West Michigan: 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.


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 2, 2011



Kalamazoo Gazette:

WMUKGordon Bolar has been named station manager of the local pubic radio station WMUK 102.1-FM. Bolar, 62, of Kalamazoo, has been WMUK's development director since 2006. He replaces Floyd Pientka, who retired Monday after 10 years as station manager. More and more development directors are moving into the role of general manager at public radio stations, Bolar said.

"You can certainly justify it when funding is a real issue to do the things you want to do," he said. "The development director is in a position of looking down the road and planning in terms of grant deadlines and foundation reports. You get the long view."

WMUK draws about 40,000 listeners a week, he said, and historically, only 10 percent of listeners donate to a station's twice-annual fund drives... Gordon Bolar, development director for local public radio station WMUK 102.1-FM, elevated to general manager (Tue, 2/1)




CUMULUS MEDIA Top 40 WKFR PD KEN EVANS exits after five years at the station.

Said EVANS, "I want to thank OM MIKE MCKELLY for giving me the opportunity to solidify a heritage radio stations ratings, and then trusting me to increase them over my tenure. KFR was #1 18-34P and 25-54P over the past four years and just posted a #1 ranking of over 15 shares in both KALAMAZOO and BATTLE CREEK, the stations best overall numbers since the late '90s!"... Ken Evans Exits The PD Chair At WKFR (Wed, 2/2)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 6, 2011



Kalamazoo Gazette:

National Public Radio correspondent Mike Shuster will speak about "Winning Without War: Do Sanctions Work?" at noon Monday at Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center Putney Auditorium, as part of the 2011 "Great Decisions Foreign Policy Lecture Series." The "Great Decisions" series is organized by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids. The series includes two public talks in Kalamazoo and eight in Grand Rapids over consecutive Mondays through March 28. The WMU talks are free.

Shuster is an award-winning diplomatic correspondent and roving foreign correspondent for NPR News West. He covers issues of nuclear non-proliferation, terrorism and the Pacific Rim. His presentation Monday will focus on the use of sanctions by the United States and other countries in regard to North Korea and Iran... NPR correspondent to speak Monday at WMU (Sun, 2/6)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 11, 2011



Grand Rapids Press:

Tim Doty claims he didn't watch Super Bowl XLV. It's tough to know whether WXMI-TV's resident Renaissance man was being serious or facetious, but Doty said he wasn't one of the 111 million viewers who tuned in for the big game. That means he missed everything from Christina Aguilera's muffed national anthem to The Black Eyed Peas' awful halftime show and all the commercials in between -- even his own heralding the station's new show.

"I was watching golf and didn't even see the commercial air," Doty said, somewhat mischievously. "I wasn't watching the Super Bowl."

Come on, really?

"You've seen one game, you've seen them all," he said.

Whether or not Doty was joking, he managed to make his presence felt during the telecast -- at least in West Michigan, where thousands of viewers were treated to a humorous ad that also featured Michele DeSelms and touted their new afternoon show, "The One Seven"... WXMI sports director Tim Doty to get new weekday show, exit sports scene (Fri, 2/11)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 13, 2011



Muskegon Chronicle:

WYCEThree local groups have been nominated for community radio station WYCE-FM's annual Jammie honors. The Jammies applaud Michigan's, specifically West Michigan's, best music, and winners will be announced Tuesday night at The Intersection in Grand Rapids. Award nominees from Muskegon include folk duo Max & Ruth Bloomquist, rockers Four Finger Five, and blues band The Vincent Hayes Project. Go to grcmc.org/radio for information... Muskegon-area bands vie for WYCE-FM Jammie Awards (Sun, 2/13)



Grand Rapids Press:

Truth be told, I've never worn jammies to the Jammies. I mean, who could sleep through an event like this? Community radio station WYCE-FM's annual tribute to the best music in West Michigan and beyond has turned into a lively, jam- (and jammies-) packed show that's a must-attend event for musicians, fans and anyone with a passing interest in regional music. On Tuesday night at The Intersection, the 12th edition of the Jammies will roll out 26 musical performances on two stages, with awards doled out in 16 categories, including a few new ones for 2011. Admission is free and those wearing pajamas (or donating food/clothing to charity) can take their pick from CDs offered up by WYCE, which is why so many people I'm sure choose to wear nightgowns, slippers and daffy nightcaps... No dozing at the Jammies; awards show thrills fans and musicians, honors Michigan bands (Sun, 2/13)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 17, 2011



Grand Rapids Press:

WLAVExpect a lot of hand-picked classic rock and behind-the-music stories - like when the Verve Pipe was booed every night in '96 opening 29 dates for KISS - when singer-songwriter Brian Vander Ark helms a new weekday morning show on WLAV-FM (96.9) that officially debuts Thursday. The show had a soft opening this morning.

