Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WZZM-TV Women Share the Criticism They Get About Their Looks

This week, Tegna’s WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) is focusing on a key issue affecting women and young girls in America — body image. This series is called “Seeing You.”

Women are often judged for their looks, and for those in the public eye, this scrutiny can be even harsher. Some of the women from WZZM talked about the criticism they face on a daily basis from viewers.

“They wrote in to tell me that I should smile less,” said Meredith Terhaar (Weekend News Anchor and Multimedia Journalist). “That was hurtful to me because my smile is one of my favorite things about myself. It’s something that we present to each other, and I see a smile as something warm and welcoming and kind.”

Kamady Rudd (Journalist/Reporter) described one comment she got from a viewer. “I dressed inappropriate, he said he knows how I got that job and just insinuated all these really terrible things,” she said. “It had nothing to do with my work. My dress was not too tight, it was not too short, it was not inappropriate at all. But I immediately was ashamed.”

“She went on for a while paragraph saying that she hated my eyelashes,” said Val Lego (Health Reporter/Weekend Anchor). “And that I didn’t learn how to put mascara on, and she was going to stop watching.”

Val, Kamady and Meredith also shared their hopes for how these kind of criticisms should stop.

“I was raised with the rule: if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all,” said Meredith. “I think our world would be a better place if people took that to heart.”

“What I do wish is that it was more important what I said than what I looked like,” said Val.

“Don’t be like ‘I’m sorry you feel that way,'” said Kamady. “Because I’m not sorry you feel that way. That’s one of the biggest things I think goes right along with that whole body image thing where it’s like trying to please someone else, instead of making sure you’re taken care of first.”

WZZM has partnered with Grand Rapids Christian Radio station WCSG as part of the Seeing You project.

Sinclair to Move WWMT-TV and WXMI-TV to Trust

The proposed combination of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media has taken another step.  On February 21, applications were filed with the FCC indicating the divestiture of up to 23 broadcast television properties by Sinclair.

In Michigan, applications for the divestiture were filed for both WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo) and WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids).  WWMT has been owned by Sinclair since 2012.  WXMI-TV is currently owned by Tribune.

According to an article in Broadcasting & Cable,  Sinclair also plans to divest of Tribune’s WGN-TV, Chicago, WPIX-TV New York and KSWB-TV San Diego to come under the FCC’s 39% ownership cap.

However, Variety reports that  Sinclair intends to remain close to the stations through a shared services agreement.

The stations have been designated for placement in what will be called the Sinclair Divestiture Trust, and the trustee is RAFAMEDIA LLC, led by veteran media broker Richard A. Foreman.

St. Clair Community College Files to Transfer WSGR-FM

As reported by the MAB last December, WSGR-FM, St. Clair County Community College’s student radio station for 43 years, will become a part of the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA). The college took the station off the air in December, citing rising costs and declining student interest.

An assignment application for the process was filed on February 20 with the FCC.  According to an exhibit in the application, there is no purchase agreement nor will there be an exchange of funds.

In a December Facebook post, Kevin Miller, RESA superintendent and a former radio broadcaster, is excited about the possibilities. “We wanted to keep the license active, because once it goes back to the FCC, it isn’t coming back,” he said.

Dr. Deborah Snyder, president of the community college, said the college is happy the radio station is getting a chance at a new life. “WSGR has been a part of SC4 and the community for a long time,” she said. “We are pleased RESA is able to continue that history to the benefit of a new generation of students.”

Miller said RESA will assess the future of the station over the next few months. He said everything is on the table, including its programming, staffing and equipment needs. “At this point we want to do our due diligence about how to put together a station that adds value to our students’ digital media experience and also fills a public need,” Miller said.

WSGR’s call letters stood for “Student Government Radio” when it debuted on campus in the 1970s. It most recently broadcast music of many styles.

Miller said the radio station will be set up in a studio used by Digital Media students at the Technical Education Center on the RESA campus.

Miller couldn’t put a timeline on when the station will resume broadcasting. “The school year is already half over,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’d certainly like to have the station on the air for our students in the fall.”


Longtime Detroit media personality Cliff Russell dies at 61

Detroit radio host and community activist Cliff Russell has died at the age of 61.

Russell had worked in the Detroit media for more than 35 years in several roles including news reporter, anchor, talk-show host, columnist, political analyst and more. Russell worked at WWJ in the mid-1980s until 1994 when he was appointed press secretary by former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.  For several years, Cliff Russell hosted “American Black Journal” on Detroit Public Television.

He has won several state, local and national awards during his time on Detroit radio and TV.

Since 2016, Russell had been the voice of the Detroit Mercy men’s basketball team and hosted his self-titled show on WFDF-AM Radio.

A graduate of Wayne State University, he also was a lecturer there, had worked as a columnist for the Detroit Free Press and was the first African-American Senior Director of Communications in Major League Baseball when he started in the role in 2002.

Russell is survived by his wife Charisa, six children, two stepsons, seven grandchildren and three brothers.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

WMJZ-FM Gaylord Sold

On February 13, 2018, an application was filed with the Federal Communications Commission to assign the license of WMJZ-FM (Gaylord) from Darby Advertising, Inc. to 45 North Media, Inc.  The purchase price was $750,000.

45 North Media has been operating the station under a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement since January 2.

