Bob Eccles


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.

Adrienne Ayers

An Eastern Michigan University social work major recently found herself on stage in Ferguson, Missouri.  She ended up speaking to 3,000 people at an interfaith convention.


Adrienne Ayers is a senior from Detroit, where she is also a community activist.  She says she went to Ferguson recently to find out what was going on, and to offer her support. 

Ayers and two companions walked into the convention, and were shocked to find a panel of celebrities and activists simply re-hashing what had happened.

Two years ago, an Ypsilanti woman created the DiverseNote career management social networking site.  She's now been recognized by Crain's Detroit Business as one of the area's up-and-coming young business people.

The Huron River Watershed Council's "RiverUp!" stewardship program is the subject of three new mini-documentaries.  The films focus on efforts to preserve the future of the Huron River and the people doing that work.

Huron River Watershed Council Deputy Director and "RiverUp!" Director Elizabeth Riggs says the first of the short films highlights fly fishing on the Huron River by telling the story of Depot Town businessman Mike Schultz and his love of fly fishing.

Doing volunteer work and helping improve the community is important to many people in the Washtenaw County area, and Saturday is a day tailored specifically for that purpose.


It's Make A Difference Day, and United Way of Washtenaw County Community Impact and Volunteer Center Manager Amanda Reel says it's your chance to give an hour or more of your time for a good cause.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti voters will decide a total of 10 proposed amendments to the city charter on November 4th, and outgoing Mayor Paul Schreiber hopes they'll reject two of them.

Proposal I would give city council the power to remove appointees to board and commissions with a two-thirds majority vote. 

Mayor Schreiber says those decisions are best left to the Mayor.

Government officials from across Michigan gathered in East Lansing Monday for the state's first Heroin Summit. Michigan's departments of Education and Community Health as well as the State Police held presentations and participated in panel discussions to determine how to stem the rising heroin problem.

Washtenaw Public Health epidemiologist Adreanne Waller says local organizations like the Washtenaw Health Initiative are already combating the problem.

The annual Chautauqua at the Riverside event has always been part of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival - until now.  This year's event happens Saturday at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti.


Program Coordinator Val Kabat says they're packing a lot of good stuff into one day.  In fact, she sort of wishes they'd planned for two days.

"Because there were so many good programs to choose from," Kabat says.  "But it will give us a lot to work from next year."

Governor Rick Snyder and county road commissions across the state are asking Michigan residents to take some time Saturday giving their roadside mailboxes a shake.  "Shake Your Mailbox Day" is meant to help make sure mailboxes and their supports are ready for the harsh winter months.

Washtenaw County Road Commission Director of Operations Jim Harmon says it's a seasonal burden for property owners with mailboxes by the side of the road.

Bob Eccles

When time for the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival rolls around again next summer Andrew Clock will not be at the helm as director.  Clock says festival's board president Wednesday night asked him to resign, and he agreed to step down.


Board president David Nickerson says it's been difficult for Clock to put the time and effort into the festival on an ongoing basis.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti residents have the chance to learn more about their pubic safety departments at a public forum Thursday evening.  The forum will include presentations from the police and fire departments, along with emergency preparedness, code enforcement and the prosecuting attorney.

The meeting is called "Public Safety: How it Really Works." 

Bob Eccles

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office is working to build community trust in an effort to prevent something like the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri from happening here.   Sheriff Jerry Clayton and Ann Arbor Police Chief John Seto Wednesday night spoke with concerned community members at a public meeting prompted by events in Ferguson.

Sheriff Clayton told a crowd at Ann Arbor's Church of the Good Shepherd that an organizational culture that recognizes biases and can thus avoid them is also needed. 

Bob Eccles

The union representing teachers and support staff in Ypsilanti Community Schools is out with its list of school board candidate endorsements.  Only one of them is an incumbent.

Ypsilanti Community Schools Education Association President Kelly Powers says the endorsed candidates have a "great vision for the future of our district."  She says they "also see some of the concerns that are there and will address them in an appropriate manner."

Bob Eccles

Voters will be choosing from among 18 candidates to fill seven seats on the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education next month.  All but three of those candidates met some of the people whose votes they're courting Monday night at Ypsilanti Community High School.


