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.

Find Bob on Google + - Facebook - Twitter

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.

Pages

Local News
12:04 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Ypsi Heritage Festival asks City to Cap Fees

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board Chair David Nickerson addresses City Council
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival made a plea to City Council Tuesday night to put a cap on the special event fees the city charges it. 

David Nickerson is Chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board of Trustees.  He told council those fees represent 18 percent of festival expenses.

Nickerson requested that the city cap fees charged the festival at between $18,000 and $20,000.  Nickerson estimates next year's fees at between $25,000 and $28,000 otherwise. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he'd like to see the city make a contribution to the festival as a sponsor rather than just cap fees.

Council member Daniel Vogt said the city can't afford to subisidise the Heritage Festival unless the city can break even, perhaps by helping the festival find other areas in which to make cuts.

City staff will study the issue and come back to council with a recommendation at a later date.

Read more
Local News
4:15 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Police Investigating Off-Campus Shooting that left EMU Student Wounded

Police are looking for a car observed leaving the scene of a shooting early this morning that left an Eastern Michigan University student with a non-life threatening bullet wound to the arm. 

Investigators say a blue Ford Mustang was seen speeding away from Peninsular Place Apartments after the incident around 1:40 this morning.

Destinee Leapheart was wounded when an apparent random gunshot sent a bullet through the wall and into her apartment. 

Leapheart's roommate, Tammy Flowers, says Leapheart seems to be doing OK now.

Local News
2:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

EMU Faculty Protest EAA Association

Eastern Michigan University faculty members held multiple protests today urging the school to end its involvement with Michigan's Education Achievement Authority. 

The EAA is a state school system tasked with improving consistently under-performing schools. 

Critics say the EAA removes too much control from local government. 

Steve Camron is a professor at EMU and one of the protest's organizers. He says involvement with the EAA will negatively impact enrollment in EMU's teacher education program.

Read more
Education
9:57 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Ypsilanti Community School Board Approves Summer Tax Collection

Credit Tax Credits / Foter.com / CC BY

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved collecting school taxes in the summer rather than in the winter. 

Board President David Bates says summer tax collection is nothing new for district residents. The Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts had been collecting taxes in the summer prior to the consolidation.

Bates says summer tax collection means the district has to borrow less from the state while awaiting state aid payments, which in turn saves taxpayers money because the district is paying less in interest on money borrowed.

Read more
Local News
3:50 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Second Suspect in Demarius Reed Killing Appears in Court

The second suspect in the killing of EMU student athlete Demarius Reed has appeared in court. 

Kristopher Pratt is charged with murder and robbery, and like co-defendant Ed Jemeal Thomas, is being held without bond. 

Reed was found dead at his off-campus apartment complex October 18th, and investigators turned almost immediately to robbery as a motive for his killing. 

Reed had been shot several times.

Community
3:18 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Michigan Continues Slow but Steady Economic Recovery

Michigan continues its slow and steady economic recovery. 

The annual economic forecast from University of Michigan economists predicts the next two years should bring the state back to employment levels prior to the economic downturn of 2008-09. 

Don Grimes points to the recovery of the auto industry as a big reason why Michigan's doing as well as it is.

Read more
Local News
1:07 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Suspects Arraigned in Demarius Reed Death

Ypsilanti Police have two suspects in custody in the death of Demarius Reed, the Eastern Michigan University student athlete found dead at his off-campus apartment complex October 18th.

The 21 year-old Reed had suffered several gunshot wounds, and investigators believe he may have been shot during a robbery attempt.

Interim Ypsilanti police Chief Tony DiGiusti says Ed Jameal Thomas and a second suspect are facing murder and robbery charges 

Thomas was arraigned Sunday, while the second suspect had not yet appeared in court.  Both men are in custody. 

Read more
Community
2:10 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

John F. Kennedy 50 Years Later

A plaque on the Michigan Union wall provides details of Kennedy's visit.
Bob Eccles

50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a visit to Dallas.  WEMU's Bob Eccles has a look at JFK's impact on our area, and introduces us to some local folks whose lives President Kennedy touched. The spot where Kennedy spoke, planting the seed for what would become the Peace Corps.

Click here for Bob's report.

