Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WPHM Revamps Lineup

Caleb Gordon, News and Program Director of Radio First’s WPHM-AM (Port Huron), has announced a new lineup for the talk radio station.  The station has added Hugh Hewitt, Bloomberg Radio and  Tom Sullivan to their lineup, plus has returned Dave Ramsey to Blue Water Area airwaves.

“We surveyed our listeners and found they wanted more news and talk programs on WPHM,” Gordon said. The new programming will take effect January 22 following the Paul Miller morning show.

The Hugh Hewitt Show is an interview heavy talk show about the biggest stories of the day. Author of five books, Hewitt continues to write widely on diverse topics from politics to religion to culture for magazines and newspapers across the United States. He is a frequent contributor on television’s most watched programs including CNN, Fox News, Nightline and Meet the Press. The Hugh Hewitt Show airs weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on WPHM.

Amy Morris and Peter Barns anchor Bloomberg Radio’s Politics, Policy and Power show from their Washington, D.C. Bureau. Amy Morris, an Edward R. Murrow award winning radio journalist, discusses how decisions made in Washington and on Wall Street affect your daily life. She is joined by Peter Barns who was an anchor on the Fox Business Network and CNBC before joining Bloomberg. Politics, Policy and Power will air on WPHM from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Tom Sullivan Show is a caller-driven, topical talk show for the drive home. He’s well known for the near-decade he spent pulling double duty on TV and radio with FOX Business Channel and KFBK Radio in Sacramento, California. Sullivan has been the top-rated talk host in Sacramento since July 1988. Tom got his first taste of network radio as a regular fill-in for the most listened to talk show in the world, The Rush Limbaugh Program, for a number of years. The Tom Sullivan Show airs Weekday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m.

Dennis Stuckey will continue to host his local sports talk show weekday evenings, which will move to 5 p.m. Stuckey also will continue coverage of local high school and SC4 sports, which will air on wphm.net and select games will also be on AM 1380. He will be followed by national sports talker Mark Malone at 7 p.m. Dave Ramsey returns to WPHM weeknights at 10 p.m., dishing out his common sense financial advice.

Radio First’s Caleb Gordon joined WPHM as News and Program Director in October. Gordon says the station will feature hourly updates from ABC, the Michigan News Network, Bloomberg Radio, and more local news reports throughout the day. “We will continue to air sports programming nights and weekends,” says Gordon, which includes play-by-play teams such as the Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Spartans. WPHM also streams live at www.wphm.net and on the station’s mobile application

A complete schedule of WPHM’s new programs and biographies of new personalities can be found at http://www.wphm.net/wphm-schedule

Julie Zoumbaris Named VP/GM at WNEM-TV

Julie Zoumbaris

Meredith Corporation has announced that Julie Zoumbaris has been named Vice President and General Manager of WNEM TV (Saginaw), effective Monday, January 22.

Zoumbaris replaces Al Blinke, who recently retired after a career in local broadcasting spanning more than 40-years.

“Julie was an instrumental member of the TV5 sales team for more than a decade,” said, Patrick McCreery, Meredith Local Media Group Executive Vice President of Operations. “She is an exceptional leader with a strong record of growing market share and increasing revenue. We are excited to welcome Julie back to the Meredith family.”

Most recently, Zoumbaris served as the Director of Sales for WRTV in Indianapolis where she led her team to the best Indy 500 sales in station history. Additionally, Zoumbaris worked as the Director of Sales at WISH-TV in Indianapolis, where she helped launch the market’s first live and local style show with more $1 million in TV and digital revenue.

In addition to her roles at WRTV and WISH-TV, Zoumbaris held sales management positions at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio, and WEYI-TV in Flint. She worked in various sales roles for 14 years at WNEM.

Zoumbaris earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Free Jacobs Media Webinar on January 25

Fred Jacobs, Paul Jacobs, Seth Resler and Bob Kernen of Jacobs Media Strategies have returned from CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas and are offering a free webinar for radio titled “The 10 Things We Learned At CES (That Impact Radio).”

Presented in partnership with Inside Radio, Jacobs Media and jācapps have put together a 30-minute webinar that will present the latest and greatest at CES, with a focus on smart speakers, connected cars and new audio applications and gadgetry. The webinar will connect the dots to help the radio industry better understand how technology is changing our lives, our careers, and our business models.

The webinar will be presented Thursday, January 25 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  To register, click here.

Interlochen Sells East Jordan Station

On January 8, Interlochen Center for the Arts filed an application to sell WICV-FM (East Jordan) to Northern Christian Radio for $150,000.

WICV is a class A FM, operating on 100.9 mHz with an ERP of 2.8kw at 488 feet HAAT.  The station is presently an affiliate of the Interlochen Public Radio’s “Classical IPR” network.  Interlochen has owned the station since 1990.

Interlochen’s other stations include WIAA-FM (Interlochen), WICA-FM (Traverse City), WIAB-FM (Mackinaw City), WLMN-FM (Manistee) and WHBP-FM (Harbor Springs).

Northern Christian Radio owns WPHN-FM (Gaylord), WOLW-FM (Cadillac) and WTHN-FM (Sault Ste. Marie).

