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

Local News
9:57 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Ypsilanti Police Chief Finalists Meet the Public

Deputy Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DiGiusti
Credit Bob Eccles

About 50 people turned out last night for a public forum introducing the two finalists to be Ypsilanti's next Chief of Police. 

Deputy Chief Tony DiGiusti is one of the finalists.  He said his 13 years of experience as a deputy chief and administrator have prepared him for the job.

DiGiusti's been interim Chief since Amy Walker left to take a job in the private sector in October. 

Read more
Local News
4:38 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Thunderbirds to Headline 2014 Thunder over Michigan Air Show

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline next year's Thunder over Michigan air show at Willow Run Airport. 

Yankee Air Museum Public Relations Director Bob Hynes says the show is scheduled for August 9th and 10th.

Hynes says if you have an aviation buff on your holiday gift list, there's a special code you can enter to save big on tickets to next year's Thunder over Michigan show. 

Go to YankeeAirMuseum.org, click on Thunder over Michigan Air Show and enter the code TOMINSIDER to get a discount on tickets.

Read more
Community
8:51 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

ReImagine Washtenaw Right-of-Way Plan Presented

Meeting attendees check out the plan and ask questions.
Credit Bob Eccles

ReImagine Washtenaw presented its right-of-way plan to the public at a meeting Tuesday night. 

The plan covers the corridor from the water tower in Ypsilanti to the Washtenaw-Stadium split in Ann Arbor.

Ypsilanti city council member Pete Murdock says the city is dealing with a lot of traffic issues as part of its master plan revision, and those will have to be coordinated with ReImagine Washtenaw.

The ReImagine Washtenaw right-of-way plan includes improvements such as refuge islands to help pedestrians safely cross the street, buffered bike lanes, and eight "super stops" for Ann Arbor Area Transportation busses along the corridor. 

The next step in the implementation process is to have municipalities along the corridor adopt the plan.

Click here for a report from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

Local News
6:12 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Report Suggests Lawmakers Consider Economic Impact of Colleges and Universities

A new report suggests Michigan lawmakers would be wise to consider the economic impact of colleges and universities in the state. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Read more
Local News
5:45 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

ReImagine Washtenaw Right-of-Way Study up for Review Wednesday Night

Wednesday night is your chance to take a look at improvements being recommended as part of the ReImagine Washtenaw project and have some input on the issue. 

Nathan Voght is project manager for ReImagine Washtenaw.  He says they've been working with a consultant on the right-of-way study being presented at a public meeting Wednesday night.

The study addresses issues such as bike lanes, sidewalks and safer ways to cross Washtenaw Avenue from the Ypsilanti water tower to the Stadium Boulevard split. 

Find out more about the plan from 6:30 to 8 Wednesday night  in conference room "A" in the County Service Center Learning Resources Center off Washtenaw Avenue.

Read more
Local News
3:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

EMU to hire 10 new Full-Time Police Officers

Credit Eastern Michigan University Police

Eastern Michigan University will hire an additional 10 full-time police officers to help patrol the neighborhoods immediately next to campus. 

Police Chief Bob Heighes says the new hires will "provide a crucial new dimension to our policing efforts." 

The university is currently working to hire an additional four officers announced last month. 

Chief Heighes says four more officers will be brought on board in May, and another two late next summer. 

Read more
Dream Act
11:17 am
Tue December 10, 2013

EMU Student Government Pushes for In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

Clerk Eden Zimak watches as Student Body President Desmond Miller signs Senate Resolution 100-09 to formally state that the student body of Eastern Michigan University supports our Board of Regents in the decision to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Credit Courtesy photo / EMU Student Government

Eastern Michigan University's Student Government wants undocumented students living in Michigan to qualify for in-state tuition rates. 

Under the current system they must pay out-of-state rates that cost $15,500 more per year.

EMU Student Body President Desmond Miller says that's not fair.

The University of Michigan and Washtenaw Community College have already changed their policies to allow qualified undocumented students to pay in-state rates. 

EMU's Board of Regents plans to discuss loosening the qualifications for in-state tuition at tomorrow's meeting.

Read more
Community
8:59 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Vigil Marks Anniversary of Julia Niswender's Death

Julia Niswender's twin sister, Jennifer (l), and mother, Kim Turnquist, speak to reporters at Monday night's vigil.
Credit Bob Eccles

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

About 50 people took part in a candle light vigil last night to remember Julia Niswender, an EMU student who was found dead in her off-campus apartment one year ago. 

