Entries in Michigan Almanac Category

There will be no shortage of coverage of the big winter storm that's moving over the southern Lower Peninsula on area radio and television stations. From the weather forecasters to technicians, camera operators, anchors, reporters, and radio program hosts, few outside of essential public service jobs (like snowplow drivers!) will have tougher assignments the next few days. Many will go without sleep, and those working the early shifts tomorrow with likely either try and sleep at their station or hope to grab a room at hotel close enough to minimize the commute.

Viewers and listeners at home will be treated to extensive coverage of the event, which some analysts are saying could result in one of the all-time top storms across the region in terms of snowfall totals and impact on travel and commerce. Several television stations from Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint/Saginaw, and Lansing have already announced to viewers that their morning newscasts will begin as early as 4 a.m. with the latest on the storm itself, school closings (all of em?) and travel conditions.

Radio won't be left out either. Although legacy all-news station WWJ AM 950 in Detroit doesn't plan on adjusting its normal anchor schedule, they will be devoting a lot more resources than normal to provide coverage to this big weather event, providing around the clock information on what's going on with the storm including school and business closings and traffic updates. It's not clear yet if Detroit's WJR AM 760 plans on changing its normal daytime schedule that normally includes talk shows from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to instead focus on storm impacts.

It wasn't all that many years ago that many normally music-focused radio stations would interrupt their normal routines during morning drive in order to provide long lists of school closings. While the Internet and school district initiated robo-calling has helped alleviate some of the demand for the reading of closing lists, it's a pretty safe bet that any radio program that's live and local tomorrow will spend a lot more time than normal on providing community information.

While there will always be those that complain that coverage of these kinds of events is nothing more than hyperbole, the bottom line is having radio and TV being able to react and report on these kinds of regional events is a great opportunity for them to shine and display the kind of professional community involvement that can never be duplicated.

The hard work that will be put in the next couple of days by those working in under-staffed TV news rooms and radio stations is duly noted and appreciated.


Reports are surfacing that Cumulus Broadcasting is on the cusp of acquiring the radio assets of Citadel in a deal worth about $4 billion.

The combination of the two companies would create a radio behemoth that could own as many as 38 radio stations in the Lower Peninsula, and 7 more in nearby Toledo -- depending on any possible FCC ownership limitations that might be looked in at in West Michigan across the Grand Rapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek markets.

Surprisingly though with a possible transaction this large, there is really very little overlap between the two companies in most markets, both in terms of station numbers and similar formats. The highest profile example of competitors that might be soon owned by the same company are contemporary hits WIOG FM 102.5 Bay City and WWCK-FM 105.5 Flint. WIOG's powerful signal covers most of the Flint market and the two stations compete against each other for advertisers and listeners in Genesee County.

Here's a quick look at what Cumulus might look like across lower Michigan should a purchase of Citadel get completed without any spinoffs:


Detroit (currently Citadel):

  • WDRQ-FM 93.1
  • WDVD-FM 96.3
  • WJR AM 760

Ann Arbor (currently Cumulus operated):

  • WWWW-FM 102.9
  • WQKL-FM 107.1
  • WTKA AM 1050
  • WLBY AM 1290

Grand Rapids/Muskegon (currently Citadel):

  • WLAW-FM 92.5
  • WTNR-FM 94.5
  • WLAV-FM 96.9
  • WWSN-FM 97.5
  • WLCS-FM 98.3
  • WVIB-FM 100.1
  • WHTS-FM 105.3
  • WBBL-FM 107.3
  • WJRW AM 1340
  • WKLQ AM 1490

Kalamazoo/Battle Creek (currently Cumulus):

  • WBCK-FM 95.3
  • WKFR-FM 103.3
  • WBXX-FM 104.9
  • WRKR-FM 107.7
  • WBCK AM 930 (to be divested as part of a previous sale)
  • WKMI AM 1360

Lansing (currently Citadel):

  • WMMQ-FM 94.9
  • WJIM-FM 97.5
  • WFMK-FM 99.1
  • WITL-FM 100.7
  • WVFN AM 730
  • WJIM AM 1240

Flint (currently both):

  • WDZZ-FM 92.7 (Cumulus)
  • WFBE-FM 95.1 (Citadel)
  • WRSR-FM 103.9 (Cumulus)
  • WWCK-FM 105.5 (Cumulus)
  • WTRX AM 1330 (Citadel)
  • WWCK AM 1570 (Cumulus)

