We’re pleased to begin a new spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations. To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at [email protected].
Michael Kernen is Chief Engineer for Greater Media in Detroit and oversees radio stations WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM, and WMGC-FM. He started at WRIF 28 years ago, the last 23 under Greater Media’s ownership after they acquired the station.
Brief Engineering Resume:
Michael: My love for music lead to an interest in radio. My uncle is Dick Kernen (V.P. Specs Howard School of Media Arts) and I would frequently get up a 5am on Sunday mornings to go with him to help with his Sunday morning live radio talk show. My cousin Bob Kernen (V.P. and C.O.O. at Jacobs Media) and I would screen the phone calls and a few times I even ran the board. Radio hooked me and with my uncle’s connections I got an old Gates console from a WXYZ-AM junk trailer and Bob and I used it to build an “FM control room” in my parent’s basement when we were 14.
I took all 6 semesters of electronics at Dearborn High School, as well as every media class and computer class offered and uncle Dick convinced me to attend the then Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts where I took everything they offered at the time – TV/Radio & Broadcast Electronics. I worked as an electrician during that time.
My first real broadcasting job was at WHYT and WJR doing whatever they’d let me do –programming board-op, promotions assistant, engineering assistant, running ballgames, and running Paul Harvey. I took a full-time job at Ron Rose Productions for about a year and then moved to WRIF where I’ve been since 1988.
Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Michael: The part-time job at WHYT and WJR as an engineering assistant.
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Michael: I have a titanium plate in my head!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Michael: From my uncle Dick “quit driving around in a van with ladders on the roof! Call Hal Buttermore!” (Then CE of WHYT)
The Detroit Lions are staying right at home on the airwaves of WQON-FM (Grayling) (Q100.3) after Blarney Stone Broadcasting signed a three-year affiliate agreement with the National Football League club flagship station, WJR-AM (Detroit).
“We know from experience that some of the most passionate and knowledgeable Lions fans live right here in Central and Northern Michigan,” said Sheryl Coyne, Blarney Stone Broadcasting, President/CEO. “The Lions are on the rise in the NFL after many significant changes from the front office to the players on the field, and we’re proud to be able to continue broadcasting their games for our growing listening audience.”
The deal includes broadcast rights to all 16 regular season games, plus four pre-season games, and all post-season games, including the Super Bowl.
The Lions last fall signed a five-year agreement with Cumulus Media, making WJR-AM (Detroit) their flagship station for Lions football.
WKAR Radio and Television, along with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, have put together a series of stories focusing on the people of Flint affected by the water Crisis.
“Faces of Flint” debuted on radio and television this week. Radio featured daily segments on “Current State with Mark Bashore” and TV featured documentary video shorts aired daily immediately following “PBS NewsHour.” All “Faces of Flint” stories are available online at wkar.org.
Among the people we meet in “Faces of Flint” are Pastor Jeffrey Hawkins, at Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, who uses his spirituality to craft sermons centered around the Flint water crisis; second graders at St. John Vianney Catholic School, sharing stories on how their life has changed; volunteers at the Hispanic Technology and Community Center, providing food, water, and testing kits to undocumented immigrants; the MacIntyre family, who aren’t ready to give up on their hometown yet; and hip-hop artist Mama Sol, who uses her music to bring attention to and give voice to Flint residents struggling in the midst of the continuing water crisis.
The reporting and production team of “Faces of Flint” is made of top journalism and media students and recent graduates working alongside WKAR Network professionals. The team is headed up by MSU faculty Associate Professor Geri Alumit Zeldes, WKAR Television Producer Nicole Zaremba and WKAR Radio Producer April Van Buren.
Work of the student journalists was funded in part by ComArtSci, School of Journalism, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, MSU Office of Outreach and Engagement and MSU Alumni Association. Funding is being sought to support production and marketing of “Faces of Flint,” and to extend the series
as a weekly feature beyond April 15.
WYTZ-FM (Benton Harbor), known to listeners as 97.5 Y-Country, has announced that Michael Ray will headline the station’s annual Summer Jam concert on Saturday, August 6. The concert will take place at the Shadowland Pavilion on St. Joseph’s Silver Beach.
Tickets went on sale April 8.
Michael Ray formed a band and began playing a constant grind of shows all around Southern Florida in 2006. Soon, Ray was headlining the Orlando House of Blues and selling out shows all over Florida. In 2010, his independently released debut caught the ear of veteran music industry manager Tony Conway, who began helping Ray take his career to a national audience. In 2012, Ray appeared on the CW talent competition The Next, where he was mentored by Big & Rich’s John Rich. After the show, Ray signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music and in 2014 released the single “Kiss You in the Morning.” His full-length major-label debut followed in 2015 on Warner Music Nashville, making it to number four on the country albums chart. Right now his second single “Real Men Love Jesus” is climbing the charts!
The 97.5 Y-Country Summer Jam is presented by Your Neighborhood Michigan Ford Dealers and sponsored in part by Honor Credit Union, Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors, Bud Distributing in Dowagiac, Honor Credit Union, Adent’s Landscape Supply, Medic 1 Ambulance, Best Way Disposal, Krenek Van & RV Center and Linear Electric.
