Michigan Almanac: February 2011 Archives

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

 


 

MLive.com:

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)

 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Michigan Almanac category from February 2011.

Michigan Almanac: March 2011 is the next archive.

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