Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Baraga Radio Network acquires WSRT-FM

baragaBaraga Broadcasting, Inc. and Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc. have entered into a purchase agreement that will enable Baraga Radio to significantly increase reach and coverage in northern Michigan.

Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc. has agreed to sell WSRT (106.7 FM) licensed to Gaylord, to Baraga Broadcasting, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) listener-funded Catholic ministry dedicated to serving the people of the Diocese of Gaylord and the Diocese of Marquette.

Tom Hornacek, president of Baraga Broadcasting said, “On behalf of our Board of Directors, we are extremely thankful and excited for the opportunity to expand our coverage throughout northern lower Michigan with this acquisition.”

The addition of 106.7 FM to the Baraga Radio Network, makes it only the seventh 100,000-watt station providing Catholic radio programming in existence. Traverse City-Petoskey-Cadillac is the 160th largest radio market in the country with a Metro 12+ population of 297,300, according to Nielsen Media Research. The region is a destination to more than one million visitors each year.

Founded in 2006, Baraga Radio has grown into a network of six stations, WTCK (90.9 FM) Charlevoix, WTCY (88.3 FM) Traverse City, WGJU (91.3 FM) East Tawas, WGZR (88.9 FM) Alpena, WIDG (940 AM) St. Ignace and WMQU (1230 AM) Grayling.

On November 1, Baraga Radio will begin broadcasting on 106.7 FM through an LMA agreement, pending the approval by the FCC of the sale and transfer of the license. Programming features shows from EWTN and Ave Maria Radio, and recently Baraga began producing two of their own local programs, “The Cross Walk” and “Called to Freedom” with plans for more local shows to come.

“Baraga Broadcasting will celebrate our 10th anniversary this November,“ Hornacek added. “As The Catholic Light of Northern Michigan, we strive to bring hope, peace and joy to a troubled world through the light of Christ. The purchase of this station is going to help us reach areas that have never had access to Catholic radio before. To have it take place at this special time in our history – well, it’s quite a blessing,” he concluded.

Baraga Broadcasting proclaims the truth and beauty of the Roman Catholic faith by offering educational and inspirational programming that aims to engage its listeners and encourage them to live out their faith in Jesus Christ.

Up North Adds WCKC-FM

wckc_300Up North Radio, LLC has closed on their purchase of WCKC-FM (Cadillac) and has relaunched the classic rock station as “107.1 The Drive.“

Under the previous ownership of Northern Star Broadcasting, the station had been part of a regional trimulcast with WGFN-FM (Glen Arbor) and WCHY-FM (Cheboygan) as “The Bear.”  Those stations were sold to Black Diamond Broadcasting, which closed on those and the other Northern Star stations on September 29.

Jason James of Patrick Communications was the broker on the transaction.

Up North Radio, owned and operated by Jennifer Theodore, already owns WCDY-FM in the Cadillac market. It also is in the process of purchasing WBZX-FM in Big Rapids, pending FCC approval.

NAB Show New York Announced

nabsny_350The National Association of Broadcasters has announced NAB Show New York, scheduled for November 9-10 in New York City.
Formerly Content and Communications World, NAB Show New York delivers compelling content, exciting speakers, and all the latest in broadcast technology close to home.

NAB Show New York leverages the strength and reach of NAB Show (Las Vegas), while adding a content focus unique to the thriving Northeast media and entertainment market.

The exhibit floor will feature 300 exhibiting companies and 60+ sessions. NAB Show New York represents a chance to dive more deeply into the major issues shaping our industry, including:

– 4K: hands-on workshops
– ATSC 3.0: impact on your business
– Advertising: next-gen technologies
– Business and Investment: choosing what’s best for you
– Drones: exploring what’s next
– Live Productions: case study out of NYC
– News: live distribution
– Production and Post: building the bridge
– VR: understand the practical use

The MAB, in partnership with NAB, is pleased to extend to its members a Core Package Pass discounted to $25. The Core Package includes access to all NAB Show New York and InfoComm Connections Sessions within the Inspiration Stages, Exhibits and Exhibitor Info sessions. To register and auto-add the discount code, click here.

To learn more about NAB Show New York, including other available registration packages, visit

Blarney Stone Acquires Northern Broadcast

Jerry and Sheryl Coyne
Jerry and Sheryl Coyne

Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc. and Northern Broadcast, Inc. have entered into a purchase agreement that will enable Blarney Stone to significantly increase reach and coverage throughout Northern Michigan.

Founded in 2012 by Jerry and Sheryl Coyne, residents of Gaylord, Blarney Stone Broadcasting owns and operates WQON (FM), licensed to Grayling; WGRY (FM), licensed to Roscommon and WMQU (AM), licensed to Grayling.

