Bill Michaels, the sports talker known to many listeners as "The Big Unit," is launching his new radio show today on three stations in the eastern half of Wisconsin.
An additional station, Wausau's WRIG-AM, is scheduled to join his network Aug. 15.
Michaels reports that negotiations are underway with a half-dozen more stations throughout the state to carry his three hours of weekday sports talk.
In Milwaukee, "The Bill Michaels Show" airs on WSSP-AM (1250) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. A delayed edition airs in afternoon drive time on Green Bay's WNFL-AM and Sheboygan's WHBL-AM.
It's a quick turnaround for the hard-working sports guy, who left WTMJ-AM (620) in April after his contract wasn't renewed by the station that had been his home since 1999. He has spent the months since putting together his own makeshift radio network.
It was an effort made far easier by the close relationship Michaels had cultivated with many of his advertisers from his WTMJ days.
Teaming up for the Wisconsin Humane Society: Last week, a Facebook promotion by Channel 12 yielded $7,500 in donations to the Wisconsin Humane Society. That was followed by a pledge from Channel 12 viewer Stan Kass, who promises to donate $100 for every pet adoption – up to $100,000.
Now, the ABC station has teamed up with WKLH-FM (96.5) and Clear Channel to get the word out. In addition to TV reports from anchor Portia Young, WKLH's Marilynn Mee, an outspoken animal advocate, will talk about the effort on her 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. show.
Clear Channel Outdoor will promote the effort on digital billboards in the area.
On TV: Milwaukee's Cathy Markwiese ended up in third place on her appearance last week on the syndicated "Jeopardy!" She told host Alex Trebek that watching the quiz show had helped her get through chemotherapy.
- The National Geographic Channel is promising a week of special programming to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The specials start Aug. 28 with an interview with former President George W. Bush talking about the epochal event.
- Oprah Winfrey is recycling her old show for a "new" show on her Oprah Winfrey Network this fall. "Own Your Life," as she calls the repackaging, premieres Oct. 10.
- The Guardian reports that the BBC will offer an iPad app that allows viewing of its TV programs in the U.S. later this year. There's no word on what the monthly subscription will cost.
- HBO says "Boardwalk Empire" will be back for its second season on Sept. 25. "Hung" and "How to Make It in America" come back Oct. 2. "Bored to Death" returns Oct. 3.
This Internet thing could catch on: Here's an interesting clip from MTV back in 1995 trying to explain the whole Internet thing (by the way, today is MTV's 30th birthday):
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.