Saginaw/Bay City/Midland (currently Citadel):

  • WKQZ-FM 93.3
  • WHNN-FM 96.1
  • WIOG-FM 102.5
  • WILZ-FM 104.5

Toledo: (currently Cumulus)

  • WRQN-FM 93.5
  • WXKR-FM 94.5
  • WMIM-FM 98.3
  • WKKO-FM 99.9
  • WWWM-FM 105.5
  • WLQR-FM 106.5
  • WLQR AM 1470


MABMichigan's public broadcasters are appealing to listeners, viewers, and even commercial broadcasters to get involved and help preserve funding from the federal government as the U.S. Congress heads for a vote that would eliminate all federal support for local public television and radio stations.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has produced a special electronic edition of its monthly The Michigan Broadcaster newsletter it publishes for broadcasters across the state that features videos from public broadcasting managers making their pitch for continued funding from the federal government.

View the special newsletter here




PBS, NPR and local public media affiliates around the nation could lose substantial federal funding under a spending bill proposed by Republican House members earlier this month. But Rich Homberg, president and general manager of Detroit Public Television, is urging local residents to call their Congress members and urge them to retain the funding, which he calls one of the nation's wisest investments... A war on Big Bird? Detroit Public Television President makes case for federal funding as Congress debates cuts to public media (Fri, 2/18)


Specs HowardResponding to an increased demand for a workforce knowledgeable in digital media arts and graphic design, Specs Howard School of Media Arts on Friday announced it will be expanding its Farmington Hills campus at Studio Center by 2,500 sq. ft to add class space and nine editing suites, adding four classes at its Southfield campus, and hiring up to 10 new staff members.

With a legendary broadcast curriculum spanning nearly 40 years, Specs Howard School added a Graphic Design program in 2008, film workshops in 2009 and the Digital Media Arts program in 2010. With each program, the school has increased faculty, student services and support staff. The school has added nearly 40 staffers in the past year in all departments, including faculty, career services, marketing and administration.

For 2011, the school is seeking additional faculty and adjunct faculty for the Graphic Design and Digital Media Arts programs, as well personnel for career services and the business office.

"We hear regularly from employers requesting students from our programs because of the diversified skill-set we provide them. They want media-savvy employees who not only know how to run the soundboards or cameras but who can edit video; have experience in graphics; and understand Web development, compression and content delivery," said Lisa Zahodne, President/COO of Specs Howard School. "Each semester our media programs continue to attract more students, so naturally accommodating this demand requires more classes and additional qualified staff."

Through intensive 12-month programs, Specs Howard School of Media Arts' Graphic Arts and Digital Media Arts curriculum provide students with a comprehensive foundation for careers in the growing graphic design and digital media fields, respectively.

Areas of focus in the Graphic Arts program include: Working With and Manipulating Text, Digital Photography and Editing, Animation for Web Design, Website Maintenance and Design, Package Design, and Portfolio Creation and Presentation.

Areas of focus in the Digital Media Arts program include: Digital Media Production and Editing, ENG (electronic news gathering), Graphic Design, Motion Graphics, Website Design, and Writing for Digital Media.

For more information about the school, visit www.specshoward.edu.


Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo slated for March 9 at the Lansing Center in Lansing

GLBCGovernor Rick Snyder will present his first live address to Michigan broadcasters at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo (GLBC) March 9, 2011 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan.

The Governor will speak during the opening session of the event which brings nearly 1,000 broadcasters and their associates to the capitol city every year. At GLBC attendees will have the opportunity to preview the latest in new technology and media in the Exhibit Hall and attend educational sessions hosted by over 20 nationally recognized industry leaders.

"Many broadcasters have become the quintessential portals to new media for their audiences and clients alike. In addition to the driving force of traditional radio and television, clients can now deliver their messages through mobile marketing," according to MAB President/CEO Karole White. "Our members are now serving a broader audience which not only includes their traditional listening or viewing audiences, but those who access information through the web or mobile devices. Using these various multi-media opportunities enables our members to better serve their audiences and clients."

The event also includes sessions for high school and college students who are interested in a career in broadcasting and media. Students will have the opportunity to network with broadcast professionals during the main luncheon as well as at the Career and Networking Fair immediately following the luncheon.

