• Low power analog TV station W33BY Ch. 33 Detroit was granted an extension to its Special Temporary Authority to operate at reduced power through May 17, 2012 due to the loss of the tower for its transmitting antenna.
• Low power analog TV station W33BY Ch. 33 Detroit was granted an extension to its Special Temporary Authority to operate at reduced power through May 17, 2012 due to the loss of the tower for its transmitting antenna.
• The FCC granted Cumulus Media's placing of its Classic Rock WRSR-FM 103.9 Owosso in to trust (Potential Broadcasting as trustee) so it can be sold due to ownership concentration concerns in the Flint market with the recent merger of Citadel and Cumulus.
There will soon be one less ownership group in Michigan television with today's announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group will be purchasing Freedom Communications for $385 million pending government and shareholder approvals and closing. The deal includes a total of eight TV stations in Michigan, Florida, Texas, New York, Tennessee, and Oregon that reach 2.63% of the U.S. TV households.
Freedom currently owns CBS affiliate WWMT-TV Ch. 3 in the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo market along with ABC affiliate WLAJ-TV Ch. 53 in the Lansing market. Sinclair's Michigan station is Flint's FOX affiliate WSMH-TV Ch. 66. The deal also includes the CW affiliates on the .2 subchannels of WWMT and WLAJ.
"We are excited about bringing the Freedom stations into the Sinclair portfolio, particularly in light of our recent agreement to acquire seven television stations from Four Points Media," commented David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair. "Not only will this transaction, when coupled with the Four Points transaction, result in us owning two full power stations in compliance with FCC regulations in West Palm Beach, Freedom's largest market, but it allows us to expand our middle market position and network diversification. We believe our expertise and presence will enable us to improve the stations' competitive position and profitability. We look forward to welcoming the Freedom employees to the Sinclair family."
"We believe this transaction will benefit both companies and our respective viewers, advertisers and the communities we serve," commented Mitchell Stern, Freedom Communications' Chief Executive Officer. "We anticipate a smooth transition for the Freedom stations as they become part of one of the leading U.S. broadcasting companies."
• Radioactive, LLC Contemporary Hits WUPZ FM 94.9 Chocolay Twp/Marquette was granted its license to cover for a power increase from 58,000 watts @ 456 feet to 100,000 watts @ 512 feet.
November 9th National Emergency Alert System test shortened
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the direction of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, announced today that the duration of the audio for the first ever nationwide EAS test scheduled for November 9th at 2 p.m. Eastern has been shortened from two and half minutes to thirty seconds. Stations should now be able to complete the entire required test in a minute or less.
The test will include all radio, television, satellite (radio and TV) and cable systems in the U.S.A.
Even with plenty of advance notice and a clear message that the event it is merely a test, there is concern that some listeners/viewers may still be confused and overwhelm things like the 911 system. A shorter test may mitigate unnecessary negative reactions.
The Eastern Echo:
Michigan Radio recently finished its fall fundraiser. It raised $41,000 more than its $850,000 goal. This might come as a surprise to some, as popular perception is news radio is nearing its demise. Steve Schram, director of Michigan Radio, said the station is flourishing...
Full story: News sources adapt to listeners (Wed, 11/2)
WDET-FM reporter Rob St. Mary has created a recording called "Detroit's Image: An Audio Collage" that covers the last 50 years of the sounds of radio and television in Detroit.
Full story: WDET's sound collage chronicles Motor City history through song, speech and media memory (Wed, 11/2)
• Four LIN Media analog low power TV stations in West Michigan have been granted construction permits for digital flash cuts. These stations will switch from analog to digital on their current channels: WOBC-CA Ch. 14 Battle Creek, WOGC-CA Ch. 25 Holland, WOHO-CA Ch. 33 Holland, and WOKC-CA Ch. 50 Kalamazoo. WOBC, WOHO, and WOKZ are currently used to rebroadcast MyNetworkTV affiliate WXSP Grand Rapids and WOGC is used to rebroadcast NBC affiliate WOOD-TV Grand Rapids.
A tumultuous couple of weeks on the Detroit radio dial got even more chaotic this morning with a format flip at Clear Channel's WDTW-FM 106.7 which has moved again to a rock format, this time as "106.7 The D", heavily leaning on 70s and 80s classic rock including Rush, Van Halen, The Police, The Cars, AC/DC, Kiss, The Talking Heads, Guns n' Roses, ZZ Top, Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Petty, Bill Squier, Journey, Bon Jovi, Boston, and U2.
Gone is the rhythmic-leaning pop format "106.7 The Beat" along with the entire on-air staff as the new format launched with a 10,000-song block of music. The abrupt switch could be a move to restrengthen the ratings of sister station Channel 95-5 (WKQI) - which features a contemporary hits format, but without many of the gold rhythmic songs that 106.7 played. Pop music listeners have had a wide selection of frequencies to sample - and are still left with WDVD-FM 96.3, Amp Radio (WDZH-FM 98.7), and Fresh 100 (WNIC-FM 100.3) as options following today's switch at 106.7. Each of those stations, along with WMGC-FM (105.1) have been targeting a similar audience as 106.7 was, albeit each with a slightly different approach to their music.
Rumors have been circulating for months that legendary afternoon drive host Arthur Penhallow was to be returning to the air soon - this format would be a perfect fit once the musical marathon concludes in early to mid-December.
The history of the 106.7 frequency includes stops on the rock format from the early 1970s through 1980 and again from 1999 - 2006. Arguably, the station's most successful run was as 'W4 Country' from 1980 - 1999 and ever since has struggled to find a consistent audience despite numerous attempts at different sounds.
The classic rock format on 106.7 has started out with a harder rock sound than what's currently being offered by heritage classic rocker WCSX-FM 94.7 - and without the pop songs heard on classic hits WOMC-FM 104.3 and variety hits WDRQ-FM 93.1. The station sounds like it's being programmed to listeners that remember listening to rockers like WRIF-FM 101.1 and the old WABX-FM 99.5, WLLZ-FM 98.7, and 106.7 as W4 when those stations battled for rock listeners from the mid 1970s - early 1980s. The playlist on '106.7 The D' dips into the 1990s in addition to it's heavy 70s/80s focus.
