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
3:20 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Michigan Student Group Report Critical Of University Response To Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Credit en.wikipedia.org

A student task force has found that the University of Michigan failed to explain a years long delay between the alleged sexual assault of a student by former football player Brendan Gibbons and his expulsion in December.

The Central Student Government examined the school's student sexual misconduct policy and released its task force's findings Sunday.  Central Student Government President Michael Proppe says one finding really stuck out.

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WEMU News
2:59 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Clouds Likely To Block View Of Lunar Eclipse

Credit wikimedia commons

There's going to be a total lunar eclipse tonight, but with our cloudy weather forecast you probably don't have to worry about getting up or staying up to see it.

Professor Norbert Vance is Director of Eastern Michigan University's Sherzer Observatory. 

He says the deepest part of the eclipse will happen just before three Tuesday morning, and the event will be over by 4:30 a.m. or so.

Professor Vance says the media is calling this a "blood moon", but he doesn't think the moon will be as red as some have predicted.

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WEMU News
1:21 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Amanda Edmonds Files Nominating Petitions

Credit www.facebook.com/amandaformayor

Amanda Edmonds has filed the required number of nominating petitions for her name to appear on August primary ballot in the race to be Ypsilanti's next mayor.

The Growing Hope Executive Director submitted her petitions Friday, according to Ypsilanti City Clerk Frances McMullan.

Mayor Paul Schreiber is not seeking re-election. There are no other announced candidates to replace him at this time.

Municipal candidates have until April 22nd to file nominating petitions with their local clerk's office.

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WEMU News
8:20 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Solar Ypsi Ready To Get Busy Installing Solar Panels

Credit solarypsi.org

Solar Ypsi is close to kicking off another season of work trying to expand the use of solar power in Ypsilanti.

Solar Ypsi founder Dave Strenski says their first project will be to install solar panels on the roof of the Freighthouse in Depot Town.  After that, they'll turn their attention to the building that houses the city's fire department.

"They need a new roof," Strenski says, "and so we want to try and figure out if they can integrate solar with that."

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WEMU News
8:13 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

EMU Honors Leaders In Community Collaboaration

Credit emich.edu

Organizations and individuals who've gone above and beyond to promote collaboration between Eastern Michigan University and the surrounding community were recognized at an awards luncheon Friday afternoon.

Awards were presented by EMU's Office of Academic Service-Learning and Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. 

Claudia Petrescu is campus director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.  She says the honorees all have something in common.

"Community engagement," she says. "We all believe in the community, and giving back."

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WEMU News
5:40 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

White-Nose Syndrome Seen In Michigan Bats

Credit Wikipedia Commons

White-nose syndrome is deadly for bats, and the disease has now been reported in bats that hibernate in Michigan.

Eastern Michigan University biology professor Dr. Allen Kurta is a nationally-respected bat expert.  He says Michigan is populated by nine species of bats, five of which spend their winters in caves or abandoned mines here.

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WEMU News
8:10 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

EMU Students Compete In Climate Change-Themed Art Contest

Credit https://www.facebook.com/emuamp

Eastern Michigan University students are eligible to enter an art competition with a climate change theme and a $750 prize. 

EMU's AMP! student organization is sponsoring the contest, called "The Elapsing City".

Graduate student Mei Mei four phenomenon of climate change are offered as themes: Desertification, Loss of Arctic Sea Ice, Sea Level Rise, and Ocean Acidification.

"The artwork must reflect at least two of the four phenomenon," she says.

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WEMU News
12:12 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Garden Ridge Ready To Move Into Kmart Building

Credit www2.gardenridge.com

The Kmart store on Washtenaw Avenue in Ypsilanti Township may be closing, but the building won't be empty for long. 

Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo says Plano, Texas-based home decor chain Garden Ridge is ready to move in.

"The fact that someone came in and asked for a sign permit is a good sign, no pun intended," Stumbo says. "We look forward to this new company coming in, hopefully it will be very successful and will hire the people from Kmart to work there."

