Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

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WXMI Celebrates 20 years of Local News

On January 11, Tribune Media’s WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) celebrated 20 years of news coverage.  It was in 1999 when West Michigan viewers got their first 10:00 p.m. newscast.

The newscast was only 30 minutes and had the tagline:  At Ten It’s News, At Eleven It’s History.

The opening newscast was anchored by Michele DeSelms and Monty Knight, with Peter Chan delivering the weather and Autrey Sturgis with sports. Weekend newscasts were anchored by Christian Frank and Kimberlee Charchan, with Sharon Hellman on weather and Brent Ashcroft on sports.

The impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton began the week before on January 7. The Sopranos debuted on HBO on January 10. Later that month, Family Guy debuted on Fox.

Over the past twenty years, the station has gone from 30 minutes of news per day to ten hours (weekdays).

See a video of the station’s first newscast here.

MSU Basketball Coach & Broadcaster Gus Ganakas Passes

MSU Athletics remembers Gus Ganakas on Twitter.

Former MSU men’s basketball coach and broadcaster Gus Ganakas passed away January 11 at the age of 92.  Ganakas served as head coach from 1969 to 1976 before serving as an assistant athletics director from 1976-98; and then as an aide to current Head Coach Tom Izzo from 1998-2000.

For more than 30 years, Ganakas could be heard as one of the voices of Michigan State men’s basketball, serving as a color commentator.

“For 20 seasons we were broadcast partners – a partnership that would turn into one of the greatest friendships of my life,” said Will Tieman, play-by-play announcer from 1992-96 and since 2002. “You couldn’t help but love Gus. He was truly one of the greats of the greatest generation.”

Services for Ganakas were held this past Wednesday.

Presser Joins WSNX as PD

Aly Presser

iHeartMedia has announced that it has moved WZEE-FM (Madison, WI) APD/MD Aly Presser into the program director position at co-owned WSNX-FM (Grand Rapids).  All Access reports that Presser will eventually take on afternoon on-air duties as well.

Presser told the publication, “I am so excited to join the SNX and iHeart/Grand Rapids team. I wouldn’t be here without the help and support of the iHeart team in Madison.

Ida Tedesco Joins WILX-TV

Ida Tedesco

Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing) has announced a new addition to their on-air staff.

Ida Tedesco will join Kirk Montgomery as Co-Anchor of News Ten Today (4:30 – 7:00 a. m. Monday – Friday) starting March 4, alongside Chief Meteorologist Darrin Rockcole. She will also contribute special reports and stories for the station’s new 90-minute evening newscast (5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday) on a regular basis.

Tedesco comes to Lansing from Toledo’s WTOL where she is a reporter and weekend anchor. Before Toledo, she was a Reporter/Producer at WDIV-TV (Detroit). Tedesco is a Michigan native who grew up in the Detroit area.

“Ida will be bringing a fresh new voice to our staff. She brings experience and drive, and we are looking forward to her contributions.” said Barb Roethler, WILX News Director.

“We are excited to welcome Ida to our morning show. She is joining an award-winning experienced team on one of the top-rated newscasts in our market. We think she’s a great fit for the station and our community,” added Debbie Petersmark, WILX General Manager.

WXYZ’s Brad Galli Voted Michigan Sportscaster of the Year

Brad Galli

The National SportsMedia Association has named WXYZ-TV (Detroit) sports anchor Brad Galli 2018 Michigan Sportscaster of the Year.  Galli will be honored with other state winners at a ceremony in North Carolina this June.

Former WXYZ sports anchors Don Shane (2012) and Larry Adderly (1973) previously won the title. Legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Howell won the award 19 times.

Galli has been with WXYZ since 2011.  He has been honored with Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences twice:  in 2014 for Excellence in Sports Reporting and again in 2016 for Excellence in Sports Anchoring in Michigan.

Longtime U.P. Broadcaster Norman Koski Dies

Norman Koski

The MAB has learned that Norman Koski, longtime Upper Peninsula broadcaster, passed away January 9 at the age of 80.  Koski, along with three partners, purchased WHDF-AM in Houghton in 1979, changing the call letters to WCCY-AM.  He sold the station in 1983.

Koski was known to the community simply as “Mr. Norm.”

After selling the station, he continued to broadcast high school sports and also was part of a three-man broadcast team at WOLV-FM, working with Dick Storm and Kevin Ericson.