Today's flip at 106.7 quickly follows other moves on FM in Detroit; Hip hop Hot 102.7 changed frequency to 107.5, making room for gospel on 102.7 and silencing the R&B format previously on 107.5. Also an FM translator carrying smooth jazz at 104.7 was taken off the air due to interference with Toledo rocker WIOT-FM 104.7.
But perhaps the biggest change on the radio dial is yet to happen with last month's announcement that legendary morning host Jim Harper will be retiring from WMGC-FM 105.1 at year's end. That station recently dropped its pop format for All-Christmas ... at least temporarily.
Other stories on the flip:
Detroit Free Press:
WDTW Flips To Classic Rock As 106.7 The D (Fri, 11/4)
106.7 Detroit Is Beaten Away With Rock (Fri, 11/4)
Cumulus layoffs affect on-air and off-air talent in Detroit
With the recent $2.5 billion takeover of of Citadel, which included three stations in Detroit, new owner Cumulus is reducing the workforce at the cluster that includes news/talk WJR AM 760, pop WDVD-FM 96.3, and variety hits WDRQ-FM 93.1 (Doug FM).
On-air talent no longer with Cumulus include fill-in and weekend host John McCulloch and news personalities Donna Barbera and Dayna Clark from WJR along with evening host Scott Vertical and overnight host Jeanmarie Pavol from WDVD. Various social network and trade publication postings claim the layoffs also included engineer Kevin Hawley along with traffic reporters and people in production, accounting, and promotions - possibly up to seventeen people in all.
Tim Martz's Radio Power applies to buy a far east side FM translator
Radio Assist Ministry has agreed to sell an extremely low power FM translator (1 watt, and presently silent) currently at 97.5 licensed to Harrison Township to Martz's Radio Power for $32,000 pending the usual government approvals.
There is now an application on file for the translator to change frequency to 107.1, increase power to the maximum 250 watts with a move to Roseville near 12 Mile Rd. and Groesbeck Hwy, and change its community of license to Detroit.
The application filed with the FCC for the sale shows the translator would rebroadcast the HD-3 signal of WGPR-FM (107.5) - currently known as modern rock 94.3 The Bone and also heard on an FM translator at 94.3 that is weak in many parts of Macomb County due to co-channel interference from Canadian station CKSY-FM out of Chatham, ON.
Mayor Dave Bing has tapped his former communications czar and one-time TV executive to lead and revamp the city's government cable access channels, The Detroit News has learned. Robert N. Warfield, who served as Bing communications chief from the beginning of the mayor's first term in May 2009 to June 2009, resigned because the mayor was unaware he pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2004. He is set to begin his new role as director of Media Services Department on Monday.
Full story: Bing taps former WDIV exec to revamp city's 2 cable channels (Fri, 11/4)
97.7 FM Cheboygan signs on as 'Santa 97.7'
WQEZ FM 97.7 Cheboygan has become Michigan's newest radio station, it signed on as "Santa 97.7" yesterday with plans to air a commercial-free all-Christmas music format until after the holiday when it will relaunch with its (yet to be announced) regular format.
The Class C3 station (3,400 watts @ 499 feet) is owned by Del Reynolds and was granted its construction permit this past summer.
FM 91.3 in Tawas area returns to the air
WRQC FM 91.3 East Tawas returned to the airwaves in late October under new owner Baraga Broadcasting with a religious/Catholic format. The station had been off the air under previous owner Northern Christian Broadcasting after briefly operating with a Christian Rock format.
Northern Star Broadcasting sells its remaining Upper Peninsula radio station
Long-silent WIHC FM 97.9 Newberry has been sold by Northern Star Broadcasting to West Central Michigan Media Ministries (WCMMM) $150,000, pending approvals and closing. WIHC essentially became an orphan after Northern Star sold off its U.P. properties to Sovereign Communications, but was prevented from including the station by ownership concentration levels in Sault Ste Marie.
WCMMM operates a Cadillac, MI based religious station.
Detroit Free Press:
That didn't stop Redmond, who traded his stick for a microphone and has spent 32 years in the radio and TV booth as a hockey color analyst -- the past 26 for the Wings and, since 1997, with Fox Sports Detroit.
Full story: Hockey Hall of Fame nod caps Red Wings announcer Mickey Redmond's second career (Sun, 11/6)
Although the NBA labor impasse is ongoing and no one knows when players will return to the court, Pistons fans will notice a change when they tune in to watch whenever the season begins. Fox Sports Detroit, which also carries the Tigers and Red Wings, will have more responsibilities when it comes to airing the Pistons.
Full story: FS Detroit takes sole responsibility for Pistons broadcast (Sun, 11/6)
• Cornerstone University Contemporary Christian WAYG FM 89.9 Grand Rapids has been granted a construction permit to change frequency to 89.7 and change power from 4,900 watts @ 207 feet to 3,200 watts @ 243 feet with a modified directional pattern. A similar construction permit that was granted in 2008 expired earlier this year.
At least a pair of stations made the move to all-Christmas in the area in the past several days including WTRV-FM 100.5 Grand Rapids and, just this morning, WNIC-FM 100.3 in Detroit.
They join Detroit's WMGC-FM and Cheboygan's WQEZ-FM as pre-Thanskgiving options for fans of jolly old St. Nick to get their early holiday fix. Toledo's WRVF-FM 101.5 was on the bandwagon over the weekend as well, but went back to their normal format by morning drive today.
Michigan is arguably a leading state when it comes to radio stations giving up their normal formats in favor of all-Christmas music well before the actual holiday season begins. One of the first stations in the U.S.A. to program with all-holiday music before Christmas Eve was Gladwin country outlet WGDN-FM 103.1 many years ago -- a switch that proved to be popular with listeners that has now been expanded by hundreds of other stations from coast to coast starting around Halloween.
