Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Detroit Public Television, Michigan Radio, WDET, WJR, WJBK, WXYZ All Receive Honors at Detroit Chapter SPJ Awards

At a banquet held May 2, the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ Detroit) announced winners of its 2019 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Broadcast winners for various stories include Detroit Public Television, WDET-FM (Detroit), WJR-AM (Detroit), WJBK-TV (Detroit) and WXYZ-TV (Detroit).  A complete list of winning entries with comments from the judges is available for download here.

In addition, the chapter announced that Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells of Michigan Radio were 2018 Journalists of the Year.

In a release, SPJ Detroit said “Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells have continually demonstrated a strong commitment to quality journalism, attention to detail, energy and absolute enthusiasm about their work.  They also have the ability to develop sources on complicated stories, treat victims sensitively and tell difficult stories with a sensitive, yet compelling narrative style.  The talents of their partnership can he heard in the podcast series Believed.

Heidi Raphael Promoted to Chief Communications Officer at Beasley Media Group

Heidi Raphael

Beasley Media Group announced May 9 that Heidi Raphael has been promoted to the position of Chief Communications Officer at the company.

Raphael, who joined Beasley Media Group in May of 2017, most recently served as the Vice President of Corporate Communications. Previously, she held the position of Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Greater Media, Inc., where she spent 20 years prior to the company being sold to Beasley Media Group.

“Heidi has proven time and time again that she is most deserving of being promoted to the position of Chief Communications Officer,” said Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley. “While she’s only been at our company for two years, she’s accomplished more than others would in five! We are so very proud and lucky to have her in our Beasley Media Group family.”

“It is such an honor and a privilege to work with Caroline and all the incredible people at Beasley Media Group,” said Raphael. “I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an innovative organization that makes a difference in the industry and the communities it serves. I am proud to be on their team!”

Raphael currently serves on the boards of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, the Broadcast Education Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters. In addition, she is a member of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group Executive Committee.

Midwest Communications Terry Stevens to Lansing

Terry Stevens

Midwest Communications has announced that Terry Stevens has been transferred to the company’s Lansing cluster and assumes the role of Operations Manager.  He previously worked as Brand Manager at sister station WOZZ-FM in Wausau, Wisc. ,and has been with the company since 2001.

A Cincinnati, Ohio native, Stevens will oversee WWDK-FM, WJXQ-FM, WLMI-FM and WQTX-FM.

“The addition of TERRY is a breath of fresh air,” said Lansing Market Manager Mark Jaycox.  “He is creative, passionate and offers a sincere drive to win.”

Added Stevens, ”The smartest decision I ever made was marrying my wife. The second smartest was coming to work for Midwest Communications.  I’m stoked about this new opportunity in Lansing, and can’t wait to take all four stations in this group to the next level.”

Bill Harris to Step Down from Anchor Desk

Bill Harris

Bill Harris, anchor at WEYI-TV and WSMH-TV (Flint) announced last week that he plans to step down from daily newscast anchoring at the end of May.

Harris has spent more than 50 years in broadcast journalism – including the last 40 years anchoring and reporting at various stations in the Flint-Saginaw television market. The nine-time Emmy award winning anchor isn’t completely stepping away from the anchor desk. He will occasionally anchor newscasts, report important news stories affecting mid-Michigan viewers and host specials like NBC25-FOX66’s annual “Classy Brassy Christmas & More” holiday broadcast.

In making his announcement, Harris said: “After considerable thought, I have made the difficult but correct decision that ‘it’s time’ for Bill Harris. After 47 years as a full-time news anchor, I will anchor my last, regularly scheduled, newscast on Friday, May 31 on FOX66 (WSMH-TV) News at 10. It has been an incredible and rewarding ride and I have you the viewers to thank. Your support, your trust, your viewership, your friendship is what has made this job so rewarding and memorable for me. I and my family are eternally grateful.

“With that said, I’m happy to say I am not entirely disappearing from the TV screen. On the first of June, I will be entering a “semi retirement” mode, responsible for some news stories, special projects such as ‘Classy Brassy Christmas & More’ and an occasional appearance back here on the anchor desk. So, for the moment, a brief, but sincere, thank you to all.”

Michigan AP Elects Directors

Vincent Duffy, Michigan Radio

Matt Seward, managing editor of the Cadillac News, was elected president of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors association for 2019-20 at the group’s annual convention on April 28.

Vincent Duffy, news director at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, was named president-elect.

Also elected to the board for three-year terms were:

Michael Percha, WSGW-AM

— Director, representing Small-Market Radio: Michael Percha, digital news editor/anchor/reporter, WSGW-AM, Saginaw.

— Director, representing Newspapers At-Large: Rick Mills, local news editor, The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun.

The following director serves on the board with a term expiring in 2020:

— Representing newspapers with a daily circulation up to 10,000: Jeremy McBain, executive editor of the Petoskey News-Review.

The following directors serve on the board with terms expiring in 2021:

Jam Sardar, WLNS-TV

— Representing newspapers with a daily circulation over 40,000: Gary Miles, managing editor, The Detroit News.

— Representing newspapers with a daily circulation of 10,000-39,999: Jeff Payne, managing editor, Macomb Daily.

— Representing Small-Market TV: Jam Sardar, news director, WLNS-TV, Lansing.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative serving 1,400 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States.

