Tag Archives: Issue 107

Another Birthday, Another Bash for B93


On June 2, iHeartMedia’s WBCT-FM (Grand Rapids) held its annual “Birthday Bash” concert before a sell-out crowd at Fifth Third Ballpark.

The annual concert this year featured a number of country artists, including Rascal Flatts, Gary Allan, Morgan Evans, Devin Dawson and Tyler Rich.  All 7500 seats at the ballpark were sold.

This is the first year for the event to be held at the ballpark.  Tim Feagan, Regional Market President at iHeartMedia said, “After evaluating the changing concert landscape and reviewing facilities and infrastructure, B-93.7 has decided to move its Birthday Bash celebration to the Fifth Third Ballpark.  The new facility for the Birthday Bash will provide better sightlines, concession choices, facilities and seating for all attendees.”

Holy Family Radio Acquires Vicksburg Signal

On June 1, an application was filed with the FCC to assign the license of non-commercial station WVAV-FM from Vineyard Academy to Holy Family Radio.  The station serves the Vicksburg/Kalamazoo area.

The station is being donated.  Holy Family Radio has been programming the station.

Holy Family Radio, based in Grand Rapids, owns WVHF-AM, Licensed to Kentwood and WSPB-FM, Bedford.

WVAV-FM operates on 91.5 mHz with 20kw ERP.  The assignment is subject to FCC approval.

WGHN-AM and WMPA-FM Flip Formats

On May 26, owners Will Tieman and Wendy Hart have flipped WMPA-FM (Ferrysburg) has flipped to a new classic rock format as “Classic Rock 93.1.“  The station had previously featured a country music format.

WMPA Program Director Jesse Bruce is hosting a local request show at 12 p.m. as well as afternoons from 3-7 p.m. He had been hosting afternoons on sister AC 92.1 WGHN-FM.  WMPA will also carry the syndicated “Nights with Alice Cooper.”

WGHN-AM (Grand Haven), which has a companion FM translator has switched from sports to oldies  as “Oldies 94.9.“  The station will continue with its lineup of sports play-by-play including the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Detroit Red Wings, University of Michigan, and Spring Lake High School.

WGHN-FM (Grand Haven) retains its AC format with Mary Ellen Murphy, replacing Bruce in afternoons.

Bob Seger Boulevard? WCSX Says ‘Yes’

Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-FM (Detroit), in support of a petition to have Bob Seger Boulevard approved by the Ann Arbor Michigan School Board, programmed 24 hours of Bob Seger music this past Saturday, June 2.

WCSX-FM’s Big Jim’s House Morning Show challenged WCSX-FM Program Director Jerry Tarrants that they could get more than 9,470 likes on the brand new “Make Bob Seger Boulevard” Facebook page. Within only a few days, Bob Seger fans from all over the world made their voices known with likes for the page going well over the 9,470 likes needed! As a result, listeners were able to enjoy 24 hours of Seger on the station.

“I should have known that Bob Seger fans would rise to the occasion,” said Program Director Jerry Tarrants. “It will be fun. The incredible response will help to support our efforts in naming a street sign after this Rock legend. It is something that everyone in the Detroit area and around the world wants to see happen!”

The effort was started in early May when the station announced that it, the City of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor School Board were teaming up to have a street named in honor of Detroit Classic Rock legend Bob Seger in front of his Alma Mater in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Nielsen Releases First CMO Report, Showing Digital On The Rise

According to an article in All Access, Nielsen released the first in what it plans to be an annual series of reports based on interviews with Chief Marketing Officers and other survey data. The Nielsen CMO Report 2018 indicates that 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital spending by an average of 49% as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next 12 months and that almost 80% plan to increase their investment in analytics or attribution solutions in the same time frame.

The marketers, however, were less enthusiastic about measuring return on investment, with just 26% saying they are “highly confident” in their ability to accurately measure ROI from digital (and only 23% saying the same for traditional media). Find the full report by clicking here.