"I'm stoked, you know? I've always been a fan of LAV and classic rock. And I've always worn my influences on my sleeve as a writer," the 46-year-old Verve Pipe frontman said. "Huge, huge fan of the songwriters of that genre."

"The Brian Vander Ark Show" will air from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays. The first hour will be shared with "The Kevin Matthews Show" and its co-hosts Deb Hart and Kevin Matthews. That hand-off hour will feature a lot of music, as it normally does, and some bantering between Matthews and Vander Ark... Verve Pipe frontman Brian Vander Ark hosts new morning radio show on WLAV-FM (Wed, 2/16)


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


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 22, 2011



Grand Rapids Press:

"Wheel of Fortune" fans may never know if someone won the bonus round, and "Jeopardy" fans have no idea which contestant set the tone on "Teen Jeopardy." WWMT-TV (Channel 3) lost power about 7 p.m. and had trouble getting back on the air. A representative from the newsroom said the station lost power about 7:15 p.m. and station technicians were having a difficult time getting a backup generator to work.

After a blank screen and dead air, the station returned briefly to air the end of "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric," followed by promos for daytime TV show "The Talk" and colon cancer PSAs featuring Couric. The station regained power about 7:45 p.m., just in time for final jeopardy. However, just as contestants were getting ready to answer the question, the station's power went out again. The station regained its power, but still had difficulty with commercials and airing the final minutes of "Jeopardy"... WWMT-TV Channel 3 having technical difficulties tonight (Tue, 2/22)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 25, 2011



Grand Rapids Press:

WMAX-FMThere's a part of Rick Berkey that longs for the golden days of sports on the radio. Years ago, he enjoyed listening to the nightly recaps on WJR out of Detroit. But that was before call-in shows, ESPN and professional sports took over the airwaves and frequently made high school athletics an afterthought.

"The high school coverage sometimes takes a backseat, and I think it's such an important part of communities across the area," Berkey said. "Communities may not rally around their schools quite as much as they used to, but it still can be a unifying force."

That's one reason why the longtime West Michigan broadcaster will be hosting a high school basketball tournament show in March on WMAX-FM (96.1). "The Fox Honda Tournament Time Scoreboard" will include scores and interviews with players and coaches from both boys and girls teams from 9 to 10 p.m. on March 7, 9, 11, 14 and 15. (The March 11 broadcast will start after a Grand Rapids Griffins game.) The timing is set to coincide with the start of the boys district and girls regional tournaments. It also gives WMAX a presence on the high school basketball scene... Rick Berkey hopes to tap into West Michigan's March Madness with show on WMAX-FM (Fri, 2/25)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Feb. 28, 2011



Grand Rapids Press:

DISH Network subscribers who enjoy watching WOOD-TV and WOTV-TV may lose access to the NBC-TV and ABC-TV affiliates. An impasse in contract negotiations between DISH Network and LIN Media, the parent company of WOOD-TV, WOTV-TV and WXSP, led officials for the West Michigan-based television stations to announce broadcasts could end at midnight Friday.

"If we can't reach a negotiation deal by Friday at midnight, WOOD TV and WOTV may no longer be available to DISH subscribers," said Diane Kniowski, general manager of WOOD, WOTV and WXSP, this afternoon.

Money appears to be the main issue. In a statement posted on its website, WOOD-TV said its parent company is seeking "fair compensation"... DISH subscribers in danger of losing WOOD-TV and WOTV on their satellite TV (Mon, 2/28)







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About this Archive

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

West Michigan: January 2011 is the previous archive.

West Michigan: March 2011 is the next archive.

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