Entries in West Michigan Category

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 3, 2008

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The sounds of silence on Muskegon's AM 1600

WMHG AM 1600 Muskegon has signed off for good as of January 1. In 1998 the station, then owned by Goodrich Radio, was granted an expanded band AM construction permit for 1680- what is now Radio Disney WDSS. Goodrich sold AM 1600 to Connoisseur Communications in 1999 and when that group was purchased by Cumulus later in 1999, WMHG was part of that deal.

In recent years WMHG had been operated with an Adult Standards format by Clear Channel as part of its Muskegon cluster but had remained under the ownership of Cumulus.

While attempts have been made across the country to maintain the licenses for both the 'new' expanded band and the original stations, the FCC has apparently not allowed this to occur. WKLZ AM 1470, the original station for sports WQLR AM 1660 Kalamazoo, Michigan's other expanded band station, signed off in February 2006.



Grand Rapids Press:

Longtime radio programmer Phil Tower of WOOD-AM (1300) is leaving Grand Rapids for a new job in radio, but outside the market. He is leaving WOOD to program the Allen Hunt Show in Atlanta, said Doug Montgomery of Clear Channel West Michigan. Tower was not available Thursday afternoon for comment. His last day is Jan. 18. Montgomery said he is pulling together a list of potential replacements, and also is accepting internal applications. He does not have a timetable for announcing a new program director... Phil Tower leaving WOOD radio (Thu, 1/3)



AllAccess.com:

WJQK Ups Thompson: LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS announced the promotion of GARY THOMPSON to PD. THOMPSON will continue music duties as well. (Thu, 1/3)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 4, 2008

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Grand Haven gets all-sports outlet

WGHN AM 1370 Grand Haven has dropped its longtime simulcast of soft rock sister station WGHN-FM 92.1 and is now all-sports with ESPN Radio programming. The combo was purchased by Will Tieman from William Struyk and Ronald Mass in 2007.


From AllAccess.com:

RYAN TERPSTRA joins from Sports WBBL-A/GRAND RAPIDS to handle afternoons 3-5p, and ESPN RADIO will be used the rest of the day. GM ERIC KAELIN said, "The heart and soul of any station is their local programming. Especially in a town the size of GRAND HAVEN, we have to provide programming geared to what sports fans in the TRI-CITIES area care about in regards to their local high school sports along with the colleges and pro teams. Becoming an affiliate of ESPN was big and having RYAN covering the local end makes it even better."



AllAccess.com:

Cumulus/Kalamazoo Gives Benson More Work
CUMULUS Top 40/Mainstream WKFR/KALAMAZOO, MI afternoon-driver DAVE BENSON is given Program Coordinator stripes for News/Talk sister WKMI-A. He will maintain his long-running #1-rated afternoon gig. (Fri, 1/4)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 6, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

The November 2007 Nielsen ratings rank WOOD-TV (Channel 8) No. 1 for most newscasts -- except in the 10 p.m. slot. That time has been owned by WXMI-TV (Channel 17), which launched this market's first 10 p.m. newcast in January 1999. In the most recent Nielsen ratings, Fox received a 6 rating and 14 share. WOOD-TV's 10 p.m. newcast -- which airs on WXSP (Channel 18) -- registered a 1 rating and 1 share. However, the Neilsens only account for about one week of the ratings period. WOOD-TV launched the early newscast in late October... WOOD-TV tops Nov. news ratings (Sun, 1/6)

Press Entertainment Editor John Gonzalez reported last week in his "Going Gonzo" Web log that longtime radio programmer Phil Tower of WOOD-AM (1300) is leaving Grand Rapids to program "The Allen Hunt Show" on WSB-AM in Atlanta. His last day here will be Jan. 18. "The Allen Hunt Show" is about "faith and life" and airs weekends, according to its Web site. Tower has worked at WOOD since 1999, after serving as station manager at WYCE-FM (88.1) for several years... Phil Tower leaving WOOD radio (Sun, 1/6)

A couple of weeks ago, a Grand Rapids Press reader heard syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh mention WOOD-TV meteorologist Craig James. Limbaugh briefly referred to an article James had written on global warming on his blog. Limbaugh said, "Craig James from WOOD-TV writes ... ," and he went on to make his point... Craig, Rush, global warming (Sun, 1/6)

 

Southwest Michigan radio dial changes

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Mid-West Family Broadcasting is changing the lineup of some of its Southwest Michigan radio stations starting today. The adjustments affect three of the group's FM stations in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area:

The 'Cosy FM' name and WCSY-FM call sign will be moving from 98.3 to FM 103.7 which will retain its current oldies format but drop the WHIT-FM call sign. That station will continue to be simulcast on AM 940 and is now known as 103.7 Cosy-FM, 60's and 70's SuperHits.

Paul Layendecker, who had been program director for both WCSY-FM and sister station country WYTZ-FM 97.5, exits mornings and the PD role for Cosy-FM but will continue to be heard during afternoon drive on WYTZ and remains as that station's programmer. Joe Jason will be the morning host on the relaunched Cosy FM at 103.7.

Back at 98.3, that frequency will become the new home of hot adult contemporary WCNF 'The Coast' which changes frequency from its previous home at 94.9 FM by the end of this week. That station will feature Mark Durocher in the morning, and other familiar names like Robin Van Dyke and Phil McDonald. The smooth jazz programming that has been part of FM 98.3 for years will remain in place on 'The Coast at 98.3'.

Finally, FM 94.9 is set to become WSJM-FM and take on a news-talk format, simulcasting sister station WSJM AM 1400.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 8, 2008

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Battle Creek Enquirer:

Longtime WBCK radio host Dave Eddy announced plans Monday to leave his popular daily morning show after 47 years on the air.

Eddy's decision, which he is calling a "semi-retirement," was a long time in the making, WBCK program director Tim Collins said. "It's something that we've known and talked about on and off for a few years," Collins said. "Dave came to us last summer and said he wanted more time to travel and to spend more time at his vacation home in Florida." Eddy, 69, also known as "Battle Creek's Morning Mayor" will continue to voice WBCK's "Be Kind to the Citizen of the Day" each morning from a location away from the radio station. Eddy will also begin hosting the WBCK Saturday Morning Show beginning sometime in May, after he returns from Florida. Eddy, a native of Albion, began his career at WBCK in 1960 and began working the morning show in 1961... Local radio host to sign off after nearly 50 years on air (Tue, 1/8)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 10, 2008

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Battle Creek Enquirer:

As hundreds of well-wishers packed Burnham Brook to send off longtime WBCK radio host Dave Eddy, it seemed less like a retirement party and more like a family reunion. Between the hugs, the back slaps and laughter, Eddy, who will retire as daily morning show host Jan. 18, never had a chance to sit down at his send-off, held Wednesday at the Burnham Brook Community Center. After 47 years as the morning host on WBCK, Eddy, 69, also known as "Battle Creek's Morning Mayor", said saying goodbye to his daily listeners was like bidding farewell to a second family... Hundreds bid adieu to Dave Eddy (Thu, 1/10)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 13, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Phil Tower, longtime radio programming and operations manager for WOOD-AM (1300) and WTKG-AM (1230), has a new job as general manager of The Allen Hunt radio show in Atlanta, but that doesn't mean he will have to leave Grand Rapids. "I will be 100 percent based in Grand Rapids, and I will have an office here in downtown GR. I am not moving my family to Atlanta and, much to Allen Hunt's credit, he realized how important my roots were here," Tower said... Radio mainstay works in Atlanta -- from here (Sun, 1/13)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 14, 2008

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Muskegon Chronicle:

A Muskegon radio station has gone off the air. WMHG (1600 AM) went silent Dec. 31, according to a Grand Rapids official of Clear Channel Communications, the national radio conglomerate that operates 11 stations in West Michigan, including four in Muskegon. Bart Brandmiller, Clear Channel's regional director of sales for West Michigan, said WMHG went off the air because a Local Marketing Agreement, or LMA, had expired. WMHG is owned by Atlanta, Ga.-based Cumulus Media but was operated by Clear Channel through the LMA. WMHG was an automated, satellite-feed station. Its music format, from the ABC Radio Network, broadcast a middle-of-the-road oldies format that featured hits of such artists as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. The format began as "Stardust" in 1998 and in 2007 became known as "Timeless Favorites." Until the loss of WMHG, Clear Channel had been operating five local stations out of its studio on Green Street in Muskegon Heights... AM radio station WMHG, 'Timeless Favorites,' silenced

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 18, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

When "The Free Beer & Hot Wings Show" debuted in West Michigan in June 2004, its head already was in the game. On its first day, the morning show on WGRD-FM (97.9) placed a call to the hotel room of the Slava Medvedenko, whose Los Angeles Lakers were facing the Detroit Pistons the NBA Finals. They told him the morning shootout around was canceled and he could go back to bed. "Then he came out in Game 4 and had eight of the Lakers' first 10 points and I'm like, 'Oh, crap. We made him play better,' " said Gregg "Free Beer" Daniels. Those kind of regular shenanigans have made the show a hit both locally and in the 15 national affiliates that span from Maine to South Carolina to Arkansas to Wisconsin. The show -- featuring Central Michigan graduates Daniels, Chris "Hot Wings" Michels, Eric Zane and "Producer" Joe Gasman -- has never been sports-centric, but the hosts openly admit that it deals heavily in the athletic realm... Radio show mixes sports, morning entertainment (Fri, 1/18)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Jan 25, 2008

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AllAccess.com:

WTNR Is Flipping: The crew at CITADEL Country WTNR (THUNDER 94.5)/GRAND RAPIDS check in to ALL ACCESS with an update. APD/MD BRIAN SIMS will move from middays to PM drive, while DITCH COOPER does the flip-flop from PM drive to middays. The new music call time for SIMS is THURSDAY from 2-3p. (Thu, 1/24)

 

What was hot adult contemporary 'Max FM', Clear Channel owned WMAX-FM 96.1 Holland/Grand Rapids, entered into stunt mode this afternoon by replacing its regular programming with the sound of a ticking clock. An occasional announcement is made in English that "Max is done, dead and gone" and inviting listeners to stay tuned to see what happens next, followed by another announcement made in Spanish.

The station's web site content has been removed, replaced by a short YouTube video showing "2.4.08 @ 10.01". Until then, the speculation will run rampant on what the new sound of 96.1 will be....



Grand Rapids Press:

I got tipped off at Wednesday night's Auto Show gala that something would be happening at 3 p.m. today on WMAX-FM (96.1). So, I tuned in to hear a Spanish announcer give the legal ID, saying he was broadcasting from a snow-covered cornfield in Hudsonville. That was followed by an annoying ticking sound. So, it seems Clear Channel is getting rid of the Max format of playing a little bit of everything and possibly going all-Spanish. But is it a ploy to make you think that?... What's going on at MAX-FM? (Thu, 1/31)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 1, 2008

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Grand Haven Tribune:

Clear Channel Radio of West Michigan and Grand Valley State University have agreed to a new broadcasting rights agreement, a deal that will move Laker football and men's basketball game broadcasts from WMAX 96.1 FM to WMUS 106.9 FM effective earlier this week. "It is not a typical procedure to move programming from station-to-staion in the middle of the season, but with the great success of the Laker basketball team, we wanted to take advantage of the public's interest," said Tim Feagan, Clear Channel' Vice President of West Michigan... GVSU football, men's hoops moving to 106.9 FM (Thu, 1/31)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 3, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

A new format at WMAX-FM (96.1) will be revealed Monday. Go to 961maxfm.com or listen to the ticking clock on the airwaves and you may be perplexed. A teaser campaign using the numbers 2.4.08 @ 10:01 leads me to deduce a new format will be announced at 10:01 a.m. Monday. Clear Channel's Doug Montgomery said "MAX will not be returning... WMAX-FM teaser campaign Sun, 2/3)


Angie Vuyst started as a phone screener in radio when she was 17. She started working her way up at Clear Channel radio as a morning-show producer, on-air talent and assistant program director. Now, at 25, she has been promoted to imaging and program director for news radio WOOD-AM (1300) and WTKG-AM (1230). "I threw my hat in the ring. I know my stuff. I was jumping for joy and doing high-fives when I got the good news about my position," she said... New program director at WOOD-AM (Sun, 2/3)

 

Radio XThe stunting ended just past 10:00 a.m. on WMAX-FM 96.1 Holland/Grand Rapids with the launch of Alternative Rock 'Radio X 96.1'. The Clear Channel-owned station launched with a brief announcement followed by Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah", and "Just a Girl" by No Doubt.

It appears the station is running jockless for now, but featured its first commercial break just 20 minutes into its new sound.

A splash web site page at www.radiox961.com shows core artists for the new station being The Dave Matthews Band, Green Day, The Ramones, U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, Sublime, the Beastie Boys, Incubus, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. The station is streaming live via the Internet and is inviting listener feedback via the web site.

Prior to this morning's new format launch, the station carried a broad hot adult contemporary format as 'Max FM' until it began stunting on Thursday afternoon, January 31st.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 8, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

When the courts ruled that Michigan would have to move high school girls basketball, it forced a number of juggling acts. Athletes had to pick a sport. Referees had to be found. Gym time had to be ferreted out. Schedules had to be massaged. Television and radio stations, however, didn't factor into the equation. As the state adjusts to its first season with a new winter sports landscape, the local media has been forced to tweak its own coverage. In the past, basketball essentially was held on only two nights -- Tuesday and Friday. With a healthy slate of games now being played Monday through Saturday, coverage has become a bit chaotic for local stations... TV, radio adjust to new high school season (Fri, 2/8)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 12, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Two longtime West Michigan news organizations are reuniting after 36 years in an effort to provide news, weather and other coverage. WOOD-TV (Channel 8) and Clear Channel's Newsradio WOOD-AM (1300) are sharing resources, effective immediately, in a full-content partnership involving news, weather, sports and traffic. Representatives of both stations said viewers and listeners will notice: - WOOD-TV reporters giving daily news updates on WOOD-AM. - WOOD-TV being incorporated onto woodradio.com, providing daily news feeds of top headlines as well as Storm Team 8 Doppler radar. - TV8 meteorologists providing expanded weather forecasts for WOOD-AM and all seven local Clear Channel stations. - Kevin Richards reporting real-time traffic conditions on both stations... Radio and TV WOODs are together again (Tue, 2/12)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 15, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Steve Stewart knows all too well how loyal NASCAR fans can be. Stewart, the program director at WTNR-FM (94.5), said listeners are so dedicated to the sport that they will search the radio dial to find broadcasts of races, which often were split among multiple stations. They won't have to hunt that hard this year. The country music station commonly known as "The Thunder" will have exclusive broadcasts of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. Thunder's coverage started with last weekend's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway and will continue with Sunday's Daytona 500. Stewart said he already has received comments from grateful listeners. "They'll e-mail things like, 'Is that for real?' " Stewart said. "And I'll e-mail back, 'Yep, it's for real.' This is going to be a banner year for us taking the station to the next level." "The Thunder" will carry broadcast feeds from the Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network. Stewart hopes that in the future that can include localized reports... Country station revved up for NASCAR (Fri, 2/15)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 16, 2008

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Kalamazoo Gazette:

David Steere, a former local radio executive and on-air personality, was proud to have been one of the founders of what has become a local favorite -- the annual Kalamazoo Do-Dah Parade. ``It became an institution in Kalamazoo, and that pleased him to no end,'' said his wife, Judith. In an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette in 1986, Steere said he and his broadcast partner, Bob Salmon, came up with the idea for the local parade in 1984, then had second thoughts as the day of the first event approached. ``We were scared to death no one would come to the first one,'' he said. ``We almost hoped it would be rained out. The weather was lousy, but thousands showed up.'' Steere, 71, died Monday at Bronson Methodist Hospital. He was being treated for pancreatic cancer, but pneumonia was ultimately the cause of death, his wife said... Radio station owner, broadcaster helped create Do-Dah Parade (Sat, 2/16)

 

The 'Fat gets cut in Kalamazoo

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WYZOThe radio dial in Kalamazoo went on a crash diet yesterday afternoon when MidWest Communications' FM 96.5 abruptly changed format from classic rock as WFAT to country with as 'Kalamazoo Country, Y96.5' with new calls WYZO pending.

