West Michigan: February 2010 Archives

West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 2, 2010




WZZM 13 will be increasing our transmission power this week. Some West Michigan residents have reported that since the transition to digital television (DTV) in June 2009, they have not been able to receive WZZM 13 over the air. This 50% boost in power may help in receiving our signal. The power increase will take place on Wednesday, February 3rd from 1:00am to 3:00am. During this time, WZZM 13 will not be broadcasting over the air or on DIRECTV or on some cable systems. Everyone else should still receive WZZM 13. Anyone who was not able to receive WZZM 13 on their televisions, should rescan your channels on the DTV converter box or digital television anytime after 3:00am on Wednesday morning... (Tue, 2/2)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 3, 2010



Grand Rapids Press:

I woke up this morning, rubbing my eyes and asking myself, is that Lauren Stanton of WZZM (Channel 13)? I thought she was off recovering from back surgery? "I feel like a million bucks," she told morning show co-host Derek Francis, returning to work Wednesday after being off for nearly four weeks... Hey, Lauren Stanton of WZZM-TV 13, welcome back (Wed, 2/3)


WYGR AM 1530 has changed its primary format from Spanish-based programming to urban with Robert S. (Womack) moving his brokered operations from WJNZ AM 1140. WYGR's "La Furia" moves to weekends from 3 p.m. until signoff.

WYGRDaytimer WYGR, which now identifies itself as "1530 Jamz, The Pulse of The City" features the Tom Joyner Morning Show from sign-on until 10am, and then programming from Citadel Media's syndicated 'The Touch' format until signoff.

Last fall Womack and his backers disputed the sale of WJNZ to Christian broadcaster Holy Family Radio after that group was the high bidder in a bankruptcy-forced sale by Huntington Bank, claiming the area would be losing its African American voice on the airwaves. A settlement was reached weeks later giving Womack up to six months to find a new home for his programming. A move to Catholic based programming is expected soon on AM 1140.

According to WYGR General Manager Roland Rusticus, the deal to change his station's format and clear the new programs came together pretty quickly. "Technically it's a 3-month renewable Time Brokerage agreement at this point, but our intention is for the format change to be permanent. We were only introduced to Robert a few weeks ago, so we're all still getting to know each other. As a result, we all agreed it would make sense to sort out the long-term business details a little later, once we've all had time to breathe."

Part of the agreement with the new owners of AM 1140 is that Robert S. is allowed to retain the WJNZ call sign if he so chooses. Rusticus commented, "We're not opposed to making the change at some point, but to this point '1530 Jamz' seems to be working and Robert hasn't expressed a strong opinion either way regarding the call letters."

Rusticus continues, "The local African-American community certainly deserves a radio voice, and given the impending format change at 1140, we're excited to meet that need. In a way, this is history repeating itself. In the late 1990s it was WYGR that pioneered Spanish-language radio in Grand Rapids. Given the changes in that market over the last 10 years, however, it's tough to make a case that the Hispanic community is underserved anymore. In fact, 4 Spanish-language stations in Grand Rapids was probably double what the market will really support, so a format change of some sort was inevitable. In a nutshell, we think this format change is going to be a win-win. It's the right thing to do -- we're meeting a definite need in the community -- and we believe it will prove to be a good business decision too."

WYGR offers life streaming and updated program schedule on its web site at wygr.net.


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 5, 2010



Grand Rapids Press:

The B-93 Birthday Bash will be back this summer only in a new home. Sponsored by radio station WBCT-FM (93.7), the country music festival will move to the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin for the two-day event June 19 and 20. The lineup for the 18th festival is in the process of being finalized. Popular demand spurred the station owned by Clear Channel to go ahead with the event, one year after heavy rains canceled the 2009 Birthday Bash when the adjacent Grand River flooded the Ionia Fairgrounds, stranding several hundred cars at the site of last year's event. Dave Taft, B-93 program director, said popular demand has led the station to bring back the Birthday Bash, which typically draws 50,000 to 60,000 to the free concert... B-93 Birthday Bash returns, but moves out of Grand River floodplain (Thu, 2/4)


