Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Beasley To Acquire Greater Media Stations

Beasley-GreaterMOn July 19, it was announced that Beasley Broadcast Group and Greater Media have entered into an agreement for Beasley to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million.

The acquisition includes 21 radio stations in seven markets including Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Middlesex, N.J., Monmouth, N.J. and Morristown, N.J.

WJBK-TV’s Jennifer Hammond Wins Ty Tyson Award for Excellence

JenniferHammond_300The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association has announced that Jennifer Hammond of WJBK-TV (Detroit) as its Ty Tyson “Excellence in Sports Broadcasting Award” winner for the 2015-16 sports season.

The organization has honored excellence in sports broadcasting since the first recipient Josh Lewin in 2000. Hammond is a first-time winner and the first female to receive the award, having worked at WJBK-TV, WDFN Radio, as well as radio stations in Chicago, during her outstanding career.

Previous recipients include the late Ernie Harwell and late Budd Lynch, and current broadcasters Frank Beckmann, George Blaha, Jim Brandstatter, Mark Champion, Ken Daniels, Dan Dickerson, Mario Impemba, Ken Kal, Dan Miller, Trevor Thompson and Will Tieman.

Our 2015-16 season award was presented July 11, 2016 at the 30th Annual DSBA Charity Golf Outing at Cherry Creek Golf Club in Shelby Township by DSBA President Trevor Thompson of Fox Sports Detroit.

“Be it in her relationship building, professionalism, or her broadcasting of everything in the world of sports in this market, Jennifer Hammond has brought grace, humor and humility to all she has put her hand to,” said Thompson. “She has also consistently delivered a standard of excellence that exemplifies the spirit of our founder and past president, Ty Tyson, for whom this award is named. These traits make her most deserving of this year’s Ty Tyson Award, along with the distinction of being the first female ever to be so honored, a distinction that seems both long overdue for the gender, yet right on time given the recipient. Congratulations Jennifer. The DSBA is very proud to have you!”

WUPS-FM Named Flagship Station for CMU Athletics

UPS-CMU_300WUPS-FM (Houghton Lake) has been named the flagship station of Central Michigan University athletics and will broadcast every football and men’s basketball games, as well as other select events.

“WUPS has been a loyal, committed partner in the past and I am excited to make them our exclusive flagship station,” CMU Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said. “Being partnered with a station that has the strongest FM signal in the state means fantastic access for our fans. We are also excited about the potential promotional opportunities available with WUPS to expand the Chippewa brand.”

The three-year agreement with the 100,000-watt station means WUPS will take the lead for radio coverage from Chippewa Sports Network for sporting events and coaches shows. The signal for games will feed seven other stations in Michigan. WUPS, based out of Harrison, Michigan, serves central and northern Michigan and is part of the Black Diamond Broadcast Group.

“It’s an honor and it’s going to be great for Chippewa fans throughout Central and Northern Michigan,” Black Diamond Broadcast Group CEO Mike Chires said. “Everyone at 98.5 WUPS is excited and proud to be CMU’s exclusive flagship radio station.”

Other stations in the Chippewa Sports Network: WXYT-AM 1270 in Detroit, WLUN-FM 100.9 in Midland, WJRW-AM 1340 in Grand Rapids, WLAW-FM 92.5 in Muskegon, WJML-AM 1110 in Petoskey, WLUN-FM 100.9 in Midland and WJNL-AM 1210 in Traverse City.

CBS Radio Detroit Signs Multi-year Agreement to Air U-M Sports

CBS-Michigan_283CBS Radio Detroit’s WWJ-AM, WXYT-FM and WXYT-AM, in association with IMG Sports has announced a long-term alliance to air University of Michigan football, men’s basketball and ice hockey. The multi-year agreement is an extension of a partnership that began more than 20 years ago.

WWJ-AM is the flagship station for U-M football and WXYT-FM (97.1 The Ticket) will simulcast select games. U-M men’s basketball will air on WWJ-AM and U-M ice hockey will air on WXYT-AM (Sports Radio 1270). In addition, 97.1 The Ticket will carry a weekly interview with Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh.