No official word yet on the fate of the airstaff of the former WFAT, which included the syndicated Bob and Tom Show in morning drive.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 17, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Tim Feagan, Clear Channel's president and general manager, is happy about the recent Arbitron ratings in which the group's stations ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3. In the commercial radio stations 12-plus category, WOOD-AM (1300) took first place with an 8.5 share. WBCT-FM (93.7) is in second with 7.5, and WOOD-FM (105.7) is third with 6.3. Notably, noncommercial radio WCSG-FM (91.3) ended with a 5.7 share, which would put it in fourth place against the commercial radio stations... Clear Channel scores ratings trifecta (Sun, 2/17)


The switch of WMAX-FM (96.1) to an alternative format has gone better than expected, Clear Channel management says. "The biggest surprise has been from the amount of e-mails we have already received from the public with positive feedback for the change," operations manager Doug Montgomery said. "We have a piece of software that allows us to track our Web site traffic and the number of people listening to our Internet stream, and both of those metrics have more than tripled since the launch." Competitor WGRD-FM (97.9), owned by Regent Communications, is unimpressed... WMAX-FM is now Radio X (Sun, 2/17)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 19, 2008

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Kalamazoo Gazette:

Country music radio has a new home in Kalamazoo. WFAT-FM (96.5) switched to a country music format at 5 p.m. Friday. The final song for WFAT was Van Halen's ``Happy Trails.'' It was followed by Alan Jackson's country anthem ``It's Five O'clock Somewhere,'' ushering in the start of WYZO-FM (96.5), Kalamazoo's new country station. Peter Tanz, market manager for Wisconsin-based Midwest Communication, which owns nine stations in Southwest Michigan, including WYZO and the Battle Creek country music station WNWN-FM (98.5), said there was a ``three-way rock battle'' between WFAT-FM, WZUU-FM (92.5) and WRKR-FM (107.7), but there wasn't a local country station. Tanz said the station, which has been classic rock since 2001, had talked about moving to country music for 10 years... Classic-rock radio station goes country (Tue, 2/19)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb 27, 2008

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AllAccess.com:


Citadel Promotes Steve Stewart: CITADEL Country WTNR (94-5 THE NEW THUNDER COUNTRY)/GRAND RAPIDS PD/morning man STEVE STEWART has been upped to Regional Mgr./Country Programming/Midwest. In addition to his duties at THUNDER COUNTRY, STEWART will now oversee the programming for WLAW, WITL, WFBE, WWKI, KATC, KJJY, KHKI and WMDH. (Wed, 2/27)



Muskegon Chronicle:

.A few years ago, Muskegon was essentially out of the sports talk radio scene. I remember letting a few bad words slip out, frantically tweaking the car radio to try and pull in a fuzzy Grand Rapids-based station. The situation is much improved today, with more and more local sports chat, programming and event coverage on "The Champ," 97.5 FM and its sister stations, WVIB (100.1 FM) and WLCS (98.3 FM). The Champ will add more local programming starting on March 3 with the "On The Bench" show daily from 10 a.m. to noon, which is hosted by WBBL program director Bret Bakita. Bakita, who also does work for Fox 17 out of Grand Rapids, got his start in sports radio in Muskegon back in 1994 on the now-defunct Sports Fan 1600 AM. Another addition to the local sports radio market is the recent change of WGHN's AM station, 1370 AM, to an all-sports format featuring the ESPN Radio feed. Sports Radio 1370 will also have a daily show focusing on local sports from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Western Michigan Christian graduate Ryan Terpstra. Bakita and Terpstra are good guys and welcome additions to the local airwaves, which also includes personalities like John Russell, Frank St. James, Kevin Tatum and others... Local airwaves getting dialed in on sports chat (Tue, 2/26)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Rod Kackley has been named WOOD-AM (1300)'s news director. "I eat up news -- just love this stuff," Kackley said. He is excited about the newly enacted partnership with WOOD-TV (Channel 8) in sharing news, information, weather and traffic services. Kackley was managing editor of Mi Biz before coming to WOOD. He worked in the radio industry many years ago at WCUZ and reported for WOOD-AM... News director named (Sun, 3/2)


Michael Walenta will be inducted into the Silver Circle by The National Academy of Arts and Sciences this month. He will be honored for his more than 25 years of outstanding service and leadership in the television broadcasting community. Walenta, who graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in broadcast and cinematic arts, has worked as a production assistant for ABC Sports, an instructor at CMU and as an assistant engineer at WHTV and WMHW-FM in Mount Pleasant... WGVU manager honored (Sun, 3/2)


Sarah Brodhead will be the new morning news anchor on WXMI-TV (Channel 17) starting March 17, news director Tim Dye said. Brodhead joins the Fox station after a stint at KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colo., where she spent more than two years as an anchor for its morning and noon news programs... Fox 17 names new morning anchor (Sun, 3/2)


Rick Beckett, of "The Rick and Scott Show" on WOOD-AM (1300), fell on ice at his home and has a broken ankle and leg, station president and general manager Tim Feagan said. Beckett needs surgery, Feagan said, but that hasn't keep him off the airwaves... Can't keep radio man down (Sun, 3/2)


The Grand Rapids Rampage hope they are ahead of the game when it comes to their broadcast schedule. The team has made the decision to air all 16 of its Arena Football League contests exclusively on the Internet. The past two seasons were broadcast on WBFX-FM (101.3). "It's funny, back in the summer when we decided to go this way, we notified Citadel and Clear Channel, because we wanted to be up front with them," Rampage general manager Scott Woodruff said. "And their comment was, 'You're probably a year or two ahead of the curve.' " Woodruff said the team decided to pull its games from the radio after conducting extensive research with fans and season ticket-holders... Rampage switching from radio to Web broadcasts (Fri, 2/29)

 

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.

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Reese Rickards has been the on-air morning man since WBCT-FM (93.7) signed on almost 17 years ago. You can't take the country out of this guy, even when he goes home. He's a gentleman farmer who farms for pleasure rather than for money. The Rickards, Kim and Reese, call their Solon Township farm "Chickadee Ridge." "We own 16 acres. About eight are wooded. The rest are pond, pasture, house and yard. I can see Fisk Knob (the highest point in Kent County) from the barnyard," Rickards said. There are plenty of animals: two dogs, two cats, three goats, numerous pigs, three cows, 12 chickens, four ducks and two peacocks, not to mention the turkeys. "I raise turkeys every year, and my Thanksgiving bird weighed 63 pounds last year," Rickards said. But it's pet goat Esther who gets special props from Rickards for her uncanny ability in forecasting winter weather... WBCT's Reese Rickards is a little bit country (Sun, 3/9)


Steve Stewart, better known as "Scrubs in the Morning" on WTNR-FM (94.5), has been promoted to regional manager of country programming for Citadel Broadcasting's Midwest Region. The region has nine stations in seven markets... Steve Stewart gets programming post (Sun, 3/9)


WGVU radio's weekday morning host, Shelley Irwin, has received her fifth Gracie Allen Award from the American Women in Radio and Television. She was selected for individual achievement based on quality in writing, production and programming... WGVU's Shelley Irwin wins fifth Gracie (Sun, 3/9)


WXMI-TV (Channel 17) recently named Emily Richett its new entertainment host. Richett will write, produce, and host daily Web shows in addition to doing other projects... WXMI's Emily Richett named Web host (Sun, 3/9)


A number of West Michigan cable subscribers were surprised to find a channel missing from their lineup Saturday. Comcast Local, which naturally is owned by cable behemoth Comcast, officially was pulled off the air March 1. "In this competitive marketplace, Comcast continues to evaluate its programming lineup," said Patrick Paterno, director of communications for Comcast Midwest Division. "As you know, over the past three years there have been numerous changes in the sports programming environment, from national to regional to local sports coverage." It doesn't take a detective to deduce that the move was business oriented, but it remains a blow for sports fans throughout the state. Since its launch about three years ago, the station aired a number of professional, collegiate and high school events, such as Grand Valley State football and basketball. Comcast Local occasionally also served as an outlet for FSN Plus broadcasts... Comcast Local goes off the air (Fri, 3/7)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Local TV and radio stations were honored last week at the annual Michigan Association of Broadcasters' Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo in DeVos Place. The 2007 Broadcast Excellence Station of the Year Award is based on cumulative points scored from a variety of categories and is given to the station with the most points in each radio and television market. WOOD-TV (Channel 8) took home the Station of the Year Award for the fifth year in a row. WOOD-AM (1300) won in the radio category. Rockford High School won the high school TV Station of the Year Award. This was the fourth time the school has garnered the award... TV, radio stations honored at conference (Mon, 3/17)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

WOOD-TV (Channel 8) continues to be a strong leader in television news ratings. According to the February Nielsen ratings, 24-Hour News 8 ranks No. 1 in the morning, noon, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. time slots. WOOD's 6 p.m. newscast had its highest ratings book since 1991 with a 15 household rating and a 33 household share. Both the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts had more viewers than both WZZM-TV (Channel 13) and WWMT-TV (Channel 3) combined... WOOD-TV leads local news ratings in February (Sun, 3/23)


There's never a dull moment in Andy Sugden's job as chief photojournalist at WZZM (Channel 13). On a recent shoot, he found himself placing cameras in trees, running up and down hills with a camera on a painter's pole -- all in the effort to get the best shots and to tell the story. "The biggest thing I have found is to really listen to what I hear at video shoots, and that will drive me to determine what I shoot," Sugden said. His efforts in leading a staff of videographers are part of the reason WZZM was named runner-up for TV Station of the Year among medium markets by the National Press Photographers' Association... WZZM wins NPPA award (Sun, 3/23)


WGVU Productions received six Bronze Awards in the 2008 Telly Awards. These programs were selected from more than 14,000 entries from around the world. The program, "Battle Creek: Celebrating Flight 2007," which covered the Battle Creek Air Show and Balloon Festival, received Bronze Awards in the entertainment and live events categories, as well as one for videography/cinematography... WGVU nets six awards (Sun, 3/23)

 

Country format launched on AM 930 Battle Creek

The News-Talk format of WBCK is now only being heard on FM 95.3 as AM 930 has now separated and changed format to country as Country 93.

Both WBCK-FM and WBCK AM are part of a complicated transaction between Clear Channel and Cumulus that has not yet been completed. Once closed, Cumulus will own WBCK FM with WBCK AM moving into a trust to be sold to a third party.



AllAccess.com:

WJQK Listeners Freeze For Good Cause:
LANSER Christian AC WJQK (JQ99)/GRAND RAPIDS sponsored the first swim of the spring in freezing LAKE MICHIGAN this SATURDAY (3/22). Over 100 listeners jumped into sub-arctic waters to benefit RYAN BOREMAN, a local student with Multiple Sclerosis. Listeners raised pledges of over $41,000 to buy his family a van with a wheelchair lift. (Mon, 3/24)

 

WMUK looking for shortened spring fund drive

Western Michigan University's public radio station, WMUK 102.1 FM, has its sights set on a shortened spring fund drive and hopes to reduce on-air pledge hours by more than 50 percent during pledge week.

The station seeks to repeat the success of its Fall 2007 Short Drive and is encouraging listeners to donate prior to the spring drive, scheduled to begin on Friday, April 4. The drive has a goal of raising $175,000.

"We are counting on pre-drive mail and online support to help us reach our $175,000 goal quickly," says Gordon Bolar, WMUK development director.

To date, mail-in contributions and pledging online at the station's Web site, wmuk.org, have helped WMUK make substantial progress toward its goal. WMUK's web ticker will feature up to date results of the station's short drive, now and throughout the drive.

Funds raised through the pledge drive help to pay for acquisition costs of programs from NPR (National Public Radio), PRI (Public Radio International), the BBC and American Public Media. The pledge drive also helps cover costs for local program production.

The station will enlist the support of more than 80 volunteers to answer pledge calls during the drive. Those interested in volunteering can go to the volunteer section of the website at wmuk.org.



