In its forthcoming 37th season, the public television program This Old House will air a series of episodes recorded in Detroit.
The program traveled to the Motor City to work with retired firefighter Frank and his family as they renovate their classic brick home. The 1939 two-story property was one of thousands of abandoned structures owned by the Detroit Land Bank. The family recently purchased the Russell Woods neighborhood house at auction with the promise they would make improvements and move in.
Expected work includes a new roof, kitchen, and baths, plus new mechanicals to replace vandalized equipment in the basement. The team will look to preserve historic details such as leaded stained glass windows and archways as the homeowners blend their modern aesthetics with the home’s historic details. The Detroit series will span 10 all-new episodes.
“The Detroit episodes will present the city’s housing situation in a new light, as residents and leaders are finding the best ways to reclaim and restore their community homes. Our team is honored to take part in these efforts in this landmark city,” said Executive Producer Chris Wolfe.
The 37th season of This Old House will premiere nationally on PBS this fall.
Two Michigan broadcasters were honored with Edward R. Murrow Awards, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association. Presentation will be at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City in October.
The Edward R. Murrow Award for “Sports Reporting – Large Market” has been given to WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids), the TEGNA-owned ABC affiliate. It is the station’s first ever Murrow Award.
WZZM won for a story titled “Big Ann,” produced by Our Michigan Life storyteller Brent Ashcroft, with former Director of Photography, Andy Sugden. “Big Ann” tells the story of an Ada, MI athlete, Anna Lee Konsoer-Rose, who was fighting for her health during her senior year following a rare diagnosis.
“We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious journalism organization,” said Janet Mason, WZZM 13 President and General Manager. “We are elated that strong writing and great storytelling are valued by our peers and content consumers.”
“It’s exciting to see the work of our journalists recognized in this way,” said WZZM 13 News Director Taz Painter. “We have put a lot of emphasis on telling the kinds of stories that are unique in our market, and we are thrilled that the judges decided our work was worthy of this honor.”
“Big Ann” was one of three WZZM 13 stories that won regional Edward R. Murrow awards earlier this year. In the national competition, “Big Ann” was selected from a category that contained work from stations in larger markets, including Los Angeles, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis.
Michigan Radio was recognized with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. The award, in the Large Market Radio – News Documentary category, was received for “Not Safe to Drink.” The documentary series traced the history and story behind the Flint water crisis.
“Not Safe to Drink” aired on Michigan Radio in December 2015.
It was produced and written by Lindsey Smith, with help from Sarah Hulett and Jennifer Guerra. Additional reporting by Steve Carmody, Mark Brush , Rebecca Williams, and other members of the Michigan Radio news team.
“Winning a national Edward R. Murrow Award is the ultimate compliment for any news organization,” said Steve Schram, Executive Director-General Manager of Michigan Radio. “This is a tribute not only to the excellent work done by Lindsey Smith, but also by all of our journalists every day.”
This is the fifth national Murrow award for the NPR station, which last won in 2011 for the Environment Report documentary “Coal: Dirty Past, Hazy Future.” Michigan Radio has also won more than ten regional Murrow awards over the past five years.
About the Edward R. Murrow Awards
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.
The Michigan Public Radio Network has completed its transition from MSU-hosted email, listserv, and FTP services to services now operating under its own management.
The transition started in May with Email and listserv functions moving to cloud-based Google Apps. This past weekend, MPRN’s FTP site, used for swapping audio and other files between member stations, moved to a server housed inside the Michigan Association of Broadcasters building in Lansing. The older server reached the end of its useful life recently and was due for replacement.
Dan Kelley, MAB Director of Technical Services/Digital Communications Manager oversaw the transition. MPRN Member stations having any difficulties or questions concerning the services should contact Dan at email@example.com.
Last week, we wrote that WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant) was hosting a listener party to celebrate Garrison Keillor’s retirement from “A Prairie Home Companion.” We have since learned that Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor is also hosting a listener party:
After more than 40 years, Garrison Keillor is stepping down as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Michigan Radio is celebrating Keillor’s final performances as host with “Garrison Keillor’s Retirement Celebration” at the station’s studios in Ann Arbor. Listeners are invited to stop by and enjoy a slice of cake, sign a retirement card, and watch part of his final live show with fellow fans via video stream. The station is also giving away some “A Prairie Home Companion” prizes during the event.
The celebration will be held Saturday, June 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Information online here.
On June 25, WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant) will celebrate Garrison Keillor and his 40+ years with “A Prairie Home Companion.”
The date will be the second to last show with Garrison as host, and the station is hosting a benefit dinner and a listening party at the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University.
The party will kick off at 4:30 p.m. with live music from the Palooka Brothers, followed by a traditional cast meal of Mama Keillor’s meatloaf, hot dish, powder milk biscuits, rhubarb pie, and a cash bar. At 6:00 p.m. guests will settle in and enjoy the live broadcast.
Tickets are being sold online and all proceeds benefit CMU Public Radio.
Emmy award-winning actor Timothy Busfield will join the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU) as an artist in residence, effective June 15.