WWJ-AM and 97.1 The Ticket offer the most 24/7 live and local sports and news programming in the market. Listeners can hear all three stations online at www.cbsdetroit.com and via the Radio.com app for a variety of mobile devices.

“We are excited that IMG renewed our great partnership with the CBS Radio Detroit family. This will continue to provide a consistent flagship home for Michigan football and basketball broadcasts in southeast Michigan and will place our hockey games on a regular channel in the market. We look forward to another multi-year partnership on game broadcasts and coaches radio shows,” said Warde Manuel, Director of Athletics.

Debbie Kenyon, CBS Radio Detroit Senior Vice President/Market Manager, said, “WWJ Newsradio 950, CBS Sports Radio 1270 and 97.1 The Ticket are thrilled to renew our partnership with IMG and the University of Michigan. IMG and U-M are truly one of the best sports partners in the business.”

“It’s an honor to continue our relationship with the University and be the flagship station for University of Michigan football and basketball. It’s a perfect partnership between two traditional organizations, WWJ Newsradio 950 and the U-M” said Rob Davidek, WWJ Program Director.

Detroit Radio Veteran Rod Hansen Passes at 75

ROD-HANSEN_200Rod Hansen, a Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductee and longtime WJR-AM radio journalist, passed away July 4 at his Canton, Michigan home.

While at WJR, he earned dozens of awards during his 38-year career, including two Peabody Awards, one for a 23-part series exposing high-level corruption and collusion between judges, staff and attorneys at Detroit’s federal bankruptcy court and another that helped exonerate a man wrongfully convicted of his girlfriend’s murder. Hansen also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Associated Press, and was a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

Hansen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bowling Green State University in 1963.  After working in radio news in Akron, Ohio, he joined WJR in 1967 as evening news anchor and shortly thereafter became a reporter, covering the Detroit riot.

Among the stories Hansen broke, was the disappearance of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.

Rick Pluta, Capitol Bureau Chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network said “Rod Hansen was simply the best. His work at WJR brought justice to the innocent and to the guilty. In the final stage of his career, he made it easy (easier, at least) to cover some high-profile federal court cases. And that ain’t easy. He will certainly be missed.”

Services were held July 7 in Canton.  He is survived by his wife, Christine, son, Eric; three daughters, Kristen Roy, Heidi Watson and Kelly Hansen; and five grandchildren.

Will It Play In Grand Rapids? O’Kelly Examines Music Selection in 1960s Top 40 Radio

OKelly 2015_300Len O’Kelly, longtime radio professional, now Assistant Professor of Multimedia Journalism at Grand Valley State University, recently completed a dissertation on music selection of 1960s era top 40 radio.  Titled “But Will It Play In Grand Rapids? The Role of Gatekeepers in Music Selection in 1960s Top 40 Radio,” the 176-page paper is a fascinating read for any radio professional, student of the medium or anyone who grew up with the hits of the era.

The paper may be downloaded here.

O’Kelly explains:  “This was an effort to marry together two things: my career in radio programming and my research interest in postwar radio history. I joked that I wanted to find a way to turn my collection of 45s into a PhD.

Gatekeeping theory has long been used in the study of news. It attempts to explain the process by which decisions as to what to cover in the news are made. I applied the theory to music radio to try and understand how the decision to play (or not play) songs was reached. I used the 1960s because it was a pre-Internet world where AM was king. Listeners could hear radio from other markets (Chicago stations clearly came into Grand Rapids), but there was no other way to experience the sound of the station except for over the air. By analyzing weekly playlist surveys for Chicago and Grand Rapids, I wanted to see how closely the hits came to the national Billboard charts, and found discrepancy based on race. Part of this had to do with what I termed ‘segue rules’ : the practice of not playing certain songs back to back that is still in use today that gives preference to white male vocals.

