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West Central, Michigan

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas 2015 Thoughts and Thanks...

It's December. Near Christmas. The rushing around for Christmas has hopefully just about wrapped up in anticipation of relaxation, and observing of the HOLIDAY. (from the words, “Holy Day”)

This is the first year in over half a decade that I've made a concentrated effort to be personally more ready for Christmas to arrive. This year, after five annual local radio productions of my favorite Christmas story, Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” with the WION voices and friends, I decided that the production just couldn't be improved-upon. Instead, we'll be airing the “people's choice” WION version on Christmas Eve. It's been fun to make this show happen for five years, but all things have their time. It's not to say that I may not return to it again, but for this year, we change things just a bit.

That program, that script, that adaptation of the classic story is part of MY love of radio. Long before I was “on the radio”as an announcer I was literally “living”radio, listening constantly and tuning the dial,  and with the help of my parents I started my collection of radio receivers, many of which can be seen at our WION studios.

In some of our WION Christmas Carol introductions I've told you how on Christmas Eves of the 1970's my father would be at church helping with the service and I'd be home listening to distant AM signals bringing me the 1939 Campbell Playhouse version with Orson Wells and Lionel Barrymore. It was the script from that production, which inspired and provided the words-for our WION versions over the past half-decade. (Yes, I was a very young radio geek.)

On those Christmas Eves past, About the time the 1939 radio play would end, my father, an Episcopal minister, would drive back home, pick up my Mom and I, then take us back to church for the late night service. Some years the routine was reversed, and I'd attend church early, then listen late at night, finding a distant (AM) signal carrying my favorite Christmas radio special, and listen to it as it faded in and out, knowing every word, yet hanging on every one of them and enjoying it as if I'd never heard it before.

We've traditionally presented our local version of this classic to you on WION as part of our Christmas Eve morning show gathering, and again on Christmas Eve night. This year, I'd like to present the “People's Choice” WION version at 9AM Christmas Eve, and the 1939 version at 5PM so you can hear the classic as well.

Each time I produced the WION version of "A Christmas Carol,"  I can tell you there was some magic in the room.  I remember sitting in our studios late at night wondering if I'd ever finish, and with help from various friends over the years if I'd need a certain background sound, music bed, or voice, it seemed to just “happen.” At the risk of sounding corny, I believe that there were more souls than ours in the studio helping us out, and inspiring us to make the magic happen. You'll just have to trust me on that.

Back to what I began to tell you.....this year is different. The world seems more on edge, and it's tough each day to hear bad news as we get closer and closer to Christmas.  I've always believed in the power of local radio to make a difference, and to lift the spirits of those who need it. I hope that our work with the Blue Star Mothers last month, and our upcoming Christmas programming have, and will continue to do that for you, and in some small way help combat the constant barrage of bad news in ALL the media.

Perhaps it helps to note there's plenty of good right here in Ionia County, and I hope you count WION as part of it.   We'll enjoy bringing you Randy Edwards' 3 hour Christmas special, “Edwards' Archives” along with "Christmas Across the Lands” for our 12th year. We'll also have our Christmas Eve morning show/on air gathering and we hope you'll tune-in.

As the year wraps up, WION is proud to once again have helped raise money to fight cancer with Relay for Life, to have pledged money to Bertha Brock Park on behalf of our advertisers during fallfest, to have broadcast from the Chamber's Expo in the spring, and to have helped promote some great things like the 2nd annual “Wizard of Oz” festival in June. It's been a GREAT year in our community, and we're very proud to have helped promote and KEEP the name Ionia on the map.

You hear many voices on WION. Garry Osborn, Randy Edwards, Phil Cloud, Bill Lynch and “Our ol' Buddy Bob”, guests from the community, and friends of WION who lend their voices and talents year-round, but that's not the extent of our great team.

As we get set to celebrate Christmas, I'd like to send a personal thank you to everyone who contributes to our daily visits with you, and I'm afraid I'll leave some out unintentionally, so forgive me in advance.