Northern Broadcast has agreed to sell assets including WKLT (FM), licensed to Kalkaska; WKLZ (FM), licensed to Petoskey; WFCX (FM), licensed to Leland; WFDX (FM), licensed to Atlanta; WSRT (FM), licensed to Gaylord and WSRJ (FM), licensed to Honor. The agreement also includes FM translator station W263CD, licensed to Boyne City; FM translator station W252DA, licensed to Petoskey and all broadcast assets of Northern Broadcast, including its six dominant transmitting towers.

“We are thrilled beyond words for the opportunity to expand our coverage throughout Northern Michigan with the acquisition of these heritage properties,” said Sheryl Coyne, President and Co-Owner of Blarney Stone Broadcasting. “It has always been our commitment and privilege to improve the lives of our listeners and the communities we serve by offering engaging music, sports and entertainment content with an emphasis on support for the local communities. We now look forward to expanding that commitment to all of Northern Michigan from Traverse City to Alpena and Saint Ignace to Clare.”

“We are proud of our contribution to economic growth in the region including the creation of jobs by adding 12 full-time and 16 part-time employees since opening our doors in October 2012. We are committed to hiring home-grown talent with a focus on local programming.” said Coyne. “Through the support of our incredible sponsors, we’ve been able to spend our dollars locally and provide a platform and voice for local issues. We look forward to expanding our contribution to the social, economic and educational development of all the communities in Northern Michigan.”

Traverse City-Petoskey-Cadillac is the 160th largest radio market in the country with a Metro 12+ Population of 297,300 according to Nielsen Media Research. The region is a destination to more than one million visitors each year.

In a separate move, Baraga Broadcasting will purchase WSRT (FM), licensed to Gaylord, from Blarney Stone. (see separate article here).

All transactions scheduled to close pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Lori Bennett Appointed Operations Manager at Cumulus/Grand Rapids

loribennett_275Cumulus Media has announced that Lori Bennett has been appointed Operations Manager for the company’s 5-station cluster in Grand Rapids.  This includes WLAV-FM, WBBL-FM, WHTS-FM, WTNR-FM and WJRW-AM.  Bennett will also program WTNR and host the afternoon drive show from 3-7pm.

Bennett joins the Grand Rapids group from Cumulus Media in Detroit, where she most recently was Program Director and Afternoon Drive Host for Hot A/C WDVD-FM.  She previously was Promotions Director/Feature Anchor at WJR-AM and air talent for WDRQ-FM.  In Detroit, Bennett also served in various capacities including Operations Manager, Program and Marketing Director and Morning Show Host for various stations such as WNIC-FM, WMGC-FM and WVMV-FM.

“We are thrilled to have Lori join our Grand Rapids team” says Vice-President/Market Manager Jeff Cartwright. She is a true broadcast professional who brings a positive energy along with new programming ideas to our cluster. I am excited to see what the future holds for our 5 stations with Lori here.”

Bennett says “I’m honored to join the remarkable family of broadcasters at Cumulus Grand Rapids! The talent and energy within the cluster extends beyond the norm, with legendary market personalities that know how to truly connect and super serve the West Michigan audience. I am grateful to Mary Berner, Mike McVay, Doug Hamand, Bob Walker and of course, the dynamic Jeff Cartwright, for the opportunity to captain such an incredible team!”

Students Design WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) ArtPrize News Desk

wzzm-1_532Students from the Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) at Ferris State University teamed up with local office environment company Custer to design and create a newsdesk for WZZM-TV for use during the 19-day ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize is an international art competition spread over three square miles of Grand Rapids, with art on display everywhere, including museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, theaters, hotels, public parks, lobbies, buildings, walls, bridges, etc.  About 400,000 people attend the free event each year.

WZZM President/General Manager Janet Mason told TV NewsCheck “The collaboration between Custer, KCAD design students and WZZM 13 has resulted in a news desk unlike any other.”

Constructed out of reclaimed ash wood, from within 25 miles of downtown Grand Rapids, the desk is detailed with donated items repurposed from Goodwill Industries and bottles representing various West Michigan craft breweries — arranged in a wave formation in homage to the area’s Grand River.

The desk is installed on the second floor of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and will serve as the studio for WZZM’s newscasts throughout ArtPrize, which runs now through October 9.

See WZZM’s story on the desk construction below:

Beth Handelong Named WXYZ Local Sales Manager

handelong-300Beth Handelong is the new local sales manager for WXYZ-TV, the Scripps-owned, ABC affiliate, in the Detroit market. Handelong replaces Cathy Goltz who was promoted to director of sales at WPTV, the Scripps-owned station in West Palm Beach, FL. Before coming to Detroit, Handelong was the national sales manager at WMAR, the Scripps-owned station in Baltimore.

