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.

Bob Eccles

When Linda Watkins of Ypsilanti suffered a stroke about a week ago, she went to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor for treatment.  The hospital had just recently received recognition for it's stroke rehabilitation center from the Joint Commission.

The commission named St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor the first hospital in Michigan to be a certified stroke rehabilitation center of excellence. 

Bob Eccles

A long-time downtown Ypsilanti eyesore appears to be getting a new lease on life.  The former Smith Furniture Store at 15 S. Washington Street has sat empty, collecting rainwater and mold, for about 20 years.

The building was sold at auction in August, and the people who bought the property have hired Stewart Beal to be their real estate broker. 

Beal is President of Beal Properties. 

His vision for the building is to create Washington Market + Shops - sort of a mini Kerrytown, with a grocery store or market surrounded by shops. 

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UPDATE: Dave Brandon, U-M Director of Athletics has issued a statement taking joint responsibility for this situation along with head football coach Brady Hoke.  

Sports writers for the Michigan Daily newspaper say head football coach Brady Hoke should be fired, and not just because the team has struggled this season.

Graduate business programs are the focus of an Eastern Michigan University open house Tuesday in Livonia.

EMU-Livonia and the EMU College of Business will host a free open house for prospective students interested in graduate business programs Tuesday, Sept. 30, 4:30-7:30 p.m. in Livonia.

EMU-Livonia is conveniently located at 38777 W. Six Mile, Suite 400, just west of I-275 in Livonia.

Bob Eccles

Over 30 teams of filmmakers competed in the 2014 Ypsi 24 Hour Film Shootout Friday night through Saturday night.  I tagged along with one of the film crews whose night began at Cafe Ollie in Depot Town.

*Listen to the audio.

A big crowd turned out Friday for a grand re-opening at Bona Sera Cafe in downtown Ypsilanti.  The restaurant now has a development liquor license, a tool the state created to help boost economic development.


It costs less than a normal liquor license, but it comes with the requirement that the business owner make at least $75,000 worth of improvements over a five-year period. 

Bob Eccles

Some help is on the way for Ypsilanti Community Schools students who want to go to college but can't afford the tuition.  The Ypsilanti Promise scholarship program is similar to the Kalamazoo Promise.


It would pay for college at Washtenaw Community College or Eastern Michigan University for students who graduate from Ypsilanti Community High School. 

Karen Gabrys chairs the committee setting up the scholarship program.

Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley says he'll propose changes to help Michigan's disabled residents have access to better jobs.  Calley hasn't offered specifics, but the head of one local organization that advocates for the disabled has some thoughts on the subject.

Carolyn Grawi is interim President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, which works to help ensure the success of disabled residents in school, at home, at work and in the community.

Making a movie is challenging enough, but shooting and editing a film in just 24 hours?  That's the challenge facing about 30 film teams entered in the 2014 Ypsi 24 Hour Film Shootout, which begins Friday night.

Event founder and director Mark Ducker says films will have to include three elements revealed at the start of the competition, and the finished product must run between four and seven minutes. 

The film chosen as best of the best by a panel of judges will win a $1,000 cash prize.

Huron Valley Ambulance

Bobby Grams of Ypsilanti learned the value of dialing 9-1-1 in a health emergency first-hand last month.  Grams found his wife, Karen, lying on the flood of their home, not breathing and without a pulse, and dialed 9-1-1.

The call went to Huron Valley Ambulance dispatcher Tim Wilson, who guided Grams through chest compressions.

Would an online review influence your decision on choosing a doctor for your child?  A new University of Michigan study suggests it can make a difference, even if the trustworthiness of the review is questionable.

David Hanauer is a U-of-M associate professor of Pediatrics and lead author of the study.

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As the Obama administration lines up international support in the effort to dismantle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the local Muslim community may find itself caught in the middle.


Eastern  Michigan University political science professor Edward Sidlow says prejudice ands bigotry are a reality in the U.S., but we can work to sensitize those around us.

A rising need for surgery has prompted the University of Michigan Health System to expand its operating room facilities.

The multi-million dollar project will be renovating more than 24-thousand square feet for use as support spaces, equipment storage and new operating rooms.

Shon Dwyer is the acting Executive Director of University Hospitals.

Ypsilanti celebrates its rich automotive history this weekend with the Orphan Car Show.


Bill Nickels is Secretary of the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum.  He says the last few years haven't been easy for classic car restorers, with the recession hitting hard.

Ypsilanti City Council will soon consider the issue of smoking in some city parks.  The city's Parks and Recreation Commission is recommending that the city's three "tot lot" parks be declared smoke-free.


Bob Krzewinski serves on the commission.  He's hopeful council will sign off on the idea.

Bob Eccles

By the end of next week the conversion of some 1,675 old sodium-vapor and mercury-vapor street lights in Ypsilanti to LED's should be complete.  Not only will the conversion make city streets brighter and safer, it will also save the city about $120,000 a year.

That's according to City Manager Ralph Lange, who says DTE Energy has 119 post-top lights left to convert. 

Lange says the conversion project cost less than $600,000.

Bob Eccles

Eastern Michigan University part-time lecturers Wednesday have been gathering petition signatures again in the Pray-Harrold building to present to university administration.  They were there Tuesday, saying they're having trouble paying bills and putting food on the table because the school isn't paying them on time.

Part-time lecturers set up a table outside of the Eagle Cafe' in Pray-Harrold, asking people passing by to take a marker and sign an oversized petition sheet on an easel. 

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti's recent re-working of its Master Plan was only half of the process of developing a blueprint for future development.  The city's zoning ordinance puts those changes into law, and that document is now up for public review.

The city of Ypsilanti is gearing up for the switch to a new waste hauling contractor, but residents may not even notice the difference.


The city switches from Waste Management to Republic Services on September 22nd.  Republic's Municipal Services Manager Scott Cabauatan says there won't be any major changes.

When leaving an abusive partner doesn't seem like an option, victims of domestic violence should know that there is help available.  The video of football player Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee  in an elevator has shined a spotlight on the problem.


SafeHouse Center Executive Director Barbara Neiss-May says the reasons victims give for staying with an abusive partner are many, and can include the hope that the abuser will change.

Eastern Michigan University has been in contact with students, faculty and staff known to have recently traveled to areas affected by the Ebola outbreak.  No-one's been identified as being at high risk of coming down with the disease, but the university hopes anyone they may have missed will call for a phone screening.       Dr. Kimberly Keller is Chief of Medical Staff for EMU's University Health Services.

Bob Eccles

When you think of Ypsilanti, do you think "walk-friendly"?  The city hopes so, and is aiming to draw more pedestrian and bike traffic to the downtown.


One way to do that would be to have the city designated a "walk-friendly" community. 

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The University of Michigan is expanding its partnership with the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office. Starting October 1, the university will start managing all of the office's operations.

The new partnership will last three years, and is worth $16.7 million.

The two organizations have been working together since 2011.

Schools and day care centers are supposed to be safe, nurturing places where kids can learn and grow, but  a local state representative is worried about a danger that's lurking right under our kids' feet.


Democrat Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor wants to ban the use of pesticides at schools and day care facilities.

The shooting by police of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri should have us all worried about the expansion and militarization of law enforcement.  That's the position of a University of Michigan student group that's holding a public meeting Thursday night.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality wants to examine the fundamental political questions raised by the shooting of the un-armed black teen.