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
1:09 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Hamilton Crossing Wins Award

Credit Michiganhousinglocator.com

Ypsilanti's Hamilton Crossing housing development has been recognized by The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coaliton with its 2014 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Award.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

Ypsilanti Housing Commission Executive Director  says the award recognizes the sense of community among residents, and the special programs offered at the complex. Zachary Fosler says those programs include computer training, employment connections, health care and after school programs.

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Health
6:54 am
Mon May 12, 2014

U-M Expert: Keep MERS In Perspective

A colorized transmission of the MERS coronavirus that emerged in 2012 is seen in this file photo provided by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Credit National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases

  A University of Michigan expert says we need to keep the threat posed by a new and potentially deadly respiratory infection in perspective.

The first U.S. case of MERS was recently discovered. It has infected about 400 people, mainly in the Middle East, since 2012. It's been fatal in about a third of those cases.

Dr. Howard Markel is a pediatrician, U-M's George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine, and a consultant to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

He says any emerging infectious disease is a serious problem.

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Community
6:53 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Michigan Business Leaders Push For LGBT Discrimination Protections

Credit Ludovic Bertron/ Wikimedia Commons

  Ann Arbor's Jim Toy Community Center is applauding Michigan business leaders for pushing for changes to state law to protect against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Center President Sandi Smith says under current state law, a person can be fired because they're gay or transgendered. 

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition has been pushing state legislators to make changes in the law to prevent that kind of workplace bias. 

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WEMU News
10:03 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Shows Off New Outpatient Surgery Center

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor's Outpatient Surgery Center
Bob Eccles

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital is showing off its new Outpatient Surgery Center this weekend. 

The facility boasts nine state-of-the-art operating rooms, and combines the hospital's orthopedic and non-orthopedic outpatient centers. 

The public is invited to a community open house at the 43-thousand square foot state-of-the-art Outpatient Surgery Center Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  on the St. Joe's campus, 5360 McCauley Drive.

Find more information about the new facility and this weekend's Community Open House online:

http://www.stjoesannarbor.org/body_annarbor.cfm?id=1949&action=detail&ref=359

Community
2:01 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Final ReImagine Washtenaw Report Released

Credit washtenawavenue.org

The final ReImagine Washtenaw Report outlines changes designed to make the five-mile stretch of Washtenaw Avenue between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti more transit-centered and bike and pedestrian friendly.

The plan calls for improvements such as large center medians and buffered bike lanes. 

Communities along the corridor are expected to soon begin making some of the smaller changes outlined in the plan, like connecting sections of sidewalk that currently have gaps between them.

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Events
3:04 am
Wed May 7, 2014

'Touch A Truck' Motors Into Ypsilanti

Credit washtenawsuccessby6.org

The 6th annual Success by 6 Great Start Collaborative "Touch a Truck" event rolls into Ypsilanti Saturday.

Children and their families will have the chance to get up close and personal with more than 35 vehicles from organizations like the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, Ypsilanti District Library, Huron Valley Ambulance and Recycle Ann Arbor.

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WEMU News
2:59 am
Wed May 7, 2014

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Chelsea Community Hospital Get Top Marks For Safety

Credit stjoeshealth.org

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital and Chelsea Community Hospital are among five Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals to receive grades of "A" from The Leapfrog Group.

The independent industry watchdog group's latest Hospital Safety Score also awarded A's to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and St. Mary Mercy Livonia.  St. Joseph Mercy Livingston received a "B".

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WEMU News
2:59 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Local Communities Earn 'Tree City USA' Status

Credit arborday.org

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Arbor Day Foundation have given 125 communities in the state the "Tree City USA" certification for their efforts in 2013.

The program promotes proper tree management in urban areas and awareness for the economic, health and aesthetic benefits of trees.

Among the local communities receiving "Tree City USA" designation: Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline and the Village of Dexter.

