West Michigan: February 2009 Archives

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 2, 2009



Dowagiac Daily News:

On Jan. 29 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a construction permit (CP) that will allow WGTO AM (910Khz Cassopolis-Dowagiac) to increase its transmitter power from 1,000 watts to 6,000 watts. WGTO originally went on the air as WLLJ in 1988 and has always operated with 1,000 watts daytime. The relocation of WFDF radio, which also operates on 910 from Flint to Detroit, along with improved techniques for measuring actual coverage, allowed WGTO chief engineer and owner Larry Langford to show that a power increase to 6,000 watts could be accomplished within the current regulations of the FCC. The engineering and application process was done over a period of years.

Langford recalls; "A major part of the process is driving to remote areas and taking very technical readings using very precise equipment to verify the current coverage of the station to be able to better predict the new coverage with higher power. This requires going to some very remote locations in Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. In the process you meet very interesting people who wonder who this is walking around with headphones and meters"... WGTO to become most powerful AM station in southwestern Mich. (Mon, 2/2)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 6, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

Congress has authorized a delay in the shutdown of analog TV broadcasts, but that doesn't mean local TV stations have to wait. The drop-dead date for the much-publicized switch from analog to digital broadcasting has been moved from Feb. 17 to June 12. However, stations are allowed to turn off their analog signals before June if they notify the Federal Communications Commission. Stations planning to execute the full digital switch by Feb. 17 have until Monday to file notice. Fox affiliate WXMI (Channel 17) intends to proceed as planned with the switch this month. Patty Kolb, the station's general manager, said Thursday the station "most likely" would file notice and turn off its analog signal Feb. 17. Kolb said general managers of area stations planned this morning to discuss how the local market should respond to the directives of Congress and the FCC... Delay digital conversion? Grand Rapids TV stations consider choices (Fri, 2/6)

Public service announcements airing Friday morning on WXMI-TV (Channel 17) said the Fox affiliate was going ahead with a change to digital broadcast on Feb. 17, despite Congress's approval Wednesday of a bill to delay the much-publicized switch from analog to digital until June 12. But before noon, the announcements had been pulled. "There's been a lot of confusion," said General Manager Patty Kolb, who added the station is now leaning toward the June 12 date because of the number of people in the market who do not have the necessary converter boxes to receive digital broadcasts. "We have a lot of very popular shows, and we don't want any viewers to miss their favorite show," Kolb said. Kolb and spokespersons from several area stations said a final decision on whether to proceed with the Feb. 17 switch or wait won't be made until Monday, a deadline set by the Federal Communications Commission... WXMI switches directions, now considers not making Feb. 17 digital switch (Fri, 2/6)



St. Joseph Herald Palladium:

Analog broadcasting will die as scheduled for at least three stations that broadcast in Southwest Michigan, despite Congress approving a four-month reprieve Wednesday. WSJV, Channel 28 of Elkhart and WNDU, Channel 16, and WSBT, Channel 22, both of South Bend, reported Wednesday they will use only digital signals starting at 12 a.m. Feb. 17. Information on how other area stations will respond was not available Wednesday. The House voted 264-158 Wednesday to extend the digital conversion deadline to June 12 deadline, but it gave local stations the option to go ahead with the Feb. 17 conversion if they felt their markets were ready. The Senate already approved the bill, which President Barack Obama promised to sign. House and Senate leaders wanted the delay because they said the transition has not been as smooth as desired or expected for viewers. For viewers, analog's demise will mean no broadcast television unless they have digital-ready television sets or equipment for converting digital signals into analog ones. Viewers using cable and satellite services are not affected. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, voted against the bill to extend the deadline. He said the transition appears to be going well in his Southwest Michigan district... Area stations reject digital delay (Thu, 2/5)




With the digital TV transition likely delayed until June 12, broadcasters still have a chance to transition early, if they choose. WZZM channel 13 and WXMI channel 17 report they will continue to broadcast in both analog and digital until the June 12th deadline. WOOD-TV is still waiting for the president to sign the bill and for lawyers to go over it before making a decision. "The law, while it pushed the date back to June 12th, it also includes a provision that stations may go early," Mike Leamers, WOOD-TV engineer, said this week. "We're still trying to figure out what the law says, whether there'll be FCC rules that we'll have to give notice to the public before we go, so there are a few things still up in the air," Leamers said. WWMT channel 3 in Kalamazoo has yet to announce any decision, and WGVU reports it will probably wait until the others decide before they make that decision... Some Local TV Stations Plan A "Wait-and-See" on DTV Switch (Fri, 2/6)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 9, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

