While Michigan’s Lower Peninsula NFL team loyalties may favor the Detroit Lions, its a little more divided in the U.P., where Michigan borders Wisconsin and the population is a bit closer to Green Bay than Detroit.
Results Radio Network (RRN) has announced that, beginning this season, they will expand coverage of Green Bay Packer football to include the company’s WUPZ-FM (Marquette). RRN’s Escanaba-based WGLQ-FM has been broadcasting the NFL team 17 years.
A third RRN station, WLST-FM, Marinette, Wisconsin, also carries the Packers. “We are well aware that Green Bay Packers football is the hottest sports franchise in the area,” said RRN Operations Manager Mike Daniels.
On July 5, Michigan Radio marked 70 years on the air. The WUOM-FM signal in Ann Arbor began broadcasting for the first time on July 5, 1948. At the time, FM radio was extremely new. It was estimated that there were only eight other educational FM stations, and only about fifty FM stations of any kind, in operation across the country.
With a full time staff of five people, including Director of Broadcasting Waldo Abbott, the station began broadcasting from temporary studios in Angell Hall on the University of Michigan campus. Students used the space for classes from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and WUOM then went on the air from 2:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The station was off the air most Saturdays and broadcast for only two hours on Sundays.
Despite these modest beginnings, the station quickly expanded its coverage and importance. In 1949, the station aired the first play-by-play broadcast of University of Michigan football by sports director Bill Fleming. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was interviewed on the station in 1950 discussing the rise of Red China. And in 1960, the station broadcast Sen. John F. Kennedy’s speech, which sparked the creation of the Peace Corps, from the steps of the Michigan Union.
Michigan Radio also quickly and steadily increased its reach across southern Michigan. In 1952, a new tower and transmitter was added in Flint, and began broadcasting as WFUM-FM. In 1962, satellite station WVGR-FM joined the Michigan Radio fold, serving Grand Rapids and west Michigan.
The station has also played an important role in developing the public radio system. WUOM General Manager Ed Burrow, and former program director Jerrold Sandler were instrumental in having radio added to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which became the financial foundation for public radio across the country. Michigan Radio was also one of the first member stations of NPR, and a flagship station to air “All Things Considered” when the program began in 1971.
Over the years, the station has aired talk, public affairs, original radio dramas, sports, classical music, jazz and other types of programming. In 1996, Michigan Radio adopted a full-time news & information format, becoming one of the first radio stations in the country to broadcast this type of format on the FM band.
Now, Michigan Radio has the largest radio news staff in Michigan, with reporters in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids. The station delivers NPR and statewide news, information and original programming 24 hours a day, 7 days per week … over-the-air, online, on smartphones and smart speakers and via podcast. With a weekly over-the-air audience of over 500,000 people, plus an additional 130,000 online listeners per month, Michigan Radio is one of the most listened to public radio news services in America.
You can view a timeline of significant events over the past seventy years at Michigan Radio here.
Michigan Radio broadcasts at 91.7 FM in Detroit and southeastern Michigan, 91.1 FM in Flint, 104.1 FM in West Michigan, and online at michiganradio.org. Michigan Radio is licensed to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Following a national search, the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) announced July 6 that it has chosen WGVU (Grand Rapids) Public Media’s Tim Eernisse to be its first education vice president. Eernisse will be at the forefront of actualizing NETA’s strategic plan to amplify public media’s education role, overseeing the association’s education services and professional development activities, including the annual NETA conference this coming January in Salt Lake City. He begins work at NETA’s headquarters in early August.
Eernisse spent the last 12 years as director of development and marketing at WGVU, a service of Grand Valley State University. He developed many successful collaborations for the university licensee, both locally and nationally, including WGVU Engage, a group of more than 600 volunteers to support the station’s community engagement initiatives in inclusion, health, arts, veterans and education. The U.S. Air Force veteran and self-described “first generation PBS Kid” is already known to many in the public media system as a valued colleague on numerous working groups and advisory councils dealing with community engagement, early childhood education development, revenue innovation and communications.
