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

Ypsilanti
7:48 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Ypsilanti Residents Appear to be Bucking Texting and Driving Trend

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A recent Michigan Office of Highway Safety Patrol survey showed more people than ever admit to texting and emailing while driving, but the people WEMU news spoke with  Monday evening in downtown Ypsilanti appear to be bucking the trend.

Andrea says she has good reason not to text and drive.  "I have a nine month-old daughter," she says. "I just can't see risking her life for it."

A January survey showed 16-point-three percent of respondents admitted to texting and emailing behind the wheel.  That was twice the number in a similar survey conducted in 2012.

Read more
Government
7:36 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Deadline for Appealing Property Tax Assessment Nears

Credit ewashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County property owners have until next week to appeal their 2014 property assessment.

Assessments are one of the factors used to determine the taxable value of a property.

Washtenaw County's Treasurer, Catherine McClary  says property values are starting to go up, and her office has made a brochure available to help property owners decide whether they'd like to appeal their assessment.

Read more
Politics
2:12 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Congressman John D. Dingell Addresses Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber

Congressman John D. Dingell speaks at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber luncheon meeting.
Patrick Campion 89.1 WEMU

Retiring Congressman John Dingell headlined today's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber lunch meeting.

Dingell says organizations like chambers of commerce are an important part of the community, offering the chance for people to speak with elected officials and make sure government is running as it should.

Congressman John D. Dingell speaking after the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber's lunch meeting.

Dingell has announced he won't seek re-election when his current term is up.  His wife, Debbie, is running to replace him in the 12th Congressional district, as is Ypsilanti resident Terry Bowman who's running as a Republican.

Read more
WEMU News
7:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Ann Arbor Staffing Agency says Hiring Reflects Decline in State Unemployment

The state says Michigan's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since May of 2008, and the Ann Arbor office of Manpower, Incorporated says that certainly appears to be the case locally.

Ann Arbor Manpower President Susan Carlson says they're businesses are definitely hiring.
 
She says her office sees the most requests for hiring in the manufacturing sector, but areas such as information technology, health care and customer service are also looking for employees.

Read more
WEMU News
7:30 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

U-of-M Study Finds Cost of Care Related to Quality of Care

Credit MVictors.com

University of Michigan researchers have found that the cost of treating children with congenital heart defects varies greatly across U-S Hospitals. Sara K. Pasquali is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan.

Read more
WEMU News
2:42 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Kiwanis Grant to help Education Project for Homeless Youth

Credit wash.kis.mi.us

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District's Education Project for Homeless Youth (EPHY) has received a $2,500 grant from the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation.

The money will help the program buy vouchers from local shoe vendors that students can exchange for footwear.

Read more
Community
7:22 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Video Series from Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Now Available Online

The Ann Arbor District Library is offering a rare glimpse into the city's past through a series of video tapes made during Ann Arbor's sesquicentennial celebration in 1974. 

Amy Cantu is Productions Librarian for the Ann Arbor District Library.  She says the video tapes were converted to a more modern format and are now available online to honor the city's 190th birthday.

Read more
Community
7:08 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

EMU LGBT Resource Center Director Optimistic about Gay Marriage Trial Outcome

Jayne Rowse, April DeBoer and the children they are raising together. The couple seeks to overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage and to adopt the children.
Credit michiganmarriagechallenge.com

The end is near for the trial involving a Hazel Park couple who want Michigan's ban on gay marriage overturned, but the issue itself is far from being settled.

Read more
Michigan News
8:02 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Road Funding, Medicaid at Heart of Budget Impasse

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

The state House and Senate have not been able to agree on a mid-year budget bill. 

Read more
WEMU News
7:21 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Speaking Out on Cut in Great Lakes Restoration Funding

League Of Conservation Voters
Credit LCV

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters is criticizing President Barack Obama's decision to cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 

Read more
WEMU News
4:56 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Public Forums Explain ALICE Active Shooter Training

Credit www.wash.k12.mi.us

Parents and the Washtenaw County community at large have the chance to learn more about Active Shooter training designed to ensure a uniform response to those types of threats county-wide.

A pair of public forums this month will introduce the public to the ALICE active shooter training model that’s been adopted locally.  ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

The intense ALICE training model was adopted in response to a dramatic increase in school violence and school shootings across the nation.

Read more
Ypsilanti
11:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Water Street Flats Purchase Agreement

City Planner Teresa Gillotti updates Ypsilanti City Council on Water Street Flats proposal.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night voted 4-3 to approve a purchase agreement for the Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal. 

Read more
Community
8:19 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor among Top Hospitals in National Study

Credit www.stjoeshealth.org

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor has been ranked among the nation's top 100 hospitals by an organization that provides information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care.

This is the sixth time St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor has made the list from Truven Health Analytics, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based firm said today.

Read more
Education
8:10 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools Students to Show Off good Sleep Habits

Credit Creative Commons

Students at the Ypsilanti Community Schools' Ford Early Learning Center this week will put what they've learned about the importance of developing good sleep habits to work.

Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc. will be at Ford Early Learning Center Wednesday morning in a visit that coincides with National Sleep Awareness Week ®.

Read more
WEMU News
7:33 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Downtown Ypsilanti Businesses Split on Water Street Flats Proposal

The Water Street Redevelopment area lies beneath a blanket of snow off Michigan Avenue.
Credit Bob Eccles

As Ypsilanti City Council prepares to vote on a purchase agreement for the Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal, downtown businesses are sounding off on the project.

  

    

Business owners have been portrayed as being united in opposition to it, but an informal survey shows most like the idea or don't really have an opinion.  

Of the 13 businesses WEMU news asked, four said they support Water Street Flats, two are opposed and seven didn't feel strongly either way. 