The seller is owned by Kent Smith, who also owns WUPN-FM (Paradise/Sault Ste. Marie).  The buyer is owned by Bryan and Joyce Hollenbaugh.  Hollenbaugh most recently managed a cluster of six stations in Albany, N.Y..


Detroit Radio Pauses for ‘Art Van’ Elslander

Art Van Elslander

From the Detroit Radio Advertising Group:

Detroit Radio Advertising Group member stations paused for a moment of silence at 9 a.m. on February 14 to honor and remember a great friend.

On Monday, Art Van Furniture founder, Art Van Elslander passed away at the age of 87.

With the help of Detroit Radio, Art Van Elslander grew his company from a single store opened in 1959 on Gratiot to one of the country’s largest independent furniture retailers with more than 100 stores in five states, 3,500 employees, and $1 billion in revenue.

Art was a great businessman but also an unforgettably kind man that impacted the lives of countless people.

God bless the Van Elslander family and may you rest in peace, Art Van Elslander.

WDIV launches true-crime podcast series called ‘Shattered: Black Friday’

Graham Media Group’s WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced the launch of their second podcast series “Shattered: Black Friday.” This 10-part series investigates the 2010 disappearance of three brothers from Morenci, Mich. Alexander, Andrew and Tanner Skelton’s father claimed that he gave the children to an underground organization. Seven years have passed and their mother, Tanya Skelton, is still without answers.

“Shattered: Black Friday” is produced and hosted by Jeremy Allen and executive produced by Ro Coppola. Black Friday refers to the popular shopping day after Thanksgiving, which was the same day the boys went missing. The boys’ mother told Morenci police that her husband, John Skelton, was supposed to bring the children back to her. But he never did.

“We asked ourselves what stories have we covered in-depth that still haunt us. The Skelton brothers’ disappearance was at the top of everyone’s list. It was heartbreaking then. It’s heartbreaking now,” said News Director Kim Voet.

Recently, this missing persons case made headlines on the other side of the country when human and animal bones were found in Montana. The bones were examined and found to be those of three young children.

“This case is still open and there are so many unanswered questions,” says Allen. “As a father I really connect to the story. We hope that through this podcast, someone who might know something will help lead the police to the truth.”

The first two episodes of “Shattered: Black Friday” was released on Sunday, February 4 with new episodes released every Friday.

In December, Graham Media Group announced a podcast division and released “Mismatch,” a podcast series hosted by celebrated journalist Roger Weber which features stories about the incompatible.

For more information and updates, follow Shattered Podcast on Facebook and Twitter. Listen to the trailer and new episodes at

WXYZ-TV Names Newsmaker of the Year

Gerry Anderson, Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy. Photo credit: DTE Energy Co.

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) has named Gerard “Gerry” Anderson, Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, the 2017 Newsmaker of the Year. Anderson has been applauded for his company’s civic contributions, including the state-of-the-art Beacon Park, the annual tree lighting at Campus Martius Park, new neighborhood street lights, and power for major public events including the Detroit Grand Prix.

WXYZ’s weekly public affairs program, “Spotlight on the News,” will feature an in-depth interview with Anderson on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. Host Chuck Stokes and Anderson will discuss topics including urban revitalization, education, youth empowerment, the environment and mass transportation in the region.

“Gerry Anderson is one of the most thoughtful newsmakers I’ve ever interviewed,” said Chuck Stokes, WXYZ public affairs and editorial director. “He is very direct and has a visionary view of what he would like to see Southeast Michigan look like in the future. We are pleased to honor Gerry Anderson as WXYZ’s Newsmaker of the Year.”

“This region needs to get its act together on transit. We stand out as a region that is weak,” said Anderson. “I understand we are a varied region but we need to find a way to come together and realize that if we nail that issue, it will be better for the region overall.”

Past WXYZ Newsmakers include Chris Ilitch and Chief James Craig (2016), Mike Duggan (2015), Kevyn Orr (2013), Dan Gilbert (2012), Justin Verlander (2011) and Rick Snyder (2010).

NATAS Announces 2018 Silver/Gold Circle Nominees

The Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has announced the nominees for its 2018 Silver and Gold Circle awards.  One of the highest honors given by NATAS, the Michigan Silver Circle® recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25 years or more. Gold Circle® inductees have served the industry for 50 years or more. Silver and Gold Circle® members are honored for more than their longevity — they are honored for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting standards of achievement we can all hope to emulate. These honorees also give back to the community as mentors, educators, and volunteers.

This year’s Silver Circle® class:

Dianna Craig-Astrop, WWJ -TV (Detroit)
Jayne Hodak, WJRT-TV (Flint)
Kristine Kelly, WWJ/WKBD-TV (Detroit)
Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD-TV (Detroit)
Nate Penn, WXYZ-TV (Detroit)
Susan Shaw, WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids)

The Gold Circle® Nominee:

Diana Lewis, formerly of WXYZ-TV (Detroit)

The Silver Circle® Luncheon will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham at 12:30 p.m.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.



Doug Podell Joins WDRQ-FM

Doug Podell

Longtime Detroit radio personality Doug “The Doc” Podell has joined the staff of Cumulus Media’s WDRQ-FM (Detroit).

Podell will be on air Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m.

Podell’s radio career in the Detroit area dates back to 1976, with his most recent stint being at WCSX 94.7 FM. He worked as the program director and a host for the classic rock station before exiting in November.  Podell replaces DJ Lisa Lisa Orlando’s time slot, who moves over to sister station WDVD-FM.