MEET OUR ON-AIR STAFF
REQUEST LINE: 989-356-2114
NEWS LINE: 989-356-0355
Steve Wright - WATZ Morning Host
Steve Wright has been the morning voice of WATZ since May of 1989.
A graduate of Northern Michigan University with a degree in Mass Communications/Broadcasting, Steve has been with WATZ since May of 1983. In addition to the morning show, Steve is the operations manager for WATZ.
Steve enjoys most outdoor activities, including camping and fishing, BUT ESPECIALLY SNOWMOBILING.
Mary Thurston - Mid-Day Host
Though not a native Northeast-Michigander, Mary Thurston has called the north woods home since childhood.
She began her broadcasting career in Mrs. Clute’s sixth grade class at Ella White Elementary School in Alpena, where Mary spent an inordinate amount of time writing, producing, directing, and starring in a morning talk show called “Good Morning 101” (yes, she was a control freak even then).
In 2005 Mary found gainful employment in Hot Country radio, where she fostered her imaginary relationship as Tim McGraw’s secret girlfriend. (It was such a secret relationship that Tim didn’t even know about it.) A year later, Mary moved to a Hot Adult Contemporary music format in the area, where she hosted an afternoon show the next six years.
Now at WATZ, Mary is happy to reign as the area’s most famous celebrity goat handler and has resumed her relationship with Tim McGraw and the country music fans of Northern Michigan.
In her free time, you can find Mary participating in a trivia league and nursing her various obsessions, which include: cupcakes, her four spaniels, house rabbits, trying to make friends with the minks at Alpena’s Small Boat Harbor, University of Michigan sports, and politics. (Mary has an uncanny ability to identify to which political party a politician belongs simply by analyzing his or her hairstyle.)
Mary’s future goals include being the Queen of all Media, assuming her true identity as Wonder Woman, and becoming the benevolent dictator of a small island nation.
Tune in to Mary’s wild ride every weekday morning at 10:00 AM and, in the meantime, stay Thursty, my friends!
Nick Taylor - Afternoon Host
A native of western Oklahoma, Nick grew up immersed in the great country & western (as well as folk, rock and jazz!) music traditions of his home state. As a young man he drifted around the American West and down into South America, working as ranch hand, construction worker, fishing guide, teacher and radio DJ.
Stories of how he ended up in northeast Michigan vary. Some claim he rode in on the Lake State Railway when the boxcar he was sleeping in ended up in Alpena. Others swear he drifted ashore from the wreck of a doomed Panamanian-flagged freighter, clinging to his old 12 string guitar. Still others say the most likely story is he was tracking a wild Montana girl across the frozen plains of North Dakota and into the forests of Michigan before he finally caught up with her.
In any case, knowing good country when he sees it, he shook the dust off his boots, put down roots and has been here ever since. Nick loves being back on the air and playing today’s country and some of his all-time favorites for the community here in northeast Michigan!
Michael Rhea - Evening Host
My father was in broadcasting for 50 years and I followed him into this profession of radio broadcasting at the age of 18 in 1988. I have not looked back since and have no plan to ever do so!
I love working at WATZ and love many more things in life, including my children Emily, Liam, and Brandon. Most especially, I love my wife Lisa, because without her I could not do this! And of course I love all our loyal listeners, who make us the best in Northern Michigan.
Thanks for listening!
Bruce Johnson - News Director
As News Director, Bruce has well over 35 years in the broadcast industry, starting out as a disc jockey in top 40 radio.
Bruce went on to the retail sales field and also spent time in public service before his interest in current affairs eventually led him down the path to news reporting.
When not working on news, Bruce maintains a number of the stations' computers, engages in webpage development, and dabbles in a host of other "technical stuff".
Bruce also enjoys driving in his classic car, ham radio and digital audio music recording in his home studio..
Ben Stevens - News
Ben Stevens has been working for WATZ since June of 2015 and primarily works in the news department. Although that is Ben's main position at WATZ, he also works with the production department by helping make commercials and can also operate the DJ booth as one of the on-air personalities.