In this new role, Busfield will co-teach courses that emphasize acting and fiction film production, provide insights based on his experience as a professional in theatre and film, and bring noted industry professionals to campus for workshops. He will also be the director of national content for WKAR-TV, where he will develop original content for major networks, cable networks, movie studios, and new media.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with the students,” said Busfield. “I’ve learned much in my career and I love helping those that are also eager to learn. My goal is to help their transitions into the major (and not so major) film and theatre communities when they graduate.”
Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, shared his enthusiasm on having Busfield join the college, stating, “Tim brings a wealth of experience in acting, directing, and moviemaking, which will add new energy to the Media Arts Collaborative, a new collaboration for creative work between the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts and Letters,” said David. “We are also excited about collaborating with Tim to create compelling content for WKAR.”
A native of East Lansing, Michigan, Busfield was eager to rejoin the mid-Michigan community, specifically MSU, stating “I grew up in East Lansing. My dad taught speech and theater at MSU and my mom and stepfather retired after many decades with the MSU Press… so in short, I’m all Green and White. Then, in January my heart jumped when President Simon announced that she was interested in WKAR producing more original content. I felt I was a perfect fit to help execute her vision of seeing WKAR and MSU move into the market of major television and film.”
Susi Elkins, Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR, is looking forward to having Busfield join her team. “It’s so exciting for us that Tim is returning home to East Lansing, eager to give back to the community and to join our team at WKAR. His creativity, experience, and enthusiasm for engaging audiences is unmatched and we’re thrilled to be working with him,” said Elkins.
Another aspect of Busfield’s new role for MSU will incorporate promoting experiential learning opportunities for students interested in acting in fiction and nonfiction productions. This work will include the Theater2 Film Project, dedicated to transforming student theatre productions into film, and Busfield’s Performing Arts Warm Up, a weekend performing arts camp for kids.
Busfield has been working in the theatre and film industry for 37 years. He is most recognized for his work in “thirtysomething”, “Field of Dreams,” and “The West Wing.” Most recently, Busfield has sold seven pilots to major networks and has directed four others, including “The Fosters” which is currently still on the air.
WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) will hold their annual Golf Outing Fundraiser on Wednesday, June 8 at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. The event involves dozens of Grand Valley State University and public media friends and supporters enjoying an annual day on the links. The event is an 18-hole best-ball scramble format, with practice green and driving range hours 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will offer prizes for contest holes and winning teams, and a silent auction. Proceeds support WGVU Public Broadcasting!
Western Michigan University’s public radio station, WMUK-FM, is getting a new general manager.
Stephen Anthony Williams will take the post beginning July 1. He has been general manager for WESM-FM at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore since 2011. He was interim general manager of the station for 18 months before that and had previously been the news and public affairs director and morning news host for the award-winning station.
Williams’ background also includes positions with an XM Satellite station and two AM stations in Arlington, Va. Before beginning his broadcast career, Williams taught English as a Peace Corps worker in Africa’s Republic of Cameroon. He is a 1999 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Durham, where he majored in communications and minored in music.
Williams will replace Gordon Bolar, who is retiring June 30 after five years as WMUK general manager and more than 20 years in public radio and public television management.
The station Williams currently works at is similar to WMUK in format, offering a mix of music, news, and public service programming. He says he’s excited about the fundamental strengths he found at the station in Kalamazoo.
“The thing that stands out to me most is that WMUK has a truly dedicated staff, and that the administration of Western Michigan University is fully committed and supportive of the station’s success,” he says. “Importantly, there is also a community of listeners and supporters that stand behind the station, and it’s clear to me that both the station and the University are deeply engaged in serving both Kalamazoo and greater Southwest Michigan. In my experience, these are critical ingredients for success.”
More than 500 community members turned out for a casting call at TV studios on the campus of Michigan State University on Saturday, May 7, for the WKAR original series, Curious Crew.
“It was so exciting to see all the [kids] faces!” said Susi Elkins, WKAR-TV Station Manager.
Ranging in age from 9 to 14, 232 children came from across mid-Michigan and as far as Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit. If chosen, they will join the cast of Curious Crew, the show that invites viewers to explore science through hands-on investigation.
“It’s a fun TV show, but it’s also about engaging young children around science concepts,” said Elkins.
Holt resident Melissa said the event was “well organized” and that the staff was great. She also admired the kids’ performances.
Parents and guardians watched from afar as each child conducted a mini screen test for Tim Zeko, TV executive producer and Matt Ottinger, producer and host of QuizBusters. Another key part of the audition brought the young scientists together to take on the Team Challenge.
Out of the large number of attendees, 45 will be chosen to participate in the TV show.
“We’re reviewing all of the auditions now and I’m confident we’ll have a great cast to help host Rob Stephenson explore scientific investigations in the coming season,” said Zeko.
Selected cast members will be notified in late May 2016.
New episodes will be recorded on location at Impression 5 Science Center in June and August 2016. Upon the completion of production, the new season will debut on WKAR-TV in late 2016 or early 2017.
On June 4, Grand Valley State University’s WGVU-AM (Grand Rapids) presents their annual free “Real Oldies at the Ballpark” concert, co-sponsored by the West Michigan Whitecaps and Pine Rest Christian Health Services.
This year’s concert will feature The Buckinghams and the West Side Soul Surfers. In addition, the event will include a classic car show at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids.