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Posted on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

Mark Copeland let go from radio station WQKL

By Bob Needham

Mark Copeland, a program host and music director on radio's WQKL (107.1-FM), has been let go from the station.

Copeland is no longer listed on the station's website, and both Copeland and the station, known as "Ann Arbor's 107one," confirmed via email that his employment ended last week.

Program director Chris Ammel said Copeland was laid off as a downsizing move and there is "no word on a replacement at this time."

Copeland elaborated via email: "It was a budget crunch. Even though 107one is doing extremely well both with revenue and ratings, the parent company Cumulus is going through some big transitions and it meant that markets across the country had to tighten their belts. It wasn't anything personal, it was just business."

According to the most recent Arbitron radio ratings for commercial stations in the Ann Arbor market, WQKL is tied for third place with WCSX in Detroit (behind WJR and WWWW). The station generally follows an "adult alternative" format geared to the Ann Arbor area and is a visible sponsor of community events like the Sonic Lunch concert series.

In addition to his role as music director, Copeland had been the midday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) DJ on WQKL, as well as the host of the Sunday night programs "Under the Radar" (covering new releases and lesser-known music) and "Sonic Bliss" (trip-hop and ambient sounds). He had been with the station since 2004.

Host John Bommarito is currently filling in for Copeland's on-air slots, but Ammel said that is temporary at this point. Ammel said both Sunday shows are expected to continue.

Wrote Copeland, "I am hoping I can come back at some point in some kind of capacity to do those shows. I really enjoyed doing them and they got a really positive response. That is the fun part of the job—to be creative using music. I didn't invent 'Sonic Bliss,' but our station picked up where a Detroit show called 'Big Sonic Heaven' left off—and a lot of people came to our station because they were looking for that kind of show, and they wound up liking the rest of what we do too ...

"I never did this for the money, I did it because I loved doing it and I hope to make some visits to Ann Arbor to catch concerts and events," added Copeland, who lives in Dearborn Heights. "I'll be there for a few Sonic Lunch gigs and I will definitely be at the Tally Hall show next month. "

Copeland expects his full-time radio career is probably over, but he plans to stay in Michigan and hopes to find something stable: "If I could find something locally that is music-related that would be great, but the music industry isn't exactly thriving right now. I am extremely lucky to have not been unemployed for over 14 years."

Copeland offered some parting thoughts: "I really loved working at 107one. I have worked in radio for 23 years and I have never worked at a station that had such a positive response and an impact. I think it was because we walked a fine line between being cool for the musicheads, but familiar enough for more passive radio listeners. The radio listeners in Ann Arbor really pay attention and the goal of the station is to treat the listeners with intelligence and respect and to just relax and let the passion for the music come out.

"It's kind of hard to believe this, but there are a lot of radio stations out there that don't want people like Martin Bandyke, John Bommarito and me—who are really into music and fight to get things played. We are all lucky that we had a program director that allowed us to do our own shows on Sundays and to keep that fire burning. Most stations, including the ones in Detroit, don't ever want to stray too far from the same old stuff and I think that is one of the main reasons radio is struggling in so many places. It sure isn't in Ann Arbor, and 107one is proving that listeners like to be surprised and even challenged sometimes.

"I don't think I could ever find another station that would allow that kind of connection. We did a lot with just a few passionate people on the staff, and I will miss working with them the most. I want to say thanks to the Ann Arbor community for making it all work so well."

Bob Needham is director of entertainment content for Reach him at or 734-623-2541, and follow him on Twitter @bobneedham.


Ms. Garrett

Thu, Jun 23, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Let me get this straight- the market here in Ann Arbor is thriving but because corporate isn't doing well WE have to suffer. Bring back Mark Copeland- the Ann Arbor community deserves and demands his intelligence and ingenuity!

Michael K.

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

One of the last, great things about 107.1 was Mark Copeland! I am very sorry to see you go Mark. I always listened to Martin's and Mark's Sunday shows. They were the only really interesting music on commercial radio in this area. I used to listen to 107.1 all of the time a few years ago. But they have become so commercial, pre-programmed, and repetitive tha I have given that up. I just couldn't tolerate hearing the same old songs every hour, day after day, for 8 or 9 months. And the 1/2 of teh music that wasn't incfredibly repetitive newish pop, was incredibly repetitive classic rock stuff from the 70's and 80's that was OK to hear once a year or two, but not every hour. The station has/had great creative DJ's like Martin and Mark, who could have created a unique and bold Ann Arbor station with real grit and personailty, that would have been (and was before) rewarded with extremely loyal fans and listeners. Instead they went with the lowest-common-denominater, pre-proggrammed, nationwide type of ClearChannel remote broadcast that the listener cares nothing about - just another Target/Wal Mart/K Mart inmterchangeable widget. Mark, I will e-mail you, but you are invited to come up to the Eastern UP anytime in August, September, and/or October to hang out on the water, go boating, and decompress. You might as well take advantage of the free time while you can! Michael


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 10:48 p.m.

All you had to say, was "Cumulus." It's another huge corporation, that picks and chooses. I think a lot of times, their choices are not listener friendly. I don't know Mark, but he's probably right about his radio career being over. I think there are two huge companies, that own 90 pct of the radio stations in the country. You tick one of them off, and it's probably over. I just wonder how much talent is out there, that doesn't get played, because of these monopolies? I guess, I will have to get my LP's out, and turn off the radio.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

Mark's a great and friendly guy.. I worked with him while a promotions guy there. he knows his stuff. too bad this station is pathetic most of the time...playing the same songs/artists over and over. i enjoyed Martin when he was at WDET and can only imagine how he must cringe when he has to name certain artists. Good Luck Mark! Go for a real station like WEMU!!