Emily Fox Named Local Morning Edition Host at WKAR-FM

Emily Fox. Photo credit: Gil Aegerter/KUOW

Emily Fox will join WKAR-FM (East Lansing) as the Capital Region host and local producer for NPR’s Morning Edition.

The announcement was made June 26 by Peter Whorf, radio station manager at WKAR. Fox joins the WKAR news team on July 23, and will debut as Morning Edition local host the week of August 13.

“We’re all thrilled that Emily will be joining WKAR as our local host and producer for Morning Edition,” Whorf said. “Emily brings a major radio market background, years of experience, deep Michigan roots, and MSU degrees in both communications and music. I can’t imagine anyone better suited for this position than Emily.”

Fox comes to WKAR from KUOW in Seattle, Washington, where she was the local Morning Edition host for the Seattle market. No stranger to Michigan, Fox previously worked at Michigan Radio as host, reporter, and producer.

“We’re excited to have another strong journalist join WKAR’s Morning Edition,” said Reginald Hardwick, WKAR digital news director. “In addition to hosting NPR newscasts in Michigan and Seattle, Emily has produced stories of indigenous peoples in our state and the northwest, which were picked up by national newscasts. It’s that kind of unique reporting that we cannot wait to have Emily share with our community.”

Emily Fox is a graduate of Michigan State University receiving her masters of arts in telecommunication information studies and media in 2013, and her bachelor of music in 2011.

Mitten News Acquires WYPV-FM

In an application filed with the FCC on June 15, Michigan Broadcasters, LLC has agreed to transfer the license of its WYPV-FM (Mackinaw City) to John Yob’s Mitten News LLC.

Mitten News also owns WJML-AM, Petoskey, WJNL-AM, Kingsley and WWMN-FM, Thompsonville.

The purchase price in the application was $200,000.  WYPV operates on 94.5 mHz with 50kw ERP at 110 meters above average terrain.

The sale is subject to FCC approval.


Sanilac Broadcasting Celebrates 50 Years

Left photo (L-R): Robert (Bob) Benko, Bob Armstrong.

On Saturday, June 23, Sanilac Broadcasting (Sandusky) celebrated 50 years of service with a community open house for listeners and advertisers to come by and say hello and get a tour.

Sanilac Broadcasting Company was founded in 1968 by George Benko and Robert Benko, when WMIC-AM signed on the air June 27, 1968 from studios located in Sandusky, Michigan. WMIC was originally at 1560 on the AM dial where it remained for nineteen years.

On August 17 of 1971, WTGV-FM signed on at 97.7 FM as a simulcast partner of WMIC. In those days the stations were known as WMIC AM & FM.

In December 1987, an opportunity was taken to move WMIC 1560 to the left side of the dial to 660 AM. With this new clear-channel frequency, the information and entertainment that WMIC had provided could now heard be across most of lower Michigan and parts of Ontario!

On Sept 2, 1999 WBGV-FM, known as Country 92.5, signed on, broadcasting ABC Radio Networks “The Best Country Around”, a modern, fresh country music format. WBGV is owned by G.B. Broadcasting. Its president is George E. Benko V.

Longtime General Manager Bob Armstrong joined the staff of WMIC and WTGV on December 9, 1971, the day after he graduated from Ferris State University. His first position was Program Director, and on April 1, 1975, he became General Manager.

WCSX Signs Contract Extension with Jim O’Brien

Jim O’Brien

Beasley Media Group has announced that Big Jim O’Brien has signed a new multi-year deal to continue hosting Big Jim’s House mornings on 94.7 WCSX-FM (Detroit). O’Brien has been with the station since 2002 and has hosted mornings since 2014. He is joined on the show by Co-host Erin V and Producer Ryan Logan.

“It’s really a pleasure to be associated with Jim and the healthy combination of creativity, wit and passion for cars and Classic Rock he brings to his morning listeners in the Motor City,” said Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards. “Jim’s work to establish Glenn Frey Drive in Royal Oak (and soon Bob Seger Boulevard in Ann Arbor), his tireless efforts on behalf of veterans and his respect for all things Detroit prove he is an extraordinary ambassador for both WCSX and the city he calls home!”

“I’ve been a Big Jim fan since I arrived here at CSX,” said Program Director JT Tarrants. “We are so glad to have him buttoned up to lead our morning show into the future.

“It’s an honor to be part of the Beasley Media Group family here in Detroit,” said Big Jim. “I look forward to being able to continue to entertain our dedicated Motor City listeners for years to come.”

Lauren Crocker Signs Extension at WDVD-FM

Lauren Crocker

Cumulus Media’s WDVD-FM (Detroit) has signed Lauren Crocker to a multi-year extension as co-host of The Blaine Fowler Morning Show, a position she has held since 2015. Prior to WDVD, Crocker was midday talent at Cumulus’ WDRQ/Detroit and morning co-host at WFAS-FM in New York. She has also worked as a Music Director in the Monmouth-Ocean, N.J., market.

Robby Bridges, Director of FM Programming Cumulus Media-Detroit said, “It sounds cliché’, but it is the absolute truth — when Lauren first walked in and interviewed with me seven years ago, I knew then she was going to be a superstar. To see her flourish as co-host of The Blaine Fowler Morning Show alongside Blaine and Matty, become a fixture in the Detroit market, work with local charities and appear on Dish Nation and WDIV-TV’s Live in the D is just terrific. Lauren’s star is still on the rise and I’m so glad she’ll be with us at Cumulus into the next decade.”

WLUN Adds FSD’s Matt Shepard

Matt Shepard

WLUN-FM (Midland) (ESPN 100.9) has announced that it has added Michigan Media Network syndicated Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave hosted by Matt Shepard.  The program will begin airing weekdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, July 2.

