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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WEMU News
3:03 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week August 1-9

Credit Facebook.com/pages/ypsi-arbor-beer-week

Today marks the kick-off of a week dedicated to Michigan's craft beer industry, along with the local establishments that help small breweries get their product out to the public.

Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week runs through August 9th, with events planned in local bars, restaurants and retail businesses. 

Organizer Anne Drummond says this isn't a bunch of people crowding under a tent to taste-test beers - not that there's anything wrong with that. 

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Community
3:02 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Safehouse Center Launching 'Men Taking A Stand' Campaign

Credit SafehouseCenter.org

Sexual assault and domestic violence remain serious problems in Washtenaw County, and Safehouse Center is preparing its upcoming "Men Taking a Stand" campaign to help stop them.


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WEMU News
3:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Red Cross Assists Ann Arbor Families Displaced By Fire

Credit twitter.com

The Red Cross has helped several families find temporary shelter after a fire Wednesday night forced them to vacate their homes.


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WEMU News
2:58 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Ypsi Art Fair Part Of First Fridays Ypsilanti Art Crawl

First Fridays Ypsilanti

Washington Street in Ypsilanti is being converted into an open air art gallery Friday and Saturday for First Fridays Ypsilanti's latest art crawl event. 


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WEMU News
2:18 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Poll Shows Taylor With Big Lead In Ann Arbor Mayoral Primary Race

Ann Arbor Chronicle graph from PPP data

Ann Arbor voters will be choosing from among four Democratic candidates for mayor in next week's primary election, and a new poll finds city council member Christopher Taylor with a big lead.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle published results of the poll by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, which shows Taylor the favorite among 39 percent of voters polled.  Council member Sabra Brier is closest, with 19 percent. 

Chronicle Editor Dave Askins says he wasn't surprised by the results, but the clustering seen in the polling was unexpected.

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Education
8:28 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Reflects On YCS 1.0, Looks Ahead to YCS 2.0

Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says the district's first year included plenty of challenges and achievements.

She says the district focused on its core values in making advances in cultural proficiencies, project-based learning and partnerships with institutions like Washtenaw Community College. 

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WEMU News
8:27 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Ann Arbor Website Re-Designed For Greater Citizen Connectivity

Credit A2Gov.org

Ann Arbor officials are trying to make it easier for  people to communicate with them.

The city's website has been redesigned for improved social media integration and includes a new "A2 Fix It" app that allows people to report potholes, graffitti and other issues from their smart phone or other connected device.

Ann Arbor spokesperson Lisa Wondrash says residents will have an easier time navigating the new website and finding the information they need.

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Elections
12:31 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Correction - Interview: 12th Congressional District Candidate Raymond Mullins

Credit facebook.com/RayMullinsForCongress

EDITOR'S NOTE: WEMU has been notified that some claims made in this interview are not factually correct.  Based on this notification, we have launched an investigation into the matter.  WEMU has verified that some of the contentions put forth by Mr. Mullins are inaccurate.  We will continue to gather information and publish our results once the investigation is complete.  For now, playback or download of the interview has been disabled.

UPDATE: 8/1/14

In this interview:

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WEMU News
4:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Ann Arbor Lawmakers Proposes Ban On Gay 'Conversion Therapy' For Minors

State Representative Adam Zemke.
Credit 055.housedems.com

Michigan could soon ban gay "conversion therapy" for minors.

State Representative Adam Zemke from Ann Arbor introduced a bill last week that would prohibit health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.

Sandi Smith is the president of the Jim Toy Center, a resource for Washtenaw County's LGBT community.

She says they are glad lawmakers are moving this issue forward.

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WEMU News
4:58 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Washtenaw Community College Enrollment Bucks Trend

Credit Facebook.com/WashtenawCC

Years of effort to bring more students to Washtenaw Community College are starting to pay off.

WCC is reporting an increase of 2 percent in the number of students attending class fall.

It is one of only five community colleges in Michigan to report increasing enrollment for the upcoming semester.

Linda Blakey is WCC's Vice President of Student and Academic Services. She says multiple demographics are seeing a rise in enrollment.

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WEMU News
2:50 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Family Dollar Construction Begins On Water Street

Work has begun at the site of the Water Street Family Dollar store.
Credit Bob Eccles

Construction has begun on the site of a Family Dollar store on the Water Street re-development area.

An official groundbreaking will he held after the August 5th primary election, but construction machinery was busy at work on the site Tuesday, maneuvering around wooden stakes topped with pieces of fluttering fluorescent tape. 

The sidewalk along Michigan Avenue is also marked with fluorescent spray paint. 

The Family Dollar project is the first on Water Street to see construction begin since 1999. 

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Elections
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Washtenaw County Commission District 5 Candidates Discuss Public Safety

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Roland Sizemore's announcement that he would not seek re-election to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners in District 5 prompted four Democrats to file to replace him.

Keith Jason, Wilma Gold-Jones, Ruth Ann Jamnick and Victor Dobrin each would like to represent Ypsilanti and Augusta Townships on the board. Listen to thee candidates' thoughts on crime and public safety in the audio above.

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WEMU News
6:44 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Ypsilanti Mayoral Candidates Talk Pubic Safety

Credit Bob Eccles

Three Democrats are seeking to replace Paul Schreiber as Mayor of Ypsilanti.

Growing Hope Executive Director Amanda Edmonds, current city council member and former mayor Pete Murdock, and community activist Tyrone Bridges appear on the August 5th primary election ballot.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports on the  candidates' thoughts on crime and public safety.

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WEMU News
12:43 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Washtenaw County Gauging Affordable Housing Need

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County wants to get a better idea of how great the need is locally for affordable housing, and has launched an online needs assessment to help make that determination.

