Mid-Michigan: March 2011 Archives


Late last year, ALL ACCESS reported CITADEL Classic Rock WMMQ/LANSING morning maven RICH MICHAELS had been fired (NET NEWS 12/16/2010). MICHAELS had been on the LANSING airwaves at one station or another for more than 20 years. Now, MICHAELS is fighting back against his former employer, claiming "they are trying to bankrupt me and lock me out of work."

MICHAELS told ALL ACCESS, "I had no choice but to sign one of those 1 year non-competes, against my better judgment. Now, I'm like kryptonite because nobody wants to engage litigation. And it isn't as easy as driving 60 miles away to another market because CITADEL has locked up much of MICHIGAN."

He has taken his fight to the web, posting a long explaination of "Why am I not on the air?" at www.richmichaels.com... Former WMMQ Morning Man Fights Non-Compete He Claims Is 'Destroying' His Ability To Earn A Living (Wed, 3/2)



Lansing State Journal:

WKAR-TVA TV tradition returns today: WKAR-TV will beg for our money again. Don't fret: This time, especially, it will also entertain us. There will be new concert specials with Harry Connick Jr., Billy Joel, David Foster and piles of guest stars. There will be a new "Laugh-In" collection and a portrait of James Taylor and Carole King.

"The arts, in general, do extremely well" at pledge time, said Paula Kerger, the PBS president.

That's been part of an effort to create bigger national specials for pledge drives. "Stations are always asking PBS for new programs," said DeAnne Hamilton, the WKAR general manager.

And at times, the stations have surprises of their own. On Saturday, WKAR shows a moving film - made for the 50th anniversary of a shipping tragedy - that captures the maritime world of Rogers City, north of Alpena on Lake Huron. Those new specials are joined by the usual suspects, during the 19-day drive... From Harry Connick Jr. to a new 'Laugh In,' WKAR uses top-notch entertainment to attract much needed financial support (Tue, 3/1)


WGERNextMedia in Saginaw has moved Scott "Shannon" Seipel into the program director's chair for hot adult contemporary 'Mix 106.3', WGER. He succeeds Brian Figula who recently was hired by Greater Media/Detroit to lead adult contemporary WMGC-FM 105.1.

Scott will continue hosting the morning show in addition to his new PD slot. He has been with the station for two years. Prior to joining WGER, he was hosting morning drive and programming stations in Peoria and Bloomington, Illinois from 2000-09. He had previously worked in the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland Michigan market from 1983-91 and had programmed in Flint from 1995-99.

NextMedia operations manager Dave Maurer said he and Scott had worked together during Scott's first tour of duty in the market and was excited when Scott agreed to return to the market. Maurer commented, "I knew eventually Scott would earn his stripes and I look forward to his leading the Mix team for years to come."


NextMedia has also announced the promotion of Ann Turpin Williams to news director for the company's 5 station cluster (WCEN-FM, WSGW-FM/AM, WGER-FM, WTLZ-FM) in Mid-Michigan. Ann has served the past five years as assistant news director and assignment manager for Newsradio 790 and is the station's midday anchor. Prior to that, Ann served as a television assignment manager from 2000-05. Before moving into TV, Ann was a reporter and anchor for WSGW for over 15 years. Ms. Williams is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

In making the announcement, Maurer said, "Ann is so much more than an employee, I consider her a peer and I have great confidence in passing one of my hats to her. She is an exemplary performer who has won dozens of journalism awards for news coverage and special news series."

Maurer, who is also the program director for WSGW, will continue to anchor the station's morning news as he has done since 1979.

Commenting on her new role, Williams said, "I'm honored to have this opportunity to uphold and enhance WSGW's reputation as a regional news leader. I look forward to working, along with my colleagues, on moving our news coverage and presentation forward in the changing world of broadcast journalism."


WGER names McNann as music director



NextMedia in Saginaw has moved Kelly McMann into the Music Director's chair for hot adult contemporary WGER-FM, Mix106.3, succeeding Brian Figula. McNann will continue hosting middays in addition to her new MD slot.

