Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Mark Libke Joins Jackson Radio Works

Mark Libke_300Jackson Radio Works, Inc., operators of WKHM-AM/FM, ESPN Sports 101.9, and Power Cow 95.9 are pleased to announce the hiring of Mark Libke as Director of Sales.

Sue Goldsen, Owner and Vice-President said, “We are so happy to have Mark on our team. His experience with broadcasters and advertisers from around the state will be a huge asset to our company.”

Mark started his career in 1981 with WJR-AM as a high school news intern. While in college at Eastern Michigan University, Mark worked as announcer, producer, and sports reporter at WQBR, WSDS, and WAAM in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. In 1992, he made the move to radio sales taking an Account Executive position with WPZA-AM/WQKL-FM in Ann Arbor. After four successful years in sales and sports marketing, Libke was promoted to General Sales Manager at WTKA-AM. In 1996, Mark took the position of Managing Director at Premier Tower Insurance Company (Okemos), specializing in comprehensive coverage for group radio and television studios and tower sites. In 1999, Libke joined TBC Sports (Holt) as Sales Manager for the Spartan Sports Network (SSN). Recently, he was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer for the Spartan Sports Network division of TBC Sports.

Mark Libke said, “I am so happy to be working with my colleagues Bruce and Sue Goldsen, and to be back working with local community radio stations. The future is bright and exciting and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!”

Michael Patrick Shiels Celebrates 10 Years

MPSSyndicated morning radio host Michael Patrick Shiels celebrated his 10th year on the air June 27 and 28 with Johnny Carson-style special broadcasts featuring highlight clips of celebrity interviews with the likes of Jim Nantz, Jack Nicklaus, Donald Trump, Wayne Gretzky, Julie Andrews, and more.  Plus Shiels welcomed special live guests, including longtime radio performers John McMurray, Jimmy Launce, and Warren Pierce, each of whom were on the air almost 50 years. “I celebrated a 10th anniversary once,” Launce joked when Shiels referred to himself as a “short timer” by comparison. “If there were term limits on radio hosts I would have been out two years ago.”

Shiels, who hosts Spotlight Media’s “Michigan’s Big Show Starring Michael Patrick Shiels” on radio stations across the state was a producer for National Radio Hall of Famers J.P. McCarthy, Dick Purtan, and Paul W. Smith. His flagship station is WQTX-FM in Lansing. Over the past 10 years, he has hosted his show live from Jerusalem, Ireland, Bermuda, Hollywood, and various Michigan locations.

Three Michigan Broadcasters Named Most Influential Women In Radio

RadioInk_300On June 20, Radio Ink published their annual “Most Influential Women in Radio” issue of its print publication and included three Michigan broadcasters!

Featured in the top 100 list were: 

Debbie_Kenyon_150Debbie Kenyon
SVP/Market Manager
CBS Radio (Detroit)

As a longtime board member, Kenyon is currently Vice-Chairman/Chairman-Elect of the MAB.  Radio Ink quotes Kenyon as crediting her own success to “having effectively recruited and retained great talent.”

StinehourKathy Stinehour
Market Manager
Radio One (Detroit)

Stinehour has been in her current position with Radio One for eight years now.  She told Radio Ink that she attributes her success “to a very strong work ethic and to genuinely caring about the success of those around her.”

Jennifer WilliamsJennifer Williams
Director of Interactive Media
Greater Media (based in Detroit)

Williams is currently  Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation.  She told the publication that “it’s your responsibility to be in ‘education mode’ to be successful.  Everyday, make it a priority to learn something new about an area of business or another industry and see how that lesson can help you bring about positive results for your company, station, client, and community.”

Williams was also featured recently in a Radio Ink online Q&A feature which you can read here.

WZZM-TV, Michigan Radio Honored With Murrow Awards

Two Michigan broadcasters were honored with Edward R. Murrow Awards, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association.  Presentation will be at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City in October.

The Edward R. Murrow Award for “Sports Reporting – Large Market” has been given to WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids), the TEGNA-owned ABC affiliate.  It is the station’s first ever Murrow Award.

