Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

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

Dave-Chuck-Group-Shot
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.

Tom Bender To Retire From Greater Media

Tom_Bender_300Classic 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.

George Blaha Shares Memories in New Podcast

blaha_300The 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.”

Listen to the podcast here.

MAB’s Pam Cutler Joins WLNS-TV

Pam_300MAB’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.

Eddie Money Runs the Front Desk at CBS Radio Detroit

Via George Fox, CBS Radio/Detroit 


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.

RAB Announces Rising Through The Ranks Scholarships For Women

RABThe Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has announced that scholarships are available for the “Rising Through The Ranks” management sessions to be held August 24-25 in Nashville, TN.

Radio station management is asked to reach out personally and encourage the talented, capable, dynamic women in your company to apply for one of the 20 BMI scholarships available for the sessions.

The deadline for applications is this Wednesday, June 8.  Applications may be submitted here.

Speakers at the two-day event include:

  • Erica Farber, CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau
  • Weezie Kramer, Chief Operating Officer, Entercom Communications
  • Susan Larkin, Regional Vice President, Cox Media Group
  • Heather Monahan, EVP, CRO, Beasley Broadcasting
  • Beth Neuhoff, President, Neuhoff Media
  • Heidi Raphael, SVP, Corporate Communications, Greater Media
  • Kay Olin, Partner, Olin & Associates
  • Lynn Anderson, CEO, Integrated Media Solutions Group
  • Lindsay Cerajewski, Director of Partnership Marketing, Emmis Communications
  • Joe D’Angelo, SVP – HD Radio
  • Laurie Kahn, President and CEO, Media Staffing Networks
  • Dan Spears, VP – Licensing, BMI
  • Brandeis C. Hall, VP – Professional Development, RAB

Sessions include:

  • The Role of Today’s Radio Manager
  • Managing Different Personalities and Generations
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Budgeting, Forecasting, and P&L

Plus, the seminar also includes classes specifically for women in the workplace, such as:

  • Women in the Radio Workplace
  • Building Your Personal Brand
  • Small Groups and Open Discussions

MAB Announces Staff Changes

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Karole White has announced several new hires and internal promotions.

MAB staff member Alisha Clack has been appointed Executive Manager of the MAB Foundation (see separate article here).

Rachel_200Rachel Krause (photo above) has joined the MAB as the new Marketing/Communications Manager. Rachel has a bachelor’s of art in marketing from Dominican University, River Forest, IL and has served as Marketing and Promotion Director for a major bridal label in Hanover Park Ill.  Rachel may be reached at krause@michmab.com.

Sara_200Sara Siegmann (photo above) joins the MAB as Event & Membership Assistant for MAB and the MAB Foundation.  Sara may be reached at Siegmann@michmab.com.

Dan-Kelley_200
Dan Kelley
 (photo above), MAB Director of Technical Services adds addition duties as Digital Communications Manager.  Dan may be reached at dkelley@michmab.com.

The staff changes were announced May 24, 2016.