Grand Rapids Press:

Richard "Dick" W. Tillstrom was a man of great presence and humor who loved working in the television industry. The former public affairs director at WOOD-TV died Sunday at age 96. His wife, Fran, said he enjoyed his television career, which brought him in contact with many interesting people and allowed him to serve on numerous boards and community organizations. Mr. Tillstrom also was part of the "Captain Woody Show," a live daily television show that aired for three years in the early 1970s, and was hosted by longtime West Michigan broadcaster Andy Rent... Richard 'Dick' Tillstrom was TV pioneer, puppeteer (Thu, 3/27)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Mario Impemba knows all too well how unpredictable weather in Michigan can be during the spring. He also knows that Mother Nature could make her presence known during the Detroit Tigers' home opener against the Kansas City Royals on Monday afternoon at Comerica Park. "As long as it's not windy and not snowy, we'll be OK," Impemba said. "That's just part of baseball in the Midwest." Impemba still might want to pick up some gloves or an umbrella when he returns from spring training in Lakeland, Fla., just to be safe. Monday's forecast for Detroit calls for a chance of rain and a high of 45 degrees. But at least it doesn't look like it's going to snow. So far. This will be Impemba's seventh season as the play-by-play announcer for Tigers games on FSN Detroit. Rod Allen also returns for his sixth season as color analyst... Impemba excited about his 7th season with Tigers (Fri, 3/28)

 

AllAccess.com:

Brian Sims Moves To Muncie, Nick Alan Upped in Grand Rapids:
CITADEL Country WTNR/GRAND RAPIDS APD/MD/afternooner BRIAN SIMS has taken over the PD job at sister station Country WMDH/MUNCIE, IN. Back at WTNR, night slammer NICK ALAN adds APD/MD stripes to his title. (Mon, 3/31)


WaYfm Uses Crutches For Krutch Tix:
CORNERSTONE BAPTIST EDUCATIONAL MINISTRIES Christian CHR WAYK-WAYG (WaYfm)/KALAMAZOO-GRAND RAPIDS hosted a "Three-legged Crutch Race" on SATURDAY, MARCH 29th, for listeners to win access to the sold-out upcoming tour date featuring SKILLET and THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH. Team members were be bound together with elastic bandages and given a set of crutches with which to advance themselves down a racing lane. The first team to successfully cross the finish line received access to the sold-out show, private meet-and-greet with the artists, a cash prize and more. “It’s a crazy, fun way to tie into the whole THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH theme, and a real visual way to connect with our radio audience," says PD MIKE COUCHMAN. (Mon, 3/31)

 

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

An Angola-based radio broadcasting company has agreed to sell its five stations to a Michigan firm for $3.8 million, the company president said Tuesday. Lake Cities Broadcasting Corp. will sell five radio stations to Swick Broadcasting Corp., pending Federal Communications Commission approval. The deal is scheduled to be finalized this summer, said Tom Andrews, president of Lake Cities Broadcasting... Lake Cities to sell 5 radio stations (Tue, 4/1)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Like most die-hard Detroit Tigers fans, local WLAV-FM morning man Kevin Matthews is beside himself at the team's 0-6 start to the 2008 season, a season filled with so much promise. So, he cooked up a good-old fashion radio stunt. Matthews is remaining on the air until the Detroit Tigers win their first game. "I could be in a lot of trouble," said Matthews shortly after his regular, 5:30-10 a.m. shift this morning. "They plenty 20 straight games against some good teams, like Boston, Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland and Toronto. "It could get ugly"... Kevin Matthews to remain on air until the Detroit Tigers win (Tue, 4/8)


Local morning radio personality Nanette was not on the air today at station WLHT-FM (95.7), fueling speculation the Detroit native may be on the outs. WLHT program director Bill Bailey confirmed this morning that "she has resigned." "She feels it's time to move on," said Bailey, who said Nanette turned in her resignation Monday night. Nanette could not be reached for comment... Morning host Nanette resigns from WLHT-FM (Tue, 4/8)

 

Changes to the South Bend area radio dial

Artistic Media Partners has broken the simulcast of its classic rock combo WOZW-FM 97.7 and WZOW-FM 102.3 and changed the format of 97.7 to active rock. FM 102.3 is airing the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Purtan duet "Islands in the Stream" repeatedly in advance of a new format that's expected to be revealed next week.

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Competition for cable and satellite TV providers arrives today in West Michigan. AT&T officially is introducing to West Michigan its U-verse package, which offers television, Internet and telephone services. Customers can get 200 channels, a digital video recorder, Internet service and unlimited calling for about $120 a month. Rates start at $44 a month for the television service alone. For West Michigan TV viewers, AT&T's system represents the region's first nondish-based, pay television alternative to Comcast and Charter Communications. Significant for many sports fans: U-verse service includes the Big Ten Network. Comcast does not carry the network because of a dispute with Big Ten over which customers should receive and pay for it. AT&T would not release a coverage map, citing competitive reasons, but the new service initially is available in Grand Rapids, Holland, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo... AT&T enters battle for pay TV in GR (Mon, 4/21)

 

WaYfm ships thousands of supplies to Honduras Orphans

On Monday, April 28th at 5 p.m., a team of 30 WaYfm listeners/missions trip participants will be loading a 40 foot shipping container at First Baptist Church of Wayland, located at 3514 12th Street, in Wayland, MI. These goods will be shipped to Nueva Suyepa, Honduras, a slum of Tegucigalpa. Filth, no running water, tuberculosis, dengue fever, gangs, - these are a few of the words that describe Nueva Suyapa. Built on the city dump after Hurricane Fifi in 1974, it's one of the poorest areas in Honduras. A maze of steep, rutted dirt roads and small tin roofed shacks, the community is one in which more than 70% of the children live in poverty.

"This container will be jam-packed," says Kristin Anderson, one of the team leaders. "WaYfm listeners have donated blankets. Saranac Public Schools and First Baptist Church of Allegan have donated used playgrounds that have been made to look like new thanks to several area businesses. Saranac Public Schools also collected shoes by having a friendly competition between the Middle and High School. Another school has donated 240 used desks and chairs. The youth group at Living Hope Community Church packaged peanuts donated by Texas Roadhouse. We are taking with us food items, sports equipment, kitchen utensils, school and arts/crafts supplies, 1,400 Spanish Bibles, and over 2,000 hygiene kits. Additionally, medical supplies have been donated by Perrigo for use by our medical team, led by Dr. Scott Carlson. We have truly been overwhelmed and blessed by the outpouring of support throughout the community."

Working together with Honduras missionary Maureen Hodge (www.bigbrightidea.com) and Orphan Outreach (www.orphanoutreach.org), WaYfm's team will be serving over 1,300 children from June 15-26. 160 of these children LIVE on a landfill in makeshift homes. The WaYfm team will be using the items on the container to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these children. During the team's time in Honduras they will be building a playground, engaging kids with arts and crafts, holding sports clinics, puppet shows, singing, and hosting Bible-themed carnivals. And they have a skilled medical team going to treat as many of the children as possible.

Youth-oriented Top 40 Christian music radio station WaYfm has sponsored seven other summer short-term missions trips. For updates on the team (which represents 22 area churches) go to www.way.fm/connect/missions.

 

AllAccess.com:

WYZO Rounds Out Its On-Air Lineup-
MIDWEST COMMUNICATIONS Country WYZO (Y96.5)/KALAMAZOO, MI PD/middayer PJ LACEY has hired NASSAU BROADCASTING Country WTHT/PORTLAND, ME weekend jock CHAD "DANIELS" LEIGHTON for MD/nights. LANSER BROADCASTING Contemporary Christian WJQK (99.3)/GRAND RAPIDS, MI weekender/part-timer BOB BATEMAN joins for afternoons. BATEMAN, also a former afternooner at CLEAR CHANNEL Country WMIL/MILWAUKEE, will continue to voicetrack for WJQK. PJ has also tapped a couple of weekenders -- former MIDWEST Classic Hits WFAT/KALAMAZOO personality LARRY LONG joins for part-time duties, as well JAY "UNCLE BUCK" MORRIS from sister News/Talk/Sports WKZO-A, where he is the mid-morning guy. He will retain his duties on WKZO-A. Y96.5 flipped from Classic Hits WFAT to Country WYZO in FEBRUARY (NET NEWS 2/19) and had been building its airstaff. All new staffers are already in place. (Fri, 4/25)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

He spends his day running around atop the roof of a local McDonald's. Jerry Tarrants shouts through a bullhorn to the people on the ground. He wants pennies -- he wants a million of them. "Gimme all your pennies!" he shouts to sidewalk dwellers and people driving their cars. "Just toss 'em up here!" Maybe you've seen him before. Every May, for two straight days, WGRD-FM (97.9) program director Jerry "JT" Tarrants camps out at McDonald's, 3814 Plainfield Ave. NE, to raise money for Grand Rapids Ronald McDonald House. His annual goal is 1 million pennies or $10,000, a number that has been surpassed by at least $2,000 during the two previous years. This year, Tarrants will be on the roof Thursday and Friday. JT said he feels a personal commitment to the charity... WGRD penny drive helps Ronald McDonald House (Mon, 4/28)

 

West Michigan's WaYfm exceeds fund raising goal

West Michigan's 88.3 & 89.9 WaYfm, (WAYK Kalamazoo & WAYG Grand Rapids), report that the station's spring pledge drive goal was met, and exceeded, on April 25th, 2008. WaYfm began its spring fundraising with a need of $525,000. Through two separate on-air pledge drives in March and April, more than 1,800 listeners from Michigan and the world called or went to WaYfm's website with their generous gifts.

Considering Michigan's challenging economic climate, and the youth oriented format of WaYfm, exceeding the goal is seen as nothing short of a God-given miracle by most on the staff. General Manager Rich Anderson told listeners "It's been three years since we've been able to say on WaYfm, 'We exceeded our goal!' Thank you for making that possible. When we prayed 'Please Lord, please help us to meet this need,' He answered that prayer on the 25th of April."

All told, WaYfm's generous audience pledged $527,294 dollars to keep WaYfm funded for the next year.

WaYfm, a non-profit entity owned by Cornerstone University, is a student and young family focused commercial free Top 40 station presented with a Christian worldview and can be found on the Internet at www.WaY.fm.

 


 

Ludington Daily News:

Ludington's city council said yes Monday to a new radio station to repeatedly broadcast short programs of local interest from the city's water treatment plant on Lake Michigan. The city will now apply for a 10-year license from the Federal Communications Commission to operate an AM station at the plant and the local lighthouse keepers will arrange for the service. Bob Sperling of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association said the station will broadcast at 10 watts with its strongest signal covering an area of land as far east as Memorial Medical Center as well as to boaters in Lake Michigan's waters near Ludington... Council OKs local information radio station (Tue, 4/29)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

"Take Five," WZZM-TV's popular local talk show, will make several significant changes later this summer. Beginning Aug. 25, the show will expand from 30 minutes to one hour and move from 4:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays. The show -- hosted by Catherine Behrendt and Stephanie Webb -- also will add a new talent, Tara Kuhnlein. A Hope College graduate, Kuhnlein previously was an intern for "Take Five." Station management believes the "Good Morning America" lead-in will be strong and provide a nice flow to local programming. The game show "Deal or No Deal" will follow "Take Five" at 10 a.m. "The expansion ... will double the amount of time to do a variety of segments and will allow us to breathe," Behrendt said. Janet Mason, the station's president and general manager, looks forward to having more time: "We can use the time to delve into topics and keep everything local, local, local"... WZZM's 'Take Five' to expand, move to mornings (Sun, 5/4)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

In Sunday's Broadcast Notes about WZZM-TV's (Channel 13) "Take Five" moving to the 9-10 a.m. slot at the end of August, the obvious question went unanswered: What happens to "Live with Regis and Kelly," which airs in that time slot? The answer: That show will move to Kalamazoo-based station WWMT-TV (Channel 3). On Sept. 8, "Live with Regis and Kelly" moves to 9 a.m. on WWMT, said James Lutton, general manager at Channel 3... 'Regis and Kelly' show lands new spot on the dial (Wed, 5/7)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

Riviera/Las Vegas Hires Tim Kiesling: After a four-month nationwide search, RIVIERA BROADCAST GROUP/LAS VEGAS welcomes long-time CLEAR CHANNEL programming and marketing veteran TIM KIESLING as Marketing Director for Smooth Jazz KOAS (Smooth Jazz 105.7) and Alternative KVGS (AREA 107.9). KIESLING's 20-year radio career includes five years as Dir./Marketing at CLEAR CHANNEL/SAN ANTONIO. He was most recently PD of AC WOOD and Hot AC WMAX/GRAND RAPIDS. (Tue, 5/6)

WSNX Record Attempt Shots Down: CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40/Mainstream WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS, generated a ton of press from their CINCO DE MAYO stunt at a local bar. In a story first reported in the local paper, then picked up by THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, the PUDDIN'S PLAYHOUSE morning show tried to break the GUINNESS record for most tequila shots downed at one time on the holiday. The record was 1,300. Alas, the 'SNX crew "only" had 679 people slamming a shot of tequila on MONDAY night. Nevertheless, the show plans on trying again next year. (Wed, 5/7)

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Grand Rapids Press:

The Fifth Third River Bank Run might not initially seem like the type of event that's conducive to a radio telecast. After all, how exciting can listening to a bunch of runners pounding the pavement be, right? Angela Vuyst, the program director at WOOD-AM (1300), begs to differ. The radio station, which has aired all 30 previous River Bank Runs, will start its 31st broadcast at 7 a.m. Saturday. "We give the runners a lot of credit because the rest of us are sitting back and watching them run during the broadcast," Vuyst said. Actually, Vuyst will be doing more than just sitting around during the race. This will be her ninth year as the event's producer and engineer. And she has a number of reasons why this year's broadcast is worth tuning into... River Run airs on WOOD radio for 31st time (Fri, 5/9)

 

WOOD-TV 8:

After 35 years of dealing with lake effect snow, Craig James is retiring. The chief meteorologist at WOOD TV8 since 1985, Craig began his weather career as an observer for the United States Air Force. A Penn State graduate, he worked weekends in Pittsburgh before moving on to Green Bay, where he got the chance to forecast the weather before each Packer game. Craig became the chief meteorologist for WZZM in 1973, when his hair was longer and he had a moustache. It was also at WZZM that he met Bill Steffen, who also had longer hair and a moustache. Today, only Bill retains the cookie duster. In 1985, in one of the most talked-about television moves in the city's history, Craig came over to WOOD TV8. For the past 23 years, he's guided the weather coverage as Chief Meteorologist through the days before Doppler Radar and the Internet became household names and must-have tools for meteorologists... WOOD TV8s Craig James is retiring (Tue, 5/20)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

During his long tenure as program director of WBBL-AM (1340), Bret Bakita has witnessed a once-fledgling radio station grow into an influential presence on the West Michigan sports scene. Fifteen years ago, that kind of transformation might not have seemed plausible. The station will celebrate its 15th year of existence starting at 10 a.m. today with a barbecue and live broadcast of Bakita's "On The Bench" show at the Harold Zeigler Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership in Grandville. The station actually received its WBBL call letters and all-sports format on May 25, 1994. Bakita was hired two days before that, and has been the station's only program director since then. He's seen plenty of changes over the years... WBBL turns 15 after humble beginnings (Fri, 5/23)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

It has been more than a month since Nanette left the airwaves at WLHT-FM (95.7). She resigned due to creative differences surrounding the morning show but is not leaving the area. "My son, Nick, and I fell in love with Grand Rapids. He has really flourished in this community. For me to uproot him again, I simply will not do," she said of her 11-year-old. "We have moved eight times in the last 11 years for my career. Nick belongs here." Nanette proves there is life after radio as she looks forward to starting a business and partnering with her dad, Dennis Lanfear. The father-daughter team are starting a cosmetic teeth whitening service called "WOW Smile." They will open their first store June 15 at Rivertown Crossings in Grandville. Nanette said the procedure involves LED lighting and a 44 percent grade of peroxide to brighten teeth. The 20-minute service will cost $100. After the launch at Rivertown Crossings, Nanette and her father will open stores in Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids and locations in Lansing and Traverse City. For now, radio is on the back burner; Nanette's non-compete contract lasts until October... Ex-radio host Nanette gets into teeth whitening biz (Sun, 5/25)

 

AllAccess.com:

Nights Open At WKFR: CUMULUS Top 40 WKFR/KALAMAZOO PD KEN "KRUZE" EBANS tells ALL ACCESS, "After 5 years holding down nights on 103.3 KFR, RAY THOMAS has resigned to deal with personal issues at home. Everyone at KFR wishes Ray the best in his future endeavors. As such, 103.3 KFR, KALAMAZOO's #1 Radio Station, is looking for our next Nighttime Superstar! We are built to win and need someone with that mindset," he continues. "f you want to be the best, then send your stuff ASAP. You must be willing to be a part of a high profile, high intensity, entertaining, and local show that wins in numerous demos. If you live the lifestyle and can relate to the audience without crude humor, then this may be your gig. Pay is negotiable according to experience and ratings history. You must have at least 2 years on-air experience, be willing to hit the streets, be a team player, and be a prep monster." Send your package, with mp3 aircheck, to kruze@wkfr.com subject "KFR Nights!"

