and cleverly woven into his farewell-to-radio speech. A club past-president, Struyk entertainingly recalled 54 years of broadcasting that started with small Iowa radio stations. "I was 15 years old when a station owner said he would hire me and pay $1 an hour because he had to meet minimum wage requirements," Struyk joked... Bill Struyk says farewell to radio (Wed, 8/22)
Grand Rapids Press:
Brett Muller doesn't remember every detail from the first high school football game he called on the radio. He knows it was during his freshman year at Central Michigan University and involved Shepherd and Central Montcalm. But he's not sure who won or what the final score was. "I remember being so nervous I could barely speak," Muller said. "I was just trying to get my wits about me." Since that first game, Muller has managed to control his nerves. Muller, 33, will begin his 15th year in the radio business, including the past nine at WBBL-AM (1340). Muller once again will serve as color commentator for WBBL's "Game of the Week" telecasts, which opens with tonight's East Grand Rapids-Ottawa Hills game at Houseman Field. He'll team up for the fourth consecutive season with play-by-play announcer Bret Bakita. The pair also produces a one-hour high school football show called "Power Hour" from 6 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday... Radio guys Bakita, Muller team up again (Fri, 8/24)
Grand Rapids Press:
Morning on-air personalities Steve Stewart, of WTNR-FM (94.5), and Todd Chance, of WHTS-FM (105.3), helped raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Partnering with BMW, 19 different vehicles were brought in for test drives. BMW donated a buck to the local chapter for every mile driven. More than $70,000 was raised to help the nonprofit organization. Test drives add up for charity (Sun, 8/26)
"I haven't worn makeup in months," confesses WZZM-TV (Channel 13) news anchor Lauren Stanton. She has been off the air for a couple of months and has been more than a little busy. Lauren gave birth June 21 to an adorable baby boy named Cass. Her 4-year-old son, Nicholas, also keeps her on the run... WZZM anchor loves motherhood and Grand Rapids (Sun, 8/26)
Andy Sugden is the new director of photography for TV13, replacing Bob Gould, who was hired to teach broadcasting courses at Michigan State University. "I look forward to working with a great staff of shooters at TV-13. This is a unique opportunity for me. I will enjoy watching and training young shooters to learn more about nonlinear editing, camera work and enjoying their jobs," he said from KARE-TV, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis, where he has worked for three years... WZZM has new photography chief (Sun, 8/26)
You know it's the end of summer when the WLAV-FM (96.9) Budweiser Blues on the Mall winds down for the season. The series kicked off June 18 and went for eight weeks, bringing live blues acts from around the country. Christina Elsenbroek, station spokeswoman, said about 30,000 people attended the concert series. Blues on the Mall is a wrap (Sun, 8/26)
Lynae Cuddy, 22, of Kentwood, is the newly promoted on-air talent from 7 p.m. to midnight on WGRD-FM (97.9.) "It is so great to be able to be interactive with thousands of people at a time and entertain them," she said. Lynae graduated from Grand Valley State University in advertising and public relations, interned for Kevin Matthews at WLAV-FM (96.9) and has worked part time at 'GRD on the weekend on-air shift... WGRD promotes on-air personality (Sun, 8/26)
In most sporting events, there is a winner and a loser. That's about the same situation for sports fans in Southwestern Michigan when it comes to their sports on TV and radio this fall. The big winners are the Michigan State University fans. After a one-year absence from the radiowaves in the Kalamazoo area, the Spartans' football and basketball network returns and will be broadcast on WKZO-AM 590. That station used to be the long-time home of the University of Michigan. ``We've probably had U-M football and basketball on KZO for, what, 30 years or more?`` said WQLR-AM program director Dave Jaconette. ``We decided to move U-M over to ESPN 1660 (WQLR-AM), so people will still be able to get the Wolverines.'' The bump of U-M to 1660 means Kalamazoo College football and basketball won't be on the air this season. Jaconette says that the station will still have a K-College coaches show on Saturday mornings as well as a high school coaches show... Area games to be juggled on radio, TV (Sun, 8/26)
There's no time for small talk on the live, hourlong radio show hosted by Aisha Bynum and her sister, Ashli. The siblings host "Time for Teens" on WMFN 640, a "Smooth Vibes" station run by their parents, Tyrone and Portia Bynum. But from 2-3 p.m. each Friday during the summer, Aisha, 12, and Ashli, 14, play hip songs like "Lip Gloss" by Lil Mama and interview guests about stuff they care about. Their topics range from teen violence to back-to-school fashions. They do everything themselves, from finding advertisers and writing scripts, to booking guests and running the board... Sister duo does talk radio seriously (Thu, 8/30)
Joel Schoon Tanis claims to have "Forrest Gump Syndrome." Like the fictional movie character played by Tom Hanks, Tanis somehow winds up in the middle of interesting events, meeting famous people. Tanis met Johnny Cash in an elevator in Denver while at a Christian Bookseller Association conference. He once ended up in the ninth row at the Grammy Awards and became pals with Cyndi Lauper. And he has an Emmy. Not bad for a 40-year-old artist and kids' TV-show host. "Come on Over!" is the locally produced children's TV show Tanis created in partnership with the Grand Rapids Children's Museum that won six Michigan Emmy Awards in June... Host of TV show uses fun to teach (Thu, 8/30)
Grand Rapids Press:
Station employees from WXSP-TV, WOOD-TV and WOTV-TV partnered with nonprofit Home Repair Services in Grand Rapids as part of the "LIN TV's Day of Caring," a companywide day of volunteerism and community service. "It is always necessary to give back to the community, and, today, our employees are doing just that," said Diane Kniowski, president and general manager of the stations... TV stations join in day of caring (Sun, 9/2)
Grand Rapids Press:
He works six days a week at the crack of dawn and isn't paid a nickel for his trouble. The next time you grumble when the alarm clock buzzes, think of Oscar Zuniga. This volunteer extraordinaire just turned 80 and still wakes up at 4 each morning to get to work on time. And what is the work he does for love, not money? He's on the air 5:30 to 7 a.m. weekdays and 6 to 8 a.m. Sundays hosting the music show "El Mundo Musical" on community radio station WYCE-FM (88.1). "I wake up, admire myself in the mirror and think, 'Here I am -- I'm still alive and looking for trouble,' " he said. For 20 years, "El Mundo Musical" has brought regional Mexican hits to the Hispanic community in West Michigan. Since the beginning, Zuniga has been the program's musical maestro and guide... 20 years on the air for free (Mon, 9/3)
WJQK Hosts Over 50K At Unity Festival
LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS hosted the annual UNITY MUSIC FESTIVAL in AUGUST at HERITAGE LANDING in MUSKEGON, MI. Highlighting the event this year were CASTING CROWNS, NEWSBOYS, KUTLESS and JARS OF CLAY.
