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
8:18 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Stage 2 Of Ann Arbor-Saline Road Construction Begins Friday

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Driving around the Ann Arbor-Saline Road area can be like waiting for a slow train, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission begins Stage 2 of its Ann Arbor-Saline Road Improvements project Friday.

Northbound lanes will be closed between the eastbound I-94 on ramp and Eisenhower Parkway.

The southbound lane closures at the Main Street intersection and the south side of Northbrook Drive and Oakbrook Drive will remain in effect.

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WEMU News
8:13 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Ypsilanti Council OKs Budget Amendments For Freighthouse, Non-Motorized Projects, Traffic Calming

The Freighthouse in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night signed off on a handful of budget amendements that direct funds toward non-motorized plan projects, renovation work at the Freighthouse, and future traffic calming projects.

Council member Pete Murdock says the $220,000 for the Freighthouse will go toward upgrading mechanical systems. 

Other amendments include spending $100,000 over the next two budget years on non-motorized projects like the Border-to-Border Trail and a mid-block pedestrian crossing on Michigan Avenue near Water Street. 

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WEMU News
8:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Ann Arbor Rotary Offers Scholarship

Credit annarborrotary.org

The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor wants to help a student who graduated from a high school in Ann Arbor - public or private - attend Washtenaw Community College.

The "Service before Self" scholarship awards $1,250 toward fall and winter tuition. 

The application process includes writing a 250-word essay on how the applicant has served others in school or in their community.  The deadline for applying is June 10th.

Find out more about the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor and how to apply for the scholarship:

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WEMU News
8:02 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Trial Date Changed For Detroit Men Accused Of Killing Demarius Reed

Credit emich.edu

The trial date for two Detroit men accused of killing EMU football player Demarius Reed last fall has been pushed back a month.

The trial of Ed Thomas and Kristopher Pratt had been set to start June 23rd, but it's been re-scheduled for July 21st. 

Since Reed's death at his off-campus apartment complex, EMU has been working to improve safety in near-campus areas. 

The university is hiring 10 new police officers, has expanded patrols into neighborhoods surrounding the campus, and has worked with local apartment complexes to boost security.

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Ypsilanti
6:43 am
Wed June 4, 2014

A Look From Inside Ypsilanti's Historic Water Tower

Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Water Tower is known far and wide for its historical significance and its...unusual shape.  89.1 WEMU's Bob Eccles recently had the chance to tour this remarkable structure.

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Education
8:21 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Ann Arbor Schools Parents Asked To Complete Online Survey

Credit Andrew Cluley

Ann Arbor schools parents are being asked to take an online survey to help the district better serve their children.

The survey asks for input on issues such as access to school leadership, how the district can improve parent engagement, how schools are operating, and how their child's needs are being met. 

link to the survey

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Education
8:00 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools First Graduating Class Gets Diplomas Tuesday Night

Seniors decorated Ypsilanti Community High School with their class year.
Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti Community Schools' first graduating class receives their diplomas Tuesday evening at the EMU Convocation Center.

Not only will this be the first group of seniors to graduate from Ypsilanti Community High School following the consolidation of Ypsilanti and Willow Run Schools, but Ypsilanti New Tech High School is celebrating its first graduating class after opening four years ago.

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Education
7:41 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Eastern Michigan University Student Athletes Excelling In The Classroom

Credit emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University's student athletes recorded the second-highest average grade point average in school history during the winter 2014 semester.

With a 3.145 GPA, the Eagles also topped the 3.0 mark for the ninth straight semester. 

Of EMU's 21 athletic teams, 15 had average GPA's of 3.0 or better, and 36 student athletes scored 4.0 GPA's.

Read more online:

http://www.emueagles.com/news/2014/6/2/GEN_0602145338.aspx?path=sass

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WEMU News
7:06 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Reaction To President's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal

Credit freefoto.com

DTE Energy says it's committed to reducing greenhouse gas emmissions, but says coal will continue to be an important fuel for energy generation.

President Barack Obama wants carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants cut by 30 percent by 2030.

