Bob Eccles

Host

Bob Eccles has followed an interesting path to - and through - the radio business. After graduating from Howe Military School in Howe, Indiana in 1980, Bob went to Michigan State University for one year. He transferred to Central Michigan University the following year for the school’s Radio and TV program, and landed a shift at the campus radio station, known then as "Rock Stereo 91". Unfortunately Bob focused more on his radio shift than his studies, and CMU asked him to take his 0.00 grade point average and go to school somewhere else. So Bob joined the U.S. Army.

Bob spend three years in the Army, serving in the Military Police in what was then West Germany. The first half of his tour was spent as a tower guard at a nuclear physical security site. Bob then was chosen to be the chauffeur for the commanding general of the 59th Ordnance Brigade. This gave him the chance to see much of West Germany from behind the wheel of an armor-plated and bullet-proof BMW 733i. Bob was honorably discharged from the Army in early 1985, and enrolled at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts to continue his pursuit of a career in radio.

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A couple of months before graduating from Specs Howard, Bob landed a job as a disc jockey at WBRB radio in Mt. Clemens. The 500 watt AM station had been off the air for several years, and was put back on the air with a staff consisting entirely of Specs Howard grads. The owner of the station had a background in real estate, not radio, and is said to have chosen the people he would hire by playing their audition tapes for his kids and asking them which ones they liked most. Bob is glad the kids liked his tape.

Bob’s next job came at Tower 98 in Monroe. It was at Tower 98 that Bob made the transition from DJ to news guy. Tower 98 was also where he met his wife, Tina, who worked as Traffic Director at the station.

Next on Bob’s resume is a stop at WSPD/WLQR in Toledo. It was there that Bob covered stories like the mayor’s tearful apology for having suggested that the city’s deaf population might enjoy living near the airport. Toledo is also where Bob discovered Mudhens baseball and Tony Packo’s Cafe. Ask Bob sometime about how he nearly knocked Jamie Farr over once in the hallway at WSPD/WLQR.

From Toledo, Bob went to Detroit, where he worked at all-news station WWJ for six years. While he was working there, he also nearly knocked over Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, but that’s another story.

One day Bob was sent to the home of a Detroit police officer who had been killed in the line of duty. His WWJ bosses wanted him to interview the officer’s friends and family who were coming to the house to grieve. Bob told his bosses he felt uncomfortable sticking his microphone in the faces of grieving friends and family members. This was considered insubordination by his bosses, and he was fired. But that’s OK, because that's when Bob found WEMU and public radio.

Bob joined the wonderful staff of WEMU in May of 2003. He really enjoys not having to chase ambulances and fire trucks all the time. He loves having the flexibility to spend seven-and-a-half minutes telling a good story if he needs the time. And he is thrilled to be able to serve WEMU listeners in the amazingly personal way that working in public radio makes possible.

Bob, his wife Tina and their daughter Samantha live in rural Monroe County.

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Safety
8:25 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Eastern Washtenaw Safety Alliance Introduced

Credit Bob Eccles

State Representative David Rutledge has formally introduced a collaborative effort to address public safety, an effort at least partially in response to a rash of crimes on Washtenaw County's east side, including the killing of Eastern Michigan University student athlete Demarius Reed, 

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

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WEMU News
6:28 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Washtenaw International High School Tops In County On ACT

Credit wihi.org

Washtenaw International High School students accomplished something really special in the latest round of Michigan Merit Exam and ACT testing: they were tops in the county and number two in the state with their composite ACT score of 27-point-three.

Not bad, considering the program is barely three years old. 

Principal Nhu Do says the results are impressive.

"It really is attributable to all the hard work that the staff, students, faculty members, district supporters have really put in place to ensure the success of these students."

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WEMU News
4:31 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Washtenaw County Merit Exam Scores Continue To Improve

Credit michigan.gov/mde/

Washtenaw County students continue to show improvement in the Michigan Merit Exam.

Washtenaw Intermediate School District communication specialist Emma Jackson says improvements among the class of 2015 were seen in reading, writing, science and social studies, while math proficiency stayed about the same.

"Our reading scores really stand out at 72 percent proficient," Jackson says, "and they're some of the highest in the state."

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WEMU News
6:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council To Consider Purchase Agreement For East Side Rec Center

The Water Street Redevelopment Area.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council recently closed on a deal to sell a parcel of Water Street property for a Family Dollar Store, and there's no time to relax before the next proposal lands on council's plate.

A purchase agreement for Washtenaw County's proposed east side rec center is on council's Tuesday night agenda. 

City Planner Teresa Gillotti.

"There will be a public hearing on it," Gillotti says, "and probably a vote on it from city council to potentially accept the offer."

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WEMU News
3:29 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Ann Arbor Hires Firm To Help Market Library Lot

Credit a2gov.org

The city of Ann Arbor is getting some help in selling the Library Lot property above the Library Lane underground parking garage.

City Administrator Steve Powers says CBRE is a real estate firm with experience in this sort of transaction.

"CBRE will be helping develop with city staff the engagement plan, that engagement with stakeholders, that will be a key part of the process," says Powers.

