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Bloomfield Township

March 25, 2013

Student radio station takes top state honor

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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From left, sophomore Haron Kirshenbaum, sophomore Brock Appleby and junior Dylan Deitch sit by their microphones in a recording studio at Andover High School.

Bloomfield Hills Schools’ radio station, WBFH 88.1 FM, The Biff, is not only on the air, its award-winning reputation has soared into the stratosphere.

On March 13, the student radio station took first place in the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation’s 2013 High School Radio Station of the Year contest.

In addition, Bloomfield Hills Schools students competed in themed categories and took first place seven times, second place four times and third place six times.

Tyler Kieft, 18, is an Andover High School senior who is currently WBFH’s sports director. He said he has been competing for four years to personally win a category in the MABF’s contest, and he finally did this year by taking first in the MHSAA sports public service announcement category.

He also commented on his radio station’s overall victory. “I was glad that we got back on top,” he said. “We have been waiting for a couple years.”

Pete Bowers, the WBFH station manager, said this is the eighth time in 11 years that the station has won the top honor. The contest included Michigan students’ radio submission clips and issued awards to them based on how they ranked in categories such as best public service announcement or best talk show.

This year, WBFH earned 17 out of a 27 total possible awards for statewide high school radio. “The next closest station had five,” Bowers said.

Bowers said this is his 36th year managing WBFH and its studio inside Andover High School. He said one of the biggest differences with the station today is the technology.

For instance, besides airing on 88.1 FM, listeners may also hear WBFH through online streaming or a mobile app, he said.

“It’s a moving train,” he explained. “We used to play records here when I started, with turntables and tape cartridges, and now all the audio, all the songs, all the public service announcements — everything is recorded on computers using software and then stored on hard drives.”

Bowers said the station’s purpose is to train young people to be broadcasters by putting them on the air and having them read news or do play-by-play sports commentary.

He said some WBFH alumni have gone on to pursue media careers, such as Channel 7 WXYZ-TV’s JoAnne Purtan and Heather Catallo, as well as WXYT-FM 97.1’s Scott “The Gator” Anderson.

“The other side of the coin is we serve our community by doing news,” Bowers added. “Bloomfield Schools has had a lot of news lately with the transition to one high school.”

For Kieft, the experience is about having fun and bringing comedy and news together. “I just like to entertain people,” he said. “I like to make people laugh and inform people.”

To hear WBFH online, visit www.wbfh.fm.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.