WKHM Raises Over $10K For Local Toys For Tots

Left photo: K-105.3’s Jenny Lewis with just one of many carts full of toys donated. Right photo: Sue and Bruce Goldsen, Jackson Radio Works Owners, with Shannon Skarritt of The  Salvation Army


Jackson Radio Works’ K-105.3 (WKHM-FM) and NewsTalk 970AM/101.5FM (WKHM-AM)
hosted their annual joint toy drive to benefit their local chapter of Toys for Tots on Thursday, December 6th from 6 – 10a.m. Toys for Tots is an organization run by the United States Marine Corps which distributes toys to families who cannot afford them for the holiday season.

The Toy Drive took place at Walmart, 1700 W. Michigan Ave. Scott Clow & Jenny Lewis broadcast the K-105.3 Morning Show live on location at Walmart, just outside the entrance, braving the cold to accept drive-up and walk-up donations from listeners.  Also broadcasting live was Greg O’Connor of NewsTalk 970AM/101.5FM hosting his daily local news show “AM Jackson” from inside Walmart.

Donors had the option to bring new toys, check/cash, or shop inside for toys to donate and receive 10% off their purchase. Jackson Radio Works Promotions Director Ashley Smith explains, “As monetary donations come in, we can then take them and shop directly on site for specific needs as far as toy types and age groups, with the guidance of the Toys for Tots coordinators.” This wasn’t the only way to donate, though. “Many people also opted to come inside and shop for toys to donate on their own behalf. There is a great selection. It’s fun!” said Smith.

As we were ringing up the last of the toys at just after 10am, we were able to announce that the total was over $10,000 in purchases and donations made in just that 4-hour period.

Two Men and a Truck filled a moving truck with all the toys donated and purchased Thursday morning and delivered them to Toys for Tots headquarters at the Salvation Army. All donations will be distributed to families right here in Jackson before Christmas.

In addition, the Salvation Army was on site accepting turkeys and hams for holiday meals. Jackson Radio Works Owners  Bruce andue Goldsen donated a shopping cart full of turkeys to the cause.

Townsquare’s WITL Presents Toys-A-Thon

Photo from 2017’s WITL Toy-A-Thon….the bus was stuffed!

This Sunday, December 9, Townsquare Media’s WITL-FM (Lansing) will hold its annual Toy-A-Thon for Toys For Tots  9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the WITL studios, 3420 Pine Tree Road in Lansing. The station is asking listeners who are able to donate, to bring a new, unwrapped toy or toys to the studio so they can “stuff the bus” and make sure that Mid Michigan children have something to open on Christmas morning.

There will be refreshments to enjoy; donuts courtesy of Bake N’ Cakes; along with tours of the studios where you can hear your favorite classic Country and Christmas music. In addition, The U.S. Marines will be on hand to say thank you for your donations!

The station is also taking donations before Sunday’s event at their studios, plus at two U.S. Marines Corps recruiting centers as well as 13 Capital Area District Library locations.

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Returns to WCMU

WCMU Public Radio has launched its fifth annual Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign to fuel home-heating assistance across central and northern Michigan.

An important collaboration continues with Consumers Energy, Isabella Bank and WCMU Public Radio listeners. Through this season of giving, WCMU listeners will support their community two-fold with access to quality public radio programming, while triggering home-heating assistance through the matching funds from Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank. Matching funds will be distributed back to the listener’s community through their local Michigan Community Action agency.

“As winter weather settles in across Michigan, the generosity and compassion of WCMU Public Radio listeners, combined with the financial support of Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank, will allow us to address a critical need facing the people living in the communities we serve,” said Ken Kolbe, general manager of WCMU Public Media.

“It’s sobering to think of having to choose between turning up the thermostat, and paying a car or medical bill. Any one of us could find ourselves in need of assistance through a series of unfortunate events. WCMU listeners should be proud to know that decision has been eased for thousands of families through the first four years of Warm Hearts, Warm Homes,” Rick Westover, radio director for WCMU Public Media, said.

Giving Tuesday (12/3) made for a great kickoff to the with over $25,000 in listener donations to WCMU Public Radio, matched by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank that day. Matching funds make their way back to those in need of heating assistance through the Michigan Community Action agency. Nearly $40,000 in matching funds remain.

“Michigan Community Action deeply appreciates the commitment by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank to help families and seniors stay safe and warm in their homes this winter,” Kate White, Michigan Community Action’s executive director, said. “The Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Campaign has been a wonderful and effective community collaboration.”

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes has provided over $200,000 in matching funds to assist with winter heating bills in its first four years, and is on track this year to crest a quarter of a million dollars in matching support for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. WCMU Public Radio received the 2017 Community Service Award from MCA for the December 2016 campaign.

