Mike Austerman: December 2009 Archives

Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 1, 2009



Food Gatherers rocks on in the fight against local hunger

Ann Arbor's 107one is helping to fight hunger in Washtenaw county and is inviting listeners to stop by Busch's Fresh Food Market on South Main Street in Ann Arbor for Food Gatherers' largest outdoor food drive - Rockin' for the Hungry - Wednesday, Dec. 2 through Sunday, Dec. 6. Stop by Busch's with a donation of non-perishable food and join the festivities from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Ann Arbor's 107one (adult alternative WQKL FM 107.1) will be broadcasting live, announcing donations and incentives to help achieve a 2009 goal of 200 tons of nutritious food.

The need for food is urgent and pressing, since September 2008 Food Gatherers has responded to a 35 percent increase in demand for food from its partner programs. Thirty-five percent of the people in households receiving food assistance in our network are children and 7 percent are elderly. More than 25 percent of food recipients report needing to choose between food and medicine, or food and housing, due to a lack of money.

Busch's, co-sponsor of Rockin', will have $10 premade bags for purchase that can be donated to Food Gatherers. These bags are filled with a variety of foods that will help our neighbors most, and Busch's has discounted the items so that you can give more for less. New this year, Busch's will accept financial contributions at the register or food donations at any of Busch's 15 locations during the event.

High protein, canned and dry goods are especially needed. Particular foods include; tuna or other canned fish, beans, peanut butter, baby formula and nutritional supplement drinks. Personal care products are also in great demand including shampoo, soap, deodorant, detergent, diapers, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

Financial contributions will also be accepted by Food Gatherers at Busch's South Main Street location. A tax-deductible gift of $35 will feed a hungry child for one month. A gift of $250 will feed a family of four for six weeks. All donations are tax-deductible, and also quality for a State of Michigan tax credit.

Food Gatherers is Washtenaw County's food bank and food rescue program. Since its inception in 1988, Food Gatherers has distributed more than 39 million pounds of food for the community. For a list of food donors and recipient agencies or to learn how you can become involved in the fight against hunger locally, please visit the web at www.foodgatherers.org or call (734) 761-2796.



WDIV wins November race for 5, 6, and 11 p.m. viewers

WDIV-TV won handily in both the early evening news at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and the late news at 11 p.m. in the November 2009 Nielsen ratings period of the Detroit television market.

Local 4 News at 5 p.m. garnered an 8.2 household rating (RTG) and an 18 share (SHR) in the 5-6 p.m. time period (compared to WXYZ 6.5 RTG, 14 SHR and WJBK 5.1 RTG, 11 SHR). Local 4 News at 5 p.m. registered a significant growth of nearly 50% in household ratings over the previous year.

In the 6-6:30 p.m. time period, Local 4 News at 6 p.m. finished #1 in household ratings scoring a 9.1 household rating and an 18 share (compared to WXYZ 6.6 RTG, 13 SHR and WJBK 4.2 RTG, 9 SHR). In addition, Local 4 News at 6 p.m. won in the key demo market of adults ages 25-54. This signifies a 30% ratings growth since November 2008, while competitor WXYZ is down 11% household ratings year to year.

Local 4 News at 11 p.m., the perennial powerhouse of late news anchored by Carmen Harlan, Devin Scillian, Chuck Gaidica and Bernie Smilovitz, dominated all local newscasts with the highest ratings of news on any station, in any time-period. In November 2009, Local 4 News at 11 p.m. garnered a 9.3 household rating and an 18 share with a 20% margin of victory over second place WXYZ (WXYZ 7.4 RTG, 14 SHR, WJBK 10pm 6.4 RTG, 11 SHR, and WJBK 11pm M-F 4.0 RTG, 8 SHR). Local 4 News at 11 p.m. was the only late news to demonstrate growth, up another 12% in household ratings over the previous year. In addition, Local 4 News at 11 p.m. was the top late newscast of all NBC affiliates in the top 20 markets nationwide.

In the time period of weekdays 5-7 a.m., Local 4 News Morning at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. anchored by Guy Gordon, Rhonda Walker, meteorologist Eric Braate and Heather Zara, placed second and has shown consistent ratings growth since the start of the 2009 Fall Season. Following Local 4 News Morning, NBC's The Today Show was the only show in the 7-9 a.m. time period to show growth, up 35% in the coveted women ages 25-54 demo ratings, beating the declining Good Morning America, which is down 12% in the same key demo.

In other dayparts, the WDIV programming lineup also fared well. The Ellen Degeneres Show (10-11 a.m.) was #1 and continues to lead in all key demographics. The Dr. Oz Show (3-4 p.m.), which premiered in September, pulled ahead of WXYZ's long-standing General Hospital. In the 4-5 p.m. time period, Local 4 News at 4 p.m. followed by Inside Edition with Deborah Norville virtually tied the perennial afternoon favorite, Oprah, in households. And in the time period of 7-8 p.m., Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy are the top-rated shows, and continue to experience growth - up a significant 18% since November 2008.




Former television news anchor Fanchon Stinger, forced out of her job, broke her silence exclusively on Action News Monday night. It's all a part of the bribery scandal involving a city of Detroit contract. On Monday afternoon, former Synagro executive James Rosendall was sentenced to 11 months behind bars for his role in approving bribes to win a Detroit sludge contract. Two weeks ago, Detroit businessman Rayford Jackson was sentenced to five years in prison for bribing former councilwoman Monica Conyers. Jackson was in a relationship at the time with Stinger, who lost her job during the scandal. Now, Fanchon Stinger is talking about Rayford Jackson and Synagro, and reveals what happened when FBI agents approached her... Fanchon Stinger Interview (Tue, 12/1)



Detroit Free Press:

Scott Lewis of WJBK-TV (Channel 2) confirmed Monday that he'll be leaving the station Dec. 29. Lewis, who does the station's "Problem Solver" reports, told Names & Faces Monday he has accepted the station's early retirement package. He said he hopes to continue his career here because "this is where my heart is." The award-winning reporter, who broke the story of Tonya Harding's involvement in the attack on skating rival Nancy Kerrigan, joined Channel 2 in 1987 after working in radio. Lewis said one of the most rewarding parts of his career has been the gratitude shown by everyday people for doing stories aimed at helping the community and its residents... Scott Lewis to leave WJBK (Tue, 12/1)



Detroit News:

Inside the second-floor radio studio at Detroit School of Arts, Dave Wagner is a one-man show running WRCJ-FM (90.9), the Detroit Public Schools-owned radio station. The radio veteran of more than 40 years calmly manages the classical music play list, researches the English composer Rutland Boughton and eyes the weather forecast on a flat-screen TV that he'll update on-air. He's used to being by himself in the high school of nearly 800 performing arts and broadcast students. But under a new deal between Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Public Television, he may soon have some company. The five-year contract renewal calls for a six-fold increase in the on-air time dedicated to the school district. School of Arts students will receive hands-on training, including mentorships, internships, producing news and weather segments, and airing students' music performances, concerts and poetry readings... Detroit students benefit in radio contract (Tue, 12/1)


Inside the Detroit School of Arts, students have big dreams to make movies, deliver hard-hitting broadcast news and star in their own talk shows. But a contract dispute between Detroit schools and Detroit Public Television has kept the professional TV studios and equipment out of the hands of the students at the gleaming, six-story $122 million school that opened downtown four years ago. Now, both sides have agreed to end the 10-year contract, freeing up opportunities for Michigan's burgeoning film industry and for students to learn from professionals, according to district spokesman Steve Wasko. For the past two years, as equipment has sat mothballed, "we've had to make do, which we shouldn't have to do," said parent Ida Byrd-Hill, whose daughter, Karen, is in the radio and television program. The junior hasn't been able to learn how to run lighting boards, control room equipment or gain experience with broadcast technology that was so advanced professionals from New York and Los Angeles had to demonstrate how to use it when it was installed since no one else had it yet in Michigan... Dispute leaves Detroit School of Arts TV studio idle (Tue, 12/1)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 2, 2009



Channel 95-5's Mojo In The Morning & Justin Bieber to fill Detroit food pantry shelves

The Mojo in the Morning Show, heard on top 40 WKQI-FM (Channel 955) is bringing music superstar Justin Bieber to Detroit for a free show this Saturday, December 5th, 2009 at 6 PM at The Fillmore. The event is happening to help stock the shelves of some very needy Michigan food banks, just in time for the holidays. With the struggling Michigan economy, many of the local food banks are in desperate need of food donations, particularly this time of year, when demand is at its highest.

The last time Bieber performed a concert, more than 5,000 kids showed up ... and shut down a mall! So the Mojo in the Morning Show plans on using those superfans to stock up local food bank shelves. Want in? Your ticket is a non-perishable food donation.

Here's the deal: Each weekday morning at 7 AM leading up to the event, Mojo in the Morning will announce a top-secret location and time where fans can drop off a canned food donation in exchange for free tickets to see Justin Bieber. One pair of tickets per non-perishable food donation, per family.

The non-perishable food donations will benefit the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency.



Detroit Free Press:

Judging by the Rolls-Royce, the Ferrari and the flashy clothes, life for anchorwoman Fanchon Stinger and developer Rayford Jackson was akin to a glamorous spin through Detroit's society circles. But much like her beaming smile on Fox 2's top-rated morning show, it was all a façade, Stinger told the Free Press on Tuesday, breaking a 16-month silence in her first extensive interview since her reputation and career became casualties of the $1.2-billion Synagro sludge-hauling scandal... Ex-anchorwoman: I was conned and abused (Wed, 12/2)



Detroit News:

The November sweeps book has closed and all the major local news stations have points of pride. What makes this ratings period different from the others is the 11 p.m. news viewership for WDIV-TV (Channel 4). Placing first in that timeslot is especially impressive when you consider that nationally, the Peacock network is languishing in fourth place behind CBS, Fox and ABC ... WJBK is walking on sunshine in the mornings. The station's "Fox 2 News Morning" is No. 1 from 4:30-10 a.m. weekdays. Its top-rated slot was from 6-7 a.m., when the show pulled in a 5.6 rating/21 share compared to WDIV's 4.0 rating/13 share and WXYZ's 3.6 rating/12 share... WDIV-TV is top rated for 11 p.m. news (Wed, 12/2)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 2, 2009




There are staff changes at LANSER Christian AC WJQK (JQ99)/GRAND RAPIDS with GARY THOMPSON's exit to SOS RADIO NETWORK/LAS VEGAS. Assistant MD JEREMY HENRY will take over MD duties. Morning host TROY WEST will fill THOMPSON'S vacated afternoon-drive slot. The station will announce the new morning show on THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24th... Staff Moves At WJQK (Wed, 12/2)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 3, 2009



Detroit News:

Former Fox 2 anchorwoman Fanchon Stinger acknowledged Wednesday she let a Detroit businessman at the center of the Synagro bribery scandal put a Rolls-Royce and other fancy cars in her name because he was dogged by poor credit. But Stinger said she has a letter from federal prosecutors clearing her of any criminal wrongdoing, such as money-laundering, in her dealings with Rayford W. Jackson. "I was in an abusive relationship," she said. "Because I was fearful, I made decisions that normally I would never have made." Stinger, an Emmy-award-winning journalist, left Fox 2 in 2008 soon after her ties to Jackson and Synagro became public... Ex-anchorwoman says fear clouded her decision-making ability in Synagro case (Thu, 12/3)


Fox 2 reporter Brad Edwards is speaking out about the station's loss of veteran investigative reporter Scott Lewis , who took a buyout and is leaving the station later this month. "Scott's loss is tremendous," Edwards said by phone Wednesday. "We're all better for working with him and we're a better station for having him. He put Fox 2 on the map through the 'Problem Solvers.' We weren't on the map more than a decade ago, and we've taken this city back -- street by street by street, by problem solved by problem solved... Grapevine: Look for Scott Lewis to be back (Thu, 12/3)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 4, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