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Dave Skoczen's first involvement with an all-star game was anything but a relaxing exhibition. In 2003, Skoczen was the play-by-play announcer for an all-star game featuring the California League, where he worked with the Class A Visalia Oaks, and the Carolina League. He only had to call three innings of that game, but there were hours of research to be conducted on the players who had traveled across the nation. His next all-star assignment should involve a little less homework. Skoczen, now in his fourth season as the play-by-play voice of the West Michigan Whitecaps, will call the Midwest League All-Star Game at the Great Lakes Loons' Dow Diamond in Midland on Tuesday. "I just have to be ready for the game," Skoczen said. "It shouldn't be as hard because I've seen all of the teams." Brad Golder, the Loons' director of communications, will be calling the television broadcast of the all-star game, and Skoczen was the first broadcaster he contacted in January to handle the radio duties. Golder has no doubt Skoczen will do a fine job... Voice of Whitecaps gets All-Star call (Fri, 6/13)

 


 

Loyal users of rabbit ears and rooftop antennas aren't sitting on their couches waiting for their TVs to go fuzzy next year. West Michigan residents have asked for more than 27,000 federal coupons to subsidize purchases of converter boxes to make old TVs work with over-the-air signals after Feb. 17. Statewide, more than 678,000 coupons have been requested -- about 4.4 percent of the 15 million requests nationwide. The federal government is making the $40 coupons available, through an $890 million outlay, to ease the transition from analog television to over-the-air digital TV. Most local stations broadcast both types of signals -- analog NTSC (for National Television System Committee) and digital ATSC (for Advanced Television Systems Committee). On Feb. 17, broadcasters are required by federal law to turn off their traditional NTSC signals and hand back the radio spectrum to the federal government. After that, the only way to get programming using an antenna will be with a television with a digital ATSC tuner or with a conversion box... Coupons help TV watchers prep for digital age (Fri, 6/13)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

West Michigan country fans have come to know well the phrase "passion for Bashin'." The slogan refers to the B-93 Birthday Bash, which, through its rich, 15-year history, has grown to become the area's premiere annual country music event. Each year, Bash has provided local fans a free concert featuring some of the biggest names and brightest newcomers in country music. For example, look no further than this year's lineup, headlined by Gretchen Wilson, who appeared in Bash 12 just as her red-hot, red-neck-girl career was firing up. Hosted by WBCT-FM (93.7), known simply as B-93 by its loyal listening audience, the first Birthday Bash was thrown July 24, 1993, exactly a year after the radio station took to the airwaves. An estimated 30,000 fans attended that first birthday party in Ionia, and since then, the celebration has gotten bigger and better... Gretchen Wilson set to rock 15th Birthday Bash (Sun, 6/15)

 

Grand Rapids Rampage:

This Saturday (June 21), WXSP-TV will put Grand Rapids Rampage fans in the middle of the team's most important game of the season when the station broadcasts the Rampage's regular-season finale against the New Orleans VooDoo live at 7 p.m. EDT. With a win, Grand Rapids would reach the Arena Football League's postseason for the first time since 2003... WXSP-TV to Air Rampage Regular-Season Finale Saturday (Thu, 6/19)

 

Kalamazoo Gazette:

Are you ready for some country? That's right folks; it's that time of year again, as summer kicks into gear with two days of free country music at the annual B-93 Birthday Bash this weekend in Ionia. Sponsored by radio station WBCT-FM (93.7), this is the 16th year B-93 has celebrated its birthday with what has become the biggest and most anticipated country music event in West Michigan. With country stars Chris Cagle and Gretchen Wilson returning to headline Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and a stellar lineup of established artists and promising newcomers filling out the bill, Birthday Bash 2008 looks to be the country music party of the summer... B-93 Birthday Bash draws country stars, new talent (Sat, 6/21)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

A lot of new country music acts have made their West Michigan debut in B-93's Birthday Bash. Area country fans soaking up the last day of fun today at the Bash in Ionia may want to say a special thank you to radio station WBCT-FM (93.7) -- which has hosted the free concert for 16 years -- for giving them their first look at some of country music's biggest stars. Anyone remember relative newcomer Tim McGraw, who brought down the house with "Don't Take the Girl" at Bash 2 in 1994? Or how about that new act, Rascal Flatts, a group that oozed charisma singing "Prayin' For Daylight" at Bash 8 in 2000? And who will forget a rockin' "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" from two guys who called themselves Big & Rich at Bash 12 in 2004? Each year, when B-93 program director Doug Montgomery determines the Bash lineup, he carefully mixes established stars with promising newcomers... Birthday Bash good at finding stars in the making (Sun, 6/22)

Many acts have played B-93's Birthday Bash as newcomers and gone on to become big stars in country music. Here are a few of them... Birthday Bash newcomers who hit it big (Sun, 6/22)

 

Kalamazoo Gazette:

Jessica Simpson, best known as a pop singer, made a surprise visit Sunday afternoon to West Michigan's biggest country-music festival, the B-93 Birthday Bash in Ionia. It had been rumored that Simpson would make an appearance. She released her first country-music single ``Come On Over'' in May on Columbia Nashville Records, a SonyBMG label. The song stands at No. 33 on the Country Billboard chart after debuting at No. 41 -- reported to be the highest chart debut for a solo artist with no prior history on the country chart, according to Billboard.com. Simpson has been attempting to redefine herself as a country-music artist before the release of her new album this fall. There was good reason for her to show up at this past weekend's birthday bash: It draws large numbers. Preliminary figures show the crowd may have been the largest since the annual event returned to Ionia four years ago... Simpson surprise - Jessica plays B-93 Bash; attendance soars (Mon, 6/13)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

A severe storm could roll into West Michigan on Friday night, and that doesn't exactly thrill WOOD-TV forecaster Craig James. If it does, it could mean James' 11 p.m. forecast -- his last with the station -- could extend into the wee hours Saturday. "That's getting a little old," said James, 63. "I've been doing it for 40 years, and I'm tired of babysitting thunderstorms at night. The business is not as much fun as it used to be." After 40 years of TV weather, James will hand the chief meteorologist baton to longtime friend and co-worker, Bill Steffen. WOOD-TV news director Patti McGettigan said some "special things" are planned at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday broadcasts, but declined to give specifics. The potential Friday storm would be a fitting way for James to leave the newsroom, McGettigan said... One last storm on horizon for WOOD-TV's Craig James (Thu, 6/26)

For 25 years, the Community Media Center has grown and thrived with the help of City Hall. Director Laurie Cirivello said the center will suffer with City Hall, too. That is the reason she put up little fuss this spring when city officials asked them to rewrite their service contract and cut their city subsidy by as much as $130,000 a year. "I don't in good conscience believe we should be excluded when everyone is tightening their belts," said Cirivello, the center's director for the past two years. The cuts in city funding mean the center will have to drop two full-time positions from its staff of 23 full- and part-time employees, she said. The center operates on a $1.1 million annual budget... Community Media Center deals with city fund cuts (Thu, 6/26)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Tim Doty doesn't remember the last time he was presented with a hockey award. The WXMI-TV Fox 17 sports anchor thinks it might have been when he was playing in a bantam or pee-wee league in his youth, but he's not really sure. At least he'll have an easier time recalling his most recent accolade. The American Hockey League has selected Doty as this year's recipient of the James H. Ellery Memorial Award for outstanding television coverage. When Randy Cleves, the Grand Rapids Griffins' senior director of public relations, called to inform him of the news, Doty did not even believe it. "I thought he was playing a joke. I didn't think it was real," Doty said. "But then he didn't laugh so I figured it must be real." Doty won the award largely on the strength of his "On the Ice" production, a 20-week series of in-depth profiles and features on the Griffins that regularly ran during WXMI's "Sports Ticket" on Sunday nights... WXMI's Doty earns award for hockey coverage (Fri, 6/27)

 

Dick Richards celebrates 40th anniversary as Bozo

By: Colleen Pierson (Published in the Grand Rapids Press Thu, 7/3)

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had the pleasure of playing Bucket Bonanza on television. There aren't many of us that don't remember Mr. Gorilla, or the infamous Bozo the Clown. The widespread franchising in television made him the best-known clown character in our country.

It's been a lifetime of smiles and chuckles for Dick Richards. He will turn 70 years-young in October, is Bozo's alter ego, and he celebrates his 40th anniversary this year in portraying the famous clown in West Michigan.

"As long as the good Lord wants me to continue, I will," he said. The most exciting aspect is the personal appearances and spending time with people with physical and mental impairments. I still run into people who say how much they appreciated the sympathy cards I sent when a family lost a child."

Everyone remembers Bozo. We grew up with him. The show made its debut on WZZM-TV (Channel 13) on Aug 1, 1966 as a daily program from 4:00-5:00p.m.and was on the air for 33 years.

The show had its humble beginnings in the TV 13 studios at the Pantlind Hotel, where the 1913 restaurant now is, before moving to the WZZM studios in Walker.

"I never knew what was going to happen doing Live TV. People would fall during games, children would announce that they needed to go to the potty, but it was always such a fun time and young and old alike seem to know and appreciate the character," Richards reflects.

In appreciation of our hometown Bozo, Richards will be recognized for his longevity at the 4th of July Celebration from 7:30-8:00p.m. on the main stage at Ah-Nab-Awen Park. The tribute was lined up by radio veteran Paul Boscarino and Ed Kettle.

"Paul used to chauffeur Bozo to events and he told us, 'Are you aware that Bozo has been doing this for almost 40 years?' He has done so many things for people that nobody knows. We would stop at a sick child's house just to entertain the kid for five minutes. Anything to add a little laughter to someone's life," Kettle said.

They are also planning on getting new threads for Bozo through Larry Harmon productions. "My wife thought that Bozo's outfit looked too tattered so we are lining up a surprise for him in the months to come," Kettle said.

Dick's wife Betty Jean is now Bozo's chaufeurette to all of his public appearances. "I just love to see the kids with bright eyes and big smiles, she said. I am really proud of my husband because he is an entertainer who has such talent and quality. He made Bozo famous locally and is so good at it."

The couple's daughter Tracy was 4 when Dad first started out. She is now 44, and has always been enthusiastic of his role. "I'm a performer and am out there to entertain, Richards said. I have done the role the second longest in our country and I think I am only one still doing it."

As he packs up ample circus greasepaint, a fiery red wig, multi-colored costume and size 22 clown shoes ("I have a pepperoni and mushroom pizza in them"), Dick Richards continues to bring joy and laughter to our community. Happy 40th Bozo!

 

Grand Rapids Press:

All-sports radio station WBBL-AM (1340) announced today it will carry a live broadcast of the Arena Football League playoff game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday featuring the Grand Rapids Rampage against the San Jose SaberCats. The Rampage (8-10) and SaberCats (12-5) are meeting in the American Conference final at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The winner advances to ArenaBowl XXII in New Orleans on July 27. The contest also is being televised nationally on ESPN... WBBL to air Rampage playoff game vs. San Jose (Tue, 7/8)

 


 

WOOD-TV:

Former WLAV owner John Shepard died Monday. He was 81. Shepard, who owned WLAV AM-FM during their rise to becoming a ratings powerhouse beginning in the 1970s, owned many other stations around the country during a long career. He first came to Grand Rapids in 1953 as a sales manager for the radio station. Eventually he became the owner, and sold it in the mid-1980s to Adams Broadcasting... Longtime WLAV owner John Shepard dies (Tue, 7/8)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Longtime radio veteran John Shepard will long be remembered "as a man who made things happen," said local businessman and friend Dan Pfeiffer, who knew him for more than 42 years. Mr. Shepard, of Grand Rapids, died Monday morning of cardiac arrest after suffering from congestive heart failure for many years. He was 81. Numerous friends said he had a passion for life and the radio industry. He ran Shepard Broadcasting for 50 years. "John was a wonderful man, a loving husband and he gave back to the community," WLAV-FM radio personality Tony Gates said. "He cared a great deal about professional broadcasting. He was very good at what he did. "I will always thank him for giving me my first shot in professional radio. I, along with many others, will miss John." Mr. Shepard owned and operated numerous radio stations in seven states, including WLAV-FM, for about 20 years. He sold the station in 1983 to Adams Broadcasting. WLAV-FM is now owned by Citadel Broadcasting... Radio veteran John Shepard 'made things happen' (Wed, 7/9)

 


 

WZZM-TV:

We have lost a member of the WZZM 13 family. George Lyons was the general manager of our station from the late 1970's until the early 1980's. His family today told us he died in Georgia last night after a long illness. Lyons hired Lee Van Ameyde in the late 1970's... George Lyons, former WZZM 13 General Manager, dies at the age 80 (Wed, 7/9)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

What's up with CLEAR CHANNEL AC WRVF (101.5 THE RIVER)/TOLEDO PD TOM COOK? Well, he apparently had been out of the building visiting a WOOD shop... and tells ALLACCESS, "I've accepted the PD gig at WOOD (STAR 105.7)/GRAND RAPIDS. I'll be in the building by early AUGUST. I'll be assisting with WRVF for as long as necessary; but the search is on for a new PD, which I will help find," he added. (Wed, 7/9)

 

StationRatings.com:

Top 5 stations in the newest Arbitrend rankings were country WBCT, news/talk WOOD AM, classic rock WLAV, modern rock WGRD, and soft rock WOOD-FM.. Second spring age 12+ radio ratings trend for Grand Rapids (Thu, 7/10)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Local TV viewers will get to see familiar faces at the Olympics in Beijing. Not just familiar athletes, either, but local reporters, too. WOOD-TV (Channel 8) again is sending a team of talent to cover the international competition. The trio headed to Beijing is sports director Jack Doles, reporter/co-anchor Brian Sterling and news producer/cameraman Dan Limbaugh. Doles has covered seven Olympic games. "It's one of the highlights of my career. Each one has a special memory. It's hard to top the Olympics," Doles said. It's Olympics No. 4 for Limbaugh, TV-8's special projects producer, whose job is to bring it all together... WOOD-TV again sends team to cover Olympics (Sun, 7/13)

 

WLAV, Tony Gates nominated for Marconi Awards

Heritage classic rocker WLAV FM 96.9 Grand Rapids has been nominated for a Marconi Award as Medium Market Station of the Year and the station's afternoon man Tony Gates has been similarly recognized in the Medium Market Personality of the Year category.