There are many voices you may never meet who are friends of WION. Many have worked-with Jim Aaron and I on different radio stations in our past. They make time to record commercials and promos for us.  There's “Steve the Voice Guy” who has been the “image” of our station now for 11 years. There's our sales staff of Dan Ferguson and Aimee Barna. Dan's enjoyed 7 years with us, while Aimee joined us this year with great enthusiasm and is helping at WGLM as well. There's our engineers, including Scott who is always willing to jump in and help, Ralph, E-T, Rick, and others who are always just a phone call away to help this small (STEREO) AM continue to sound GREAT and stay on the air. There's Penny, who keeps us in touch with the worthy causes in our area, even though she's working full-time now! She still finds time to help us help others.

Then, there's the behind-the-scenes unsung heroes who stop in with bread, pies, or other great gifts; there's those who iron shirts to help me look better on remotes, Vicki who always keeps our logo "lump-free" and there's our friends who are great at keeping our station's property looking great inside and outside.  This year there's also some “new” people getting their feet wet in making commercials and reading forecasts like our midday weather host who I'm very proud-of.   It's fun to watch and help people “new” to the microphone develop their delivery and talent. There's also Popeye John on Friday nights, having his first Christmas as a regular host on WION.  There's even our friends at "" who give us a forum to exchange ideas, and get the name "WION" indexed very quickly by Google!

The amazing part is, some of these people VOLUNTEER of their time, and none are full time! Every one of WION's team is here because they WANT to be.

So, as we celebrate Christmas this week, I hope that WION is part of your holiday. We'll have GREAT Christmas programming, and we're proud to be an independent station in this day of media consolidation. We're proud to be YOUR station, and that you can take us anywhere, anytime via the web and our apps.

I'm a very blessed man, to do what I love for a living.  Jim Aaron and I had ONE goal when we started this station together as “I-1430” make a reasonable living by producing great radio in a small town. It truly is a pleasure, and one I wouldn't trade for the world. (The other) Jim feels the same way, though our company growth has planted him in Greenville at our sister station, WGLM.

From the entire WION family, especially this fortunate radio morning host and station owner, 

Merry Christmas!

(1/3/16) Please enjoy these pictures from our Christmas Eve on this link, anyone can see this, even without a Facebook account!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

QUICK Update from Jim Carlyle...

Exciting things are happening at WION! 

We've installed new computers in all our studios, with all new software upgrades!  This means more reliable programming for you, and some "new" features coming soon, including special weekend weather forecasts, and more!  We're also very excited at WION to be welcoming new clients!  We've recently had the privilege of adding Affordable LawnCare  (Fall cleanups and Winter Plowing) and "The Bowling Alley" in Ionia to our roster of advertisers! For the first time, we also welcome Mane Stage Salon on Main Street, Ionia as part of our Halloween night advertiser list! The fun folks from "The Bowling Alley" will join us co-hosting the morning show midweek, too!

Radio is growing locally, and...we're also excited to bring you a fun night on Halloween!  From 6 to 9 it's Barry Scott's special "lost 45's for Halloween, then...3 hours of old time radio comes your way! So, Halloween night, take the kids trick or treating with Barry Scott on the car radio, then go home,  light the jack o'lantern, curl up with a radio, earbuds, or your favorite device for WION, and enjoy!  There's a schedule of our scary old time radio shows in the Ionia county Shopper's Guide from 10/24!   And, while we're updating you on the great things going on, keep listening and watching our online forum for info about this year's campaign to collect items for our troops, as we once again work with the "Blue Star Mothers!" it's an exciting time for radio, and we're glad to be your local radio station, WION!  Thanks for listening! 


Sunday, September 13, 2015

WION random notes as we observe our 11th Birthday Month in September of 2015...

The WION that you know today turns 11 years old this month.  September of 2004 brought our team to Ionia with the intent of providing great local radio. We still keep that in mind every day for you, our listeners.

