West Michigan: March 2009 Archives

Grand Rapids Press:

The box of tissues next to Scott Winters' microphone got a lot of traffic Monday morning as friends, fans and colleagues of late radio personality Rick Beckett lit up the phone lines at WOOD-AM (1300) during a three-hour tribute. Beckett, 54, died Thursday night after suffering a heart attack. "When they first told me about (Beckett's death), my emotions were stagnant. This was great therapy for me," said Winters, who was Beckett's on-air partner for 15 years. During the final installment of "The Rick and Scott Show," Winters, along with WOOD programming director Angie Vuyst and programming consultant Phil Tower reminisced about Beckett, played clips from his broadcasting career and shared memories with listeners. Beckett was well-known in the Grand Rapids radio market from his years with Winters on WGRD-FM (97.9) and WKLQ-FM (then 94.5). The duo joined WOOD together more than five years ago. "He was so proud to work at WOOD Radio and have this show," said Tower, a former programming director for the station. Throughout the morning, emotional calls flooded the studio lines, and in-studio personnel often fought back tears... Co-host, fans pay on-air tribute to radio personality Rick Beckett (Mon, 3/2)


Kalamazoo Gazette:

Local radio personality Buddy Hannah will read from and sign copies of his newest book of poetry, "Love Poems for Women or Men Sensitive Enough to Read Them," this Friday at Fire, 1249 Portage Road in Kalamazoo. Doors will open at 8:30 p.m. An open-mic time will start at 9 p.m. and Hannah's presentation at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5, or $3 for students with identification. Hannah, a playwright and former columnist for the Kalamazoo Gazette's CityLife section, hosts the current-affairs talk show "Talk It Up" on WNWN-FM 95.5 and WNWN-AM 1560... Kalamazoo radio personality Buddy Hannah to read from latest book of poetry (Tue, 3/3)


Grand Rapids Press:

At 1 p.m. Thursday, WXMI-TV sports director Brent Ashcroft went into a meeting with news director Tim Dye about his future at the station. Five minutes later, he was the station's former sports director. Ashcroft was told the station would not renew his contract, which expires next month. It was a decision that left the veteran anchor surprised. "I never saw it coming," Ashcroft said. "I never had any indication this was in their plans. They told me nothing about their future plans or what is next, and I have no idea who they are going with or what they are going to do." General manager/station president Patty Kolb was out of the office and could not be reached for comment. When reached for comment at his Grand Rapids home, Dye said the decision was business-related. He said the Fox affiliate's sports department is working on the details of its future leadership... Brent Ashcroft out as sports director at WXMI-TV (Sat, 3/7)


Grand Haven Tribune:

In his first year as a radio show host, Sports Radio 1370 ESPN's Ryan Terpstra didn't have winning an award on his mind. "I just wanted to be able to do a show that people would actually want to listen to," said Terpstra, who at age 25 is now in his second year as the host of "Sports Talk with Ryan Terpstra," which airs from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sports Radio 1370 ESPN, WGHN-AM. "My goal initially was to work hard at doing my best, and hopefully the audience would respond." That hard work paid off on March 11, as the Michigan Association of Broadcasters awarded Terpstra the first-place award in the "Afternoon Show Host" category at their annual Broadcast Excellence Awards... WGHN's Terpstra wins award for 'Sports Talk' (Wed, 3/18)




Regent Orders More Free Beer & Hot Wings: REGENT COMMUNICATIONS announces that THE FREE BEER & HOT WINGS SHOW has renewed their contract for flagship Alternative WGRD/GRAND RAPIDS, as well as REGENT Rock WQBK/ALBANY, NY, Active Rock WWBN/FLINT, MI and Active Rock KZRV/ST. CLOUD, MN. Commenting on the continuing relationship, REGENT SVP JOHN KING said, "FREE BEER AND HOT WINGS is the real deal. This program has continually been the number one ranked morning show in all key demos in GRAND RAPIDS radio. I'm thrilled to have their tremendous talent at work for our stations. We also want to congratulate them on their recent national syndication agreement with COMPASS MEDIA NETWORKS. We are big FREE BEER and HOT WINGS fans!" FB&HW show member ERIC ZANE added, "We would like to express our sincere appreciation to REGENT COMMUNICATIONS. They have been wonderful partners and we look forward to working with our flagship -- WGRD in GRAND RAPIDS -- as well as our REGENT affiliates in ALBANY, ST. CLOUD, and FLINT for many years to come." THE FREE BEER & HOT WINGS SHOW is currently heard weekday mornings on 17 affiliates. (Wed, 3/18)


