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

Michigan News
10:46 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Juvenile 'Lifers' Have No Shot at Parole

Credit spaceyjessie / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

So-called "juvenile lifers" in Michigan would not get a chance at parole under a bill approved Tuesday by the state House. That's unless the Michigan Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court rule otherwise.

Read more
Michigan News
10:38 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Governor Rick Snyder Launches Re-election Bid

Governor Rick Snyder announces his re-election bid in Detroit
Credit Rick Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder says Michigan's economic recovery is just starting and he wants four more years to finish the job. The governor formally launched his reelection campaign with stops in Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Day Two of the governor's reelection announcement tour has stops scheduled in Traverse City, Frankenmuth and at Oakland Community College.

Read more
Education
10:33 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Under-performing Schools Report to Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education last night received quarterly reports from two under-performing schools that have caught the state's eye. 

The Principals of Holmes and Estabrook Elementary schools outlined steps they're taking to improve student achievement.

At Holmes Elementary, things like having breakfast in classrooms and staggering dismissal times have helped cut fighting and expulsions by half. 

Read more
Ypsilanti
10:30 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Listen to the Ypsilanti Community High School Chamber Singers Serenade School Board

Credit YCS Courtesy photo

The Ypsilanti Community High School Chamber Singers sang for the Board of Education Monday night.

Read more
WEMU News
7:54 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Washtenaw County Road Commission ready to Do Battle with Mother Nature

The Washtenaw County Road Commission stands ready to handle the heavy snow and wintry mix of sleet and ice forecast for Saturday and Saturday night. Road commission Director of Operations Jim Harmon says crews will be ready to clear snow and salt roads beginning at 4:00am Saturday. Harmon says crews are prepared to work an 18-hour day Saturday, and to come back for more Sunday, if necessary. Harmon advises anyone who doesn't absolutely have to be on the road Saturday to stay home.

WEMU News
7:50 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Washtenaw County among Michigan's Best for Creative Industries

Washtenaw County has been listed as one of the top five counties in Michigan for creative industries. ArtServe Michigan released the findings in their Creative State Michigan 2014, Creative Industries Report.  Deb Polich is the Director of the Arts Alliance in Ann Arbor and a Board Member of ArtServe Michigan.  She says Washtenaw County being in the top five is no surprise: Polich says Washtenaw County attracts people because of the two large universities, and cities like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that offer arts and culture experiences and education.

WEMU News
7:14 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase: Pros and Cons

Michigan's Small Business Administration and a local organization dedicated to the success of locally-owned independent businesses are weighing in on the idea of raising the minimum wage. 

Read more
Michigan News
7:11 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Michigan Legislature Unlikely to consider Raising Minimum Wage in 2014

Legislation to raise Michigan's minimum wage all but ruled out, ballot drive likely
By Jake Neher

Legislation to raise Michigan's minimum wage is not likely to go anywhere in 2014.

Republican leaders in the state House and Senate are not eager to take up bills to raise it above $7.40 an hour.

"It's a firm 'no' for me," said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. "I think that individual CEOs of companies in Michigan should make those decisions based on the marketplace, not some arbitrary law."

Read more
Community
8:01 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

OyamO to Receive 2014 Shirley Verrett Award

Playwright and University of Michigan professor OyamO is being honored tonight by the Women of Color in the Academy Project with the 2014 Shirley Verrett Award. 

The award celebrates faculty members who support the success of female students and faculty in the arts.

Gloria Thomas is Director of U-M's Center for the Education of Women. She says OyamO was nominated by the School of Music, Theater and Dance.

Thomas says OyamO is being recognized for his commitment to students, along with his ability to look past racial and ethnic differences to understand human life. 

The award is being presented to OyamO tonight at Stamps Auditorium on Michigan's north campus.

Transit
7:59 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ypsilanti Mayor Touts Benefits of AAATA Transit Improvement Plan

Credit the ride / facebook

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber says he looks forward to residents of his city enjoying the benefits of enhanced transit options outlined in the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's transit improvement plan. 