We've made 11 years of improvements, not limited-to but including our larger AM signal for west-central Michigan, the addition of FM to our roster, then AM stereo, then streaming...and who knows what may be next! We're proud of 11 years of hard work to make this the BEST local station Ionia has ever had! Much of that comes from having working, local owners who care, and who respond to both the community feedback, and the technical needs of a 24/7 very "public" business.

That's why we still have the BEST AM station in the nation for sound quality in AM stereo (which you enjoy online)...our County-Wide FM 92.7 is clear, and brings you every detail in the music, and..our apps keep you in touch anywhere.  Most small town stations don't do HALF of what we do, and it's thanks to a team of talented friends who work or donate time to this great station!

Our online Android and I-phone app is becoming more and more popular...Oh, and by the way..the WION app won't poke into your address book, your browsing history, or your other apps, either. All they do is connect to the web to bring you GREAT AM STEREO sound. We don't "data mine" the big radio stations, and we're not part of "I heart insert name here for the week"... either.  Your information and browsing is YOUR business, not ours, and we'll always treat it that way. Anyway, go to the forum and join!

That having been said, at 11 years old, and now that it's autumn, my favorite time of year, let's turn to some GREAT things...

1) Fallfest is next week, (always the 3rd Saturday in September.) We'll be pulling up our lawn chairs and playing AM STEREO 1430 at Bertha Brock Park near Ionia, back near the Palmer Lodge.   Please bring the family for a day of walking the park and meeting great organizations, businesses, and fun!  In addition to attending, WION has once again sold "Fallfest Invites" on the radio, and thanks to outstanding support, our radio station gives $1000 to the Bertha Brock Park Improvement Fund. We're VERY proud of this.

2) We've got a new Halloween lineup of shows for you on Saturday October 31st....Join in the fun, beginning with Barry Scott's regular "Lost 45's" show...which we're sure will have a chilling theme to it...then it's 3 hours of classic old-time-radio shows to scare you through to midnight!  Grab a great sounding radio, turn it up with the family, have some popcorn or some scary food, and do what families did years ago...before twitter, facebook, instagram, and streaming TV...they listened to the radio....TOGETHER!  You might be surprised at the fun you can have!

3) The Wake up Call (trivia that is not "googleable")  has returned...and we'll talk about it Wednesday mornings on listeners a chance to win a burger of the week from the Lamplight Grill...and maybe some other fun prizes!  

4) Our FORUM is free...and it's like having your very own online chat with WION anytime, 24/7.  It's hosted by "" and, it's a GREAT way to keep up on our trivia, events, weekend feature programs, and more!  Go sign up after you read this very engaging clicking on the "forum" button at the top of any of our website pages.  Yes, you'll need to provide an e-mail to join, but many of the ads go away, and we'll know you're a REAL person wanting to join. Don't worry...we don't sell or spam that e-mail, I promise!    
You'll automatically be a member of where you can talk about TV Shows, Cooking, Sports, Technology, and so much more!  THEN...if you enjoy it and want to be in the "Pub" a membership there is only $20/year and lets you discuss ANYTHING with pub members only!  This part is completely optional.  

In 11 years of being on the air, we hope you've seen what local radio can do to grow and promote a community.  We'll continue to be active with Relay for Life, with Fallfest, with the DDA, our Chamber, and others.  We pride ourselves on being FIRST in most weather emergencies on the air, and we try very hard to put Ionia on the map in a GOOD way with our AM Stereo stream and apps so people worldwide get an "audio taste" of Ionia, MIchigan.  

11 years has made us many friends here, and it's nice to hear feedback about WION when I'm out and about.  It's fun to know you're tuned-in and responding.  Again, thank you for this. It means we're part of your daily routine, and that's the highest compliment any radio station can receive.