WDIV Partners with Nextdoor in Southeastern Michigan

On January 10, WDIV-TV (Detroit) announced a partnership with Nextdoor, a free and private social network for neighborhoods. WDIV will be using Nextdoor to enhance conversations around local news in communities across the area.

WDIV will not only post relevant and interesting news stories to Nextdoor neighborhoods in Metro Detroit, but engage residents in the stories it works on. Through open-ended questions and Nextdoor polls, WDIV will have the opportunity to hear directly from residents about the various issues affecting them.

“Discussing local news with neighbors is an essential way to build a strong community and an informed civic dialogue,” said Dustin Block, WDIV’s digital executive producer. “We hope that the stories we share lead to further community discussions about the topics that matter most to you.”

This partnership gives WDIV the opportunity to interact with local people about the stories and conversations that matter most to them. However, WDIV will not have access to private neighborhood conversations or member data and can only see neighbor replies to the posts it shares.

If there is an article/story that WDIV does not share that residents would like to discuss with neighbors, participants can use the ‘Share on Nextdoor’ icon that will be accessible on all of WDIV’s news stories.

Viewers can visit WDIV-Local 4’s Nextdoor profile page to find locally relevant stories from the station’s staff. To join the neighborhood news conversation, residents can sign up for Nextdoor by going to www.nextdoor.com/wdiv and entering an email address and home address.

Broadcast Museum Celebrates First Anniversary

A Detroit museum dedicated to the achievements of the nation’s first black-owned television station will hold its anniversary on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The WGPR-TV62 Historical Society says the January 15 event at the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum & Media Center will include a black media history quiz and video clips of speeches by King, a civil rights icon.

The museum is named after WGPR’s founder and is located at 3146 East Jefferson Ave., in the same building where the station’s original television and radio studios operated.

Banks launched Michigan’s first black-owned FM station, 107.5, in 1964. Also a minister, he switched the call letters from Grosse Pointe Radio to Where God’s Presence Radiates.

The goal was to provide training so African-Americans could become a greater part of the broadcast industry, and dictate their own story.

With no TV stations operated by blacks, he applied for a TV license.

WGPR-TV started broadcasting on Sept. 29, 1975 and remained on-air until it was sold in 1995 to CBS.

WSYM’s Kip Bohne Retires

Kip Bohne

After 35 years, Kip Bohne, WSYM-TV (Lansing), retired from the station on December 31, 2017.  Bohne started at the station before it signed on the air, helping to build (what was then) WFSL in 1982 and was appointed Promotion Manager in 1983.  While having the title of Promotion Manager, he was the station’s right-hand man, jack-of-all-trades, manager, creative and marketing director and employee in almost every department.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Bohne was hired by Steve Schram (who now runs Michigan Radio) for the MSU campus radio in 1972.  He managed one of the campus stations for two years and was Chair of the Campus Radio Board during his senior year.  In 1975, he started working at WILS radio in Lansing, both on-air and as Promotion Director.

In the late 70s, Bohne taught high school media and communications with the late Larry Estlack, while still holding an airshift at WILS.  He started at WSFL-TV in July of 1982, one of the original members of the team that physically built the station.

Bohne told the MAB that the real highlight of his career was being so fortunate to be a part of the birth of a new station.  He said the station started out as a struggling independent station, moving into a FOX affiliate and then finally adding a news product.  “It was more fun than should be allowed,” said Bohne.

Bohne, who is married to longtime Lansing news anchor Jane Aldrich (who retired herself in December 2016), said of his future plans, “You can take the boy out of the media, but you can’t take the media out of the boy! I’m not sure what the next move will be, but I’m not planning on “signing off” from the business of media anytime soon!”

In a Facebook post, Aldrich wrote, “As his wife, I applaud his 35 years of dedicated service, integrity, hard work, loyalty and devotion to the station, the wonderful people at FOX 47, and numerous causes and non-profit organizations he’s helped in the community. Kip’s the kind of person who doesn’t like a lot of attention (unlike his wife) and always flies under the radar to get the job done right–not expecting any fanfare, accolades or acknowledgment in return. He’s that quiet, steadfast presence–behind the scenes–who always keeps things running; doing so much, for so many, that most people don’t realize they’ve had an invisible safety net around them all along. I’m not alone in saying that he’s been the creative genius behind some of the best and most innovative television programming, marketing and production in the Midwest. He’s been a mentor to many and an inspiration to all. I can’t wait to see where he’ll put his talents and attention next.”

WILX-TV’s Mike King Interviewed about Television’s Future on ‘MSU Today’

Mike King

By: Russ White, MSU Today

MSU alumnus Mike King is regional vice president for Gray Television and general manager of WILX-TV 10 in Lansing.

King recalls the limited options of the television world in the early ’80s when he entered the business and how the content options for consumers have exploded. “The content is still important,” says King. “The platform has really become more agnostic to us.”

Listen to the interview here:

King says Channel 10 now delivers its content through the web, mobile, Hulu, and Amazon. And local news is still important to people, and it’s something they find more difficult to find online.