Schreiber says improved public transportation will benefit both Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

The Mayor says better bus service will help those who live in Ypsilanti and work in Ann Arbor, and will help the economies of both cities.

Schreiber says the local business infrastructure will also be a beneficiary of better transit.

Read more
Michigan News
7:56 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

State Income Tax Reduction Proposal Moving Forward

Income tax reduction clears committee, goes to full state Senate
By Jake Neher

Plans to reduce Michigan's income tax rate are moving forward in the state Legislature. A state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday that would phase in the tax cut over three years.

The income tax rate would go from 4.25% to 3.9% by 2017.

"This is a tax on work," said Scott Hagerstrom with the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity of Michigan. "You want more of something? Tax it less. We want more work and more productivity."

Read more
Community
2:48 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, MISSION Assists Homeless living in Tents

Credit missiona2.org/

The city of Ann Arbor is now working with local non-profit organization MISSION as well as Washtenaw County's Project Outreach Team to assist a group of homeless individuals living in tents along the Huron River and under the Maiden Lane bridge. 

Ann Arbor Police had previously visited the site and posted notices on two tents, warning their owners they had 48 hours to vacate the area. MISSION's Vice President, Greg Pratt says public outcry helped reverse the decision.  Pratt adds they are assisting the homeless living in the camp with trash removal, and are also providing them with necessary supplies such as propane, batteries and foodstuffs.

19 warming centers have been established throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to provide assistance to those that need it, including a newly opened warming center hosted by St. Mary's Student Parish on Williams Street in Ann Arbor.

Pratt says some individuals are unable or unwilling  to go to such places either due to mental illness or the desire to remain autonomous.

Read more
Ypsilanti
10:13 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Not Much Interest in President's Speech in Downtown Ypsilanti Tuesday Night

There weren't many people interested in what the President had to say in his State of the Union speech in Downtown Ypsilanti Tuesday night.  

Most were more interested in watching the Michigan State-Iowa basketball game.  

Some said they were DVR-ing the speech and planned to watch it later.  

Read more
Michigan News
7:45 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Mixed Response to possible Tax Break for Oil and Gas Companies

Environmental groups divided over possible tax break for oil and gas companies

By Jake Neher  

Read more
Michigan News
7:44 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

House to Consider Requiring Candidates to Disclose Felony Convictions

Bill would require felons to declare their past if they go into politics

By Rick Pluta and Jake Neher  

The state House could vote soon on a measure to require political candidates to reveal felony convictions that occurred within the prior 10 years. A state House committee approved the legislation today (Tue.) that would require political candidates to declare felony convictions within the past 10 years.   

Read more
Music
7:28 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Jeremy Baldwin Remembers Folk Icon, Pete Seeger

Credit Credit Anna Webber / WireImage

Folk music icon Pete Seeger died Monday at the age of 94. 89.1 WEMU's Roots Music Project host, Jeremy Baldwin says Seeger's influence was huge. 

 

He adds that Seeger touched musicians no matter what their genre. Baldwin says nobody - except maybe for Kermit the Frog - played a bigger role in popularizing the banjo in the northern U.S. than Pete Seeger. Seeger's grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson told the Associated Press and New York Times that Seeger died of natural causes.      

 

 

SEE ALSO:  Pete Seeger, Folk Music Icon And Activist, Dies At 94    

 

Seeger's songwriting credits include "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Where have All the Flowers Gone?"

 

Read more
WEMU News
7:24 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Food Gatherers Grapple with the Cold, Too

Non-profit organizations like Food Gatherers are feeling the impact of the frigid temperatures, snow, and ice.

 

Eileen Spring is the Executive Director of Food Gathers. She says this has been the most challenging winter she can remember.

 

SEE ALSO: As SNAP Benefits Decrease, Food Gatherers Ramp up for the Holiday Season

 

Spring says warmer weather will not only be a welcome sight, but will make a big difference in getting food to those who need it.

