Sinclair Appoints Jennifer Rieffer as Flint VP/GM

Jennifer Rieffer

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announced that Jennifer Rieffer has been promoted to Vice President/General Manager for WSMH-TV (FOX) in Flint, effective August 3. She also will oversee Sinclair’s provision of services to WEYI-TV (NBC) and WBSF-TV (CW) under joint sales agreements.

Rieffer is currently Vice President/General Manager of WDKY-TV (FOX) in Lexington, Ken.

The announcement was made by Rob Weisbord, President of Broadcast and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, who said, “We are fortunate Jennifer has been a part of the Sinclair family for 25 years and counting. While we know Lexington will surely miss her, we are excited about the opportunities she can create for us in Flint, Michigan.”

Rieffer succeeds Chad Conklin, who in April was named GM of KOMO-TV and KUNS-TV, Sinclair’s stations in Seattle, Wash..

“Sinclair has provided me the opportunity to advance my career time and time again over the course of the last 25 years,” commented Rieffer. “I am excited and energized for my newest chapter in Flint. I look forward to working with the team, continuing the history of success they have achieved in the market.” Ms. Rieffer began her career at WDKY-TV Lexington in 1995 as a traffic assistant. She subsequently held roles including Local Sales Assistant, Marketing Consultant, Sales Promotions Manager, and Sales Manager before being promoted to Vice President/General Manager in 2018. Ms. Rieffer holds a Bachelor of Science from Morehead State University.

 




WLUC’s David ‘Buck’ LeVasseur Dies at 70

David “Buck” LeVasseur

WLUC-TV (Marquette) reports that Buck LeVasseur, longtime station employee and creator/host of the show Discovering passed away July 28 at age 70.

LeVasseur was with WLUC-TV for more than three decades, starting in the news department in 1976.  In 1980, Discovering was created and he was the host, producer, reporter and videographer for the weekly program, which covered all aspects of the people, history and outdoor activities throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Although he was not a native “Yooper,” LeVasseur was U.P. through and through, dedicating his life to the storytelling, preservation, history and outdoor enjoyment of his favorite place on earth, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

One of his many other great accomplishments was when he was awarded the Conservation Communicator Award by the Michigan United Conversation Club.

LeVasseur passed away in hospice in his hometown of Bay City, surrounded by family.  He is survived by his son, Colin LeVasseur of Phoenix, AZ and Colin’s mother, Vicki LeVasseur; sisters, Janet (Phil) Timbs, Judy Goik, and Mary Ann (John) Janowicz; sister-in-law, Luana LeVasseur, along with many nieces, nephews, and friends. In addition to his parents, Buck was preceded in death by his brothers, Tom and Tim LeVasseur.  Read his full obituary here.




Lexi Krupp Joins IPR as Science Reporter for Northern Michigan

Lexi Krupp

Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) has announced that Lexi Krupp has been hired as the station’s new science and conservation reporter. Krupp comes to IPR from Gimlet Media, where she helped the “Science Vs” podcast team distinguish what’s fact from what’s not, and has written for a range of publications including Audubon and Vice.

She will lead IPR’s efforts to deepen the public’s understanding of the natural world, covering the land, water, forests, climate, wildlife and farms in upper Michigan.

With a background in education, Krupp brings a mix of curiosity and desire to explain how things work, which is exactly what the public radio audience craves.

IPR’s executive director Peter Payette said he saw she was a good fit on the first day when she pitched a story explaining how the thermocline in Lake Michigan is impaired by record heat and preventing the lake from cooling itself.

“Natural resources are precious to people who live here and IPR wants to create original reporting that helps people understand and appreciate all we have,” he said.

Krupp worked in outdoor education along the coast of Maine and in the woods of northern Wisconsin before she left a career in teaching to pursue journalism, earning a master’s degree from New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. Most recently, she worked as a freelance journalist covering the pandemic.

“I am thrilled to be joining the rock-star team at IPR to report on under-covered environmental stories in upper Michigan,” she said.

This work is generously funded with support from The Brookby Foundation, the Mariel Foundation and individual donors of Interlochen Public Radio.




WXYZ, WXMI Team Up for Back-to-School Virtual Town Hall

On July 30, Scripps Media’s WXYZ-TV (Detroit) and WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) teamed together to present a virtual town hall on returning safely back to school.