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WEMU News
8:40 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Organizers Hold Meeting On rCredits Community Currency

Credit www.rcredits.org

Proponents of a community currency that would be used to encourage local trade are holding a meeting Wednesday night to explain the system to Ann Arbor area residents and businesses.

Adam Konner is one of the lead organizers of the rCredits local currency system.  He has a background in the co-op movement.

"I see this as another way of sort of expanding the democratic economics of co-ops to the broader economy," Konner says.

The rCredit community currency system is already in use in Massachusets. 

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WEMU News
8:33 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Michigan League Of Conservation Voters Leery Of Drilling Plans

Credit www.michiganlcv.org

A Traverse City-based company's plans to drill for oil or natural gas in Scio Township is setting off alarm bells with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Deputy Director Jack Schmidt says drilling operations bring with them problems like construction, trucks, and fumes and odors.

"The fact that this is occurring so close to potential residential areas, or could potentially be occurring close to residential areas is a concern," Schmidt says.

Schmidt says if oil spills, it can cause problems for local waterways.

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WEMU News
8:20 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools Tackling Charter Schools, Schools of Choice Challenges

Credit Patrick Holubick

The Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools says his district is working in the face of challenges such as charter schools and Schools of Choice to become a top option for cradle to career education.

Scott Menzel says Ann Arbor Public Schools' Schools of Choice push poses a challenge, as does the legislature's removing the cap on the number of charter schools in Michigan. 

Menzel says choice is good - to a point.

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Arts
3:15 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Ann Arbor Summer Festival Announces 2014 Mainstage Lineup

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival has announced its 2014 Mainstage lineup.

Executive Director Amy Nesbitt sat down with WEMU's Michael Jewett Monday afternoon to talk about the schedule and hear some music from some of the acts scheduled to appear.

See the complete schedule here: http://a2sf.org/desktop/

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WEMU News
2:32 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Ricky Jefferson, Daniel Vogt Seeking Re-Election To Ypsilanti City Council

Ypsilanti City Council member Ricky Jefferson
Credit LinkedIn

The terms of three Ypsilanti city council members expire in November, and at least two of them are seeking re-election.

Ricky Jefferson represents the city's first ward, and he tells WEMU news he'd like another term in office.

Daniel Vogt represents ward two. He says he'll file for re-election soon.

Council member Brian Robb's term also ends in November. He hasn't indicated whether he'll seek re-election. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber won't seek another term, and Growing Hope executive director Amanda Edmonds is running to take his place. 

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WEMU News
2:33 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

April Is National Safe Digging Month

Credit Bob Eccles

April is National Safe Digging Month, and as 89.1 WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, anyone who plans to do any digging associated with spring projects should find out about buried utility lines first.

For more information:  http://www.call811.com/

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WEMU News
2:32 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

Washtenaw County Holds Skywarn Training

Credit Bob Eccles

Nearly 100 people participated in Skywarn training Saturday in Chelsea, learning how to properly identify and report dangerous weather conditions.

89-1 WEMU's Bob Eccles took part in the training.

Edward Vielmetti has a nice resource for following Skywarn networks via amateur radio:  http://vielmetti.typepad.com/vacuum/2014/04/tune-in-to-skywarn-nets-in-50-states-when-severe-weather-threatens.html

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WEMU News
8:30 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

A2Y Chamber Highlighting Local Retailers In Fashion Show

Credit A2YChamber.org

The Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber hosts its first-ever fashion show Friday night.

Fashion Forward features community members as models, spotlighting clothing, jewelry, hair and makeup from local retailers, and starts at eight tonight at the Ann Arbor City Club.

Find more information about Fashion Forward online:  http://business.a2ychamber.org/Events/details/fashion-forward-a2yconverge-spring-fashion-show-4293

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WEMU News
1:58 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Town Hall Tonight On Elementary School Configuration

Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education President David Bates (l) and Superintendent Scott Menzel.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti Community Schools tonight holds a town hall-style meeting to discuss plans for reconfiguring the district's elementary schools.

