Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WJR’s Ann Thomas Inducted to Michigan Business Hall of Fame

Ann Thomas

This past Monday (2/4), WJR-AM (Detroit) Executive Producer Ann Thomas was inducted into the 2019 Michigan Business Women Hall of Fame class.  The induction took place at the 23rd annual Women Thrive Conference at Detroit’s MGM Grand Casino.

Thomas is the executive producer of the Paul W. Smith Show heard weekday mornings on WJR.  She is also the executive producer of the radio station overseeing the work of all producers at WJR. Thomas began her career at WJR in 1982 as an intern after graduating from Michigan State University and has since remained a part of the WJR team. She started her broadcasting career in the WJR news department as a street reporter and an anchorwoman.

During her 37 years at WJR, Thomas has received numerous awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, United Press International, Associated Press and the Detroit Press Club for her work on and off the air.  She is the 2014 recipient of the Michigan Business and Professional Association’s Women and Leadership in the Workplace Award. She has also been given the prestigious “Diamond” award from the Women in Communications Organization.

Thomas is also the host of two shows, Women Who Lead and WJR’s Healthy Woman Show. She created and developed WJR’s successful Women Who Lead award program honoring women in the Great Lakes area. During football season, Thomas can be be found in East Lansing producing WJR’s Tailgate Shows.

WKAR’S Curious Crew Begins Season 5!

Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) has announced that the 5th season of Curious Crew debuted this past Monday, February 4.  The Emmy Award-winning science show, produced by the station, is seen on public television stations nationwide.

Dr. Rob Stephenson and his crew of inquisitive kids continue to take a hands-on approach to scientific exploration. Join them as they investigate electromagnetism, bioplastics, soccer science and more!

The new season includes 10 new episodes, each featuring a Curious About Career with Curious Crew cast member Janellyn and Genesis. In these segments, fans can look forward to learning about careers with female professionals working in a wide variety of STEM-related fields.

Each Curious Crew episode in the series also includes a set of Curiosity Guides, a step-by-step guide that kids, parents and educators can use to do their own investigations at home or school.

WLEN Hosts 25th Annual Radio Auction for Kiwanis Club

This Saturday (2/9), Lenawee Broadcasting’s WLEN-FM (Adrian) will host The Kiwanis Club of Adrian’s Annual Radio Auction from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The 25th annual auction features hundreds of items up for bid, broadcast live over the radio. Community members are encouraged to tune in to the station and call to bid on new items each half hour. The Kiwanis Club Items up for auction will be listed prior to the event on the Kiwanis Club of Adrian website and Facebook page.

Proceeds of the auction fund Kiwanis projects such as the expansion and beautification of the Kiwanis Trail, bicycles given to area children who read during March Reading Month, providing grants to local non-profits and providing Christmas gifts to area children in need.

The Kiwanis Club of Adrian is a local service club that intentionally takes action to revitalize Adrian.

Jennifer Williams Promoted to VP of Digital Marketing at Beasley

Jennifer Williams

Beasley Media Group LLC, a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., has announced that Jennifer Williams has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Digital Marketing at Beasley Media Group.

In her new role, Williams will be responsible for marketing the company’s digital content platforms and leveraging data to drive traffic, audience engagement and advertiser growth.

Williams most recently served as the Director of Interactive Marketing. Prior to joining Beasley Media Group, she spent nearly 20 years at Greater Media, Inc. (GMI), where Williams worked as the director of digital marketing and was responsible for overseeing the interactive marketing efforts on behalf of the company’s 20 radio properties. She joined the organization as the marketing director of WCSX-FM in 1997.

The radio veteran also held on-air and marketing director positions at WODJ-FM (Grand Rapids), WJXQ-FM (Lansing) and WIBM-AM (Jackson).

“Jennifer’s programming background, combined with her digital knowledge, marketing expertise and can-do attitude made her the perfect choice to lead Beasley Media Group’s digital marketing efforts as we continue to diversify and extend our brands into the multi-platform arena,” said Chief Digital Content Officer Lori Burgess.

A graduate of Albion College, Williams is a past chair and current board member of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation. She also serves on the executive committee of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.

WDIV Steps Up To Help Fed Workers On Shutdown

During the recent government shutdown, federal workers in Michigan who were out of work were able to turn to WDIV-TV (Detroit) consumer reporter Hank Winchester (“Help Me Hank”), who provided news coverage that offers insight and resources for workers trying to stay afloat without getting a paycheck.

“As a station we believe we have an obligation to use our resources to connect viewers with local companies and agencies that can help them weather the hard times. Hank and his consumer team continue to play an important role,” said Kim Voet, WDIV’s news director.

