The University Record, March 4, 2002

Awards signal Michigan Radio’s success

By Martin May

For the fourth consecutive year, Michigan Radio, the public radio station of U-M, has been named the best radio station in Michigan. But this year’s Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Award is an even greater honor because, for the first time, commercial and public radio stations were judged in the same category for station of the year.

“I’m obviously very gratified,” says Donovan Reynolds, director of broadcasting for Michigan Radio. “I’m very fortunate because we have a first-class group of people.”

“We want to be the best radio news source and this award is evidence we’re making progress toward this goal,” Reynolds says. “This award also shows that public radio is no longer a fringe. We are now reaching a wider audience.”

According to Arbitron, the marketing and media research firm, Michigan Radio had the fastest growth of any public radio station in the country in the past year.

In addition to the Best Radio Station award, Michigan Radio has won seven awards from MAB for its programming, including Best Hard News for Tracy Samilton’s coverage of the U-M admissions trials; Best Mini-Documentary/Series for Matthew Shafer Powell’s Sound Partners Audio Diaries, first-person accounts of patients and doctors working within government-sponsored health systems; Best Feature/Use of Medium for Tracy Samilton’s feature on blood donation; a Merit award for Features for Matthew Shafer Powell’s piece on high school football after Sept. 11; a Merit award for The Riot Diaries, produced by Tamar Charney and the Arts of Citizenship Program; and Best Special Interest Programming for StoryLines Midwest, a 13-week interview/call-in program looking at Midwestern life through its books.

“In addition to our news programming, Michigan Radio is dedicated to covering the arts, humanities and cultural affairs,” says Charity Nebbe, senior producer, who produced StoryLines Midwest. “The books chosen for the series gave us a chance to explore some of the very real issues facing us every day such as race relations, poverty and environmental degradation.”

“We had a wonderful response from our listeners,” Nebbe says. “Every week during the show we got more phone calls than we could put on the air. We received many complimentary phone calls and letters as well as requests for information about the books we were talking about,” Nebbe says.

Director Reynolds says that listeners can expect more local programming in the arts, humanities and environment. He also says there will be more cross sharing of programs and staff between the WFUM in Flint and WUOM in Ann Arbor. Reynolds says Michigan Radio also will focus more coverage on the U-M.

Michigan Radio includes WUOM (91.7 FM) in Ann Arbor, WFUM (91.1 FM) in Flint, and WVGR (104.1 FM) in Grand Rapids.