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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Michelle Rutkowski is the new program director at WLUM-FM 102/1. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

Rutkowski's promotion follows 8 years at WLUM


Eight years ago, Michelle Rutkowski came to WLUM-FM 102/1 to work the night shift at the alternative rock station. Earlier this week, Rutkowski was named the new programming director at the Milwaukee market leader.

"I'm very excited," Rutkowski said. "I truly consider Milwaukee to be my home. I've learned a lot over the years. When I came here for a night shift slot eight years ago, l was 24 years old.

"I've grown."

When Rutkowski -- who is married to OnMilwaukee.com's Jim Owczarski -- was promoted to music director, she moved over to a day shift, to allow more time for finding some new songs offered by emerging bands.

Along with former program director Jacent Jackson, she worked with the annual Christmas show.

"Last year was such a success, it will be hard to beat," she said about some of the projects she is looking forward in the coming year. This will be the ninth annual, and we've had great bands last year."

When talking about the station, and the format, she mentioned how much air time the air staff use to give new songs a chance to break into the rotation.

"My first love has always been on air," Rutkowski said, mentioning she'll still be on daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. "Sometimes a song doesn't take off, and we find out that it isn't for our listeners. But, it is great when a new song does well."

Over the last three years, FM 102/1 has consistently been rated as one of the top alternative stations in the nation, and it makes sense. The staff here in Milwaukee are given some freedom to try new things, and play new songs ... ones that may be very popular in the near future.

"I've been told to trust my instincts," Rutkowski said.

And those instincts have served her well.

"We owe FM 102/1's success to our incredibly dedicated listeners,'" Rutkowski said. "I'm so proud to lead this hardworking, uniquely passionate team in continuing to provide our audience with a great, truly local radio station. I couldn't be more excited for this amazing opportunity."

In the new post, Rutkowski will be playing a greater part in the station's promotional efforts. The first one up is traveling to Chicago to cover Lollapalooza.

And she will be making hiring decisions.

"I find it pretty cool that I may be able to give someone the same great opportunity I was given when I started here."

FROM ONE REALITY TO ANOTHER: If you were a fan of MTV's "Jersey Shore," you may want to check out "The Sorrentinos" as they welcome viewers into their homes and lives at 9 p.m. on Tuesday on the TV Guide Network.

"While this family isn't traditional, they live their lives the same way they enjoy their Italian food -- al dente and authentic," TVGN reported.

"The eight 30-minute episodes will follow the Sorrentino family -- Mike (youngest brother), Linda (mother), Marc (middle brother), Melissa (sister) and Frank (older brother) -- as they embark on life after reality in their hometown of Howell, New Jersey."

This series was taped after Mike Sorrentino became sober, wrapped up his work on "Jersey Shore" and is making the attempt at an acting career.

"The Sorrentinos" will follow the entire family who are in transition through a number of life changes.

Melissa, Mike's sister and the glue that holds the family together, is engaged and preparing for a wedding. She also is tasked with helping her mom, "Peaches," find a man worthy of her time as Melissa helps her traverse the scary world of dating.

Middle brother Marc is pursuing his passion of music trying to make it to the top as DJ and at the same time, making a career for himself with the families tanning business which he runs. While Frank, the eldest, is revisiting acting, something he loved and had success at as a child.

"The only things bigger than the Sorrentino's dreams, are their hearts and love for one another," TVGN says about the show. "Bonds like these either make you or break you because family, at the end of the day, is everything."


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