Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WXYZ-TV Celebrates 70 Years of ‘7’

WXYZ-TV (Detroit)  is celebrating “70 Years of 7.” For 70 years, the station has served Southeast Michigan.  October 9 will mark the 70th anniversary of the day the station signed on the air from studios in the Maccabees building in Detroit.

WXYZ will recognize this historic milestone with an on-air and social campaign that celebrates the moments that made us proud to be Detroiters. The station will look back at the news events that defined them and the most memorable sports events of the past seven decades. The project will also look ahead to the next 70 years and showcase the technology that will keep the station connected.

“It’s an honor to look back at the past 70 years and the incredible impact WXYZ has had on this community,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “It’s even more exciting looking to the future as WXYZ continues to evolve as a media organization and serve the community at the highest level on every platform. This station has always been about the passion of the remarkable people who work here and their dedication to deliver great story-telling with fair and balanced content on all platforms.”

On October 9 at 7:30 p.m., WXYZ will broadcast a “70 Years of 7” half-hour special that explores the impact of the station on the community. The special will be streamed live on WXYZ.com, Facebook and OTT platforms.

For more on “70 Years of 7” go to http://WXYZ.com.

Blarney Stone Enters LMA with Henderson Stations

Jerry and Sheryl Coyne’s Blarney Stone Broadcasting has taken over operations of Roy Henderson’s three stations in Traverse City and debuted new formats on two of them, while relaunching the third.

Henderson’s WBNZ-FM (Frankfort) has flipped from a simulcast of WLDR-FM (Traverse City) to Sports simulcasting Blarney Stone’s WGRY-FM (Roscommon) as “Up North Sports Radio.“

Blarney Stone’s WQON-FM (Grayling) is now simulcasting on Henderson’s WOUF-FM (Beulah), which also had been simulcasting WLDR-FM.

And Henderson’s WLDR-FM Traverse City has been relaunched under the LMA.  The on-air lineup on WLDR-FM will also feature The Morning Scramble with Lorri & Mike, JJ in middays and Maria Miller in afternoons.

The addition of Henderson’s stations replaces the proposed deal that Blarney Stone had in 2016 attempting to purchase six stations from Northern Broadcast. That deal never closed.

WDET/WRCJ’s Christopher Felcyn Passes

Christopher Felcyn

Christopher Felcyn, a longtime Detroit radio personality and host of “The Well Tempered Wireless” for classical music station WRCJ-FM (90.9), has passed away.

Felcyn, 67, died at his home on September 28.

“He was one of the best interviewers in the business, a talented pianist, and an ultimate professional with wit and creativity in sharing classical music,” Detroit Public TV, which manages WRCJ, said in a statement, announcing Felcyn’s death. “Chris and his passion will truly be missed.

A Detroit-native, Felcyn was the host of classical/jazz music program “The Listening Room” on Sunday mornings on WDET-FM (101.9), and later on WRCJ for more than 30 years. He hosted “The Well Tempered Wireless,” a mid-day weekday show up until his death.

Robert L. Friedle: 1943-2018

Bob Friedle (right) accepting the Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Award from then-MAB Chairman Chris Warren in 2015.
The MAB is sad to report that longtime Michigan broadcast engineer, Robert L. Friedle passed away on Monday, October 1. 

Bob was well known in the Tri-Cities area, having worked for many of the local stations.  He was honored with the MAB’s distinguished Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Award in 2015.

Bob joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school in 1961, where he developed his love of electronics and technology. He proudly served in Vietnam working with radar systems and was later honorably discharged from the military in 1969.  In 1989, Bob became a radio station owner for a newly created station known as WTCF (now known as WSGW-FM), which went on the air in 1990. Bob sold thestation in 1998, but continued to work as a radio station engineer until his retirement in 2011.

Services were scheduled for Friday Morning, October 5  in Bay City.