Ben has a love for music with most of his favorite bands/artists coming from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. He also loves football and basketball, rooting for the University of Michigan since he was a child and idolizing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
When he isn't working, Ben enjoys exercising, listening to his music, or "some good old fashioned rest and relaxation."
Erin Tracy - News
Erin Tracy joins our news team with a background in several different areas. She earned her undergraduate degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management, earned a Master's in Sports Management, owned a small canoe and kayak rental in Alpena, and is a licensed real estate agent, to name a few.
Erin is community-minded and has been involved with several nonprofit boards, governmental committees, and community events. She served on the Alpena County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary Board, the Reel Fun Ice Fishing Tournament committee, and is currently the Treasurer for the Michigan Brown Trout Festival. She also volunteers with the A-Team in Alpena.
Erin is a native of Alpena and enjoys all the outdoor recreational activities that Northeast Lower Michigan has to offer. She is also the mother of two small high-energy children. In her spare time, if she ever gets any, she enjoys sewing, arts & crafts, biking, and reading.
Erin is excited to start this new chapter of her life with Midwestern Broadcasting.
Susie Martin - Somewhat Retired
An Alpena Native, Susie loves great new country music, as well as the traditional favorites.
Susie caught the broadcasting bug while doing live remotes "from jail" for the American Cancer Society and continues to be active with the American Cancer Society Relay For Life for Alpena and surrounding counties.
Personally known for loving cats, she has several (and by "several", we mean A LOT of cats.)
Though "retired", Susie is very honored to keep producing Gospel Music Time, which airs Sunday mornings.
Kocham cie (Ya-Chee-Co-Ham), which means "I love you" in Polish.
J.R.Wooster--Host of "Sunday's Country Gold"
J.R. Wooster has been a weekend voice of WATZ since the late 90’s, after joining the late Don Parteka on Sunday Morning's Country Gold Show.
J.R.'s humor and passion for traditional country music drives his show, Sunday's Country Gold, which airs 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. During the show, you may hear J.R. put an artist in the spotlight or "Salute A Hometown Near You". Integrating a local twist in the hour always brings you home to sitting on the front porch with the songs of yesterday.
J.R. has always taken an active role with promotions and hosted many classic country shows, including Charlie Daniels, Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, Jett Williams, David Frizzell, and Tommy Cash.
Most important to J.R. is spending quality time with his daughter. Teaching to ride her pony or looking for deer tracks--J.R. says those are life's little moments that make it all worth while.
Elaine Misiak - Host of "Sunday in Poland"
Elaine serves as the host of Sunday In Poland on Sunday mornings between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.
She had served as co-host of the program until the passing of her husband, Clem Misiak ("Polish Polka Clem"), on August 31, 2010. Clem and Elaine shared 47 years of polka happy; singing, dancing, working together at various radio stations over many years and sharing Polka Hall Of Fame honors. They have two sons and four grandchildren.
Elaine retired from her secretarial position at Posen Schools in 1996 after 32 years of service and opted for a part time position as a township clerk.
Her hometown is Posen and she is familiar with the Polish language since her parents and older family members conversed in Polish, but did not teach it to the younger children.
Dedications for Sunday in Poland can be made by mail:
Sunday In Poland
123 Prentiss Street
Or you can e-mail your requests and dedications to: firstname.lastname@example.org
As Elaine always says, "Enjoy the show! Dzien Dobry! Have a good week! God Bless!"
"Uncle" Gare Mischley - Sports Host
"Uncle Gare" is well known throughout the community for his deep appreciation of Northeast Michigan and its sports traditions. He has been a staple on and off the court, baseball diamond, gridiron, in the stands, and above the rim.
Gary has been on the air for decades imparting the sports history of the area to all. You can hear him Saturday mornings for Coach's Corner and Sports Spotlight on our sister affiliate WZTK. Gary also broadcasts various sporting events through the year.
Finally, if you ask him nicely, he might yodel at your wedding. Just ask him!!!