Read more
Michigan News
12:49 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Lawmakers Move to protect Local Governments if Tax Repeal is Successful

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

Bills would make sure local government budgets don't get slashed with tax repeal
By Jake Neher
 

Michigan lawmakers want to make sure local governments do not take a hit if voters decide to repeal an unpopular tax on business equipment.

State officials are urging voters to repeal the tax. They say it is outdated and kills jobs. But local governments depend on that tax to provide basic services to residents.

Read more
Ypsilanti
12:10 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Residents Continue to Raise Concerns over Water Street Flats Proposal

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange (l) and Mayor Paul Schreiber view a presentation on the Water Street Flats proposal.
Credit Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

If Ypsilanti city staff had hoped to convince Sandy Ellinger that the proposed Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal is a good idea, they were not successful.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

Ellinger wasn't for or against the proposal when she came to Tuesday night's City Council workshop on the project, but at the end of the meeting she said if it were up to a vote of the people, she'd vote "no".

Ellinger said she had concerns that the city was going to be "left holding the bag" if the proposal doesn't work out, and she said the appearance of the building was also worrisome. 

The city plans to sell a 3.14 acre parcel of land on the southern edge of the Water Street Redevelopment Area to a developer who would build a four-story, 90-unit apartment building there. 

Everyone who spoke on the subject during the public comment period last night had concerns, which you can listen to below. 

City Council is expected to consider a purchase agreement for the project at its March 4th meeting.

Read more
WEMU News
4:27 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Middle School students to receive Free Books for World Book Night

Zora and Me

Students enrolled in the ACTech small learning community at Ypsilanti Community Middle School will be receiving free books in conjunction with World Book Night next month.

The 7th and 8th grad students will get copies of “Zora and Me” by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon.

Debbie Swanson is Teacher Leader for ACTech.  She says the work done in the small learning community so far this school year has been so productive and positive that “the opportunity to place a book in each student’s hands will feel like a reward for their  focus and hard work.”

Read more
Michigan News
9:12 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Gay Marriage Opposition Speaks Out in Detroit

Jubilee City Church founder Ellis L. Smith speaks at a rally with dozens of pastors Monday in support of Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Pastors rally in opposition to gay marriage ahead of federal court case in Detroit
By Jake Neher

A federal judge will hear arguments this week over whether Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.  The trial begins Tuesday in Detroit.

Ahead of the arguments, dozens of Michigan pastors rallied in support of the ban Monday in Detroit.

"We're not standing here against anybody. We're standing here for the biblical principle and foundation of marriage," said Ellis L. Smith, founder of Jubilee City Church in Detroit.

Read more
WEMU News
8:51 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Reflections on Congressman John Dingell's Career

Congressman John D. Dingell on Monday announced he won't seek re-election when his current term is up.

WEMU's Bob Eccles has local reaction to the announcement, along with some words from the Congressman himself.

Read more
Michigan News
7:48 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Lansing Seeks Long-Term Medicaid Funding Fix

State lawmakers look to patch Medicaid shortfall, say long-term solution criticalBy Jake Neher Michigan's Medicaid program faces a budget shortfall this year of more than $100 million dollars. That's because a new tax on health insurance claims is not producing as much revenue as state officials expected. This week, the state Senate passed a mid-year budget bill that would patch that hole in the Medicaid budget.

Read more
WEMU News
5:55 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Ypsilanti Hires Two Fire Fighters with SAFER Grant Money

Credit Bob Eccles

There were a couple of new faces on the Ypsilanti Fire Department this week.

The city brought two fire fighters on board using money from the federal SAFER grant it received last month.

Bruce Van Gemert comes to Ypsilanti with experience as a Paramedic Technician at St. Joseph Hospital. He has also been an on-call fire fighter for Van Buren Township.

Read more
WEMU News
2:45 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

A2Y Chamber Opposes EAA Expansion

Credit annarborchamber.org

The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber is opposed to expansion of Michigan's special district for struggling schools.

The A2Y Chamber today issued a statement opposing expansion of the Education Achievement Authority.

The EAA is currently running 15 schools in Detroit, but lawmakers are proposing an expansion to allow the EAA to control up to 50 troubled schools.

Read more
WEMU News
12:03 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Public Invited to Forum on Year-Round School for Ypsilanti Community Schools

Credit Bob Eccles

The public is invited to an open forum Saturday on Ypsilanti Community Schools' plan to move to a balanced calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

The district had planned to go to year-round school this year, but didn't have enough time to make the necessary adjustments.

Saturday's forum is being held in the Ypsilanti Community High School auditorium, at 2095 Packard Road, starting at 9 a.m.

Read more
Michigan News
9:20 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Former Governor Milliken Joins Debate over Parole for Juvenile Lifers

Milliken joins effort to win parole hearings for juvenile lifersBy Rick Pluta Former Michigan Governor William Milliken says more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life without parole as juveniles deserve a chance at freedom. Milliken - along with more than 100 law school deans and retired judges and prosecutors -- filed a brief today with the state Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court holds oral arguments in the case next month. The court will decide whether a US Supreme Court decision that struck down automatic life without parole for juveniles applies retroactively - or only to current and future cases. The Milliken brief says justice demands that the decision should apply regardless of when a juvenile was sentenced.  It says juveniles sentenced before the decision have the same protections against cruel and unusual punishment as teens sentenced today. It also says Michigan's indigent defense system is particularly unfair to juveniles.   Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says families of murder victims deserve to know the rules will not be changed in their cases.  Michigan's adult-time-for-adult-crimes law was signed 18 years ago by Governor John Engler. William Milliken served as governor from 1969 to 1983.  

Read more

Pages