Kelly is a graduate of Central Michigan University and has worked in Lansing, Detroit and now Saginaw at WGER for the past 2 years. "To get to work with market vet Scott 'Shannon' Seipel is an honor and privilege," commented McNann. "Scott has taught me so much about the industry and I am so grateful to get to work with someone I consider a mentor and friend."


Saginaw News:

Hans "Jeff" Borger admits that even when WGER's "Beautiful Music" program spread the sounds of Percy Faith and Roger Whitaker across most of the Lower Peninsula, he was not its typical listener. A broadcasting student at Central Michigan University in the mid-1980s, he would spend evenings with John Doremus and his "smokers" while classmates tuned in Sheena Easton and Motley Crue. But the music was so relaxing, the local announcers delivering the news at the top of the hour so personable, "it was liking having a friend always by your side," said the Detroit native, now living in Florida. "And it was on 102.5 back then, broadcasting at 86,000 watts, so you could get it almost everywhere you went."

That's why, more than 20 years after the "Beautiful Music" format left the Saginaw airwaves, Borger established the WGER 102.5 FM Historical Society, a Facebook page where former listeners and staffers swap memories and sound bites... Memories of Saginaw's 'Beautiful Music' spark WGER 102.5 FM Historical Society (Sun, 3/6)


Kettering University's WKUF-FM to introduce new Pac-O-Mojo CD March 18

WKUFNew original songs and a musical performance by Pac-O-Mojo will highlight an official CD release reception and press event on Friday, March 18, hosted by student radio station WKUF 94.3 FM at Kettering University in Flint.

The live show will be in BJ's Lounge in the lower level of Kettering University's Campus Center. Doors open at 8 p.m., live music begins at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Kettering University is located at 1700 University Ave. in Flint.

Pac-O-Mojo was founded by Curt Johnson and offers a blend of contemporary urban lyrics and rock'n'roll styling for a fresh sound. A long-time Michigan rocker, Johnson is a former member of Mojo and The Nightwalkers and Terry Night and The Pack -- bands that he played in with life-long friend Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad. Pac-O-Mojo made its debut opening for Farner at Flint's Atwood Stadium in August 2009.

The concert will be broadcast live on WKUF 94.3 FM during The Butcher Shop Show with RT and Metal Mike, beginning at 9 p.m. on March 18. The show is streamed live on-line at www.wkuf.fm.


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.


The State News:

WDBMWith a proposed cut of up to $430 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting adding to the constant array of changes facing radio broadcasting, the futures of the medium and the students pursuing it as a career are in limbo. Gary Reid, general manager of Impact (89FM), MSU's student radio station, said many of the 120 students who work for Impact have expressed concern to him about the future of news. Impact consists mostly of music-based programing, but it also has a daily news program called Impact Exposure, which is similar to the style of National Public Radio, or NPR, programs such as "This American Life" and "The Rest of the Story," Reid said. Numerous students have gone on from Impact to work for NPR.

"Over the years, broadcasting in general and radio in general (have) moved away from objective journalism -- we've come to expect a certain amount of subjectivity," Reid said. "In-depth radio is the last vestige of objective journalism. NPR is perceived as being a journalistic bastion."

Music education senior Emily Fox said she has known she wanted to work for NPR for the past two years. She spoke to a few NPR affiliate stations in Michigan, inquiring about job opportunities after she graduates. Most told her now is not the time to apply, she said. But Fox said she views public radio as being as crucial as ever... Federal cuts affect MSU radio, students (Mon, 3/28)



CITADEL Top 40 WHTS/GRAND RAPIDS MD GRAVY has only been hosting mornings (with the lovely ELLEN TAYLOR) for just over a month, and now spreads his empire to include mornings at sister Top 40 WJIM/LANSING. Current WJIM morning host/PD JOSH STRICKLAND moves to afternoons, replacing ALABAMA, who had been covering GRAVY's old night shift via voicetracking, but will now do nights for both stations live from the LANSING studios... Air Talent Doubles Up At Citadel Grand Rapids & Lansing (Thu, 3/31)







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This page is a archive of entries in the Mid-Michigan category from March 2011.

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