DTE Energy says 10 percent of the electricity generated for customers in southeast Michigan will come from renewable sources by the end of this year. 

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WEMU News
6:37 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

EMU Children's Institute To Offer Great Start Readiness Program This Summer

Credit emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University's Children's Institute is launching its first ever summer Great Start Readiness program thanks to a $50,000 grant from Michigan's Department of Education.

The nine week-long program prepares preschoolers for the upcoming school year.

Institute director Chris Finch says early education plays a vital role in ensuring children are prepared for a school setting.

Find out more about EMU's Children's Institute and the Great Start Readiness Program online:

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WEMU News
6:17 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Working To Make Michigan's Lakeshores Safer

Credit miseagrant.umich.edu

If a trip to one of Michigan's beautiful lakeshores is part of your summer plans, you should know about an organization that's working to make your trip safer.

As part of Rip Current Awareness week, the Michigan Sea Grant is installing beach safety kits at 10 public beaches along Lake Michigan.

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WEMU News
5:53 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Early College Alliance Students Rank 6th On Math, Reading Scores

Credit emich.edu/eca

Early College Alliance students are ranked sixth out of more than 800 high schools on Michigan Merit Exam math and reading test scores.

The rankings for the program at Eastern Michigan University are from the website schooldigger.com, which last year ranked the ECA 41st in the state. 

Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium Director Dave Dugger says the jump was due to a focus on improving literacy education, and spending one day a week understanding and practicing writing for the ACT. 

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WEMU News
7:30 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Still Time To Participate In EMU's 'High Five Challenge'

Credit emufoundation.org

Eastern Michigan University students and faculty have been high-fiving people all over campus to raise awareness for the "High Five Challenge."

The challenge's goal is to raise donations of $5 or more for the EMU Foundation.

Foundation Director of Annual Giving Jackie Richardson says its too early to count the results, but the campaign has gotten a very positive public response on social media.

The High Five Challenge runs through Saturday.

Find more information on the challenge online:

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WEMU News
1:51 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Medical Marijuana Advocates Applaud U.S. House Vote

Credit weedmaps.com

Local medical marijuana advocates are cheering the U.S. House for approving a measure that would prevent the DEA from using federal funds to conduct raids on licensed medical marijuana operations.

3rd Coast Compassion Center co-founder Jamie Lowell says it's a historic vote, but he'll also be watching the state legislature as it considers legislation that would affect the industry. 

Charmie Gholson founded Michigan Moms United, and says she was elated to see the bi-partisan effort to reign in the DEA.

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Health
1:39 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Transplant Center Celebrates 50 Years Of Saving Lives

Credit michigantransplant.org

The University of Michigan Transplant Center celebrates 50 years of saving lives this weekend, and the public is invited to the party.

The transplant center performed the state's first organ transplant back on March 30th of 1964. 

Sunday's celebration runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Crisler Center Victors Hall and Patio. 

Parking and ice cream with all the toppings are free.

Find more about the University of Michigan Transplant Center and Sunday's celebration online:

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WEMU News
4:42 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Re-Development Of Powertrain Plant Could Mean 7,800 New Jobs

Credit ewashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County could soon get a major boost to its economy.

The county has applied for a nearly one million dollar federal grant to convert the old GM Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti Township into a research & development facility for connected and automated vehicles.

County Administrator Verna McDaniel says if the grant is approved, it could lead to creation of 7,800 research and skilled trade jobs.

McDaniel says the county should know one way or the other in the next two to three weeks.

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WEMU News
4:38 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Chief Of Chelsea Area Fire Authority Continues Recovery From Farm Accident

Credit youtube.com

Chelsea Area Fire Authority Chief Jim Payeur is alert and fully functional, as he continues his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a farm accident this past Friday evening. 

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

That's according to Fire Authority Board Chair Rod Anderson, who says he and the board have agreed informally that there's no need to name an interim Chief. 

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Community
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

LGBT Community Hopeful Michigan Legislature Will Act On Governor's Challenge

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit michigan.gov

The local LGBT community is hopeful the state legislature will take Governor Rick Snyder up on his challenge for them to vote on civil rights protections for the LGBT community before the November elections.