Community event organizer Rob Bliss can now post a new Facebook status: He has a 9-to-5 job. On his Facebook page, the 21-year-old Grand Rapids Community College student recently posted he was in desperate need of a job to help offset a $7,000-plus debt incurred from his latest mass event, the Grand Rapids Zombie Walk on Oct. 30 in Calder Plaza. The rain-soaked event, which included a walk drawing more than 10,000 people and an electronic music concert, cost about $15,000. WOOD-TV (Channel 8) saw Bliss' post, and found him a position as a multi-platform account executive. He started work this week with the NBC-TV affiliate... Grand Rapids community event organizer Rob Bliss lands social media job with WOOD-TV (Thu, 12/3)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 4, 2009



Update on former WDRQ jock Joey Ryan

Art Vuolo checks in this evening with this information:

"Let me tell you something important. If you have a friend in the hospital...go and pay them a visit. It will mean the world to them. Legendary Detroit radio personality (of the 1960's) Lee Alan, joined me in a visit to Joey Ryan, once known as "Mr. Boogie" at WDRQ. He was still at the Detroit VA Hospital on Thursday December 3rd and his doctor said it's the best he's seen him since being admitted. I even brought my little Sony DVD player and showed him a video aircheck of himself while at WTWR (Tower 92) back in 1980 and he lit up like a Christmas tree! I also gave him a DVD copy of the 2 hour video we put together of the 2005 Detroit Radio Reunion on 9-24-05. I know he's going to enjoy that too. Honestly, Joey looked considerably older than his 61 years and he is dealing with multiple health issues that are seriously threatening his remaining days. He is finally being transferred, as of Friday December 4th to the VA Caring Home up in Grand Rapids, where I hope he will find a note, letter or card from as many of you as possible to cheer him up. I know, first hand, how special that will be. Remember to send your good wishes to: Joey Ryan Pietruska c/o VA Hospital Caring Home, 3000 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. Thanks and God bless you all."

Art Vuolo, Jr.
Radio's Best Friend



Detroit Free Press:

Detroit businessman Rayford Jackson, sentenced last month to 5 years in prison for bribing city officials in the Synagro sludge-hauling deal, denied Thursday that he physically abused paramour and former Fox 2 anchorwoman Fanchon Stinger. "It's just so absurd," Jackson told Huel Perkins, anchor for Fox 2, which fired Stinger in 2008 after her ties to Jackson were revealed... Jackson: I never abused Fanchon Stinger (Fri, 12/4)



Detroit News:

Denying allegations he abused his former mistress, Rayford Jackson said it was Fanchon Stinger, an ex-Fox 2 anchor, who pursued a relationship and was constantly dishonest with him throughout their affair. In a 30-minute interview Friday with The Detroit News, Jackson, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges related to the Synagro sludge scandal and is headed to federal prison, tried to counter recent interviews by Stinger painting him as a controlling and abusive man. "That's really the way the relationship was. Fanchon actively pursued me," said Jackson, who begins serving a five-year term on Jan. 15. "And there was mutual interest. Typically, Fanchon was always running me down. After she'd get off work, she would find me and say, 'I'm coming to see you.' "... Jackson denies ex-Fox 2 anchor's charges (Fri, 12/4)


Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 7, 2009



Jackson Citizen-Patriot:

The last waltz is coming soon for a Jackson radio institution, Joseph "Polka Joe" Pancerz. Polka Joe's last show will be Dec. 27 on WIBM, 1450 AM, ending 44 years as Sunday-morning host of "Polka Time." "Forty-four years is enough," said Pancerz, 83. "What are you going to do? You get old." Pancerz is enshrined in the Michigan Polka Hall of Fame. He has been recognized by Michigan governors, starting with William G. Milliken in 1973. Jackson declared a day in his honor 25 years ago. He has been toasted and roasted and is a fixture at Polish-flavored festivals and events. But those honors just scratch the surface... 'Polka Joe' ending his career as Jackson radio personality (Sat, 12/5)



• Adult Christian WCFG FM 90.9 was granted its license to cover. Owned by Cornerstone University, the new sign on rebroadcasts sister station WCSG FM 91.3 Grand Rapids.


• No notable activity for November 27 and 30, December 1 - 4.



• FM translator W267BD 101.3 Mt. Pleasant has been granted a construction permit to move to FM 101.1 as W266BU. The translator will be used to rebroadcast WMHW-FM 91.5 Mt. Pleasant; it'll increase power to 120 watts @ 456 feet with a directional antenna co-located with WMHW-FM.


• FM translator W279AP 103.7 Ionia has been granted a construction permit to move to FM 92.7 as W224BZ. The translator will be used to rebroadcast WION AM 1430 Ionia; it'll increase power to 212 watts @ 200 feet with a directional antenna co-located with WION.


• Horizon Christian Fellowship is selling FM translators W219DG 91.7 South Haven, W225BA 92.9 Hastings, and W243BH 96.5 Muskegon to World Radio Link. Sale prices and stations to be rebroadcast (according to documents filed with the FCC): W219DG- $11,500 WGNB-FM; W225BA- $10,000 WEMU-FM; W243BH- $10,000 WMBC-LP. World Radio Link is run by Clark Parrish who is/was also involved with Edgewater Broadcasting and Radio Assist Ministry, two other groups that have assembed large numbers of FM translators across the country.


Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 9, 2009



Jackson Citizen-Patriot:

Jessika Baier could nail a fake British accent, plan a happening theme party or hold captive a karaoke audience, her friends said. A bubbly and spontaneous extrovert with a messy car and maybe 100 pairs of high heels, she had big, if ever changing, plans. "She never wanted to do just one thing. She wanted to do it all. She wanted to travel the world," said Baier's boyfriend, David Beaton. Baier, a former "American Idol" contestant and morning show co-host for Jackson radio station WKHM-FM (105.3), died early Tuesday in a vehicle wreck on I-94. She was heading west about 3:15 a.m. near Pierce Road in Washtenaw County's Sylvan Township when her Chrysler Sebring convertible left the road, according to a Michigan State Police news release... Jackson radio host Jessika Baier remembered by family and friends; funeral arrangements announced (Wed, 12/8)


Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 11, 2009



Detroit News:

Television is a tough business. LCC TV station manager Nicole Sclafani can certainly attest to that. From Sunday's early morning hours until midnight, Lansing Community College's Dart Auditorium and Technology Learning Center were abuzz. Musicians, staff and volunteers scrambled to make last-second preparations for the Cram Jam benefit concert later that night. "It's chaos, but it's organized chaos," Sclafani said. "I love it. Well, not all the time." In LCC TV's state-of-the-art recording studio, Sclafani and her team had the task of recording three video tracks for three bands. It may sound simple, but the process is deceptively complex... Behind the screens with LCC TV (Wed, 12/9)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 11, 2009



Rebecca Sapakie is enjoying her new post as news director at WOOD-TV (Channel 8), a station with which she already is pretty familiar. "I am most excited to be back at WOOD, where I work with people who inspire and educate me daily," said Sapakie, who worked at the station from 1999 to 2006 in positions ranging from weekend morning-show producer to assistant news director. She moved to Kansas City, Mo., when her husband got a job offer there. Sapakie, 32, landed a position at Kansas City's WDAF-TV, implementing and directing that station's online department. "I have a strong connection to West Michigan and WOOD-TV. I sincerely have a passion for this station and the work it does in West Michigan," she said. "So, when our general manager (Diane Kniowski) asked me to come on board as news director, I couldn't imagine a better place to be"... Former WOOD-TV producer returns as news director (Fri, 12/11)


WOOD-TV 8 is making some on-air and online changes in January to accommodate today's growing multi-platform world, according to management. Weekend anchor Emily Linnert moves into co-anchoring roles on "Daybreak" and the noon news. New social media director Rob Bliss will play a big role in servicing and growing the audience, management said. The station also recently hired multi-platform reporter Dani Carlson, a teacher at Northwestern University and former employee of KMPH in Fresno, Calif... WOOD-TV 8 changes: Emily Linnert moves into 'Daybreak' role, Jennifer Moss out (Fri, 12/11)




Citing a growth in morning viewers, online visitors and social networking connections, WOOD TV8 is addressing changes to its morning news by announcing a series of new initiatives focused on delivering the best information in a multi-platform world. Beginning in January, there will be some changes to the morning line-up. Daybreak co-anchor, Jennifer Moss, has recently chosen to pursue other interests after declining a contract offer from WOOD-TV. Moss will remain on the air through Thursday, December 17, 2009. Jennifer has served West Michigan viewers with professionalism and respect. She has also served the community by giving generously of her time and talent through her volunteer efforts. Her work - both on air and in the community - has been recognized by multiple media and service organizations. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors. Weekend anchor, Emily Linnert, will join Brett Thomas to co-anchor 24 Hour News 8 Daybreak and Noon starting in January... 24 Hour News 8 makes Daybreak changes (Thu, 12/10)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 11, 2009



WJR's annual Christmas Sing set for Sat. Dec. 12 at Somerset Collection in Troy

The 44th Annual WJR Christmas Sing, hosted by morning host Paul W. Smith, Santa, and the WJR family is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday December 12th, from 10 - 11 a.m. in the North Grand Court at the Somerset Collection in Troy.

This a is a great holiday tradition - families are invited for a morning of Christmas caroling and fun at Somerset Collection. Goodwill Industries will be collecting new and gently used coats at the entrance to Somerset Collection North on Big Beaver between the hours of 9am-Noon. Cash donations will be accepted as well. All donations will benefit Goodwill Industries Employment & Training Division.



Detroit Free Press:

Mike Stone, a.k.a. Stoney, is returning to the Detroit airwaves on WXYT-FM (97.1). He will be a regular contributor to the station's lineup, starting with a co-hosting gig from 10 a.m.-noon on Sunday's Lions pregame show. "I am thankful for the opportunity to join the 97.1 The Ticket team," Stone said in a released statement. "It will be great to work with some old colleagues and new ones. I am looking forward to many great years at CBS and am anxious to reconnect with the best sports fans in the country here in southeastern Michigan"... Mike Stone hired by 97.1 The Ticket (Fri, 12/11)



104.3 WOMC's 'Christmas is for Kids' campaign to benefit Children's Hospital of Michigan

Set for December 20th at 5 p.m., this all ages show features a line-up of seven great comedians sure to bring you holiday cheer this season. It'll take place at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal Oak; tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling (800) 514-3848 or by clicking here.

Scheduled to appear are: Gary George, Tim Rowlands, Ben Konstantin, Dwayne Gill, Kevin McPeek, Crystal P, and Mike Green.




102.9 W4 Country (WWWW-FM) is collecting Toys for Tots during its annual Holiday Crusade for Kids at the Kroger grocery store at 400 S. Maple Road in Ann Arbor. The toy drive began on Wednesday, Dec. 9 and ends on Monday, Dec. 14. The radio station has set a goal of more than 16,000 toys and $16,000 in cash donations. The entire W4 air staff will broadcast live all week from inside the grocery store. The only difference from last year is that the economy is in much worse shape. "We're accepting the new and unwrapped toys from all over the place," said Adam Rey, afternoon disc jockey at W4 Country. "We're at one of the only places where you can bring a cash donation too. A lot of people find it easy to bring the young, little kid toy. People forget that the teenagers that are at home watching these kids, they need toys too or they need something. A lot of the time I like to push gift certificates and things for the older kids." W4 Country is on location at the Kroger store asking for your toys and monetary donations during the week from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday... 102.9 W4 Country raises Toys for Tots at Kroger on Maple Rd. in Ann Arbor (Thu, 12/10)



WQKL's Rockin' for the Hungry event nets record-breaking 258 tons of food

Despite a challenging economy, the community helped Ann Arbor's 107one and Food Gatherers raise a record amount of food for their largest annual outdoor food drive, Rockin' for the Hungry. The five day event (12/2-6) raised 258 Tons of food to help our neighbors in need in Washtenaw County.