Koski got his start in local radio in 1956 at WMPL in Hancock and worked there until 1964 before going to work at WLUC-TV to do sports.  He later worked in sales and sports broadcasting for WMPL.

He was a very proud member of the Baraga National Guard.

Arrangements for a memorial service will be held at a future date.

America’s Newest 24/7 National News Network is Based in Northern Michigan

With the new year came a new source for news for cord-cutters in markets including Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Detroit. It’s a new, 24-hour news network known as NewsNet, and while it’s seen in cities across the country, it’s broadcasting to the entire nation from right here in Michigan.

“We’ve been broadcasting 24-hour local news to northern Michigan since 2011, so when we decided to launch a national news network, it only made sense to broadcast from our existing facilities,” explained Eric Wotila, President of NewsNet and General Manager of MI News 26 and MI TV 12, both based in Cadillac, “We’re very excited to be both keeping jobs local and creating new positions right here in northern Michigan through the launch of NewsNet.”

NewsNet aims to break away from the opinion-based programming that’s become prominent on 24-hour news channels in recent years. Instead, the network follows a traditional “news wheel” format, with headlines at the top of each half hour, followed by a national weather overview, sports, and feature stories from across America – which are preempted in some markets by a local news update.

“Over the past few years, we heard constant complaints about the state of existing 24-hour news channels – particularly their focus on opinion-based programming,” explained Wotila, “We’re thrilled to have brought back a news channel with a straight-to-the-facts, headline-driven format, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

NewsNet is currently distributed over-the-air by a network of affiliates. It also streams to mobile apps available for iPhone and Android, and will be launching streaming apps for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV later this month.

With affiliates in 18 markets across the country, NewsNet’s signal already reaches approximately 30 million potential viewers via antenna – just under 10% of the nation’s population, but Wotila says they’re just getting started.

“Throughout 2019, we want to work with additional stations to expand the reach of NewsNet,” he explained, “We’re actively talking to potential affiliates on a daily basis. Ultimately, we’d love to see NewsNet available over-the-air to the entire country.”

Much of NewsNet’s national news coverage can be seen in northern Michigan during the second half of each hour on MI News 26 – antenna channel 26.1 and Spectrum cable channel 13. The version of NewsNet’s programming seen across the country can be viewed locally using the network’s apps, which can be downloaded at

WBBL Grand Rapids Drops Sports for Country; WJRW and WKLQ Flip to Sports

Cumulus Media Has flipped Sports WBBL-FM (Grand Rapids) to Country, using the “Thunder” moniker as part of a simulcast with WTNR-FM (Holland).

WTNR was known as “Thunder” from 2004 to 2014, which it switched to the national Cumulus “Nash-FM” branding.

Related to this format shift for WBBL, Michigan Media Network has acquired and has begun distributing WBBL’s “Huge Show,” hosted by Bill Simonson.  As part of the agreement, Cumulus has switched WJRW-AM (Grand Rapids) and WKLQ-AM (Whitehall) both to Sports as “The Ticket.”  Both stations are now airing the Simonson program.

“Sports Marketing in America has always been a top priority ‘buy’ for America’s most popular advertisers,” Cumulus Radio Grand Rapids Vice-President/General Manager Bruce Law said. “Sports Fans pay close attention to what’s being presented on sports talk radio. We are excited to add a new morning show with Michigan centric content hosted by Matt Shepard; ‘Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave’ in mornings and continue the popular HUGE Show from 3 p.m to 6 p.m, plus offer two most popular national shows, Dan Patrick and Jim Rome.”

The Michigan Media Network website is here.

Todd Mohr Acquires WDBC/WYKX

Longtime Michigan Broadcaster Todd Mohr’s newly-formed Aurora Media, LLC  has reached an agreement to acquire WDBC-AM and WYKX-FM (Escanaba) from KMB Broadcasting, Inc.  The purchase price was announced at $400,000.  The price also includes FM translator W233CT, which rebroadcasts WDBC.

KMB Broadcasting, owned principally by James and Betty Cooke, has  has owned the stations since 1988.  Aurora Media is owned by Todd and wife Janine Gregorski-Mohr.  Todd Mohr also owns WMTE-FM (Manistee), which is currently under an LMA with 45 North Media, Inc.

An application with the FCC to approve the transfer was filed on December 31.  Aurora Media began operating the stations under an LMA this past Monday, January 7.

WDBC operates on 680kHz with 10kw days (directional) and 1kw nights (directional).  WYKX operates on 104.7mHz with 100kw at 105 meters HAAT.