Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Former Michigan Broadcaster Dick Enberg Passes

Left: Dick Enberg at MAB President/CEO Karole L. White at the 1996 Broadcast Excellence Awards. Enberg served as emcee for that year’s inaugural BEA program. Right: Past MAB Board of Directors Chairman Stephen C. Trivers (WQSN/WQLR/WKZO, Kalamazoo) presents Dick Enberg with the MAB Michigan Citizen of the Year Award during the 1996 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo.

Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg, whose career spanned almost 60 years, died of an apparent heart attack on December 21 at the age of 82, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Dick was an institution in the industry for 60 years and we were lucky enough to have his iconic voice behind the microphone for Padres games for almost a decade,” the newspaper reported.

Born in Armada, Mich., on January 9, 1935, legendary sportscaster Enberg won 14 Emmy Awards for his outstanding work.

He was a student at  Central Michigan University when, Enberg was employed by Detroit Tigers radio affiliate WSAM 1410 AM  in Saginaw. He eventually went on to Indiana University where he earned master’s and doctorate degrees in health sciences.

During his long career, Enberg had broadcast 43 seasons of the National Football League, 25 college basketball seasons, 14 NCAA Mens Basketball Championships, 10 Super Bowls, nine Rose Bowls, six Orange Bowls, four Olympics, seven Australian Opens, 23 French Opens, 26 Wimbledon championships, 10 U.S. Opens (Tennis), seven Masters, five PGA Championships, five U.S. Opens (Golf), and many other sporting events. He was the radio play-by-play broadcaster for Los Angeles Rams games from 1966-1977 and the main television and radio play-by-play broadcaster for the California Angels from 1969-78.

He called the 1979 Final Four championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State. He has also been named National Sportscaster of the Year three times.

‘Boogie D’ takes on Radio One Detroit

Jowcol Dolby

All Access reports that Jowcol “Boogie D” Dolby, operations manager at Radio One’s St. Louis, Missouri cluster has been given added duties as operations Manager for the company’s WPZR-FM, WDMK-FM, WDMK-FM HD2 and WGPR-FM stations in Detroit.

“I see significant untapped potential in all four Radio One properties in Detroit and I am particularly excited to work with all the shows which are poised for greatness and to continue to build on the great success that we have achieved in St. Louis.  I am proud to be working with both markets,” Dolby told All Access.

Dolby has been program director and operations manager  of the company’s St. Louis stations since 2011.

“We are pleased to have Jowcol taking on Operations Manager responsibility in Detroit.  His depth of experience and vision for our brands will bring a fresh perspective to our programming team. I am also pleased to promote Fawn Connelly (aka Fantasee Blue on WDMK) and Arthur Willis (aka A+ on WGPR) to Assistant Program Directors. They deserve the additional responsibility and will make excellent Program Directors in the future,” Radio One Detroit VP/GM Kathy Stinehour told All Access.


Dick Purtan Highlighted in WKAR’s ‘MSU Today’

(L-R) Russ White, Dick Purtain. Photo credit: Russ White

By Russ White, MSU Today

My first hero in a lifelong love affair with the radio medium was the legendary Dick Purtan, who tells me how he first began visiting Detroit with his father when he was a child. And he recalls fondly his days at the famous Keener 13, his first stop in Detroit radio.

Listen to the interview here:

He says Keener was a fun place to work and a natural fit for his evolving talents.

Then as the Big 8 CKLW began to demolish the competition in Detroit radio, Purtan recalls a time when he had to stick up for himself and the kind of radio show he thought listeners wanted to hear. And he was becoming increasingly weary of the trend to program radio stations from New York rather than locally, like at WXYZ, a station where Dick would eventually work.

Purtan describes how he first started to hone his on air philosophy listening to morning radio in Buffalo where he grew up and then later to groundbreaking morning teams in New York. His goal was to entertain and be informative.

When Purtan retired from radio in 2010, he was already beginning to see what he sees as a decline in local morning radio. It was becoming more about music than locally-based talent, entertainment, and information. So he decided it was time to hang up the microphone and headphones.

While he’s dismayed about much of the current state of radio, he’s optimistic that things will get better someday, especially on local talk radio.

Purtan’s advice for young people who want to get into the constantly evolving broadcast and communications world is to understand and embrace what appear to be the industries of the future.

During our conversation, Purtan references a couple times his decision not to succeed J. P. McCarthy at WJR when that morning radio legend died suddenly in 1995. Here he provides the inside story on how close he came to moving to WJR. Mike Fezzey’s honesty and the fact that Purtan felt he’d already tried the ‘JR thing in Baltimore ultimately led him to decline the opportunity. “It just didn’t feel right.”

Purtan tells me about learning that two of the most famous and successful talents in radio today consider him their hero: Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.

Keep in touch with Detroit radio legend Dick Purtan on Facebook.

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 94.5 FM and AM 870.