Eernisse said, “I believe education is the foundational cornerstone of the services that PBS, NPR and public television stations provide to our communities. I am honored and humbled to join the NETA team and look forward to working together to make a difference in support of that educational mission.”
NETA president Eric Hyyppa said, “Tim brings a passion for the mission of public media, a service based leadership philosophy, a demonstrated creative and entrepreneurial streak and a station-centric perspective.” He added, “I am excited to have him as a partner. I am confident in his ability to lead NETA, our member stations, and our public media system forward.”
The National Educational Telecommunications Association is a public media pioneer, originally incorporated in 1967. The member organization is based in Columbia, S.C. It serves public television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands by providing quality program content from diverse sources, educational resources, professional development, management support and national representation.
On July 9, the Central Michigan University Journalism Hall of Fame announced its 2018 CMU Journalism Hall of Fame Inductees, including WLNS-TV (Lansing) Sports Director Fred Heumann.
Heumann is a 1980 graduate of CMU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Broadcast and Cinematic Arts/Journalism. He served as a sports reporter with WDIV-TV (Detroit) from 1994 to 2000; then joined WXYZ-TV (Detroit) as sports reporter and weekend sports anchor from 2000 to 2003.
He has been with WLNS-TV for the past 15 years.
Other 2018 Inductees include:
John Barnes, former statewide journalism projects editor for MLive Media Group and former metro editor of The Grand Rapids Press.
Dr. John K. Hartman, emeritus professor CMU Journalism Department, author of “The USA Today Way.”
Sheila Reinecke, major account executive, MLive Media Group and national account director Advance Newspapers.
The 2018 Journalism Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held November 3 at Courtyard Mount Pleasant at Central Michigan University. Ticket sales begin next month.
WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) has named Chris Legg Director of Sales. As Director of Sales, Legg will oversee the station’s sales team and revenue, reporting to FOX 17 General Manager Kim Krause.
Prior to joining FOX 17, Legg was an Account Executive, Local Sales Manager and most recently the Director of Sales at WZZM, an ABC affiliate in Grand Rapids.
“I am ecstatic to join FOX 17. I have been extremely impressed with their consistent growth and success in becoming a leading destination for news and information in West Michigan,” said Chris Legg. “I am excited to lead the FOX 17 sales department in providing customized integrated marketing campaigns designed to help local businesses grow and thrive.”
“I worked with Chris for years at WZZM so I know exactly who we’re getting,” said Kim Krause. “He’s a well-respected, seasoned sales professional with a long record of success. He’s the perfect addition to our station’s leadership team and I couldn’t be happier to be working with him again.”
Legg holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Hope College. He will start at FOX 17 in his new role on Monday, July 16th.
Gray Television Group, Inc. announced July 9 the promotion of General Sales Manager, Debbie Petersmark, to Vice President & General Manager of WILX Media, including WILX-TV (Lansing). She will continue to oversee sales operations for the station in addition to her new expanded role. Ms. Petersmark will succeed long-standing VP/GM Michael King.
The announcement comes just weeks after Gray Television’s announcement of their intention to acquire Raycom Media for $3.6 Billion. Mr. King will serve in the newly created position of Television Vice President for Gray Television Group, Inc. overseeing a larger portfolio of Gray markets.
“For nearly 18 years at WILX, I have had the privilege of working with some of the best and brightest people in the business. I’m looking forward to new challenges and working with Debbie to grow WILX into Mid-Michigan’s premier multi-platform news and information leader,” said King.
Ms. Petersmark joined the station in 2000 as an Account Executive, and she has served as General Sales Manager since 2014. She has led the sales operations for WILX responsible for all local, regional, national and digital sales and marketing initiatives. Under Ms. Petersmark’s leadership, the station has become a leader in selling multi-platform marketing solutions utilizing WILX’s television, mobile and digital properties. “She has an incredible ability to assess a customer’s needs and then develop marketing solutions that truly deliver results for our advertisers,” said King.
King served as MAB Chairman in 2011.