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WEMU News
3:29 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Irwin Blasts Road Funding 'Earmarks'

53rd District State Representative Jeff Irwin (D)
Credit http://053.housedems.com/

A local state representative is among Democrats crying "foul" in Lansing over the latest round of road funding.

The state chose projects that'll receive $115 million in funding based on request from lawmakers, and Democrats complain that most of the work is being done in districts represented by majority Republicans. 

Representative Jeff Irwin says this is what happens when road projects are funded by earmarks rather than by a set formula.

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WEMU News
12:30 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Shooting Victim's Family Struggling With Funeral Costs

The family of a teenager fatally shot in Ypsilanti early Saturday morning needs help paying for his funeral arrangements. 

17 year-old Keon Washington died after being shot while in the 500 block of Madison Street. 

It wasn't long after a reward of $2,500 was announced that police arrested a suspect. 

19 year-old Keandre Duff is being held in the Washtenaw County jail on $70,000 bond.  He faces charges that include assault with intent to murder and carrying a concealed weapon. 

WEMU News
5:52 am
Thu July 3, 2014

IBEW Endorses Debbie Dingell

Credit ibew.org

Congressional hopeful Debbie Dingell has been endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Dingell is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 12th Congressional District, a seat currently held by her husband, John Dingell, who is retiring at the end of this term.

Debbie Dingell says she's honored the IBEW has chosen to endorse her.

"They're the backbone of the American economy," Dingell says.  "They represent so much about what's right for our community, and I will be a fighter for them and it means a lot to me that they know I will be."

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WEMU News
5:52 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Diabetes Meds Could Do More Harm Than Good For Some

Dr. Sandeep Vijan.
Credit http://chcr.umich.edu/

Side effects from taking medication outweighs its benefits for some patients with type 2 diabetes.

A new report from the University of Michigan has found insulin and other medications cause more harm than good for low-risk patients, especially those over the age of 50.

Study author Dr. Sandeep Vijan says many of these medications can lead to weight gain and other problems.

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WEMU News
5:51 am
Thu July 3, 2014

No New HIV Cases Seen At Testing Day Event

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Last week's HIV Testing Day in Washtenaw County was a success, especially for its participants.

No new cases were discovered among the 25 people who received testing, but HIV remains a growing problem within the community.

Washtenaw County Public Health nurse practitioner Cathy Wilczynski says it is especially affecting younger adults.

Officials are still trying to determine why the number of cases of HIV is on the rise locally.

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WEMU News
5:51 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Nicola's Books Changing Hands

Credit nicolasbooks.com

Ownership of one of Ann Arbor's biggest independent book store is changing hands.

Nicola's Books has been acquired by Schuler Books, an independent bookstore chain based in Michigan.

Schuler Books spokesperson Emily Stavrou-Schaefer s

ays Nicola's Books' staff and programming will remain largely unchanged and its current owner, Nicola Rooney, will stay on during the transition to ensure everything goes smoothly.

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WEMU News
5:48 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Judge Orders Ypsilanti Township Residents To Stop Growing Medical Marijuana

Credit wikimedia commons

Residents of an Ypsilanti Township home from which neighbors complained the strong odor of un-burnt marijuana was emitting have been ordered to quit growing medical marijuana in their basement.

Attorney Tom Lavigne of the law firm of Cannabis Council represents owners of the home at 1397 Crestwood. 

He says the residents were not doing anything that doesn't fall under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
 

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WEMU News
5:48 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools Board Approves Budget, Names New Superintendent

Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education last night approved a 2014-15 budget that anticipates the district losing 275 students.

Former Superintendent Scott Menzel says the budget also accounts for changes to the amount of foundation grant money the district will receive from the state.  He says the budget is relatively conservative, "knowing that there are still some things we won't know until the fall."

Among the issues yet to be determined - how many teachers the district will have on the payroll.

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WEMU News
3:15 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Schreiber Endorses Edmonds For Ypsilanti Mayor

Ypsilanti mayoral candidate Amanda Edmonds.
Credit Facebook.com/AmandaForMayor

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber is officially throwing his support behind Amanda Edmonds in the three-way race to replace him.

Schreiber says Edmonds "would provide business experience that Ypsilanti City Council sorely needs." 

Edmonds is executive director of Growing Hope, and chair of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. 

Schreiber says Edmonds' collaborative approach "will be a refreshing addition to City Council". 

City council member Pete Murdock and community activist Tyrone Bridges are also on the August primary ballot.

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Community
2:48 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Art Exhibit Shines Light On Human Trafficking

A brothel scene from the art exhibit "Broken".
Susan Clinthorne and Sally Theilen

The issue of human trafficking has come to an art gallery in downtown Ann Arbor. 

Artists Susan Clinthorne and Sally Theilen created the exhibit called "Broken".

Clinthorne says the exhibit was featured at ArtPrize 2013 as Art to Change the World.  ArtPrize had asked for another piece following their exhibit titled "Letters Home" regarding homelessness.