Volunteers and radio personalities braved long hours on their feet, and at times, frigid weather to collect food and financial contributions for Food Gatherers' food rescue and food bank program. Through their efforts and generous contributions from sponsors Frito Lay, General Mills, Golden Limousine, Inc., IBEW Local 252, Keebler, Miller Poultry, Prairie Farms, SESI Motors, Spartan, United Bank and Trust, and Wells Fargo Advisors, this event exceeded the 2009 Rockin' goal of 200 Tons and raised the most food in Rockin' history.

This generous support allows Food Gatherers to meet the urgent and pressing demand for food in our own community. "On behalf of all the people seeking food assistance this year, we are so grateful to ann arbor's 107one, Busch's and the citizens of Washtenaw County for making a real difference in our community," said Eileen Spring, President and CEO of Food Gatherers. "When we needed you most, you rose to the challenge."

For individuals who did not make it to Rockin', Busch's Fresh Food Market will continue to accept financial contributions at the register or food donations at any of Busch's 15 locations through Dec. 13.


• Roy E. Henderson (d.b.a. New Ulm Broadcasting Co.) has been granted a construction permit for a new low power digital TV station to be licensed to Traverse City on Channel 4. W04DJ-D would operate with 300 watts @ 551 feet from the same broadcast tower used by WLDR-FM 101.9.


• Partnership Ministries (d.b.a. Passion Communications) has closed on its acquistion of Christian contemporary WPRJ-FM 101.7 Coleman and FM translator W244BS 96.7 Alma.


• No notable activity for December 9 - 10.


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 14, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

WWMT (Channel 3) has hired Steve Koles from WPRI in Providence, Rhode Island as its news director. Koles is replacing Cathy Younkin, who left the station Sept. 25 to work as news director at fellow Freedom Broadcasting station WPEC in West Palm Beach. "We are excited that Steve will be joining us on Dec. 31st. He has a track record of fostering strong journalism and getting results for the communities where he has worked. His 14 years in television news has prepared him well for the challenges ahead," the station's vice president and general manager Jim Lutton said in a press release... WWMT Channel 3 hires Steve Koles as news director (Mon, 12/14)


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 15, 2009



Detroit Free Press:

Lions insider Tom (Killer) Kowalski is pumped that WDFN-AM (1130) is back in the sports-talk radio game. Sean Baligian is grateful he wasn't forced out of the Detroit area in search of work after losing his job at the station in January, when WDFN went to a nearly all-national, syndicated format and cut local staff. Kowalski and Baligian -- key players on WDFN's new team of local on-air talent -- are excited about tackling the other sports guys in town, WXYT's The Ticket (97.1-FM, 1270-AM), the flagship of the Lions, Red Wings, Tigers and, along with WWJ, the Pistons. "Competition is good," said Kowalski, who has covered the Lions for Booth Newspapers for nearly 30 years, as well as the Tigers and Pistons. "There's plenty of room for two stations -- two opinions -- in the sports market in this town. We're out to attract the hardcore fan and casual fan." WDFN re-entered the local sports-talk scene in April, testing the waters with Matt Shepard in the mornings. On Sept. 8, the station loaded up with Baligian from 7 to 10 a.m., Ryan Ermanni from 10 a.m. to noon, and Shepard and Free Press columnist Drew Sharp from 3 to 6 p.m... WDFN trying to take back piece of sports-talk market (Tue, 12/15)



Detroit News:

Miracles? To borrow one of his own phrases, he's recently touched them all. Tigers' broadcaster Jim Price has just come through a life-and-death health scare. Cancer in his left kidney. Not to mention a spot on his lung. Few knew what Price was facing -- but Ernie Harwell was one of the few. "I can't come close to telling you just how great a friend he is," Price said on Monday. "Facing what he's facing (inoperable bile duct cancer), he's called several times -- and when Ernie prayed for me over the phone, it brought me to tears." The ordeal began, without Price realizing it, before the end of the baseball season. Before he returned to the "civilian life," as the 68-year-old Price calls it, of the offseason... Tigers' radio announcer Jim Price: It's a 'miracle' I'm cancer-free today (Tue, 12/15)


• Up North Radio, LLC was granted a construction permit for a new FM station at 107.9 to be licensed to McBain. The Class A station would operate with 2,050 watts @ 568 feet from a transmitter location east of Cadillac in Missaukee county.


• No notable activity for December 14.


Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 16, 2009



Mint City Radio's 5th Annual Classic Christmas

Mint City Radio, the Internet radio station serving Clinton county and surrounding areas, will present its fifth annual Classic Christmas beginning Tuesday, December 22nd and continuing through Friday, December 25th.

This year's Classic Christmas will feature four days of holiday programs from the golden age of radio, including The Jack Benny Show, Fibber McGee and Molly, Gunsmoke, Burns and Allen, and many more.

"The Classic Christmas has become a holiday tradition, and is our gift to our listeners", says Dan Drolett, owner of Mint City Radio. "A lot of radio stations play Christmas music, but we decided to do something a little different. It's a trip back in time to Yuletides gone by, when radio truly was the theater of the mind".

Listeners can hear Mint City Radio online, 24 hours a day, by visiting mintcityradio.com and clicking on the link to listen live.

For more information, contact Dan Drolett at (517) 308-0274 or info@mintcityradio.com.


• FM translator W214BH 90.7 Mt. Pleasant was its license to cover for a frequency change to FM 101.3 as W267BD and power reduction from 100 to 1 watt.


• University of Michigan student operated WCBN FM 88.3 Ann Arbor has been granted a construction permit granted to increase power from 200 watts @ 177 feet to 3,000 watts @ 167 feet and change to a directional pattern. The most signal improvement will be in areas around Dexter, Saline, and Ypsilanti.


