Category Archives: MAPB

WCMU Welcomes NPR’s Melissa Block

Melissa Block

WCMU Public Media has announced that NPR Special Correspondent Melissa Block will be visiting Northern Michigan with a September 14 event at the Traverse City Opera House.  Block will discuss the changing landscape of the media.

The event is part of WCMU Public Media’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The City Opera House event is a way for the network to get “out and about” in the communities it serves, said Ken Kolbe, WCMU Public Media General Manager. The Traverse City area has one of the network’s largest concentrations of listeners and viewers, he added.

“We’ve been trying to do more community outreach, and bringing in a prominent person from NPR has been a goal,” Kolbe said.

During her 30-year career, Block has served as a correspondent, covering everything from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to Hurricane Katrina and as a long-time host of “All Things Considered.” Along the way she earned many of broadcast journalism’s top honors. Currently she’s a special correspondent who travels the country for her reports.

In Traverse City she’ll reflect on media’s changing face and answer audience questions.

Tickets for the event are free and include a public reception following Block’s appearance. To reserve, visit

WEMU’s Linda Yohn Wins National Jazz Presenter Of The Year Award

Linda Yohn

This category is for a jazz broadcaster with exceptional presentation and communications skills for an outstanding individual who hosts or produces a jazz program. It’s the first time Yohn has won this particular award; she has been named National Jazz Programmer 5 separate times since 2008. Yohn, who is celebrating her 30th anniversary with WEMU this year, is retiring in December.

“I can’t think of a better honor for Linda during this significant anniversary year,” said WEMU’s General Manager, Molly Motherwell. “Not only is it a fitting tribute to her outstanding skills as a jazz presenter but it also shows the impact she has made here at WEMU, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a jazz broadcaster. WEMU is one of the top rated jazz/news stations in public broadcasting and that is due largely to Linda’s tireless acquisition and promotion of all things jazz. We’re so proud of her and what she’s accomplished, which now includes this award.”

“There is no one who works harder or who has meant more to the jazz and music community in our region,” said Walter Kraft, VP of Communications for EMU. “Linda Yohn is one of a kind, and her work has benefited WEMU, Eastern Michigan University, and our entire community. Congratulations to Linda on another great honor.”
JazzWeek was founded in August 2001 after trade publication The Gavin Report ceased publishing a jazz radio chart, and has published weekly jazz radio airplay charts since that time.

MAPB Honors 2017 Public Media Impact Award Recipients

L-R: Retired CMU Public Radio executive and host John Sheffler, 2017 MAPB Public Media Impact Professional Award recipient, and Detroit Public Television Senior Vice President Dan Alpert, who accepted the 2017 MAPB Public Media Impact Donor Award on behalf of William H. Smith.


The Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) presented its 2017 Public Media Impact Awards on Tuesday, August 22 at Crystal Mountain Resort.

 The MAPB presents Public Media Impact Awards to professionals and donors for their contribution to public broadcasting in Michigan. The awards are given to recognize outstanding individuals involved in public broadcasting for their innovation and creativity, inspire others involved in public broadcasting to greater achievement in the field of public radio and television and to increase awareness of public broadcasting and the contributions talented individuals make to the industry statewide.


For more information about the awards, click here.


2017 MAPB Public Media Impact Award – Professional Recipient

CMU Public Radio

2017 MAPB Public Media Impact Award – Donor Recipient

Detroit PublicTelevision

Tom Szczepanski named as Detroit Public Television’s Chief Operating Officer

Detroit Public Television President and CEO Rich Homberg announced August 14 that Tom  Szczepanski will begin as DPTV’s Chief Operating Officer on September 18.

“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,” Homberg said in his announcement.  “As university partnerships become more important to us, Tom will be able to use that experience to help build new ‘win-win’ situations.”

Szczepanski comes to DPTV from the University of Michigan, where he has served as Assistant Vice President of Development, Marketing and Annual Giving. His experience also includes consulting the Detroit Medical Center and senior executive roles at global advertising agencies. He began his career at the Detroit Free Press.