I found that Grand Rapids actually led the way in terms of debut dates most of the time. By the time Chicago stations added records, audiences in Grand Rapids were already familiar with them. The discrepancies in terms of what songs were missed was interesting as well, and interview subjects corroborated the fact that by the 1970s, the local station charts were likely false due to the practice of ‘paper adds’ to appease record promoters. Modern Oldies programmers who rely on the charts only to program their stations may be missing out on some great regional hits or giving preference to songs their audiences may not be as familiar with as they think.

Moving forward, I would like to expand the analysis into Detroit weekly playlists to study geographic spread of music. I also plan to work on the creation of a national repository for these station playlists as no such collection exists. I was fortunate to be able to find private collectors that had these surveys intact. I’ll be calling on stations all over Michigan to ask to peek into their storage closets and see what historical materials may exist.”

Len O’Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Multimedia Journalism at Grand Valley State University. He advises both the student radio and television stations. Before teaching, Len spent almost three decades in radio programming, primarily in Chicago and Grand Rapids. He still serves as the news anchor for stations in Michigan and California and provides voice imaging for others. Len is also a Research Associate for the Radio Preservation Task Force, a project of the Library of Congress dedicated to saving recordings of radio broadcast for researchers and students.

The Power Cow Comes to Jackson!

logo_power_cowJackson Radio Works is taking full advantage of opportunities now available with FM translators, and has moved HD2/translator simulcast “Hot Country 101.5” to a new frequency and relaunched it as “95.9 The Power Cow.“  The country format now airs on both WIBM-AM, as well as translator W240DG.

With the movement of the country format, the company has begun simulcasting its news/talk format WKHM-AM on the FM band at 101.5.

But wait…there’s more!  The company has also shifted the ESPN sports format (formerly airing on WIBM-AM) to a third translator, W270CJ, at 101.9 on the FM dial.  The ESPN format is also heard on the HD2 channel of WKHM-FM.

Roxanne Steele Joins WYCD

SteeleRoxanne Steele, most recently midday host at CBS Radio’s WDZH-FM (Detroit), has moved down the hall (and down the dial) as midday host for the company’s WYCD-FM.

Steele attended the Academy of Radio Broadcasting and landed her first on-air job at age 19. After stints in Washington, Texas and Arizona, Steele spent 12 years at WBBM-FM in Chicago.

Steele also hosted “Street Beat” for WKBD-TV (Detroit) and worked two years at WDVD-FM (Detroit).

Roberts Named CBS Radio (Detroit) VP of Music Programming

TimRoberts_300CBS Radio (Detroit) has named veteran programmer Tim Roberts to VP of Music Programming for Country WYCD-FM, Classic Hits WOMC-FM and CHR WDZH-FM. Roberts previously held the title of OM/PD for the three stations.

Debbie Kenyon, SVP/Market Manager for the CBS Detroit stations said, “Tim has been instrumental in the success of our cluster. His passion for radio and his winning track record make him perfect for this position.”

Roberts was recently inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame at ceremonies held June 22 in Nashville.

In a release, Roberts said, “It’s truly been a whirlwind experience for me being inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame – an honor that has been beyond amazing – and now to be elevated to this position couldn’t be more thrilling.  Likewise, it’s fantastic to work with the incredible CBS Radio/Detroit brands of WYCD, WOMC and WDZH under the leadership of Debbie Kenyon.”

Greater Media Flips WMGC-FM to Classic Hop-Hop

PrintAt noon on July 1, Greater Media flipped the switch and WMGC-FM unveiled the “All New 105.1 The Bounce, Detroit’s Throwback Hip-Hop and R&B.”  The station is debuting with 10,000 songs in a row.  The format features throwback hip-hop and R&B songs from the 1990s and 2000s, with artists such as 2Pac, Ice Cube, Drake and Rihanna.

The new format replaces the sports format that occupied the frequency for nearly three years.

Detroit VP/Market Manager Steve Chessare said “Greater Media is thrilled to unveil this fun and unique new format in the Motor City.  We look forward to providing a fun, fresh new sound featuring some of the best throwback hip-hop and R&B sounds from the past for our listeners to enjoy!”