• FM translator W226BJ 93.1 Ionia granted license to cover (moved from 103.7 W279AP).


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 18, 2009



Detroit News:

Detroit Public Radio, WDET-FM (101.9), will launch a tweaked program schedule Dec. 26, shuffling air shifts, adding new shows and dumping some old standbys. J. Mikel Ellcessor, the station's general manager, says he's positioning the station as a news and information destination during the week, with music emphasized on the weekend. "During the week, there's a hole for news and information, on the weekend, people want to have fun. I don't think there's any big mystery to this," Ellcessor says. Ed Love's nightly jazz program will go from airing five nights a week, Monday through Friday, to two days, Saturday and Sunday. The daily news/talk show "Detroit Today" will be rebranded "The Craig Fahle Show" after its host, and moves to a more prominent slot at 10 a.m. weekdays (repeated nightly at 7 p.m.). On the weekends, "Car Talk" will be gone, as well as the music programs "Arkansas Traveler with Larry McDaniel," "Deep River with Robert Jones" and "Folks Like Us" with Matt Watroba. Trying to keep listeners tuned in longer on weekends, Ellcessor has steered the music programming into a more progressive vein... WDET to add weekday news, weekend music (Fri, 12/18)



AM 580 serves up A Christmas Gift for The Motor City

It's considered one of the greatest Rock & Roll Christmas albums of all-time and this weekend CKWW AM 580 Motor City Favorites will take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this musical milestone. As a holiday gift to listeners, AM 580 will air the one-hour radio special: "A Christmas Gift For You" this Sunday at 11 AM.

Produced with the legendary Spector "wall of sound" technique, "A Christmas Gift For You" was originally released in 1963 and features Christmas classics by the Crystals, the Ronettes, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans. It just wouldn't be the holidays without hearing Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", the Crystals' "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", or "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes on the radio.

AM 580 will air an encore presentation of "A Christmas Gift For You" on Christmas Day at 6 PM.


Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 18, 2009



ESPN 100.9 adds Pistons play-by-play

ESPN 100.9-FM (WLUN Pinconning) has announced that is has become the local radio home for Detroit Pistons basketball in the Great Lakes Bay Region and.that the station will be broadcasting Detroit Pistons basketball for the remainder of the 2009-2010 season starting with the Sunday, December 20th game against the L.A. Lakers. In addition to Pistons games, ESPN 100.9-FM will be carrying the Pistons pre-game show, which begins either 30 or 60 minutes before game time. Check the schedule for pre-game start times.

"We are very excited to add the Pistons to our programming roster. As an organization, we are committed to delivering the best sports programming available," said Jerry O'Donnell, ESPN 100.9FM station general manager. "It's a great partnership for both ESPN 100.9FM and for the Detroit Pistons. The addition of NBA games to our schedule broadens what we are able to offer our listeners, and gives the Pistons a much needed radio home in the Tri-Cities."

Advertising opportunities are available for ESPN 100.9-FM's coverage of Detroit Pistons basketball, which kicks off with Sunday's 6PM game against the Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Sponsorship and advertising inquiries can be directed to Jay Arons, ESPN 100.9FM director of sales, at 989-837-6156 or at Arons@espn1009.com.

Arons was recently hired as the station's director of sales. In his new role, Arons will be in charge of all radio sponsorship sales and maintaining relationships with the station's partners. He spent the previous 10 years with Citadel Broadcasting as an account executive, working with local, statewide and national clients.


Detroit Free Press:

The parent firm for three metro Detroit radio stations, WJR-AM (760), WDRQ-FM (93.1) and WDVD-FM (96.3), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday to restructure its debt load. In documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Citadel Broadcasting Corp., the nation's third-largest radio broadcasting company, listed total assets of $1.4 billion and total debt of $2.46 billion. The presidents of WJR, WDRQ and WDVD did not return calls Sunday to explain the impact in Detroit. Much of Citadel's debt burden stems from its $2.7 billion purchase of ABC Radio from Walt Disney Co. in 2007... WJR, WDRQ, WDVD parent files Chapter 11 (Mon, 12/21)




Citadel Broadcasting Corp., the third-largest radio group in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday. The company, which owns and operates 224 radio stations in 25 states, listed liabilities of $2.5 billion on assets of $1.4 billion, according to court papers filed with the Southern District of New York. Citadel owns six Mid-Michigan stations including 96 WHNN-FM, home of popular morning DJ Johnny Burke; Flint's country station, WFBE-FM (B95); and Saginaw's 102.5 WIOG-FM. The company has been saddled with debt for some time as the radio industry continues to be hard hit by depressed advertising revenue. It had been widely reported in recent months that the company could be headed toward bankruptcy. More than 60 percent of the company's secured lenders backed Citadel's pre-negotiated bankruptcy, which will allow it to extinguish $1.4 billion of debt and convert its $2.1 billion secured credit facility into a new term loan... Citadel Broadcasting files for bankruptcy protection (Sun, 12/20)



Lansing State Journal:

These days, local TV newscasts have to do it all themselves. There are no big lead-ins, no easy audiences. So two stations find some reasons to cheer the new Nielsen ratings books. "I consider it my first book as news director and I couldn't be happier," said Jam Sardar at WLNS (Channel 6). "We're up in five (of eight) shows. ... They drop in seven shows." Many of those drops were by tiny fractions, said Michael King, general manager of WILX (Channel 10). The key thing is what has been overcome... TV news stations see local loyalty in ratings (Mon, 12/21)




Yet another radio group has filed for bankruptcy protection, as NEXTMEDIA GROUP has filed a pre-arranged plan that will hand over control to certain creditors, court papers showed. NEXTMEDIA lists between $100 and $500 Million in total debt. REUTERS reports NEXTMEDIA's first lien debt and general unsecured claims will be paid in full while second lien debt will be converted into 95% equity in the reorganized company, said CFO ERIC NEUMANN, in an affidavit. In a statement on its website, NEXTMEDIA said the reorganization process will have no impact on day-to-day operations and will not result in any changes to senior management or any reduction to employee headcount... NextMedia Also Files For Chapter 11 (Mon, 12/21)


• The sale of FM translator W286AU 105.1 Allegan from Horizon Christian Fellowship to World Radio Link was approved by the FCC. Sale price was $9,500.