“We had a record attendance of over 50,000 people in the four days (including day zero). We all experienced the presence of God, great weather, great ministry and some awesome performances,” said APD/MD GARY THOMPSON. (Tue, 9/4)
Griffins renew partnership with WOOD 1300
The partnership between the Grand Rapids Griffins and their flagship station, Newsradio WOOD 1300, will extend to 14 consecutive seasons, thanks to a new three-year agreement between the American Hockey League club and Clear Channel Radio. “Labatt Griffins Hockey,” a centerpiece of Newsradio WOOD 1300’s programming lineup since the team’s inaugural campaign in 1996-97, will maintain its current home through at least the 2009-10 season. Next month, Bob Kaser will begin his eighth season as the Voice of the Griffins...
Press release, GriffinsHockey.com
Bob Simonson Exits WLHT/Grand Rapids
BOB "THE JANITOR" SIMONSON parts company with REGENT AC WLHT/GRAND RAPIDS to focus on his publication business, SIMONSON MARKETING & ENTERTAINMENT which publishes custom radio station tabloids to be used as station NTR projects. (Thu, 9/6)
Grand Rapids Press:
You may have seen the promotional television spot stating the 6 p.m. newscast of WZZM-TV (Channel 13) is No. 1. This is an accurate statement when it comes to certain demographics. The station's newscast finished in first place with adults 25-54, women 25-54 and men 25-54, according to Nielsen's July 2007 ratings book. Advertisers favor the "demo" because the numbers are broken down by age and gender, and they can see what matches their target audiences. Janet Mason, president and general manager of WZZM, agrees: "Clients pay more attention to demos. Households don't buy products -- people buy products." At WXMI-TV (Channel 17), whose news ratings at 10 p.m. remain consistent, general manager Patty Kolb said, "As far as rating success is concerned, most every advertiser in the country looks at demo ratings. "To be honest, I never really even look at households to measure anything. Most national advertisers use adults 18-49, with some going younger to adults 18-34 (soft drinks, movies, etc.). Some use adults 25-54 (older auto manufacturers). The success that is used by the network advertisers to determine the number one network for the season is always adults 18-49"... Ratings 101: Making sense of 'the book' (Sun 9/9)
Two West Michigan radio DJ's to be held hostage
Contemporary Christian WaYfm (WAYK-FM 88.3 Kalamazoo/WAYG-FM 89.9 Grand Rapids) is banishing morning personality Rich Anderson and afternoon personality Mike Couchman to live in confined spaces, on display for all to see, while WaYfm listeners pledge to get Rich and Mike down.
WaYfm listeners from the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek areas will pledge on behalf of Rich; WaYfm listeners from the Grand Rapids area will pledge on behalf of Mike. Neither Rich or Mike can come down from raised Genie Scissor Lifts until 250 pledges have been made from their city to keep WaYfm commercial free and music-intensive.
Each lift, provided by Titan Equipment, will be raised to maximum height, showcasing the small dwellings that will become each DJ’s temporary home to all who drive along US-131, I-94, and M-6.
The hostage situation begins tomorrow morning (9/13) at 6 a.m. with live coverage on 88.3 & 89.9 WaYfm, and regular updates at www.WaY.fm. Aside from pledges, only inclement weather and brief personal needs breaks can get the WaYfm DJs down.
88.3 & 89.9 WaYfm are commercial free non-profit radio stations with studios in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. WaYfm plays Top 40 music with a Christian world-view aimed at teens, young adults, and young families. WaYfm is part of Cornerstone University’s group of radio stations.
Cumulus announces format changes in Battle Creek
Radio listeners in Calhoun County will notice some big changes on both the FM and AM dials starting today when classic rock WRCC-FM 104.9 is replaced with a simulcast of soft rock WBXX-FM 95.3. The two frequencies will simulcast for about one week in advance of the news-talk format of WBCK AM 930 moving to FM 95.3 where it will simulcast for a period of time.
When the changes are complete, WBXX will be located on FM 104.9 and WBCK will be heard on FM 95.3. A yet-to-be announced format will be launched on AM 930 by a still to be identified new owner.
The changes come about as part of a sale agreement between Clear Channel and Cumulus Media. Four Battle Creek stations, AM930 WBCK, FM95.3 WBXX, AM1400 WBFN, and FM104.9 WRCC are part of a 9-station deal made last year between the two companies.
Current Cumulus stations WKFR and WRKR have a strong presence in the Calhoun County area and because of FCC ownership caps, Cumulus will need to ‘spin off’ two of the four Battle Creek stations, namely WBCK and sports WBFN AM 1400.
Cumulus Media has hired a Battle Creek native to manage the operation. A 1976 graduate of Battle Creek Central High School, “Bearcat” Steve Stoimenoff is a veteran area radio broadcaster. His first Radio job, starting in 1979, was at Battle Creek’s “Keener 14.” He later worked at for Cumulus at the Kalamazoo operation, and from there gained major-market experience in Detroit. “I’ve got Corn Flakes running in my veins… it’s GRRRREAT! to be coming home! I’ve still got family here, and I’m thrilled to be working with Cumulus again.” Stoimenoff says that Cumulus is committed to keeping the Battle Creek operation local, and a powerful tool for local businesses that want to grow.
Tim Collins, operations manager for Clear Channel's Battle Creek stations commented on today's move of WBXX, “This more than doubles the wattage, (which) should help more people outside of town hear the station, and it should also improve reception in many workplaces.”
Collins says the station has no plans to change the lineup, which includes the popular “Cassidy & Kelley” morning show and Delilah in the evening.