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Education
2:58 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Lisiscki Tabbed As Interim Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent

Interim Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Laura Lisiscki.
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education has named Associate Superintendent Laura Lisiscki as the successor to Scott Menzel as Superintendent, at least on an interim basis.

The board Monday night unanimously voted to have Lisiscki take over as Superintendent after Menzel steps down at the end of June. 

Lisiscki will lead the district into its second year, and the Board of Education would take up the question of whether to make her tenure permanent or search for a replacement after elections in November.

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WEMU News
2:58 am
Wed May 7, 2014

U-of-M Professor Co-Wrote Midwest Chapter Of National Climate Assessment

Dr. Donald Scavia, Director of U-of-M's Graham Sustainability Institute.
Credit umich.edu

The Director of the University of Michigan's Graham Sustainability Insitute was the lead co-author of the portion of the latest National Climate Assessment dealing with the Midwest.

The report was presented Tuesday at the White House.

Dr. Donald Scavia says the Midwest will continue to experience warming and increased average precipitation.  The region will also see more frequent intense spring rainstorms, and may experience drier summers. 

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WEMU News
2:57 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Irwin Proposes Tax Break For Teachers Who Donate Supplies

State Representative Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor.
Credit twitter.com

Michigan teachers could soon get some tax relief for donating materials to the classroom.

Ann Arbor State Representative Jeff Irwin has proposed a bill that would give a tax credit to educators who spend up to $1,000 on supplies for their students.

Irwin says this issue is a symptom of a much larger problem facing public education in Michigan, and shows the state is not doing enough to fund public education.

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WEMU News
2:56 am
Wed May 7, 2014

New Potential Tenant Announced For Thompson Block

The Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.
Credit Bob Eccles

A nationally-recognized local brewer of organic tea and beer has signed a letter of intent to move into the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.

Unity Vibration currently operates out of a facility on Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti Township. 

Early plans call for a kitchen and tasting room in the Thompson Block. 

Draft Magazine named one of Unity Vibration's beers as one of the 25 best of 2013. 

Zingerman's and Espresso Royale have also signed letters of intent to move into the Thompson Block.

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WEMU News
2:21 am
Tue May 6, 2014

EMU Names Associate Vice President For Student Affairs

Credit northern.edu

Eastern Michigan University has a new Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

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WEMU News
2:14 am
Tue May 6, 2014

ABC Microbrewery Now Open For Lunch

Credit arborbrewing.com

You have a new dining option for lunch in Ypsilanti. The Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery has responded to demand and changed its business hours to include lunch.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

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WEMU News
2:00 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools Switching Phone Alert Vendors

Credit Patrick Holubick

A desire to better meet the needs of parents has prompted Ypsilanti Community Schools to switch phone systems. 

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

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WEMU News
1:54 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Public Meeting To Focus On Local Heroin Problem

Credit flickr.com

Heroin use is rampant in Washtenaw County. The Ann Arbor Library has become a destination site for users. Overdoses are more frequent, and some of our young people are dying. A public meeting in Saline tonight aims to rally volunteers and provide information on the local war on heroin abuse.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

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WEMU News
2:32 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Web Hosting Firm Opening Office In Ann Arbor

Credit liquidweb.com

A Lansing-based Web hosting company hopes to open shop in Ann Arbor later this year.

Liquid Web would like to hire 75 people to work in Ann Arbor over the next three to five years.

"We do have some property that we have just purchased in Ann Arbor that we are looking to hire some new people to work with us over there," says Liquid Web spokesperson Cale Sauter.

Liquid Web will move into property at 315 West Huron Street in Ann Arbor. 

Sauter says they'll start with about 20 people who'll mainly handle 24/7 web and technical support. 

Apply online:

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Community
1:56 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Healthcare Leaders Back Transit Millage

University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Ora Pescovitz.
Credit uofmhealth.org

The campaign to win approval of a 0.7 mil transit issue in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and Ann Arbor has picked up a couple of key endorsements.