Cumulus Taps Bruce Law As Grand Rapids Market Manager

Bruce Law

Cumulus Media has announced that it has appointed radio broadcasting executive Bruce Law as Vice President/Market Manager for its Grand Rapids radio station group. Law, a Michigan native, was previously President, Saga Communications of NC in Asheville, N.C., where he also served as Vice President/General Manager. Prior to that, Law was Market President for Townsquare Media in Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.

Bob Walker, Executive Vice President, Operations, Cumulus Media, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Bruce back home to Grand Rapids. His passion for these brands and for Western Michigan is obvious and we are glad to have him on the team.”

Law said, “I am excited to be back home in Grand Rapids working with brands I have admired since I started my career in radio. Thank you to Mary Berner and Bob Walker for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Cumulus Media owns and operates five radio stations in Grand Rapids, including: WBBL-FM/107.3 (Sports); WHTS-FM/105.3 Hot FM (CHR); WJRW-AM/1340 (News/Talk); 97 WLAV-FM (Classic Rock); and WTNR-FM/NASH FM 94.5 (Country).

Broadcasters Foundation Raises Over $250,000

The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $250,000 at its Celebrity Golf Tournament on Sept. 17 at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.

One hundred percent of the annual event’s proceeds support broadcasters in need. It is one of the Broadcasters Foundation’s biggest fundraisers. This year, more than 150 broadcasters and celebrities participated in support of their colleagues, who have experienced loss due to illness or unforeseen disaster.

Nielsen To Change Diary Markets To Monthly Reporting

Nielsen announced on Monday that it will transform the measurement of markets that are measured with the audio diary from a quarterly or two times a year view to year-round measurement with monthly reporting. This more dynamic measurement solution enables clients to see seasonal shifts and react more quickly to marketplace changes. With this transition, radio will be able to find new insights and tell its reach story to advertisers each month.

“Big billion-dollar advertisers leave nothing to chance,” said Brad Kelly, Managing Director, Nielsen Audio. “Every decision they make is data driven and updated audience data is crucial for timely decisions. Nielsen Audio is excited to help diary market clients have a better understanding of the audio landscape and respond faster to dynamic market conditions. Continuous Diary Measurement, will help radio reinforce its compelling reach story more often and provide fresh radio data to fuel Marketing Mix Models—the decision tools big advertisers rely on to allocate budgets and evaluate the effect of their ad spend.”

The implementation of Continuous Diary Measurement will begin in phases with the first starting in July 2019 in the markets currently measured four times a year. The current four-book markets will convert to 12 currency releases that will comprise three months of data starting with the May/June/July 2019 report period. Effective with July 2019, approximately 70% of radio’s ad spend will be reported monthly by Nielsen Audio.

“With digital advertising providing near real-time metrics and TV moving to a year-round model, audio needs to compete on a level playing field,” said Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media and vice-chair, Nielsen Audio Advisory Council. “As a client and member of the Advisory Council, I’ve challenged Nielsen to think differently and deliver a better solution. This is an important step forward for diary market clients because it will help audio remain relevant in an environment where advertisers expect more timely data and greater accountability. We should never forget that our advertiser clients are what matter most. They deserve the most timely data we can provide.”

Going forward, Nielsen plans to deliver monthly reports covering six months of data in markets with at least 1,000 metro in-tab, and monthly reports covering 12 months of data in the smallest markets.

Currently, Nielsen reports larger diary markets four times a year (winter, spring, summer and fall), mid-sized diary markets twice a year in the spring and fall and the smallest markets with two book averages of Spring/Fall and Fall/Spring.

WILX-TV Adds 5:30 News Beginning October 1

Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing) has announced that the station will be adding a 5:30 p.m. weekday newscast to its line up starting October 1.

WILX General Manager said: “Adding the 5:30 newscast is a game changer for us.  A strong, local 90-minute block with the latest news and weather updates in each half hour gives viewers the information they need, whenever they tune in.