Shepard has been seen on Fox Sports Detroit since 1999 hosting and reporting on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Lions. The Central Michigan University graduate previously hosted a morning show on 1130 AM WDFN in Detroit for 13 years before relaunching it last November. He also currently serves as the radio voice of Michigan basketball and Eastern Michigan football.

“Giving our listeners more local content is always a topic of conversation within our walls and adding a guy like Matt Shepard to our lineup is going to help us achieve that,” ESPN 100.9-FM General Manager Matt DeVries said. “He brings nearly two decades of experience covering the teams we all care about in this state. And with his show airing in the early afternoon, we’ll now have local sports talk for six hours each day.”

The show originates from its broadcast home inside the OnStar Studios in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

ESPN 100.9-FM will be the 4th station in the state to carry Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave including its flagship WDFN in Detroit, 1660 The Fan (WQLR) in Kalamazoo, and 101.1 WGRY in Grayling/Roscommon.

WCEN Introduces ‘The Moose New Country Ale’

Alpha Media’s WCEN-FM (Saginaw)  has teamed up with Mountain Town Brewing Company to introduce The Moose New Country Ale to be available at area establishments in the coming weeks. Listeners can find the beer at Mountain Town Brewing in Mt. Pleasant, Alma Brewing Company in Alma and Beer & Brats in Midland.

“In addition to giving our listeners the best in new Country music every day, we wanted to give them something they can enjoy on their evenings out or at dinner,” said WCEN Program Director Joby Phillips.  “We think those who are fans of the music we play will be just as big a fan of The Moose New Country Ale.”

Ed “Uncle Buck” Buchanan: 1949-2018

Ed Buchanan

Cumulus Media has announced that West Michigan radio legend and longtime on-air host of Grand Rapids’ heritage Classic Rock station WLAV-FM, Ed Buchanan, passed way this past Thursday. Buchanan, 69, known on air as “Uncle Buck,” joined WLAV-FM in 1974 and was “founding father” of its current Classic Rock brand. Most recently, Buchanan hosted LAV’s Uncle Buck’s Basement, Sundays, 7 – 9 a.m., and was co-host of LAV’s The Tony Gates Morning Show with Michelle McKormick and Uncle Buck, weekdays, 5 – 10 a.m.

Buchanan celebrated his 50th year in West Michigan broadcasting in 2017.

Buchanan was born and raised in Grand Rapids, and was bitten by the radio bug in the mid-1950s during the Top 40 era of WLAV and WMAX radio. After graduating from Grand Rapids Catholic Central in 1966, he attended Ferris State University where he got his start in radio on the campus station.

In the summer of 1967, Buchanan got his first job at Grand Rapids station WMAX 1480.

Between 1967 and 1990, he worked as morning show host, on-air personality, and program director in multiple formats at heritage West Michigan stations, including WERX, WGRD-FM, WAFT-AM, WFFX-FM, WMUS-FM, and most significantly, at WLAV-FM which he joined in 1974, later leaving in the early ‘80s and returning in 1995.

Buchanan was the first to start a “Progressive Rock” show at WXTO-FM (which later became WGRD) and brought “Outlaw Country” to WCUZ-FM with resounding success.

Outside of his radio career, Buchanan taught broadcasting at Grand Valley State University in the mid ‘70s, was a local filmmaker and performer with Firesign Theatre and the Grand Rapids Radio Players, and owned Rooby Records — producing and pressing records for local musicians from 1982 to 1992.

Jeff Cartwright, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Grand Rapids, said, “Ed’s sudden passing is difficult news today for all who knew and loved him. He was a true giant of radio and will be profoundly missed. In West Michigan, this is the equivalent of one of the Beatles passing, as Ed celebrated his 50th anniversary of broadcasting last year and has been a monumental presence in our community, where he lived his entire life. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Ed’s family at this sad time as we honor his memory and remember his lasting contributions to our community and to radio.”

NAB Applauds MMA’s Passage from Senate Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Music Modernization Act (MMA) by unanimous voice vote on June 28.

The MMA includes language that will formally establish a role for Congress as the Department of Justice reviews consent decrees with the two largest performing rights organizations — ASCAP and BMI — which collectively license over 90 percent of the musical works that are played on local radio and television stations (Section 105, page 143).

“NAB strongly supports the Music Modernization Act, and applauds the efforts of Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Senators Hatch, Whitehouse and their cosponsors on this bill. This balanced legislation provides much needed reforms to the music licensing market to the benefit of songwriters, legacy recording artists, producers, digital streaming services and music users,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement. 

“In particular, NAB applauds the inclusion of language in today’s managers’ amendment that ensures enhanced congressional oversight of the DOJ’s announced review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. The framework provided by these decrees is essential to a functioning music marketplace and they were comprehensively reviewed just two years ago with the DOJ concluding that their continued existence is squarely in the public interest. Any action to terminate these decrees must be preceded by Congressional action to ensure that songwriters, licensees and consumers will not be harmed. NAB looks forward to working with all Senators as the Music Modernization Act moves forward and urges its swift passage.”

Michigan Stations Win at PRNDI Awards

At the 2018 PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) Conference Awards Banquet, held June 23 in Washington, three Michigan public radio broadcasters were honored, winning multiple awards for their work.

Winning stations in Michigan include Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM/WVGR-FM/WFUM-FM, based in Ann Arbor), WMUK-FM (Kalamazoo) and Interlochen Public Radio (Interlochen).

PRNDI awards is the only national contest recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations.

Covering the outstanding efforts of 2017, more than 190 awards were presented to stations across the country for categories including Breaking News, Call-in Programs, Documentaries, Interviews, and News Features.

For a complete list of winners, click here.