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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Arts and Culture
6:10 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Last Shadow Art Fair This Weekend

"The next & last Shadow Art Fair is on July 20, 2013, noon to midnight, at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI"

The last  Shadow Art Fair will be held this weekend. WEMU's Bob Eccles spoke with Mark Maynard, one of five founders of the Shadow Art Fair, about the fair and why they're calling it quits.

Hear the interview here.

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Community
8:19 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Art Fairs Kick Off with Tonight's Townie Street Party

The Townie Street Party will feature an evening of live outdoor performances featuring The Macpodz, Dragon Wagon, and Seth & May, kids activities, and more.

The Art Fairs begin this week in Ann Arbor. Tonight, locals get a pat on the back for being good sports about hosting the large crowds the  fairs bring to the downtown area. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports,  there will be plenty to do at tonight's kick-off to Art fairs week.

Ann Arbor gears up for Art Fairs week with the annual "Townie Street Party."

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Education
8:12 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Ypsilanti Community Schools to Seek Debt Payment Extension

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education will meet tonight in what, technically, is it's first-ever regular session. WEMU's Bob Eccles has more on the agenda before the board tonight.

WEMU's Bob Eccles previews the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education meeting for Monday, July 15th.

Government
9:33 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Ann Arbor City Council Incumbents Meet Challengers in Candidates Forum

Third ward candidates Julie Grand (l) and incumbent Stephen Kunselman.
Credit Bob Eccles

Two Democratic Ann Arbor City Council members face primary election challenges on August 6th. In the 3rd Ward, Incumbent Stephen Kunselman is being challenged by Julie Grand. In the 4th Ward, John Eaton seeks to unseat Marcia Higgins, and advance to the November General Election. The candidates met Wednesday night  in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area. WEMU's Bob Eccles was there and has this report.

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Education
6:03 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Two Finalists Identified For Ann Arbor Schools Superintendent Position

Brian Osborne and Jeanice Kerr Swift are finalists for the AAPS Superintendent position.
Credit a2schools.org

New Jersey's South Orange and Maplewood Schools Superintendent Brian Osborne and Colorado Springs District 11 Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jeanice Swift are the finalists to be Ann Arbor's next superintendent.

The Ann Arbor School Board narrowed the field of candidates Tuesday afternoon after wrapping up interviews with the six semi-finalists.

The board plans on checking references and visiting the districts later this week.

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Education
7:15 am
Mon July 8, 2013

EMU Educates Students on Keeping Student Loan Debt to a Minimum

Credit : Nastassia Davis [www.nastassiadavis.com] / Foter / CC BY-NC

EMU offering advice to students potentially impacted by higher loan rates, and increased debt.

  Due to inaction on the part of the US Congress, student loan interest rates have doubled. Unless congress takes action upon returning from summer recess, those rates will stick for any student taking out a loan after July 1st of this year. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, eastern Michigan University officials hope congress will return loan rates to lower levels but, either way, will be there to provide counsel to students.

Education
6:22 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Ypsilanti Community Schools to Adopt Code of Conduct for Athletes

Code of Conduct for student athletes in the Ypsilanti Community Schools is in the works. WEMU's Bob Eccles reports on what the code is likely to include.

  The Athletic Director for Ypsilanti Community Schools is putting together a Code of Conduct for student athletes. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Local News
5:21 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

North Star Reach Building Camp For Sick Kids And Their Families

Credit northstarreach.org

North Star Reach is building a camp for kids with chronic or life-threatening illnesses and their families.  WEMU's Bob Eccles spoke with North Star Reach board President Sheri Mark.

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Government
7:27 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Ypsilanti Moves Closer To Creation of Special Assessment for Street Lights

Ypsilanti City Council last night took another step toward creation of a special assessment district to help pay for street light replacement. WEMU's Bob Eccles was there.

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Ypsilanti
7:18 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Ypsi Council Considers Replacing Streetlights Through Special Assesment District, Parking for AATA

Credit Bob Eccles

Preview of Ypsilanti City Council meeting for 7/2/13

  The City of Ypsilanti is moving towards establishing a city-wide special assessment district to help pay for modernizing its older streetlights.

As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, city council tonight is expected to take the next step in the process.

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Local News
12:06 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

State Reps Rutledge And Rogers Address YCS Board Of Education

State Representatives David Rutledge (l) and Bill Rogers address the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education.
Credit Bob Eccles

Democratic State Representative David Rutledge and his Republican colleague Bill Rogers addressed the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education at its organizational meeting Monday morning.  Click below to hear their comments.

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Local News
11:33 am
Mon July 1, 2013

YCS Born As Board Members Sworn In

State Representative David Rutledge administers the Oath of Office to trustees of the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education.
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools district was officially born this morning, as the Board of Education held its organizational meeting.