WDIV-TV Promotes Colthorp to 5:30 Anchor

Jason Colthorp

WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced that Jason Colthorp has been promoted to anchor of Local 4 News at 5:30 p.m. Colthorp will join Karen Drew, Ben Bailey and Bernie Smilovitz on the early evening newscast.

He will still report for Local 4 News at 11 p.m. and other newscasts. Devin Scillian will continue to anchor Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. with Kimberly Gill.

“Jason is a hard-working and curious journalist with a great sense of humor. He’s the kind of guy you want in the newsroom, on the street and on the anchor desk. I’m happy to have him officially join our early evening anchor team,” Scillian said.

Colthorp joined WDIV-Local 4 in January 2015 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. A Michigan State University graduate, Colthorp spent 14 years at WILX-TV in Lansing, first as a sports reporter and later as main evening anchor.

“We knew when we hired Jason he would be part of WDIV-Local 4’s future for a long time,” News Director Kim Voet said. “Jason is a talented anchor/reporter who understands the broadcast and digital properties of our newsroom. He navigates both brilliantly.”

Colthorp’s first official day on the news desk is January 2, 2018.

“Since I arrived three years ago, it’s been an honor to be part of such an outstanding news team. So, it goes without saying, I’m very excited to join the anchor team. It’s an assignment I don’t take lightly and one that allows me to keep finding good stories and telling them as best I can,” Colthorp said.


WDIV’s Marla Drutz Named GM of the Year

Marla Drutz

WDIV-TV (Detroit) is proud to announce Local 4’s station chief, Marla Drutz, has been named General Manager of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable.

Every year Broadcasting & Cable selects a GM of the Year (by market size) who they say “demonstrates exemplary innovation, fearless leadership and flawless execution in a challenging time in the television industry.” Drutz took the top honor for markets 1-25 this year.

“Marla is an incredibly passionate and determined leader with a high moral compass and ethical standards. She is a local broadcaster who loves, eats and breathes everything about living in a local market. Marla is a huge motivator to the people she works with and she’s a motivator to me,” said Emily Barr, President and CEO of Graham Media Group, WDIV-Local 4’s parent company.

Drutz has held the position of Vice President and General Manager since July 2008. Under her leadership, WDIV-Local 4 has been dominant both on-air and online. The station has the top-rated/most watched newscasts in the market. On the digital side, ClickOnDetroit is consistently Metro Detroit’s No. 1 news website. Drutz has also bolstered a strong commitment to outstanding community service.

In addition, the Local 4 News team has been presented with eight prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association for news coverage since her tenure, and WDIV has been named Station of the Year three times by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. ClickOnDetroit, received the Local Media Association’s Digital Innovation Award for Best Overall Local News Strategy and Best Social Media Strategy.

Drutz is most proud of WDIV’s second Service to America Award (2017 and 2011). The prestigious national honor presented by the National Association of Broadcasters recognizes the station’s commitment to outstanding community service.

Prior to joining WDIV, Drutz worked at the E.W. Scripps Company and WXYZ-TV (Detroit) as the Director of Programming. Earlier in her career, she was the Marketing Director at WJBK-TV (Detroit). Drutz began her career as a research analyst at WJW in Cleveland.

Throughout her career in broadcasting, Drutz has received numerous professional awards including the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, Emmy Awards, first-place awards from the MAB and a “Top Woman in Management” Award from the Detroit Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television. She has been honored as a member of the NATAS Silver Circle and has been selected by Corp! Magazine as one of Michigan’s Top Businesswomen.

Drutz is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences. A native of Louisville, KY, Drutz holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in journalism and communication.

Cumulus Media Promotes Four in Detroit

Cumulus Media announces that it has promoted four programming professionals across its Detroit radio station group. Concurrently, Matt Laurenic rises from Producer to Executive Producer of the Blaine Fowler Morning Show on WDVD-FM. Mike Gagliano becomes FM Production Director and Programming Coordinator from his previous role as Production Director, and Adam Ficorelli, formerly with the Street Team, was named Promotions Manager/Swing Air Talent for WDRQ-FM.

Cumulus also announces the promotion of Kendall Taylor as Assistant Program Director and Midday Host for Hot AC radio station WDVD-FM. Taylor was previously WDVD weekend personality and interim Midday Host. She has held on-air positions at radio stations in Dallas, Norfolk, and Myrtle Beach and was overnight jock at WDVD in 2005. In addition to her duties at WDVD, Taylor will continue to be heard as a host on Westwood One’s 24-hour Hot AC format.

Robby Bridges, Director of FM Programming, Cumulus Media-Detroit, said: “To better reflect the scope of their existing duties at Cumulus Detroit, we are excited to promote Matt Laurenic from Producer to Executive Producer of the Blaine Fowler Morning Show, Mike Gagliano to FM Production Director and Programming Coordinator and Adam Ficorelli to Promotions Manager/Swing air talent for WDRQ. Congratulations to our all-star team!”

