Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

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.

Longtime Detroit Broadcaster Paul Carey Dies at 88

PaulCareyLongtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Paul Carey passed away April 12 at the age of 88.

Carey spent 19 years broadcasting Tigers games with Ernie Harwell, joining him in the booth in 1973. He retired in 1991.  Carey also worked at WJR from 1956 until 1992 and served as a play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Pistons.

Carey was born in Mount Pleasant in 1928 and graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1946. He attended Central Michigan University from 1946 through 1948 before transferring to Michigan State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Speech, Radio, and Dramatics in 1950.

His professional broadcasting career started in 1949 when he was part of the original announcing staff of Mount Pleasant’s WCEN -AM.  In the fall of 1949, Carey was also part of the first-ever broadcast of Central Michigan University football.

In October 1950, he was drafted into the Army and served with the Fourth Infantry Division during the Korean War.

He returned to WCEN in the fall of 1952 before moving to Saginaw’s WKNX from 1953-56.  Carey then moved to Detroit’s WJR in the summer of 1956.

Carey was a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.  He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Nancy, and his nieces and nephews.

As of this writing, funeral arrangements were pending.

Mitch Albom wrote a great tribute to Carey here.  The staff of WJR-AM shares their memories of Carey on their website here.  And WXYZ-TV posted this video tribute to him:

WKQI-FM’s “Mojo In The Morning” Wins Award at WWRS

(L-R) Spike, Mojo and
(L-R) Spike, Mojo and Shannon

WKQI-FM’s (Detroit) “Mojo In The Morning” received national honors this past week, winning the Station Air Talent of the Year Award at the Worldwide Radio Summit (WWRS) held in Los Angeles.  The award was announced during the 2016 Industry Awards Luncheon held at Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

“Mojo in the Morning,” with hosts Mojo, Shannon, and Spike, has been airing on WKQI since 2000.

RTNDA Announces 2016 Murrow Award Winners

MurrowThe RADIO TELEVISION DIGITAL NEWS ASSOCIATION (RTNDA) has announced its Regional EDWARD R. MURROW Award winners for 2016. There were 654 winners in 14 categories and 14 regions throughout the country.

Congratulations to our Region 7 Murrow Award winners here in Michigan:

Large Market Radio

Continuing Coverage
Lead in Flint Water
Michigan Radio Ann Arbor, MI

Investigative Reporting
Sexual Assault Investigations at MSU: A Broken System, and the Efforts to Fix It
Michigan Radio Ann Arbor, MI

News Documentary
Not Safe to Drink
Michigan Radio Ann Arbor, MI

Reporting: Sports
This Community Finally Got What People Have Been Asking For All Season: A Home Football Game
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor, MI

Small Market Television

Funeral For A Fallen Firefighter
Lansing, MI

Continuing Coverage
Flint Water Emergency
Flint, MI

News Series
Friends for Life: Men’s Health
Lansing, MI

Lansing, MI

Large Market Television

Breaking News
Portland Tornado
Grand Rapids, MI

Continuing Coverage
It’s A Hard Thing To Watch A Man Die
Detroit, MI

Investigative Reporting
Delayed Firefighter Death Benefit
Grand Rapids, MI

Reporting: Sports
Big Ann
WZZM-TV Grand Rapids, MI

Brent Ashcroft
WZZM-TV Grand Rapids, MI

MAB PEP Campaign Wins Pinnacle Award for Public Service

MVAA was honored with the 2016 PACE Pinnacle Award for its statewide advertising campaign, “One call. One stop. One agency. 24/7 veteran resources.” Media partners Edge Partnerships and Such Video worked with MVAA to research, plan and execute the concept, which included billboards, television, radio and digital ads. From left: Angela Witwer, Edge Partnerships president; Suzanne Thelen, MVAA director of communications and veteran engagement; Lynn Sutfin, MVAA web portal and veteran engagement strategist; Danielle Lenz, Edge Partnerships director of public relations and social media; and Lorri Rishar, Edge Partnerships CEO.
From left: Angela Witwer, Edge Partnerships president; Suzanne Thelen, MVAA director of communications and veteran engagement; Lynn Sutfin, MVAA web portal and veteran engagement strategist; Danielle Lenz, Edge Partnerships director of public relations and social media; and Lorri Rishar, Edge Partnerships CEO.

A current MAB PEP Campaign airing for The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVVA) was recently honored with a Pinnacle Award for its “One call. One stop. One agency. 24/7 veteran resources” campaign.  The campaign invites those who have served to connect with MVAA and the benefits they’ve earned.

The agency was recognized in the public service campaign category, receiving the top honor from the Central Michigan chapter of the Public Relations Society of America during the 2016 PACE Awards celebration, held April 14.

The statewide advertising campaign featured four veterans’ transition from active duty, getting ready for a job interview, exercising with a service dog, and enjoying retirement. The campaign serves to notify Michigan’s 660,000 veterans that the agency is with them every step of the way.

Media partners Edge Partnerships and Such Video worked with MVAA to research, plan, and execute the concept, which included statewide television advertisements, billboards, radio, and digital ads.

The campaign was boosted via the Michigan Association of Broadcaster’s Public Education Partnership (PEP) program, as well as the Non-Commercial Sustaining Announcement (NCSA) program beginning in November 2015 and will continue through October of this year.   The program helps non-profit organizations and government agencies bring attention to their issues, services, and programs by utilizing the airtime from 386 member radio and television stations to connect services with communities.

Here is the award-winning spot that aired statewide:

The 2016 PACE Awards recognized mid-Michigan’s best public relations and communications tactics and campaigns during the 2015 calendar year. The annual ceremony honors public relations practitioners who, in the judgment of their peers, have successfully addressed a contemporary issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness.

MVAA was honored with the Pinnacle Award for best public service campaign, recognizing programs that advance public understanding of a societal issue, problem or concern.

MSU Student Radio WDBM-FM (The Impact) Gets New Antenna

Photo courtesy of WDBM General Manager Ed Glazer

Michigan State University’s student-run radio station WDBM-FM (88.9 The Impact) replaced their 30-year-old broadcast antenna last week at the tower site in East Lansing.

Ed Glazer, General Manager of the station, said the old antenna outlasted its 15-year lifespan, but in recent years had been suffering from “diminished efficiency.”

The new antenna, which cost between $10,000 and $15,000 was paid for by the station’s general fund.  Workers from JT Tower Service, Clarksville, Michigan spend several hours in mid-Michigan’s chilly spring air working high on the station’s 300-foot tower removing and replacing the old antenna.  WDBM’s antenna is mounted on one tower of the WKAR-AM directional array.

More than 100 student volunteers work at the station, which has a music format consisting of alternative, rock and independent music as well as specialty music programs.  The station has been broadcasting since 1989.


WBBL-FM (Grand Rapids) Hires Eric Zane for Mornings

EricZane_258Eric Zane, most recently with the Free Beer & Hot Wings Show based at WGRD-FM (Grand Rapids), has joined crosstown WBBL-FM as Morning Show host.  Zane and co-host Kyle Paffhausen can be heard from 6-10am.

Zane started in radio while in ninth grade at Paul K. Cousino High School radio station WPHS-FM in Warren, Michigan.   He states on the WBBL website, after starting on WPHS, “he was hooked.  Now that I think of it, in 30-plus years, not a ton has changed!”

The Eric Zane Show began on April 7.