“I have come to know and appreciate Detroit and its business community,” said Handelong. “Our team has so many opportunities to develop strong relationships with local business leaders to help those businesses grow. WXYZ has a very strong presence and we take seriously our role in continuing to help our city thrive.”

Handelong brings years of experience as a top television sales manager and successful sales executive to her current job at WXYZ. In addition to sales management at WMAR, she was an account executive at WCAU and WPVI in Philadelphia; a team sales manager for FOX television sales in Los Angeles; and an account executive at WLVI in Boston.

She was the sales manager for Harrington, Righter & Parsons in Los Angeles, responsible for advertising sales for 26 television stations; and an account executive for Katz American Television in Los Angeles where she managed sales for 13 television stations.

Handelong is a Pennsylvania native and a fan of college and professional football.

Gill New PM Anchor at WDIV-TV. Harlan Retiring.

Kimberly Gill

Kimberly Gill has been named co-anchor of WDIV-TV’s (Detroit) Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., announced Marla Drutz, Vice-President and General Manager of the station, NBC’s affiliate in Detroit.  The announcement was made September 26.

Gill will join Devin Scillian, who has been anchoring WDIV evening newscasts for nearly 20 years. This follows the recent announcement that Detroit broadcasting legend Carmen Harlan is retiring from delivering the news (see more below). Her last newscast is November 11.

“Since joining the Local 4 news team, Kimberly has done outstanding work out in the field covering stories like the shooting in Charleston, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the nightclub shooting in Orlando and reporting nightly on ‘Local 4 News at 11 p.m.,’” said Kim Voet, WDIV’s news director.

Since December 2015, Gill has been anchoring Local 4 News at 5:30 p.m. and has been the regular fill-in on all of the evening newscasts.

Before joining WDIV, Gill worked as an anchor in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. She started her career at WBTW, the CBS affiliate in Florence/Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Carmen Harlan

On September 22, following a broadcasting career spanning four decades, Detroit broadcasting legend Carmen Harlan announced her retirement from the station.

Marla Drutz said “About 18 months ago, Carmen came to me to say that she wanted to retire in the near future. I wanted to pretend that I didn’t hear her. There is only one Carmen Harlan and I wish she would stay forever, but I understand her desire to spend more time with her children and their families.  She is a class act who has been a true booster for this city.”

A native Detroiter, Harlan began her broadcasting career in Detroit radio before joining WDIV-Local 4 in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. Not long after, she was promoted to news anchor with legendary newsman Mort Crim. For more than 20 years, Harlan has been partnered with anchor Devin Scillian for the station’s early evening and late news programs, making them Detroit’s longest running anchor team.

Greater Media’s Michael Mayer Wins Radio Wayne Award

michaelmayerLast Thursday (9/22) at the NAB Radio Show luncheon in Nashville, Greater Media Detroit National Sales Manager Michael Mayer was honored with the prestigious Stu Olds National Sales Manager of the Year award, presented by Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti.

The award was one of 7 Radio Wayne awards presented at the luncheon.

Taking honors as America’s Best Broadcaster for 2016 was Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan.  A complete list of winners is available here.

The Radio Wayne Awards are named in honor of “Radio Wayne” Cornils, who set a great example for professionalism in radio. A successful small-market radio broadcaster, Cornils also served as executive vice president of the RAB and SVP/Radio at the NAB.
The Radio Wayne Awards are presented to the radio superstars whose hard work, dedication and creativity separate them from the pack. They recognize the people who make the industry work, every single day.

WLEN-FM (Adrian) Wins 2016 NAB Marconi AC Station of the Year

Julie Koehn
Julie Koehn, WLEN President and General Manager

Lenawee Broadcasting Company’s WLEN-FM was named AC Station of the Year at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards. The awards were announced September 22 at the 27th annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show, held during the Radio Show in Nashville.

The prestigious awards recognize radio’s outstanding personalities and stations. Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.

This is WLEN’s fourth Marconi Award.

Julie Koehn, WLEN President and General Manager, told MAB “All of us in radio are blessed to work in an industry where we get to inspire, educate, entertain, help people and even save their lives each and every day. I am blessed to get to work with amazing broadcast professionals at Lenawee Broadcasting Company. Our team is humbled to be recognized by the industry for their hard work and service to the citizens of our community and our region. We take service to heart.”

For a complete list of this year’s NAB Marconi Award winners, click here.