Undoubtedly there will be numerous other stations across Michigan that make the temporary switchover in the coming weeks, if not days. But metro-Detroiters now lead the state, and the country, in the amount of Christmas music they can hear on their FM radios.
Now Chicago's sweetheart belongs to America. This week Ginger Zee officially starts working for ABC's Good Morning America as weekend meteorologist and weekday contributor. It's a huge step up for the former farm girl and high school homecoming queen who'd been a star attraction at WMAQ-Channel 5 until she signed off last month. Named after the Ginger character on Gilligan's Island, Zee, 30, grew up in western Michigan and worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids before joining NBC 5 as weekend meteorologist in 2006.
Full story: For Ginger Zee at ABC, 'absolute dream' comes true (Mon, 11/7)
For over four decades, Detroit radio and Dick Purtan (pictured) were nearly synonymous. Nationally, he has a collection of awards like "Major Market Air Personality of the Year" (twice,) NAB's Marconi Award and four times he received R&R's Personality of the Year. His radio show has been included in the Museum of Radio and Television Broadcasting. Dick Purtan is as good as it gets in radio. When he retired from the air in March of 2010, it's safe to say there was a Purtan-shaped hole in the Detroit radio scene.
Full story: Radio great turns to podcasting (Mon, 11/7)
• Radio Power is acquiring FM translator W248AQ 97.5 Harrison Twp. (Macomb County) from Radio Assist Ministry for $32,000 pending FCC approval and closing. This would be Radio Power's (Martz Communications) third Detroit-area translator; Martz currently leases the HD2 and HD3 subchannels of WGPR-FM 107.5 and rebroadcasts the HD3 on a translator at 94.3. A similar arrangement for the HD2 on a translator on 104.7 ended last month due to interference concerns.
This is a test, this is only a test
Those words are not part of the nationwide Emergency Alert System test scheduled for 2 p.m. ET tomorrow. Over-the-air radio and TV broadcasters, along with cable and satellite services, will be all be interrupting normal programming tomorrow - and if you're tuned in, there will be no escape from the test - unless you can tune into an over-the-air station from Ontario.
Specs Howard School's Dick Kernan honored
The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) has honored Specs Howard School of Media Arts' Vice President of Industry Relations Dick Kernen with the Dream Makers Gala Partner Excellence Award.
Kernen was selected for his dedication and commitment to the DHCD mission in the past year through Specs Howard School of Media Arts. Among the reasons for his selection are his contributions, counsel and support, which helped DHCD build the capacity to serve more children and their families in educational partnerships with the school.
DHDC formed in 1997 with the goal to reduce neighborhood violence by encouraging the leaders of several rival gangs to call a truce and "retire" in return for jobs in local Hispanic-owned manufacturing companies.
96.3 WDVD and Doug FM Canned Food Festival set for Thursday
Anyone who donates at least five cans of food at any MJR Digital Cinema (excluding the Adrian location) will get free admission to the movie of their choosing from 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Thursday as part of a "win-win" promotion to help feed the area's hungry while getting to see a first-run movie on the cheap.
Visit963WDVD.com or 931DougFM.com for complete details.
• Reynolds Communications is acquiring Northern Star's 8 northern Michigan radio stations including the Classic Rock 'The Bear' combo of 98.1 WGFN Glen Arbor / 93.9 WAVC Mio / 94.5 WLJZ Mackinaw City / 107.1 WCKC Cadillac, Country 'Big Country' WMKC 102.9 Indian River, Rock combo 'Real Rock' 95.5 WJZJ Glen Arbor / 105.1 WGFM 105.1 Cheboygan, and Classic Country WCBY AM 1240 Cheboygan pending FCC approval and closing. Sale price is $1.8 million plus the proceeds from the previously announced sale of WIHC FM 97.9 Newberry.
• Radioactive, LLC Classic Hits WUPT FM 100.3 Gwinn/Marquette was granted its license to cover for a power increase from 66,000 watts @ 456 feet to 100,000 watts @ 512 feet.
• Analog low power TV station W18BT Ch. 18 Alpena has applied for Remain Silent Authority so it can install digital equipment.
FM 93.5 in metro Detroit becoming a battleground for FM translators looking to relocate
Just recently, Tim Martz's Radio Power applied to move is currently silent FM translator from 93.9 (which had previously been heard on FM 104.7) to 93.5. Today comes another application to the FCC, this one from the Educational Media Foundation (operators of the Christian "K-Love" and "Air-1" networks) for a silent translator to move to 93.5. EMF's W256AY had previously operated on FM 99.1 prior to Windsor's CJAM taking over that frequency as it moved from FM 91.5- that translator has been silent ever since.
So now there are two operators fighting for a frequency for translators that will likely cause concern for yet another broadcaster - Howell's WHMI-FM 93.5 based in Livingston county, but also serving a decent portion of western Oakland County west of the I-275 corridor and northward up to Genesee County.
It appears that the Detroit/Windsor market has now essentially reached the breaking point in terms of available frequencies on FM and what's left will now be fought over through the FCC.
Results cloudy with EAS test
The follow up of the nationwide Emergency Alert System test seems to be that it was anything but smooth sailing with many cable and satellite systems failing to issue the alert and that there were even scattered failures with over-the-air broadcasters across the country.
A quick sampling in metro Detroit showed that most radio stations did air the test -- but at varying times near 2 p.m. -- it was not close to being in sync. The audio of the test was wrought with interference and cross-talk and the test itself didn't seem to end cleanly with regular programming resuming before the end alert tones aired. My cable television system also appeared to fail to broadcast the test on cable-only stations (using a TV with a Cable Card, not a converter box).
It looks like there is much work to be done with a national system, and there will be more of these tests in our near future.