The Oath of Office was administered to trustees by State Representative David Rutledge.

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Education
7:16 am
Mon July 1, 2013

A Look Back At The Process Of Forming The New Ypsilanti Community Schools

Credit Patrik Holubik / WEMU

It's been three years in the making: The unification of the Ypsilanti and Willow Run School Districts becomes official today. WEMU's Bob Eccles has been covering the merger since the conversation first began, and takes a look back at the process that brought us to today.

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Education
6:27 am
Mon July 1, 2013

The New Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Holds First Organizational Meeting

  An organizational meeting this morning wraps up eight months of intense work and preparation for the creation of the Ypsilanti and Willow Run School Districts. Bob Eccles has a preview of today's first-ever session for the new Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education.

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Local News
6:20 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Ann Arbor Superintendent Semi-Finalists Identified

  The Ann Arbor school district has identified the six semi-finalists to be the district's next superintendent, and a couple of them are local. 

Dr. Henry Hastings is a full-time instructor at Eastern Michigan University, and Dr. Benjamin Edmondson is principal of Ann Arbor's Roberto Clemente High School. 

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Education
8:25 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Ypsilanti Community Schools Consider Name Changes for Buildings

Unified School District brings several new changes preparing for the start of the year.
Credit Patrik Holubik / WEMU

 The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run School Board Thursday night discussed changing the names of several district buildings. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, the potential changes aim to better reflect the mission of each facility within the new Ypsilanti Community Schools.

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Education
8:18 am
Fri June 28, 2013

EMU Early College Alliance Wins Recognition

Credit Flickr/Chelsea Foster Design / Eastern Michigan University Early College Alliance

The Engineering Society of Detroit on Thursday evening, recognized  the Director of the Eastern Michigan University's Early college Alliance for his program leadership. 

For more details, listen to the podcast above.

 

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Local News
4:10 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

EMU ECA Director Receives Award

The director of Eastern Michigan University's Early College Alliance has been named a recipient of the Engineering Society of Detroit's David A. Skiven Leadership Award. 

David Dugger says he's honored to receive the recongition.

He says the Engineering Society of Detroit likes the kind of work EMU's Early College Alliance is doing. 

Dugger says area high school students have taken 25-thousand college credit hours through E-C-A since 2008, attaining a grade of C or better 86 percent of the time. 

Local News
4:12 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

More Advising Options For EMU Students

Eastern Michigan University students have a new place to turn for a wide variety of advising issues.  WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more in the new advising center, funded thanks to a donation from a member of the Board of Regents.

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Local News
4:53 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

U of M Health System Reports Record Number Of Patients Served

Credit www2.med.umich.edu

A record number of patients were served by the University of Michigan Health System in the last year, and their satifaction with their care was at a record high, as well. 

The U-of-M Health System briefed the university's Board of Regents today, saying it should break even financially when the fiscal year ends June 30th, with revenue of $2.37 billion. 

Hospitals and Health Centers C-E-O Doug Strong told the regents that patient care activity was up 4.1 percent, revenue climbed nine percent, and and surveys indicated record-high patient satisfaction. 

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Local News
3:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Public Weighs In On Ann Arbor Superintendent Search

The Ann Arbor school board has received a lot of input on what the community is looking for in the district's next superintendent.  As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, input has come in online, and through a series of small group meetings Wednesday.

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Local News
4:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Future Of Historic Bomber Plant Discussed

Later this week, bids to demolish most of the former Willow Run factory originally built to produce bombers during World War II will be opened.  As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, future environmental actions and redevelopment of the factory were the subject of a public meeting Tuesday night.

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Local News
4:11 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Ypsilanti On Verge Of Joining AATA

The city of Ypsilanti is on the verge of becoming a member of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authortiy.  WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

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Education
5:13 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

EMU Professor Planning Fundraising Bike Trip At Age 70

Credit courtesy/ Fike/ facebook

  An Eastern Michigan University professor is undertaking a 450-mile cycling trip starting June 29 in order to raise $4000 dollars to support Study Abroad programs at Eastern.

Even more amazing, he will making the 12-day journey at age 70, something many people in their 70's could not undertake.

John Fike is a part time lecturer in Eastern's political science department. He says Study Abroad programs are important because students who go to other countries to study come back more mature, more focused, and more rounded in their understanding of the world.

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Higher Education
3:06 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

EMU Regents Approve Budget, Set Tuition & Fee Rates

  Full time undergraduate students at Eastern Michigan University will spend about $340 more in tuition and fees next school year. 

The board of regents today approved a 3.75 percent increase in tuition and fees.

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