The station currently has newscasts at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weekdays.

WILX will retire the 4 p.m. newscast to focus on the new evening lineup.

“We’re always looking at new and innovative ways to keep our audience engaged and growing,” said Barb Roethler, WILX News Director. “We’re excited to rethink the typical evening newscast, and give viewers something fresh and new at 5:30.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Two in West Michigan

(L-R) Dave Taft, Jim Costa

iHeartMedia has announced the promotion of Country “B93.7” WBCT Grand Rapids’ David Taft to Senior VP/Programming for the company’s West Michigan region.

Taft, who has been with WBCT since 1997 and has served as PD since 2009 after previously holding the APD/MD duties, will continue overseeing that station. He also previously served as OM Clear Channel Muskegon and PD of defunct AC “Star 108” WSHZ.

“Dave is an incredible programmer,” said Regional SVPP Tony Travatto on Taft’s new position. “He’s got the perfect blend of expertise to grow our listeners and clients, and we know he will continue to dominate the media market in West Michigan with our team.”

Concurrently, Jim Costa has been promoted to PD of Sports “ESPN 96.1” WMAX-FM Holland from the role of APD. He will also continue as afternoon co-host alongside ‘Big Drew’ McCarthy. Phil Tower retains the PD role for News/Talk 1300 WOOD/106.9 WOOD-FM and Talk 1230 WTKG.

WLNS-TV’s Bob Simone Promoted to Nexstar Massachusetts Station

Bob Simone

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. announced on Monday that Robert “Bob” Simone has been promoted to Vice President and General Manager of WWLP-TV (NBC), EWLP (CW) and all associated digital services, including WWLP.com serving Springfield, Mass. He assumes his new responsibilities immediately and reports to Doug Davis, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.

A Springfield native, Simone returns home to lead WWLP-TV, the station where he began his broadcasting career over three decades ago. He is an accomplished industry veteran who has significant expertise in station general management, content development and directing market-leading local television and digital operations. From 2012 to 2018, he served as Vice President and General Manager of WLNS-TV, the Nexstar-owned CBS affiliate serving Lansing, where he also had oversight of the services agreements with Shield Media’s ABC-affiliate WLAJ-TV and CW-5.

During his tenure in Lansing, Simone elevated WLNS-TV to the market’s highest rated station by implementing innovative local content strategies and unique digital concepts to enhance the station’s local news programming. With expanded audience reach and community engagement, WLNS News 6 garnered several Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for outstanding news coverage and service under his leadership.

Before joining WLNS, Simone served as Vice President and General Manager of KMSB-TV (FOX) and KTTU-TV (MyNetworkTV) in Tucson, Arizona (DMA #73) from 2009 to 2012, where his initiatives focused on branding, local content development and sales led to increased revenues. Earlier in his career, Simone served as Vice President and General Manager of two Fox owned-and-operated stations over a 10-year period, including WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, PA (DMA #4) and KDVR-TV in Denver, CO (DMA #17). In each of these leadership roles, he expanded local news programming and implemented revenue-generating strategies resulting in enhanced operational performance.

Commenting on his new role, Simone said, “I want to express my sincere gratitude to our outstanding teams at WLNS, WLAJ and CW-5 in Lansing, as well as the local clients and organizations I’ve proudly served over the past six years. This promotion is an exciting opportunity to extend my record of service at Nexstar and return to WWLP-TV in my hometown of Springfield where I began my career. In this new role, I will utilize my management, sales, programming and marketing experience to build upon the success of 22 News and further strengthen the position of our Western Massachusetts station and digital operations. Our goal is to develop new premium local marketing opportunities that drive results for our advertising partners, while also generating continued viewership growth through the delivery of enhanced local news content and entertainment programming for our local viewers. I look forward to working alongside the exceptional local media team at WWLP-TV and CW-Springfield, while cultivating new business relationships and supporting community organizations in our market.”