For more information, go to www.summerjam.com.
Michigan Radio has been recognized with several awards from the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The station received a first place award in the Radio: Investigative Reporting category for “Sexual assault investigations at MSU: a broken system, and the efforts to fix it.” In the report, the Michigan Radio team of Joe Linstroth and Kate Wells investigated allegations of problems with Michigan State University’s handling of sexual assault cases.
Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith also received a first place award in the Radio: Documentary category for “Not Safe to Drink,” which told the story of the Flint water crisis. Lindsey Smith was also a finalist for the Journalist of the Year award, which was presented to Ron Fonger of the Flint Journal.
Michigan Radio reporter Lester Graham took third place for “A Detroit mom’s journey from welfare to the workforce” in the Radio: Feature Story category.
The awards were presented April 12 at the Detroit SPJ’s annual banquet. The Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recognizes the Detroit area’s top print, online, radio, and television journalists.
Nationally syndicated radio personality, Doug Banks, passed away April 12 due to complications of diabetes. He was 57.
Banks, who was born in Philadelphia, PA, was raised in Detroit and began his carrier on his high school radio station, WSHJ-FM, licensed to Southfield Public Schools.
Local station WDRQ-FM (Detroit) took notice of his talent and offered him a spot as a temporary late-night weekend disc jockey. His career then took him to Los Angeles, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Chicago.
In 1995, he signed a multi-million-dollar deal with ABC to host a syndicated show from Dallas. Since 2010, his show was syndicated through American Urban Radio Networks. For over a decade Banks contributed to the Chicago-based television show “190 North,” produced by WLS-TV, who produced this tribute:
Banks is survived by his wife, Wendy, three daughters and one son.
On April 16, WGVU-FM (Grand Rapids) presented their 5th Annual “Local Blues Matters” benefit event to support the nearly 36-hours of blues programming heard each weekend on the station.
The benefit concert, held at a local lounge, featured headliner Larry McCray along with West Michigan blues artists Hank Mowery, Jimmy Stagger, plus Hannah Rose and the GravesTones.
Hear a pre-event on air interview with organizers Garry Zack and Jim Marcusse here.
CBS Radio, Detroit
Kelly Bailey is the Traffic Director for WWJ-AM (Detroit).
Q1: How long have you been in traffic?
Kelly: 33 years. The past 27 at my current employer.
Q2: Favorite comfort food?
Q3: Which Superhero would you be and why?
Kelly: Ironman. Billionaire philanthropist, come on, do you have to hear any more?
Q4: When I’m not working, I’d rather be…
Kelly: Playing tennis or watching my beloved Red Wings.
Q5: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Kelly: Carl Sagan, if I could choose someone no longer with us. Jens Voight, retired professional cyclist for a living person.
Q6: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Kelly: Do or do not. There is no try. -Yoda
Q7: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know:
Kelly: Instead of piano lessons as a child, I ended up with accordian lessons. It didn’t go well.
1) Explore innovative ideas and new technology presented by the industry’s leading companies.
2) Cultivate your staff with the knowledge needed to positively impact your network.
3) Learn how to Keep and Build your Audience from Author and International Broadcaster Valerie Geller.
4) Network with broadcast professionals from throughout the state of Michigan.
5) Collect hand-picked information, designed by a committee of broadcasters, that will improve your personal performance and that of your staff.
6) Earn possible EEO credits through participation in the GLBC Career Fair.
7) Meet the talented individuals that will become Michigan’s future broadcast professionals.
8) Connect with Michigan’s top lawmakers at the Legislative Reception.
9) Support your industry peers at the Broadcast Excellence Awards.
10) While at GLBC, experience Michigan’s State Capitol!
Find out more and register here: http://bit.ly/GLBConference
The MHSAA was originally created in the 1924-25 school year to serve as the service organization for interscholastic athletics in the state of Michigan. It is a charter member of the National Federation of State High School Associations.
In 1976, the MHSAA was made a private, non-profit corporation of voluntary membership by a state Attorney General’s ruling and moved from offices in downtown Lansing to East Lansing – first on Trowbridge Road; and since 1996, on Ramblewood Drive.
As a private, non-profit corporation, the MHSAA receives no tax dollars from the state of Michigan or the federal government. Its membership, made up of public, private, and parochial schools, pay no membership dues or tournament entry fees — the only one of two such associations nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools.
Through their boards of education, member schools voluntarily join the MHSAA each and every year, vowing by formal resolution to abide by and enforce common rules for educational athletics. Membership is optional: schools may conduct a complete program of interscholastic athletics and may participate against MHSAA member schools in regular-season competition without joining the MHSAA.
John R. Johnson, Communications Director for MHSAA, says “The opportunities for athletic participation for Michigan secondary schools has grown from the original program of football, basketball, track, and baseball for boys to a total of 28 sport activities in which tournaments for boys and girls are organized and conducted by the MHSAA. If one considers the breakdown of the 28 sports into categories of male, female, classes and divisions by enrollment, and Upper and Lower Peninsula, there is a total of 120 separate tournaments in which schools vie for a championship trophy. Nearly 300,000 young men and women take part in these activities each year.”
Visit the MHSAA website here.