• TV translator W26BX-D Ch. 26 Kalamazoo (WTLJ Muskegon) was granted its license to cover for its digital flash cut.


• No notable activity for December 18.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 22, 2009



Detroit News:

WDET (101.9-FM), the public radio station based at Wayne State University in Detroit, recently announced schedule changes that include the cancellation of three weekend roots music programs, Matt Watroba's "Folks Like Us," Larry McDaniel's "Arkansas Traveler," and Robert Jones' "Deep River." At the same time, additions to the schedule include two shows from Ann Arbor's Rob Reinhart, including his popular syndicated "Acoustic Cafe." The loss of "Folks Like Us" is likely to be of particular interest in Ann Arbor, with its vibrant folk music scene. Watroba lives in Livingston County, and over its 23-year time span, his show has been an important outlet for exposing the music of acoustic artists who play at local venues like The Ark and the Green Wood Coffee House. "Folks Like Us" -- as well as the other canceled programs -- is well established in the regional roots-music community. But recent years have been a bit rocky; a format change at WDET in 2004 brought about the program's first cancellation, although WEMU (89.1-FM), the public radio station at Eastern Michigan University, picked up the show until it returned to WDET. Recently, "Folks Like Us" has been running on Sunday afternoons/evenings -- generally considered a very bad time slot -- rather than its traditional Saturday-afternoon home. Given the history, the question naturally arises of whether WEMU would again consider offering a home to "Folks Like Us" and/or the other canceled programs. Clark Smith, WEMU's program director, said that the station is considering picking up some of the programs, but no decision has been made yet... WDET changes schedule: WEMU could add cancellations; "Acoustic Cafe" gets new home (Tue, 12/22)



Update on ailing former Detroit D.J. Joey Ryan

Art Vuolo checks in with this update on former WDRQ jock Joey Ryan who is ill in a V.A. Hospital in Grand Rapids:

As we continue to keep friends and fans of longtime Detroit radio personality Joey Ryan updated, here is the latest information. Joey was transferred up to the VA Hospital Caring Center in Grand Rapids on Friday December 11, 2009. Sadly he has no family to speak of and no friends (that he knows of in GR.) It was, therefor, a huge surprise when I visited him one week later on the 18th. I shared with him hi-lites of the 2005 Detroit Radio Reunion video. He loved it! In fact he lit up like a Christmas tree and even laughed at several of MC Dick Purtan's jokes. It was a wonderful visit and huge transformation for Joey.

The next day there was another surprise. I went back with two people that truly brightened his day. Bill Bailey, who worked with Joey in the 1970's at WDRQ and Kim Carson (who worked at Z-95.5) both live and work in Grand Rapids. Kim even brought a pile of old WDRQ survey charts with Joey's picture on them. She said that Joey was the reason she wanted to get into radio. It was so special.

Only God knows how much time Joey has left, but he loves getting cards and letters. Feel free to send greetings to: Joey Ryan Pietruska c/o VA Home for Veterans 3000 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. We are not sure if he can take calls, but the facility number is 616-365-9575. He is in Room 302 on floor 3 Blue. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. "Mr. Boogie" appreciates it.

(pictured L-R above: Teriece, Art Vuolo, Joey Ryan, Bill Bailey, Kim Carson)


• ChristianRadioBroadcasting.org was granted a construction permit for a new FM station on 91.3 to be licensed to Manistique. Operating from west of Manistique, the Class C2 station would operate with 15,000 watts @ 713 feet with a directional antenna.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 28, 2009



Retired WXYZ TV and ABC Sports reporter Dave Diles dies at age 78

WWJ AM 950 in Detroit is reporting that Dave Diles, long time sports anchor for WXYZ TV Channel 7 who also did work for the ABC network, died yesterday at age 78 after a long illness in Athens, Ohio. Diles' career at Ch. 7 spanned three decades from the 1960s thru 1980s.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 29, 2009




A sign outside Ernie Harwell's apartment door politely asks would-be visitors, in so many words, to give an old man and his wife some peace and quiet. Ernie didn't hang it himself; he's far too nice for that. When times were better and cancer wasn't invading his body, Harwell tried to answer just about every card and letter. Now he has 10,000 of them piling up, along with a freezer full of casseroles and cookies and other good intentions. It's a cold, gray December day on the outskirts of Detroit, and Harwell has taken a late-morning nap to gather his strength. There is so much to do. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully's people called. They want to give Harwell, the beloved voice of the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, a lifetime achievement award. There's a stack of e-mails to go through, a one-man play based on his life to finish, guests to entertain. Today, two well-dressed TV personalities have stopped by to give him a 5-foot-wide card covered in signatures. Ernie, thanks for responding to the letter I wrote you in third grade. Made the summer of 1987 awesome to me. Harwell smiles at that one... For Harwell, there is still much to do (Tue, 12/29)



Detroit Free Press:

Longtime local and national sports broadcaster, commentator and author Dave Diles died over the weekend at his Athens, Ohio, home from complications of a recent stroke. He was 78. Diles was a mainstay of Detroit sports for much of the 1960s, '70s and '80s when he worked for WXYZ-AM radio and WXYZ-TV (Channel 7). He hosted the first radio sports talk show in Detroit, called "Dial Dave Diles." Diles gained national fame when he worked for ABC Sports for part of the '70s and '80s, hosting "Wide World of Sports" and the "Prudential College Football Scoreboard." "Dave was one of the smartest men I've ever met and most certainly the smartest man in the industry," said Mort Meisner, who worked with Diles at Channel 7 from 1979-81. "Dave brought an extraordinary touch of class and thoughtfulness to news. He was not a showman. He was a true voice for sports." Many in the industry considered Diles to be the leading expert of local sports... Sports broadcaster Dave Diles dead at 78 (Mon, 12/28)



Michigan Radio Looks at Three Things to Fix Michigan

If you could do three things to improve life in Michigan, what would they be? Beginning next week, Michigan Radio (WUOM FM 91.7 Ann Arbor / WVGR FM 104.1 Grand Rapids / WFUM FM 91.1 Flint) will look at answers to that question when the station launches "Three Things: How Would You Fix Michigan?" In this new Morning Edition feature, Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley will be asking politicians, artists, business owners, teachers, and people from all walks of life to give us their three ideas for things each of us can do to revive our state.