Niswender's death was ruled a homicide, but the circumstances surrounding her death remain unknown. Julia's mother, Kim Turnquist, urges anyone with information to come forward.

Vigil participants walked to the northern edge of the EMU campus and lined the street across from the Peninsular Point apartments where Julia lived. There they lit candles. 

Anyone with information in the case can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP.  A $15-thousand reward is offered.

Local News
3:14 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

New Parking Garage Opens in Ann Arbor

A new 250-space parking garage is now open on the corner of First and Washington streets in downtown Ann Arbor. 

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority Director Susan Pollay says the new garage provides the mix of public and private uses, with an apartment building under construction above it.

A "soft opening" for the structure was held Friday, with a grand opening expected sometime in January to coincide with the apartments opening.

Local News
3:07 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

EMU Celebrates 'Giving Tuesday' Success

Eastern Michigan University says its Giving Tuesday fundraising effort was a resounding success. 

Tom Stevick is EMU's Vice-President for Advancement, and Executive Director of the EMU Foundation.  He says the university's first one-day fundraising event exceeded expectations.

Stevick says they were expecting to raise around $50,000 or $60,000, but ended up with more than $138,000. 

Money raised by EMU on Giving Tuesday will go to various scholarships and campus programs, plus the school's new Student Emergency Fund.

Read more
Business
3:05 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Former Elbow Room Building Gets New Life

6 S Washington St, home of the Former Elbow Room has sat dormant since 2010

The former site of Ypsilanti's Elbow Room bar is being put back to use, with a Mexican restaurant moving into the South Washington Street building. 

City Planner Teressa Gillotti explains that the building has been empty since the bar closed in 2011, adding that having a strong entertainment district would play a critical role in redeveloping Ypsilanti.

The restaurant's expected to open next spring following renovations.

Read more
Holiday Support
3:02 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Salvation Army needs Volunteers for Toy Distribution

The Washtenaw County Salvation Army needs volunteers to help sort toys for its annual Christmas Toy Shop. The event brings donated toys to families in need. 

Volunteer Coordinator Darlene Howard says 20 to 30 volunteers are needed before and during the toy distribution, which takes place Wednesday, December 18th..

Help is also needed on Monday the 16th and Tuesday the 17th, anytime from 9AM to 6PM.

In addition to sorting toys before the distribution, volunteers are needed on the 18th to help parents select children's gifts. 

Read more
Community
5:22 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Ypsilanti Police Chief Finalists Identified

After a flurry of concerned emails from city council members, Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange has released the names of the two finalists to be Ypsilanti's next Chief of Police. 

Ypsilanti Deputy Chief Tony Digiusti is a finalist.  He's served as interim Chief since Amy Walker's retirement in October

Also a finalist is former East Lansing Police Captain Kim P. Johnson, whose resume indicates he was with that department until June of last year but lists no more recent work experience. 

Read more
Local News
4:54 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Ypsi Council Members want Chief Finalist Names Released

Some Ypsilanti City Council members aren't happy with City Manager Ralph Lange's decision not to identify the two finalists to be the city's next Chief of Police. 

The finalists will appear at a public forum one week from tonight, but Lange has opted not to identify them.  

WEMU news has obtained emails between several council members and the City Manager's office. 

Council members express concerns over the names not being released, as well as confusion over plans to have three finalists to bring before the public rather than two. 

Local News
2:54 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

EMU Business Grad Earns Awards

Credit www.ts-llc.com

An area businessman who graduated from Eastern Michigan University and who continues to be involved with the school has been recognized with prestigious awards for customer service, sales and financial performance. 

Steve Futrell is founder and CEO of Technology Solutions in Livonia, a company that works with businesses to develop voice and data solutions. 

Read more
Local News
12:04 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Ypsi Heritage Festival asks City to Cap Fees

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board Chair David Nickerson addresses City Council
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival made a plea to City Council Tuesday night to put a cap on the special event fees the city charges it. 

David Nickerson is Chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board of Trustees.  He told council those fees represent 18 percent of festival expenses.

Nickerson requested that the city cap fees charged the festival at between $18,000 and $20,000.  Nickerson estimates next year's fees at between $25,000 and $28,000 otherwise. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he'd like to see the city make a contribution to the festival as a sponsor rather than just cap fees.

Council member Daniel Vogt said the city can't afford to subisidise the Heritage Festival unless the city can break even, perhaps by helping the festival find other areas in which to make cuts.