Rather than having every candidate answer the same question, candidates took turns answering questions in small groups.

Ten years ago Thursday the Yankee Air Museum's hangar went up in flames, destroying everything the museum had, except for its three flying aircraft.  And if not for the heroic work of several museum volunteers, the planes might have been lost, as well.

Lew Major has served on the crew of the museum's B-25 bomber, the Yankee Warrior, since 1998.  They had just returned from an airs how and were preparing to store the plane in the hangar when they saw smoke. 

Bob Eccles

A popular downtown Ypsilanti eatery is expanding its hours.  The owners have several reasons for deciding to stretch out a bit.

When you walk into Beezy's Cafe at lunchtime, you're usually hard pressed to find a seat.  That's one of the reasons owner Bee Roll is planning to keep Beezy's open evenings in the near future.

A retired Ypsilanti school teacher created a website to help bring everything happening in the Ypsilanti community together in one place.  Now, she's looking for someone to take over the website.

Linda Jones exchanged her chalk for a website developer's hat when she retired a couple of years ago and created the website. 

She says maintaining the site isn't hard.

Blood Moon
Alfredo Garcia Jr/WikiMedia Commons

If you'll be up around 5:15 Wednesday morning, be sure to step outside and look into the western sky.  You'll see the beginning of a lunar eclipse, which will cast an organge-ish glow on the moon as the earth moves between it and the sun.

The so-called "Blood Moon," or "Pumpkin Moon," if you prefer, is something that we've seen fairly often this year.

As more states join the list of those where same-sex marriage is legal, an appeal of the overturning of Michigan's ban on gay and lesbian unions remains under consideration in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Local reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court declining to consider appeals from five states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriage comes from Sandi Smith, Board President of the Jim Toy Community Center.  

Smith says while Monday's order doesn't specifically impact Michigan, it is good news. 

Bob Eccles

This year’s Ypsi 24 Hour Film Shootout drew more than 30 teams of independent film makers, each of them hoping to win a $1,000 top prize and the coveted “IPSY” trophy.  The short films were screened and winners announced Friday night at Washtenaw Community College’s Towsley Auditorium.

Adam Wright won with his film,"Where We Forget," in his third year of participating in the shootout.  He’s been involved in film making pretty much all his life.

Ypsilanti's Downtown Development Authority is launching a new program to bring businesses downtown, at least temporarily.  The Pop-Up Business Program launches Monday night with the first of two orientation sessions.

DDA director Tim Colbeck says the aim is to put some of the vacant storefronts downtown to use for the fall and winter seasons. 

The Pop-Up Business Program lets business owners set up shop temporarily to find out if there is a market for their products, and to figure out if their business model works.

Enrollment in Ypsilanti Community Schools is down from a year ago, but that does not come as a surprise to district administrators.


Superintendent Laura Lisiscki  says count day enrollment came in at about 4,300 students, right around what the district budgeted for. 

That's compared to 4,542 students last year. 

Lisiscki expects this year's numbers to go up once adult education and preschool numbers are added.

Huron River Watershed Council

The Huron River Watershed Council's effort to go into classrooms and teach kids about their environment has gotten a boost from the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation.  A $250,000 grant will help fund an ongoing program that promotes hands-on learning of science, technology, engineering and math skills.

Jason Frenzel is volunteer and stewardship coordinator for the Huron River Watershed Council

Photo courtesy Charlie Engelman

A University of Michigan senior has won the National Geographic Channel's Expedition Granted contest.


Charlie Engelman bested more than 700 other people to win a $50,000 prize.  

Engelman says he'll use the money to put a team together to travel around the country.  They'll visit forests, and produce 20 to 30 short online science-based videos.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti's Hamilton Crossing housing area has come a long way since the days when it sat run down and nearly empty, a magnet for crime with boarded up windows.  Both Hamilton Crossing and its residents are doing much better now.

Tax credits helped pay for renovations at the property, and the Family Empowerment Program has been helping residents improve their lives. 

Bob Eccles

The city of Ypsilanti will have a new Mayor in a little over a month, and it looks as though it'll be Amanda Edmonds.


The Executive Director of Growing Hope faces a write-in challenge next month, but she's been gearing up for the new job by studying up on city board and commissions and their vacancies. 

She would be appointing members as Mayor.