The conference will conclude with the annual Legislative Reception and Broadcast Excellence Awards (BEA) presentation where broadcasters from across the state compete in a battle for excellence in several broadcasting categories. One station in each of the eight commercial television and radio divisions will take home the coveted title of Station of the Year.


Cumulus to acquire Citadel



Radio across lower Michigan is about to become super-consolidated with this morning's announcement that Cumulus has officially "entered into a definitive merger agreement to purchase Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, under which Cumulus would acquire all of the outstanding common stock and warrants of Citadel at a price of $37.00 per share. This consideration is payable in cash and shares of Cumulus stock, and values Citadel as an enterprise at approximately $2.4 billion. Citadel owns and operates 225 radio stations in over 50 markets and also operates the Citadel Media business, which is among the largest radio networks in the U.S." The combined operations of Cumulus and Citadel would be about 572 radio stations across 120 markets should the deal get the green light from the government.

In Michigan, the combined Cumulus and Citadel properties would result in a 38 station grouping of stations that would include properties in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Flint, Saginaw/Bay City, and Toledo, OH -- pending FCC review and approval.

The biggest local downside of this deal will undoubtedly be the likely consolidation of positions in Michigan as Cumulus attempts to leverage the sheer number of stations it will own and markets it will cover in the I-75, I-94, and I-96 corridors.


MABThe Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) presented the recipients of its 2010 'Station of the Year' Broadcast Excellence Awards (BEA) during the annual BEA program on Wednesday, March 9 in Lansing. The awards are based on the cumulative number of points scored from the winning BEA entries and is given to the station with the most points in each commercial radio and television market.

The following stations were the recipients of 2010 Station of the Year awards:

Market 1:
Television: WXYZ-TV Detroit
Radio: WJR AM Detroit

Market 2:
Television: WOOD-TV Grand Rapids
Radio: WKZO-FM/AM Kalamazoo

Market 3:
Television: WWTV/WWUP-TV Cadillac/Traverse City/Sault Ste Marie
Radio: WKHM AM Jackson

Market 4:
Television: WLUC-TV Marquette
Radio: WTVB AM Coldwater



Also receiving awards yesterday in Lansing at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference were the state's student-operated radio and televisino stations. Congratulations to the 2011 Student Station / Program of the Year winners:

College Radio: Michigan State University's WDBM-FM

College TV: Central Michigan University's MHTV

High School Radio (tie): Bloomfield Hills Public Schools WBFH-FM and Golightly Career & Technical Center

High School TV: Davison High School's DTV


Michigan engineers honored with MAB's Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award

MABThe Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) presented its most prestigious engineering award to a pair of Michigan broadcasters who, combined, have served in the industry for nearly eight decades. The Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Awards were presented during the Engineering Luncheon at the MAB's annual Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo (GLBC) held March 9 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing.

Radio Winner: Ralph Haines III, Engineer & Co-Owner WGDN Radio and Broadcast Engineer Services, Gladwin, Michigan. Haines is Co-Owner and Chief Engineer for WGDN Radio in Gladwin in addition to owning and operating Broadcast Engineer Services. Ralph began his radio career in 1968, while he was still in high school. Since then he has worked for a variety of different stations throughout Michigan and Illinois.

In 1972, Ralph briefly left the broadcast industry when he married his wife, Annette and took a job at IBM as a Customer Engineer. While with IBM Ralph was transferred back to Lansing where he returned to the broadcasting industry.

In September 2003, Ralph retired from IBM and in 2004 started the contract engineering company Broadcast Engineer Services (BES). Today Ralph is still a staple in Michigan broadcasting and has no current plans to retire from the broadcasting industry.


Television Winner: Mike Laemers, Chief Engineer, WOOD/WOTV/WXSP - TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Laemers is the Director of Engineering at WOOD/WOTV/ WXSP, Grand Rapids. He has over 35 years experience in the field of Broadcast Engineering and has been a vital component in developing the television market in the Grand Rapids DMA. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Western Michigan University.

His many accomplishments in the field of television engineering include building one of the first television LMA and hub operations in the country as well as building a virtual television station which later became WXSP. Mike also headed WOOD-TV's transition to digital where he made WOOD-TV the technical leader in the market with the first all digital plant.

His many years in the business also include other areas of television station management. Mike's experience in program buying, traffic operations and labor relations have rounded his career in television management. He has served as a member of the board of directors of Channel 41, Inc. and has past memberships in the I.E.E.E. (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), S.M.P.T.E. (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), Broadcast Pioneers, and the Michigan Association of Broadcaster's Engineering Committee.