City staff will study the issue and come back to council with a recommendation at a later date.

Read more
Local News
4:15 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Police Investigating Off-Campus Shooting that left EMU Student Wounded

Police are looking for a car observed leaving the scene of a shooting early this morning that left an Eastern Michigan University student with a non-life threatening bullet wound to the arm. 

Investigators say a blue Ford Mustang was seen speeding away from Peninsular Place Apartments after the incident around 1:40 this morning.

Destinee Leapheart was wounded when an apparent random gunshot sent a bullet through the wall and into her apartment. 

Leapheart's roommate, Tammy Flowers, says Leapheart seems to be doing OK now.

Local News
2:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

EMU Faculty Protest EAA Association

Eastern Michigan University faculty members held multiple protests today urging the school to end its involvement with Michigan's Education Achievement Authority. 

The EAA is a state school system tasked with improving consistently under-performing schools. 

Critics say the EAA removes too much control from local government. 

Steve Camron is a professor at EMU and one of the protest's organizers. He says involvement with the EAA will negatively impact enrollment in EMU's teacher education program.

Read more
Education
9:57 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Ypsilanti Community School Board Approves Summer Tax Collection

Credit Tax Credits / Foter.com / CC BY

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved collecting school taxes in the summer rather than in the winter. 

Board President David Bates says summer tax collection is nothing new for district residents. The Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts had been collecting taxes in the summer prior to the consolidation.

Bates says summer tax collection means the district has to borrow less from the state while awaiting state aid payments, which in turn saves taxpayers money because the district is paying less in interest on money borrowed.

Read more
Local News
3:50 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Second Suspect in Demarius Reed Killing Appears in Court

The second suspect in the killing of EMU student athlete Demarius Reed has appeared in court. 

Kristopher Pratt is charged with murder and robbery, and like co-defendant Ed Jemeal Thomas, is being held without bond. 

Reed was found dead at his off-campus apartment complex October 18th, and investigators turned almost immediately to robbery as a motive for his killing. 

Reed had been shot several times.

Community
3:18 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Michigan Continues Slow but Steady Economic Recovery

Michigan continues its slow and steady economic recovery. 

The annual economic forecast from University of Michigan economists predicts the next two years should bring the state back to employment levels prior to the economic downturn of 2008-09. 

Don Grimes points to the recovery of the auto industry as a big reason why Michigan's doing as well as it is.

Read more
Local News
1:07 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Suspects Arraigned in Demarius Reed Death

Ypsilanti Police have two suspects in custody in the death of Demarius Reed, the Eastern Michigan University student athlete found dead at his off-campus apartment complex October 18th.

The 21 year-old Reed had suffered several gunshot wounds, and investigators believe he may have been shot during a robbery attempt.

Interim Ypsilanti police Chief Tony DiGiusti says Ed Jameal Thomas and a second suspect are facing murder and robbery charges 

Thomas was arraigned Sunday, while the second suspect had not yet appeared in court.  Both men are in custody. 

Read more
Community
2:10 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

John F. Kennedy 50 Years Later

A plaque on the Michigan Union wall provides details of Kennedy's visit.
Bob Eccles

50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a visit to Dallas.  WEMU's Bob Eccles has a look at JFK's impact on our area, and introduces us to some local folks whose lives President Kennedy touched. The spot where Kennedy spoke, planting the seed for what would become the Peace Corps.

Click here for Bob's report.

Read more
Local News
4:25 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

EMU Settles with Students for Life, the Alliance Defending Freedom

Eastern Michigan University has settled a lawsuit brought by an organization upset that EMU Student Government hadn't helped pay for it to bring its "Genocide Awareness Project" exhibit to campus. 

University spokesperson Geoff Larcom says student government originally said "no" to a request for funding from Students for Life, which had asked for about $5,000 for the exhibit that was on campus April 11th and 12th. 

Student Government declined, but later approved funding and changed its fund allocation policy. 

Local News
3:56 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

New Contract for A2SO, Musicians

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has reached a five-year agreement with Local 625 of the American Federation of Musicians. 

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Board President Bob Gates said the new contract shows that everyone at the bargaining table shared the goals of "artistic excellence, commitment to financial sustainability, and service to our community." 

Musicians spokesperson and Principal Oboist Tim Michling said the increased compensation levels included in the contract will help the symphony "attract and retain the highest caliber performers."

Pages