University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Ora Pescovitz has endorsed the ballot issue, as has Saint Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston Hospitals President and CEO Rob Casalou.

Pescovitz says she believes many University of Michigan medical center staff, visitors and patients would benefit from the expanded service the millage is designed to pay for.

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WEMU News
1:35 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Salvation Army Store Possible Tenant For Former Farmer Jack Property

Credit salvationarmyusa.org

A new store could soon be moving into the old Farmer jack site near the corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Golfside Road.

Ypsilanti Township Planning Coordinator Joe Lawson says several businesses have approached them about the property, but it has remained unused for the last seven years.

"We've been approached by the Salvation Army out of Detroit to purchase the building outright," Lawson says, "and to open a family store similar to the ones located in Ann Arbor and in Canton."

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Community
11:42 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Yankee Air Museum To Sign Purchase Agreement For Bomber Plant

Credit savethebomberplant.org

The Yankee Air Museum’s fundraising effort has been successful enough to move forward with a purchase agreement for a portion of the former Willow Run bomber plant.

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WEMU News
7:30 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Pierce Withdraws From Ward One Ypsilanti Council Race

Steve Pierce.
Credit twitter.com

Ypsilanti businessman Steve Pierce has withdrawn from the race to represent Ward One on Ypsilanti city council.

Pierce says he filed essentially just to make sure there was a name on the ballot.  Incumbent council member Ricky Jefferson announced he wasn't running again just days before the filing deadline. 

Pierce withdrew to clear the way for the other person who filed on time - Nicole Brown - to run.

"I think she's going to do a fabulous job in representing Ward One," Pierce says, "so I'm looking forward to having her as my next  city council member."

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WEMU News
3:35 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Ann Arbor 5th Grader Michigan Winner In Google Doodle Contest

Hannah Hu's "Ocean Cleaner".
Credit google.com

An elementary school student from Ann Arbor is the Michigan winner in a nation-wide contest for K-12 students to design a "Google Doodle" using the theme "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place..."

Hannah Hu is a 5th grader at Logan Elementary School.  She says she and her dad saw a news report about pollution in the world's oceans, and that's how she came up with the idea for her "Ocean Cleaner".

"I thought then maybe I could invent something to clean the ocean," Hu says, "and let the sea animals live happily in the water."

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WEMU News
1:44 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Toyota Announcement Has York Township Officials Smiling

Credit twp-york.org

News that Toyota plans to move about 250 jobs from Kentucky to its Technical Center in York Township has township officials smiling.

Township Supervisor John Stanowski says his community will benefit from the new jobs, but so will Washtenaw County.  He says engineers like to live in nice homes, and that should help the housing industry.

"That's always good," Stanowski says, "because if the housing industry is booming that creates more jobs.  There's a trickling effect all the way down to the lumber yards providing the lumber, so it'll be good for the county as a whole".

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Michigan News
8:19 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Toyota Moving 250 Jobs From Kentucky To York Township

Credit wikimedia commons

As part of Toyota's plan to establish a new world headquarters in Plano, Texas, its Ann Arbor-area Technical Center will absorb about 250 jobs currently based in Kentucky.

Toyota says the direct procurement positions will be housed in a new facility to be built at the Technical Center in York Township. 

Toyota plans to move its manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate and financial services operations to a new world headquarters in Plano over the next three years.

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WEMU News
8:16 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Clean Energy Coalition Sets Renewable Energy Goal

Credit cec-mi.org

The Executive Director of Ann Arbor's Clean Energy Coalition thinks generating 100 kilowatts of renewable energy in town in the next year is highly achievable.

Sean Reed says teamwork should make it possible to aim even higher - perhaps one megawatt of clean energy.

"Our team here has been focusing pretty strongly on trying to look at the different types of business models that might be out there for trying to see solar have a bigger footprint in the Ann Arbor community, but also across the state," Reed says.

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