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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Local News
12:46 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Ypsi City Council Approves Family Dollar Purchase Agreement

Ypsilanti City Council has approved a purchase agreement for a Family Dollar store to be built on the northeast corner of the Water Street re-development area.

The approval came after the developer agreed to some changes to make the store fit better with the city’s vision for the property, including moving the store to the northwest corner of the point-eight-five acre parcel.

The city is selling the parcel for $210,000. 

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Education
3:50 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

WCC Goes Textbook-Free In Pilot Program

Credit wccnet.edu

Washtenaw Community College is the first community college in Michigan to put a textbook-free learning program in place. 

The Kaleidoscope Project uses open educational resources - basically online textbooks - to help make higher education more affordable. 

Linda Blakey is WCC's Vice-President of Student and Academic Services.  She says the fall semester will be WCC's first time participating in the program, but the Kaleidoscope Project is in its second year.

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Local News
5:13 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

YCS Chooses Former NFL Player As Athletic Director

Lamanzer Williams
Credit hollandsentinel.com

Ypsilanti Community Schools will have a former National Football League player as its first Athletic Director. 

Lamanzer Williams has approved an offer to assume the position when the district is officially created on July 1st. 

Williams played football with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, along with the Berlin Thunder in NFL Europe. 

He's a Willow Run High School Hall-of-Fame inductee who has earned degrees from Eastern Michigan University, Concordia Chicago University and Grand Valley State University. 

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Local News
7:27 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Pay Scale Approved For Ypsilanti Community Schools Teachers, Principals

(left to right) Unified school board members Tony VanDerworp and Celeste Hawkins and board Vice-President Don Garrett, Jr.
Credit Bob Eccles

The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board has approved a performance-based compensation system for Ypsilanti Community Schools teachers and principals. 

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Education
10:50 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Ypsi-Willow Run Unified School Board Approves Mascot, Colors

It’s official – the mascot for Ypsilanti Community Schools is the Grizzlies, and the school colors are black and “Vegas” gold.  

The unified school board Thursday night accepted the recommendation of its Name and Identity Advisory Group. 

A new mascot and colors means buying things like new uniforms and signs.  Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel says that’ll be covered by a six million dollar grant from the state.

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State Government
9:34 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Decriminalizing Pot Possession

Ann Arbor State Representative Jeff Irwin is introducing legislation to decriminalize the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Hear more from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

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Eastern Michigan University
4:50 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

EMU Student Government Makes Funding About-Face

Credit easternecho.com

Eastern Michigan University Student Government has decided to fund the recent campus visit of the traveling "Genocide Awareness Project" exhibit. 

EMU Students for Life had requested about $5,000 to help support the exhibit, which uses graphic photos to equate abortion with genocide. 

The request was originally declined, but after a review of student government procedures for funding student organizations prompted by a lawsuit, EMU Student Government decided to provide the funding. 

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Local News
1:25 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Students Choose 'Grizzlies' For YCS Mascot

Students in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts have voted, and it looks like the mascot for the new Ypsilanti Community Schools will be the Grizzlies. 

Students in grades seven through 12 voted, and more than 45 percent chose Grizzlies.  A little over 30 percent liked Trailblazers, and Flyers got less than 20 percent of the vote. 

The unified Willow Run-Ypsilanti school board Thursday night will consider a recommendation from its Name and Identity Advisory Group that it approve Grizzlies as the mascot, along with a black and "Vegas" gold color combination.

Local News
10:07 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Late-Night Re-Consideration Saves Ypsilanti Police Contract

Ypsilanti city council Tuesday night approved a contract with the city's police officers union.  The approval followed a tie vote earlier in the meeting that rejected the contract.

Council members Brian Robb, Susan Moeller and Pete Murdock had voted "no" on the contract.  Moeller wasn't happy that the contract didn't include raises.  Robb wanted pension costs for Police Officers Association members capped, similar to the city's contract with the Command Officers Association.  Council member Daniel Vogt was not present at the meeting.

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Ypsilanti City Council
9:39 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Ypsi Council Update: Dollar Store, Water Street, & AATA

The 2010 aerial below shows the redevelopment area; however, there are no structures remaining on the site.
Credit The City of Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti's city council got an update on the Family Dollar store proposal for the Water Street development area Tuesday night.   Hear more from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

In other action Tuesday night, Ypsilanti's city council voted to become of member of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.  

Also, with only six councilmembers present, approval of a new contract with the Ypsilanti Police Officers Associaton failed on a 3-3 vote.

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Local News
3:47 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Yankee Air Museum Wants To Buy Part Of Historic Bomber Plant

Credit michiganaerospace.org

The Yankee Air Museum wants to buy part of the plant where B-24 bombers were built during World War II to use as its new home.

It'll cost six million dollars to buy the very end of the former Willow Run Powertrain plant where the bombers rolled out from 1942 to 1945.  That's according to Dennis Norton, President of the Michigan Aerospace Foundation - the sister organization and funding arm of the Yankee Air Museum. 

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Local News
2:37 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Dexter Explosion Victims Identified

The names of the victims in Monday afternoon's explosion at the Dexter Utilities Department have been released. 

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office says 48 year-old Michael Koch of Brooklyn died of injuries suffered in the explosion.  Koch was employed by Platinum Pneumatical Mechanical. 

23 year-old David McBride of Howell, an employee of Regal Recycling, was injured.  He was last reported in stable condition at University of Michigan hospital.

