All posts by MAB Staff


On April 3, WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac) and WTCM-FM (Traverse City) teamed up to present TC JOBfest, “the largest employee recruiting event ever held in Northern Michigan.” The event was free for job-seekers and open to the public. The media partnership offered the ability to advertise widely on both television and radio, reaching Up North audiences eager to apply for a diverse range of skilled positions.  The event was open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and was held at the Park Place Hotel and Conference Center.

Over 600 job-seekers from around the Traverse City area visited to meet local employers currently hiring for hundreds of positions, in fields ranging from construction and manufacturing to the military and the medical field.

A total of 30 area businesses were represented at this first-ever JOBfest event in Traverse City, all of which are looking to fill skilled positions with local workers.

During the event, candidates were able to connect with hiring employers and learn about employee benefits, healthcare packages, and workplace culture. There was even an open conference room at JOBfest for employers to use for interviewing exceptional applicants on-site. Northwest Michigan Works! was also present helping prospective employees write cover letters and update their resumes on the spot.

J. Steele Joins 105.1 The BOUNCE

J. Steele

Beasley Media Group, LLC; a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. announces J. Steele has been named as the new afternoon drive personality at WMGC-FM (Detroit), 105.1 The BOUNCE. He will begin his new position on April 22.

Steele most recently served as the program director and afternoon drive host at WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh.

“We are very impressed with J’s experience in this format and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit,” said 105.1 The BOUNCE Program Director John Candelaria. “His passion and skill sets are a perfect fit. The BOUNCE is fortunate to have J. on board. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.”

“When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list,” said Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards. “After having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success for 105.1 The BOUNCE.”

“This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid,” said Steele. “I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves in the Motor City for this incredible radio station. I am very grateful to John Candelaria and Mac Edwards for this opportunity to make Detroit BOUNCE!”

Mary Conway, Vickie Thomas, Kathy Barks Hoffman Welcomed Into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

Former WXYZ-TV (Detroit) reporter Mary Conway and WWJ-AM (Detroit) reporter Vickie Thomas and former “Off the Record” panelist Kathy Barks Hoffman were among seven news professionals inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at Michigan State University in East Lansing on April 14.

Mary Conway

Mary Conway spent 29 years at WXYZ reporting on local and national stories including Nelson Mandela’s visit to Detroit, the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler and the elevation of Cardinal Adam Maida in Rome. During her career, she covered every U.S. president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a reporter at WIFR in Rockford, Illinois, before joining WZZM in Grand Rapids as an anchor and reporter. Three years later she joined WXYZ and became the station’s primary automotive reporter – one of only a few women in a male-dominated field. Conway developed her passion for cars at an early age, learning from her father, who ran a gas station not far from where she grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. Her passion and knowledge of the industry led her to become one of the top automotive reporters in the city and the country.

“We are so proud of Mary Conway and this well-deserved honor,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “Mary was an incredible reporter whose work earned her the trust of top automotive executives and praise from both her colleagues and viewers.”

Vickie Thomas

Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She attended Michigan State University and graduated cum laude from Wayne State University. Since joining WWJ Newsradio 950 in 1991, she has earned from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. She also has received the national “Gabriel Award” from UNDA-USA for the WWJ Black History Month Series “The African-American Church: The Heart and Soul of Metro Detroit’s Black Community”. Thomas is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and started a scholarship and internship program for college students interested in the field of broadcast news, while serving as vice president of the local chapter. She also sits on the boards of the Midwest Aids Prevention Project (MAPP) and CASA Maria Family Services.

“For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit,” Entercom Detroit SVP/Market Manager Debbie Kenyon said. “Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.”

Kathy Barks Hoffman

Kathy Barks Hoffman currently is Vice President with PR firm Martin Waymire. She was formerly the head of AP’s Lansing Bureau and was a reporter for The Detroit News and Lansing State Journal.  She also spent many years as a panelist on public television’s “Off the Record” public affairs program. Before joining Martin Waymire, Kathy was a director in the Public Affairs Practice of Lambert, Edwards and Associates in Lansing.

In a Twitter post, Hoffman said, “I’m so honored to have been accepted this year, and to be among so many other great journalists who will be inducted this year.”

Other 2019 Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductees included former Lansing State Journal  reporter/columnist John Schneider, former Automotive News Publisher/Editor Peter Brown, former Detroit Free Press photographer Mary Schroeder and the late Detroit Free Press restaurant critic Sylvia Rector.

City of Norway Honors ‘The First Voice of WJNR’

Aaron Harper

On April 15, the Norway City Council recognized retired broadcast journalist Aaron Harper for his programming and community involvement with a resolution of appreciation.

Harper was the first employee and news director at WJNR-FM (Iron Mountain) and well known as “The First Voice of WJNR.”  Harper retired in January from WHTO-FM/WJNR-FM/WOBE-FM.