Bridges added: “From her mad social media and production skills to her ability to create meaningful, memorable content over 10-second song intros, and her positive team-oriented attitude, Kendall has it all and really stood out as the perfect choice to compliment our personality-driven line-up at 96.3 WDVD.”

Taylor said: “I couldn’t be prouder or more excited to be part of the WDVD team. I gotta thank John Shomby and Mike McVay for being long-time believers in me and thanks to Robby Bridges, Mike Wheeler and Rob Roberts for this amazing opportunity in Detroit. Let’s rock this!”

St. Clair County RESA to Take Over Radio Station

via WPHM-AM:

WSGR-FM, St. Clair County Community College’s student radio station for 43 years, will become a part of the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA). The college took the station off the air last week, citing rising costs and declining student interest.

WSGR will be a part of RESA’s digital media technology program and the studio will be moved to the Technical Education Center in Marysville. RESA’s Kevin Miller says there is no set date for WSGR to resume broadcasting but he would like to have it on the air for the fall semester. WSGR’s 91.3 FM frequency is reserved for educational purposes only.

Broadcaster Bill Thompson Hangs Up His Headphones

(L-R) Bill Thompson with friend and colleague Tim Skubick at retirement party on December 12.

On December 12, longtime Michigan broadcaster Bill Thompson, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, celebrated a 40-year radio career with a retirement party in Lansing.

Thompson’s career began as a weekend announcer and DJ at WFYC-AM (Alma) in 1975 and after graduation from Central Michigan University in 1978, moved on to WSOO-AM (Sault Ste. Marie) as Production Director.  In late 1979, he moved on to become Program Director at WJOR-AM (South Haven).  A year later, Thompson moved to Lansing an afternoon news anchor job at WJIM Radio. In 1983, he was promoted to Capitol Correspondent and joined the Capitol Press Corp for WJIM until the station was sold in 1985.  In 1986, Thompson joined WITL-AM/FM in Lansing (as “Bill Perry”), eventually taking over as News Director.

In 1991, Thompson then worked as a news reporter at WION-AM (Ionia).

He is best known throughout the state for his 23-year tenure as a statewide network news reporter/anchor/editor, beginning in 1992 with the Michigan News Network/Great Lakes Media Group.  Thompson remained with the network, renamed the Michigan Radio Network through a series of owners including Full Circle Broadcasting, Saga Communications and Learfield Communications.

He also served as a member of the CMU Broadcast and Cinematic Arts Alumni Advisory Board for 14 years and has helped mentor BCA students since his graduation nearly 40 years ago.

Bill and his wife Debbie reside in Mason.

WBKB News Team Hosts Alpena Holiday Parade

Viewers in Northern Lower Michigan  tuned into WBKB-TV (Alpena) for live and local holiday cheer on Thanksgiving weekend.

WBKB News Team members Michael Gilbert, Skubie Mageza and Kristen Anzuini hosted the Thunder Bay Broadcasting station’s first-ever live coverage of Alpena’s Bolenz Jewelry Holiday Parade from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on November 24.

The special 90-minute broadcast showcased many beautiful holiday floats, exclusive interviews and guest commentary. The program culminated with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Alpena’s downtown Culligan Plaza.

WBKB began live streaming with this special broadcast!

WTZI Launches in Tawas City

Carroll Broadcasting announced its newest FM addition to an already impressive lineup of stations broadcasting from the shores of Lake Huron in beautiful Tawas City.

WTZM 106.1 FM “The Point” is the new call sign and moniker for the recent 25,000 Watt acquisition and is currently broadcasting the best mix of today’s Hot AC music featuring artists like Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, Train, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, and others in a Top 40 mix of today’s hit music. The station’s primary broadcast area reaches approximately a 40 mile radius, 60 miles in the fringe and can be heard in West Branch, Mio, Harrisville, Port Austin, Bad Axe, Gladwin and Standish.

“We are proud to launch this new station to serve our community with local information, weather and today’s hit music,” said John Carroll, owner of WTZM along with his legacy stations WIOS AM 1480, WKJC FM 104.7, WQLB FM 103.3 and WKJZ FM 94.9 said,

“We also wanted to bring a station to market with less talk and more music. When listening to ‘The Point,’ that’s exactly what you a get. ‘The Point’ is a maximum-music, less talk station! ”

“The Point” 106.1 identification gives a nod to the fact that WTZM is located very near Tawas Point on Lake Huron.

Carroll Broadcasting is a family-owned business that has been serving the Tawas Bay region since 1968, first with the legacy AM station WIOS built in 1958. Carroll Broadcasting has since built a whole family of FM stations appealing the broad range of tastes and needs of northeast Michigan.

With the addition of WTZM 106.1 FM, John Carroll said, “We look forward to serving our community for many years to come and invite everyone to tune in and give it a listen.”

Online live streaming of the station, as well as a new web-site is slated to begin soon.