Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Legendary WOOD Radio Broadcaster Bruce Grant Passes Away at 92

BruceGrant_300via woodradio.iheart.com

Legendary Grand Rapids radio announcer Bruce Grant has died. Family says Grant died peacefully April 23, after a brief illness. Bruce Grant was 92.

Grant was the WOOD Radio morning show host for 32 years, as much a part of West Michigan mornings as bacon and eggs. Generations of radio listeners began their day listening to Grant’s creative, entertaining mix of humor, optimism, and interview skills coming from the radio in their kitchen, bathroom, car, or their trusty transistor radio.

“He was a man that was very much wrapped up in life and living. He had great love for his work. He had great love for his family. He had a great love for Grand Rapids and certainly for the people he woke up each morning during his 32-year career at WOOD RADIO.” — Former WOOD RADIO General Manager Jim White.

Bruce R. Grant was born on December 14, 1923 in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of twelve, he began playing second lead harmonica with the biggest country and western spectacular of its day, “The Early Morning Country & Western Entertainers,” starring Cowboy Copas, Merle Travis, and Red Foley, which was broadcast on Cincinnati’s WSAI radio.

Bruce’s entourage toured Cincinnati, Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis during summers. After graduating from high school, Bruce attended the University of Cincinnati and the Schuster-Martin School of Drama.

“Bruce personified old-school radio. I’m envious of the era he came from, when the announcers did everything. They played the music, did the news, the sports, read the weather… even took listener phone calls if the feeling came to them.” — Former WOOD RADIO Sports Director Rick Berkey,

Bruce Grant was a WWII Marine who served his country in the Pacific Theatre.

Grant began his radio Grand Rapids radio career on WJEF in 1949. After five years, Bruce was hired as program director and announcer at WGRD. In 1959, Bruce Grant began his service at WOOD RADIO earning recognition and awards along the way. In addition to his duties behind the WOOD RADIO microphone, Grant also led the radio station’s many charitable efforts.

At his celebrity roast prior to retirement, Grant downplayed his accomplishments telling a capacity crowd at the Amway Grand Plaza’s Ambassador Ballroom that he was honored to be a part of so many lives and watch the growth of Grand Rapids. After withstanding the many radio and television celebrities and their kind-hearted barbs, Grant broke celebrity roast tradition. Rather than return fire, Grant said he’d learned long ago “if a gentleman doesn’t have something nice to say, he shouldn’t say anything at all.”

Following his retirement from his morning show duties in 1985, Grant remained busy with the occasional WOOD RADIO weekend broadcast and charitable work with March of Dimes, Red Cross, and Muscular Dystrophy among others, eventually leaving radio in 1991.

“I would say he was the most perfect host. He never made a mistake. Always connected to his audiece and the way he used the voices on the air to marry to his own commentary. Frankly, I was in awe of him.” –Former WOOD RADIO News Director Greg Moceri.

Bruce Grant is survived by his children, Patti and Todd Johnson, Jim and Kathleen Grant of Oregon; his grandchildren Jordan Johnson and his wife Emily Besley, Alex Johnson, Mikki Johnson, Charlie Grant, Libby Grant; sister-in-law Patricia Walcott and many nieces and nephews.

Family Graveside services were held at Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids. Family requests that in Bruce’s memory, memorial contributions be made to Grandville-Jenison Congregational Church or to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

E. Harold Munn, Jr: 1928-2016

MunnThe MAB is sad to share the news that E. Harold Munn, Jr. passed away Tuesday, April 26. Munn’s name is familiar to most MAB members as head of the longtime broadcast engineering consulting firm, E. Harold Munn, Jr., and Associates, based in Coldwater.

Munn received his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) radio license at age 14 and in 1947 at the of age 17 became a lifetime member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional organization of any scientific profession. The following year he graduated from Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI, with a degree in physics plus many credits in chemistry and mathematics.

Munn taught high school for one year in North Adams and one year at Pittsford before starting WTVB-WANG radio stations in Coldwater. Other stations he established and owned include Ypsilanti (WYSI), Hillsdale (WBSE), and Sturgis (WSTR). In addition to radio, he was a pioneer in broadband communications, received one of the three first cable TV permits awarded by the FCC, and started many cable companies including Coldwater and Columbia Cablevision.

In 1950, he established the E. Harold Munn, Jr., and Associates broadcast engineering consulting firm in Coldwater and in that capacity built or consulted with about 800 radio stations in all 50 states and on nearly 70 colleges and university campuses. Two notable stations include Bell Broadcasting Corporation in Detroit, the first FCC-approved African American-owned radio station in the United States providing a foundation for the Motown music industry, and a 50,000 watt AM station in Hawaii for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that broadcast a Christian witness to 20,000 Polynesian islands and literally around the world.

In 2005, Munn was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

A memorial service will be at Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church Tuesday, May 31, at 11:00 a.m. Memorial gifts may be made to Spring Arbor University.

Marconi Radio Awards Nomination Window Now Open

marconiLogoThe NAB Marconi Radio Awards recognize excellence in the industry. Eligible NAB member stations may apply here until May 31. Winners will be announced at the 2016 Radio Show, held September 21-23 in Nashville. For additional information, contact Melek Demir.

Established by the National Association of Broadcasters in 1989, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards are named after Nobel Prize winner and “Father of Wireless Telegraphy” Guglielmo Marconi.