Read more
Local News
4:25 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

EMU Settles with Students for Life, the Alliance Defending Freedom

Eastern Michigan University has settled a lawsuit brought by an organization upset that EMU Student Government hadn't helped pay for it to bring its "Genocide Awareness Project" exhibit to campus. 

University spokesperson Geoff Larcom says student government originally said "no" to a request for funding from Students for Life, which had asked for about $5,000 for the exhibit that was on campus April 11th and 12th. 

Student Government declined, but later approved funding and changed its fund allocation policy. 

Local News
3:56 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

New Contract for A2SO, Musicians

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has reached a five-year agreement with Local 625 of the American Federation of Musicians. 

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Board President Bob Gates said the new contract shows that everyone at the bargaining table shared the goals of "artistic excellence, commitment to financial sustainability, and service to our community." 

Musicians spokesperson and Principal Oboist Tim Michling said the increased compensation levels included in the contract will help the symphony "attract and retain the highest caliber performers."

Education
4:03 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

U of M to Research Effects of Video Games and Technology on Mobility

The University of Michigan Medical Center will be conducting research on the effectiveness of video games and technology in creating more independence for young people with spinal cord dysfunction and neuro-developmental disabilities. 

The U of M Medical Center just got a $4.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research. It will be given over a five-year period, and will help launch U of M's Rehabilitation and Research Center. 

Technology
4:00 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Ransomware a Threat on EMU Campus and Beyond

A computer attack that's been observed on the Eastern Michigan University campus may also pose a threat to your computer.  

The university is warning of so-called "ransomware" called CryptoLocker, which EMU spokesperson Geoff Larcom says poses a serious threat.

Lacom says the attackers can grab your files, encrypt them and lock them away. The owner is then forced to pay a ransom to have their files unencrypted and returned.

Read more
Local News
12:42 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Ypsi City Council approves First Reading of Snow Removal Changes

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange (l) and Mayor Paul Schreiber
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti property owners would have 24 hours instead of 48 to clear snow from their sidewalks under an ordinance approved on first reading Tuesday night by city council. 

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says with Ypsilanti trying to be a walkable city, snow on sidewalks can be a problem.

Gillotti says she checked with a number of surrounding communities, and found that most give property owners 12 to 24 hours to clear snow. 

The ordinance approved by city council also calls for giving violators one warning per season, rather than one warning each time there’s an inch or more of snow, as the law is currently written.

The ordinance is expected back for a second reading an final approval at council's next meeting.

Click here to hear WEMU's Bob Eccles' report.

Community
5:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

SOS Community Services Seeks Help Feeding Families this Thanksgiving

SOS Community Services is asking the community to consider helping feed 20 needy families this holiday season by donating food items Wednesday.

Development Director Chelsea Brown says SOS Community Services holds holiday food distribution for families in need every year.

Brown says anyone interested in donating food items can drop them off at the SOS Communitiy Services offices at 114 North River Street in Ypsilanti.

Monetary donations can be made online via the link below.

http://soscs.org/

Read more
Education
9:30 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Ypsilanti School Board Considers Summer Tax Collection

Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education President David Bates (l) and Superintendent Scott Menzel
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved placing the question of whether to collect taxes in the summer rather than the winter on the agenda for its first meeting in December. 

Superintendent Scott Menzel says a summer collection is something the board approved seperately last year for the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts.

Menzel says there are benefits to a summer tax collection, including needing to borrow less money from the state to keep things going until the district's state aid payment is received.

The board also approved a one-month extension to interim Technology Director Matthew McCarty's contract. 

McCarty is leaving the district, and the extension will cover the period from November 1st through his last day with Ypsilanti Community Schools - December 6th. 

And the board had a budget presentation from CFO Scott Johnson, who pegged the district's estimated 2013-14 year-end fund balance at $7.3 million - about $300,000 less than budgeted.

Bob Eccles Reports

Education
5:01 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Michigan Grad Students win Dow Distinguished Awards

Winners of the Dow Awards to Pursue Sustainability Solutions in Southeast Michigan & India
Credit Sustainability.umich.edu/ / University of Michigan

Four Teams of graduate students at the University of Michigan have won Dow Distinguished Awards to pursue projects dealing with sustainability solutions. 

Three of the winning teams will work on projects in Southeast Michigan, and the fourth is heading up a water management project in India. 

Drew Horning is Deputy Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute.  He says one of the winning proposals is the retrofitting of a 112-year-old house in Ann Arbor to be self-sustaining.