Northern Star Broadcasting selling off remaining stations in northern Lower Peninsula
A huge transaction is under way up north as Northern Star Broadcasting exits radio in Michigan by selling its nine station group to longtime broadcasters Del and Mary Reynolds for about $1.8 million. Northern Star's radio stations include the classic rock 'The Bear' combo of 98.1 WGFN Glen Arbor / 93.9 WAVC Mio / 94.5 WLJZ Mackinaw City / 107.1 WCKC Cadillac, country 'Big Country' WMKC 102.9 Indian River, rock combo 'Real Rock' 95.5 WJZJ Glen Arbor / 105.1 WGFM 105.1 Cheboygan, and classic country WCBY AM 1240 Cheboygan along with the silent (and being sold off) WIHC FM 97.9 Newberry.
Northern Star previously sold off 11 of its 12 Upper Peninsula stations to Sovereign Communications in 2010. Del Reynolds has a long history of owning and operating radio stations in northern Michigan, but had stepped down his involvement in recent years. This transaction, in which Reynolds is repurchasing a number of the stations he used to own in Northern Michigan, changes that dramatically.
CBS RADIO Country WYCD/DETROIT is honoring U.S. troops on active duty and those who have served with rare, live calls from the front lines in AFGHANISTAN and interviews with local active duty members from SELFRIDGE AIR FORCE BASE in HARRISON TOWNSHIP, MI. The VETERANS DAY celebration takes place this FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th and begins with WYCD's DR. DON MORNING SHOW at 6a (CT).
Full story: WYCD To Honors Troops On November 11th With All-Day Broadcast (Wed, 11/9)
Grand Rapids Press:
If you love Christmas music, the most wonderful time of the year has arrived. Radio station Star 105.7 switched today its all-Christmas, all the time format today with more than six weeks to go before Dec. 25.
Full story: If you like Christmas melodies on your radio, the most wonderful time of the year has arrived (Tue, 11/8)
Central Michigan Life:
University President George Ross will be co-hosting a radio show from 3 to 4:30 p.m. today on Modern Rock 91.5. Ross will be joining Black Circle Radio's hosts to talk about music while playing songs he personally selected.
Full story: Ross to co-host 91.5 radio show Wednesday, play his vinyl favorites (Wed, 11/9)
• Freedom Communications CBS affiliate WWMT TV Ch. 3 Kalamazoo was granted its license to cover for the station's post-transition digital facilities.
Grand Rapids Press:
For radio personality Kim Carson, publishing a book and launching not one but two lines of greeting cards would have remained a pipe dream, but colon cancer plus her faith in God "made everything possible."
Full story: Radio personality Kim Carson releases book, launches greeting card lines (Tue, 11/8)
Rockford High School's 1999 Homecoming Queen is about to become America's newest sweetheart. Thirty-year-old Ginger Zee was named meteorologist for ABC News' weekend edition of "Good Morning America."
Full story: Rockford's sweetheart, now America's weather anchor on 'Good Morning America' (Thu, 11/10)
Commentary by Art Vuolo, Jr.
As I pen these words, I am listening to a talk show podcast from LA's big AM powerhouse KFI. It's hosted by Jim Ladd, who is to southern California radio what Arthur Penhallow was to us here in Detroit. Arthur P. opted to leave WRIF after 39 years over contractual issues, but Jim Ladd was unceremoniously shown the door at Cumulus-owned KLOS in Los Angeles, which ironically was once sister station to The Riff! In a truly unprecedented move, KFI allowed Mr. Ladd to do a "final show" and a chance to say farewell for three hours on Sunday night November 6th. It was great radio and kudos to Clear Channel LA for allowing it. That is very uncharacteristic in today's seemingly cookie-cutter radio landscape.
Jim Ladd did not exit KLOS alone. He was followed by PD and DJ Bob Buchmann, production director Howard Hoffman and others. It's part of the staff trimming that always seems to happen when companies consolidate. In this case it was the ABC stations, which morphed into Citadel and now to Cumulus.
Locally Cumulus now owns WJR (760 AM), WDVD (96.3 FM) and WDRQ (93.1 FM). There were no cuts made at 93.1 Doug-FM since the station is a computer with a hard drive loaded with commercials, promos and mostly classic hits. WJR and WDVD were not as fortunate.
People flying out the revolving door of the Fisher Building included the WDVD night jock Scott Vertical, who dates back to the days when 96.3 FM was known as WPLT The Planet. The overnight host Jeanmarie Pavol was also told she can get more sleep now. Up on the 8th floor, WJR (known for news & talk) jettisoned two news reporters: Danya Clark and Donna Barbera and an excellent talk host in John McCulloch. John was also widely used as a fill-in host, and with the holidays ahead, his dismissal seemed as ludicrous as the women let go in the news room. Others were also cut, including production manager Mark Mitchell.
Throughout the country big powerful AM news-talk stations are latching onto an FM for more reach and better (in office buildings) reception- and Cumulus is a big fan of such simulcasting. It would not surprise me to see 93.1 FM extend the WJR brand on FM. Another possibility might have WDVD moving to 93.1 and 96.3 (which was originally WJR-FM) being the FM voice of The Great Voice of the Great Lakes. Black-talk and Gospel WCHB (1200 AM) recently got a low power FM on 99.9, and across the river in Windsor, CBE (1550 AM) shut its 10,000 watt signal down and moved the whole radio station to 97.5 FM.
The big news since last we spoke was in the Clear Channel complex out in Farmington Hills. The Beat did NOT go on (it went off) at 106.7, as WDTW-FM flipped into an aptly named classic rocker known as "The D." Since that is the new hip name for Detroit, it's a clever moniker. After they finish the typical 10,000 songs in a row means of attracting an audience, the real proof will come when they staff the station with (dare I use the word) on-air talent. There is a slew of great talent currently available locally and I hope the powers-to-be at Clear Channel Detroit staff the 106.7 frequency with good people who actually know how to entertain. With this format change one can only wonder if perhaps WOMC (104.3 FM) will revert back to more mainstream oldies versus the 70's and 80's classic hits, which borders on classic rock.
