WGVU Public Media

WGVU Public Media

Mission: Connect our communities by using the strengths of public media to educate, inform, inspire and entertain.

Vision: Be the most trusted source of high-quality cultural, educational, and entertainment programming, content, and delivery to meet the diverse needs of our community.

Our History

WGVU’s broadcast stations are licensed to Grand Valley State University as public radio and television facilities operating from the Meijer Public Broadcast Center, as part of the University’s downtown Grand Rapids campus.

Our television stations are affiliated with PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and the radio stations are affiliated with NPR (National Public Radio).

The first television station, WGVC-TV 35, signed on the air on December 17, 1972. In 1984, our Kalamazoo station, WGVK-TV, Channel 52, began operation. In 1987, the call letters of channel 35 were converted to WGVU-TV, reflecting Grand Valley State College’s transformation to Grand Valley State University.

WGVU-FM 88.5 began broadcasting on July 17, 1983 and expanded its power to 3,000 watts on December 17, 1987. WGVU-AM 1480 began simulcast transmissions on May 22, 1992, and stations WGVS-AM 850 in Muskegon and WGVS-FM 95.3 in Whitehall came on-board in 1999. On August 24, 2009, WGVU 1480 AM and WGVS 850 AM became Real Oldies, offering music from the 50s, 60s and early 70s to west Michigan.

We are licensed in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek designated broadcast market. It is the 38th largest market in the United States, reaching over 2.4 million television viewers in 28 counties and over 1.3 million radio listeners from Grand Rapids to the Lakeshore. The majority of our operating funds come from individual members in west Michigan (68%); other funds come from Grand Valley State University (9%), corporate underwriters (9%) and currently, the federal government (14%). We currently have approximately 16,000 television members and 1500 radio members who support our efforts to provide quality public broadcasting to west and southwest Michigan.

WGVU Productions produces several local series and programs, including Ask the, WGVU Community Connection, WGVU Newsmakers, West Michigan Week and Grand Valley State Sports Report, which has traveled throughout the country to bring home coverage of all of Grand Valley State University’s varsity sports teams. Documentaries by WGVU Productions include The Deadly Fuze: The Story of World War II’s Best Kept Secret, David Plowden: Light, Shadow and Form, Defying Hitler, Surviving Auschwitz: Children of the Shoah, Time and Chance: Gerald Ford’s Appointment with History and Stefon Harris and Friends: African Tarantella – Dances with Duke. Many WGVU productions have been nominated for Michigan EMMY Awards, with honors going to Hope College Christmas Vespers 2004, Battle Creek: Celebrating Flight 2008, David Plowden, Defying Hitler and Surviving Auschwitz.

WGVU Radio was named Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2005 and 2006. WGVU TV followed in 2008.

All programming provided by the WGVU Public Media (“WGVU”) complies with the closed captioning requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission as embodied in 47 C.F.R. § 79.1, including regulations concerning closed captioning quality. Programming provided by WGVU complies with these regulations by either: (i) satisfying the caption quality standards set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 79.1(j)(2); (ii) adopting and following the “Video Programmer Best Practices” set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 79.1(k)(1); or (iii) being subject to one or more of the captioning exemptions set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 79.1(d), including programming for which the audio is in a language other than English or Spanish and that is not scripted programming that can be captioned using the “electronic news room” technique; interstitial material, promotional announcements, and public service announcements that are 10 minutes or less in duration; and/or programming that consists primarily of non-vocal music.

Our Members

Jim Rademaker
General Manager

I am the  WGVU Public Media General Manager.

I joined the Rotary Club of Mount Pleasant last July and despite COVID, was able to become an active member right away helping out on service projects and fundraisers.

The past 19 plus years of my career have been in the Public Media world. Most of that time has been in fundraising, with the last 5 years in senior leadership roles. Before coming to Mount Pleasant and WCMU Public Media in December of 2015 I spent the previous 13 ½ years at WGVU Public Media.

I have been an active volunteer with Scouting, my church, and several one-off volunteer opportunities. I have served on the boards of both the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan and Civic Theatre and intend to expand my board involvement when I return.

I’ve been married to my wife Debbie for 30 years this August and we have 2 sons, both who live in the Alger Heights neighborhood.

Shelley Irwin
Host and Producer

Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The WGVU Morning Show, a newsmagazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday.  The show, broadcast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. features a wide variety of local and national newsmakers, plus special features.

She also hosts several public affairs program on the TV side, including Family Health Matters and Kalamazoo Lively Arts. Shelley is award winning in her profession, including five consecutive Gracie Allen Awards from American Women in TV and Radio for excellence as a program host.  She was awarded the 2016 Athena Award  honoring an individual who has demonstrated leadership in their profession, mentored and opened new opportunities for women and contributed time and talent to the community and the Rotary of Grand Rapids’ Service Above Self award, given in recognition of Frederik Meijer, whose humanitarian acts of selfless service made an enduring difference in the lives of others.

Her community involvement extends from the Kent County Park Foundation to the  Michigan Women’s Foundation, Hope Network and the Cherry Health Foundation, among others.

She has been named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan” twice by Gemini Publications, and has represented the U.S. in the Long Distance Triathlon and Duathlon World Championships.