WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo) has hired former WPBN/WTOM-TV (Traverse City) news reporter Mara Thompson. Thompson joined the station on June 6.
Thompson is a 2014 graduate of Michigan State University, majoring in journalism with a concentration in electronic news.
While at MSU, she was an announcer for the Big Ten Network Student U and was an anchor and reporter for the Emmy award-winning student news program Focal Point. She also interned at WLNS-TV in Lansing, as well as WPBN/WTOM-TV in Traverse City.
The MAB has learned that Renwood Carl “Ren” Flagg passed away on June 14 at the age of 78. Flagg was a longtime broadcast engineer in Michigan, starting in 1961 as a transmitter engineer with WWTV/WWUP-TV in Cadillac and Sault Ste. Marie.
In 1967, he joined WJRT-TV in Flint as an engineer overseeing studio operations and maintaining a microwave link from the Fisher Building in Detroit to the WJRT studio in Flint.
In 1968, Flagg moved to WILX-TV/WJCO-AM in Jackson where he oversaw the technical operations of the (then) combined TV/AM studios and transmitters. From 1973 to 2000, he was sales manager of Cruse Communications, based in Okemos. His most recent position was with Spring Harbor University, where he was a video engineer in the communication department.
Flagg was known for his brilliance and keen sense of humor.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Janice, and two children. Services were held on June 18.
Former Detroit sportscaster Al Ackerman passed away June 6 at the age of 90. Family members say Ackerman died at his home in Florida.
Ackerman worked at WXYZ-TV during the 70s, alongside Bill Bonds, Marilyn Turner, and John Kelly. Later, he was Sports Director at WDIV-TV where he coined the “Bless You Boys” rallying cry for the 1980s Tigers.
Former Detroit sportscaster Eli Zaret told the Detroit Free Press that Ackerman was “The local version of Howard Cosell” and “Had the courage to speak his mind.”
Ackerman was a member of the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Instead of a public funeral service, the family says Ackerman requested “Take your family to a ball game.”
Ackerman is survived by his wife of 40 years, Terese Ann, as well as his daughters and sister-in-law. A son, Michael, predeceased his father.
Greater Media has announced that WRIF Morning Personalities Dave and Chuck the Freak have been named “Detroit’s Best Radio Program” for the third consecutive year by Hour Detroit Magazine.
The morning show will be featured in the publication’s June issue, which features the results of its annual readers’ survey.
“We’re blown away that people would take some time out of their day to cast a vote for us,” said WRIF Morning Personality Dave Hunter. “It’s an honor to be named Detroit’s Best Radio Program by Hour Detroit for the 3rd year in a row and it’s even better that our incredible listeners helped make it happen.”
Hour Detroit is the monthly city magazine metro Detroiters rely on for dynamic, award-winning coverage of issues and people affecting their lives, (as well as their source for enjoying the finer things in the region). Renowned for its glossy, oversized format and the premium it places on outstanding journalism and photography, the publicationis recognized as the metro area’s leading authority on restaurants, arts and entertainment, and trends in fashion and décor.
Classic rock radio pioneer and current Greater Media Interactive Senior Vice President/General Manager Tom Bender will be retiring from the company at the end of June after nearly three decades of service.
Bender told All Access: “I am grateful to Peter Smyth for allowing me to lead our digital initiative for the past six years as we worked to conquer the digital challenges to radio,” said Bender. “He has been a friend as well as a great boss. I was privileged to work in my hometown with a wonderful group of people who created WCSX and built upon the 45-year heritage of WRIF, where I began my career. Greater Media is an extraordinary company and I thank them for a creative and innovative culture in which to work. Now it’s time for a new chapter in my life!”
Bender was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2007.
He has been in his current role since November 2007. Prior to that, Bender was Regional GM of Greater Media’s Detroit operations since November, 1986, where he was responsible for creating one of American’s first Classic Rock-formatted stations, WCSX-FM in Detroit.
The legendary sportscaster George Blaha, who’s been the voice of the Pistons, Spartan football, and countless commercials in his 40-year career, was recently interviewed on Deadline Detroit‘s “One Seat Over” podcast.
Blaha was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2014.
In the interview, Blaha shared hightlights of his 40-year career, such as meeting Vin Scully, a man he calls “The greatest broadcaster of our lifetime.”
MAB’s loss is WLNS-TV’s gain. Pam Cutler, who has been working with stations all over the state with traffic and copy for the MAB NCSA and PEP programs, is leaving to join the staff of Media General’s WLNS-TV (Lansing) as Log Editor/Traffic Assistant.
Pam has been with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters since 2012 and begins her new position on June 20. The MAB wishes Pam the best in her new position.
A replacement for Pam will be announced by the MAB soon.
On May 27, After hanging with Jim Johnson in the 104.3 WOMC studios, Eddie Money took a break from his rockstar life and got a real job answering phones and greeting guests at CBS Radio’s front desk in Detroit.
Even signing the receipt for the Jimmy Johns guy carrying “two hoagies to paradise” for a CBS staffer.
Eddie Money’s visit was to promote his appearance at the DTE Energy Music Theater.