Radio Business Report:

Gen2Media signed a Joint Venture agreement with Regent Communications to create, develop and manage an ad-supported online television channel for each of Regent's 60 station websites. Leveraging Gen2Media's patented video publishing and content management program, each of Regent's radio station websites will feature its own individually-branded Internet television channel with access to originally produced or syndicated video content and programming. The rollout schedule, beginning this month, starts with the Regent radio properties in Grand Rapids, Michigan: WLHT-FM 95.7 (Adult Contemporary); WGRD-FM 97.9 (Modern Rock); and WTRV-FM 100.5 (Soft Adult Contemporary)... Gen2Media and Regent partner to for radio websites (Fri, 3/20)


For the first time, FOX Sports Detroit's collection of channels will present simultaneous telecasts of the same game, but from two different perspectives, when the Pistons take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Palace on Thursday, March 26. The traditional game coverage will appear on FOX Sports Detroit and in high-definition on FOX Sports Detroit HD. Meanwhile, FOX Sports Detroit PLUS presents a "Match-up Cam" telecast, with devoted cameras isolating on key battles throughout the game among the many stars on each team.

"We are looking forward to this unique, creative and compelling use of our PLUS service," said Greg Hammaren, Senior Vice President/General Manager, FOX Sports Detroit. "We hope fans that are enjoying the traditional high-quality telecast on our main service will be intrigued to sample PLUS to see an isolated view of just how hard these great athletes work during the course of a game."

Coverage on all channels begins at 6:30 PM with Pistons Insider, followed by Pistons Live at 7:00 and the game at 7:30. Game audio will be the same on all channels with play-by-play announcer George Blaha, analyst Greg Kelser, along with sideline reporters Ryan Field and Eli Zaret. Field hosts Pistons Live pregame, while Mickey York hosts the postgame edition.

For FOX Sports PLUS channel numbers, visit www.foxsports.com/detroit.



Grand Rapids Press:

If you want to watch unbeaten Catholic Central and Lakeview compete in a Class B semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday for a spot in Saturday's girls basketball state championship - and you cannot make it to Eastern Michigan University's Convocation Center - you can follow it live on the Internet. The Michigan High School Athletic Association Network will stream video of all four Class A and Class B semifinals at MHSAA.TV. Semifinal games also will be available finals for cable viewing on Comcast Channel 900, pending availability of the station's time... (Fri, 3/20)


Grand Rapids Press:

Jim Lutton, general manager of WWMT-TV (Channel 3), knows how seriously fans take the NCAA tournament. He is confident that West Michigan's local CBS affiliate has taken the appropriate steps to prevent the technical glitches that occurred Friday and Saturday. In both instances, Lutton said CBS Sports switched its broadcast feed from the primary signal to a backup, which caused problems for WWMT. WWMT worked quickly with CBS Sports to restore the primary signal, but by then, viewers were left with audio and HD issues. The station thought it had the problems fixed after Friday night's Michigan-Clemson game, but issues arose again Saturday during Michigan State-Robert Morris. He said the station received a number of phone calls and e-mails from viewers. "We're awfully sorry for the inconvenience," Lutton said. "These games are very important to people, and we understand that." Lutton said the complications were limited solely to the HD feed. He is hopeful the issue has been solved, but said viewers still can use the basic analog signal as a backup if glitches persist... CBS station WWMT apologizes, says it has resolved NCAA tournament technical glitches (Sun, 3/22)


Grand Rapids Press:

Beloved Grand Rapids radio icon Rick Beckett, co-host of "The Rick and Scott Show" on WOOD-AM, is missed greatly in West Michigan. His untimely death from a heart attack last month has left many listeners grief-stricken. As for the future of the popular midday radio program, "anything could happen," said Tim Feagan, general manager at the station (AM 1300). "We will know it when we see it," Feagan said. "We have ads out in the trades. We are looking in and out of the market. There is no age range, no sex range, no conservative or middle-of-the-road preference. We are looking for someone who is relevant and compelling." The 9 a.m.-noon show has been renamed "Middays on WOOD" and pairs Beckett's longtime radio partner, Scott Winters, with fill-ins such as Neal Dionne, from WBCT-FM (93.7), and well-known radio personality Michelle McKormick. In his blog, Winters writes: "There is no way to replace the likes of Rick Beckett, nor do we even plan to attempt that. But hopefully we can find someone I have a good chemistry with, and we can make the new show as entertaining as 'The Rick and Scott Show' used to be." Winters and Beckett were best friends... Grand Rapids-area listeners still mourning 'Rick and Scott Show' co-host Rick Beckett, as WOOD-AM considers next move (Tue, 3/24)



WMUK 'Short Drive' fundraiser seeking $175,000

Western Michigan University's public radio station, WMUK 102.1 FM, is once again shortening its spring pledge drive, which begins Saturday, March 28, and will end when $175,000 is raised.

The station will reduce on-air pledge hours by more than 55 percent during pledge week and feature two "skinny days" Tuesday and Wednesday, during which there will be only one hour of on-air pledging.

Prior to the on-air portion of drive, listeners are encouraged to make donations online at wmuk.org or by mail. The station's Web ticker features up-to-date results of the ongoing fund-raising effort.

Funds raised through WMUK's pledge drives help to pay the cost of acquiring quality programs from National Public Radio, Public Radio International, the British Broadcasting Corp. and American Public Media.

To promote its broadcasts in high definition, the station's spring drive will feature drawings for 10 free HD radios. All those who pledge or donate will be entered in drawings, along with those who call in and request entry. Complete details and rules for the drawings are available at WMUK online.


Kalamazoo Gazette:

Local television newsrooms across the country have slashed staff positions, offered buyouts and even shuttered operations in the past year. It's evidence of an evolution in American journalism that has intensified with the economic downturn and mirrors what's happening to many newspapers across the country and in Michigan. West Michigan is not unaffected, but has been spared the worst. The four national media groups that own television stations in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek market are struggling, yet say they are maintaining heavy local news schedules and expanding their online presence. Gannett Co. Inc., which owns WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, is the nation's largest publisher of newspapers. It announced last Monday a second round of mandatory, one-week furloughs for most of its employees across the country. California-based Freedom Communications, which owns WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo along with newspapers and TV stations across the United States, announced this month mandatory one-week furloughs for its employees. And in December, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids offered buyouts to as many as 30 employees with at least 20 years of service... Broadcast media trimming staff, reshaping operations (Sun, 3/29)



Grand Rapids Press:

It's appropriate that WLAV-FM (96.9) opens its first live Blues on the Mall CD with a gritty, impressive performance of the song "Slow It Down" by Texas-based singer-guitarist Mike Zito. After all, not only did Zito kick off last year's popular Wednesday night series, but he'll do the same thing again this summer based on the 2009 lineup announced by the radio station a few days ago... CD featuring Grand Rapids' Blues on the Mall performances is packed with solid gems (Sun, 3/29)

It doesn't have the century-old tradition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but a peppy theme song for Michigan's spring sports season on Fox Sports Detroit has been unleashed by East Grand Rapids' most promising young rock band -- the Good Luck Joes -- just in time for the Detroit Tigers' baseball home opener. The pop-rock quintet of East Grand Rapids High School graduates recently won Fox Sports Detroit's "April in the D" song contest, which could give the 6-year-old band its biggest publicity boost ever with daily TV exposure across the state... East Grand Rapids' Good Luck Joes' song for Michigan teams to debut with Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit (Sun, 3/29)

Now that he's community programming director for WPRR-AM, former City Commissioner Rick Tormala said he and "Friends of Labor" Director Buck Geno will debut a two-hour call-in show at 10 a.m. every Thursday. Later this spring, Tormala said he will begin airing a second politically-oriented talk show on the local non-profit station... Former Grand Rapids City Commissioner Rick Tormala will launch AM radio show (Wed, 3/25)







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About this Archive

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

West Michigan: February 2009 is the previous archive.

West Michigan: April 2009 is the next archive.

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