West Michigan: June 2008 Archives

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)







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About this Archive

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

West Michigan: May 2008 is the previous archive.

West Michigan: July 2008 is the next archive.

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