“We’ll be simulcasting WBCK on both AM930 and 95.3FM for a while, and telling WBCK fans to tune their radios to 95.3FM, “said Collins. “Eventually, AM930 will be turned off and sold.” Collins says the line-up on the News-Talk station will stay the same. “The only differences you’ll notice will be a clearer sound on FM, no static during thunderstorms, and much better coverage of Calhoun County. Because AM930 is a ‘directional’ AM station, the signal does not go to the southeast. Now, on FM 95.3, WBCK will be heard clearly in Marshall, and even Dave Eddy’s home town of Albion.”
Another change on the radio will effect AM 1400. The station is being donated by Cumulus to Family Life Radio, which operates WUFN in Albion.
“It’s really unfortunate that FCC rules which, are designed to serve the public interest could end up doing the opposite,” said Collins. “I’m sure Cumulus would like to continue to operate all four of these Battle Creek stations, as Clear Channel has done so well. But the FCC limits won’t allow that. Hopefully someone will be able to afford to buy and operate AM930 as a stand-alone station, but it will certainly be a costly proposition. Neighborhood developments, outside signal interference, and aging infrastructures are literally choking the life out of AM signals everywhere, and they are more costly to operate and maintain.”
“We’re committed to making sure that WBCK and WBXX continue to super-serve the local community, and with these changes both stations will be able to do that even more effectively than they have in the past.”, said Stoimenoff. “That’s good news for listeners, advertisers, and civic organizations.”
Grand Rapids Press:
Brad Edwards' career started with the morning-announcement gig at Forest Hills Northern High School. Staffers never knew what to expect from this funny and fiercely talented teen. He's come a long way. After four years as an Emmy-award-winning reporter/anchor for WOOD-TV (Channel 8), Edwards is heading for Detroit. He will become the lead news correspondent and back-up anchor for WJBK-TV's new 11 p.m. newscast. "It's a rare opportunity," Edwards said. "Newscasts just aren't launched every day." Edwards, 28, said his move to WBJK (Fox News 2) "will allow me to do something new. We can recreate the wheel, do it different and big, on a newscast that has not been definitively defined"... Broadcast: WOOD-TV's Edwards heads for Detroit (Sun, 9/16)
Battle Creek Enquirer:
Local radio listeners might need to reset their dials. New ownership at Battle Creek Radio has caused the group's stations to do some frequency hopping. The changes, already in effect, came after Battle Creek Radio's corporate owner, Clear Channel Communications, finalized its sale of its four Battle Creek radio stations to Atlanta-based Cumulus Media Inc. The four Battle Creek stations — WBCK 930 AM, WBXX 95.3 FM, WBFN 1400 AM and WRCC 104.9 FM — are part of a nine-station deal made last year between the two companies, said Tim Collins, WBCK's program director and Battle Creek Radio interim operations manager... B.C. radio stations change frequencies (Tue, 9/18)
Brian Sims Rolls With Thunder 94.5
CITADEL Country WTNR (THUNDER 94.5)/GRAND RAPIDS welcomes BRIAN SIMS to the station as APD/MD/middayer. He replaces DAWN MICHAELS who left the station in AUGUST to move to CINCINNATI. SIMS most recently worked for LINCOLN FINANCIAL Country KYGO/DENVER and has also spent time in NASHVILLE, LEXINGTON and MOBILE. (Tue, 9/18)
WLKM becomes K-Wings exclusive home
The Kalamazoo Wings, proud member of the International Hockey League, have announced WLKM (95.9 FM) will be the exclusive radio home for K-Wings hockey. Since the Kalamazoo Wings re-established their radio network back in 2002, fans have enjoyed listening to K-Wings’ games on WLKM. With their new agreement, the K-Wings and their exclusive radio home, based in Three Rivers, Michigan, can continue to have games reach a coverage area that spans over 11 Southwest Michigan counties. Also with the new agreement, WLKM gains the rights to be the on-air home for the Kalamazoo Wings Weekly Coaches Show, “K-Wings Live”. This season the show will originate Monday’s 7-8 p.m. from the newly renovated Old Burdick’s Bar and Grill, located inside the Holiday Inn West off of South 11th Street. The season debut of “K-Wings Live” will be Monday, October 8th... Read entire press release (wingsstadium.com)
For more than nine years, an unmistakable voice -- gravelly, unstable and labored, yet warm and comforting -- has greeted thousands of National Public Radio listeners in Michigan for two hours each weekday morning. That voice belongs to award-winning radio personality Diane Rehm, host of the syndicated talk show bearing her name, which attracts a national audience of about 1.65 million and can be heard via satellite in Europe, in Japan and at U.S. military bases worldwide. Her show's guest list during its 27-year history reads like a Who's Who of the political, arts and literary scenes -- Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Julie Andrews, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Deepak Chopra and Toni Morrison. On Tuesday, Rehm will give a free public lecture at Western Michigan University, organized by the WMU Graduate Student Advisory Committee. The talk was originally set for March 13, then April 2, but was rescheduled again because Rehm had pneumonia... Diane Rehm overcomes doubts, health struggles to stay behind the mic (Wed, 9/19)
John Tesh Spotted In Kalamazoo:
JOHN TESH RADIO SHOW adds MIDWEST COMMUNICATIONS AC WVFM/KALAMAZOO, MI for nights, replacing BRIAN HAYES who had been voicetracking the show. HAYES also does middays at sister Classic Hits WFAT, and in his spare time handles Director of Programming duties for the cluster. (Mon, 9/24)
By: Colleen Pierson
Neither rain, nor wind, nor dark of night could stop WBCT-FM (B’93’s) morning man Neal Dionne from sitting on top of a roof to raise more than $250,000 to end the cycle of child abuse in West Michigan. Over the course of 15 years doing Roofsit, B-93 has raised in excess of $6 million for organizations that help prevent child abuse and neglect.
“The event went off without a hitch,” said Kristen Everhart, director of promotions for Clear Channel Radio. “Except we could have done without the rain and wind during Neal's first night and second day on the roof. The wind was gusting so fast that we had to reinforce the wood house that Neal's broadcast equipment is set up in! It worked though, and Neal was a trooper and stayed up in the house the entire time like he normally does.”
• • • • • • • •
Brian Sims is the new midday hire (10a.m.-3p.m.) and assistant program manager at WTNR-FM (Thunder 94.5).
“I will be here until the end of time,” he said jokingly. I love helping people get through the work day stress-free and have a lot of fun.”
