MACKINAC ISLAND – The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) presented its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award and welcomed three other outstanding individuals into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Tuesday, August 14 at the Grand Hotel.
The highest award given by the MAB, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors Michigan broadcast pioneers who have dedicated the majority of their professional careers to broadcasting in the state of Michigan and have distinguished themselves through a lifetime of service as a top manager or owner through excellence in broadcasting.
Hall of Fame inductees are nominated and voted on by their peers. Award recipients were honored during the MAB’s annual Awards Banquet surrounded by broadcasters and friends. To see a complete list of the MAB’s Hall of Fame award winners, click here.
2018 Lifetime Achievement Award
Michael T. Walenta, WGVU Public Media
Michael T. Walenta served as General Manager of WGVU Public Media for 30 years. Under his leadership, WGVU has grown into a multi-platform public media organization, a far cry from the four-hour broadcasts that were the humble beginnings of WGVU on December 17, 1972. WGVU Public Media currently serves 2.4 million people across our community with 10 Television Broadcast Channels featuring PBS, PBS Kids, WGVU Life, Worldview and the WGVU Guide; two FM Channels featuring NPR and Local News, Blues and Jazz; two AM Channels that are the only NPR Stations in the country to feature Real Oldies Music from 1954 – 1972.
2018 Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame Inductees
Bob Allison, WNZK-AM (Detroit)
Bob Allison, congenial host of “Ask Your Neighbor” on WNZK-AM, has to be Metropolitan Detroit’s longest-reigning, best-known neighbor. He has been on-air for over 50 years as the host of his popular show – an impressive feat in an industry that measures success by weeks and months. Each weekday from 9 – 11 a.m., Bob and his son, Rob, chat with listeners on a wide range of topics. Bob started broadcasting over 60 years ago in La Porte, Ind. As popular as the radio show has been, many Baby Boomers remember him more for his TV work as host of “Bowling For Dollars” or as the milkman on the children’s show “Milky’s Party Time.”
Sheri Jones, WLNS-TV (Lansing)
Sheri Jones has devoted her life to broadcasting by being a top anchor at WLNS-TV for 30 years. She was an early innovator and has continued to innovate and address critical community concerns throughout her career. For example, she led her station’s coverage of the heroin and opioid epidemic in May of 2017. In 2017, Sheri was also responsible for launching and co-anchoring a new show at 5:30 p.m. on WLNS-TV. For Sheri, her career is not just a job, it’s a life of service. She uses her status in our community to help the community not just herself. In addition to winning over 50 awards including Emmys, MAB Awards, and a NATAS Silver Circle Award, Sheri has served on 16 Community Boards, chaired numerous service committees and fundraisers, and has volunteered over 500 hours each year for over 100 community organizations.
Pete Bowers, WBFH-FM (Bloomfield Hills)
Pete Bowers has influenced the lives of hundreds of students as a high school broadcasting educator at WBFH-FM which is owned and operated by the Bloomfield Hills School District. But his 41 years of service and dedication extends well beyond the boundaries of Bloomfield Hills. His students have dominated state and national high school broadcasting award competitions winning MABF Station of the Year 10 times. WBFH students won Best High School Station in the Nation six times, tied with the most of any station in the U.S. Bowers has been honored as Best High School Advisor in the Nation twice.
MACKINAC ISLAND –The Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) presented its 2018 Public Media Impact Awards on Tuesday, August 14 at the Grand Hotel.
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.
2018 Public Media Award Impact Award Recipients
Paul J. Ryan, WGVU Public Media (Donor Recognition)
Paul J. Ryan has been an integral part of the expansion of community engagement and impact for WGVU Public Media. He began supporting the station in 2010, both philanthropically and through providing his expert knowledge and leadership to the station’s desire to be a deep convener throughout its community. In 2010, Paul began a multi-year personal commitment to help fund a scholarship endowment for veterans and their dependents to attend Grand Valley State University directly through WGVU. Additionally, he contributed to building community outreach for veterans and made a substantial gift to allow WGVU Public Media to create a visual display of all Medal of Honor Recipients from the State of Michigan with images and biographical information. WGVU has leveraged this tool in schools and throughout its expanded community engagement efforts and it is only possible thanks to Paul. In September of 2017, Paul spearheaded the community effort to support WGVU Public Media’s LZ Michigan, a “Landing Zone” to Remember, Honor and Celebrate the community’s veterans and their families. He took the lead role in helping to raise the needed revenue to help support the statewide community engagement effort. His personal support is multiplied by his work to share his passion for WGVU and being able to help bring over $100,000 of additional philanthropic support for the station in recent years.
Mark T. Brush (1968-2018), Michigan Radio (Professional Broadcaster)
Mark T. Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He worked to develop and maintain the station’s overall digital strategy. As a senior producer/reporter and the station’s first online news content specialist from 2010 to 2016, he helped move the station toward publishing more online-first stories. From 2006 to 2010, as the unit’s comanager and senior producer, Mark helped transition the station’s regional environmental news unit into an award-winning national news service known as The Environment Report. He reported on many vitally important issues for Michiganders, including cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie, pollution from industrial animal production and arsenic in groundwater… and he covered all sorts of fun stories too, such as a profile of Christmas tree farmer Duke Wagatha and the history of the giant Uniroyal tire along I-94. Mark was a crucial member of the team at Michigan Radio that covered the Flint water crisis. He won the station’s first regional Edward R. Murrow award for his investigation into the status of Enbridge’s Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac and spearheaded the “M I Curious” project that seeks to answer the questions our listeners are wondering about. Mark was a graduate of the University of Michigan (’00 MS in Environmental Policy and Planning & ’91 BA in Political Science) and has been a “public radio junkie” since 1992. Much of Mark’s storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC réalisateur David Candow.
Gary Baxter, Vice President and General Manager for E.W. Scripps Company’s Fox 47 WSYM-TV in Lansing, was elected Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Board of Directors during the organization’s Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday, August 14 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Baxter is the 73rd chairman of the MAB, one of the largest and most successful state broadcast associations in the nation. The MAB represents nearly 300 radio and television stations and about 4,000 individual broadcasting industry employees across the state of Michigan.
Also elected to the MAB Board of Directors executive committee were:
Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Zoe Burdine-Fly, Market President, Townsquare Media (Lansing/Flint);
Secretary/Treasurer Stephen A. Marks, President/CEO, The Marks Group (Alpena);
and Michael Renda, Vice President/General Manager, Fox 2 WJBK-TV (Detroit).
See the complete MAB Board of Directors list here.