So,  if you've not familiarized yourself with WION, Welcome!  Our regular schedule includes CBS news at the top of each hour, Michigan News on weekday mornings, noon, and afternoon, Michigan sports during our morning show, and great music 24/7.  On the weekend, the music continues, and we add features including  The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, Edwards Archives, and Barry Scott's Lost 45's on Saturday.  Then Sunday it's Pastor Ken Harger from Shiloh Church, Retro Stars, the 80's show, and encores of some of our Saturday features.  We hope you find that after 11 years, we offer consistency, variety of programming, and are the best in promoting community.

Thank YOU  Ionia, for 11 years on the air as "I-1430!" It's our privilege to be here and to be the radio voice of your town and your county. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Been Awhile, so for my four (or so) readers, just stopping by.....

(Obviously) it's been awhile since I've updated this blog. I hope that you've been with us frequently on the morning show.

We've welcomed back Danny Boy's Drive-in Theater to our airwaves, and you can enjoy Bart Lower co-hosting on Thursdays with chances for you to with the FAMOUS "Leave your Wallet at Home" package of admissions, popcorn, Danny Dogs, Cotton Candy, and more! We've already made two winners, and you could be next!  

WION Radio is SO proud of our growth on the internet!  We're heard in towns WELL within driving distance of Ionia, so when we're talking about things like the upcoming Wizard of Oz Festival, or the Ionia Classic Car Show, or the Memorial Day Parade, we're actually inviting more people than ever!  What's really neat is that as we grow, we also track not only amount of hours listened, but...songs played, and...for our advertisers, the amount of commercials actually heard!  That's right! WION's online listeners stay with us through our commercials, without interrupting their streams! We're so proud of this!  To ALL our advertisers, and to those not yet "on the air" this should be HUGE information.

Here's how it works:  For ever listener that stays online through one commercial counts as one "listen."  An advertiser on WION heard by two people at the same time online would be....(drum roll, please) TWO listens! Unlike big city stations that black out commercials, we give our online listeners the FULL FLAVOR of what WION really is....and, you may find it amazing to know that in January, online fans accounted for 25,322  total listens to COMMERCIALS!  That means we're the BEST value around, and we're proud of it! Newspaper can't prove who opens particular pages, but WE can prove the ads were delivered to our listeners, along with "The music you know!" 

It's WONDERFUL to have so many of you tuning in these days. I know you are, because back in the late Winter when my car was wrecked and then repaired locally, I had SO many people asking me at dinner downtown or on the street, "How's Manuel?" (the Green Jeep Liberty) awkward pause, and I'd answer, "by the way, I'm fine, too!"  Perfect proof our listeners are in-touch with WION and we appreciate it. Whether you tune in for music, morning guests and co-hosts, News, Charles Osgood, or just because we're local to you, WION values your loyalty.

We have a new feature that we're VERY proud-of three times each day.  It's from the Michigan Agriculture Information Network, and we get three reports each weekday from our old friend Patrick Driscoll who KNOWS Agriculture. What's different about THIS network? They talk about West Michigan! They talk about the economy, your purchase choices, healthy growing of everything in agriculture, and so much more.  Please give these reports a listen at around 6:35 AM, then again in our noon and 5PM information blocks!  I think you'll like these timely and interesting commentaries!

And finally, We haven't worked on the wakeup call in a while, and it has me a bit in a quandary. I'm not sure if we should give the answer away, or pick it back up!  You may comment here if you like or e-mail with your thoughts.   A significant amount of mornings of late  due to (temporary) health issues (I don't think there's many souls who haven't had allergies or chest/voice issues since Winter) I'm afraid it's kept me doing more paperwork behind the scenes and playing more music instead of our regular "engaging" conversations with each of you who regularly listen.  I'm incredibly thankful for every morning I wake up and am clear enough to do the show, and I'm sorry for the loss of our regular visits when it's not as easy. I have hopes that the CRUD is gone soon, and that I'm working 100 percent as summer comes our way.  We're a small company, and that's GOOD, but it means "holes" in our schedule are more likely when we have illness in our ranks.

Join us weekday mornings 6 to 9AM, and please spread the word that we truly ARE "America's Biggest Little Radio Station".....WION!  (Available almost anywhere!!)