Sims left KYGO-FM, a country radio station in Denver, Colorado, to pursue his new job at Thunder.
“I’ve never been to Michigan before. The people are great here—very friendly.”
Sims has been in the radio broadcast industry for over 16 years and graduated from Washington State University with a degree in broadcast management. He replaces Dawn Michaels who left the area to be with her family.
• • • • • • • •
Ken Burns is a well-known, gifted, documentary producer and director. His work is a must-see. I recommend you won’t want to miss his newest project. It is a World War II film series that explores the history and horror of the war from an American perspective.
Beginning on Sunday, September 23 at 8 p.m., WGVU-TV (Channel 35) presents The War, the new seven-part epic miniseries. Parts 1 – 4 of the film will air Sunday, September 23 – Wednesday, September 26 and parts 5 – 7 will air Sunday, September 30 – Tuesday, October 2, all at 8 p.m. Each night’s episode will encore immediately following the initial airing. For more info, visit wgvu.org.
Grand Rapids Press:
What does last week's announcement of a $19.5 billion buyout by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners mean to programmers for local Clear Channel stations? The radio giant owns WBCT-FM, WMAX-FM, WOOD-AM, WTKG-AM, WSNX-FM, WBFX-FM and WOOD-FM in West Michigan. Bart Brandmiller, Clear Channel acting general manager and sales manager for Grand Rapids, responded to the news: "The sale ... is nothing more than a financial strategy to take the company private"... Buyout a 'financial strategy' (Sun, 9/30)
Local radio, TV and print journalists take students on job shadowing experiences all the time. Some are more accommodating than others. And news anchor Suzanne Geha of WOOD-TV (Channel 8) just might take the cake. Students consistently job-shadow her, and she takes a great deal of time explaining the broadcasting industry to them. Geha takes a personal interest in college interns and helps them with their careers... Geha goes extra mile (Sun, 9/30)
The Van takes an alternate route
WYVN-FM 92.7 Holland has adjusted its format from classic hits to oldies, repositioning from "Holland's Classic Hits" to "Holland's Greatest Hits". The station is owned by Midwest Communications.
Grand Rapids Press:
Mario Impemba and Rod Allen bristle at the notion that the Detroit Tigers' season was a disappointment. The FSN Detroit broadcast partners say the Tigers might have been victims of high expectations established after their memorable run to the World Series in 2006. While the Tigers may have finished eight games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central Division this season, there is no reason to deem Detroit a failure... Tigers broadcast tandem call it a season (Mon, 10/1)
Muskegon Fury and Synergy Broadcast Group complete three-year radio deal
Set to embark on a new frontier with the second coming of the International Hockey League for the rapidly-approaching 2007-08 season, the Muskegon Fury will set sail on their IHL maiden voyage with a new partner alongside them with the forging of a brand new, all-new radio agreement. Through this new arrangement, the Fury will have a new radio place to call home for all of their game broadcasts as well as a daily update report. The Muskegon Fury and Synergy Broadcast Group have announced the completion of a three-year contract deal that will make West Michigan’s WWKR-FM 94.1 the new radio flagship home for all of the Fury’s live play-by-play broadcasts. Moreover, also included in the new contractual agreement, the daily “Fury Daily Update” will be heard on WWKR-FM 94.1 Monday through Friday at 5:20 pm while the “Fury Hotline Radio Show” will remain on 94 K-Rock as that program commences for an unprecedented 13th consecutive year and second straight year on WWKR-FM 94.1... Furyhockey.com Press Release
Grand Rapids Press:
What are local television stations doing to take advantage of high-definition TV? It depends who you ask. Janet Mason, president and general manager of WZZM-TV (Channel 13), said the station bought eight HD cameras this year, and eight more will arrive in early 2008. "We are letting viewers vote for the 13th game we shoot for '13 On Your Sidelines,' our Friday night high school football show," she said. "This game is shot in high definition. To vote, viewers need to go to wzzm13.com. We had about 12,000 votes for last Friday's game." TV-13 also will use HD for a couple of news stories in the November ratings period, and is planning a second HD prime-time special in 2008... How goes move to HDTV? (Sun, 10/7)
On Monday, listeners in St. Cloud, Minn., were treated to their first serving of "Free Beer and Hot Wings." The popular morning show was added when KKSR- FM flipped the station to Active Rock. The show is based in Grand Rapids at WGRD-FM (97.9)... Show spreads its 'Wings' (Sun, 10/7)
Bill Press, nationally syndicated talk radio and television personality, visits Grand Rapids on Thursday and Friday as a guest of Grand Rapids station WTKG-AM (1230.) Many may recognize Press from his work as co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and MSNBC's "Buchanan and Press." Press will visit West Michigan as part of a national radio tour. He will broadcast his show in front of an audience. On Thursday, there will be a VIP meet-and-greet at McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon, 58 Ionia Ave. SW, in downtown Grand Rapids... Bill Press to visit Grand Rapids (Sun, 10/7)
Grand Rapids Press:
WXSP likes to bill itself as, "The TV station with game." Thanks to the Detroit Pistons, the sister station of local NBC affiliate WOOD-TV still has a little game left. WXSP will broadcast two preseason and 38 regular-season games this season, the eighth consecutive year the Pistons will appear on "The X." Its first telecast is Thursday night, when the Pistons face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons also will have three preseason and 37 regular-season games broadcast on FSN Detroit, three on ABC and four on TNT. In the past, WXSP was the home to a bevy of other sports, including the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings and Big Ten Conference football and men's basketball. But as professional sports continue to air exclusively on cable, and the Big Ten Network snatches up any leftover college games, local outlets are increasingly left out in the cold. This past season, for example, WWMT-TV outbid WXSP for the right to air 17 Tigers games. WXSP had served as the secondary source for Tigers broadcasts the previous three seasons... WXSP to remain in Pistons' plans (Mon, 10/8)
Grand Rapids Press:
Bob Kaser claims he's still nothing more than a fan with a microphone in front of his mouth. The handful of broadcasting awards he's received over the years suggest otherwise. Kaser, 47, is beginning his eighth year as the play-by-play radio voice for the Grand Rapids Griffins on WOOD-AM (1300). While Kaser calls road games alone, during most home games this season he again will be joined by color commentator Larry Figurski. Kaser has come a long way from his days sneaking a tape recorder into Flint Generals games in the old International Hockey League. Growing up in Flint, Kaser loved hockey but knew he was going nowhere as a player. So he and a friend would record their own commentary in the stands for the Generals. One of those rough tapes eventually found its way into the hands of the team's public relations department. Kaser said he isn't sure what the team heard in that early tape that qualified him for a job, but it led to a play-by-play position with the Generals... Call of the Griffins still a thrill (Fri, 10/12)
WJQK Holds Marriage Commitment Rally
LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS held a one-time “MARRIED FOR LIFE COMMITMENT RALLY” during the “JQ MORNING BLAST” yesterday morning (10/11). Hundreds of couples called in or logged in to the website to pledge or re-commit to stay married for life. The rally was the idea of nationally syndicated “FAMILY MOMENTS” host DAN SEABORN. SEABORN was in the studio and on air with special guests DOUG SWINK, MARK HARRIS, GEOFF MOORE, Congressman PETE HOEKSTRA and other local celebrities. (Fri, 10/12)
Grand Rapids Press:
As many of you already know, I co-host a Saturday morning radio show every week with former TV personality Gerry Barnaby on WLHT-FM (95.7). Every week, we let West Michigan know about area happenings. Basically, it's an extension of what we do in The Grand Rapids Press in print and online. If you know Barnaby, then you know he's a bit of a nut. I always say, "You never know what he's going to say or do." And sometimes he forgets that we're on the radio, and not on television or in print. This weekend was a perfect example... Duct tape at WLHT (Sat, 10/13)
Grand Rapids Press:
Tim Feagan, who helped launch the powerful country station B-93 in the early 1990s, will return to head Clear Channel's local operation after being out of the business for 12 years. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn't pass up," said Feagan, 49, whose new role as general manager was announced to employees Monday. He replaces Skip Essick, who left the market in late July for another radio job in California. Feagan was last in the business as general manager at the country music station WBCT-FM (93.7), known as B-93. He will oversee seven Grand Rapids stations, WBCT, WOOD-AM (1300), WSNX-FM (104.5), WOOD-FM (105.7), WMAX-FM (96.1), WTKG-AM (1230) and WBFX-FM (101.3). Together, they are the largest player in the local radio market. Feagan said he is not planning changes for the stations. "We have a great franchise, great properties and a base of employees with a wealth of experience," he said... Clear Channel selects Tim Feagan as manager (Tue, 10/16)
It won't be long before West Michigan radio stations will switch to holiday programming. The all-Christmas-music-all-the-time theme has been a ratings booster. Already, the push is on. WOOD-FM (Star 105.7) is offering a contest for listeners to win a $10,000 Christmas bonus. And last week, programmers at WLHT-FM (95.7) announced it was taking the all-Christmas format from sister station WTRV-FM (100.5, The River) and putting it on their frequency. WLHT's move is driven by good ratings for the programming over the past five years... Radio stations ready Christmas formats (Mon, 10/15)
Longtime radio co-hosts Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis left their WHTS-FM (105.3) gig earlier this summer. "A lot of you are asking if we will be on the air again here in West Michigan. We'd love nothing more. We just don't know if an opportunity will present itself," Dave writes on daveandgeri.com... Dave and Geri are at home (Mon, 10/15)
Former TV personality Gerry Barnaby has moved to radio. He recently filled in for vacationing Bill Bailey on the afternoon shift on WLHT-FM (95.7), and during my insomniac state, I also heard him on the late night shift... Barnaby getting more air time (Mon, 10/15)
How did B-93 get tickets for the Dec. 6 Hannah Montana concert in Van Andel Arena? The show sold out in eight minutes, but last week, WBCT-FM (93.7) was giving away family four-packs hourly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Station officials declined to comment for competitive reasons... Hot tickets to Hannah (Mon, 10/15)
Grand Rapids Press:
Rick Berkey concedes that he's a little bit of a control freak. But he's also a control freak who loves the radio and high school sports. Those two passions initially made it difficult for Berkey to partner his local broadcast company, Sportsplay Inc. with Michigansportsradio.com, an Internet high school broadcast company. Despite a 25-year career in radio, Berkey said the difficult decision to switch came down to three factors... Familiar radio voice calls prep games on Web (Fri, 10/19)
This week, we talked about pop culture with Kevin Murphy, station manager for WYCE-FM (88.1). The community-owned radio station's fall fund drive runs through 6 p.m. today. Donations are accepted at 616-742-9923... Your take: Kevin Murphy (Fri, 10/19)
Grand Rapids Press:
Local viewers will have another option for television news starting tonight, as a WOOD-TV sister station unveils "24 Hour News 8 at 10 on WXSP." Station management hopes to compete directly with WXMI, a Fox affiliate that has run a 10 p.m. news broadcast since 1999. "We're coming out of the box as a surprise," said Diane Kniowski, president and general manager for WOOD-TV (Channel 8), WOTV (Channel 41) and WXSP (Channel 15 in most areas). "We've been thinking about a 10 o'clock news for a long time. Ten is the only unchallenged time period when it comes to news." The wide availability of news on TV and elsewhere is leading to many network affiliates exploring options for newscasts, said Kurt Bartolich, a marketing and brand consultant for Iowa-based Frank N. Magid Associates Inc., a firm that has helped stations around the nation launch 10 p.m. broadcasts... WOOD sister station adds 10 p.m. newscast (Sun, 10/21)
It was a busy week for broadcast radio promotions. Jeff Morton, director of sales for Grand Rapids Citadel Broadcasting for five years and general manager of its Muskegon stations since 2004, was named general manager of Citadel Broadcasting Company in West Michigan. That means he will be in charge of Grand Rapids stations WLAV-FM (96.9), WKLQ-FM (107.3), WTNR-FM (94.5 Thunder), WHTS-FM (105.3), WBBL-AM (1340) and five Muskegon stations. Morton is new boss at Citadel Broadcasting (Sun, 10/21)
