West Michigan: November 2011 Archives

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."

 

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

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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.

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 7, 2011

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TimeOut Chicago:

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)

 


 

Radio Ink:

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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 9, 2011

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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.

 


 

AllAccess.com:

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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 10, 2011

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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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 12, 2011

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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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 14, 2011

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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)

 


 

Holland Sentinel:

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)

 


 

Detroit News:

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)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 17, 2011

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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)

 


 

AllAccess.com:

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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 18, 2011

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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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 21, 2011

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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)

 


 

MLive.com:

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.

Full story: WSGW hosts its first ever Chocolate Challenge and you're invited to submit a recipe or stop by for a taste (Mon, 11/21)

 


 

Saginaw News:

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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 23, 2011

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TVSpy:

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)

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 28, 2011

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Detroit News:

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".

 

Newsmakers and links: Nov. 29, 2011

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MLive.com:

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)

 


 

TVSpy.com:

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)

 

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About this Archive

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

West Michigan: October 2011 is the previous archive.

West Michigan: December 2011 is the next archive.

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