On January 16, the station hosted an all-day event with news coverage that offered insight and resources for workers who are trying to stay afloat without getting a paycheck.  Topics included:

  • Freebies being offered by companies, retailers and stores to help
  • How to preserve your credit
  • What to do about mortgage or rent payments
  • Nonprofits that are helping out
  • How to handle medical bills

Cumulus Media Promotes Steve Finateri to Detroit VP/Market Manager

Steve Finateri

Cumulus Media announced January 30 that it has promoted veteran Detroit broadcaster Steve Finateri to Vice President/Market Manager for Cumulus Detroit and its group of four radio stations. Finateri, a Detroit radio professional for over 30 years, rises from his previous position as Director of Sales for WJR, a position he has held since 2011.

He fills the opening created by Tom O’Brien’s retirement at the end of 2018.

Finateri joined Cumulus in 2006 as National Sales Manager for Detroit News/Talk station WJR, and became Local Sales Manager for WJR in 2008. He began his career in talk radio as a Retail Account Manager in 1986 for Fritz Broadcasting’s WXYT, moved to Clear Channel/iHeartMedia’s WNIC as Senior Account Manager in 1995 and on to Local Sales Manager for CBS Radio’s WVMV in 2002. Finateri holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Dave Milner, Executive Vice President, Operations, Cumulus Media,  said: “Steve’s performance and success leading WJR’s sales team, along with his deep understanding of the Detroit media and advertising market made him the obvious choice to run our Cumulus cluster in the Motor City.”

Finateri said: “It’s a privilege and an honor to represent such an elite team of media professionals. Our Cumulus Detroit radio stations reach over 1.6 million listeners weekly, delivering over 42% of Metro Detroit’s total population, even more when you include WJR’s booming regional signal that adds significant listenership throughout Michigan. Cumulus Detroit has Michigan’s most well-known and beloved radio personalities and is the home of The Detroit Lions Radio Network and flagship for Michigan State University Football and Basketball. Those assets, coupled with Cumulus Media’s robust suite of sophisticated digital offerings, give us all the horsepower we need to be the one-stop shop for effective marketing campaigns for our customers who range from local businesses on up to Michigan’s largest companies.”

WXYT Hosts Receive Accolades In Nationwide Poll

(Left) Jamie and Stoney w/Heather. (Right) Mike Valenti.

In a new nationwide pole of Fifty-one radio executives from thirty cities and thirteen companies conducted by Barrett Sports Media (BSM), WXYT-FM (Detroit) morning personalities Jamie and Stoney w/Heather and afternoon personality Mike Valenti were voted #16 and #2 for their respective time periods.

Voters considered the following criteria when judging the format’s best programs. BSM notes that each voter values certain things more than others, so  they try to gather everyone’s feedback, add it all up, and present a collective snapshot of what industry executives think.

  • Strong ratings in 2018
  • Important show/brand connection with local listeners
  • Exceptional talent and content provided on a consistent basis
  • Finished 2018 with the station and in the morning drive timeslot
  • Points are given for each spot (EX: 20 for 1st, 1 for 20th)

See the complete list of morning show voting results here.
See the complete list of afternoon show voting results here.

WXYZ Names Bill Ford Jr. Newsmaker of the Year

(L-R) Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager, Bill Ford Jr., Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, Chuck Stokes, WXYZ and WMYD editorial and public affairs director.

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) has named Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford Jr., the Channel 7 Newsmaker of the Year. In 2018, Ford generated international attention when the Ford Motor Company purchased the century-old Michigan Central Station that had long been a symbol of Detroit’s decline.

Ford’s plans for redevelopment in Detroit also include a 1.2 million-square-foot mobility campus where high-tech vehicles of the future will be designed and created. This new effort is expected to attract America’s top talent to the Motor City.

“We are honored to recognize Bill Ford Jr. as WXYZ’s Newsmaker of the Year for his vision, leadership and commitment to our community,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “He has been a catalyst for Detroit’s revitalization with ambitious projects that will create a new era of innovation in the city where his great-grandfather put the world on wheels.”

Bill Ford Jr. shared his vision for Detroit and the future of transportation when he was interviewed by Chuck Stokes on the Spotlight on the News “Newsmaker of the Year” special February 27.

WKCQ’s Kevin Profitt Set To Retire In March

Kevin Profitt

Longtime MacDonald Broadcasting/WKCQ-FM (Saginaw) air personality Ken Profitt has announced his retirement, effective Friday, March 22.  Profitt spent 38 years with the company as an on-air host and, in recent years, served as Assistant Program Director.

Profitt begain his career in Bad Axe, and after 18 months, moved to Saginaw in 1981 to work at WKCQ.   “We are appreciative of KP’s many years of service to WKCQ through his long running successful midday show and all of the other duties he has taken on for the team over almost 38 years,” VP Cindy Tuck said in a station memo.

Midwest Family Launches 95.7 The Lake in Benton Harbor

Midwest Family Broadcasting has launched Classic Rock “95.7 The Lake” on the HD2 channel of WQLQ-FM as well as translator W239CJ (Benton Harbor).

The station is branding as “Quality Rock” with a playlist including The Beatles, U2, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Dylan and REM with deeper cuts and live tracks included.

The translator had been rebroadcasting Sports 1400 WSJM, whose programming is now heard on FM on 106.1 W291DK (St. Joseph).