Category Archives: MAPB

Michigan Radio Welcomes NPR’s 1A to Ann Arbor

Joshua Johnson

Michigan Radio and the Wallace House will welcome NPR’s daily talk show, 1A, to Ann Arbor for a live broadcast and a special event featuring host Joshua Johnson this February.

The special event, which is free and open to the public, is entitled “Speak Freely: Debating the First Amendment in a Changing America.” Host Joshua Johnson and a panel of guests will examine the first amendment, free speech and what it means in a divided America. The topic is particularly timely as the University of Michigan and other universities debate allowing white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on their campuses. The “Speak Freely” discussion will be held on Thursday, February 15 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus.

In addition to this event, 1A will originate the national broadcast of their show from Michigan Radio’s Ann Arbor studios on Thursday and Friday, Feb 15 and 16. 1A is a production of WAMU and normally broadcasts from studios in Washington, DC. As part of their efforts to reflect conversations taking place across America, 1A travels to member stations across the country several times per year. Along with other yet to be determined topics, the live broadcast from Ann Arbor will include the shows regular Friday national and international news round up.

With a name inspired by the First Amendment, 1A explores important issues such as policy, politics, technology, and what connects us across the fissures that divide the country. The program airs on more than 200 NPR stations across the country and can be heard on Michigan Radio every Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Joshua Johnson has hosted 1A since the show premiered in January 2017. Every day, Johnson convenes a conversation about the most important issues of our time. Before joining WAMU, he co-created and hosted the provocative nationwide public radio series, Truth Be Told, which explored race in America. Johnson began his public radio career helping launch a unique regional news partnership between Miami’s NPR station, WLRN, and The Miami Herald. Then he served for over five years as morning news host for KQED in San Francisco.

Michael Walenta Celebrates 30 Years at WGVU Public Media

(center) Michael Walenta, WGVU General Manager, surrounded by staff.

On January 11, Michael Walenta, WGVU (Grand Rapids) General Manager, celebrated 30 years of leading the station.  Under Michael’s leadership, WGVU has grown from from one FM station and one TV station (that was on four hours a night) to a multi-platform Public Media station with two FM NPR stations, two AM Real Oldies & NPR stations, two TV stations with five channels each, WGVU Digital Studios, and WGVU Engage. Under his leadership WGVU has become a vital piece of the fabric in the West and Southwest Michigan community.

Michael, a Petoskey native, is married to Nancy.  Along the way, they’ve welcomed two children: Kevin, who is currently a Producer/Director at Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Kristen, who is attending Law School in Grand Rapids.

Congratulations to Michael for 30 years at WGVU Public Media!

Michigan Radio Brings “Snap Judgement” to Kalamazoo

Glynn Washington

Michigan Radio (WUOM/WFUM/WVGR-FM) will welcome the hit public radio storytelling show Snap Judgment to Kalamazoo for a live show on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM.

Snap Judgment is a popular public radio storytelling show that airs on Michigan Radio and over 365 public radio stations nationwide. Created by Detroit-native and University of Michigan graduate Glynn Washington, Snap delivers a raw, intimate, musical brand of narrative — daring audiences to see the world through the eyes of another. Snap Judgment Live features the world’s finest storytellers, on stage, backed by the Snap Judgment band, Bells Atlas. The show crafts powerful multi-platform experiences (radio, stage, screen) that deliver raw, intimate narratives – giving audiences a glimpse into the lives of a stranger.

Tickets for Snap Judgment Live in Kalamazoo will go on sale to the public on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Snap Judgment Live is co-presented by the Kalamazoo State Theatre and will be coming to West Michigan for the very first time. The show last appeared in Michigan at a sold out performance in Royal Oak in December 2015.

Snap Judgment can be heard on Michigan Radio every Saturday at 1 and 9 p.m. 

WKAR Presents PBS Kids Day on January 27

WKAR PBS Kids Day 2017. Photo credit: WKAR/MSU

WKAR Public Media is once again presenting PBS Kids Day this year, Saturday, January 27 at the WKAR studios in East Lansing.

This year, Kids Day will celebrate WKAR Family and the PBS Kids 24/7 channel first birthday.  The open house and party, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will feature lots of fun activities and games for kids:

  • Get Your Feet Wet LIVE with sister/brother duo Laura Sams and Robert Sams
  • Special address by Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO (10:30am)
    Splash and Bubbles!
  • WKAR’s own Curious Crew with host Dr. Rob Stephenson
  • Fun and resource sharing with family agencies from across the capital region

Last year, PBS Kids Day at WKAR had over 1,500 people attend.

 

 

WEMU’s Linda Yohn Retires

Linda Yohn

After 30 years as music director and on-air personality at WEMU-FM, the NPR/Jazz station at Eastern Michigan University, Linda Yohn has retired.  Her last day on the air was December 18.

