WJR Promotes Ann Thomas, Mike Wheeler
July 21, 2023
Cumulus Media announced Thursday (7/20) that it has promoted Ann Thomas to Program Director for legendary Detroit News/Talk station WJR-AM. The move establishes Thomas as the first female Program Director in the station’s 101-year history. She rises from her previous role as Assistant Program Director and Executive Producer for WJR.
Thomas has built a successful career of over 40 years in broadcasting – all at WJR. She started at WJR as an intern in 1982 and was then hired full-time as Producer of a WJR program called “The Other Side of the News.” She went on to become a WJR News Reporter and Anchor, winning several Associated Press, United Press International, and Detroit Press Club awards for Breaking News and Auto Negotiations. In 1999, Thomas was named Executive Producer of the “Paul W. Smith Show,” earning multiple “Best Morning Show” awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, including in 2022 and 2023. Thomas also produced the WJR-MSU tailgate shows for 15 years from 2006-2021. She has also hosted several WJR shows including “The Healthy Woman Show,” “Opportunity Detroit,” “The WJR Gardening Show,” and “Women Who Lead,” which Thomas launched 11 years ago to highlight Michigan women from all walks of life doing great things in the community.
In 2019, Thomas was inducted into the Michigan Business Women’s Hall of Fame and was the 2014 recipient of the Michigan Business and Professional Association’s Women and Leadership in the Workplace Award. She also received the prestigious “Diamond” award from the Association for Women in Communications and was honored by Toastmasters District 28 with its Communications & Leadership Award. She has helped WJR raise millions for a myriad of local charitable organizations.
Concurrent with Thomas’ appointment, Cumulus Media has also promoted Mike Wheeler, former WJR Program Director, to Operations Manager, Cumulus Detroit/Ann Arbor. In the newly created position, Wheeler will manage operations for Cumulus Media’s four Detroit stations and four Ann Arbor stations. A Detroit native, Wheeler’s deep broadcasting experience includes more than 20 years in regional roles with Clear Channel Communications/iHeart Media in Toledo, OH; St. Louis, MO; Atlanta, GA; and Hartford/New Haven, CT.