The "Three Things" interview project will begin with a conversation with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm on Monday, January 4; and continue throughout the week with other prominent Michiganders. In addition to Granholm, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, actor and musician Jeff Daniels, ArtPrize founder Rick Devos, and President and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Rich Studley will be sharing their ideas during the week of Jan. 4 - 8. Each individual will bring a unique perspective to interpreting Michigan's issues and prioritizing what three things we should each do in order to contribute to the betterment of our state.

Tune in to Michigan Radio during Morning Edition at 5:35am and 7:35am all next week to hear the first set of interviews. Then each Monday morning in the coming months, the station will present more ideas for improving the state from other well known Michigan citizens, and also from average people.

The project will be accompanied by an online component at www.michiganradio.org/threethings where people can listen to the previously aired interviews and share and discuss their own three suggestions to improve Michigan.

"This is a great way to get people thinking about what Michigan is today, and what we can be," commented Gov. Granholm.

In an unusual show of unity with the Governor, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop had a similar view: "I appreciate that you've put something together like this that really gets people involved. You're empowering people."



Art Van Furniture presents an Evening With Mitch Albom to benefit SAY Detroit Charity

Join Mitch Albom, best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, and radio and television broadcaster at Art Van Furniture as he discusses his new book "Have a Little Faith." The event will benefit S.A.Y. Detroit (Super All Year) Charity, formed by Mr. Albom to help improve the lives of Detroit's homeless. The first 350 guests to arrive will receive a personally autographed book from Mr. Albom.

WJR AM 760 will also be broadcasting the Mitch Albom Show live from Art Van from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. All are welcome to watch the broadcast at the store. The presentation from Albom will take place beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets cost $10.00 and 100% will benefit S.A.Y. Detroit

The event is scheduled for February 2nd at the Art Van Furniture store on 14 Mile Road in Warren. To purchase tickets go to www.wjr.com while supplies last.


• The sale of FM translator W284BQ 104.7 Warren from Radio Assist Ministry to Radio Power, Inc was approved by the FCC. Sale price was $40,000.


• The sale of the construction permit for FM station WRAX-FM 98.9 Walhalla/Ludington from Radioactive, LLC to Beaubark Communications, LLC will not be completed.


• No notable activity for December 23-24 and 28.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Dec. 30, 2009



Livingston County Daily Press & Argus:

A work injury that brought Linda Lee's assembly line career at Ford Motor Co. to a halt nearly 20 years ago seemed devastating for the then-single mother in her late 20s. Now, the Detroit country radio personality looks back at the incident -- in which Lee developed permanent nerve damage in her hands -- as a "blessing in disguise." "I absolutely love my job," said Lee, who moved to Hamburg Township last year. " I love country music. It couldn't have worked out any better." Lee -- half of the Edwards & Lee Show team at Detroit's WYCD 99.5 FM country radio station -- landed a career in radio after taking advantage of a worker's compensation program that allowed her to earn a degree from Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield... Radio personality rocks the airwaves (Wed, 12/30)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 30, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

WWMT-TV (Channel 3) evening weekday anchor Tom Van Howe is leaving the Kalamazoo-based station after tonight's broadcast. Mark Bishop, WWMT marketing director, confirmed his last on-air broadcast will be tonight. WWMT anchor Jeff Varner will fill in Van Howe. News director Steve Koles was not available for comment. Van Howe joined in station in July of 2008 at the age of 63, anchoring the weekday newscasts at 5 and 6 p.m. with anchor Judy Markee... Anchor Tom Van Howe leaves WWMT-TV (Wed, 12/30)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 31, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

Radio station WSNX-FM (104.5) will be debuting a new morning show now that Justin "Puddin' " Barclay, host of "Puddin's Playhouse," is leaving. He gave notice just before Christmas that he "got another gig," said program director Eric "EOB" O'Brien. "I understand it's a much better job, but I don't know what is." There was a brief Facebook movement called "Save Puddin's Playhouse!!" but the most recent comment on it as of Thursday noon was from Dec. 19. Puddin' has been host of the morning show for four years and in that time has made a few headlines. During the whole "mystery project" hysteria in 2006, he aired a call from someone who claimed that Donald Trump was involved with the project and was going to build an underground casino. The rumors were not true, and the "msytery project" never materialized... Justin Puddin' Barclay of Puddin's Playhouse leaves WSNX for undisclosed opportunity (Thu, 12/31)


Angie Vuyst is leaving Grand Rapids for greener, but very familiar pastures. The former program director at news/talk station WOOD-AM (1300) is now the new PD at "Rush Radio," WGBT-FM (94.5), an FM talk format that goes on the air Monday in Greensboro, N.C. The station will air talk shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications. "It's a great career move for her," said Doug Montgomery of Clear Channel Communications in Grand Rapids, which owns WOOD-AM, as well as five other local stations. "It's a brand new lauch, and we're promoting someone who has a lot of talent." Vuyst was not available for comment... Angie Vyust leaves WOOD-AM for North Carolina (Thu, 12/31)


Michiguide.com 2009 News Archive




This section of Michiguide.com contains all of the news and information entries for the year 2009.

You can browse these entries in a number of ways:







Home Page | Contact | Station Listings | History | Links

Search | About | Shop | Sitemap | Weather



Twitter Facebook E-mail Feed


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Mike Austerman in December 2009.

Mike Austerman: November 2009 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.