What's Hot this Fall at WKAR?

Posted on: October 3, 2013


Lisa Smith, Mark Hollis, Doug DeLind and Pamela Whitten (l-r) ready for competition on QuizBusters.


The air outside may be getting a little cooler as we move into fall, but it's hot, hot, hot at WKAR! We have so many great new programs on the air-radio, TV and online-that I would highly recommend that you check it out.

Last week director of broadcasting Gary Reid and TV station manager Susi Elkins hosted a three-part "Fall Preview" of new programming for the upcoming season that aired Tuesday through Thursday.

Yesterday evening a wonderful roster of local celebrities including an enthusiastic group of Spartans participated in a QuizBusters Special Edition. This season marks the 25th Anniversary for WKAR's locally produced game show in which student teams from Michigan high schools compete for MSU scholarships.

We had a live audience for the recording last night in Studio A. The Special Edition, which includes two half-hour games, back-to-back, kicks off the new season. The two games will be first broadcasted on October 2 at 9 and 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow evening WKAR will have another live audience in Studio F to watch Current Sports host Al Martin (and a 2012 CAS Journalism alumnus) chat it up with Holt High School football coach Al Slamer. (You can register to attend weekly recordings, usually on Wednesdays, at WKAR.org.) And on September 18, the show's live guest will be MSU basketball great Morris Peterson (yes, Mo Pete).

On Thursday, Current Sports TV host Al Martin will heat up the airwaves with his premiere show featuring Greg "Special K" Kelser. While Martin has been hosting a live radio sports talk show on WKAR 870 AM radio since June, this will be his first debut on WKAR TV.

For all of you sports fans, this is a great opportunity to meet top sports professionals and hear what they have to say about hot topics in the sports world. Tune in to find out whether Kelser thinks college athletes should be compensated. They also talk about Kelser's recollections of winning the 1979 NCAA championship, MSU's first, against Indiana's team led by Larry Bird.

There's a lot more to like at WKAR this season as well. In addition to Current Sports and QuizBusters, another new program, called "Forte" will premiere in 2014. This new show will highlight area high school bands and what it takes to be the best in this highly competitive arena.

In addition to the documentary series, Independent Lens' "Community Cinema," a popular addition to our programming last fall, WKAR will also feature a new documentary series called, "The Screening Room." This series will showcase documentaries mostly produced in Michigan and in many cases by faculty and students right here in CAS. We have a history of producing award-winning documentaries and now WKAR will provide another way to make them available to viewers in the Midwest.

WKAR also will continue to ramp up collaboration with faculty and students in the college. Every time WKAR increases locally produced content, it also increases the opportunities for our students to gain more hands-on production experience in the studios, editing and control rooms, and on and off campus. This year we are forming a faculty-media professional advisory panel to further increase the level of engagement, outreach and access to top talent and expertise for both students and WKAR.

For instance, our sports journalism faculty place students in over 100 internships around the country each year and have a phenomenal network of current students and alumni. They can be a great resource of talent and expertise for Current Sports. Our seasoned documentary producers in CAS can do the same for "The Screening Room."

For all of you British drama and comedy fans, don't worry, WKAR is increasing program offerings for you as well! Downton Abbey will definitely be back and several new British dramas will be added. These include "Doc Martin," "Cafe," and "Last Tango in Halifax." We'll also have a terrific season of new documentaries that range from history to science, intriguing profiles of well-known personalities and a Nature mini-series on birds that will take your breath away.

In closing this week, please join me in congratulating Jeanie Croope, a 32-year veteran and star at WKAR, who is retiring this Friday, September 13. Jeanie is a treasure trove of WKAR history and much admired by fans and colleagues alike. With her many talents and interests, we know she will continue to be in high demand as she "retires," and hope she will continue to stay engaged with WKAR as well! Good luck Jeanie!

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