Moderated by WXYZ anchors Carolyn Clifford and Glenda Lewis and WXMI Anchor Mike Avery, the program brought in experts including State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice, Dr. Joneigh Khaldum, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health and Human Services and Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti.

The moderators asked their own questions as well as those posed by viewers. The Town Hall was presented from 7 to 8 p.m. on both station’s digital platforms, including websites, apps and social media.




WHAK/WHSB Founder Harvey Klann Passes

 

Harvey Klann

True North Radio Network has reported the July 25 death of WHAK-FM/WHSB-FM (Rogers City/Alpena) founder Harvey Klann. Klann was 97.

He was born on June 11, 1923 in Rogers City to Alfred and Hattie (Dost) Klann. He was a lifelong resident of Rogers City, except for time spent in the military during World War II.

While in the military he taught electronics in Missouri and then served in India at the CBI radio transmission headquarters. After military service, he helped create and organize the Rogers City Broadcasting Corporation constructing and managing radio station WHAK in 1948 and WHSB Alpena in 1964.

Harvey married Janice Hess of Fowlerville, Mich., in 1956. She was his loving helpmate and faithful partner for over 60 years.

He is survived by: his children, Becky (Joel) Carlson of Jenison, MI; Dan (Vicki) Klann of Holt, MI; and Janet (Eric) Fenstemaker of Maryville, TN.

Harvey is also survived by eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by: His wife Janice (2017), parents Alfred and Hattie, and two brothers Norman and Albert.

The family will hold a private service in the near future.




Scott Jameson Named Director of Programming at Beasley Detroit

Scott Jameson

Beasley Media Group has announced Scott Jameson has been named Director of Programming of Beasley Media Group’s Detroit-based radio cluster.

In his new role, Jameson will be responsible for overseeing the programming of WRIF-FM, WCSX-FM, WMGC-FM, WDMK-FM and the Praise Network. He will begin his new position on  August 3.

Jameson most recently served as Cumulus Media’s Vice President of Classic Rock Programming, Program Director of heritage classic rock station KQRS-FM and Operations Manager at KQRS-FM, KXXR-FM and WGVX-FM in Minneapolis.

“Joining Beasley Media Group in Detroit is a terrific opportunity,” said Jameson. “The Midwest is home for me, so it’s a natural fit. The legendary WRIF-FM and heritage WCSX-FM, joined with The BOUNCE, KISS, and PRAISE boast exceptional talent across all five brands. Adding Beasley’s commitment to the community, along with an aggressive digital presence, turns listeners into fans. I’m thankful to Justin Chase for approaching me about the Detroit situation and grateful to Mac Edwards and Brian Beasley for their endorsement.”

“Scott’s outstanding reputation and deep rock radio background, combined with his excellent track record in programming multiple formats quickly made him the absolute perfect choice to lead our teams in the Motor City,” said Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards.” We are thrilled to welcome him to the Beasley Media Group family!”

“Rarely do you come across a programmer like Scott, who has such a high level of experience, strategic vision and passion for our business,” said Beasley Media Group Chief Content Officer Justin Chase. “Best of all, his core values of great locally focused radio with an emphasis of growing our digital platforms made him a perfect fit for our company. We’re very happy to have him in the Beasley family in Detroit!”




WCSX Big Jim’s House To Raise $50,000 for Gleaners Food Bank with Rockin’ Road Trip

WCSX-FM (Detroit) Morning Show Host Big Jim from Big Jim’s House is driving 27 hours on a rockin’ road trip from Detroit to Minnesota to raise $50,000 to benefit Gleaners Food Bank with help from legendary rock recording artist Bob Seger.

Big Jim will drive a Chevy truck (provided by Chevrolet) from Detroit to the North Star Bar in Minnesota where Bob Seger reportedly stopped and had a drink in his song, entitled “Roll Me Away”. Big Jim left for Minnesota on July 23rd and upon his return to the Motor City, Bob Seger and Chevrolet will make a $50,000 donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Detroit.