Free Tech Webinar From Jacobs Media

DIF-TS11-1If you missed the presentation by Jacobs Media at GLBC ’16, you won’t want to pass up this opportunity to see it.  On Thursday, May 12, the company will present a FREE overview of their most recent Techsurvey.

Every year, Jacobs Media Strategies conducts the radio broadcasting industry’s largest survey to learn how audiences use new technologies to consume media. Join President Fred Jacobs as he identifies the key trends in podcasting, mobile, streaming, the connected car, and more that we gleaned from nearly 40,000 respondents in 2016.

WEBINAR: How Radio Audiences Use Technology: Key Takeaways from Techsurvey12

Thursday, May 12th at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT

Sign up here.

Denis Prior Joins WUPS-FM

Radio veteran Denis Prior, most recently with Grand Valley State University’s Real Oldies WGVU-AM (Grand Rapids), has joined WUPS-FM (Houghton Lake) as Morning Host and Programming Coordinator.  He debuted on the station May 2.

Prior also has worked in the past with the MacDonald-Garber stations in Cadillac and has hosted shows in San Diego, Nashville, South Bend, and Grand Rapids, plus many other stops around the country during his long radio career.  In addition to radio, Prior has also been a contributing writer for late night TV shows hosted by David Letterman and Jay Leno.

Prior told All Access, “I’m excited to join a heritage blowtorch station like 98.5 UPS. Norm (McKee) and MIKE (Chires) are great owners that I look forward to working with”.

WXYZ/WMYD-TV Welcome New Meteorologist

WXYZ_DENISE_ISAAC_300Meteorologist Denise Isaac has joined WXYZ/WMYD-TV (Detroit).  She will handle weather for “The Now” at 4 p.m. and 7 Action News at 7 p.m. on WXYZ. She will also contribute to 7 Action News at 10 p.m. on WMYD.

“Weather is a critical part of the service we provide to our viewers, and we’re delighted that Denise will be joining the most experienced weather team in the market,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD vice president and general manager.

Isaac comes to WXYZ/WMYD from Telemundo Miami where she was the morning meteorologist. She was also the weather reporter for the national show Un Nuevo Dia and covered weather at WTVJ, the NBC affiliate in Miami. Earlier in her career, she was a producer and reporter for WeatherNation in Minnesota.

“I’m thrilled to work with the accomplished meteorologists of the 7 First Alert Weather Team,” said Isaac. “I’m looking forward to being part the team.”

Isaac graduated from Florida State University with a degree in meteorology and she is certified by the American Meteorological Society.  She began her new position on May 6.

Detroit’s Drew and Mike Together Again

DrewMike_400Former WRIF-FM (Detroit) personalities Drew & Mike are back together, this time around not on the radio, but talking about Detroit with a new podcast.

Drew Lane told Deadline Detroit that “he expects to produce a podcast five days a week, though he said Clark only wants to do it twice weekly. So Lane said he’s looking for other co-hosts, and one person who has expressed interest is (WJBK-TV) Fox 2’s Charlie LeDuff.”

Drew & Mike were together on WRIF from 1991 through 2013.

Ben C. Fisher Passes

Benjamin Chatburn Fisher, a preeminent Washington, D.C. communications law attorney and investor in Mid-West Family Broadcasting, died April 14, 2016 at age 93.

Fisher’s legal career spanned over six decades.  In 1952, he joined the law firm Fisher, Wayland, and Southmayd, which he father founded.  The firm later became Fisher, Cooper and Zaragoza.  Later, it merged with Shaw Pittman, then combined with the Pillsbury Winthrop law firm.  Fisher retired from his practice at age 86.

In addition to his legal work, he also served at the first Chairman of the U.S. International Telecommunications Union (ITU), was President of the Federal Communications Commission Bar Association.

See his complete obituary here.

Mid-West Family Broadcasting has stations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and in Southwest Michigan/Northwest Indiana.

Blarney Stone Renews Pact With Lions

The Detroit Lions are staying right at home on the airwaves of WQON-FM (Grayling) (Q100.3) after Blarney Stone Broadcasting signed a three-year affiliate agreement with the National Football League club flagship station, WJR-AM (Detroit).

“We know from experience that some of the most passionate and knowledgeable Lions fans live right here in Central and Northern Michigan,” said Sheryl Coyne, Blarney Stone Broadcasting, President/CEO. “The Lions are on the rise in the NFL after many significant changes from the front office to the players on the field, and we’re proud to be able to continue broadcasting their games for our growing listening audience.”

The deal includes broadcast rights to all 16 regular season games, plus four pre-season games, and all post-season games, including the Super Bowl.

The Lions last fall signed a five-year agreement with Cumulus Media, making WJR-AM (Detroit) their flagship station for Lions football.

Doug Banks: 1958-2016

DougBanksNationally syndicated radio personality, Doug Banks, passed away April 12 due to complications of diabetes. He was 57.

Banks, who was born in Philadelphia, PA, was raised in Detroit and began his carrier on his high school radio station, WSHJ-FM, licensed to Southfield Public Schools.

Local station WDRQ-FM (Detroit) took notice of his talent and offered him a spot as a temporary late-night weekend disc jockey.  His career then took him to Los Angeles, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Chicago.

In 1995, he signed a multi-million-dollar deal with ABC to host a syndicated show from Dallas.  Since 2010, his show was syndicated through American Urban Radio Networks.  For over a decade Banks contributed to the Chicago-based television show “190 North,” produced by WLS-TV, who produced this tribute:

Banks is survived by his wife, Wendy, three daughters and one son.