Ben Chiswick's first job was working as a vendor at Wrigley Field. His latest job will be calling the play-by-play action in the radio booth for the West Michigan Whitecaps this season. Chiswick, 26, was selected from about 80 applicants. He rose to the top because of his overall experience, Whitecaps vice president Jim Jarecki said. "He called the games for the Quad Cities River Bandits (Davenport, Iowa) for five seasons, has writing experience and works and understand the needs of the media, is enthusiastic and knows how to paint a picture with the way he calls a game," Jarecki said. "Overall, he's just well-rounded and will be a great fit here." Chiswick, who will be joined in the booth by color analyst Dan Elve, replaces Steve Lloyd-Jones, who decided not to return after one season... Whitecaps hire Ben Chiswick as new radio announcer (Thu, 2/4)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 21, 2010



Grand Rapids Press:

WBBL-FM (107.3) will take listeners out to the ballgame this summer. Citadel Broadcasting and the 50,000-watt all-sports station have signed an agreement to broadcast live games for the Detroit Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps for the 2010 season. "We now feel that we are the premier station for baseball," WBBL program director Bret Bakita said. "It's pretty neat combination to be able to carry both." Tigers games previously aired on WBBL's sister station, WLAV-FM (96.9), the past three years. Now, the Tigers will join WBBL's broadcast lineup, which already includes the Detroit Lions, Red Wings, Pistons and Michigan State football and basketball games. Bakita said it will be nice for listeners to have a consistent destination to find baseball. He said the contrast is NASCAR's current TV deal, which calls for races to be aired on Fox, ABC/ESPN and TNT. "Baseball is important in our area, and to have that connection with listeners is so important," Bakita said. "Now, they won't have to go anywhere else to find their baseball." WBBL's coverage will begin at 1 p.m. March 3, when the Tigers face the Toronto Blue Jays in a spring training game. In the event of scheduling conflicts between the Tigers and Whitecaps, one broadcast will move to WJRW-AM (1340) so listeners still can hear each game... Whitecaps, Tigers broadcasts move to WBBL-FM (Sat, 2/20)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 23, 2010




WGRDREGENT Alternative WGRD/GRAND RAPIDS will be shifting to the Active Rock MEDIABASE panel beginning next week. WGRD, the flagship station of THE FREE BEER & HOT WINGS SHOW, has evolved more Active Rock since former crosstown CITADEL Active WKLQ switched to Sports last SUMMER... WGRD Shifts To Active Rock (Tue, 2/23)


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is sad to report the passing of MAB Past President, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, MAB Foundation Honorary Board Member and former WOOD Grand Rapids executive Willard "Bill" Schroeder. Schroeder passed away Tuesday, February 23 at his home in East Grand Rapids. He was 96.

Schroeder's Michigan connection began in 1950, when the new WOOD Radio/Grand Rapids owner Harry Bitner hired him as general manager of the station. At that point, WOOD Radio was making plans to add a television station and on October 15, 1951, WOOD-TV went on the air with the first "live" programming in West Michigan. In 1962, WOOD-FM signed on. Under Bill's guidance, WOOD Broadcasting introduced area residents to everything from color television to personalities such as Bruce Grant, Frank Slaymaker and Buck Matthews. Upon retirement as general manager of the TV station, Schroeder remained active as president of WOOD Broadcasting until 1984 when the stations were sold.

Through his broadcasting work in West Michigan, Schroeder was elected president of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 1963 and in June of 1964, he was elected chairman of the board of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). He assumed the job would be traditionally honorary; but after NAB president LeRoy Collins resigned to join the Johnson administration, the NAB decided to create a two-man team to head the association. Schroeder became a working chairman, assigned to Washington in partnership with NAB president Vince Wasilewski. For the balance of his term, he juggled two hats and occupied two desks, one in Washington and the other in Grand Rapids.