“I’ve always wondered where Bob stopped for a beer in the song, ‘Roll Me Away,’ now we know,” said Big Jim. “So, taking a road trip in a Chevy truck to the North Star Bar in Rochester, Minnesota feels more like a pilgrimage! And the fact that Bob Seger and Chevrolet are backing up this effort with a 50k donation to Gleaners Food Bank makes it even more important to “get it right!”

The $50,000 donation will be used to provide 150,000 meals for families in Southeastern Michigan.




WZZM Adds Samantha Jacques to Weather Team

Samantha Jacques

WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids)(13 ON YOUR SIDE) has announced an addition to their weather team with an up-and-coming meteorologist from Northern Michigan. Samantha Jacques began her broadcast career as weekend meteorologist at WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac) while still a junior in college.

She worked as a teaching assistant, helped to create the first Broadcast Meteorology course offered at CMU, and forecasted the weather every weekend for viewers up north—all while carrying a full class load. After graduating, she took over the mid-day meteorologist position.

“Samantha’s enthusiasm and science-based approach in keeping viewers informed coupled with her communication ability really impressed us,” said WZZM President and General Manager, Dan Baylog. “We’re excited to welcome Samantha’s talent into the 13 ON YOUR SIDE family and look forward to her sharing impactful weather information with our West Michigan audiences.

“I am excited beyond words to share my enthusiasm for weather with Grand Rapids—a city that combines the beauty of Northern Michigan with the bigger city feel of Detroit,” said Samantha. “I look forward to experiencing this new adventure with each and every one of you!”

Samantha grew up in Shelby Township, Michigan where she discovered her passion for weather and science, and since then, she worked to inspire young girls to join the STEM field. With only 8% of Chief Meteorologists being women, her goal is to raise that number to show young women around the world that it is possible.

“You can tell Samantha is driven and determined to share her love of science, and she loves what she does,” said Julie Flynn, 13 ON YOUR SIDE News Director. “I’m excited to see what she can do on all of our platforms.”

She will join Shanna Grove weekend mornings on WZZM.




Rico Beard Joins WXYT as Afternoon Co-Host

Rico Beard

Entercom has announced on-air veteran Rico Beard will join WXYT-FM (Detroit). Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., beginning August 3.

“Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Detroit. “Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.”

“I am extremely blessed and honored in becoming a host on ‘The Mike Valenti Show’ on 97.1 The Ticket,” said Beard. “I was flattered when Mike Valenti himself asked me to join his show. My job will be to bring in a new voice and opinions to a show that is already one of the best shows not only in Detroit but in the sports talk radio industry throughout the U.S.”

“I’ve wanted to work with Rico for several years now and it is simply fantastic the occasion has arrived,” said Valenti. “Adding Rico to our show represents a massive opportunity to not only stay at No. 1 but to evolve and become even stronger. I’m really proud of the show we created. Sullivan means a lot to this show, to the station and to me personally. I’m excited about his new opportunity and wish him all the success in the world.”

Beard is a Detroit native with over two decades of experience covering local professional and collegiate sports. Prior to joining Entercom, he served as a host of The Spartan Beat podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for Detroit Sports 105.1. He has also held on-air roles for local television stations, including FOX affiliates WJBK-TV in Detroit and WSYM-TV in Lansing. Throughout his career, he has covered nine Final Fours, three Stanley Cups, two NBA Finals, five college football bowl games and two World Series. Rico is a Michigan State University alumnus, Heisman Trophy voter and has also served as a college professor and instructor.

Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for “The Mike Valenti” show since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31.




WLUC’s Karl Bohnak Adds Radio Duties in Marquette

Karl Bohnak

On July 15, WLUC-TV (Marquette) Chief Meteorologist Karl Bohnak added radio to his workday, joining the line up at mediaBrew Communication’s WKQS-FM (Sunny 101.9).  He’ll be providing the station with hourly weather updates every weekday from noon to 7:00 p.m. He joins fellow WLUC Meteorologist Jennifer Perez, who provides hourly weather updates weekday mornings on Sunny 101.9.

Bohnak started his career in TV weather in 1983 and brings decades of experience and knowledge to mediaBrew Communications listeners.

Bohnak holds the “American Meteorological Society Broadcast Seal of Approval” and received the Michigan “Notable Book” Award for his published work, “So Cold a Sky, Upper Michigan Weather Stories.”