Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Returns to WCMU

WCMU Public Radio has launched its fifth annual Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign to fuel home-heating assistance across central and northern Michigan.

An important collaboration continues with Consumers Energy, Isabella Bank and WCMU Public Radio listeners. Through this season of giving, WCMU listeners will support their community two-fold with access to quality public radio programming, while triggering home-heating assistance through the matching funds from Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank. Matching funds will be distributed back to the listener’s community through their local Michigan Community Action agency.

“As winter weather settles in across Michigan, the generosity and compassion of WCMU Public Radio listeners, combined with the financial support of Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank, will allow us to address a critical need facing the people living in the communities we serve,” said Ken Kolbe, general manager of WCMU Public Media.

“It’s sobering to think of having to choose between turning up the thermostat, and paying a car or medical bill. Any one of us could find ourselves in need of assistance through a series of unfortunate events. WCMU listeners should be proud to know that decision has been eased for thousands of families through the first four years of Warm Hearts, Warm Homes,” Rick Westover, radio director for WCMU Public Media, said.

Giving Tuesday (12/3) made for a great kickoff to the with over $25,000 in listener donations to WCMU Public Radio, matched by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank that day. Matching funds make their way back to those in need of heating assistance through the Michigan Community Action agency. Nearly $40,000 in matching funds remain.

“Michigan Community Action deeply appreciates the commitment by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank to help families and seniors stay safe and warm in their homes this winter,” Kate White, Michigan Community Action’s executive director, said. “The Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Campaign has been a wonderful and effective community collaboration.”

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes has provided over $200,000 in matching funds to assist with winter heating bills in its first four years, and is on track this year to crest a quarter of a million dollars in matching support for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. WCMU Public Radio received the 2017 Community Service Award from MCA for the December 2016 campaign.

For more information, see the station’s Warm Hearts, Warm Homes webpage here.

Nexstar to Acquire Tribune in $6.4B Deal

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. and Tribune Media Company announced December 3 that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Nexstar will acquire all outstanding shares of Tribune Media for $46.50 per share in a cash transaction that is valued at $6.4 billion, including the assumption of Tribune Media’s outstanding debt.

The proposed transaction will combine two leading local media companies with complementary national coverage and will reach approximately 39% of U.S. television households pro-forma for anticipated divestitures and reflecting the FCC’s UHF discount.

In Michigan, Nexstar presently owns WOOD-TV/WOTV-TV/WXSP-CD (Grand Rapids), WLNS-TV (Lansing) and WJMN-TV (Marquette). In addition, it has a joint sales and shared services agreement with WLAJ-TV (Lansing).  Tribune operates one station in Grand Rapids, WXMI-TV.

Following the completion of the transaction, Nexstar natiowide will benefit from increased operational and geographic diversity and scale as a result of Tribune Media’s diverse portfolio of media assets including 42 owned or operated broadcast television stations in major U.S. markets; compelling local news and entertainment content creation; significant broadcast distribution; a reinvigorated general entertainment cable network, WGN America; a 31% ownership stake in TV Food Network, which is a top tier cable asset; and equity investments in several digital media businesses.

Perry Sook, Chairman, President and CEO of Nexstar, commented, “Nexstar has long viewed the acquisition of Tribune Media as a strategically, financially and operationally compelling opportunity that brings immediate value to shareholders of both companies. We have thoughtfully structured the transaction in a manner that positions the combined entity to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape and better serve the local communities, consumers and businesses where we operate. As with our past transactions, we have developed a comprehensive regulatory compliance plan and believe we have a clear path to closing. With committed financing and a plan for significant synergy realization that will result in only a minimal increase in Nexstar’s pro-forma leverage, the combined entity will be poised for growth, leverage reduction and increased capital returns for shareholders.

Peter Kern, CEO of Tribune Media, said, “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Nexstar as it provides Tribune shareholders with substantial value and a well-defined path to closing. Together with Nexstar we can better compete by delivering a nationally integrated, comprehensive and competitive offering across all our markets. We believe this combination will produce an even stronger broadcast and digital platform that builds on the accomplishments of both companies and benefits our viewers and advertisers. The premium value our shareholders are receiving reflects the hard work of our dedicated Tribune employees in maximizing the value of our portfolio. I look forward to working closely with the Nexstar team to deliver on the value of this compelling combination and to ensure a smooth transition and integration of our companies.”

Thomas Carter, Chief Financial Officer of Nexstar, added, “This accretive transaction marks further progress toward our goal of improving our competitive position by strategically expanding our operating base to realize the benefits of scale, increasing our strategic and financial flexibility, and driving shareholder value. Our long-term experience in integrating acquired assets and our success over the last seven quarters in outperforming our synergy targets and driving other operating efficiencies related to our acquisition of the Media General operations will serve us well as we add the Tribune Media assets to our operating base. With our experienced management team, operating discipline and focused approach to managing our capital structure and cost of capital, we believe the acquisition of Tribune Media presents another meaningful opportunity for Nexstar, the markets we serve and our shareholders. ”

Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Tribune’s shareholders, as well as customary closing conditions, including approval by the FCC, and satisfaction of antitrust conditions. Nexstar intends to divest certain television stations necessary to comply with regulatory ownership limits and may also divest other assets which it deems to be non-core. All after-tax proceeds from such asset sales are expected to be applied to leverage reduction.