Dennis Mellott presented with the MAB Associate of the Year award

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) presented Dennis Mellott of Saga Communications with the organization's Associate of the Year Award. The presentation was made Wednesday, March 9 during the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo in Lansing. The award recognizes the significant contributions made by MAB associate members, and acknowledges their efforts in enhancing the quality and integrity of broadcasting while supporting their community.

Mellott has worked within the radio industry for over twenty-nine years, seventeen of which have been spent in the network business. He serves as president and general manager of Saga Communications' group of five regional networks: The Illinois Radio Network, The Minnesota News and Farm Networks, Michigan Radio Network, and Michigan Farm Radio Network.

Located in the upper Midwest, the networks provide radio stations across their respective states, programming and event broadcasts such as state news, farm news, professional and collegiate sports distribution, public service and weekend programming. In Michigan, the networks offer a variety of programming as well as specialty broadcasts.

"Dennis Mellott has been a great asset to the MAB," said Karole White, MAB President and CEO. "His forward thinking and great talent for organization made him an industry leader, however, Dennis has always made time to serve the MAB and its members, and that I why he is our Associate of the Year."

Mr. Mellott has served as President of the National Association of State Radio Networks; associate board member for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and is a current member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.


Michigan Almanac: March 18, 2011



Grand Rapids Press / Associated Press:

MLive.com has published a complete rundown of the numerous winners of Michigan Associated Press awards from across Michigan:

Top Michigan television and radio newscasts are honored by Associated Press (Fri, 3/18)


Non-commercial radio, General Excellence: Michigan Radio, Ann Arbor
Class I radio, General Excellence: WWJ, Detroit
Class II radio, General Excellence: WSGW, Saginaw
Class III radio, General Excellence: WGHN, Grand Haven

Class I television General Excellence: WJBK-TV, Detroit
Class II television General Excellence: WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids
Class III television General Excellence: WLNS-TV, Lansing


The bidding is scheduled to begin on April 27th as the FCC auctions off up to 144 vacant FM allocations across the USA. Seven of Michigan's vacant spots on the FM dial are up for grabs this time around:


  • Class A   93.1 Ferrysburg, $100,000 starting bid; 16 bidders
  • Class C3  95.9 Fife Lake, $75,000; 15
  • Class C3  97.7 Cheboygan, $15,000; 20
  • Class C2  103.9 Crystal Falls, $25,000; 17
  • Class A   103.9 Harrison, $25,000; 19
  • Class A   103.9 Pentwater, $15,000; 21
  • Class C2  106.3 Onaway, $20,000; 20


The Class A Pentwater allocation has the most qualified bidders with the 14 national and 7 specific bidders, followed by the Class C3 at Cheboygan and the Class C2 at Onaway with 20 qualified bidders each. Fife Lake drew the least interest with only 1 specific bidder joining the 14 national ones.


Qualified bidders include:

  • James P Gray: Cheboygan, Crystal Falls, Harrison, Pentwater, Onaway
  • Kona Coast Radio: Cheboygan, Pentwater, Onaway
  • L. Topaz Enterprises: Pentwater
  • Michigan Broadcasters, LLC: Onaway
  • Panther Communications: Cheboygan, Crystal Falls, Harrison, Pentwater, Onaway
  • Michael A Payne: Harrison, Pentwater
  • Del M Reynolds: Cheboygan
  • Virtues Communications Network: Cheboygan, Harrison, Pentwater, Onaway
  • WGHN, Inc: Ferrysburg
  • Williston Community Broadcasting: all 7 MI allocations
  • National Bidders (all 144 allocations nationwide): Alex Media; Alexandra Communications; ALMA Corporation; Arkansas Valley Broadcasting; Audion Communications; Colville, Tallie; Educational Media Foundation; Flinn Jr., George S; Future Modulation Broadcasting; Hispanic Target Media; Interlink Communications; Lopester Broadcasting; Mini Me Media, LLC; Smith, John


To follow Auction 91, visit the FCC auction site.