Local TV viewers unprepared for the upcoming switch to a digital signal will get a reprieve. Most area stations -- including Fox affiliate WXMI-TV (Channel 17), ABC affiliate WZZM-TV (Channel 13), PBS affiliate WGVU-TV (Channel 35) and WOOD-TV (Channel 8) -- confirmed late Monday they will delay turning off their analog signals until June 12. Congress voted recently to approve the delay, but allowed stations to decide individually when they would make the conversion. Stations wanting to make a complete switch as originally planned on Feb. 17 were required to notify the Federal Communications Commission by midnight Monday. Among the reasons for the delay are viewer confusion about the switch and a funding shortage for coupons toward the purchase of signal converter boxes for older TV sets... West Michigan TV stations decide to make digital switch on June 12 (Mon, 2/9)



Broadcasting & Cable:

Michigan's unemployment rate climbed to 10.6% in December, tops in the country. But while the automotive facilities on the east side of the state continue to sputter, general managers in the western Michigan DMA of Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek say the market is doing a commendable job of reinventing itself. The region pushed to diversify its economic base a few decades ago, and while times are certainly tough--home foreclosures dot the No. 39 DMA--the health-care and biotech industries are vibrant these days, evident in a giant Michigan State University medical school facility that opens in the fall. "It's a challenging marketplace, but it's better to be in this part of the state than the eastern part," says WWMT VP/General Manager Jim Lutton. LIN's NBC affiliate WOOD dominated the November book, taking total day household ratings along with morning, evening and late news. Freedom's CBS outlet WWMT easily won primetime, with eight of the top 13 prime shows in November. Evenings are a lively race: WOOD was tops, but Gannett's ABC affiliate WZZM and WWMT both put up healthy numbers... Rapid Development (Mon, 2/9)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 11, 2009



Grand Rapids Press:

WOOD-TV (Channel 8) is canceling its offer to air a controversial one-hour paid program on the "radical homosexual agenda," after moving its time slot three times. In a statement, station General Manager Diane Kniowski said it was pulling the offer to air "Speechless: Silencing Christians" after its sponsor, the American Family Association, failed to respond to its proposal to air it at 2 p.m. Saturday. The station previously moved its air time from Monday to Wednesday as gay rights advocates pelted the station with complaints... WOOD TV cancels offer to air controversial one-hour ad on 'radical homosexual agenda' (Tue, 2/10)

A controversial one-hour paid program on the "radical homosexual agenda" scheduled for WOOD-TV is delayed for the second time as partisans on both sides debate its merit. Opponents decry it as verging on hate speech, as they press WOOD-TV officials to cancel a special funded by the American Family Association. But backers are just as passionate in their belief it should air, adding heat to an issue that has long divided West Michigan. The program was originally slated to air Monday in the time slot before President Barack Obama's 8 p.m. news conference. WOOD-TV program director Craig Cole said Tuesday that station officials decided to move it to Wednesday, before it was moved again. "We didn't feel that it was the appropriate place, leading into the presidential event," Cole said. Cole said he had received about a hundred emails on the subject, about evenly split on the issue... WOOD-TV considers airing paid program decrying 'radical homosexual agenda' (Tue, 2/10)

Thirty-five people inquired about the vacant West Michigan Whitecaps play-by-play radio position for the 2009 Midwest League season. Although four of the resumes stood out, only one person was interviewed. That person was Steve Lloyd-Jones, 35, who today was named play-by-play radio announcer for the Whitecaps. Lloyd-Jones is no stranger to the Whitecaps' radio booth. He was the color commentator from 2002-04 and worked with Rick Berkey, who was the play-by-play voice in West Michigan's first 11 seasons. Berkey currently is the radio voice for Michigan State women's basketball. Lloyd-Jones will replace Dave Skoczen, who was West Michigan's radio voice the past four seasons. He resigned after the 2008 season. Lloyd-Jones will be joined in the booth by Dan Elve, who has been the color commentator since 2005... Lloyd-Jones added to Whitecaps' radio booth (Tue, 2/10)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 23, 2009




Michigan Station Loses Battle To Restore License: CHRISTIAN FAMILY NETWORK, INC.'s attempt to get the license for its WOLY-A/BATTLE CREEK, MI reinstated has been rejected by the FCC. The station failed to file for its license renewal by JUNE 1, 2004, and was notified of the cancellation of its license in 2006, but did not file an application and request for special temporary authority to continue broadcasting until JANUARY 15, 2009. The licensee was previously fined by the FCC for unauthorized operation after its license had expired. (Mon, 2/23)

Note: As recently as last week, a e-mailer to Michiguide.com noted the station has continued to operate.