Established in 1989, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards were named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi. The winners will be announced on September 18 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show which is held during The NAB Radio Show at the Austin,TX Convention Center.

 


 

WWMT-TV:

WWMT Newschannel 3's Anchor Jeff McAtee has decided to leave the anchor chair to go on active duty in the Navy. He will be serving overseas as a Commander in Naples, Italy. Jeff has been the co-anchor of Newschannel 3's 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm and 11pm for the past 3 years. He also helped launch and anchor Newschannel 3's 10pm newscast on the CW7. Jeff's last day at the WWMT anchor desk will be on July 18th. Jeff has been a part of the Unites States Navy for quite a while. This September marks his 20th anniversary of service... Goodbye Jeff McAtee (Mon, 7/14)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

WJQK Hosted 40K People On July 4th: LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS held its annual "Celebration Freedom" fest on JULY 4th to over 40,000 people. "This celebration with music, food, rides and fireworks is an outreach to our community and it's absolutely free. Thousands of families who aren't regular Christian music listeners attend annually BECAUSE it's free. In the process, they are introduced to the station and it's positive message," said PD GARY THOMPSON. (Mon, 7/14)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Weekend news anchor Larry Figurski of WOOD-TV (Channel 8) considers himself fortunate for surviving last week what many do not: a massive heart attack. Figurski, anchor of Channel 8's Weekend Daybreak and 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday sportscasts, figures the reason his life was spared from sudden cardiac arrest is because he lives two miles from Metro Health Hospital. "When you hear people use terms like 'widow maker' you're lucky to have survived," said Figurski, 43, who is married and the father of two young daughters. Figurski said he is fortunate in more ways than one. He was not in the habit of going to a doctor for an annual physical. He's plays hockey, but has a taste for too much fast food, he said. And his family has a history of heart disease. "It's kind of ironic," Figurski said. "My father had a heart attack at 43 or 44. His father had a couple and he died at 69." Figurski's duties will be divided among other reporters until he returns to work, said WOOD-TV news director Patti McGettigan... WOOD-TV weekend anchor Larry Figurski survives massive heart attack (Wed, 7/16)

 

Although the license for WOLY AM 1500 Battle Creek was not renewed during the 2004 renewal period for Michigan radio stations, the daytime-only Christian station continued to broadcast. In June 2006, the FCC officially notified station owner Christian Faith Broadcast that its license had officially been canceled and that all authority to operate what was WOLY had been terminated. Yet, broadcasts continued at the 1,000 watt station.

Now the FCC has filed a Forfeiture Order against Christian Faith Broadcast in the amount of $10,000 for the station's unauthorized operations, which amazingly have continued - at least as of this past Monday, July 14th. This action follows a Notice of Apparent Liability that was issued in December 2007. According to the Forfeiture Order, "Christian Family Network's failure to immediately cease operation of the station may result in further monetary fines and other more serious sanctions."

What's even more surprising in this case is that in 1998 WOLY also failed to renew its license in a timely fashion and had it's license canceled until it reapplied for and was granted reinstatement in May 1999.

 

Rock WKLQ FM 107.3 Grand Rapids has changed its on-air lineup as of this morning, Monday July 21st, with the addition of two new air staffers, both coming to Grand Rapids from 107.7 WRKR in Kalamazoo. Out is the syndicated morning drive Opie & Anthony show.

KLQ has introduced a brand new morning show comprised of Program Director Michael Grey and the first of the new hires, Warren Kluck. "Grey & Kluck" are bringing a fresh voice to morning drive, from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, built on a combined 20 years of experience doing radio in West Michigan. Grey is an 11 year veteran at WGRD & WKLQ in Grand Rapids, and Kluck has logged time at WIRX in Benton Harbor as well as WRKR. With these two at the controls, expect the unexpected.

"I've waited most of my career for an opportunity to build a radio show I believe in and one that's set-up the right way and I know that Warren and I are going to bring it - every morning," says Grey.

Kluck adds, "I just hope that people are ready for this thing."

The other new addition, Jay Deacon, will host afternoon drive from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM, taking over Grey's former airshift. Deacon was the Program Director and PM Drive host for WRKR and will fill the roles of Assistant Program Director and Digital Media Coordinator along with PM Drive Host in his new position with WKLQ. He has previously worked in radio in Kansas as well as Kalamazoo.

"WKLQ has been providing listeners in West Michigan with great rock music for over 20 years," said Matt Hanlon, President of Citadel Broadcasting's Midwest Region. "'Grey and Kluck' gives listeners the only true local morning show in the market for young rock fans."

Darcy will continue to air midday's from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM, and Steve "The Rat" Aldrich will round out the on-air crew with his 7:00 PM-12:00 AM evening show.

Back at Cumulus-owned rocker WRKR, Katz returns for his second tour of duty and takes over afternoons 2:00 - 6:00 PM for the departed Deacon. Katz also adds duties as RKR's Promotions Director.

 

Grand Rapids Press

Former WOOD-TV Channel 8 anchor Tom Van Howe is returning to broadcast news in West Michigan, only for a competing TV station. Van Howe, 63, will join WWMT-TV Channel 3 on Monday. He signed a letter of agreement Monday to join the station based in Kalamazoo. He will fill in for Channel 3 anchor Jeff McAtee, a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve who has been called to active duty. Van Howe, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, will anchor newscasts at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. Monday through Friday along with anchor Judy Markee on Channel 3, plus the 10 p.m. newscast on CW7... Tom Van Howe to return to TV as anchor at WWMT Channel 3 (Tue, 7/22)

 

Release from WWMT: Tom Van Howe returns to West Michigan television news (Tue, 7/22)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

J Blaze To Light Up WKFR Nights: CUMULUS Top 40/Mainstream WKFR/KALAMAZOO brings in J BLAZE to do nights. He's expected to hit the air in early AUGUST. Although his last radio gig was as APD/nights for WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS, as APD/nights, "BLAZE has been on a three-year hiatus from radio while working in the education field," WKFR PD/Brand Manager KRUZE (aka KEN EVANS) told ALL ACCESS. "It's my hope that his experience with children will help in dealing with the KFR Sales team!" (Tue, 7/22)

 

Take a look at the age 12+ rankings, look courtesy of Stationratings.com:

For the first time in its existence Detroit contemporary hits outlet Channel 9-5-5 (WQKI FM 95.5) is the top station among radio listeners age 12 and over, followed closely by news NewsRadio 950 (WWJ AM), NewsTalk 760 (WJR AM) and FM 98 (urban WJLB FM 97.9). Oldies 104.3 (WOMC FM) rounded out the top 5 stations.

The Ticket (sports WXYT-FM 97.1) enjoyed huge gains over the winter ratings period and the 'Rif (rock WRIF FM 101.1) also saw a nice numbers rebound.

Country stations had the best individual ratings in Lansing, Toledo, and South Bend with heritage stations WITL FM 100.7, WKKO FM 99.9, and WBYT FM 100.7 each leading the way among all listeners.

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Former WOOD-TV (Channel 8) anchor Tom Van Howe is returning to broadcast news in West Michigan, but this time for a competing TV station. Van Howe, 63, will join WWMT-TV (Channel 3) on Monday. He signed a letter of agreement this week to join the Kalamazoo-based station. He will fill in for Channel 3 anchor Jeff McAtee, a commander in the Naval Reserve, who has been called to active duty. Van Howe, a veteran of the Air Force, will anchor the Channel 3 newscasts at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. Monday through Friday with anchor Judy Markee, plus the 10 p.m. newscast on its sister station, CW7. "It's kind of a work load," he said with a laugh. "It certainly wasn't something I was planning on." Van Howe, who retired in 2005 as a Channel 8 news anchor, said he wasn't looking to return to daily broadcasts, but the lure of the upcoming presidential election was too good to pass up... Tom Van Howe returns to TV news anchor spot (Wed, 7/23)

 

Another batch of Spring radio ratings was released late last week; they are available courtesy of Stationratings.com:

Top stations among listeners age 12+ in each market were soft rock WCRZ in Flint, contemporary hits WIOG in the Tri-Cities, news/talk WJR in Ann Arbor and country WNWN-FM in Battle Creek.

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Those who listen to WLHT-FM (95.7) soon will be waking up with a new morning show: "Barnaby & Friends." Management at the radio station told its staff today former WOOD-TV (Channel 8) reporter Gerry Barnaby will take over for Denis Prior and the "Morning Drive." Barnaby's first official day is Aug. 11, but last week he filled in for Prior, who was on vacation. "The show is going to be a work in progress for now," Barnaby said. "But we will put the spotlight back where it belongs -- on the listeners. It's their show." As part of the shuffle, several moves have been made at WLHT and three other local FM stations owned by Regent Broadcasting... Veteran broadcaster Gerry Barnaby heads to weekdays on radio (Mon, 7/28)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

Tom Cook To Stay At WRVF: After previously accepting the PD position at CLEAR CHANNEL AC WOOD (STAR 105.7)/GRAND RAPIDS, (NET NEWS 7/9), CLEAR CHANNEL AC WRVF (101.5 THE RIVER)/TOLEDO PD TOM COOK has decided to stay put. COOK tells ALL ACCESS, "After using an inordinate amount of brainpower, I decided that 101.5 THE RIVER and CLEAR CHANNEL/TOLEDO is where I belong right now." (Fri, 7/25)

 


 

Holland Sentinel:

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, apparently the man wearing a cape and mowing random Holland lawns is "Super Flounder" -- the alter ego of Joe Piesz, 94.5 Thunder Country radio personality. The Grand Rapids-based station saw a new Holland law requiring lawns to be kept under 8 inches, as a two-fold opportunity, Program Director Steve Stewart said. "It's a way for us to be able to help out (people with tall lawns), and at the same time, Holland's one of our big bases," he said. "Seeing (Piesz) in a cape with the whole nine-yards and a lawnmower, it's simply ridiculous." "As soon as we started talking about (the law), the phone lines blew up," Stewart said. Thursday morning callers nominated their neighbors. "Super Flounder" chose an overgrown lawn at random. Without asking property owners' permission to mow their lawns, the radio personality was technically trespassing, and he will be again... 'Super Flounder,' neighbors try to save residents from lawn fines (Fri, 7/24)

 

Kalamazoo Gazette:

After 21 years at WKZO-AM (590) -- including 14 as the station's afternoon talk show host -- Dave Jaconette signed off for the last time Friday. Jaconette and WKZO Program Director Jay Morris blame cutbacks at the station for Jaconette's departure. "It was a cost-cutting move," Jaconette said. "We didn't talk about it a whole lot on the air because we didn't think it would make for great radio ... but we did want to do a last show, a send-off." Jaconette said the move was not a surprise and that he had "several weeks notice." According to the station's Web site (www.wkzo.com), Jaconette's former time slot will be filled by local hosts Roger Taylor and Jim McKinney from 3 to 5 p.m., and an extra hour of the syndicated Glenn Beck show from 5 to 6 p.m. The 45-year-old native of Detroit has been in Kalamazoo since the mid-1980s when he attended Western Michigan University. He started at WKZO in 1987, doing fill-in work, movie reviews and "traffic" (scheduling the station's commercials)... Talk-show host Jaconette leaves WKZO-AM after 21 years (Tue, 7/29)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

The "Take Five" program on WZZM-TV (Channel 13) is geting a a fine-tuning of its name and host staff. "Take Five & Company" begins Aug. 25 at a new time. The live, local lifestyle program will move to 9-10 a.m. weekdays, replacing "Live with Regis and Kelly," which moves to WWMT-TV (Channel 3)... Changes for 'Take Five' (Wed, 7/30)

Another meteorologist is coming on board at WOOD-TV (Channel 8). Kyle Underwood arrives Aug. 20 from ABC affiliate WDIO-TV in Duluth, Minn., where he is the chief meteorologist. "He is adept at forecasting lake effect, winter and all kinds of severe weather," TV-8 news director Patti McGettigan said... TV-8 will add meteorologist (Wed, 7/30)

McGettigan also said weekend anchor Larry Figurski is recovering from a heart attack he suffered earlier this month. "I saw Larry last week. He looked very good (after having) the scare of his life," she said. "He continues to rest and recover and is talking about coming back in August." Figurski still on mend (Wed, 7/30)

Tony Gates, veteran radio broadcaster on WLAV-FM (96.9), has been nominated for the prestigious Marconi Radio Award... Tony Gates nominated (Wed, 7/30)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 1, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Jack Doles figures the 13 1/2-hour flight he's taking today to Beijing shouldn't be too bad. Hopefully he doesn't get stuck with a middle seat. Doles, the sports director at WOOD-TV 8, will be joined by colleagues Brian Sterling and Dan Limbaugh for the station's coverage of the Summer Olympics. WOOD's coverage will kick off with a one-hour special, "Olympic Hopes, Gold Dreams," at 7 p.m. Aug. 8. It will be Doles' seventh trip to the Olympics. Before joining WOOD in 1990, he covered the Winter Games in Calgary and Summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988. Since then, he's been to Summer Olympics in Atlanta ('96), Sydney ('00) and Athens ('04), and Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy ('06)... WOOD-TV's Doles on his way to Beijing Games (Fri, 8/1)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 3, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

After a six-year anchor stint with a television station in Indianapolis, Tracy Forner is glad to be back. "Indianapolis was an opportunity, but West Michigan is home," said Forner, who will be back on the air here starting Thursday. He will join Sara Brodhead and Jon Shaner on the WXMI-TV (Channel 17) morning crew. Forner said he had been considering a position to teach and oversee the television station at a high school where he lived, but "I knew if I accepted it, moving back (to West Michigan) would become a remote option, at best"... Tracy Forner back in Grand Rapids on WXMI-TV (Sun, 8/3)

Tune in to WKLQ-FM (107.3) from 6 to 10 a.m. and you'll hear a new early morning lineup. "The Opie and Anthony Show" is out, and the "Grey & Kluck Show" is in. "Our show is the most aggressive thing on radio," said Michael Grey, 33, program director and morning co-host. "We are a guy station and will keep it local. There is a real hunger for a true West Michigan product." He refers to the station's music as the "only reporting, true, active rock in the market" and said he worked hard to refocus KLQ's sound at the end of 2007. Grey is an 11-year radio veteran at WGRD and WKLQ. and Kluck spent time at WIRX in Benton Harbor as well as WRKR in Kalamazoo before joining the new morning team at KLQ... WKLQ has new morning lineup (Sun, 8/3)

 

South Bend Tribune:

Weigel Broadcast Co. and WSBT, Inc. announced Monday that they have signed an agreement under which WSBT Inc. will purchase the assets of the three Weigel low-power television stations serving South Bend: WBND (ABC), WCWW (CW) and WMYS (MyNetworkTV). The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008. Norman H. Shapiro, President of Weigel Broadcasting, stated "We are proud of having maximized low power television broadcast facilities in the South Bend/Michiana market, without which there would be no local ABC, CW or MyNetworkTV service"... WSBT to purchase three local stations (Mon, 8/4)

 

WDSS drops Radio Disney

Grand Rapids is without an over-the-air Radio Disney format as of now as Goodrich Radio drops the kid-targeted format on its WDSS AM 1680 Ada/Grand Rapids. Announcements on the frequency invite listeners to check out Radio Disney on XM or Sirius Satellite Radio and state the station's new programming will be revealed on August 18th.