Tim Feagan, newly announced head of Clear Channel's local radio operations, says he feels "like a kid in the candy store," getting back into radio again after being out of the business for 12 years. "Years ago, when I was in L.A., I always thought of what a dream job it would be to run WOOD-AM and FM. I have wanted this job for 17 to 20 years," he said. Now, he gets a chance to head seven Clear Channel Grand Rapids stations, WOOD-AM (1300), WOOD-FM (105.7), WTKG.AM (1230), WBCT-FM (B-93), WMAX-FM (96.1), WBFX-FM (101.3), and WSNX-FM (104.5). Feagan, who was general manager and helped launch B-93 in the early 1990s, has worked in Los Angeles and Chicago radio markets. He also was responsible for hiring Doug Montgomery, a B-93 institution... New Clear Channel boss glad to return to radio (Sun, 10/21)
Got game or news? Can viewers have access to World Series coverage and still view Fox 17's News at 10? Mark Krause, director of programming for WXMI-TV (Fox 17) explains: "On game nights, we schedule the game to run three-and-a-half hours. News is then scheduled for 30 minutes -- 11:30 p.m. to midnight. If the game ends prior to 11:30 -- news will expand as necessary... Fox works news around World Series (Sun, 10/21)
Grand Rapids Press:
Top secret! That's the best way to describe the launch of Grand Rapids' newest 10 p.m. newscast, which aired Sunday night on WOOD-TV's sister station, WXSP. "24 Hour News 8 at 10 on WXSP," was a well-kept secret in the television broadcasting community. "Most of the station employees did not know. Terri DeBoer doesn't know. Anyone that worked on the new newscast had to sign a confidentiality agreement," said Diane Kniowski, president and general manager for WOOD (Channel 8), WOTV (Channel 41), and WXSP - (Channel 15 locally). Why the big secret? One reason: "In one of our sister markets in Buffalo, they started promoting that they would start a 10 o'clock news cast 10 days before it started on the air. Another station took advantage and beat them on the air by three days. They took advantage and scooped them on their scoop," Kniowski said Sunday... 10 p.m. news makes debut on WOOD sister station (Mon, 10/22)
Grand Rapids Press:
Brian James, a new meteorologist at WWMT-TV (Channel 3), is no stranger to West Michigan. He is a graduate of Forest Hills Central High School and has always been interested in the weather. He attended University of Oklahoma, where he obtained a degree in meteorology. His career has taken him across the country at KPCP-TV in Oklahoma City, WGKI-TV in Cadillac, WEYI in Flint and, most recently, at KVII in Texas... 3 hires meteorologist (Sun, 10/28)
WGRD-FM (97.9) is releasing its seventh "Bootleg" CD for charity. The CD features unreleased tracks for local and national artists, as well as live studio performances recorded at WGRD. The 50-minute CD will be available at all West Michigan Meijer stores beginning Nov. 20. Cost is $9.79... Bash benefits nonprofit (Sun, 10/28)
Even though Jeff Morton replaced Matt Hanlon as the new general manager for Citadel Broadcasting Co.'s local properties -- WLAV-FM (96.7), WKLQ-FM (107.3), WHTS-FM (105.3), WTNR-FM (Thunder 94.5) and WBBL-AM (1340) in Grand Rapids -- Hanlon continues with his role as regional president of Citadel Broadcasting. Hanlon will oversee multiple markets in Michigan... Regional VP stays on at Citadel (Sun, 10/28)
Instant flash of stardom
by: Colleen Pierson
It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Emily Pearce is a 23-year-old Grand Rapids resident who worked as waitress/bartender at the Amway Grand Plaza , Not any more. She decides on a whim, to try out for a talent-search for the new morning personality at WHTS-FM. Now, her dream of being an on-air broadcast personality and co-host on 105.3 Hot FM Today’s Hottest Hits has been realized.
“I am so excited, Pearce said during a recent phone interview with the Press. I tried out on a whim, made it to the final 8 and this all came out of nowhere—it is awesome.”
She’s a graduate of Rockford High School and is no stranger to the study of Communications, graduating from Central Michigan University with a degree in the field.
“I have always been drawn to the entertainment field,” she said.
She started on the air-waves this week and joins morning men Todd Chance and Carter from 5:30-10:00a.m.
My role is still being defined, but it is a full-time position and I am so excited about it. Many of her responsibilities will be tied to providing entertainment reports for the station.
On-air personalities Todd Chance, Emily Pearce and Carter replace Dave and Geri who left the Citadel Broadcasting Company in the summer.
Grand Rapids Press:
Nineteen radio stations banded together last month in what is called a radio roadblock to raise awareness of shaken baby syndrome. At 7:30 a.m. Oct. 23, listeners heard 45 seconds of a baby crying while a voice-over interrupted by saying: "No matter how much she cries. No matter how tired you are. No matter how frustrated you get. Never, ever shake a baby." Though the radio spot is less than a minute in length, physicians at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital think it will make a difference... Stations throw up 'radio roadblock' (Sun, 11/4)
Tony Tagliavia and Jessica Leffler have joined WOOD-TV (Channel 8) as night general assignment reporters. News director Patti McGettigan is excited to have them aboard. "Both come to the station with skilled reporting backgrounds and will be strong assets to our news product," she said... WOOD-TV adds two reporters (Sun, 11/4)
With the 10 p.m. newscast addition at WXSP-TV, staff schedules are changing on the noon broadcast at WOOD-TV during Storm Team 8 weathercasts. Meteorologist Terri DeBoer will cover the noon broadcast Mondays and Tuesdays and Matt Kirkwood takes over Wednesdays through Fridays. Noon weather changes at WOOD (Sun, 11/4)
Mike Bridges, former television news anchor and reporter for WWMT-TV (Channel 3), has left the station. "He decided to take a job outside of television," said Cathy Younkin, news director at WWMT. Bridges will be the public affairs director for the Michigan Credit Union League based in Lansing... Anchorman leaves WWMT (Sun, 11/4)
WSNX Two Jocks In A Box -- For Real: This past weekend, CLEAR CHANEL Top 40 WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS APD HOLMES & night co-host HOOCH from the "Freak Show" did a promotion called "Jock In A Box". The two jocks lived outside in a box (actually a POD) for 3-1/2 days until they filled a truck up with food for 500 needy WEST MICHIGAN families for the holidays. This was the third year for "Jock In A Box" and the second year they had to endure temperatures under 32 degrees. Brrrrrrrrrrrr! Click here for photos.