‘The Steve Gruber Show’ to be featured at 2019 SHOT Show

Steve Gruber

Syndicated Michigan-based “The Steve Gruber Show” has announced that it is among a small elite group of programs invited exclusively by The Shooting Sports Foundation to broadcast from radio row during the upcoming SHOT Show in Las Vegas, January 22-25 2019. The SHOT Show (Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trades) is the biggest gun show in the world and features global vendors and  many of the top names in radio today.

The latest in shooting technology for the sporting pursuits to law enforcement and military are all on display during this annual event.

“We are very flattered to make the cut for the list of broadcasters at this year’s SHOT Show, remarked Gruber from his office in Michigan. Gruber has been a regular attendee to the annual event as owner of Wolf Creek Productions. Gruber founded Wolf Creek in 1993 and the company has produced thousands of episodes of adventure television for Outdoor Channel, Sportsman’s Channel and other adrenaline networks. Among Wolf Creek’s current programs is ‘Wardens’ which focuses on law enforcement efforts of game wardens primarily in Michigan and Montana.

“This is my first trip to SHOT since January 2016 and my first on Radio Row!”, Gruber added. Gruber and his companies have been recognized for excellence on numerous occasions including winning 4 prestigious Golden Moose Awards from Outdoor Channel.

The Steve Gruber Show is a syndicated weekday radio program anchored in the Midwest. Gruber is also a regular contributor to Fox News, the BBC and NPR. His in-depth columns on stories of national and international interest can be found on Newsmax, Lifezette, American Thinker and Real Clear Politics among others.

“I am looking forward to seeing many old friends in Las Vegas. As they say it is good to be home,” Gruber beamed from behind his desk. It is clear his passion for the outdoors and broadcast is burning as brightly as ever.

To find out more about The Steve Gruber Show please contact Ivey Gruber. [email protected].

Lance Tidwell Named Director of FM Programming for Cumulus Detroit

Lance Tidwell

Lance Tidwell has been named Director of FM Programming for Cumulus Detroit.  His responsibilities will include Country WDRQ-FM (NASH FM 93.1) and Hot AC WDVD-FM.

Tidwell brings 30 years of programming experience to the position and previously served as Operations Manager for Cumulus Kansas City.

He was most recently Operations Manager for Townsquare Media’s four-station cluster in Fort Collins, CO. He was also SVP, Programming, for iHeartMedia in the Tucson, AZ, and San Antonio, TX markets, and was PD for Country stations including WWYZ in Hartford, CT; KKWF in Seattle, WA; KQFC in Boise, ID; and WGKX in Memphis, TN.

Greg Smith, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Detroit, said, “Lance is a tremendous addition to our management team at Cumulus Detroit. He is a highly regarded programmer, on-air talent, and leader. I am looking forward to working with him to grow both ratings and revenue for 96.3 WDVD and WDRQ NASH FM 93.1.”

WDVD’s Blaine Fowler Morning Show Hosts Radiothon For Detroit Dog Rescue


On November 16, WDVD-FM (Detroit) and its Blaine Fowler Morning Show hosted a 13-hour radiothon to raise money for Detroit Dog Rescue, a no-kill shelter and adoption center for abandoned, abused or orphaned dogs.  The event was held on the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield Township from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

An online auction offered extravagances such as Taylor Swift VIP concert memorabilia, a Detroit Lion Barry Sanders autographed football, a Mitch Albom autographed book collection and a performance by Blaine Fowler’s band BFE for a listener party.

The WDVD team and listeners raised over $63,000 for Detroit Dog Rescue!

WSGW Collects Food For Families

Above: Food collected at the November 17 Eddy Band Christmas Concert at the Temple Theatre.

Newsradio 790 WSGW-AM (Saginaw) has concluded its annual Food For Families Campaign. The station worked with 20 sponsor locations to collect food over four weeks this fall to benefit the Salvation Army Chapters in Saginaw, Bay and Midland Counties. The final event in the campaign was November 17 at the Eddy Band Christmas Concert held at the Temple Theater in Riverfront Saginaw. Many of those attending the concert brought food donations and filled a dozen grocery carts that night alone.

The Food For Families Campaign was started by the station 23 years ago. WSGW Operations Manager and Program Director Dave Maurer says in addition to the tons of food collected over the years, employees of William Kibbe and Associates have taken up collections each year just before Christmas and have given the Food For Families Campaign a total of $80,000 to benefit the Salvation Army.