Yohn announced her retirement plan early this year.

Yohn began at WEMU in April of 1987, after stints at WKSU in Kent, Ohio, and a career as a jazz publicist in New York City. She began as host of “Café Du Jazz” on weekday evenings but quickly moved into the morning jazz slot where she has been a mainstay at 9 a.m. for over 25 years.

During that time, she oversaw a massive growth in WEMU’s jazz audience and mentored countless on-air music staffers including current hosts Jessica Webster, Wendy Wright, Nik Thompson, and Daniel Long.

Yohn has been named National Jazz Programmer of the Year five out of the eight years she was nominated, was given the Duke Dubois national award for service, and last summer won the Willis Conover/Marian McPartland Award for Jazz Broadcasting from the Jazz Journalists Association.

She has worked tirelessly on behalf of jazz in the community as a board member for the Southeast Michigan Jazz Association, as a panelist at numerous conferences and conventions, and with her stage presence as emcee at countless jazz shows that include the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and many others.

Yohn’s dedication to jazz and the local community earned her a special award from former Michigan 54th District Representative, David Rutledge, as Ypsilanti’s Ambassador for Jazz.

“Nobody has done more for jazz in southeast Michigan than Linda Yohn,” said WEMU’s General Manager, Molly Motherwell. “While Linda is well known and beloved in our area, I don’t know how many know of her impact on the national industry as well, both as a broadcaster and through her relationships with musicians, record labels, promoters, and other industry professionals. I don’t think there has been a jazz presenter in this area who hasn’t consulted with Linda before bringing in national acts because they know that she knows who is hot and who will draw. Everybody who enjoys live jazz in this community owes her a debt of gratitude.”

“This decision was not made lightly,” said Yohn. “But it’s time. I’ll miss working at WEMU and serving listeners with my heart and soul. I have never felt so fulfilled and inspired by my work as I have at WEMU, thanks to our wonderful listeners and the incredible Southeast Michigan jazz community.”

WDET-FM and Detroit Public Television To Receive Funding for Local Journalism Engagement Efforts

The Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund awarded a total of $322,000 to media organizations as it aims to bolster local engagement and coverage of the city’s recovery.  The gift will go to six community-media partnership projects put forth by a total of 13 Southeast Michigan news and community groups, according to a news release. They include the Michigan Chronicle, ARISE Detroit, Detroit public radio station WDET and Detroit Public Television.

This is the fund’s first round of giving, after it launched last winter with the goal of protecting quality journalism that reflects Detroit’s diversity.

Support comes from the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the New York-based Ford Foundation and the Detroit-based Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The local foundation is administering the fund. When it requested ideas earlier this year, it received so many “strong” applications that it bumped up the award pot from $220,000 to $322,000, the release said.

WDET-FM will be receiving $50,000.  The station and City Bureau, a Chicago-based nonprofit journalism lab, want to try out an approach to increase engagement in and coverage of public body meetings in Detroit with help from residents who will be trained as citizen journalists. The coverage would be aired on WDET.

Detroit Public Television will receive $48,000.  The station along with Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) and the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Community Study aim to develop content for DPTV’s “Other Detroit” series, using CDAD member organizations’ connection to neighborhoods and the study’s polling data.

The Knight Foundation’s support of the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund is part of its $2.4 million investment in Southeast Michigan journalism. The Ford Foundation also separately invested in the social media presence and community engagement of New Michigan Media through the journalism fund.

Quizbusters Finale Tapes This Friday

Photo credit: WKAR

WKAR Public Media has announced that the final series installment of the long-running “Quizbusters” game show will be recorded this Friday, December 8, before a live studio audience at WKAR Studio A in East Lansing.

This final edition of the show will feature QuizBusters division champions meeting up in the series finale Grand Championship game!

After the show, the station will host a series wrap party to celebrate the success of the show and its host, Matt Ottinger. Light refreshments will be served and there will be special guest tributes.

More than 60 teams from across the Michigan Capital Region are competing in this final season. Students on the top team in each division win $5,000 tuition scholarships to Michigan State University. The Grand Champion team receives five one-year textbook scholarships.

WKAR and Ottinger announced this past summer that this would be the final season for the show.

“I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and words of kindness from viewers and, especially, my former contestants,” said Ottinger, in a July statement. “While we have fun playing the game in the studio, we don’t always see the greater impact in the community and the memories we are creating for the students.”

The current season began October 7 and continues through the airing of this Grand Championship Series in Spring 2018.

WCMU’s Warm Hearts Provides Winter Warmth

WCMU Public Radio’s (Mt. Pleasant) Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign has returned for its fourth season to fuel home-heating assistance across central and northern Michigan.  The campaign kicked off November 28.