Mary Larkin directs Eastern Michigan University's LGBT Resource Center.  She says EMU's LGBT students are a talented bunch who can't wait to get out of Michigan because of the state's outdated civil rights laws. 

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WEMU News
2:37 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Events Focus On Opioid Addiction, Recovery

Credit http://www.homeofnewvision.org/

A series of events over the next couple of weeks aim to address the issue of opioid use in Washtenaw County.

Glynis Anderson is founder of Home of New Vision, which is hosting a public awareness event Thursday evening at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital with remarks from a nationally-recognized expert on addiction, treatment and recovery.

Anderson says a workshop Friday is designed to help those who've recovered from opioid addiction share their story of recovery. 

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Community
11:50 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Forum To Focus On Federal Pardons, Expunging Criminal Records

The Honorable Judge Deborah A. Thomas
Credit PACJ

Public Action Committee for Justice Thursday evening is holding a public forum on how to expunge criminal records and seek pardons for federal convictions.

Facilitator Judge Deborah A. Thomas will lead the discussion. The subject of pardons will be handled by attorney Christopher Blount. Attorney Robyn McCoy will talk about expunging criminal records.

The forum takes place from 6-8 p.m. at Brown Chapel AME CHurch, 1043 E. Michigan Avenue, in Ypsilanti.

The event is free to the public, and is not limited to Washtenaw County residents.

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Community
4:15 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Ypsilanti Businesses React To Minimum Wage Hike

Credit pixabay.com

The rising minimum wage doesn't appear to have too many Ypsilanti businesses concerned.

In fact at the Sidetrack Bar and Grill, owner Linda French says she pays her workers at least $10 an hour.  She doesn't think the legislature raised the minimum wage high enough. 

Haab's President Mike Kabat is glad the issue didn't come down to referendum that sought to hike the minimum wage for all employees to $10.10 an hour. 

He says tipped workers may have lost out in the long run under that plan, since they earn a good portion of their income from tips.

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WEMU News
8:01 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Federal Funding To Help Fight Childhood Tooth Decay

X-ray of deep dental decay (green arrow) with chronic periapical abscess (blue arrows).
Credit Wikimedia Commons / Coronation Dental Specialty Group

  An organization based in Ann Arbor will use $9.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help prevent tooth decay among Michigan's children.

The Altarum Institute will team up with Delta Dental, the University of Michigan school of Dentistry and the Michigan Department of Community Health to improve access to dental screenings and preventative care to the uninsured children of Michigan's working families. 

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WEMU News
7:58 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Tech Firm Expands In Ypsilanti

  A Saginaw-based tech firm with an office in Ypsilanti has moved to a more visible location downtown.

Samsa had been offering website development and software and hardware support from a North Washington Street location, but has moved to 7 South Washington. 

Company President Mike Stackhouse says Ypsilanti's location between Detroit and Ann Arbor is a good spot from which to serve residential and small to medium-sized business customers in southeast Michigan.

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Environment
7:55 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

159 Acres In York Township To Be Preserved By Legacy Land Conservancy

Photo taken at the Creekshead Preserve.
Credit Legacy Land Conservancy

  Legacy Land Conservancy is ensuring parts of York Township remain green for future generations.

The non-profit organization has signed an agreement with Kendall Rogers Farm that will preserve 159 acres of historic farm and forest land and prevent it from being sub-divided or developed for non-farming uses.

Legacy Land Conservancy's Executive Director Susan Lackey says conservation agreements like this one help ensure the community has enough farmland to remain sustainable for generations to come.

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Community
7:52 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Bike Group Gives $40,000 To Pave Part Of Huron River Drive

Credit facebook.com

One of Washtenaw County's worst roads is about to get a lot smoother, thanks to the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society.

The group has donated $40,000 to help re-pave a half-mile stretch of Huron River Drive.

Washtenaw County Road Commission Managing Director Roy Townsend says the half-mile stretch will be closed and re-paved in August.

The project should take a week to complete.

Find out more about the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society online:

http://www.aabts.org/

And on Facebook:

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