The FCC flunked the test! On Wednesday 11-9-11 (notice the inclusion of 9-11 in the date) every radio and television station, including satellite, was to run a simultaneous EAS (Emergency Alert System) test nationwide in case (God forbid) we needed to enact such an "all points bulletin." I was intrigued and felt like flipping through as many radio and TV stations as possible at 2 p.m. EST to hear this amazing group effort. With so many stations running on multi-second delays it did not happen as simultaneously as originally conceived. Detroit's top station 97.1 The Ticket didn't kick in until a full 2 minutes after the top of the hour! My parents out in the Las Vegas area called when it finally kicked in out there...7 minutes past two! It's a good thing this was only a test. Had it been an actual emergency, God help us all.
At the risk of sounding like the late Andy Rooney, I really wonder why the nicest man in Detroit radio, with over thirty years of tenure, Kevin O'Neill, is still off the air. His last job was the evening shift at WMGC (Magic 105.1) until they felt semi-automation would be more economical. WMGC was the first local FM to deluge us with endless amounts of Christmas music. With the exit of longtime market legend Jim Harper, now only about a month away, who will fill those shoes? The perfect candidate is already in the building...afternoon host Chris Edmonds. Who should then move into 3 to 7 pm? Hello? Bring back Kevin O'Neill putting true "market vets" in both drive time slots! It makes a lot of sense...and dollars!
Finally, I can't ignore two of the biggest stories of recent days. The Foo-Pa and Joe Pa. Oakland University was the spot where Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry had a "memory malfunction" which has been played and replayed till we're sick of hearing it. Thanks to our over-active news media, that screw-up could knock him out of the political race.
Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno also seems to have forgotten the serious charges of child abuse by a member of his staff. Hey, I'm lot younger than Joe Pa and I forget things on a daily basis. That doesn't absolve sins, but it explains how "things can happen." One thing is certain...the Penn State sex abuse scandal is providing sports-talk radio with a mountain of fodder. Admittedly, like those of us embarrassed that we slow down to look at an accident, I can't tear myself away from listening to sports-talk radio. Remember, what a far less powerful media, did to the reputation of Kent State in the mid-70's when four students were killed? The only good thing from all of this will be gigantic ratings for sports radio. College sports, like most of corporate broadcasting, is big business, and let's see what happens when the donations from wealthy alumni slow to a crawl. It's always about the money. Meanwhile radio (and TV) are eating it up!
The National EAS Test, held on Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m., was generally a successful test for Michigan radio, TV, cable and satellite providers.
"The largest problem was on the audio signal sent by FEMA on the Primary Station network which affected all of the U.S.," says Karole White, President and CEO of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB). "Aside from that national problem, the remainder of the concerns are currently being identified. Since there has never been an opportunity to actually test the national code, there were, understandably, some problems that were not possible to find until now. We are working with those few stations to make sure we're ready for the next test, or an actual warning event, should that ever be needed."
The MAB was pleased to work with the Michigan Cable Telecommunications Association (MCTA) on this project, and for the wonderful cooperation between all of the engineers, both broadcast and cable. The National EAS Test did exactly what it was designed to do - it uncovered the problem areas that need more work.
According to White, some of the issues experienced across the nation will disappear once all stations, NOAA, FEMA and local emergency managers, begin utilizing the common alerting protocol (CAP) and digital EAS equipment. Full adoption of the new CAP system is required by June 2012.
"This test was done using the legacy analog distribution system from FEMA to a set of specially equipped AM stations and relies on an over-the-air path, which the federal government must maintain for the most serious of national emergencies," said Larry Estlack, MAB Director of Technology and Michigan EAS Chairman. "The State of Michigan, as well as many counties, also use a digital delivery system which uses satellite and Internet. When remaining stations and cable systems complete installations using new CAP compliant equipment connected to the Internet portion, we then will have multiple paths for emergency communications to assure that Michigan residents are informed, no matter what kind of media devices they are using."
The EMnet system offers a back-bone which can activate may other warning and communications systems with one entry. It allows emergency managers to place important emergency messages on radio and TV, based on certain criteria, even when the station is automated with no one on duty.
"Michigan emergency managers have tested and have been using the new EMnet system for well over two years," said Estlack. "We are working with the state police to put the final touches on a new statewide emergency communications plan required by the FCC. It will be an evolving document as things change. Right now we are working on local emergency communications plans and once that is complete we will file the plan with the FCC and FEMA."
"Emergency managers around the state are to be congratulated for their foresight in purchasing a communications system that will do so many things," said White. "The EMnet emergency communications system has the capability to grow with advancements in technology. Many earlier systems did just one thing and when people moved away from that technology, the system became outdated. EMnet now is in every LP 1 and 2 station in the state, Michigan State Police MIOC and Emergency Operations and in the hands of the majority of emergency managers in the state."
To the residents of Michigan this should be a comfort. You will receive emergency communications in a number of different formats to assure that everyone is informed in times of emergency.
Grand Rapids Press:
The start of Mickey Redmond's long NHL broadcasting career was purely accidental. He had attempted a comeback as a player in 1979, but that was cut short after two weeks due to back problems. When he returned home, he received a phone call from a friend who asked if he was interested in doing color commentary for 15 Detroit Red Wings games. Just like that, he was back in the game.
Full story: Red Wings voice Mickey Redmond honored for outstanding contributions as a broadcaster (Fri, 11/11)
Grand Rapids Press:
Say adios to a Spanish-language radio station in Grand Rapids. If you tune in today to 1410-AM, you might hear a setup beginning "a priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar ...."
Full story: All comedy format debuts on Grand Rapids AM radio with Funny 1410 (Mon, 11/14)
Detroit Free Press:
While it always has been important for WDVD-FM (96.3) morning show hosts Blaine Fowler, Allyson Martinek and Dana Masucci to stay positive and make a difference in the community, the threesome now are trying to change the conversation about jobs in metro Detroit.