The collaberation between Consumers Energy, Isabella Bank and WCMU Public Radio listeners aims to generate $67,000. The matching funds, triggered by donations from WCMU Public

Radio listeners, will be distributed to folks in need of heating assistance by the Michigan Community Action Agency that serves the donor’s community.

“Warm Hearts, Warm Homes has provided home-heating assistance for at least 30,000 families over the past three years,” Ken Kolbe, general manager of WCMU Public Media, said. “As winter weather settles in across Michigan, the generosity and compassion of WCMU Public Radio listeners, combined with the financial support of Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank, will allow us to address the critical need facing the people living in the communities we serve.”

The money pledged by WCMU Public Radio listeners beginning Tuesday, Nov. 28 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank to meet the growing need for home-heating assistance. The drive will continue while matching funds remain.

“Michigan Community Action deeply appreciates the commitment by Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank to help families and seniors stay safe and warm in their homes this winter,” Kate White, Michigan Community Action’s executive director, said. “The Warm Hearts, Warm Homes Campaign has been a wonderful and effective community collaboration.”

Warm Hearts, Warm Homes has provided nearly $140,000 to assist with winter heating bills in its first three years. This past May, WCMU Public Radio received the 2017 Community Service Award from MCA for the December 2016 campaign, which raised $68,000 for home-heating assistance for central and northern Michigan residents.

For more information, see the station’s Warm Hearts, Warm Homes webpage here.

WKAR Gifts Digital Playtime Pads to Kindergartners

Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Soon, a thousand Lansing kindergartners will literally have an exciting new education tool in their hands thanks to WKAR and MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

WKAR Director of Broadcasting and General Manager Susi Elkins talking with students at Kendon Elementary School in Lansing. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

On November 13, kindergarteners at Lansing’s Kendon Elementary received the first batch of Playtime Pads, which are 7-inch Android tablets, available at retailers.

The Playtime Pad Research Project studies the effectiveness of tablet-based learning in early childhood math literacy. The pads used in the study include preloaded PBS KIDS educational game apps, but are also customized to include a special math game study app, designed by PBS KIDS software developers, in consultation with MSU early childhood education researchers. The app includes a mix of math games.

“We are honored to be working with the Lansing School District on this exciting outreach program and tablet-based learning study,” said Susi Elkins, Director of Broadcasting and General Manager at WKAR Public Media, which is housed in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “This project brings quality PBS educational games and programming from the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad to Lansing kindergartners through new technology that children love, and allows us to strengthen the community connection between MSU, WKAR and the Lansing schools.”

Prabu David, MSU ComArtSci Dean; Susi Elkins, WKAR Director of Broadcasting and General Manager; and Robert Floden, MSU College of Education Dean. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Amy Parks, associate professor of teacher education, and Laura Tortorelli, assistant professor of teacher education, will lead the research. They will collect anonymous data from the app, from periodic surveys of parents and teachers and from LSD’s AIMSWEB testing program.

The study is unique because widely available PBS KIDS math apps will be tested for effectiveness, Parks said. Most studies of this kind are based on specially designed applications rather than what is publicly available.

“Our goal is to see what teachers choose to do with the tablets and look at the impact on student learning,” Parks said. “We expect there will be variation in how engaging various applications are, as well as variation in the extent to which these applications impact learning. We also expect applications will impact different kids in different ways.”

In addition to the research component of the project, the partnership gives teachers, parents and students access to the latest technology and PBS KIDS digital learning tools.

The Lansing School District is the largest public school district in mid-Michigan, with 17 elementary schools.

“This project is about partnerships,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “MSU, WKAR, Lansing schools and PBS KIDS have come together to empower our students, families and teachers by introducing a new technology in the classroom. I’m excited about the possibilities these tablets offer for instruction and research.”

Funding for the project is provided by the National Science Foundation, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, WKAR Public Media, Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at MSU and the Lansing Rotary Foundation.

 

Tom Szczepanski Appointed DPTV COO

Tom Szczepanski

Tom Szczepanski has been named Chief Operating Officer of Detroit Public Television.

Szczepanski’s appointment to the new position is effective immediately, said Marty Fischhoff, director of communications for DPTV.  He will oversee all aspects of the station’s operations, including developing growth strategies.

Duties of the COO role had been handled by the executive vice president of productions and operations Jeff Forster, who left the role last year but continued on as an adviser. The role has since expanded to include more responsibilities.

Szczepanski, 58, has been assistant vice president of development at the University of Michigan since 2010. There, he led marketing for the school’s $4 billion fundraising campaign. Before that, he worked in advertising for 25 years with management roles at J. Walter Thompson, BBDO, Ross Roy and other agencies. He also worked for the Detroit Free Press in advertising sales and marketing research.

He is a native of metro Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy graduate.

“With Tom joining the DPTV team, we are even better positioned to tell the story of Detroit, which we believe is, today, the most important city in America,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of DPTV.