 


 

StationRatings.com:

Country WBCT was the most listened to radio station this spring in Grand Rapids among listeners age 12 and above according to Arbitron. Classic rock WLAV, news/talk WOOD AM, modern rock WGRD, and contemporary hits WSNX rounded out the top 5... Grand Rapids 12+ spring radio ratings (Wed, 8/6)

In Kalamazoo, the top 12+ station was contemporary hits WKFR followed by rock WRKR, soft rock WVFM, country WBCT and adult urban WNWN AM... Kalamazoo 12+ spring radio ratings (Thu, 8/7)

Muskegon's leading station was country WMUS with contemporary hits WSNX, soft rock WSHZ, classic rock WMRR, and oldies WLCS completing the top 5 in the 12+ category... Muskegon 12+ spring radio ratings (Thu, 8/7)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

WLHT & WTRV PD Bill Bailey Exits: After 11 years in GRAND RAPIDS, REGENT AC WLHT and Soft AC WTRV PD and WLHT/afternoon personality BILL BAILEY is on the hunt for his next opportunity. Sister Rocker WGRD and Regional Mexican WNWZ-A (1410 LA MAQUINA) PD JERRY TERRANTS will add programming duties at WLHT, and Oldies WFGR PD LEN O'KELLY will add PD responsibilites at WTRV. (Thu, 8/7)

 

AllAccess.com:

Brian Holmes Freaks Out Grand Rapids: CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40/Mainstream WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS APD/night-timer BRIAN HOLMES is reveling in the fact that his "HOLMES & THE FREAKSHOW" just scored its 10th #1 18-34 book in row with its highest share to date, a 20.3. In other news, THE FREAK SHOW parts ways with current night co-host HOOCH and has some big changes coming on TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 2nd ... including the naming of a new FREAK SHOW co-host. (Fri, 8/8)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 13, 2008

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Radio and Records:

Grand Rapids Cable Access noncommercial triple A WYCE/Grand Rapids has named Matt Jarrells PD. Jarrells was MD at the station prior to Pete Bruinsma's joining the station in that capacity last year. Jarrells starts on Aug. 25. Station manager Kevin Murphy says, "I'm so excited to have a full staff of talented, enthusiastic people who are committed to making the 'greatest little radio station on the planet' even greater." (Wed, 8/13)

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

James Lutton, president and general manager at WWMT-TV (Channel 3), cleared up some questions about former WOOD-TV (Channel 8) anchor Tom Van Howe being hired to replace Jeff MacAtee. Some Press readers e-mailed to ask if Jeff, who is on active duty as a commander with the United States Navy Reserve, will return to anchoring the Kalamazoo-based station and how long Van Howe will stay. Van Howe, who retired in 2005 as a TV-8 newscaster, will anchor the Channel 3 weekday newscasts at 5, 6 and 11 p.m., with anchor Judy Markee, plus the 10 p.m. show on sister station, CW7. "Jeff resigned his position with us upon being called to two years of active service in the Navy. He had a provision in his contract that allowed him to do so," Lutton said. "Tom has agreed to work with us until the end of November. What we have worked out is that we will all sit down in early November to see how it is going. We hope we can convince him to continue to work with us after November" ... Tara Miller is the new weekend sports anchor at WXMI-TV (Channel 17). Tara, who will start on the air Friday, comes from WJBF-TV (Channel 6), the ABC affiliate in Augusta, Ga... Van Howe will anchor through November -- at least (Wed, 8/13)

 

AllAccess.com:

WJQK Staffers Serve In Guatemala: LANSER Christian AC WJQK/GRAND RAPIDS sent its GM, PD and sales staff to GUATEMALA with PARADISE BOUND ministries JULY 28th to AUGUST 4th to build houses for poverty stricken villagers. It is estimated that over 100 people accepted CHRIST in the three villages visited over five days. The station also hosted its annual UNITY FEST last week. Over 47,000 individuals turned out over the course of four days to hear THIRD DAY, TOBYMAC, BIG DADDY WEAVE, KUTLESS, 33MILES, SKILLEY, PHILLIPS CRAIG & DEAN, THE REZ BAND REUNION, PHIL KEAGGY and RANDY STONEHILL among others. (Thu, 8/14)

 

Muskegon Chronicle:

She's reported on a world famous golf tournament, interviewed Tiger Woods and watched her share of University of Georgia football games. But after spending three years as a broadcast sports reporter in Augusta, Ga., Tara Miller is back in West Michigan, where she was scheduled to make her debut Friday night as Fox 17's weekend sports reporter. "It's a career jump for me, but it's also my home so it's kind of like the best of both worlds," said Miller, who graduated from Fruitport High School in 1999. "Now I get the chance to cover the teams I grew up watching." At FOX 17, Miller will work as both an anchor and reporter, covering local, state and national sports. Miller will join Brent Ashcroft, the station's Sports Director, as the second Muskegon-area native working on FOX 17's sports team. Ashcroft, a Mona Shores graduate, became Sports Director there in 1998... Fruitport native now anchoring sports at Fox 17 (Sat, 8/16)

Getting kids off the couch and doing exercises is the goal of a new locally produced television program that will feature local children. "Fit Kids" will air four times a week during the school year on the city of Muskegon's government and community access channel DSE/tv97. If auditions for the programs' four troupes of children who will appear on the show is any indication, interest in such a show is high... Children audition for new TV show (Mon, 8/18)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 20, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Today's the first full day at WOOD-TV (Channel 8) for newcomer Kyle Underwood, who moved here recently from Minnesota to return 24 Hour News 8 to its team of five meteorologists. Whew! I was getting nervous. In all seriousness, some wondered if TV8 would remain with a team of five meteorologists after veteran Craig James decided to retire in June. Not long after his retirement, I bumped into general manager Diane Kniowski, who said "of course" a new person would join the Storm Team 8 Weather Team... Storm Team 8 now at full strength at WOOD-TV (Wed, 8/20)

 

AllAccess.com:

WOOD Names Kelly Iris PD: CLEAR CHANNEL AC WOOD (STAR 105.7)/GRAND RAPIDS names WNNK (WINK 104)/HARRISBURG midday talent KELLY IRIS for PD duties. Sister AC WRVF (101.5 THE RIVER)/TOLEDO PD TOM COOK will continue to program the music for STAR 105.7 from a secret undisclosed location until IRIS can get settled in. CLEAR CHANNEL/GRAND RAPIDS GM/Market Mgr. TIM FEAGAN tells ALL ACCESS, "I hired KELLY when she worked for our cluster back in 1992. We are excited to have her return to MICHIGAN to program third most powerful FM in AMERICA! With 265,000 watts, I'm sure it will be a lot of fun!" (Fri, 8/22)

Kalamazoo Gazette:

The date television in the United States switches to digital broadcasting isn't creating the same hype Y2K did nearly a decade ago, but expect to start seeing and hearing more public-service announcements about the national changeover as Feb. 17 approaches. On Wednesday, U.S. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, stopped at the Best Buy on South Westnedge Avenue in Portage to promote awareness about the impending transition to digital broadcasting. He stressed during his 45-minute media presentation that the switch affects only analog televisions... Upton raises awareness about digital TV switch at Portage event (Thu, 8/21)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

WJQK Holds 'Conference Room Series': LANSER Christian AC WJQK (JQ99)/GRAND RAPIDS kicked off its "Conference Room Concert" series Wednesday (8/20) with INO RECORDS artist BUILDING 429. The station is giving its "JQ99 Family Rewards"members exclusive private access to their favorite artists over the next few months by giving away seats in the station conference room for private shows. Over the next few months, "JQ99 Family Rewards" will host exclusive "members only" conference room concerts by SPARROW RECORDS artist BRIT NICOLE and ABOVE THE GOLDEN STATE, and SIXSTEPS RECORDS' CHRIS TOMLIN. (Thu, 8/21)

 


 

Rockford Independent:

After nearly three years in operation, a Rockford-based broadcast company with an innovative method of airing high school sports is still going strong. Michigansportsradio.com uses streaming audio via the Internet so long distance fans can keep up on area games. "Our games are listened to all over the world," said Brock Konkle, who helped launch the business in 2005. "Mlive has picked up all of our feeds as well. This has gone a lot farther than I thought it would." Former announcer and Rockford resident Ross Maghielse has helped to expand the unique method of athletic exposure on the east side of the state... MI Sports Radio has worldwide appeal (Thu, 8/21)

 

Grand Rapids Press:

Today is when several changes take place in the West Michigan/Grand Rapids TV viewing market. Here is what we have, for now: Beginning today, you'll find "Live with Regis & Kelly" now airing at 9 a.m. weekdays on Channel 3, WWMT... TV changes in Grand Rapids: Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil, Regis & Kelly and Take 5 (Mon, 8/25)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Aug 27, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

West Michigan viewers soon can get a little extra morning news on WXMI-TV (Channel 17). Fox 17's Morning News will expand to four hours of weekday programming, from 5 to 9 a.m., starting Sept. 15. "Get ready; it's going to be fun," said news anchor Sarah Brodhead, who has been on staff since March. "We hope to make your mornings go better." Former WZZM-TV (Channel 13) anchor Tracy Forner, who was recently working in Indianapolis, will return to co-anchor the newscast with Brodhead... Fox 17 expands morning news broadcast (Wed, 8/27); more detail here: Morning news expansion at Fox 17, WXMI (Wed, 8/27)

 


 

Kalamazoo Gazette:

A 12-year-old Vicksburg singer will make her radio debut Thursday by presenting a song she co-wrote as she vies to win a country station's competition. Megan Rae Macher, a Vicksburg Middle School seventh-grader, will compete against 11 other West Michigan artists during the Hometown Showdown on B-93-FM 93.7. She is the youngest singer in the competition by at least 13 years, said ``Broadway,'' a B-93 radio personality ... The Hometown Showdown runs at 8 p.m. weeknights until a winner is announced. The winner gets a chance to have his or her song put into the Grand Rapids radio station's regular evening rotation... Young Vicksburg singer to make radio debut in country-music contest (Wed, 8/27)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Sept 1, 2008

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Holland Sentinel:

WHTC-AM 1450 is making a "Huge" addition to its afternoon lineup this week. The radio station has reached an agreement with Citadel Radio to broadcast Bill Simonson's "The Huge Show" weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. The sports-based talk show will start Monday with the "Best of The Huge Show" and be heard live on Tuesday. Simonson is looking forward to expanding his listener base in the Holland area. He regularly receives calls from sports fans from Holland who listen on either the home base WBBL-AM 1340 in Grand Rapids or one of the show's affiliates in Grand Haven or Kalamazoo. "I wanted to get on WHTC," Simonson said. "Holland is one of the great sports cities in Michigan if you look at their interest in all the professional sports, Hope College and their high schools. It's a great place for sports... WHTC adding 'Huge' show (Sat, 8/30)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Sept 5, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

New weekend meteorologist Kyle Underwood started on the air at WOOD-TV (Channel 8) last weekend and is impressed with West Michigan. "The people are so welcoming and friendly," he said. The 29-year-old comes to us from WDIO-TV in Minnesota, where he was Chief Meteorologist ... Kelly Iris is coming back to West Michigan from Wink 104 in Harrisburg, Penn., where she spent time both on the air and as a programming assistant. "I have been lucky enough to live in Hershey where the air smells like chocolate," she joked. Now, it's back to her roots and a community she loves. Iris will be the new program director at WOOD-FM (STAR 105.7). She was part of the original team that put B-93 on the air in 1992 and also took over the programming reigns at WCUZ ... The Mouse is gone in West Michigan. Radio Disney programming has been off the air since August from WDSS-AM 1690. Bob Goodrich, licensee for the station said that Disney chose not to continue funding with about five or six affiliates. So, what's next for the local station? "Some time in September, we will start WPRR-AM (1680) which will be a non-profit operating entity, programming on an educational basis," he said. It will run 24 hours; 7 days a week and we will have a variety of podcasts and programming"... Broadcast notes: WOOD-TV 8 welcomes new meteorologist (Fri, 9/5)

 


 

Greenville Daily News:

An employee of Greenville radio station WSCG, which is owned by Stafford Communications Group, continues to recover after a two-car collision on Thursday. Cecil " Chip" Burch was transported to Spectrum Health System's Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids with non-life- threatening injuries. He received two broken wrists and a broken right leg plus a lacerated spleen and a lacerated liver as a result of the accident Burch remains listed in serious condition today at Butterworth... WSCG announcer continues to recover (Thu, 9/4)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Sept 19, 2008

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WLAV and Tony Gates win Marconi Awards

Heritage classic rock station WLAV FM 96.9 Grand Rapids received a Marconi award yesterday being named as the Medium Market Station of the Year. Tony Gates, he station's afternoon drive host, also won a Marconi as Medium Market Personality of the Year.