Full story: WDVD's Blaine Fowler and Allyson Martinek add a jobs promo (Mon, 11/14)
You can't walk down the streets of Saugatuck or Douglas without seeing a piece of history, from the ball diamond at Beery Field where cranks and hurlers exchange good-natured huzzahs on summer weekends to the hand-cranked chain ferry that crosses the Kalamazoo River at the same site boats have been docking for 173 years. The towns are making more history this month by being the first community to be featured in the new Michigan Hometown Stories documentary series on WGVU public television.
Full story: WGVU to feature Saugatuck-Douglas in Michigan Hometown Stories documentary series (Fri, 11/12)
The broadcasts develop like hot jazz. Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels do not rehearse or read scripts. They improvise, to the beat and rhythm of the action on the ice. The accompaniments often originate in Redmond's wise and wonderfully original mind. A fusion of professor and humorist, he teaches and entertains. During the inductions at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto today Redmond will receive the crowning prize for announcers of the game, the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
Full story: Wings announcer Mickey Redmond humbled by Hall honor (Mon, 11/14)
CUMULUS Active Rocker WKQZ/SAGINAW APD/MD/afternooner MATT AT WKQZ is out. MATT posted on his FACEBOOK page, "Well, its been a lot of fun guys... But, due to budget cuts... I am no longer with Z93"
Full story: Matt At WKQZ No Longer At WKQZ (Mon, 11/14)
• Lopester Broadcasting is selling the construction permit for new FM 98.7 Pentwater to Synergy Lakeshore Licenses, LLC for $34,750 pending FCC approval and closing. Synergy also owns Classic Rock WWKR-FM 94.1 Hart and Adult Contemporary WMLQ-FM 97.7 Manistee.
• No notable activity for November 10.
New Detroit Public Television initiative to assist community, educators
In response to a dropout crisis that could cripple Michigan's future, Detroit Public Television (DPTV) is launching a new community initiative, as one of only 20 public broadcasting stations from around the country selected to lead major localized initiatives as part of the national American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen program.
American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen is a public media initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help local communicating across America address the dropout crisis. The Southeast Michigan program is designed to bring together all of the essential partners that belong in the discussion of our children's health, safety, well-being and potential for success --schools, parents, teachers, administrators, and community organizations, as well as students themselves. According to Education Week, Detroit is one of the epicenters of the dropout crisis. The publication projected that in a recent year, more than 8,700 teenagers would become nongraduates in the City of Detroit alone.
DPTV's initiative begins with a innovative and interactive Teacher Town Hall on Friday November 18, 2011, from 8-9 p.m. on DPTV's WTVS-TV (Channel 56) and on dptv.org and continuing from 9-9:30 p.m. at dptv.org. This Teacher Town Hall is designed to identify solutions to increase the region's graduate rate, starting right away, with this school year. National journalist Hari Sreenivasan of the PBS NewsHour will moderate the live program. DPTV's event is one of 12 Teacher Town Halls across the country, supported in part by CPB and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Topics for the moderated discussion will be based on surveys of Metro Detroit teachers that have that have revealed the issues that teachers and students are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. During the live broadcast/webcast, selected panelists will discuss how the graduation rate should be improved. Teachers in the studio audience will participate in the dialogue. All identified solutions to help improve the graduation rate will be listed online at www.miamericangraduate.org for teachers to use in their classes Monday morning, November 21st.
"The Teacher Town Hall is the kickoff of what will be a long-term commitment to work with the Southeast Michigan community on this vital issue," said Rich Homberg, President and General Manager of Detroit Public Television. "We want to use the power of media to provide the community with new tools needed to raise awareness of this dropout crisis and convene the people who have the best chance at reversing the trends."
WXYZ-TV Ch. 7:
The familiar voice of local radio legend Dick Purtan will once again return to your home or car with the launch of his 10th and final CD. Purtan, a National Radio Hall of Fame inductee who spent 45 years on the air in Detroit will release "Best of Dick Purtan & Purtan's People" Volume 10 via Amazon.com on November 21. It features a number of Purtan's favorite comedy sketches and conversations leading up to his retirement last year.
Full story: Dick Purtan releases his 10th and final CD (Tue, 11/15)
• Baraga Broadcasting Religious WTCY FM 88.3 Greilickville / Traverse City was granted a construction permit to modify power from 7,000 watts @ 584 feet to 4,400 watts at 679 feet.
• Low power digital TV station WHNE-LD Ch. 26 Flint was granted its license to cover for power increase from 1,600 to 15,000 watts.
• No notable activity for November 15.
Tri-Cities jingling all the way with WHNN
WHNN-FM 96.1 switched into all-Christmas mode earlier today, dropping classic hits in favor of the sounds of the season. The station has flipped to holiday music for several consecutive years.
Kevin Matthews exits WLAV-FM 96.9 Grand Rapids mornings
Kevin Matthews' most recent go-round on Grand Rapids radio has ended - he'll no longer be hosting mornings on classic rock WLAV-FM 96.9. He returned to the Furniture City five years ago after a long career in Chicago radio - after moving there from Grand Rapids a number of years ago.
Market veterans Tony Gates and Michelle McKormick will take over morning drive at WLAV starting tomorrow.
WLAV owner Cumulus Media has been making numerous cuts at many stations across Michigan as part of the fall out of the company's merger with what was Citadel Broadcasting.
Grand Rapids Press:
Kevin Matthews, longtime broadcaster for 97 LAV-FM, appears to be off the air in Grand Rapids, part of the shakeout in Cumulus Media's takeover of Citadel Broadcasting.
Full story: Radio personality Kevin Matthews is off the air at 97-LAV, acquired by Cumulus Media in September (Thu, 11/17)
CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40 WSNX/GRAND RAPIDS PD ERIC O'BRIEN gets a nice write-up in RAPID GROWTH MEDIA for his love of food.
Full story: WSNX PD Eric O'Brien Loves Food (Thu, 11/17)
The mistletoe is hung by the transmitter with care in Mid-Michigan
A couple of new additions to the list of Michigan radio stations jumping on-board the all-Christmas music train: Lansing's WFMK-FM 99.1 and Bay City's WSAG-FM 104.1/WSAM AM 1400. Both stations switched earlier today.