Brent Ashcroft
Brent Ashcroft

WZZM won for a story titled “Big Ann,” produced by Our Michigan Life storyteller Brent Ashcroft, with former Director of Photography, Andy Sugden. “Big Ann” tells the story of an Ada, MI athlete, Anna Lee Konsoer-Rose, who was fighting for her health during her senior year following a rare diagnosis.

“We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious journalism organization,” said Janet Mason, WZZM 13 President and General Manager. “We are elated that strong writing and great storytelling are valued by our peers and content consumers.”

“It’s exciting to see the work of our journalists recognized in this way,” said WZZM 13 News Director Taz Painter. “We have put a lot of emphasis on telling the kinds of stories that are unique in our market, and we are thrilled that the judges decided our work was worthy of this honor.”

“Big Ann” was one of three WZZM 13 stories that won regional Edward R. Murrow awards earlier this year. In the national competition, “Big Ann” was selected from a category that contained work from stations in larger markets, including Los Angeles, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis.

Click here to see the winning story.

mir-ann-arbor-logo-bwMichigan Radio was recognized with a national Edward R. Murrow Award.  The award, in the Large Market Radio – News Documentary category, was received for “Not Safe to Drink.”  The documentary series traced the history and story behind the Flint water crisis.

“Not Safe to Drink” aired on Michigan Radio in December 2015.

It was produced and written by Lindsey Smith, with help from Sarah Hulett and Jennifer Guerra. Additional reporting by Steve Carmody, Mark Brush , Rebecca Williams, and other members of the Michigan Radio news team.

“Winning a national Edward R. Murrow Award is the ultimate compliment for any news organization,” said Steve Schram, Executive Director-General Manager of Michigan Radio. “This is a tribute not only to the excellent work done by Lindsey Smith, but also by all of our journalists every day.”

This is the fifth national Murrow award for the NPR station, which last won in 2011 for the Environment Report documentary “Coal: Dirty Past, Hazy Future.” Michigan Radio has also won more than ten regional Murrow awards over the past five years.

About the Edward R. Murrow Awards
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.

John Gay Joins WDZH-FM

JagCBS Radio’s WDZH-FM (Detroit) has announced the hiring of Jon Gay as the station’s new midday air talent.  Gay, known on-air as “Jag” comes to the station from New Orleans, where he was program director and afternoon drive host at KVDU-FM.

Gay previously worked at WKQI-FM (Detroit) between June 2011 and December 2012.

CBS Radio SVP/Market Manager Debbie Kenyon told All Access: “I am thrilled to add Jag to the 98.7 AMP RADIO lineup.  We are dedicated to keeping the station live and local and I can’t wait to hear Jag during the workday. I look forward to his fun on-air demeanor and know he’ll make a lot of listeners’ workdays go by a lot faster!”

Gay began his new position on June 15.

WWMT-TV Welcomes Mara Thompson

marathompson_300WWMT-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.

Longtime Broadcast Engineer Ren Flagg Passes

Ren_Flagg_300The 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.

Detroit Sportscaster Al Ackerman Dies

AckermanFormer 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.

WRIF-FM’s Dave & Chuck the Freak Morning Show Named Best Radio Program by Hour Detroit

Top L-R: WRIF- FM Morning Personalities Dave Hunter, Chuck “the Freak,” Lisa Way, and Andy Green. Bottom L-R: Jason Watson (phone screener and video editor) and James Campbell (show producer)

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.

Townsquare Launches Urban AC in Grand Rapids

magic941logov1Townsquare Media has launched a new AM/FM Translator simulcast in Grand Rapids.  WNWZ-AM is now heard on FM translator W231DD 94.1 and is operating as “Magic 94.1.”

Radio Insight reports that former WGPR-FM (Detroit) Production Director Ed Spillers (aka: “Lee Stevens”) is serving as Brand Manager/Afternoon Host.

The new station website is here.  The station is also heard on the HD-2 signal of WLHT-FM.