West Michigan: December 2009 Archives

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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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




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