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

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."

Read more
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.

Read more
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:

Read more
WEMU News
4:38 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Ann Arbor VA Director Says Patient Care Allegations Taken 'Very Seriously'

Credit AnnArbor.VA.gov

The director of Ann Arbor's VA hospital says the facility will continue to cooperate with any and all reviews of the facility.

This comes on the heels of the release of a letter to President Obama from an investigator that says a whistleblower at the facility reported that employees were "practicing unsafe and unsanitary work practices" and untrained workers were improperly handling instruments. 

Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System director Robert McDivitt says any allegations about patient safety are taken very seriously.

Read more
WEMU News
2:42 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Prepare For Color Run Road Closures Saturday In Ypsilanti

Credit ytown.org

If you'll be driving in the Ypsilanti area Saturday morning, plan on dodging street closures necessary to hold the annual Color Run.

Streets will be closed at 7 a.m. with the 5-K race and walk scheduled to start at 8.  Among the affected streets:

Read more
WEMU News
4:37 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Ypsilanti Historic Homes Tour This Weekend

Credit yhf.org

The Ypsilanti Heritage Foundation Sunday has the chance to show off some of the diverse and beautiful architecture in the city with its annual Historic Homes Tour.

Tour chair Jan Arps-Prundeanu says you've no doubt driven past these homes many times.

"The tour always gives people an opportunity to get to see the inside of some of these beautiful homes," Arps-Prundeanu says.

Some of the homes on this year's tour:

Read more
WEMU News
4:15 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Chelsea Takes Preemptive Truck Traffic Action

Credit city-chelsea.org

With the possibility of a mining operation coming to Lyndon Township, officials in Chelsea have taken steps to regulate heavy truck traffic rumbling through town along M-52.

The city has created an M-52 corridor that requires mining haulers and other big trucks to apply for a special permit to use the road. 

Chelsea special legal counsel Gerald Fisher says the restrictions also apply to over-sized vehicles carrying things like manufactured homes and wind turbine blades.

"That operation will be subject to application, review and approval by the city," Fisher says.

Read more
Sports
3:37 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Gray Turf Coming To EMU's Rynearson Stadium

Credit emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University is taking a page out of Boise State's playbook and will play its home football games on a field featuring a unique color scheme.

A state-of-the-art  gray-colored FieldTurf playing surface will be ready for the Eagle's season-opening home game against Morgan State. 

EMU Athletic Director Heather Lyke says the new turf is being paid for with money Eastern gets from host schools.

Read more
WEMU News
8:28 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

DTE Energy Working To Restore Power Across Washtenaw County

Credit dteenergy.com

Storms that rolled through Washtenaw County knocked out power to several thousand DTE Energy customers Wednesday afternoon.

The utility's outage map shows three main affected areas:

  • Dexter Township area:  500-1500 customers without electricity.
  • Webster Township area:  100-500 customers affected.
  • Southern edge of Ann Arbor into Pittsfield Township:  1500-2500 customers in the dark.

Numerous smaller scattered outages have also been reported.

Read more
WEMU News
2:25 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Red Cross Working To Build Up Summer Blood Supply

Credit redcross.org

The American Red Cross hopes you'll help build up their supply of blood for the busy summer months.

Regular donors can sometimes forget to give over the summer.  Students are also a big part of the donor base, but with school out the Red Cross loses many of their younger donors. 

The Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region is holding close to two dozen local blood donor events through the beginning of July.

Find more information online:

http://www.redcross.org/mi/detroit

Read more
WEMU News
2:42 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Ann Arbor, DTE Energy Help Landlords Save On Utilities

Credit dteenergy.com

The City of Ann Arbor wants to help provide some energy relief to rental property owners.

They are teaming up with DTE's Multi-Family Program on a pilot program that offers free upgrades like compact flourescent light bulbs, water-saving shower heads and programmable thermostats. 

Heidi Muir, the principal program advisor, says they usually focus on rental properties with five or more units.

This effort targets smaller properties.

"We will accept multi-family properties with two to five units under one contiguous roof," Muir says.

Read more
WEMU News
4:33 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Botswana's Ambassador To The U.S. Talks Health Care At St. Joe's

Her Excellency Tebelelo Seretse, the Republic of Botswana's ambassador to the U.S., speaks with staff at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor.
Credit Bob Eccles

There are plenty of ways the health care system in the African nation of Botswana appears to be doing a better job than the U.S. health care system, but both countries can also learn from each other.

That's the assessment from her Excellency Tebelelo Seretse, Botswana's ambassador to the U.S., who spoke with staff at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor Monday afternoon. 

The ambassador says it can take a person in Washington D.C. two weeks to get an appointment with a private physician.

Read more
Michigan News
4:32 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Michigan, Israel Sign Research And Development Agreement

Gov. Snyder and Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad met in Dearborn on Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding to do joint industrial research and development.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan forges official relationship with Israel on industrial R&D

Gov. Rick Snyder has cemented a formal relationship between Michigan and Israel to collaborate on industrial research and development.

The governor and Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad signed a memorandum of understanding Monday in Dearborn.
    
Snyder says the deal was reached after more than a year of talks with Israeli officials.

Read more
WEMU News
2:49 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Weather Decent For Viewing 'Super Moon'

EMU's Sherzer Observatory, as seen from the WEMU newsroom window.
Credit Bob Eccles

The weather looks like it will cooperate and give us a decent view of tonight's "Super Moon".