Grand Rapids Press:
Kevin Matthews, disc jockey and comedian who got his start in Grand Rapids, rose to radio prominence in Chicago, and later returned to his roots at WLAV-FM in West Michigan, is off the air once again.
Full story: Cumulus Media silent on abrupt departure of Kevin Matthews from WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids (Fri, 11/18)
FOX Sports Detroit for the 14th consecutive year is producing exclusive television coverage of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Football Finals. The 2011 edition is Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26 at Ford Field.
Again this year, FOX Sports Detroit PLUS (FS PLUS) is the primary television outlet, carrying all eight games live. Friday night's Division 4 telecast will be simulcast on FOX Sports Detroit (FSD).
All 8 games will be archived for online viewing later at the MHSAA.TV website.
All games are also delivered in high definition on FOX Sports Detroit PLUS HD, available on select video providers including Comcast, Charter (lower peninsula), WOW!, AT&T U-Verse, DIRECTV, DISH Network and select others. FS PLUS channel listings by provider are available by clicking the "Channel Finder" tab at www.foxsportsdetroit.com.
Here is the telecast schedule, along with announcers assigned to each game:
Friday, November 25
- 10:00 AM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 8 - Mendon vs. Fowler (Play-by-Play: John Keating Analyst: Rob Rubick)
- 1:00 PM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 2 - Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Lowell (Play-by-Play: John Keating Analyst: Rob Rubick
- 4:30 PM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 6 - Constantine vs. Ithaca (Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: John Wangler)
- 7:30 PM, FS PLUS & FSD / HD: Division 4 - Marine City vs. Zeeland West (Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: John Wangler)
Saturday, November 26
- 10:00 AM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 7 - Pewamo-Westphalia vs. Saginaw Nouvel (Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick)
- 1:00 PM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 1 - Detroit Cass Tech vs. Detroit Catholic Central (Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick)
- 4:30 PM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 5 - Flint Powers Catholic vs. Lansing Catholic (Play-by-Play: John Keating Analyst: John Wangler)
- 7:30 PM, FS PLUS / HD: Division 3 - Orchard Lake St. Mary's vs. Mount Pleasant (Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: John Wangler)
Lansing Catholic QB Cooper Rush: Justin White reports on Cooper Rush, a soft-spoken but respected leader who leads the pass-happy, high-scoring attack at Lansing Catholic. Rush, who plans to play football at Central Michigan, broke or tied four state records in his team's regional final victory.
Walled Lake Central: Quarterback Zach Leimbach and his Walled Lake Central teammates advanced to the regional final while playing with heavy hearts. As reporter Shannon Hogan learned, the team learned along the way that football is more than just a game -- it's about enjoying life along the way.
Top Moments: From the archives of our MHSAA Football Friday Overtime show, a look back at some of the top moments throughout the state during the 2011 season.
Detroit's 96.3 WDVD aims to stuff buses with toys
Pop WDVD-FM 96.3 is trying to ensure no child goes without a toy this holiday season by inviting listeners to help stuff three buses full of new toys. The event will run from Thursday, December 1 through Sunday, December 4, 2011 from three locations: Kohl's on Ford Road in Canton; at Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Roads in Royal Oak; and Nino Salvaggio's on Hall Road in Clinton Township. 96.3 WDVD DJs are scheduled to broadcast live from the remotes all four days.
Listeners can help stuff the three buses by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to any of the Stuff-A-Bus locations. Toys will benefit local charities including Beaumont Children's Hospital, Canton Goodfellows, Ronald McDonald House, Neighborhood Service Organization, Orchards Children's Services, Volunteers of America, Bridgepoint and many others.
Stuff-A-Bus locations will be accepting donations from 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Grand Rapids Press:
Grand Rapids radio icon Kevin Matthews was dropped last week from WLAV-FM's morning lineup, but listeners haven't given up just yet.
Full story: 'Kevheads' still bemoaning the loss of Kevin Matthews from WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids (Mon, 11/21)
As all of you I won't turn down a chance to judge a cooking contest. I've judged casseroles, soups, cookies, appetizers and pies. But finally, someone has called upon me and my area of expertise - chocolate.
Looking for something divine to serve your Thanksgiving guests this year? You might want to try the holiday fare that won favor with judges recently during the WHNN, 96.1, Divine Desserts competition at The Saginaw News All About Women Expo.
Full story: Looking for a divine dessert? Here are a few certified winners from WHNN (Mon, 11/21)
CUMULUS MEDIA Urban AC WDZZ (Z92.7)/FLINT, MI PD AUGUST WALLACE found a way to help her listeners get through the holidays beyond just accepting donations. WDZZ teamed with cluster sister stations Country WFBE (B95) and Top 40 WWCK (CK105.5) for "The Food For Families Giveaway." Their efforts were aided by The Food Bank, The Flint Housing Commission and Catholic Charities.
Full story: WDZZ Heads Effort to Feed Families In Flint (Tue, 11/22)
Ed Burrows who was Michigan Radio's station manager from 1948-1970 passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Burrows was one of the leaders involved in securing federal funding for public radio through the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
Full story: Ed Burrows, former Michigan Radio station manager, dies at 94 (Mon, 11/21)
Michigan Radio and StoryCorps are celebrating the fourth annual National Day of Listening on Friday, November 25, 2011. On the day after Thanksgiving every year, StoryCorps is asking all Americans to start a new holiday tradition: set aside an hour to interview a friend, a loved one, or someone in your community about his or her life.
Full story: Thank a teacher: StoryCorps National Day of Listening (Mon, 11/21)
In a story that was six months in the making, WNEM aired an exclusive one-on-one interview this week with a man who accuses longtime U.S. congressman Dale Kildee of sexually molesting him 50 years ago. The interview has grabbed national headlines as Kildee, who has served Michigan's 5th congressional district since 1977, vehemently denies the allegations.