The district is considering three options for next school year, and public input will be taken into consideration in making a recommendation to the Board of Education later this month.

The town hall meeting is scheduled from 6-7 p.m. at Perry Early Learning Center, 550 Perry, in Ypsilanti.

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WEMU News
12:50 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Ypsilanti Elementary Students Learn Real-Life Economics Lessons

Kids gather around Enchanted Florist owner Laura Lanzon.
Bob Eccles

Thursday morning presented third and fourth graders from Ypsilanti's Holmes Elementary School with a chance to compare what they learned in a project-based unit on economics to what happens in real-world businesses. 

89-1 WEMU's Bob Eccles tagged along with the kids and their teachers on a visit to Depot Town.

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WEMU News
10:05 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

EMU Lights Student Center For Autism Awareness

The Eastern Michigan University Student Center Wednesday evening.
Credit Bob Eccles

Eastern Michigan University's Student Center was bathed in blue light Wednesday night as part of the annual Autism Speaks "Light It Up Blue" campaign.

The lighting of the Student Center also spotlighted the university's non-profit Autism Collaborative Center, a resource for families across southeast Michigan dealing with autism.

Autism affects one in 68 children, and is more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Details on Autism Speaks can be found online: http://www.autismspeaks.org

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Community
7:55 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

New Bike Share Program Coming To Ann Arbor

Trek bicycle that will be used in the ArborBike program
Clean Energy Coalition

Ann Arbor bike riders will have a new option for getting around the downtown and University of Michigan campus areas starting this summer. 

The Clean Energy Coalition plans to install 14 bike sharing stations this spring, with the operation up and running in June. 

Nick Helmholdt is ArborBike operations manager.

"We're working closely with the city of Ann Arbor and with our vendor, who is B-Cycle, to make sure everything comes into place to fit that timeline," said Helmholdt.

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WEMU News
6:12 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Sketch Of Assault Suspect Released

Credit Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office has released a sketch of a suspect in the Monday evening assault of a woman in Ypsilanti Township. The victim indicates she was targeted because of her recent marriage to a same-sex partner.

From the Sheriff's Office: 

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WEMU News
1:58 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

President Obama In Ann Arbor To Talk Minimum Wage

The crowd awaiting President Barack Obama's remarks at the University of Michigan Intramural Building.
Credit Andrew Cluley

President Barack Obama is in Ann Arbor, where he'll push his proposal to increase the federal minimum wage.

The President stopped at Zingerman's on his way to the University of Michigan's Intramural Building, where he is said to have ordered a #2 Rueben sandwich.

The President backs a proposal to gradually hike the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley is covering the President's visit.  Stay tuned for details throughout the afternoon.

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WEMU News
11:57 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Same-Sex Marriage Resolution, Park Improvements

Prospect Park basketball court
Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night adopted a resolution asking the state to withdraw its appeal of the federal court ruling that says Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The vote was six to one, with  Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson voting "no", arguing that the issue should be allowed to finish its journey through the court system.

The resolution will be forwarded to Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

City Council also approved improvements at two city parks requested by council members Brian Robb and Pete Murdock.

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WEMU News
8:17 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Ypsilanti New Tech Students Winners In Writing Contest

Ypsilanti New Tech High School students (l-r) John Castro, Adrienne Lee-Walker and Orodney Jones.
Credit Ypsilanti Community Schools

Three students from Ypsilanti New Tech High School have been chosen as winners in a writing contest that focused on African American History Month.

The contest sponsored by Kroger asked students in 4th through 12th grades to write about how they can make a difference in their communities, or how they were inspired by an African American.

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Education
12:58 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Ypsilanti Community Schools Considering Balanced Calendar, Elementary Reconfiguration

Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education trustees (l-r) Dan Raglin, Celeste Hawkins and Tony VanDerworp.
Credit Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education is considering three options for re-configuring district elementary schools, a move tied to plans to offer a balanced calendar at one school building next school year.

 The board Monday night was briefed on the options, which include three options.

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