According to an article in the Iron Mountain Daily News, Norway City Manager Ray Anderson congratulated Harper on his “well-deserved” retirement, saying the community will miss hearing his voice in the news.  Mayor Candy Brew added, “He did a fine job for many years.  I hope he has a great retirement.”

Also planned is an Aaron Harper Day celebration on Sunday, April 28, at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway.

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Meet your MAB Foundation Board Member of the Week: Wendy Hart

Wendy Hart

Wendy Hart is Vice President of Operations for Spartan Sports Network, Inc., the state of Michigan’s largest and most listened to sports network.  Hart helped found the Network in the early 1990s and is responsible for day-to-day operations and corporate strategy, strategic direction and branding.  She oversees the development and implementation of digital media platforms and sports broadcast operations. She also co-owns WGHN-AM/FM  (Grand Haven) and is a member of the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame. A graduate of Illinois State University with a B.A. in Mass Communications, Hart resides with her family in Haslett.

Hoadley To Challenge Upton in 6th Congressional District

State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-60)

State Representative Jon Hoadley (D-60) announced he is running for the 6th Congressional House District in Michigan which is currently held by Congressman Fred Upton (R-6). Upton held this seat since 1986.

Traditionally, Michigan’s 6th Congressional is a Republican seat; however, Upton’s 2018 win was very close: 50.2 percentage compared to 45.7 percent of the vote for the Democratic challenger.

Hoadley currently serves as the minority vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He is in his third term in the House, so he cannot seek re-election for the 60th House District in 2020.

WXYZ Marks 100th Capture of Detroit’s Most Wanted

(L-R) Joseph Abdullah, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal; Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD, VP and GM; James Craig, Chief, Detroit Police Department; Rhonda LaVelle, WXYZ/WMYD News Director; Ann Marie LaFlamme, 7 Action News Reporter; Mark Jankowski, U.S. Marshal; Aaron Garcia, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal; Matt Conquest, Crime Stoppers of Michigan.

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) 7 Action News marked the 100th capture of “Detroit’s Most Wanted” fugitives with a daylong event and luncheon on Thursday to honor the law enforcement agencies across Metro Detroit that are working to keep the community safe.

Since the “Detroit’s Most Wanted” series began on 7 Action News nearly four years ago, 21 killers and dozens of dangerous criminals have been taken off the streets. 7 Action News reporter Ann Marie LaFlamme has worked with law enforcement agents to profile the criminals and to use tips from WXYZ viewers to help law enforcement locate and arrest fugitives. 7 Action News will feature reports on-air and on throughout the day profiling the lives that have been changed through “Detroit’s Most Wanted.”

(L-R) Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD, VP and GM; Aaron Garcia, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal.

“We want to thank our law enforcement agencies for their hard work and dedication,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “This partnership has allowed us to share a commitment to make our neighborhoods safer and our communities stronger. The project has changed lives, prevented additional crimes and provided justice for victims. At WXYZ, we’re proud to be part of this important effort.”

The luncheon honored U.S. Marshal Mark Jankowski, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Joseph Abdullah, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Aaron Garcia, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (DFAT) and law enforcement members from agencies across Metro Detroit.

Columbia University’s Dart Awards Recognize ‘Believed’ Series

Michigan Radio’s Believed podcast has been awarded its first Dart Award from the prestigious Columbia School of Journalism. The Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma recognizes outstanding reporting in all media that portrays traumatic events and their aftermath with accuracy, insight and sensitivity while illuminating the effects of violence and tragedy on victims’ lives.

Episodes 6 & 7 of the series entitled, “The Parents” and “What Have You Done?” were selected as outstanding examples in the reporting of traumatic events. The awarding judges said of Believed, “[It is] a gripping tale that resonates far beyond this particular story.”

One of the series’ strongest elements highlighted by the Dart judges was the sense of relationship between the reporters and their subjects, citing the “enormous trust” that had been developed. Survivors and their parents felt secure enough to “reveal their deepest regrets and vulnerabilities” to these journalists which ultimately led to stronger storytelling. Judges called the series “incredibly in-depth” and praised the Michigan Radio podcast as “stellar,” “intimate” and “profound.”

Also honored with a Dart Award this year were Times Picayune for “The Children of Central City,” a multimedia project that tells the story of children from one neighborhood in New Orleans and the profound impacts of poverty, violence and trauma on their lives. Both winners will be recognized at a public ceremony and winners’ roundtable on May 1 at 5:30pm at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

The Believed podcast series from Michigan Radio and NPR provided an intimate look at how a team of female survivors, detectives, and prosecutors won justice in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. It was developed from the over two years of coverage of the case completed by Michigan Radio reporters. Believed was an exploration of the other side of this national scandal, that of the survivors and their families.

2019 marks the 25th Annual Dart Awards from the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma. Since 1994 the awards have recognized exemplary journalism on the impact of violence, crime and other traumatic events on individuals, families and communities. The Dart Awards are open to newspaper, magazine, online, radio, television, video and multimedia journalism from North America that goes beyond the ordinary in reporting on trauma.