WJR, WBFH win Station of Year honors

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By: Mike Austerman

On The RadioThe Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) held its annual conference last week in Grand Rapids and, as part of the event, announced the winners of its annual Broadcast Excellence Awards.

News-Talk WJR-AM (760) was named Station of the Year in the Detroit area and also won eight first-place awards in personality categories. News WWJ-AM (950) won five first-place personality category awards.

What was somewhat disappointing is that the list of winners and second-place finishers had only WWJ and WJR listed, making it appear that those two stations were the ones to submit entries from Detroit-area commercial radio stations. There was no winner declared in sports play-by-play.

Michigan Radio, which includes WUOM-FM (91.7) Ann Arbor, WFUM-FM (91.1) Flint and WVGR-FM (104.1) Grand Rapids, was named Public Radio Station of the Year among those with more than a $2 million annual budget.

Bloomfield Hills Schools’ WBFH-FM (88.1) was named Station of the Year by the MAB Foundation, the fifth time in the last six years the station has been given the honor. WBFH’s Corey Berkowitz won two individual awards, and students working at WBFH also earned six other second-place awards and honorable mentions.

MAB also presented a Carl Lee Broadcasting Engineering Excellence Award to Jerrod Martin, who retired in 1985 as the director of engineering for soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3) after a career that started in 1946 by assisting in the construction of WKMH-AM (1310) and later supervising the installation and construction of the present day facilities of WNIC. Since his retirement, Martin has worked as a consultant and co-authored operating information for what is now called the Emergency Action System.

Congratulations to all the winners.

 • • • • • • • • 

In 1971 at just 18 years of age, Lee Abrams was hired to be the program director at WRIF-FM (101.1) and was a key influence in the ’Riff ’s becoming one of country’s most successful and well-known album-oriented rock stations. Abrams’ career eventually landed him at XM Satellite Radio in 1998, where he helped guide the music programming and on-air lineup through its infancy and into a market force that land-based radio still hasn’t quite figured out what to do with.

This week, word came out that Abrams, who is not known for playing things safe, was leaving XM to join Randy Michaels, probably the ultimate executive radio rebel, at Tribune Co. If there were ever two guys who could collaborate and turn the media model on its head, it’s Abrams and Michaels. Their boss is University of Michigan graduate Sam Zell, someone who’s definitely not afraid of a little controversy in the name of business.

“Lee is the most formidable creative thinker in the media business today,” said Michaels, Tribune’s president of broadcasting and interactive. “He invented the modern FM radio format, got satellite radio off the ground when no one gave it a chance and managed to advise on the redesign of Rolling Stone magazine and the launch of TNT Cable Network in his spare time. Lee’s going to pump new life into our content, re-energize our brands and get people thinking and working together like they never have before.”

While Tribune doesn’t own any media properties locally, the business marriage among Zell, Michaels and Abrams promises to bring back a phrase Michaels coined while he was running Jacor, a radio company swallowed up by Clear Channel in the 1990s, “The Noise You Can’t Ignore.”

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The MAB Foundation is holding a charitable online auction in support of its mission to promote, support and enhance the broadcast industry for the good of all Michigan residents. Available bid items include Grand Hotel golf packages, tickets to see the Detroit Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings and a chance to visit the “Mojo in the Morning Show” in person at the studios of contemporary hits WKQI-FM (Channel 95-5). Visit www.michmab.com and click on the Online Auction button before Friday for more information and to place bids.

 • • • • • • • • 

WRIF is in search of its 2008 Rock Girl, an opportunity to represent the station for a year as an on-air personality and spokesperson. The first round of casting calls begin Saturday; details are at www.wrif.com.

Congratulations to smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7) morning host Alexander Zonjic on being named Broadcaster of the Year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards in Toronto earlier this month.

 • • • • • • • • 

Set your dial for Join Renee Prewitt, local public affairs talk show host for Radio One, as she hosts “On Point” this afternoon on WDMK-FM (105.9) from noon-12:30 p.m. The show focuses on community relations, authors and self-help. Prewitt has also started hosting a general-topic show titled “Your View on Your Voice” live every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. on WCHB-AM (1200).

Oldies CKWW-AM (580) has added “Shake Rattle Showtime” to its weekend lineup Saturday mornings 10 a.m.-noon and Sunday evenings 8-10 p.m. Host Jim Parsons features great songs and sounds from the early days of rock.

“Somewhere in Time” helps celebrate the Wearin’ O’ the Green with some fun Irish songs at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

 • • • • • • • • 

Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Oakland Press since 2001.

Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, March 16, 2008



Please think about the troops this march 26, 2008 . We are thanking the Troops for everything that they do TO INSURE our way of living. Please joins us on March 26, 2008 at 6:00 at Waterford Kettering High School. Help put a smile on the face of a soldier.

Alexandra McGregor
Student of Waterford Kettering
248 802-8319

Thanks for listening.






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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 16, 2008 10:35 AM.

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West Michigan: Newsmakers Mar 17, 2008 is the next entry in this blog.

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