The program director for local rock radio station WRKR-FM (107.7) has issued a statement regarding what he termed ``an absurd joke'' last month by an on-air personality that offended some listeners. During a broadcast of the station's ``The Rocker Morning Show,'' as the hosts discussed a poll that asked what people would do if they had just one hour to live, Warren Kluck said he would ``rape'' a woman. A statement issued via e-mail Thursday by WRKR program director Jay Deacon said: ``Warren Kluck sincerely apologized for his inappropriate remarks made on October 12th on `The Rocker Morning Show' on WRKR. He will again, make a public apology for his remarks on the program on November 9th"... WRKR issues statement about on-air remarks (Fri, 11/9)
Grand Rapids Press:
It's been nearly five months since West Michigan radio listeners began waking up without Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis, two of the market's most recognizable personalities. The questions they hear the most? "Where are they? How is Geri's health? Will they be back on the air soon?" "I have heard that I am dying from cancer. Nothing could be further from the truth," Jarvis said in a recent interview, her first public comments since going off the air abruptly at WHTS-FM (105.3). Prior to that, the couple entertained listeners for nearly 20 years on WLHT-FM (95.7). Even during her years at WLHT -- where the couple won numerous awards, including "Personality of the Year" four times from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters -- Jarvis has had medical struggles... Dave and Geri eager for return to radio (Sun, 11/18)
Top 5 stations in Grand Rapids among all listeners in the first fall ratings trend were WBCT-FM, WOOD-AM, WLAV-FM, WGRD-FM, and WSNX-FM... Phase I age 12+ ratings chart (Fri, 11/30)
Grand Rapids Press:
Tim Doty wishes his schedule allowed him to play a little more hockey. The WXMI-TV Fox 17 weekend sports anchor grew up playing the game in his hometown of Trenton. He started as a left wing when he was in first grade and played organized hockey all the way through his junior year in high school. Doty, 35, also played on intramural teams while at Michigan State and occasionally saw time with "beer league" teams while working in Lansing. But when Doty joined West Michigan's Fox affiliate six years ago today, his busy schedule put his hockey playing, well, on ice. Not that it's stopped other local TV personalities from trying to recruit him for their rec teams from time to time... Fox-17 anchor's first love is hockey (Fri, 11/30)
Grand Rapids Press:
He started his Grand Rapids radio career in September 1967 on the "Big Max." He also is the guy who hired WLAV radio icons Kevin Matthews and Tony Gates. Ed Buchanan, affectionately known as "Uncle Buck," recently celebrated his 40th year in broadcasting. He began at WMAX-AM (1480). His career path includes 15 years at WCUZ-FM (101.3), where he started Grand Rapids' first FM country station, and he has been at WLAV-FM (96.9) for 20 years. He was there 1970-1979, and returned in 1995 ... Adult Contemporary Christian WCSG-FM (91.3) won the Station of the Year award (Markets 26-100) at the R&R Christian Summit achievement ceremony... 'Uncle Buck' hits 40-year milestone (Sun, 12/2)
Tommy & Brook are in, Steve & Sabrina are out. The morning team of Tommy Dylan and Brook Taylor will leave their familiar slot at WCSG radio to move into secular radio at Star 105.7, replacing the long-time team of Steve and Sabrina. Doug Montgomery, the Operations Manager for Clear Channel Grand Rapids, said Tommy & Brook will start at Star 105.7 as soon as they are able to officially leave WCSG. Chris Lemke, the General Manager and Program Director of WCSG, said their departure date is still being negotiated... Steve & Sabrina out at Star 105.7 (Mon, 12/3)
Grand Rapids Press:
The plug has been pulled on one of the market's most recognizable morning teams, Steve Kelly and Sabrina Fairchild. The pair have been a team since 1996, most recently at Star 105.7 (WOOD-FM), where they had been for two years. Before that the team had been on WSNX-FM (104.5) for 12 years. Neither one was available for immediate comment, and station officials were planning to issue a news release later this afternoon. According to Doug Montgomery of Clear Channel Radio in West Michigan, Kelly will remain with the company -- and on air -- in some capacity. He will be on the air Tuesday morning, but without Fairchild... Steve & Sabrina out at Star 105.7 (Mon, 12/3)
Grand Rapids Press:
It's a crazy time in Grand Rapids radio. In a matter of just 24 hours, three well-known media professionals are no longer employed due to some major shakeups at Clear Channel West Michigan. The latest casualties: WOOD-AM (1300) morning co-host John Matlack and traffic reporter Robb Westaby. They join Sabrina Fairchild from WOOD-FM (Star 105.7), who was let go on Monday morning shortly after her on-air shift with co-host Steve Kelly. Matlack said he was delivered the news right after his on-air shift today. He said the decision came from the corporate level. "There have been a lot of financial concerns by corporate, and there have been other cuts that have been made, and I'm just one more West Michigan worker cut by a big company far away," Matlack said Tuesday afternoon from his home, where he was decorating his Christmas tree. Westaby was not available for comment. And, when contacted by The Press, Fairchild directed all questions to local Clear Channel executives. As for Matlack, he worked at WOOD-AM for nearly 9-1/2 years, doing sports, news and live interviews with his co-host Gary Allen... More changes at Clear Channel West Michigan
Grand Rapids Press:
You may need a scorecard to keep track of the shake-ups in local broadcasting this week. Three major personalities are no longer with Clear Channel radio. WOOD-AM (1300) morning co-host John Matlack, WOOD-FM (Star 105.7) morning co-host Sabrina Fairchild and traffic reporter Robb Westaby were all fired this week. The new morning team on WOOD-FM is Tommy Dylan and Brook Taylor, who worked for WCSG-FM (91.3) for the past three years. "The new morning team will take over the show and start 100 percent on board on Wednesday." said Tim Feagan, newly appointed general manager for Clear Channel. "They really fit with West Michigan and what Star should be. They are very family friendly, have a great rapport and will be an integral part of our station. We are very excited about this. This is the right thing for listeners." Steve Kelly will stay in a different capacity with Clear Channel Radio, and told listeners Tuesday "he was getting a new assignment." Feagan would not release details Tuesday. "There is more to come," he said... Radio shakeup not over, Clear Channel GM says (Wed, 12/5)
Grand Rapids Press:
So no child should have to go without, local radio and television representatives continue to develop and market projects that help with local charitable efforts. Here are a few examples from around West Michigan: WZZM-TV (Channel 13) and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve partner with the Toys for Tots campaign ... WOOD-TV (Channel 8), WOTV-TV (Channel 4) and radio station WOOD-FM (105.7) are working for local children in need through the Salvation Army Angel Tree campaign ... WLAV-FM (96.9) presented $21,314 to God's Kitchen from a share of ticket sales for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Dec. 1 performances in Van Andel Arena. Both shows were near sellouts, and a portion of proceeds went to the local program... TV, radio stations fire up annual charitable drives (Tue, 12/11)
Dave Taft Adds PD Duties For WSHZ
CLEAR CHANNEL AC WSHZ (STAR 108)/MUSKEGON, MI PD DON BENO exits. Cluster OM DAVE TAFT will now assume WSHZ PD responsibilities. (Tue, 12/11)
Morning co-host Shelly Kay is leaving Cumulus CHR/Top 40 WKFR/Kalamazoo, MI in early ’08 for a new gig TBA. ‘KFR PD Kruze now has to spend the better part of his holiday beating
the bushes for just the right replacement to team up with Matt Walker. (Wed, 12/12)
Grand Rapids Press:
WWMT-TV (Channel 3), will launch a 10 p.m. newscast on its sister station, CW7, starting Jan. 7, general manager James Lutton said. "We have been planning this expansion for a year," Lutton said. "We think that the 10 p.m. time period is underserved with good options for news. It has become a very successful time period for viewing--primarily because it is such a convenient time." Anchoring "Newschannel 3 Live at 10 on CW7" on weekdays will be anchor Jeff McAtee, sports director Ed Kengerski and meteorologist Keith Thompson ... Kurtis Kaechele has been promoted to director of marketing for WOOD-TV (Channel 8), WOTV (Channel 4) and WXSP-TV. Kaechele has worked at WOOD for more than three years in the promotions department as a producer and most recently as manager... Broadcast notes: CW7 gets 10 p.m. newscast (Sun, 12/16)
Grand Rapids Press:
At this time of year, I usually reflect back on the year's radio and television industry news and create winners in a variety of categories. Remember, this is only my opinion. I like to call it Pierson's Picks. Nice guys finish first- Without a doubt, one of the nicest people in the broadcast industry is Andy Rent from WTRV-FM (100.5) The River. He's graced the West Michigan airwaves for more than three decades. Rent is a class act -- a true gentleman -- who never says an unkind word about anyone. His radio show is family-friendly and community-minded. Trailblazer- News director Tim Dye from WXMI-TV (Channel 17) wins this award for setting up the successful Fox News at 10 product. Now, competitors are following suit... It's time for Pierson's Picks of TV, radio (Sun, 12/23)
WGVU-TV celebrated its 35th anniversary Monday. Since its inception, the changes at the station have been continual -- including the addition of a second TV station, WGVK, and the addition of two digital stations, DT-11 in Grand Rapids and DT-5 in Kalamazoo. General manager Michael Walenta is excited about the possibilities that await the station... 35 years on the air (Sun, 12/23)
Casey Ann Acevedo, daughter of long-time radio personalities Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis, who also worked as their show producer, is leaving her job at Gemini Publications. She is heading to Idaho to work at KZMG-FM (93.1), an adult Top 40 radio station... Destined to stay in radio (Sun, 12/23)
WOOD-FM (Star 105.7) and the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital joined last week to raise funds during a special holiday radio marathon to benefit children's programs and services. Michigan Office Solutions donated $25,000 of the total... Holiday radio marathon (Sun, 12/23)
Tim Geraghty, news director at WZZM-TV (Channel 13), has been promoted to vice president at the local Gannet-owned station. The station's president and general manager, Janet Mason, said the promotion was due to Geraghty's newsroom leadership and his contributions to the success of the news product... Tim Geraghty promoted (Sun, 12/23)
If you missed Calvin Oratorio Society's production of Handel's "Messiah," in DeVos Hall, you still can enjoy highlights on TV, in your home. WGVU-TV (Channel 35) will air a one-hour version of the production, featuring soloists, Oratorio Society Chorus and Calvin College Orchestra, all conducted by Joel Navarro. The show will air at 9 tonight... Tune in 'Messiah' on WGVU-TV (Sun, 12/23)
Many readers have asked why WOOD-TV's (Channel 8) Rachel Ruiz doesn't appear on weekend newscasts anymore. Rachel no longer is the weekend anchor, but has stayed with the station as a general assignment reporter and anchor for 24 Hour News 8 at noon. Where's Rachel? (Sun, 12/23)
Ten years ago, Jason Terzis' Christmas wasn't filled with presents or eggnog or Santa Claus. Instead it was built around a moving van and a full day of work at his new job at WOOD-TV 8. Terzis had never even set foot in Michigan until he was interviewed by sports director Jack Doles, who was manning the sports desk by himself in December 1997 after the back-to-back departures of Tracy Flesch and Matt Winer. Terzis, then 27 and working in Macon, Ga., soon was hired and quickly filled a U-Haul for the long drive to Grand Rapids... Terzis marks 10 years with WOOD-TV (Fri, 12/21)
Grand Haven Tribune:
If you heard someone talking about free beer and hot wings, you'd likely think they were headed to happy hour at the local bar. But when folks around West Michigan mention free beer and hot wings, they're more likely talking about the most popular morning radio show in the market: "The Free Beer & Hot Wings Show" on WGRD-FM (97.9). But just how the hosts of the hit show came up with its name is a story more of chance than intention. Gregg "Free Beer" Daniels and Chris "Hot Wings" Michels, college roommates at Central Michigan University, decided to use the personality names as a way to promote their show when they first started in broadcasting at Omaha's 89.7, The River seven years ago... 'Free Beer & Hot Wings' climbs ratings (Thu, 12/27)
Grand Rapids Press:
There might not be a radio station better suited to auto racing than WLAW-FM (92.5), "The Outlaw." At least that's what Berlin Raceway president Scott Lane thinks. "Just check out their logo," Lane said. "It looks like a big old belt buckle." The Citadel-owned "The Outlaw" recently was tabbed to broadcast the 2008 Berlin Raceway season, replacing WMUS-FM (106.9). According to a news release, remaining on a FM signal that's able to reach a wide audience was a major factor in making the radio switch... Berlin finds new home on radio (Fri, 12/28)