Paul Montagno is the Sustainable Communities Coordinator for Washtenaw County's Office of Community and Economic Development.

He says this survey will be very helpful in providing policy direction.

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Elections
6:20 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Interview: 12th Congressional District Candidate Debbie Dingell

Credit debbiedingellforcongress.com

As the August 5th primary election draws near, Debbie Dingell, one of two Democrats seeking to fill her husband John's 12th Congressional district seat, stops by the WEMU studios to talk about the campaign.

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WEMU News
4:35 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Survey: Candidates Recognize Value Of Arts And Culture

Credit A3Arts.org

Candidates running for office in Washtenaw County show a good understanding of the important role that arts and culture play in setting a sense of place and improving the local economy.

That's according to Arts Alliance Director Deb Polich, whose organization hosted a candidates forum Wednesday morning.

"I think the challenge that comes up often is that they don't know the opportunities that exist in other cities and other states that actually make it possible to invest dollars and make public policy that can change the current circumstances," Police says.

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WEMU News
3:26 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Red Cross Aims To Avoid Emergency Blood Shortage

Credit twitter.com

Blood is not like drinking water - you can't stockpile large supplies for use in emergencies.  It has to be fairly fresh.  And so the American Red Cross finds itself in its usual summertime bind of critically needing donations.

Red Cross Communications Manager Angie Bermudez says it's tough when 20 percent of blood drives take place on college campuses and at high schools.

She says with summer vacations, this is the time of greatest need.

"We're missing a large percentage of our regular donations," Bermudez says.

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WEMU News
1:55 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Focus On Fun, Involvement In Heritage Festival Parade

Credit ypsilantiheritagefestival.com

Organizers of this year's Ypsilanti Heritage Festival want the festival parade to spotlight the fun, creative side of the community.

"We really want to foster a little bit of that New Orleans spirit," festival director Andrew Clock says, "where neighborhoods come out and put together floats and acts just to say 'look how cool our neighborhood is'.  We've got a lot of that spirit in Ypsilanti, so we want to make the Heritage Festival parade the opportunity to do that."

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WEMU News
4:20 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Mayoral Forum Draws Crowd To Downtown Ypsilanti Library Branch

Ypsilanti mayoral candidates (closest to farthest) Tyrone Bridges, Pete Murdock and Amanda Edmonds.
Bob Eccles

The three Ypsilanti mayoral candidates addressed a packed house Monday night at the downtown library branch.

Among the questions the candidates addressed at the public forum was how to tackle the Water Street debt that threatens to swamp the city's financial boat. 

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-Michigan News
4:13 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Former Treasury Secretary Says Foreign Investment Key To Michigan Economy

Paulson (l) and Governor Rick Snyder speak to reporters Monday at Ford Field in Detroit.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Henry Paulson tells Michigan to seek out Chinese investment

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says foreign investment and immigration will be critical to turning around Michigan's economy.

The former aide to President George W. Bush spoke before the Detroit Economic Club (DEC) Monday afternoon with Gov. Rick Snyder.

"Make Michigan attractive for investment, period. OK? Make it attractive," said Paulson.

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WEMU News
5:16 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Ypsilanti Mayoral Forum Monday Night At Downtown Library

Credit Bob Eccles

Three Democrats are running to be Ypsilanti's next mayor, and they're all scheduled to appear at a public forum Monday night.

The gathering at the Ypsilanti District Library's downtown branch will feature community activist Tyrone Bridges, Growing Hope Executive Director Amanda Edmonds and current city council member Pete Murdock, who all want to replace Paul Schreiber as mayor. 

Organizers say the forum is a chance for voters to hear what the candidates have to say on a variety of issues. 

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WEMU News
5:16 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Got Burger! Receives Warm Welcome In Ypsilanti

Got Burger! at 301 W. Cross St. in Ypsilanti.
Credit Bob Eccles

The owner of the new Got Burger! restaurant on Cross Street in Ypsilanti says the community has really welcomed him, and he looks forward to being an even bigger part of the community.

Haroun Mohammed says he'll be looking for ways to reach out.

"Getting involved in the community, getting involved at EMU and other schools, and just trying to do what we can to give back," Mohammed says.

He says he chose the Cross Street location mainly because there weren't any other burger places around.  

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WEMU News
4:32 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Group Sues Michigan DEQ, Oil Developer Over Proposed Scio Township Well

Credit oilfreebackyards.org

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards has filed suit in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, seeking to derail plans for an exploratory oil well in Scio Township.

The suit alleges the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality doesn't abide by its own permitting rules, and that the public was only involved in the process in a superficial manner. 

The MDEQ says its permitting process has a great record of prevailing in such cases. 

West Bay Exploration Company wants to drill the well.  It says the suit will delay the process, but looks forward to moving ahead with drilling.

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WEMU News
6:25 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Milestone For Yankee Air Museum Bomber Plant Purchase

The portion of the former Willow Run bomber plant the Yankee Air Museum will call home.
Credit Bob Eccles

The effort to convert a section of the former Willow Run bomber plant into a new home for the Yankee Air Museum is moving forward.

Yankee Air Museum founder and Michigan Aerospace Foundation president Dennis Norton says a milestone was reached on Tuesday.

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WEMU News
6:25 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Over Half Of Eligible Washtenaw County Residents Enrolled In Healthy Michigan Plan

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Since open enrollment began on April first, more than 7,400 Washtenaw County residents have successfully enrolled in Michigan's expanded Medicaid plan.

Kristen Nordberg is Washtenaw Health Plan's Director of Enrollment and Advocacy Services.  She says an estimated 13,000 county residents are eligible for the Healthy Michigan Plan.

 "So there are still many, many people in the county that we need to get enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Medicaid plan," Nordberg says.

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