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

Superstar Taylor Swift will help country radio station B-93 "freshen up" its Roofsit For Kids charity event Oct. 21 with a concert at Van Andel Arena. Both the location and the concert are firsts for the station's annual event. "We've had artists come answer the phone, but we've never done a show, per se, like this," station manager Doug Montgomery said today. "Taylor's been a great sport to come help us. "In two years, she's gone from the little kid I picked up at the airport to being a superstar," he said, referencing the now-18-year-old's then-obscure performance at Taste of Grand Rapids in 2006. WBCT-FM (93.7)'s annual event, which raises money for West Michigan agencies involved in treating and preventing child abuse and neglect, "needed freshening," Montgomery said... Taylor Swift to support B-93's Roofsit fundraiser with Van Andel Arena concert (Fri, 9/19)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

Couchman To Join SOS/Las Vegas: SOS RADIO NETWORK/LAS VEGAS announced today that MIKE COUCHMAN will join the staff as Network APD/MD on NOVEMBER 1st. He will also serve as afternoon host from 1-4p (PT). "I look forward to the creative input MIKE will bring to our team. He's a fantastic air talent and programmer. I just hope he's good with heat resistant turtle wax!" says Network PD SCOTT HERROLD.

"The prospect of no more winter, picturing myself washing SCOTT's car and the chance to build on the phenomenal foundation in place was too exciting to pass up. Whoever snags my WAYK-WAYG job will enjoy access to great technology, reliable research and a God loving team like no other. I'll even sell you my house! Seriously. I promise not to take the proceeds to the Strip,"says COUCHMAN.

Most recently COUCHMAN served as PD for CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY Christian CHR WAYG-WAYK/GRAND RAPIDS-KALAMAZOO. He also holds the 2008 ECHO AWARD for PD and Air Talent of the Year. COUCHMAN has worked for WKQI/DETROIT, WLGH and WHZZ/LANSING, MI and WBCT/GRAND RAPIDS. (Fri, 9/19)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Sept 27, 2008

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AllAccess.com:

'Jump A Jonas,' To Win $10K: CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40 WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS morning meister PUDDIN' tells ALL ACCESS, "We offered a $10k reward for the first person to prove they've had sex with a JONAS BROTHER. The boys talk a lot about purity and living a lifestyle free of temptation and while that is an excellent way to live your life, we wanted to know if everyone had their level of self-control. That is why we are offering a $10,000 bounty to the person that can 'jump a JONAS' and prove it. If you are able to legally bed down either of the two JONAS BROTHERS who are of legal age to do so and are able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you did the deed, you can collect the $10,000 bounty. We just made E! CHANNEL's Daily 10, a ton of gossip blogs, and now the Mouse's cross hairs. DISNEY and the boys are not happy. But we're just having a little fun!" Find out more at www.jumpajonas.com. (Fri, 9/26)

 


 

StationRatings.com:

Top 5 radio stations among all radio listeners age 12 and over during the second summer ratings trend in Grand Rapids were WBCT, WOOD AM, WSNX, WGRD, and WLAV... Grand Rapids summer phase 2 ratings (Thu, 9/25)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Sept 30, 2008

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Whitecaps extend contract with WBBL

When the Whitecaps open their 16th season in 2009, listeners in West Michigan can keep their radio dial tuned to WBBL-AM 1340 for every pitch. The West Michigan Whitecaps and Citadel Broadcasting have agreed on a three-year extension that will keep Whitecaps broadcasts on their flagship station WBBL-AM 1340 through 2011.

Whitecaps games have been heard on WBBL for the last five seasons, dating back to their championship season in 2004. Several number of games will again be available throughout West Michigan on the Whitecaps Radio Network.

"We're excited to continue our partnership with Citadel and look forward to another three years on WBBL," said Whitecaps Vice President of Sales Steve McCarthy. "WBBL is the local sports leader in radio so the last five seasons have been successful for all parties involved."

"We're thrilled to grow together with the Whitecaps after partnering with Lew Chamberlin and the Whitecaps the past five years," said Matt Hanlon, President, Midwest Region for Citadel Broadcasting. "WBBL is the home for sports on the radio in West Michigan, so it makes sense for us to continue our relationship with a spectacular organization like the Whitecaps."

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

Just like an aspiring Class A professional baseball player hoping to move up in the minor league system and eventually to the major leagues, West Michigan Whitecaps play-by-play radio announcer Dave Skoczen inspires to do the same. That's why after eight seasons announcing at the Single-A level, the past four with the Whitecaps, Skoczen, 30, has decided to leave the organization to pursue his dreams. Friday will be Skoczen's last day as a member of the Whitecaps' organization. He plans to pack-up his family (wife and two boys, 3 and 1) and head to California in the coming days... Whitecaps' radio announcer Skoczen steps down (Thu, 9/25)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 3, 2008

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Muskegon Lumberjacks to be heard on 94 K-Rock

The Muskegon Lumberjacks minor league hockey team and Synergy Broadcast Group have reached an agreement with WWKR-FM 94.1 continuing as the radio flagship home for all of the Lumberjacks' live play-by-play broadcasts. Also included in the contract will be the daily "Lumberjacks Hockey Update" daily report to be heard on WWKR-FM 94.1 Monday through Friday at 5:20 p.m., with a two-hour Monday night talk program focused on the team airing at 6:30 p.m. The Monday Night 'Jacks Jam is set for it season debut on October 13th.

All game broadcasts will consist of a one-half hour pregame show as well as the "Lumberjacks Star of the Game Show," which will immediately follow all home games, and the Lumberjacks Post Game Show, the latter program to follow after every game, home and away.

The Lumberjacks initial game broadcast of the new season will be their pre-season premiere on Wednesday October 8th at 7pm when they travel to Kalamazoo to take on the K-Wings.

Terry Ficorelli, the long-time voice of Muskegon hockey, has returned with the launching of the Lumberjacks, following a brief stint in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit. He will begin his 14th year at the Muskegon mic for all of the Lumberjacks game broadcasts, daily update report, and Monday night "Jacks Jam" show on WWKR-FM 94.1.

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

Have you been watching the expanded WXMI-TV (Fox 17) morning show? I love the entertainment bent, especially Emily Richett's expanded role from online to on air. And it's also fun watching Tim Doty develop as a "man about town," doing some of the same type of features that Gerry Barnaby used to do when he worked at WOOD-TV (Channel 8). I have been wanting to check in with my friends at Fox 17, especially after receiving a press release about the addition of a new sports reporter, just to see what's going on. So I called GR Press radio and TV reporter Colleen Pierson, and she put in a call to Fox 17 news director Tim Dye. Here is her report: Tim Dye of Fox 17 said he is also pleased with how the expanded morning show -- which airs from 6-10 a.m. weekdays on Channel 17 -- is coming along... WXMI-TV Fox 17 continues to change (Fri, 10/3)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 6, 2008

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Kalamazoo Gazette:

A new FM radio station is on the air in St. Joseph County. WRCI -- licensed to Three Rivers -- is owned and operated by Impact Radio, LLC. Impact Radio also owns WLKM-FM and WRCI-AM in Three Rivers and WBNO/WQCT in Bryan, Ohio. WRCI operates at 97.1 on the FM dial and features a "Classic Country" music format. The station is also the new home for Three Rivers Wildcat varsity football and basketball broadcasts. High school football and basketball games from other towns in the county will also be broadcast as the schedule permits... New radio station on the air in St. Joe County (Mon, 10/6)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 10, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Larry Figurski is feeling pretty blessed these days. Making it through a major heart attack with only mild lasting effects will do that to a guy. On July 7, the popular WOOD-TV 8 anchor was making the short drive home after playing recreation hockey. He started to feel cramps in the base of his chest, but figured he had taken a hard shot on the ice. As he got closer to home, he started to sweat, felt tingling in his triceps and was nauseous. It was a struggle just to drive ... Almost as remarkable as his recovery is the fact that he was able to return to the air Aug. 9, only a month after experiencing the biggest scare of his life. This week, Figurski made the full-time move from working on WOOD's sports desk to the news side. While he'll miss doing sports, he said the switch gives him more schedule flexibility and more opportunities for growth with the station. His new duties, however, allow him to remain a radio analyst for Grand Rapids Griffins home games this season on WOOD-AM (1300), with play-by-play partner Bob Kaser... Broadcaster Figurski returns after heart attack (Fri, 10/10)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 17, 2008

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Radio-Info.com:

Packer Radio (James Angus, James Chesley, Mayo Sanders) buys the combo of talk-and-sports WSCG (1380) and country WSCG-FM (106.3). The AM's licensed to Greenville, MI and has 1-kw days, 500 watts after sundown. The FM's a Class A with 3-kw at the maximum 328 foot height for its class. Seller is Stafford Communications, and the buyers own AC WION (1430) over in Ionia, Michigan. Price: $195,000 cash on the barrelhead.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 19, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

In light of the struggling economy, B-93 program director Doug Montgomery knew he had to tweak the radio station's annual charity event, Roofsit for Kids. "We wanted to do something special this year, and having Taylor Swift come and do a Roofsit concert -- the response has been beyond our wildest dreams," he said. Swift will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Van Andel Arena. The WBCT-FM (93.7) annual roof-sitting event has raised more than $7 million since 1993 to help fund about 16 West Michigan programs involved in treating and preventing child abuse and neglect, Montgomery said. The on-air portion of this year's event will kick off at 6 a.m. Tuesday (call 800-B93-KIDS). The station's on-air personalities also will collect contributions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at Tractor Supply Company in Cedar Springs, Art Van Furniture locations in Holland and Kalamazoo, and Wal-Mart in Ionia. "This is a grassroots fundraiser by our listeners, and the money all goes back to the community," Montgomery said, adding contributions already are being accepted online at b93.com... B-93 tweaks Roofsit show -- and it's already a hit (Sun, 10/19)

Radio X listeners might recognize the voice booming from their speakers during the afternoon-drive shift -- it's none other than local radio institution Aris Hampers. After being fired two years ago from Clear Channel's WBFX-FM (101.3), Hampers has made his way back onto the air, this time at WMAX-FM (96.1), which also is owned by Clear Channel. "I pretty much thought I was done," said Hampers, who was approached about the gig by program director Eric O'Brien. "I really hadn't thought of doing it again"... Aris Hampers back on air at WMAX-FM (Sun, 10/19)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 26, 2008

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Kalamazoo Gazette:

It's taping time for the "Alma Latina" show on WMUK-FM 102.1, Western Michigan University's public radio station. DJ Miguel "Mike" Ramirez gets the Latin-music party started with a merengue tune from Elvis Crespo. "That's our Elvis," a chuckling Ramirez says to an English-language visitor in the studio. "The Latin Elvis," show volunteer Alicia Acosta adds. By playing the songs of current artists like the Puerto-Rican Crespo, "Alma Latina" -- which means "Latin soul" -- attempts to keep itself fresh for listeners and provide a cross-section of types of Latin music, while continuing to spin records from longtime Latin legends as well. Ramirez, assistant director of the division of minority affairs at WMU, has been a part of the lineup since January 1978, joining the program about six months after it was started. He coordinates the show and shares hosting duties with his wife, Maria Ramirez, and two WMU student volunteers... WMUK's all-Spanish 'Alma Latina' show celebrates its 32nd year (Sun, 10/26)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Oct 31, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Before trick-or-treaters rang the first doorbell Friday night, radio stations WOOD-FM (105.7) and WLHT-FM (95.7) started ringing Christmas bells. Both switched to playing all-Christmas music Friday morning, with plans to keep playing holiday cheer until Santa hangs up his suit for another year. "The economy's not so hot, and we're in election overload. We need a little Chrismas now," said WOOD program director Kelly Iris. "We want to pick up people's spirits a little," added WLHT program director Jerry Tarrants. WOOD went directly from Michael Jackson's Halloween-appropriate "Thriller" to Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree" at 10 a.m. Friday. Forty-six minutes later, WLHT turned on its holiday lights with Josh Groban's "Believe" from the 2004 movie "Polar Express"... Radio stations find Halloween is perfect day for Christmas music (Fri, 10/31)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 7, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

For most of this state, Thanksgiving traditions usually include football and Detroit. For Bret Bakita, the holiday weekend has little to do with the Lions, and everything to do with high school football. For the 15th consecutive year, Bakita will anchor coverage of the state finals at Ford Field for WBBL-AM (1340), along with co-host Brett Muller. "It will be a busy couple of days," Bakita said. "On Friday, my mother will go on a shopping trip with my wife, and my dad and I will watch the football." The radio station's playoff coverage continues at 6:30 tonight with the West Catholic-Muskegon Oakridge game that will be simulcast on WBBL and Muskegon's WEFG-FM (97.5), "The Champ." WBBL also will stream games live online and, for the first time, archive audio and make it available for download on its Web site... WBBL's Bakita gears up for prep football finals (Fri, 11/7)

 


 

NPR White House Correspondent to visit Grand Rapids

Michigan Radio (WUOM FM 91.7 Ann Arbor / WVGR FM 104.1 Grand Rapids / WFUM FM 91.1 Flint) and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum will welcome NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea to Grand Rapids, on Monday, November 17th, at 7:00 pm. Gonyea will speak about his experiences covering the White House as well as his time on the campaign trail with President-elect Barack Obama.

Gonyea has been reporting for NPR for over twenty years. A Michigan native, he was NPR's Detroit correspondent until 2001, when he took over the White House beat. Since then, he has reported on all aspects of the George W. Bush presidency, including the events of September 11th, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gonyea has also spent expensive time traveling with President Bush, and has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He has also covered the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, John McCain, and most recently Barack Obama, while chronicling the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections.

In addition to his reporting for NPR, Gonyea has been a contributor to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio and the Columbia Journalism Review. In 2000, he was part of a team that earned NPR a George Foster Peabody Award--broadcasting's highest honor--for "Lost & Found Sound," a series on All Things Considered. A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is a graduate of Michigan State University, and a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan.