Prior to joining WILX, Pertersmark spent 10 years at the Sparrow Foundation where she led the fundraising efforts for the Regional Children’s Center and produced an annual telethon. She is a lifelong resident of East Lansing where she lives with her husband Mike and their three children Andrew, Megan and Owen. She serves as a board member for the American Red Cross, Mid-Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University.
“I’m honored to follow in Mike King’s footsteps at WILX. He has been a transformative leader both here at the station and in our community. We are blessed with a strong team both on the air and off. I’m proud of the work we do, and the opportunity we have each day to make a difference in the lives of our news viewers and the local businesses that advertise with us,” said Petersmark.
Cumulus Media has announced that former Detroit Lions offensive tackle Lomas Brown has joined the Lions’ game day broadcast team on WJR-AM (Detroit) as color analyst. Brown will provide commentary and analysis beside WJR’s play-by-play host, Dan Miller.
Brown is a former first round pick from the University of Florida in the 1985 NFL draft. The Detroit Lions selected Brown sixth overall and he played for the Lions for 11 of his 18 NFL seasons. Brown also won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay in 2002, and was named to the Pro Bowl team seven straight seasons from 1990 to 1996.
Tom O’Brien, Vice President/General Manager, WJR, said: “Jim Brandstatter did an excellent job for the past two years on WJR and for many years prior, and we’re proud of the work we did together. The addition of Lomas Brown, a former All Pro Lion, will bring a unique perspective to the game day broadcast.”
Brown said: “I am very excited by this opportunity. I know I have some big shoes to fill, but I’m excited about the chance to talk to all those great Lions fans every week!”
Entercom Communications has announced that WXYT-FM (Detroit) afternoon host Mike Valenti has signed a new long-term contract extension.
“Mike is an extraordinary talent who has a great rapport with Detroit sports fans,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Detroit. “He has built a dedicated listener base and we’re thrilled to have him on the 97.1 team for years to come.”
“I value the opportunity to continue my career at The Ticket in Detroit, one of the great sports towns in the country,” Valenti added.
Valenti joined WXYT-FM/97.1 The Ticket’s afternoon drive in 2007. Before joining The Ticket, Mike co-hosted “The Sports Inferno” on Sports Radio 1270 (WXYT-AM) in Detroit.
Alpha Media’s WCEN-FM (Saginaw) has teamed up with Mountain Town Brewing Company to introduce The Moose New Country Ale to be available at area establishments in the coming weeks. Listeners can find the beer at Mountain Town Brewing in Mt. Pleasant, Alma Brewing Company in Alma and Beer & Brats in Midland.
“In addition to giving our listeners the best in new Country music every day, we wanted to give them something they can enjoy on their evenings out or at dinner,” said WCEN Program Director Joby Phillips. “We think those who are fans of the music we play will be just as big a fan of The Moose New Country Ale.”
On Saturday, June 23, Sanilac Broadcasting (Sandusky) celebrated 50 years of service with a community open house for listeners and advertisers to come by and say hello and get a tour.
Sanilac Broadcasting Company was founded in 1968 by George Benko and Robert Benko, when WMIC-AM signed on the air June 27, 1968 from studios located in Sandusky, Michigan. WMIC was originally at 1560 on the AM dial where it remained for nineteen years.
On August 17 of 1971, WTGV-FM signed on at 97.7 FM as a simulcast partner of WMIC. In those days the stations were known as WMIC AM & FM.
In December 1987, an opportunity was taken to move WMIC 1560 to the left side of the dial to 660 AM. With this new clear-channel frequency, the information and entertainment that WMIC had provided could now heard be across most of lower Michigan and parts of Ontario!
On Sept 2, 1999 WBGV-FM, known as Country 92.5, signed on, broadcasting ABC Radio Networks “The Best Country Around”, a modern, fresh country music format. WBGV is owned by G.B. Broadcasting. Its president is George E. Benko V.
Longtime General Manager Bob Armstrong joined the staff of WMIC and WTGV on December 9, 1971, the day after he graduated from Ferris State University. His first position was Program Director, and on April 1, 1975, he became General Manager.