AP Media Editor Broadcast Award Winners Announced

Winners of the 2018 Michigan Associated Press Media Editors annual newspaper and broadcast contests were announced on April 28 at ceremonies in Lansing.

Seven Michigan television stations took home a combined 34 awards.  Congratulations to WEYI-TV (Saginaw), WJBK-TV (Detroit), WJRT-TV (Flint), WLNS-TV (Lansing), WNEM-TV (Saginaw), WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo) and WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac),  A complete list of television winners, along with judges comments can be found here.

Large market radio stations taking home awards included WDET-FM (Detroit) and Michigan Radio (Ann Arbor).  There were 27 awards presented between the two stations.  See that list here.

Medium and small market radio winners included WGVU-FM (Grand Rapids), WHMI-FM (Howell) and WSGW-AM (Saginaw).  There were 26 awards presented between the three stations.  See that list here.

WLEN-FM Named 2019 Recipient of National Service to Community Award

WLEN-FM (Adrian) will be honored with the National Service to Community Award. This award is presented each year by the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) to honor the public service commitment that local radio and television stations make year-round to their communities.

WLEN was selected to receive this award for it’s Thank a Vet event which is held each November. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to help homeless and other veterans in Lenawee County. This past years’ event raised over $30,000 and over $250,000 has been raised to date. These funds are distributed by Housing Help of Lenawee and they are used for immediate needs of veterans in Lenawee County; things other programs will not cover and things veterans can’t wait for.

“WLEN Radio has always embraced the importance of a strong community. To that end, we donate in excess of $800,000.00 in cash and in-kind community giving every year. A strong community is important to all of us, and non-profits are part of the building foundation of that. Keeping those organizations strong helps to provide those most vulnerable with the services they need to survive and thrive. We love what we do at WLEN and we hope all our efforts make Lenawee a stronger place to work, live and raise families. Service to our community is a cornerstone of our mission as a company, and our entire team embraces that mission. I’m blessed to work with some of the best broadcasters in America and Lenawee County is fortunate to have such a strong group of advocates working on its behalf,” said WLEN’s President and General Manager Julie Koehn.

The awards will be presented at the Service to America ceremony in Washington D.C. in June. At that time the NABLF will also present the Service to America Leadership Award to a person of national profile. Past recipients have included Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Gary Sinise, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul Simon, President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalind Carter and First Lady Nancy Reagan.

View the full press release here.

Man Behind ‘Paul is Dead,’ Legendary Detroit DJ Russ Gibbs Passes at 87

The man behind one of the biggest rumors in rock history died April 30. Russ Gibb, the Detroit radio DJ who helped launch the legendary “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy, was 87 years old.

On May 1, friends of Gibb, including Dick Purtan, Art Vuolo, Jr.,  Jo-Jo Shutty McGregor and others gathered for lunch to remember:

On Oct. 12, 1969, Gibb, a part-time personality at WKNR-FM, answered a call from a listener claiming that Beatles bassist Paul McCartney had died and was replaced by a lookalike. Gibb gleefully took up the discussion on his show, pushing the story into the limelight and ultimately helping kick off string of “Paul is dead” conspiracy theories based on clues from Beatles lyrics and imagery.

Gibb also hosted a nationally syndicated show, Night Call on the Mutual Radio Network. He later taught video production for decades at Dearborn High School.

Gibb was also known for transforming the Grande Ballroom into Detroit’s psychedelic-rock palace, a game-changing move that launched an indelible chapter in Detroit music history.

In today’s Jacobs Media Blog, jācapps’ COO Bob Kernen remembers “Uncle Russ.”  Read here.

Miggy Santos Named Brand Manager At WNWN-FM

Miggy Santos

Midwest Communications has announced that Miggy Santos has joined the company’s WNWN-FM (Battle Creek) as brand manager.  Santos comes from the Neuhoff Media clusters in Bloomington-Decatur, Illinois.

Santos takes over management duties from longtime (20+ years) programmer P.J. Lacey, who will remain on the staff.

Market Manager Kurt Luchs said, “First off, we want to thank P.J. Lacey for her dedication and hard work in making WNWN a tremendous and dominating brand. And at the same time, we’re happy to bring Miggy’s passion and guidance to the team in Battle Creek.”

Added Santos, “I am so happy to be returning to Midwest Communications. I want to thank Jeff McCarthy, Kurt Luchs and Mark Hamlin for this amazing opportunity. Radio programming is in my blood, and I am so excited to work with the team at WIN 98.5.”

Lansing Radio’s Deb Hart Joins WSYM-TV

Deb Hart

Popular Lansing radio personality Deb Hart will be joining the E.W. Scripps’ WSYM-TV (Lansing) as Morning Blend co-host.  The longtime voice in the mornings on Classic Rock 94.9FM, has been tapped to replace Mary Turner on the program.

“When Mary announced she would be leaving, we knew she was going to be incredibly hard to replace. Then Morning Blend co-host Bob Hoffman recommended Deb, and we jumped at the chance to bring her aboard.” said Gary Baxter, Vice-President/GM of WSYM-TV FOX 47. “Between Deb’s upbeat personality and her chemistry with co-host Bob Hoffman, she really is the perfect addition to our team.”

The Morning Blend is a unique combination of information and entertainment that airs during FOX 47 Morning News at 7 every weekday morning. Deb Hart’s first taping was May 2. Her segments will begin airing next week.

Hart, a graduate of Specs Howard School of Media Arts, left WMMQ January 24.