West Michigan: March 2008 Archives

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.


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)







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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the West Michigan category from March 2008.

West Michigan: February 2008 is the previous archive.

West Michigan: April 2008 is the next archive.

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