“As media continues to evolve quickly, we also need to move at high speed, but do it in a very thoughtful way. Having a COO with a range of the right experience will help the organization through a time of change, helping to ensure that DPTV continues to have a lasting impact in this community, ” said DPTV Board Chair Arthur Horwitz.

Szczepanski is a native of Metro Detroit and graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy.

Michigan Radio recognized by National Association of Black Journalists

Lester Graham

Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham was honored August 12 by the  the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

Graham received  an NABJ “Salute to Excellence Award” in the Radio Documentary: Top 15 Markets category for “Separate and Unequal.” He also was a Radio News: Long Form award finalist for “The Kerner Commission and why its recommendations were ignored.

The documentary “Separate and Unequal”  examined the findings of the Kerner Commission, which was created to address the inequities that were the root cause of the riots and civil disturbances of the summer of 1967. The commission’s recommendations were largely ignored. It also examined attitudes about race in today’s America, including its impact on education and police relationships.

Both of these pieces were produced in cooperation with the Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC), a partnership of five media outlets reporting on Detroit’s future after bankruptcy. The partnership includes Michigan Radio, WDET, Detroit Public Television, Bridge Magazine and New Michigan Media.

The NABJ’s “Salute to Excellence Awards” recognize journalism that best covers the black experience or addresses issues affecting the worldwide black community during the year. The awards were presented at the organization’s annual convention in New Orleans.

Michigan Radio is an NPR News Station and broadcasts at 91.7 FM in Detroit and southeastern Michigan, 91.1 FM in Flint, 104.1 FM in western Michigan and is available online at Michigan Radio is licensed to the University of Michigan and broadcasts from studios located in Ann Arbor.

WEMU Expands Local Content On Weekdays

Eastern Michigan University’s WEMU-FM (Ypsilanti) has announced that beginning August 6, the station will begin airing an extra hour of NPR’s Morning Edition with David Fair anchoring the additional hour of coverage from 9 to 10 a.m. with a focus on an expansion of local content.

The station reports that locally-produced Civic Matters with host Mary Morgan will be heard Monday at 9:50 a.m. Airing Tuesdays at 9:50 a.m.  will be a new feature with host Deb Polich titled creative:impact, which will explore how the creative industry helps keep the community moving forward. Wednesdays at 9:50 a.m., the station will air updates on their partnership with Concentrate Media’s On the Ground project currently underway in Ypsilanti.

Thursdays at 9:50 a.m. will feature a replay of WEMU’s long-time feature, Cinema Chat.  And, Art and Soul with Lisa Barry will be replayed Friday mornings at 9:50 a.m. while the station works on developing a feature focused on issues important to our community.

In a post on the station’s website, the move is being made for two reasons: to allow Music Director/On-Air Host Linda Yohn time to focus more on her transition to retirement and to bring listeners and supporters even more great local news content focused on topics that aren’t being covered thoroughly enough by other media.  Yohn will move to a 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. air shift while Michael Jewett will move to 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 pm.  Yohn announced her retirement in February, but will remain with the station until early December.

Michigan Radio News Staff Changes

Via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio reporters Bryce Huffman (left)  and Lindsey Smith (right).

On July 31, Michigan Radio announced two changes to its news staff.

Lindsey Smith has started work as the station’s new Investigative Reporter. In this position, she will focus on news reports that may require a longer and more involved examination of the topic.

Smith joined Michigan Radio in 2010, and previously served as the station’s West Michigan reporter. Her recent investigative work on the Flint water crisis was referenced by radio and television news outlets across the country and received numerous state, regional and national accolades, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Third Coast Festival Radio Impact Award. In her new position, she will be based in Michigan Radio’s Ann Arbor newsroom.

As part of the change, Bryce Huffman will take over as Michigan Radio’s new West Michigan Reporter. Huffman will cover stories and issues specific to the west side of the state from the station’s Grand Rapids bureau. Huffman has been serving as a reporter for Michigan Radio based in Detroit since Fall 2016. He has covered a variety of Michigan stories, including immigrants facing deportation, the Detroit-area doctor involved in the female genital mutilation case, and residents concerned about a massive sinkhole in Macomb County. A Detroit native, Huffman graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. He joined Michigan Radio as a newsroom intern in May 2016.