For more information, see the station’s Warm Hearts, Warm Homes webpage here.

Nexstar to Acquire Tribune in $6.4B Deal

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. and Tribune Media Company announced December 3 that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Nexstar will acquire all outstanding shares of Tribune Media for $46.50 per share in a cash transaction that is valued at $6.4 billion, including the assumption of Tribune Media’s outstanding debt.

The proposed transaction will combine two leading local media companies with complementary national coverage and will reach approximately 39% of U.S. television households pro-forma for anticipated divestitures and reflecting the FCC’s UHF discount.

In Michigan, Nexstar presently owns WOOD-TV/WOTV-TV/WXSP-CD (Grand Rapids), WLNS-TV (Lansing) and WJMN-TV (Marquette). In addition, it has a joint sales and shared services agreement with WLAJ-TV (Lansing).  Tribune operates one station in Grand Rapids, WXMI-TV.

Following the completion of the transaction, Nexstar natiowide will benefit from increased operational and geographic diversity and scale as a result of Tribune Media’s diverse portfolio of media assets including 42 owned or operated broadcast television stations in major U.S. markets; compelling local news and entertainment content creation; significant broadcast distribution; a reinvigorated general entertainment cable network, WGN America; a 31% ownership stake in TV Food Network, which is a top tier cable asset; and equity investments in several digital media businesses.

Perry Sook, Chairman, President and CEO of Nexstar, commented, “Nexstar has long viewed the acquisition of Tribune Media as a strategically, financially and operationally compelling opportunity that brings immediate value to shareholders of both companies. We have thoughtfully structured the transaction in a manner that positions the combined entity to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate. As with our past transactions, we have developed a comprehensive regulatory compliance plan and believe we have a clear path to closing. With committed financing and a plan for significant synergy realization that will result in only a minimal increase in Nexstar’s pro-forma leverage, the combined entity will be poised for growth, leverage reduction and increased capital returns for shareholders.

Peter Kern, CEO of Tribune Media, said, “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Nexstar as it provides Tribune shareholders with substantial value and a well-defined path to closing. Together with Nexstar we can better compete by delivering a nationally integrated, comprehensive and competitive offering across all our markets. We believe this combination will produce an even stronger broadcast and digital platform that builds on the accomplishments of both companies and benefits our viewers and advertisers. The premium value our shareholders are receiving reflects the hard work of our dedicated Tribune employees in maximizing the value of our portfolio. I look forward to working closely with the Nexstar team to deliver on the value of this compelling combination and to ensure a smooth transition and integration of our companies.”

Thomas Carter, Chief Financial Officer of Nexstar, added, “This accretive transaction marks further progress toward our goal of improving our competitive position by strategically expanding our operating base to realize the benefits of scale, increasing our strategic and financial flexibility, and driving shareholder value. Our long-term experience in integrating acquired assets and our success over the last seven quarters in outperforming our synergy targets and driving other operating efficiencies related to our acquisition of the Media General operations will serve us well as we add the Tribune Media assets to our operating base. With our experienced management team, operating discipline and focused approach to managing our capital structure and cost of capital, we believe the acquisition of Tribune Media presents another meaningful opportunity for Nexstar, the markets we serve and our shareholders. ”

Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Tribune’s shareholders, as well as customary closing conditions, including approval by the FCC, and satisfaction of antitrust conditions. Nexstar intends to divest certain television stations necessary to comply with regulatory ownership limits and may also divest other assets which it deems to be non-core. All after-tax proceeds from such asset sales are expected to be applied to leverage reduction.

‘The Steve Gruber Show’ to be featured at 2019 SHOT Show

Steve Gruber

Syndicated Michigan-based “The Steve Gruber Show” has announced that it is among a small elite group of programs invited exclusively by The Shooting Sports Foundation to broadcast from radio row during the upcoming SHOT Show in Las Vegas, January 22-25 2019. The SHOT Show (Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trades) is the biggest gun show in the world and features global vendors and  many of the top names in radio today.

The latest in shooting technology for the sporting pursuits to law enforcement and military are all on display during this annual event.

“We are very flattered to make the cut for the list of broadcasters at this year’s SHOT Show, remarked Gruber from his office in Michigan. Gruber has been a regular attendee to the annual event as owner of Wolf Creek Productions. Gruber founded Wolf Creek in 1993 and the company has produced thousands of episodes of adventure television for Outdoor Channel, Sportsman’s Channel and other adrenaline networks. Among Wolf Creek’s current programs is ‘Wardens’ which focuses on law enforcement efforts of game wardens primarily in Michigan and Montana.

“This is my first trip to SHOT since January 2016 and my first on Radio Row!”, Gruber added. Gruber and his companies have been recognized for excellence on numerous occasions including winning 4 prestigious Golden Moose Awards from Outdoor Channel.

The Steve Gruber Show is a syndicated weekday radio program anchored in the Midwest. Gruber is also a regular contributor to Fox News, the BBC and NPR. His in-depth columns on stories of national and international interest can be found on Newsmax, Lifezette, American Thinker and Real Clear Politics among others.

“I am looking forward to seeing many old friends in Las Vegas. As they say it is good to be home,” Gruber beamed from behind his desk. It is clear his passion for the outdoors and broadcast is burning as brightly as ever.

To find out more about The Steve Gruber Show please contact Ivey Gruber. [email protected].

Lance Tidwell Named Director of FM Programming for Cumulus Detroit

Lance Tidwell

Lance Tidwell has been named Director of FM Programming for Cumulus Detroit.  His responsibilities will include Country WDRQ-FM (NASH FM 93.1) and Hot AC WDVD-FM.

Tidwell brings 30 years of programming experience to the position and previously served as Operations Manager for Cumulus Kansas City.

He was most recently Operations Manager for Townsquare Media’s four-station cluster in Fort Collins, CO. He was also SVP, Programming, for iHeartMedia in the Tucson, AZ, and San Antonio, TX markets, and was PD for Country stations including WWYZ in Hartford, CT; KKWF in Seattle, WA; KQFC in Boise, ID; and WGKX in Memphis, TN.

Greg Smith, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Detroit, said, “Lance is a tremendous addition to our management team at Cumulus Detroit. He is a highly regarded programmer, on-air talent, and leader. I am looking forward to working with him to grow both ratings and revenue for 96.3 WDVD and WDRQ NASH FM 93.1.”

First Phase of TV Channel Repack Completed

November 30 marked the completion of the first phase of TV channel repacking process. The second phase began on December 1. According to the FCC, at least 140 stations in more than 20 markets changed frequencies in the first phase of the post-incentive auction channel move. Over a thousand TV stations are being moved to a different frequency in the process that extends to July 2020.

Senate Passes Resolution Recognizing the Freedom of Press

The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a resolution (S. Res. 501) on protecting press freedom, including calling on President Trump to be a leader in defending the freedom of press, including a press that promotes “government accountability.”

S. Res. 501 recognizes that there are threats to the freedom of press and journalists around the world and that “reaffirming freedom of the press” is a “priority in efforts of the Government of the United States to promote democracy and good governance.”

The Radio-Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) Executive Director Dan Shelly, in a statement, called the Senate action a “much-needed affirmation of the importance of the First Amendment and press freedom in the United States. Just as important, it urges a president and an administration that has often been hostile to journalists to instead promote – and protect – those who serve the public by seeking and reporting the truth around the world.

It is gratifying that, at a time when the leader of the free world occasionally calls journalists the ‘enemy of the people,’ that the Senate, on a bipartisan and unanimous basis, would support press freedom at home and abroad.”

Michigan’s Debbie Dingell Elected to House Democratic Leadership Post

Representative Debbie Dingell

On November 29, House Democrats elected U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell  (D-12) as one of four leaders of the caucus’ messaging arm.

Dingell will co-chair the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee along with Chair David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Co-Chairs Ted Lieu of California and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.

Dingell, a former member of the Democratic National Committee, had pressed the need for Midwest representation in the leadership of the committee, which oversees the caucus’ policy agenda and communications strategy.

In an article appearing in the Detroit News, Dingell said, “I’m going to make sure that when we’re at the table talking policy and message that the Midwest’s and the Heartland’s viewpoint is represented. That already happened today,”

Other members of the Michigan delegation also won election to leadership posts.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-6) was re-elected earlier in the week to the House Republican Steering Committee, which determines committee assignments.

In addition, incoming House Democrats elected Representative-elect Haley Stevens (D-11) as co-president of their freshman class.

Bill To Keep Nonprofit Donors Secret Passes Senate

According to a report in Gongwer, Michigan Senate Republicans passed legislation last week that allows nonprofit organizations to not be forced to disclose their donors. Opponents of the bill called the measure a way of hiding who is contributing to political attack advertisements.

SB 1176 passed by a 25-12 vote. The bill prohibits public agencies from requiring any 501(c) designated organizations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to disclose donors without permission unless sought through a criminal warrant or through discovery in a lawsuit. This means that the Department of Attorney General or any agency conducting investigations would have to obtain a warrant to access such information about a charity group rather than merely requesting it.