'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)
West Michigan: January 2007 Archives
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.