Though the article spoke a lot about digital media in which broadcasting has a strong presence, it reported that traditional media remains “critical to brand building,” and 62% said their plans are organized to support an omnichannel approach.

“We conducted the research for the Nielsen CM Report 2018 with one central goal, to give voice to brand advertisers who are facing some of the most daunting challenges of their organizations,” Nielsen SVP/Product Marketing and Strategy Eric Solomon told All Access. “What we heard was that, despite the prevalence of new advertising and promotional channels and significant investments in data and technology, marketers are still struggling to generate and prove sales results in an increasingly omnichannel world.”

Bill Ballenger Joins Michigan Talk Network

Bill Ballenger

Longtime political commentator Bill Ballenger has joined the Michigan Talk Network to host a brand new weekly political talk program.

Ballenger who has been a staple of the Michigan political scene for years, debuted the series, The Political Insider with Bill Ballenger on June 2.

“Bill is a respected and sought-after voice in politics both in Michigan and on the national scene,” remarked MTN President Ivey Gruber. “Bill cuts through the noise and in this political season with so much going on, we knew we wanted him on the MTN team.”

A graduate of Harvard, Ballenger founded Inside Michigan Politics before leaving early in 2016. He served in both the Michigan House and Senate before joining the administration of President Gerald Ford as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Bill has “a go to perspective when it comes to important political issues and I am thrilled that he will be delivering those insights on a regular basis,” commented Steve Gruber, the host of The Steve Gruber Show, MTN’s flagship program heard statewide on 25 affiliates each day.

Ballenger is expected to cover the big races in Michigan for Governor, U.S. Senate and the 14 Congressional seats that are all up for grabs come November 6, 2018. The state will also likely have a number of ballot proposals that voters will decide on election day including a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Political Insider debuted this past Saturday on several of the 40+ affiliates serviced by The Michigan Talk Network.

For more information on The Political Insider with Bill Ballenger, contact:

Ivey Gruber, President MTN ivey@stevegruber.com
Sarah Griffith, Director of Operations sarahg@stevegruber.com

WDIV’s Rhonda Walker Receives Prestigious NABJ Community Service Award

Rhonda Walker

On June 5, The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced the selection of Rhonda Walker, morning show anchor at WDIV-TV Local 4, as the recipient of the 2018 Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award.

The award recognizes a journalist who has had a positive impact on the community outside the normal realm of journalism and was named in honor of the late Angelo B. Henderson, who as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal won a Pulitzer Prize and later became a highly respected minister, community activist and radio talk show host.

Walker is one of the top television journalists in the Detroit market. She has a burning desire to give back to the community through events and other volunteer work, logging over 100 appearances each year.

Whether it be emceeing events or spearheading initiatives around fitness, Rhonda has proven to be an inspiration in the community. She is also making a difference in the community through the Rhonda Walker Foundation which she started 15 years ago. It is dedicated to empowering inner-city teen girls by developing their confidence, morals and character, allowing them to take their rightful place as future leaders. Walker works closely with the participants during the five year “Girls into Women” program.

“I was blessed to get my first job in television 20 years ago in Detroit, the city where I was born. It was an honor, a privilege and tremendous blessing and I quickly felt a calling from God to use His blessing upon my life to bless others,” said Walker. “As journalists, we are keenly aware of the needs of our community and rather than just report on those needs, I wanted to hold myself accountable for doing something to make a difference. Four years into my career, I founded the Rhonda Walker Foundation and our core five-year “Girls into Women” program to empower inner city teen girls.”

Walker also said the program has produced results. “I am extremely proud that now in our 15th year, we have graduated 12 classes of seniors out of our award winning and comprehensive college prep, career, personal development and mentoring program. We have a 100% high school graduation rate among our teens that complete our program. They are all students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and 100% enroll in a 4 year college or university and 95% of our girls graduate from college as well. I am deeply proud of our outcomes and the impact the program has on the lives of under privileged kids in Detroit.”