“We are really focused on providing local content on multiple platforms. We’ve always been about content. Now instead of having one television signal we have multiple channels that we’re delivering to.”

King says WILX is now a multimedia marketing organization, not only one television signal. The goal is still to sell advertising, but “it’s not just about delivering TV commercials anymore. And consumers want to be reached via multiple platforms.”

King tells how ATSC 3.0 is a new delivery standard for television stations. “It will allow for more two-way interaction with consumers and slicing of the signal so we can deliver even more content over the same amount of bandwidth.

“To simply be in a one-channel advertising-supported business model isn’t sustainable any longer.”

So what and how will we be watching 5, 10 or 20 years from now?

“I wish I had a crystal ball. But as a company – Gray Television – we are going to be in the local news and content business. What I can’t answer is how you’re going to consume our content.”

For young people who want to get into broadcasting and communications, King says to be a good storyteller first and foremost.

“And you do need to understand how consumers are consuming the media. You can’t just go into broadcasting anymore. It’s really about figuring out the news and information people want in their lives and then understanding the multiple channels on which they want to receive that information.

“It’s about standing above the noise and staying on top of the rapid pace of technological change.”

WDIV-TV, Graham Media Group Launch Podcast Series

Roger Weber

On December 21, WDIV-TV and its parent company Graham Media Group launched a new podcast featuring “stories of the incompatible.”

Hosted by long-time TV reporter and anchor Roger Weber, “Mismatch” delves into stories where two people or things that are not suited to each other are together.​

Weber said that during his time as a reporter and anchor, he encountered people who didn’t line up with each other, circumstances or expectations.

“Mismatches create challenges and consequences,” he explained.​

Stories coming in Season 1 include the tragic love story of an heir to an automotive fortune and a woman with no money or social standing. The apparent mismatch ends with a terrible tragedy on the couple’s honeymoon.

Another episode includes how an interview between a baseball Hall of Famer and President Richard Nixon came to be, and also features a man who is contacted by a family that gave him up for adoption 38 years earlier.

Both episodes are available today on popular podcast apps and at: http://www.mismatchpodcast.com. Six more episodes will be released weekly starting Dec. 28.

“Mismatch” is produced in partnership with WDIV-TV, one of Graham Media Group’s seven TV stations. Joining forces with Weber is Zak Rosen, a Detroit-based producer who has lent his expertise producing and editing.

“When I use the word ‘podcast,’ most people under 40 know what I’m talking about,” Weber said. “On the other hand, my fellow Baby Boomers often react with a puzzled expression. They either don’t know what podcasts are, or they don’t know how to get them. The technology isn’t an obstacle. It’s a gateway to great storytelling. I can’t wait to share these stories and so much more.”

The new podcast, is part of Graham Media Group’s launch of its podcast division, which will offer compelling and original audio content across popular podcast services.

It’s convenient, and you can listen anytime, anywhere.

“We are excited to partner with our seven TV stations and other content producers to bring superior audio content to new audiences,” said Catherine Badalamente, Graham Media Group’s vice president of digital media. “This allows us to leverage our storytelling talent and community connections to bring listeners more of the content we know they love.”

Badalamente described Weber as a master storyteller.

“Roger is one of the all-time great storytellers,” she said. “For more than 40 years, he’s been skillful at telling the big stories with honesty and heart.”

Weber described “Mismatch” episodes as compelling, comical and, at times, inspiring.

“More often than not, interesting stories feature a mismatch,” Weber said.

Emily Barr, the president and CEO of Graham Media Group, said “Mismatch” and GMG’s new podcast division build on the company’s reputation for compelling storytelling.

“Our stations are the voices of our communities and full of smart and engaging storytellers,” said Barr. “Podcasts are a natural extension of what we are really good at doing. Graham Media Group has some great podcasts in the hopper. We are excited to share them.”

Go to mismatchpodcast.com to listen and to learn more.

WBCT-FM’s ‘The Canuck’ Dies in an Auto Accident

John Wiechenthal

On December 21, WBCT-FM (Grand Rapids) 19-year veteran part-time on-air personality  John “The Canuck” Wiechenthal died in an auto accident in Kentwood.  He was 39 years old.

“He was the guy you wanted to be around and you knew if you were going to be hanging out with him, you were going to have a great time.”  WBCT Program Director Dave Taft told WZZM-TV.

Taft and Wiechenthal have been friends for nearly two decades. Taft remembers when Wiechenthal was hired at B-93.

“He was one of those guys who just kept calling the radio station over and over, ‘I want to work there, I want to work there,’ to the point where he drove us crazy and we hired him just so he would stop calling,” he said.

Wiechenthal, a father of three, worked two jobs: as a full-time  dispatcher in Ionia County and as a part-time radio personality with B-93 for the past 19 years.

On B-93, Wiechenthal became known as “The Canuck.”

“He’s from up near the Toronto area so he had a love for his Toronto Blue Jays and definitely the Toronto Mapleleafs,” Taft said. “He would have been here Saturday night, 7 to midnight.”

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today, January 4, at Christ Lutheran Church (44th and Byron Center) in Wyoming. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, January 5, at the church.