Horning says other winning projects include a pilot project aimed at enabling energy efficiency in rental properties in Ann Arbor, a greenhouse gas inventory for the City of Detroit, and water demand management for improved adaptation by small farmers in India.

He says these projects have the ability to impact how we address and implement sustainability solutions in the future.

For more information about the Dow Distinguished Awards in Sustainability, visit the U-M Planet Blue website at http://sustainability.umich.edu/education/dow.

Community
4:56 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

U of M Cancer Center Director to Step Down

The director of the University of Michigan's Cancer Center is stepping down. 

Dr. Max Wicha has served as the center's director for 27 years.  He says it's time for him to pass the torch to a new leader, but adds he will remain at the center to continue his stem cell research. 

Wicha says he will stay on as the center's director until a replacement can be hired.  The university expects to fill the position by mid-2014.

Read more
Community
4:52 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Humane Society of Huron Valley Investigating Ann Arbor Dog Stabbing

file photo from HSHV
Credit Courtesy photo / Human Society of Huron Valley

Cruelty investigators with the Humane Society of Huron Valley expect to file a report with the county prosecutor's office next week on the stabbing of a dog during a heated domestic dispute in Ann Arbor. 

The incident happened Wednesday night in a home where a family consisting of two adults and two teens live. 

Read more
Community
4:47 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

EMU Adding Four Full-time Police Officers

Credit Eastern Michigan University Police

Eastern Michigan University plans to hire four additional full-time police officers, with an eye toward having them on duty by mid-January. 

  

The officers will be assigned to off-campus patrols, which are currently conducted by two officers. The increase to six officers around Leforge road, just north of campus, will bring additional resources to the area. 

The hiring of new officers is a part of an overall campus safety effort implemented this year.

Other safety measures include expanding the hours of the SEEUS campus escort service, as well as seeking an increase in private security efforts around off-campus apartments.

Read more
Health Notes
4:13 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Nasty Things Could be Growing in the Bottom of your Toothbrush Holder

Newly discovered germ Klebsiella michiganensis magnified 25,000 times.
Credit Accugenix

A brand new bacterium in the same family as E. Coli and Klebsiella Pneumonia has been identified by the NSF International's Applied Research Center in Ann Arbor, and you're not going to like where it can be found.

The bacteria is called Klebsiella michiganensis, and it grows in the bottom of your toothbrush holder.

Dr. Robert Donofrio is the Director of the Applied Research Center at the NSF.

He says more research is necessary to identify the exact source of the bacterium, but what is known is that saliva and toothpaste mixed with fecal matter can fester, creating a sludge that could potentially cause a drug-resistant infection.

Dr. Donofrio also says that the bacterium is unique because it is in capsule from, and is hard to break down due to a slimy surface that helps it attach to mucus membranes and evade immune system responses.

He suggests closing the lid of your toilet before flushing as a way to help prevent cross-contamination.

Read more
Healthcare
4:01 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Video Content Makes a Difference on Health Care Websites

A new Michigan State University study found that website videos are more effective at delivering public health messages than using text alone.

The study created two websites designed to teach mothers with young daughters about breast cancer. One contained only text, while the other included short video clips.

Evan Perrault works for MSU's Communications Department. He says there was a clear difference in results between the two sites.

He says those who viewed the website that included videos performed one more risk protection behavior than those who visited the plain text site.

Perrault says MSU has been looking for the best way to inform the general public about their scientific discoveries, and is likely to conduct further research to expand upon this study's findings.

The study, “Testing the Effects of the Addition of Videos to a Website Promoting Environmental Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Practices: Are Videos Worth It?” was published online today in the National Communication Association's Journal of Applied Communication Research.

Read more
Local News
3:07 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

EMU and Food Gatherers Team Up to Help the Hungry

Food Gatherers and Eastern Michigan University Athletics are working together to help feed Washtenaw County's needy this winter.  

Non-perishable food items are being collected at Monday's men's basketball game against Cleveland State, and at men's and women's games November 23rd and 30th. 

Items can also be dropped off in canisters at the EMU Convocation Center any time during the month of November.

Food Gatherers helps 150 local agencies and programs provide hot meals, nutritious snacks and other food assistance to low-income adults, seniors and children.