Michigan Radio Revisits Detroit’s Long, Hot Summer of Rebellion

Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM/WFUM-FM/WVGR-FM)
has gone to social media, specifically Twitter, to mark the events of the 1967 Detroit uprising.

On July 23, the station began tweeting the events of the 1967 Detroit uprising as they happened, as though Michigan Radio were on the scene, documenting in real time the confusion and chaos that spread through the city.

The project is drawing from a variety of academic and historic sources, including the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University and the Detroit Public Library. Reference books, including Sidney Fine’s “Violence in the Model City: The Cavanagh Administration,” “Race Relations” and ” Detroit Riot of 1967,” and Joel Stone’s “Detroit 1967: Origin, Impact, Legacies,” provided many details about the uprising.

Michigan Radio is also referencing and sharing news articles, radio reports, and television broadcasts from various media organizations created during and after the uprising of 1967.

Follow the Michigan Radio Stateside Twitter feed here.


MAPB will honor John Sheffler, William H. Smith with Public Media Impact Awards

The MAPB has announced its 2017 Public Media Impact Award recipients. CMU Public Radio’s John Sheffler will be honored for his nearly 40 years of professional service and leadership and Detroit philanthropist William H. Smith will be recognized for his generous contributions to Detroit Public Television.

John Sheffler

John Sheffler retired in May 2015 from WCMU (Mt. Pleasant) as Director of Radio after nearly 40 years with the station, a career that began while he was a student at Central Michigan University. He is credited with creating the series “Our Front Porch” in 1979, highlighting live  Traditional Americana and Celtic music. The program was broadcast nationally by NPR from 1983-1988 and was a weekend WCMU mainstay for more than 34 years. “Our Front Porch” recordings have been collected by the Library of Congress and the Irish Traditional Music Archives in Dublin.

William H. Smith

William H. Smith founded Allied Film & Video in Detroit after he and his wife, Patsy, moved to the city in 1960. They quickly became regular patrons of local culture and education, including Detroit Public Television. When Bill sold his company in 1995, the Smiths established a private charitable foundation and donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation of  Southeast Michigan. The couple was among DPTV’s lead donors as the organization expanded its services and facilities to convert to digital broadcasting in 2005, providing funding for the Smith Family Broadcast Operations Center. Following Patsy’s death in 2006, Bill made an additional gift for the construction of the Bill and Patsy Smith Studio at the Riley Broadcast Center. In 2013, Bill and his children made a $1 million commitment to established DPTV’s William H. Smith Family Leadership Circle to encourage other’s in charitable giving to the organization by their generous example. As of 2017, the giving circle surpassed its  $4 million goal with more than 55 donors participating in high level support of the values and mission of DPTV.

The MAPB Public Media Impact Awards will be celebrated on Aug. 22 at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville as part of the MAB’s annual Advocacy Conference evening Awards Banquet.  Click here to attend.

WKAR’s ‘QuizBusters’ Announces Final Season

The long-running high school game show “QuizBusters”  will begin its final season this fall,  WKAR-TV (East Lansing) announced on July 5.

The award-winning original series first aired on Michigan State University’s public television station in 1989. In that time, as many as 100 different school districts, including home school groups, have sent teams to compete on the quiz show.

“I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and words of kindness from viewers and, especially, my former contestants,” said Matt Ottinger, “QuizBusters” host and producer, in a statement on “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 final 29th season of “QuizBusters” will begin October 7 and continue through the Grand Championship Series in Spring 2018.

WKAR Public Media is part of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences. WKAR provides mid-Michigan and the global community with award-winning original programming and the best from PBS and NPR via television channels WKAR-HD, WKAR World, WKAR Create and WKAR PBS Kids; and radio broadcasts at 90.5 FM, 94.5 FM, AM 870 and WKAR Radio Reading Service.