 

She anyone who is interested in getting involved with Food Gatherers or any of the organizations they work with can visit  www.foodgatherers.org/

 

 

Read more
WEMU News
7:21 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

18 Warming Centers in Washtenaw County Help Keep Homeless Warm

Credit Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

18 warming centers have been established throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to give the homeless a place to come in out of the cold.

 

Executive Director of the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, Ellen Schulmeister says shelter is available to anyone who needs it, and the Delonis Center is operating under relaxed amnesty standards through Wednesday.

 

Those in need of shelter can also stay during the day if needed.

 

Shelters will remain open to the public through Wednesday, although specific hours of operation vary from one location to another.

 

If you need housing or shelter call 734.961.1999

 

 

— Bob Eccles is a reporter and the host of 89.1 WEMU's All Things Considered. Contact him at 734.487.3363, email him reccles@emich.edu, or follow him on Twitter @BobEcclesWEMU

Ann Arbor
7:18 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

University of MIchigan Cancels Classes for first time since 1978

Credit University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Tuesday canceled classes for the first time in 36 years.  School officials based the decision on the extremely low temperatures forecast, and the danger they pose to students traveling across campus to attend classes.     University of  Michigan spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald says other parts of the university, such as the Health System, remained open. The cancelation of classes was a departure from Michigans's controversial decision earlier this month to remain open during a similar cold spell.

Read more
Safety
7:10 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Keep your Pipes from Freezing with these Cold Weather Tips

Credit YCUA

When temperatures dip this low, frozen pipes are a frequent problem for homeowners.   

Click to hear a report from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

Jeff Castro is Director of the Ypsilanti Community Utilitites Authority.  He says it's good for homeowners to be aware of the danger.

 Castro says the pipes most likely to freeze are those running along an exterior wall, or near a window. In cold weather, water meters can freeze, too.     

The American Red Cross suggests taking preventative steps, such as keeping garage doors closed if there are water supply lines there, opening kitchen and bathroom doors to allow heat to circulate around the plumbing, and letting cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.     

If you need to thaw pipes, the Red Cross suggests wrapping them with an electric heating pad, or apply heat using a hair dryer or portable space heater - so long as its kept away from flammable material.  Never use an open flame to attempt to thaw frozen water pipes.

Read more
WEMU News
7:08 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Ypsilanti Uses Federal Grant to Hire More Firefighters

Credit OfficerGreg/CC BY-ND/ Flickr

The ranks of Ypsilanti fire fighters are growing, thanks to an $800,000 federal grant.

City Manager Ralph Lange says the money will allow the city to hire five fire fighters this year and next.  He says the first five must be on board by April 8th.

Read more
Community
2:08 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

U-M Program Receives Award for International Education

Credit umji.sjtu.edu.cn/ / University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute

A University of Michigan program that sends engineering students to China has picked up one of the highest honors in international higher education. 

The University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute has won an Andrew Heiskell Award from the Institute of International Education. 

Read more
Michigan News
7:54 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Campaign to seek Minimum Wage Hike in Michigan

Credit Jesse f/2.8 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Campaign will try to raise minimum wage
By Rick Pluta

A ballot campaign is organizing to give a pay raise to the roughly 90 thousand Michigan workers who make the state minimum wage of $7.40.

The Raise Michigan coalition says it's looking to boost the state minimum wage to somewhere between $9 and $10.10 and index it to inflation. Tipped employees, such as restaurant servers, would also see a raise.  

Read more
Michigan News
7:52 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Fewer Caregivers but Record State Revenues from Medical Marijuana in Michigan

Credit “Caveman Chuck” Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

State sees record revenues from medical marijuana program, but fewer caregivers
By Jake Neher

State officials are reporting record revenues from Michigan's medical marijuana program last fiscal year. They say the state took in almost $11 million dollars. That's up about $1 million from the year before, and $7 million more than it costs the state to oversee the program.

Read more

Pages