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
3:02 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Underway

Last-minute preparations in Riverside Park for the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival
Bob Eccles

After some last-minute setting up of tents and displays, the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival is underway. 

The path to this year's festival was a bit bumpy, with some long-time participants striking out on their own and the city failing to consider a financial contribution in the form of a sponsorship to help offset the higher fees that all events held on city property are dealing with this year. 

Still, festival director Andrew Clock says they're ready to go.

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WEMU News
8:37 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Pesticide Protest Targets Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Credit Facebook.com/BeeAgainstMonsanto

If you see a bunch of people dressed as bees buzzing around the Ann Arbor Farmers Market Saturday, it's not your imagination.

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WEMU News
6:15 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

New Digs For Youth And Family Services

Credit eWashteaw.org

Starting Thursday, Washtenaw County Community Support and Treatment Services, Youth and Family Services division will operate out of the same location where adult services are offered.

Program administrator Elizabeth Spring says Youth and Family Services has been working out of temporary offices at the detention center since black mold cropped up at the former location.

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Health
5:39 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

EMU Nursing Grad Leader In Holistic Medicine

Credit Eastern Michigan University

Some medical service providers are turning to a new method of patient treatment amid growing concerns over healthcare.  


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WEMU News
4:53 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

U-M Studies Alternative Depression Treatment

Credit med.umich.edu

Following the unexpected passing of Robin Williams in an apparent suicide, the national conversation has turned to depression and how to treat the debilitating affliction. 

The University of Michigan has started studying an alternative treatment that has had some promising results. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, therapy uses powerful electro-magnets to treat patients when anti-depressants and other forms of medication don't work.

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WEMU News
4:23 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

I-94 Ramp Closure May Cost Weber's Inn Business

Credit webersinn.com

The ramp from eastbound I-94 to Jackson Avenue is now closed for about three weeks of repairs, and one of the more prominent businesses in the area expects the closure will have a negative financial impact.

Weber's Inn is located just off the freeway ramp, and Vice President Mark Weber says while their dinner crowd may be willing to go a little out of its way, lunch customers are different.

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WEMU News
7:43 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Cancer Research Gets Big Financial Boost

Credit stjoeshealth.org

Michigan has gotten another big boost in the battle against cancer.

A 13 hospital consortium lead by the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System has been awarded $10-million for cancer research by the National Cancer Institute.

Beth LaVasseur is Saint Joseph's Director of Research and Operations. She says some of the money will be used to cover the costs of running so many clinical trials.

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WEMU News
5:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

It's Back To School Today For Some Ypsilanti Elementary Students

Credit Patrik Holubik

Summer vacation is over for kids attending Holmes Elementary, where a balanced calendar, or year-round school, is now in place.

Students start classes at Holmes today, and teachers reported last week to get everything ready for them. 

Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says she's had very positive feedback from parents.

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WEMU News
4:53 am
Fri August 8, 2014

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Headline Baltia Air Lines Thunder Over Michigan Air Show This Weekend

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team.
Credit afthunderbirds.com

Those red, white and blue jets you'll hear (and if you're quick, maybe see) screaming across the skies in eastern Washtenaw County the next few days belong to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, in town for this weekend's Baltia Air Lines Thunder over Michigan air show.

Show director Kevin Walsh believes it says good things about the Yankee Air Museum and the volunteers who help make the show possible that the Thunderbirds chose to come here.

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WEMU News
4:51 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Summer's Almost Over For Holmes Elementary Students in Ypsilanti

Credit Patrik Holubik

School starts Monday at Holmes Elementary School, where a so-called 'balanced calendar' is in place.

Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says Holmes is the only building switching to year-round school this year.  But will the rest of the district eventually follow?

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Environment
6:32 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Environmental Non-Profits Agree: More Diversity Needed

Credit pixabay.com

A University of Michigan researcher says environmental non-profits need to do a better job of encouraging diversity among volunteers, staff and leadership.


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WEMU News
2:41 am
Wed August 6, 2014

A Squeaker Among The Dozen Ballot Proposals Decided Tuesday

Credit Bob Eccles

Public safety ballot proposals fared well in Washtenaw County Tuesday.

Voters said "yes" to police and fire millage renewals in York, Dexter and Superior Townships, and Northfield and Augusta Township voters approved fire services millage renewals. 

Freedom Township will remain part of the Manchester District Library, and Chelsea voters approved a point-three-two mil increase for operation of the library in their community. 

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WEMU News
2:41 am
Wed August 6, 2014

A Familiar Name Wins District 5 County Commmission Primary

Credit Bob Eccles

A fairly tight race for the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners District 5 seat being vacated by Roland Sizemore went to a familiar name.

Former Ypsilanti Township Supervisor and Treasurer and State Representative Ruth Ann Jamnick fended off three other Democrats for the right to face Republican Timothy King of Ypsilanti in the November general election. 

Jamnick picked up 36 percent of the vote Tuesday, with absentee voters helping to put her over the top. 

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WEMU News
11:21 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Edmonds Wins Ypsilanti Mayoral Primary

Amanda Edmonds speaks outside the Sidetrack Lounge in Ypsilanti's Depot Town following her victory in Tusday's mayoral primary election.
Credit Bob Eccles

Amanda Edmonds' victory over Ypsilanti city council member Pete Murdock and community activist Tyrone Bridges in Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary election means she will almost certainly replace Paul Schreiber as Mayor after the November general election.

Edmonds has no declared opponent in the fall, and outside the Sidetrack Lounge in Depot Town Tuesday evening she said she looks forward to bringing the tone of the community and the voice of the people to council.

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WEMU News
3:20 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Washtenaw County Voters To Decide A Dozen Ballot Proposals

Credit wikimedia commons

Washtenaw County voters have an even dozen ballot proposals to decide today.

Many of them are police and fire millage renewals, but Manchester Community Schools voters are also being asked to OK a bond issue and millage renewal.

A couple of library-related proposals will also be decided.  The Chelsea District Library is asking for a millage increase, while in Freedom Township, voters are being asked whether they should withdraw from the Manchester District Library. 

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WEMU News
3:56 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Unvaccinated Kids Could Pose Problem For Washtenaw County

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Mumps, pertussis and other diseases are a growing concern in Washtenaw County because many children haven't been vaccinated against them.

Washtenaw County places 66th out of Michigan's 84 counties for fully-vacinated children between the ages of 13 and 17.

Washtenaw County Public Health Medical Director Alice Penrose says some diseases that aren't common are starting to come back and could become a major problem.

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WEMU News
3:55 am
Mon August 4, 2014

ArborBike Bike Sharing Program Gearing Up For Fall Launch

Credit cec-mi.org

It's taking a little longer than expected, but the Clean Energy Coalition's ArborBike program is gearing up for a fall launch.

Nick Helmholdt is operations manager for the bike share program, which was originally targeting a June kick-off.  He says plans now call for installation of equipment the first week in September.

"We are currently targeting the 12th of September as a public launch date," Hemholdt says.

10 of the planned 14 bike sharing stations will open this fall. 

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WEMU News
3:55 am
Mon August 4, 2014

University Of Michigan Believes It Has Solved Housing Shortage

Credit http://housing.umich.edu/undergrad

A shortage of on-campus housing at the University of Michigan appears to have been averted.

University Housing spokesperson Peter Logan says they have started converting small lounge areas into additional rooms and are encouraging upper classmen to voluntarily move into off-campus apartments.

"We're cautiously optimistic that we have been able to identify and make spaces available for the number of incoming freshmen that we need to have," Logan says.

A record-breaking class of incoming students exceeded the school's housing projection.

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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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