Gonyea will speak at the Gerald R. Ford Museum, at 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI on Monday, November 17th, at 7:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required due to space limitations. More information about this event and registration is available at www.michiganradio.org.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 10, 2008

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Muskegon Chronicle:

After five years of work -- organizing, planning, fundraising and praying -- the switch has been flipped. There's a new presence on the Muskegon-area FM dial. And if you've ever wandered near the A-stage at the Unity Christian Music Festival, it just may sound familiar. That is no coincidence. For the past several years, organizers of Muskegon Community Radio -- the Christian non-profit presence behind a new youth-oriented Christian radio station -- have been spending time in spots where they're likely to rub elbows with teens and young adults, talking with them, listening to them, listening with them ... Now the music pours round the clock from the radio dial at 88.9 FM, the new home for what organizers are calling Hey! Radio -- hence the station's call letters, WHEY... Unity fest inspires new Christian radio station (Sat, 11/8)

 


 

WWMT.com:

Because of necessary antenna work at the transmitter our coverage to off air viewers will be reduced starting Saturday morning (11/8/08). This will be for a one week period from Nov. 8th to the 14th... WWMT operating at reduced power (Mon, 11/10)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 12, 2008

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Van Howe extends stay at WWMT-TV

Current WWMT-TV main anchor Tom Van Howe has extended his contract and will continue anchoring the 5, 5:30 and 6 o'clock newscasts for the station, continuing to help out Newschannel 3 at the anchor desk at least through June 2009. He is currently filling the anchor role while Jeff McAtee serves as a U.S. Navy Commander overseas. Van Howe had initially retired in 2006 after 20 years of reporting and anchoring at WOOD-TV.

"Tom has been a great addition adding depth and experience to our news team," said Jim Lutton, WWMT Vice President and General Manager.

The station also announced a couple changes involving its anchors. Jeff Varner will move from his role as morning anchor to the night side and join Judy Markee for the 11 p.m. newscast on WWMT. Varner will also take over anchor duties for the 10 p.m. newscast on digital subchannel the CW7. Varner will also be reporting for the 5, 5:30 and 6 o'clock newscasts.

General assignment reporter Josh Roe will join Holly Doyle at the desk in the mornings. Roe joined Newschannel 3 in October from KFWD-TV in Dallas, Tex., where he reported and anchored.

"Josh is an exciting move for the WMMT/CW7 news team," said Cathy Younkin, News Director for WWMT. "We have some very talented anchors on all our newscasts to deliver live, local, breaking news to West Michigan viewers."

 


 

Grand Rapids AMs make changes

The two Birach Broadcasting AM stations in Grand Rapids have made changes to their programming. WMFN AM 640 has dropped its Adult Urban Contemporary/Talk format and is now airing brokered Spanish-language music as 'La Ponderosa', the format moving over from sister station WMJH AM 810 which only operates as a daytimer. The new programming at WMJH is reportedly Spanish-language contemporary hits.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 17, 2008

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Muskegon Chronicle:

In a few months, television stations nationwide will begin broadcasting in digital, bringing an increased sound and picture quality previously unavailable to those without cable or satellite TV. The change, which doesn't affect cable and satellite TV users, requires the estimated 600,000 Michigan households that rely exclusively on antennas to watch TV buy a converter box to receive the digital signals by Feb. 17. That's when stations stop broadcasting in analog and begin broadcasting fully in digital. Yet, a recent poll by state government officials found that 44 percent of Michigan residents aren't ready for the change. Many haven't purchased a converter box, which are sold at many electronics stores... Are you ready for television's digital age? (Sun, 11/16)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 22, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Patrick Center, a reporter with WOOD-TV (Channel 8) for eight years, has left the station to become the news and information manager for WGVU-TV (Channel 35) public television and its affiliated radio station. His first day is Monday. Center will oversee the radio news and be involved in news-oriented TV shows such as "West Michigan Week" and "News Makers"... TV-8's Center heads to TV-35 (Sat, 11/22)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 25, 2008

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AllAccess.com:

WGRD Releases 'Bootleg' CD: REGENT Alternative WGRD/GRAND RAPIDS released its 8th "BOOTLEG" CD TODAY (11/25) just in time for the holiday shopping season at all WEST MICHIGAN MEIJER stores and at www.wgrd.com for $9.79. The disc features 14 previously unreleased tracks from both national and local artists featuring songs by TRAPT, EXIES, FILTER, CANDLEBOX, TANTRIC, SEVEN MARY THREE, SIXX A.M., POP EVIL, SEETHER, JACK'S MANNEQUIN, FLEDFIVE, ABSINTHE, THE OUTER VIBE and BLESS YOU BOYS. Net proceeds will benefit WEST MICHIGAN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION COUNCIL. (Tue, 11/25)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 6, 2008

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WOOD-TV:

After 17 years of outstanding, award-winning service, Larry Nienhaus has anchored his final newscast at 24 Hour News 8. It is with regret that the station announces Larry's departure, which was the result of the extremely challenging economic conditions in which the nation finds itself. WOOD TV8, impacted by the same financial storm that's hit so many industries, was unable to extend Larry's contract, which ended November 30. WOOD TV8 is grateful for Larry's many contributions, both on-air and as a dedicated volunteer in the West Michigan community. Larry joined 24 Hour News 8 in February 1991 as a weekend anchor, ultimately working his way up to the main anchor slot... WOOD TV8, Larry Nienhaus part ways (Fri, 12/5)

 

Starting Tuesday, December 16th in Detroit and Wednesday, December 17th in Grand Rapids there will be a series of tests aired by local television stations to help assist viewers in determining if their televisions are ready for the February 17, 2009 conversion to DTV.

 

In Detroit, WJBK TV 2, WDIV TV 4, WXYZ TV 7, WMYD TV 20, WUDT TV 23, WADL TV 38, WKBD TV 50, WTVS TV 56, and WWJ TV 62 will all participate in the tests that are scheduled to run every Tuesday through Feb. 17 at different times in an effort to reach as many people as possible with varying viewing habits. The tests will be "road-blocked" each week, airing on all participating stations at the same time for maximum exposure.

Its estimated that almost eight percent (146,000 households) of the Detroit DMA is still completely unready for the February's DTV transition, so these Detroit area stations are going to help viewers figure out if their television is ready for digital (or if its still receiving analog signals) with this series of "soft" DTV tests called Test Your TV Tuesday.

During the test, viewers will either see a green screen marked "PASS", indicating that the television they're viewing is receiving a digital signal and ready for DTV, or a red screen marked "FAIL" if that TV is still receiving an analog signal and additional steps must be taken to ensure that television set is ready for DTV before analog broadcasts cease on February 17, 2009.

Stations will also air promotional messages in advance of each weekly test so viewers will know what time they can expect a test each week. The test is sixty seconds in length and will encourage individuals seeing it to check their other televisions in the home.

The "FAIL" message will also inform the viewer where to get additional information to take further steps - including the Michigan DTV web site, www.michigandtv.com and Michigan DTV Helpline (1-888-MI-DTV-09).

A complete list of dates and times of Test Your TV Tuesdays is available here.

 

Grand Rapids local TV stations WWMT TV 3, WOOD-TV 8, WZZM-TV 13, WXMI TV 17, WGVU/WGVK TV 35/52, WOTV TV 41 and WTLJ TV 53 will be participating in "Test Your TV Wednesdays" beginning on Wednesday, December 17th and then on every Wednesday from January 7th through the Feb. 17 conversion. The tests will be similar in nature to those run in Detroit; Regular programming will be replaced by an on-screen graphic and announcer who will inform viewers whether their TV sets are "ready" or "not ready" for the digital transition. "Not Ready" viewers will be referred to both a local phonebank as well as the Michigan DTV Helpline.

 

Michigan DTV Helpline completes second month of operation

The Michigan DTV Helpline just finished its second month of operation and has already proven to be huge asset to Michigan Broadcasters and citizens alike. Since its launch in early October, the helpline has assisted over 12,000 Michigan citizens with DTV related issues.

Don-Lors Electronics, sponsor and call center provider for the Michigan DTV Helpline, reported 81% of calls to the helpline were from people who needed assistance ordering converter box coupons. As the transition date moves closer, folks realize the urgency to order the coupons so they recieve them in time for the transition. Don-Lors call data shows nearly 75% of Michigan DTV Helpline callers have no internet access, which limits their options to apply for the federal coupons; and although there is a national hotline to order the coupons, many people have found the automated system to be difficult to understand and navigate.

In addition to coupon orders, the helpline is fielding DTV questions ranging from basic information to technical inquiries. Don-Lors Electronics has provided a list of the top four reasons people call the helpline:

  • 1. Assistance ordering converter box coupons
  • 2. Inquiring about expired converter box coupons
  • 3. Technical assistance after they have received and connected the converter box and are having difficulty finding a signal from one or more stations.
  • 4. Technical assistance in connecting the converter box to the TV or the antenna to the converter box.

Don-Lors Electronics estimates as the transition date draws nearer, the need for DTV assistance will rise and the trend will be an increase in more technical questions. In the coming weeks the call center is prepared to take in a higher volume of calls and welcomes any Michigan citizen to take advantage of this unique and helpful tool that is only offered in this state.

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 8, 2008

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WFUR-FM/AM, WKPR owner William E. Kuiper, Sr. dies at age 82

William E. Kuiper Sr., longtime president of West Michigan religious radio stations WFUR-FM/AM 102.9/1570 Grand Rapids and WKPR AM 1420 Kalmazoo, died on December 4th at age 82. Bill devoted much of his professional career to spreading the Christian gospel, primarily thru radio broadcasting. Funeral services will be held today, Monday December 8th, at 11:00 a.m. at Westend Christian Reformed Church with Pastor Henry Admiraal and Rev. Dan Kuiper officiating. Contributions in Bill's memory may be made to West Side Christian School.

Obituary from the Grand Rapids Press

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

WLAV-FM (96.9) morning show host Kevin Matthews has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but plans to continue working at the radio station while being treated. Matthews, 52, returned to the airwaves this morning after taking time off the past two weeks to undergo tests in Chicago for "muscle aches and difficulties" experienced the past several weeks, according to a statement from his longtime friend and spokeswoman Ginny Seyferth. "I dodged a huge atom bomb," Matthews insisted while revealing the diagnosis on the air this morning. He said doctors determined it wasn't a brain tumor but MS. "It happens. It's the card you're dealt with. I can live with this." Seyferth noted Matthews "has worked with several physicians but is now linked up with Rush (University Medical Center) in Chicago... Multiple sclerosis diagnosis won't slow DJ Kevin Matthews' morning drive (Mon, 12/8)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec, 14, 2008

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Kalamazoo Gazette:

When Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech Aug. 28 at the Democratic National Convention, millions watched the historic event on their television sets. But Kalamazoo-area motorists in their vehicles at that late hour also had a chance to hear the speech of the first black Democratic presidential nominee on their radio dial at 95.5 FM, which launched that day. That speech became the first thing broadcast on 95.5 FM, the simulcast station of WNWN-AM 1560, The Touch, which has been bringing rhythm and blues music here since June 1996 but would sign off by early evening each night. The new FM station now allows 24-hour access to music and talk entertainment with an R&B flavor, something local citizens have been pushing for in earnest for more than 20 years. Their efforts have ranged from circulating petitions and holding public meetings to trying to buy stations. Over the years, there's been smatterings of R&B music programs and even a short-lived radio station... Fight for 24-hour R&B: citizen activism set the stage for new Kalamazoo-area radio station (Sun, 12/14)

 


 

Grand Rapids Press:

Do not panic. Do not adjust your television. OK, maybe adjust your television. But only if you see red. Local TV stations are joining forces to address viewer confusion about the upcoming switch from analog to digital service. Stations will conduct brief "soft tests" starting Wednesday that will help viewers determine whether television sets are ready for the conversion, which will happen Feb. 17. At 6:08 p.m. Wednesday, participating stations will air a 90-second test-screen graphic showing one of two things: • Viewers whose sets are conversion-ready will see a green screen. • Those who see a red screen will need act before Feb. 17 to avoid losing service. Cable or satellite subscribers and owners of newer TVs with digital tuners won't need to do anything. Viewers with older analog sets -- including those who use antennas or rabbit ears -- likely will need to buy a digital converter box... Trial runs coming Wednesday to help you check TV for digital readiness (Sun, 12/14)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 16, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Starting Wednesday at 6:08 p.m., local television stations will conduct on-air tests to help viewers determine whether their TV sets are ready for February's nationwide switch from analog to digital broadcasts. Chuck Mikowski, vice president and director of technology at WZZM-TV (Channel 13), will appear in "Ask Chuck" segments during newscasts and online to address concerns about the switch. The Press quizzed Mikowski about the most common questions he receives: I only have an antenna. I do not use cable, satellite or the phone company for my television reception. Do I have to do anything to continue to receive TV?... Digital TV or not? Tech expert from Grand Rapids station answers questions ahead of broadcast test (Tue, 12/16)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers: Dec. 19, 2008

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AllAccess.com:

WGRD Hires Jeffery Dahmer: REGENT Alternative WGRD/GRAND RAPIDS welcomes JEFFERY DAHMER for nights. Said OM JERRY TARRANTS, "No, this is not a ploy by our company to hire a mass murderer to methodically end each of our lives (and eat us) to save on some budget monies. It's just simply this man's radio name." Continued TARRANTS, "DAHMER, as he is known on the air is really JEFF MCDOWELL and comes to WGRD with a wealth of experience having handled morning show and air duties in markets like WEST PALM BEACH, KANSAS CITY, and most recently JACKSONVILLE. JEFF has a vast amount of ideas and experience to take our GRD night shift to the next ratings and revenue level." (Fri, 12/19)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 24, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Saying "the layout just proved too awkward" at Wealthy Theatre for last year's Jammie Awards show honoring local and regional artists, community radio station WYCE-FM (88.1) will take the popular event back to The Intersection, where it was held for five years, 2003-2007. This comes as good news, I have to say, especially because the nightclub's main performance room will be non-smoking for the evening. While Wealthy is a fine, intimate concert venue, the hectic nature of the Jammies -- with more than a dozen acts performing short sets -- just works a heckuva lot better at The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW, which holds more people, provides better fan flow as folks come and go, and has a spacious backstage area for bands and their gear. WYCE station manager Kevin Murphy tells me that the 2009 Jammies will be held Feb. 17 (a bit later than usual "to accommodate a new event taking place at Wealthy Theatre on Feb. 10" commemorating the late Dirk Koning and his vision for the Community Media Center)... WYCE-FM's annual Jammie Awards show returns to The Intersection (Wed, 12/24)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 26, 2008

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Kalamazoo Gazette:

At 52 years old, Robin Hook still looks forward to the bus rides, the hotels, the Wednesday night basketball road games in small Midwest college towns. And to think, if he hadn't loathed life in the retail world so much, or if Western Michigan University's volleyball team hadn't been so good in 1983, Hook might be watching Tuesday night's Texas Bowl from his couch. Instead, he'll be capping this WMU football season the same way he's ended the previous 24 -- in the press box, microphone at his lips, Bronco nation listening. "You know what, I like getting on the road with the guys. ... I don't feel that old, hanging around with 20-year-old guys," said Hook, the voice of Broncos football and hockey since the fall of 1984, and men's basketball since '86... Hook-ed on radio (Fri, 12/26)

 

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