NABJ President Sarah Glover applauds Walker for her commitment to underprivileged girls in Detroit. “To produce such life changing and amazing results for our young girls makes Rhonda an excellent choice to receive this award named in honor of a man who also dedicated his life to making a difference in Detroit. It is also fitting that NABJ is presenting this award to Walker during our convention and career fair which is returning to Detroit after 26 years. It is also noteworthy that Angelo B. Henderson served as president of the Detroit chapter back in 1992.”

NABJ Region II Director Vickie Thomas nominated Walker and said, “Rhonda serves as a shining example of a journalist who uses her status in the community to effectuate change. She epitomizes the spirit of NABJ’s Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award. She is the perfect choice to receive this honor.”

Walker says receiving this award is special and personal, “To be recognized by NABJ for my service to the Detroit community is a tremendous and humbling honor and I am extremely grateful. Learning that this award is named after a man I truly looked up to professionally as a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and successful radio host is truly special. But I also looked up to him personally, his energy, his ever present infectious smile and incredible willingness to help others is a bar that can never be reached. It is hard to find the words to truly express how much an award in Angelo B. Henderson’s name means to me. It is truly one of the highest honors I could ever receive, thank you so very much.”

Walker will be honored at NABJ’s 2018 Salute to Excellence Awards ceremony on Saturday, August 4 during the NABJ Convention and Career Fair at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

NABJ Convention registration and Salute to Excellence Awards tickets can be purchased here.

For more information on the Foundation, and to learn how you can help positively affect the life of an inner city teen girl, please visit the RWF’s website, rhondawalkerfoundation.org.

WBET Raises $104k for United Way

Swick Broadcasting’s WBET-FM (Sturgis) has announced that it recently raised $104,330 for the United Way of St. Joseph County, during an 18-hour radio marathon that featured local officials and community business leaders as guest DJs.  The Radiothon was held on May 24.

“We are so proud of our local St. Joseph County listeners for their generosity in supporting the United Way,” stated Steve Swick, Chief Executive Officer of Swick Broadcasting and Local Radio Networks. “Local radio is the heart of the community, and everybody wants the thrill of being a DJ. Our local dignitaries had lots of fun on-air during this special charity drive, and our listeners clearly loved it and responded with their kind donations.”

WDET To Offer Free Airtime to Non-Profits Through Kyle’s Challenge

WDET-FM (Detroit) and The Kyle John Foundation are awarding $25,000 in promotional support to five, youth-focused nonprofits.

Five organizations will receive $5,000 of free airtime on WDET.  One non-profit (Soar Detroit) was already chosen by the Kyle John Foundation, but listeners of the station have been invited to vote to choose the remaining organizations.

Soar Detroit will kick off the Kyle’s Challenge on-air awareness campaign on the station on June 25.

Gary Cone and Aimée Cowher, founders of The Kyle John Foundation believe in the impact of WDET and the collective ability to make a real difference. They have made a very generous gift to WDET as a challenge to get listeners involved in a Community Impact Campaign that can improve the lives of thousands of young people in Southeast Michigan.

For more information on the project, click here.

WKAR Completes Channel Repack

On June 1, WKAR-TV (East Lansing) announced that it has completed its channel repack move from channel 40 to channel 33 and is now operating at full power.

The station made the FCC-required frequency change on Tuesday, May 29, but in the days following the switch, broadcasting continued at low power to a reduced coverage area while additional work was required on the new main transmission line. Many viewers beyond 30 miles, and those with indoor antennas, had no reception during this period.

But, as of 12:50 p.m. on Friday, June 1, WKAR began broadcasting from the new main antenna at full tower height, at full power, and now reaches the full coverage area for all antenna TV viewers.

The station has been advising viewers through its website to rescan their digital television tuners.

The project also affected co-located WKAR-FM and WKAR-AM’s FM translator, both of which had to power down or go off the air for brief periods during the TV antenna project.

WKAR is the first station in Michigan, and the first public broadcasting station in the country, to begin broadcasting on their new assigned frequency.