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WEMU News
8:28 am
Tue July 1, 2014

EMU Student Running Cross-Country For Charity

Credit www.facebook.com/compassionintl

A 23 year-old Eastern Michigan University student is running across the country for charity.

Zachary James is trying to raise $15,000 for Compassion International by running from New York City to San Francisco.

He intends to run 33 miles a day, all while pushing a modified stroller containing food, water and other supplies.

James has spent the last two years training daily in preparation for his run.

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WEMU News
4:31 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Library Lunch Program Combats Summer Hunger

The Ypsilanti District Library's Whittaker Rd. branch.
Credit ypsilibrary.org

The Ypsilanti District Library is doing its part to make sure that kids who qualify for free lunch during the school year don't go hungry over the summer.

A free summer lunch program started last Monday, and Librarian Shannon Bovis says more and more kids participated as the week went on.

"We have a capacity of 40," Bovis says. "We haven't given out 40 meals in one day yet, but hopefully we will soon."

About 30 kids piled into a reading room at the Whittaker Road branch this past Friday to enjoy a healthy lunch and a story read to them by Bovis. 

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WEMU News
2:16 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Indie Awards Recognize Entrepeneurs

Credit Think Local First of Washtenaw County

ANN ARBOR – Independent businesses will be the stars of the show Saturday night when Think Local First of Washtenaw County throws a street party to celebrate its second annual Washtenaw Indie Awards.

 

The party, featuring local food, live jazz and RnB music and craft beers from Arbor Brewing Company, will take place from 6-10 p.m. on Washington Street between Main and Fourth. The award presentations will begin shortly after 7:30.

 

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WEMU News
10:42 am
Fri June 27, 2014

DSO Helps Pease Auditorium Mark 100th Anniversary

Eastern Michigan University's Pease Auditorium
Credit Bob Eccles

The 100th anniversary celebration for Pease Auditorium reaches its crecendo with Friday night's concert featuring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was one of the first acts to take the stage at Pease Auditorium, and the DSO returns Friday night at 8 to help mark the facility's 100th anniversary.

Find more information about Pease Auditorium and its 100th anniversary celebration online:

http://www.emich.edu/univcomm/releases/release.php?id=1402672528

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WEMU News
4:22 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Artrain Wins National Recognition For Partnerships

Credit ArtrainUSA.org

Artrain has won the National Parks Service's Midwest Regional and National Partnership Awards.

The recognition is for Artrain and its partners' contributions to the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay.

The memorial is part of the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentenial Commemoration.

Artrain President and CEO Deb Polich says other sites that have won this award include the parks in Yosemite and Gettysburg.

Polich says she applauds the National Park Service for wanting to incorporate art and culture into their work.

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WEMU News
2:49 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Washtenaw County Population Growing

Credit census.gov

Good new from the U.S. Census Bureau for Washtenaw County.

According to the Bureau, the County's population grew by .87 percent last year, one of the largest increases in southeast Michigan.

Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum says people are drawn to Ann Arbor and the county in general thanks partly to the types of industry available here.

"The other is that Ann Arbor has the national reputation as a good place to live," Kestenbaum says.   

Kestenbaum says Washtenaw County remains one of the economically healthiest areas in Michigan.

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WEMU News
2:48 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Baltia Air Lines Title Sponsor Of Thunder Over Michigan Air Show

Credit baltia.com

The Thunder over Michigan air show has a new title sponsor.

The show is now the Baltia Air Lines Thunder over Michigan Air Show. 

Baltia Air Lines is the country's newest passenger airline, with offices at Willow Run airport.  It plans to start non-stop 747 service between New York and St. Petersburg, Russia after receiving FAA certification in September. 

Baltia Vice President of Finance Barry Clare says the Thunder over Michigan Air Show was a good fit for the airline.

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WEMU News
2:13 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

'Bee-Friendly' Plants May Actually Be Harmful To Bees

Credit ecocenter.org

Just because a plant is labeled as "bee friendly" doesn't mean it is.

That's according to a new report from The Ecology Center, which partnered with the group "Friends of the Earth" to test plants sold as "bee friendly". 

About half contained neonicotinoid pesticides that can kill bees.  Ecology Center environmental health educator Melissa Sargent encourages people to talk to plant sellers "and find out do they know about the neonicotinoid pesticides? And let them know that you would prefer to buy plants that didn't have those pesticides on them."

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WEMU News
1:45 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Kiwanis Club Helps Teens In Foster Care

Credit kiwanis.org

A program that helps teens in foster care and other students make up high school credit will be able to proceed this summer thanks to a grant of $2,500 from the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor to the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan.

The program offers online credit recovery classes taught by two teachers and also includes transportation and snacks. Six students involved in the foster care system and six academically struggling students have signed up.

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WEMU News
4:39 am
Tue June 24, 2014

AAATA Rolling Out Transit Improvements Soon

Credit TheRide.org

Next month we'll start to see some of the improvements promised by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority with approval of its .7 mil transit levy.

AAATA says it will begin offering extended hours on many routes starting August 24th. 

It will also start a new route with hourly service between the Ypsilanti District Library and the Ypsilanti Transit Center.

Find a complete listing of transit improvements coming in August online:

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