West Michigan: December 2008 Archives

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 6, 2008




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



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



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



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




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



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



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

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