Note: information corrected to recognize all 14 national bidders



Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will take questions May 13 from public radio listeners across the state on education reform, the state budget and the economy during a special broadcast being labeled "A Conversation With Governor Rick Snyder."... Gov. Rick Snyder to take questions from public radio listeners on state budget issues, education reform (Wed, 5/4)



Flint Journal:

Former WJRT news anchor Bill Harris had a blast getting back on the air today to cover a homeland security training conference in Grand Rapids, but the longtime TV newsman said he couldn't comment on what the return means for his future with ABC12... Former ABC12 anchor Bill Harris enjoyed on-air return, unsure of future with WJRT (Tue, 5/3)




FSports agent NATE MCCRAY is launching his own weekly talk show to air on SALEM Talk WDTK-A/DETROIT. "WHAT'S THE SCOOP" will debut JUNE 12th and will air SUNDAYs at 5p... Sports Agent To Launch Talk Show On WDTK/Detroit (Wed, 5/4)


The bidding has ended in the FCC's Auction 91 with only four bids being made on the seven available FM allocations in Michigan. Three of the four bids were made in the first round on three different frequencies and wound up being successful. The fourth was made in the sixth round and also was successful. All four bids were made at the opening price for their respective allocation.

Next steps before these allocations hit the air include making payment to the FCC, engineering planning, and the application and approval of construction permits. The entire process could take several years.

The four allocations that were bid on were in Ferrysburg, Cheyboygan, Pentwater, and Onaway. The three allocations that will remain with the FCC to be offered again during a future auction were in Fife Lake, Crystal Falls, and Harrison.

Despite a large number of qualified bidders, only 108 of the 144 available allocations were bid on nationwide.


  • Class A   93.1 Ferrysburg - WGHN, Inc for $100,000 (round 1)
  • Class C3  97.7 Cheboygan- Del Reynolds for $15,000 (round 1)
  • Class A   103.9 Pentwater - Lopester Broadcasting for $15,000 (round 6)
  • Class C2  106.3 Onaway - Michigan Broadcasters LLC for $20,000 (round 1)
  • Class C3  95.9 Fife Lake - no bids
  • Class C2  103.9 Crystal Falls - no bids
  • Class A   103.9 Harrison - no bids


Gary Reid, who serves as University Distinguished Senior Specialist at Michigan State University, as General Manager of WDBM-FM, and also Associate Director, James H. & Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunications Management and Law is the Michigan Association of Broadcasters' 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient.

Entering the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2011 are:
- Glenn Haege, On-Air Talent & Host for Handyman Productions
- Ken "Mac" MacDonald Jr., Owner & CEO of MacDonald Broadcasting
- Chuck Stokes, Editorial & Public Relations Director for WXYZ-TV, Detroit


Biographical information on all four honorees is available on MAB's web site at http://www.michmab.com/awards/awards_hof.html#2011.


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) elected their 2011-2012 Board of Directors and Officers during the Summer Celebration and MAB Annual Meeting June 27, 2011 at The Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan. The newly elected officers include:

  • Chairman, Duane Alverson, President, MacDonald Broadcasting, Saginaw/Lansing
  • Vice Chairman/Chairman-Elect, Trey Fabacher, Vice President & General Manager, WWJ-TV/WKBD-TV CBS Television, Detroit
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Tim Feagan, General Manager, Clear Channel West Michigan
  • At-Large Director, Jill Saarela, Vice President/CEO, WPBN/WTOM/WGTU/WGTQ-TV, Traverse City
  • Immediate Past Chairman, Michael J. King, WILX-TV, Gray Television, Lansing

Members elected for their first full-term include:

  • Director, John F.X. Browne, Owner, John F.X. Browne & Associates, Bloomfield Hills
  • Director, Chuck Gervasio, General Manager, Big G, little o, WUPM-FM, Ironwood
  • Director, Eduardo Fernandez, Vice President & General Manager, WXYZ-TV, Detroit

Board members who have been elected for a second term include:

  • At-Large Director, Jill Saarela, Vice President/CEO, WPBN/WTOM/WGTU/WGTQ-TV, Traverse City
  • Director, Bill Kring, General Manager, WWTV/WWUP/WFQX/WFUP-TV, Traverse City
  • Director, Jim Lutton, Vice President/General Manager, Freedom Communications Inc., Kalamazoo/Lansing
  • Director, Chris Warren, Corporate Controller, Midwestern Broadcasting, Traverse City

Members who have been appointed to serve the remainder of a current term:

  • Director, Scott Meier, Market Manager, Cumulus Broadcasting, Michigan



The Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation (MABF) elected their 2011-2012 Board of Directors and Officers during the Summer Celebration and MAB Annual Meeting June 27, 2011 at The Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan. The newly elected officers include:

  • Chairman, Dave Downing, Lansing Community College/WLNZ-FM, Lansing
  • Vice Chairman/Chairman-Elect, Julie Koehn, WLEN-FM, Adrian
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Rick Sykes, Central Michigan University/MHTV
  • Immediate Past Chairman, Chris Monk, Citadel Broadcasting Company, Saginaw/Flint

Members elected for their first full-term include:

  • Director, Don Backus, Enco Systems, Inc., Southfield
  • Director, Bob Gould, Visiting Broadcast Instructor, Michigan State University/Executive Producer, Focal Point, East Lansing
  • Director, John Johnson, Michigan High School Althletic Association (MHSAA), East Lansing
  • Director, Tom Mogush, WMQT-FM/WZAM-AM, Marquette
  • Director, Kevin Scollin, Specs Howard School of Media Arts, Southfield


Smile FM, a network of 19 contemporary Christian non-commercial radio stations across Michigan, is partnering with seven different non-profit organizations throughout the state to offer them exposure, volunteers and fund raising support with the "Making a Difference Morning Espresso Tour" set to run on-air from August 8th to 14th.

The tour will feature Smile FM's Morning Espresso show broadcast on location each morning from 8 to 10 AM, a service project including Smile staff and volunteers and a benefit concert for the selected non-profit organization with Memphis based Christian Recording Artist Jeremy Horn.

The event schedule/locations and charities are:

Monday August 8th - YMCA Downriver
16777 Northline Road
Southgate, MI. 48195

Tuesday August 9th - Lapeer County Younglife
Eastern Michigan Fair Grounds
195 Midway St
Imlay City, MI 48444-1473

Wednesday August 10th - Royal Kids Camp - Bay City
Bay Valley Christian Church
2535 E. Wilder Rd.
Bay City, MI 48706

Thursday August 11th - CareNet of Cadillac
909 S. Carmel Street
Cadillac, MI. 49601

Friday August 12th - Christian Freedom International
215 Ashmun Street
Sault Ste Marie, MI. 49783

Saturday August 13th - Remembrance Ranch, Allendale
Millennium Park Triathlon
Millennium Park - Grand Rapids

Sunday August 14th - CHUM Therapeutic Riding Stables
(12noon - 2pm) Lansing Lugnuts Game
505 E. Michigan Ave.
Lansing, MI 48912

More information about the tour can be found at: makingadifferencetour.blogspot.com.



Detroit Free Press:

Get ready for a potentially wildly entertaining and informative ride: The colorful commentary of broadcasting icon Bill Bonds will be available weekdays on the metro Detroit AM radio dial this fall. Bonds, who spent nearly a quarter-century at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), is set to team up with another well-seasoned TV anchorman, Rich Fisher, for WCAR-AM (1090)'s new "The Bonds and Fisher Show."

Full story: Bonds, Rich Fisher to team up for weekday AM radio show (Fri, 8/5)


Newsmakers and links: September 1, 2011




Two of the states planning statewide Emergency Alert System tests are NEVADA and MICHIGAN. Both states' broadcasters organizations are looking to run tests in SEPTEMBER in advance of the nationwide test set for NOVEMBER 9th. MICHIGAN's plan is for a test on SEPTEMBER 22nd at about 10:45a (ET).

Full story: Nevada, Michigan Plan Statewide EAS Tests Before National Test (Thu, 9/1)



Broadcasting & Cable:

The retransmission consent spat between LIN and Mediacom has resulted in several LIN stations going dark for Mediacom subscribers. The affected stations are WALA-WFNA Mobile-Pensacola, WOOD-WOTV Grand Rapids, WANE Ft. Wayne, WLUK Green Bay, WTHI Terre Haute and WLFI Lafayette (Ind.).

Full story: LIN Stations Go Dark for Mediacom Subscribers (Wed, 8/31)


Newsmakers and links: Nov. 9, 2011



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)


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.


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)


Halftime Features:

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.


Bidders wanted!



The latest Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation holiday on-line auction is entering its final hours - it's scheduled to close tomorrow, December 15th at 5:00 pm ET.

Items up for bid include sports ticket packages, golf packages, gift packs and more.

Proceeds from the auction will help support MABF educational programs such as Student Awards, BCBC and Career Fairs.

To view and bid on items, visit www.biddingforgood.com/mabfoundation.


Michiguide.com 2011 News Archive




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