Full story: WNEM Interview Embroils Longtime Congressman in Sexual Abuse Scandal (Tue, 11/22)
The WNEM story that sparked a scandal involving U.S. congressman Dale Kildee this week began its life a year ago. Last year, WNEM anchor Katie O'Mara received a letter. It was from the sister of Patrick Kildee, the man who would eventually come forward and accuse Dale Kildee, his half cousin, of molesting him as an adolescent. The letter disclosed a pattern of abuse by the congressman and O'Mara started investigating.
Full story: WNEM's Story About a Congressman's Alleged Sexual Abuse Began with a Letter From His Relative (Tue, 11/22)
Grand Rapids Press:
Ellen Tailor, co-host of the "Gravy in the Morning" radio show on Hot-FM (105.3) and WJIM-FM (97.5) in Lansing, announced tonight on Facebook and Twitter that she is leaving Grand Rapids for a new job in Seattle.
Full story: Ellen Tailor to leave 'Gravy in the Morning' for Seattle's 'Fitz in the Morning' on KKWF (Tue, 11/22)
Broadcasting & Cable:
The Federal Trade Commission has concluded there are no anticompetitive implications to Sinclair's purchase of the Freedom Stations. That came in an early termination notice Tuesday, which is an early ending to its Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review of all mergers over a certain price.
Full story: FTC Approves Sinclair's Freedom Purchase (Tue, 11/22)
• The FCC approved Baraga Broadcasting's purchase of the construction permit for WGZR-FM 89.1 Alpena from All Saints School. Sale price was $10.
• No notable activity for November 17 - 18 and 21 - 22.
Detroit Free Press:
Although he became a familiar face to local TV viewers during his role as director of community affairs for WJBK-TV (Channel 2), Tom Fox also was a shrewd businessman with successful forays into retail pharmacy, automotive and advertising arenas. However, family members and former colleagues said he'll be best remembered for his integrity, sincerity and genuine concern for the welfare of the people of Detroit.
Full story: Tom Fox: Channel 2 host a model for helping others (Thu, 11/24)
The rumors floating around last week were correct: veteran Detroit on-air personality John Mason starts an afternoon show today, "Mason in the Afternoon," on WCHB Talk Detroit (1200 AM and simulcast on 99.9 FM), airing from 4-7 p.m. weekdays.
Full story: WCHB Talk Detroit returns Mason to air waves (Mon, 11/28)
Sean Baligian returns to Grand Rapids' ESPN 96.1
The hiatus from sports talk radio was a short one for host Sean Baligian as he returns to the airwaves on Grand Rapids' sports talker WMAX-FM 96.1 (ESPN 96.1) to host afternoon drive weekday 3 - 6 p.m. Baligian left a similar role earlier this fall when he walked away from an afternoon drive show that was simulcast on WMAX-FM as well as WDFN AM 1130 Detroit.
Ryan Terpstra, his former co-host will remain with ESPN 96.1 and provide sports updates for Baligian's new offering, titled "It is what it is".
• CF Broadcasting has closed on the purchase of Classic Country WBMI FM 105.5 West Branch from 105.5FM, LLC.
• No notable activity for November 25.
Remember that one time when this reporter was all upset and flustered that John Mason's morning show had been canceled, 107.5 had been flipped to a contemporary format and 102.7 had been flipped into a gospel format? Well, false alarm.
Full story: False alarm: John Mason to return to Detroit radio, will go head-to-head with Frankie Darcell (Mon, 11/28)
Grand Rapids Press:
Sean Baligian describes himself as a glutton for punishment when it comes to radio. That's why his absence from the West Michigan airwaves only lasted about five weeks.
Full story: Sean Baligian returns to ESPN 96.1 with new sports radio show (Mon, 11/28)
Kevin Matthews has got a new gig. The veteran broadcaster for WLAV-FM, dropped Nov. 17 from the Cumulus Media-owned radio station, is joining the Steve Dahl show on podcast.
Full story: Former WLAV-FM radio personality Kevin Matthews joins Steve Dahl show (Tue, 11/29)
West Michigan television stations WOOD-TV and WZZM-TV are planning special coverage in memory of Fred Meijer, who passed away Friday.
Full story: Former WOOD-TV anchor Suzanne Geha will talk about Fred Meijer on WZZM-TV 13 today (Tue, 11/29)
The Tower Defense and Aerospace factory in Detroit has suspended 17 employees after a WJBK report uncovered evidence of factory workers drinking and smoking during lunch breaks. Rob Wolchek, a reporter at the Fox O&O, obtained video of employees at the factory drinking and smoking what appears to be marijuana.
Full story: Tower Defense and Aerospace Factory Suspends 17 After WJBK Investigation (Mon, 11/28)
• Analog low power TV station WFHD-LP Ch. 27 Ann Arbor has applied for Remain Silent Authority as it prepares to apply for and covert to digital operations.
• Daystar low power TV station WUHQ-LD Ch. 29 Grand Rapids was granted its license to cover for digital flash cut (conversion from analog to digital on Ch. 29).
• The construction permit for WAZP FM 89.7 Munising was modified to move the station's transmitter/antenna closer to Munising and change power from 19,000 watts @ 154 feet to 16,000 watts @ 387 feet.
Fox 2 Detroit:
A real life Grinch is preying on unsuspecting people all over metro Detroit giving out bogus gift cards in exchange for donations to a fake charity. One woman says the guy even scammed money from her five-year-old daughter. Charlotte Puchalski was pretty excited. Her grandmother had just given her $5. "For me to go get ice cream," she said.
Full story: Man Posing as a WRIF Worker Scams Money from a 5-Year-Old Girl (Tue, 11/29)
The Southfield Jay:
Future radio personalities and music lovers, fear not. Radio is back. Radio broadcasting is now a Saturday School class offered to interested air heads. The class will teach students how to operate the school radio station, WSHJ 88.3-FM, and review disk jockey techniques. Students will also perform technical duties regarding radio equipment and broadcast transmission. Radio class is free and is open to all high school students within Southfield Public Schools.
Full story: Radio class moves to Saturdays (Tue, 11/29)