During his life, Bill was named "Man of the Year" by both the United Fund and the Advertising Club of Grand Rapids. He served on the boards of the YMCA, Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Way, St. Mary's Hospital, Aquinas College, West Michigan Public Broadcasting and Kendall School of Design.

Bill Schroeder was honored by his fellow broadcasters with the MAB's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also a member of the MAB Foundation Founders Club which provides scholarships to deserving broadcast media students in Michigan. Those desiring to make contributions to a scholarship fund in Bill's honor may do so by clicking this link to donate online or contacting Julie Sochay at mabf@michmab.com.

Schroeder was born June 6, 1913 in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in journalism school at the University of Missouri. Upon graduation in 1934, Bill was recruited by Hearst Corporation, and at age 23, became a radio advertising sales person at the Hearst station in Pittsburgh, WCAE. He later rose to the position of sales manager of the station and then was transferred and promoted to the general manager position at the company's New York City station. While in New York, Bill met his future wife Barbara, who was teaching radio at Briarcliff College. He and Barbara eventually would have three daughters, Gail, Sally and Christine, and one son, David.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. March 6 at the Kent Country Club in Grand Rapids.


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 26, 2010



Grand Rapids Press:

When meteorologist Ginger Zee graduated from Rockford High School in 1999, one of her goals was to be on NBC's "Today" show by age 30. That dream is about to become a reality for the 29-year-old former WOOD-TV (Channel 8) meteorologist. Zee will make her debut on the "Today" show, which airs from 7-9 a.m. Saturday. "I cannot believe it. I made a goal and it is happening," said Zee, who worked as a meteorologist on WOOD-TV and WLAV-FM (96.9) before moving to Chicago's NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV (Channel 5) in September 2006... Former WOOD-TV meteorologist Ginger Zee to appear on NBC 'Today' show (Fri, 2/26)


Astute observers of the local newscasts might have noticed that WZZM-TV 13's sports segments look a little different these days. OK, a lot different. According to sports director Tom Clyde, WZZM has been making a distinct effort to beef up its local coverage for the 6 p.m. broadcasts. But since the WZZM sports department currently has only two on-air personalities -- Clyde and Dan Harland -- that meant adjustments had to be made. As a result, longtime news anchors Lee VanAmeyde and Juliet Dragos have handled shorter sports reports for the 11 p.m. broadcasts, mostly on Mondays and Tuesdays. But Clyde was adamant when he said WZZM is not looking to de-emphasize its sports presence... WZZM changes include anchors pitching in on sports (Fri, 2/26)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 28, 2010



Grand Rapids Press:

Former WOOD-TV (Channel 8) meteorologist Ginger Zee realized her longtime dream of being on NBC's "Today" show. Her Saturday debut as a fill in was a whirlwind. "The morning went so fast! It was a little hectic as the page had been instructed to walk me from my hotel to Studio 1A, but she went to the wrong hotel! So, I found my way, and from an earthquake to tsunamis and the storms across the nation, I had plenty to talk about in a very short amount of time," Zee said. Zee was kept in continual motion by the floor/production crew who helped her get from place to place, up and downstairs, inside and outside... Meteorologist Ginger Zee calls her 'Today' show debut a whirlind (Sun, 2/28)



Psychology Today:

I recently wrote about the myth of overnight success, and that switching careers often requires years of work to catch up on skill and salary level. This idea rings true for Shelley Irwin, a former physical therapist who went back to school at age 38 to pursue a career in radio. More than a decade later, she's an award-wining radio host at WGVU in Grand Rapids. She loves her job, but says the climb wasn't without sacrifice, from early morning wakeup calls to a steep pay cut to little room for relationships. We spoke over the phone a few weeks ago... Finding Her Voice, in Radio (Fri, 2/26)







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This page is a archive of entries in the West Michigan category from February 2010.

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