Norbert Vance is director of Eastern Michigan University's Sherzer Observatory. 

He says that as the summer solstice approaches, the moon is at its lowest point on the horizon, "Which gives it the illusion of riding low and mysteriously colored orange in that southern sky."

And being a full moon, it'll appear huge tonight.  But Vance says you can take measurements and see that tonight's moon is no larger than the moon as it appears other nights high in the sky. 

Read more
WEMU News
12:01 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

A New Name For Chelsea Community Hospital

Credit Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

After more than five years as a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS), the Board of Trustees of Chelsea Community Hospital has decided to rename the hospital St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.

The name was approved after several months of careful study, market research, mission discernment and input from community members, donors, physicians and colleagues. 

Read more
WEMU News
4:48 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Arbor Hospice Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Credit arborhospice.org

Ann Arbor Hospice has come a long way in the last 30 years, as has the field of hospice care.

Gloria Brooks is president and CEO of Arbor Hospice. 

She says they started back in 1984 seeing nine patients a day.  Now, Arbor Hospice cares for more than 250 patients a day in Washtenaw County and six other counties in southeast Michigan. 

Brooks says hospice facilities have faced challenges over the years, most recently from the Affordable Care Act, which has reduced payments to providers.

Read more
WEMU News
4:47 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Habitat For Humanity Focusing On West Willow Neighborhood

Credit h4h.org

Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley will descend on Ypsilanti Township's West Willow neighborhood this weekend to help homeowners with chores like painting and cleaning out gutters.

A dozen or more homes will be targeted in Saturday's effort. 

Habitat's focus on helping to revitalize the West Willow neighborhood is expected to continue for several years.

Find out more about Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley online:

http://www.h4h.org/

Read more
WEMU News
8:44 am
Thu June 12, 2014

EMU VP Leaving To Become Dingell Chief Of Staff

Congressman John Dingell.
Credit dingell.house.gov

Eastern Michigan University's Vice President of Government and Community Relations is leaving to take a job as Chief of Staff to retiring Congressman John Dingell.

Read more
WEMU News
8:44 am
Thu June 12, 2014

EMU Discusses 2015 Budget At Forum

EMU's Pease Auditorium.
Credit Bob Eccles

Eastern Michigan University's recently approved $301.9 million fiscal year 2015 spending plan was the subject of a late morning forum.

Chief Financial Officer John Lumm says the budget is fiscally responsible, and will help EMU continue to improve its overall financial position. 

Included in the budget is a tuition increase of 3.2 percent - the maximum allowed by the state for schools wishing to receive funding. 

EMU is also making $4.6 million more in financial aid available, and budgeted for safety enhancements like the hiring of 10 new public safety officers.

Read more
WEMU News
8:44 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Ringleaders Identified In Recent Gang-Related Crime Surge

Credit eWashtenaw.org

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office has identified three or four individuals believed to be the leaders in a recent rash of juvenile gang-related trouble at the Huron Heights apartment complex on Leforge Road.

Director of Community Engagement Derrick Jackson says a group of mostly middle school to early high schoolers has been mimicking gang behavior, leading to numerous calls for police service. 

Read more
WEMU News
8:43 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Washtenaw County Seeks Public Input On Former Juvenile Center's Future

Credit wikipedia commons

Washtenaw County will seek the community's thoughts on what to do with the former Juvenile Center property on Platt Road.

A consultant will spend the next seven months helping the county decide how to proceed. 

Plans call for a three-day charrette to give the public a chance to weigh in on the future use of the 13-point-five acre parcel, but dates for that workshop have not been set.

Read more
WEMU News
5:25 am
Wed June 11, 2014

VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Director Addresses Wait Times

Credit annarbor.va.gov

Veterans spent close to 30 days waiting for their initial appointment at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and director Robert McDivitt says while that's not bad compared to other area healthcare facilities, it's also not where the VA wants to be.

Investigators who conducted a nation-wide audit of the VA health care system plan to make a return visit to the Ann Arbor facility, although no date's been set for that visit. 

Read more
WEMU News
5:25 am
Wed June 11, 2014

WISD Superintendent Concerned About K-12 Funding Proposal

Credit wash.k12.mi.us/

A proposed increase in per-pupil funding for K-12 schools would actually leave many area districts at the same or even lower funding levels next fiscal year.

That's according to Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel, who says that would be the net result of moving from a funding formula in which poor districts get twice as large of a funding increase as wealthier districts, to a formula where the minimum foundation grant is boosted by $175. 

Read more
WEMU News
5:24 am
Wed June 11, 2014

C.S. Mott Again Ranked Among Nation's Top Children's

Credit mottchildrens.org

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital has once again been ranked among the best children's hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Mott has been recognized for excellence in each of the ten specialties the magazine examined since the rankings first came out in 2007. 

The highlight for this year was the area of cardiology and heart surgery, in which C.S. Mott placed in the top ten in the country.

Read more
WEMU News
4:24 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Food Gatherers Eyes Need For Summer Assistance

Credit foodgatherers.org

More than 1,800 people came together for Sunday's Grillin' for Food Gatherers fundraiser.

The money generated from the event will be used to help the local non-profit organization combat food insecurity throughout Washtenaw County.

Food Gatherers President Eileen Spring says the money raised from yesterday's event will provide 35,000 meals and snacks between now and September.

Find out more about Food Gatherers online:

http://foodgatherers.org

Read more

Pages