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 27, 2009



WOOD AM 1300:

NewsRadio WOOD 1300 lost a valued member of its family Thursday night. Rick Beckett, the co-host of "The Rick and Scott Show," passed away. He suffered a heart attack. NewsRadio WOOD 1300 is planning a special tribute program to celebrate his life and his career, Monday March 2 from 9am to 12 noon. Rick, a long-time member of the West Michigan broadcast community, worked for WGRD-FM and WKLQ-FM before joining the NewsRadio WOOD 1300 staff more than five years ago. He would have celebrated his sixth anniversary with NewsRadio WOOD 1300 in April. Rick and Scott Winters worked together for nearly 15 years. They were together at WGRD-FM and WKLQ-FM before both joined NewsRadio WOOD 1300. Rick was born and raised in Grand Rapids. He lived on the west side of the city and graduated from Union High School... NewsRadio WOOD 1300 Plans Tribute For Rick Beckett (Fri, 2/27)



Grand Rapids Press:

Rick Beckett, a fixture on West Michigan radio and the co-host of WOOD 1300 AM's "The Rick and Scott Show," died Thursday night after suffering a heart attack, the station management reported. Beckett worked for WGRD-FM and WKLQ-FM before joining NewsRadio WOOD 1300more than five years ago. He would have celebrated his sixth anniversary at the station in April. His ongoing health issues were often a topic of conversation on the air, but WOOD program director Angie Vuyst, who said Beckett was in his early 50s, was "doing better." "It was no surprise his health had been ailing for a while and he had ongoing health issues, but as of recently he was doing real well....This took a lot of us by surprise," Vuyst said. Beckett and Scott Winters worked together for nearly 15 years. They were together at WGRD-FM and WKLQ-FM and joined WOOD at the same time... Radio veteran Rick Beckett, co-host of WOOD 1300's 'Rick and Scott Show,' dies after heart attack (Fri, 2/27)




A long-time member of the West Michigan radio community has passed away. Rick Beckett, co-host of wood radio's Rick and Scott Show, died of an apparent heart attack Thursday night. Rick worked for WGRD-FM and WKLQ-FM before joining WOOD radio more than 5 years ago. Rick and Scott Winters worked together for nearly 15 years. WOOD radio released a statement regarding Rick's death, "We, at NewsRadio WOOD 1300, will miss Rick and will never forget him. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family, friends and of course, those who have listened to him and shared his life for nearly two decades." WOOD radio is planning a special tribute program to celebrate his life and his career on Monday, March 2 from 9 a.m. to noon... WOOD Radio's Rick Beckett suffers fatal heart attack (Fri, 2/27)




One of the most popular morning radio show hosts in West Michigan has died. Rick Beckett had been one half of the "Rick and Scott Show " on NewsRadio WOOD 1300 weekday mornings from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. for the past five years ... Statement from Scott Winters: I'm at a loss for the appropriate words... This is a blog entry I never, ever, wanted to have to make. I'm not even sure it's possible to put complete sentences together at this point, but here goes... On Thursday night, I received that dreaded call of the passing of a friend and co-worker, Rick Beckett. As most of you know, Rick and I started working together when I was just a part-timer at WKLQ back in 1989. I was honored to take the job of becoming a permanent member of the "Q-Morning Zoo" in September of 1993. Throughout those 15+ years we had a lot of fun working together on the airwaves in West Michigan. Oh sure, there were a few bumps in the road along the way, but those minor setbacks always made the team of "Rick and Scott" that much stronger. I'm always asked, "What is Rick Beckett like off the air?" Well, he was pretty much the same person when the mic was on, as he was when the mic was off (aside from his "list of words and phrases you can't say on WOOD Radio!). One thing I don't think people realized was how big of a heart Rick had... WOOD Radio's Rick Beckett dies (Fri, 2/27)







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This page is a archive of entries in the West Michigan category from February 2009.

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