Local News
5:10 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Dexter Explosion Kills One Man, Injures Another

Credit dexterareafire.org

One man was killed this afternoon and another injured in an explosion at the Dexter Utilities Department. 

Dexter Area Fire Department Chief Loren Yates says his department responded around 1:39pm.  When they arrived, they found two injured men on the roof.  Chief Yates says it appears the men were using torches inside a processing tank when the flames ignited methane gas, causing the explosion.

The injured men were taken the the University of Michigan Hospital, where Ann Arbor dot com is reporting one of the victims died.  The other is said to be in stable condition. 

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Local News
5:11 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Area Residents Urged To "Go Veg" For A Week

Credit annarborvegweek.org

Area residents are being encouraged to give the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle a try for a week next week. 

The organization Compassion over Killing is sponsoring a number of Veg Week events around the country, including Ann Arbor Veg Week next week. 

Event co-chair Dana Gramprie says there are three great reasons to give up meat: One, it's good for your health, and two, it's better for the environment.  Gramprie says going vegetarian or vegan is also better for animals, who she says are often bred in horrible conditions on industrial farms. 

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Local News
3:44 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

YCS Internal Teacher Interviews Wrapping Up, Process Has Had Glitches

The interview process for internal Ypsilanti and Willow Run teacher candidates who want to continue their work with Ypsilanti Community Schools next year is just about over. 

Ypsilanti Education Association President Krista Boyer says Ypsilanti teachers have been notified that all but three of their internal candidates have been interviewed, with the last interviews taking place next week. 

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Local News
5:07 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

U-of-M President Announces Impending Retirement

Credit umich.edu

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman has announced that she'll retire when her contract is up at the end of the 2014 school year. 

Her announcement came at today's meeting of the university's Board of Regents.

Congressman John Dingell issued a statement thanking Coleman for her service to the community and her contributions to the university and the people of the state of Michigan.

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Local News
1:59 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Proposed Master Plan and Water Street Rec Center Clash

Planning Commission member Richard Murphy
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council may face some tough decisions on developing Water Street, as the process of updating the city's Master Plan clashes with plans for a county recreation center on the northwest corner of the property. 

The design team that's taking public input and converting it into recommendations for council recommends locating the proposed recreation center further south on the parcel, mostly due to the building's large size and parking requirements.

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Aviation
3:59 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Dates Changed For Thunder Over Michigan

Aerobatics pilot Michael Goulian is among those scheduled to perform at Thunder over Michigan
Credit Yankee Air Museum/Thunder over Michigan

With sequestration grounding the U-S Air Force Thunderbirds, the Yankee Air Museum has had to change the dates for its "Thunder over Michigan" air show from Fathers Day weekend to August 10th and 11th. 

Show Director Kevin Walsh says it would have been tough to compete with other events happening that weekend - including a race at Michigan International Speedway without the Thunderbirds. 

He says most of the performers were able to accommodate the date change. 

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Ypsilanti
9:49 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Studio Helps 'Shape Ypsi' Effort

Ypsilanti residents have been taking advantage of the opportunity to let the design team handling the city's master plan update know what's on their minds.  WEMU's Bob Eccles stopped by a downtown studio where the team has been talking with residents about the process.

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Ypsi City Council
10:24 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Ypsi City Council Member Proposes Having Charter Amendments At The Ready

Ypsilanti City Council member Pete Murdock
Credit Bob Eccles

One Ypsilanti city council member thinks it would be wise for the city to be ready to add some charter amendment issues to the ballot in the event the state puts a road construction funding issue up for a vote. 

Council member Pete Murdock has four charter amendments in mind, most of which have been previously recommended by the city’s Charter Commission. 

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Ypsilanti
3:39 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

You Can Help 'Shape Ypsi' This Week

Ypsilanti residents have a chance to help design the city's future at a series of meetings this week.  It's part of the process for updating the city's master plan. Hear more from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

  Shape Ypsi

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Local News
4:48 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Principals Hired For Ypsilanti Community Schools

The new unified Ypsilanti and Willow Run school district is expected to hire nine principals, and six of those jobs have now been filled by internal candidates from both districts. 

Nearly two dozen internal candidates applied for the jobs, and some may find other positions with Ypsilanti Community Schools. 

Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel says there are three principal positions yet to fill, and those will likely go to external candidates.

Local News
1:01 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Ypsilanti Community Schools Colors Set; Mascot To Be Determined By Students

Credit Bob Eccles

The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board has approved black and “Vegas” gold as the colors for Ypsilanti Community Schools. 

That was the recommendation from the board’s Name and Identity Advisory Group, which also suggested the board put three potential mascots up for a student vote: Trailblazers, Grizzlies and Flyers.  

Students in grades seven through 12 will vote on a mascot next week, with the winning choice to be approved by the unified school board at its April 24th meeting.

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Environment
2:06 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

No Action Taken On Environment Michigan Solar Proposal

Solar panels at the Corner Brewery
Credit SolarYpsi

Environment Michigan Tuesday night made a presentation to Ypsilanti City Council on how the city could become a solar energy leader in Michigan, but its recommendation that the city set a goal of having solar panels on 1,000 roofs by the year 2020 was not immediately acted upon. 

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Ypsilanti City Council
8:47 am
Wed April 10, 2013

City Clears Another Hurdle for DTE Solar Array

Ypsilanti's city council has approved easements and a 20 year lease for the site the city hopes DTE Energy will choose to construct a large solar panel array.  Hear more from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

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