The MAB would also like to congratulate Dave Maurer, who just celebrated 40 years with WSGW!

Follow-Up: WION’s ‘Treasures for Troops’ Sends 260 Boxes to Deployed Soldiers

This is a follow-up to an article that appeared in MAB NewsBriefs two weeks ago.

In it’s fifth year of the annual event, WION-AM’s (Ionia) “Treasures for Troops” has provided Michigan Chapter #188 of the Blue Star Mothers with enough collections for more packages to go overseas than any other year since the drive began! Last year, 200 boxes went out, and before that in 2016, 188. Each year the effort has been excellent but this year, the goal of 250 was exceeded!

This year’s record mailing is to the credit of all donors, and due in part to the addition of WGLM (WION’s Sister Station promoting it in Montcalm County) and Lowell High School’s student-run radio station, WWRW helping by spreading the word on the air, and actively collecting in the High School.

The Young Automotive Group Ionia has sponsored this drive each year, and this year provided a Chevy Traverse in which to load each day’s collections and protect them from the weather in-transit. The donations were sorted at the H.O. Steele Building on M-66, and on Sunday November 18th, the Blue Star Mothers’ chapter boxed the proceeds which were then sent from the Saranac post office on Monday November 19th, making it what we believe may be a “record” day for the small town post office as well.

The Blue Star Mothers Chapter #188 of Ionia, Kent and Montcalm Counties, WION, WGLM, WRWW and Young Automotive want to thank each and everyone who signed cards and letters, donated time, money for postage or for items and encouragement!

“Its a true community effort” said Jim Carlyle, Co-Owner/Manager at WION who says, “We look forward to this drive each year, and will reach out to our radio partners and to West Central Michigan for this great cause again in 2019”.

WCZY/WMMI Mt. Pleasant Fills a Mayflower!

Latitude Media’s WCZY-FM/WMMI-AM/FM (Mt. Pleasant) filled a Mayflower moving van November 16, raising over 4,800 non-perishable food items and close to a record of $8,000 in  donations, surpassing what the station raised in 2017.

“The magic continues to be made and we love our community for their love,” said Latitude Media Owner/GM Bob Peters.

“United Way is blown away by the amount of community support that we received through this year’s Fill-a-Mayflower event. Thank You to the donors, community partners and volunteers who all contributed to making this a successful event! Because of the generosity of those involved, our community members in need will have food on the table during this holiday season,” said Annie Sanders, President of United Way of Isabella & Gratiot Counties.

WLUC, WDBC, WYKX Team Up For Annual Can-a-thon


WLUC-TV (Marquette) teamed up with WDBC-AM/WYKX-FM (Escanaba) for their annual Can-a-thon drive.
  Collections took place at four locations in the Gladstone and Escanaba areas.

While officials don’t have any final numbers at this point they are saying that thanks to the generosity of area residents and the efforts of dozens of volunteers, it appears that the effort could result in a record year.

WLUC has held the Can-a-thon annually since 1982.

“There is a ton of people that are actually donating. It speaks testaments to the folks that are in this community who are really coming forward to help these folks,” said KIX Country 104.7’s Mike Canull.

Volunteers collected donations at four locations throughout the coverage area from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those locations are Elmer’s County Market, Sav-Mor IGA and Walmart in Escanaba and Pat’s Foods in Gladstone.

Craig Woerpel is with WDBC and KIX Country 104.7 and said that despite the cold weather, everyone loves lending a hand.

“It is cold. It is damp. But those guys, they’re out there collecting foods, having a good time talking with people. Handing out pop to those that donate and just having a good time. It feels good to be able to help people.”

WLEN Hosts 13th Annual ‘Thank a Vet’ Day

(L-R) Kathy Williams, Marketing Specialist for WLEN; Elizabeth Salerno, Executive Director, Housing Help of Lenawee; Julie Koehn President & General Manager of Lenawee Broadcasting Company/WLEN; Suzanne Miller, AVP Marketing, TLC Community Credit Union and Abi Noe, VP Housing Help of Lenawee.

On November 9, WLEN-FM (Adrian) hosted it’s 13th Annual Thank a Vet Day. This day is in celebration of Veterans Day and is an event to raise funds and awareness for homeless and other veterans in need in Lenawee County.

$29,617.40 was raised in 12 hours for the “Veterans Dire Need Fund” distributed through Housing Help of Lenawee. WLEN staff, local veterans’ organizations and area business people stood curbside and collected funds to support local veterans; these funds are distributed throughout the year to local veterans for assistance with rent, mortgage payments to avoid foreclosure, utility bills, rental facilities to store possessions when they are displaced, transportation stipends and for things as simple as a pair of boots to secure employment.

Again, this year TLC Community Credit Union joined WLEN with a matching funds program, matching donations to the Happy Hundred Club by 50 percent, which raised an additional $8,000 from TLC. To date over $200,000 has been raised in this event and distributed to local veterans in Lenawee County.