Northern Michigan / UP: March 2008 Archives

Great news for listeners of news/talk/sports WBRN AM 1460 in Big Rapids as the FCC has granted station owner Mentor Partners special temporary authority (STA) to simulcast the AM station on an FM translator at 107.7 FM. The STA, which is good for six months, was granted on February 20th and fills-in coverage for the AM especially in outlying areas of Big Rapids, including Green, Big Rapids, and Colfax townships.

WBRN does not provide interference-free reception in these areas during the sunset and early morning hours when AM 1460 must operate with reduced power and compete with interference from co-channel and adjacent channel stations. The application with the FCC claims that interference issues severely curtail the "ability to receive local programming including Big Rapids High School sports play-by-play, Ferris State University sports play-by-play, public affairs programming, and such significant news as morning and evening traffic announcements, weather, school closings, etc."

Jeffrey J. Scarpelli, president of Mentor Partners which owns WBRN along with country WWBR-FM 100.9 and Hot AC WYBR-FM 102.3 in Big Rapids, explains that the application for this transmitter was submitted in 2003 and that two more translator applications are on file for the Reed City and Morley areas to further fill-in WBRN's night time signal. "We hope that the FCC will grant these applications on a permanent basis by this summer. Over the last 10 years the population of Big Rapids has moved farther and farther away from the city limits and WBRN's night time signal doesn't cover these areas. The addition of the FM signal for WBRN will also be promoted on WWBR, WYBR and via a direct mail campaign."

The FCC is currently studying if the use of FM translators for rebroadcasting AM stations will be allowed on a nationwide basis, with certain distance restrictions. The grant of the STA in Big Rapids is the first time the FCC has allowed a Michigan AM station to rebroadcast its signal on an FM translator.


Great Lakes Loons Purchase WYLZ and will change format to All-Sports

ESPN 100.9The Great Lakes Loons have announced the purchase of WYLZ FM 100.9 from the Last Bastion Trust, with financial assistance from the Michigan Baseball Foundation, for $325,000. Effective Tuesday, March 25th, the station's country format will be dropped and be replaced with sports as ESPN 100.9-FM. The station has applied to change its call sign to WLUN.

The station was previously owned by Citadel Broadcasting and was put into trust to be sold last year as part of a deal that added a number of stations formerly owned by ABC/Disney into the Citadel portfolio.

ESPN 100.9-FM will carry ESPN Radio’s flagship weekday programs Mike and Mike in the Morning (6am-10am), featuring former NFL lineman Mike Golic and Sportscenter anchor Mike Greenberg; The Herd (10am-1pm), with Colin Cowherd; and the Mike Tirico Show (1pm-3pm), featuring versatile play-by-play broadcaster and Michigan native Mike Tirico, Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, ESPN reporter Michelle Tafoya, and College Gameday co-host Kirk Herbstreit.

In addition, Bill Simonson's "The HUGE Show" will be heard weekdays from 3pm-6pm on ESPN 100.9-FM. The station will also carry various other ESPN Radio programs during night and weekend hours.

The station will continue to be the flagship radio home for Great Lakes Loons baseball, carrying all regular season and post-season games, plus the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game and Homerun Derby, powered by Dow Corning.

Loons President and General Manager Paul Barbeau noted that the opportunity to purchase the station was “too good to pass up” for several reasons. By owning a radio station, the Loons are able to secure a flagship station for the team’s radio broadcasts for as long as the team owns the station. The radio station also provides an opportunity to further promote the team, upcoming games and the charitable initiatives of the Michigan Baseball Foundation.

Like the Loons, the new ESPN 100.9-FM will operate as a non-profit organization. The radio station will provide an additional revenue stream for the Michigan Baseball Foundation, which along with the Loons has helped generate over $350,000 in charitable donations during the Loons’ first season. The station’s purchase also corresponds with the Foundation’s mission of promoting local economic development.

ESPN 100.9-FM will operate from the Citadel Broadcasting studios in Saginaw. After the conclusion of the baseball season, construction will begin on a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in the Dow Diamond press box, overlooking the baseball field.

Brad Golder, currently the Loons’ director of broadcasting and media relations and the team’s play-by-play broadcaster, will serve as the program director of ESPN 100.9-FM. Golder previously served as the operations manager and executive producer for the Atlanta Braves Radio Network (Clear Channel, Atlanta) and as a producer for WWTN and WNFN (Cumulus, Nashville).

ESPN 100.9-FM has an immediate opening for a sales manager. Interested applicants can send their resumes to ESPN 100.9-FM, c/o Job Opportunities; PO Box 365; Midland, MI 48640. The station will also be hiring a production manager, a traffic manager and several other positions soon.

ESPN 100.9-FM provides terrific marketing opportunities for businesses looking to reach the station’s growing sports talk audience. Companies interested in marketing and sponsorship opportunities with the Tri Cities’ new ESPN 100.9-FM should contact Karrie Sells at 989-837-6137 or







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This page is a archive of entries in the Northern Michigan / UP category from March 2008.

Northern Michigan / UP: January 2008 is the previous archive.

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