Visit foodgatherers.org for more information.Upcoming Donation Game Schedule
Nov. 13 - Women's Basketball vs. Butler - 7 p.m.
Nov. 18 - Men's Basketball vs. Cleveland State - 7 p.m.
Nov. 23 - Men's Basketball vs. Texas Arlington - 7 p.m.
Nov. 30 - Women's Basketball vs. Marygrove - 2 p.m.

Read more
Health
3:05 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

U-of-M Study Says Many Factors Influence Testing for HPV

The human papilloma virus causes most cervical cancers. That's why HPV testing is now recommended for women ages 30 to 65.
Credit Science Photo Library

Many factors play into whether a woman considered at low risk for developing cervical cancer will be tested for the virus that causes the disease, such as the gender of the woman's doctor and his or her status as a resident or seasoned physician. 

That's according to a study from the University of Michigan Health System, where senior author Dr. Mack Ruffin says procedures at individual clinics can also make a difference.

The study found that female doctors were twice as likely to order H-P-V testing for a low-risk patient than male doctors. 

Seasoned physicians were less likely to order the test than Residents and other less-senior doctors.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Read more
Environment
5:21 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Report Says Climate Change Tough on Michigan's Big Game Animals

Credit Courtesty Victor Shendel / National Wildlife Federation

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation outlines the effects of climate change for Michigan's big game animals and their habitat. 

The report says deer, moose, and elk experience dire repercussions from human-induced climate change. 

Christopher Hoving is the Wildlife Adaptation Specialist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says that a decrease of snowfall will affect the deer population locally and regionally.

Hoving also says that the disease Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, found in white tailed deer, is more common thanks to longer summers and warmer winters. 

From the report:

Nowhere to Run takes a comprehensive look at the best available science on climate change’s impacts on big game, covering moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and black bears. The most significant effects include:

  • Heat: Moose can become heat-stressed in warm weather, especially in summer if temperatures climb above 60 to70 degrees when moose coats are thinner. Heat stress leads to lower weights, declining pregnancy rates and increased vulnerability to predators and disease. Because of warmer fall and winter temperatures, black bears are already more active than usual during times when they normally conserve energy through hibernation, pushing fat stores to the limit.
  • Drought: More droughts have reduced aspen forests in the west, a favorite elk habitat, and many elk are not migrating as much as they traditionally have. Increasing periods of drought, more invasive plants and wildfires will alter sagebrush and grassland ecosystems, favored pronghorn habitats.
  • Parasites and disease: With less snowpack to kill ticks, moose in New Hampshire are literally being eaten alive, losing so much blood to ticks that they die of anemia. White-tailed deer are susceptible to hemorrhagic disease caused by viruses transmitted by biting midges

Nowhere to Run outlines the key steps needed to stem climate change and save big game:

  1. Address the underlying cause and cut carbon pollution 50 percent by 2030.
  2. Transition to cleaner, more secure sources of energy like offshore wind, solar power and next-generation biofuels and avoid polluting energy like coal and tar sands oil.
  3. Safeguard wildlife and their habitats by promoting climate-smart approaches to conservation.
  4. Factor a changing climate in big game plans and management.

Read the report at NWF.org/Sportsmen. Nowhere to Run is the latest in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2013 Wildlife in a Warming World series:

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

Winter Prep
5:17 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Weatherization Program Aims to Help Reduce Energy Bills

The Washtenaw County Weatherization Program is taking applications to help low-income households reduce their energy bills this winter.

The program helps increase energy efficiency in applicants' homes by adding insulation and inspecting and repairing water heaters, furnaces and refrigerators. 

Program coordinator Aaron Kraft says the first thing they do is audit a home to determine what problems it faces.

Kraft says the service is only applicable for people living in certain kinds of homes. 

The weatherization program helps around 100 households a year, and has assisted thousands since it began.

Homeowners and renters in Washtenaw County may be eligible for FREE weatherization services to help reduce energy bills.

The county can help  provide energy saving repairs, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Insulation in the attic, walls, and crawl-spaces
  • Furnace and water heater inspections and repairs
  • Caulking around drafty windows and doors
  • Inspections and replacements for inefficient refrigerators
  • Weather-stripping around doors and attic accesses

For more information, including eligibility requirements, please review the Weatherization FAQs page.

Hear WEMU's Bob Eccles' report here.

Pages