WOOD TV8 opens downtown studios in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo

Downtown Studio in Kalamazoo
24 Hour News 8's new Downtown Studio in Kalamazoo. (April 27, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — WOOD TV8 is expanding its news operation and launching two new streetside studios in downtown Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo this week.

WOOD TV8’s new Kalamazoo studio will be the home base for a dedicated crew that will live and work in the community. The studio is located in the Comerica Building at 151 S. Rose St.

The 7 on 8 was broadcast live from the new studio on April 27, 2017.

The downtown studio features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Bronson Park. It’s equipped with cameras inside and on the roof, giving a bird’s-eye perspective of downtown.

Brady Gillum
24 Hour News 8’s Brady Gillum.

A new reporter is joining 24 Hour News 8 who will work out of the Kalamazoo studio. Brady Gillum comes to the team from a news station in Casper, Wyoming, where he was an anchor and reporter. Before that, Gillum spent nearly a decade as a prosecutor and defense attorney near Denver, Colorado. Gillum will work with photojournalist Nick Ponton, a 15-year veteran of the industry who has been with WOOD TV for seven years.

>>Photos: Opening of Kalamazoo Downtown Studio

WOOD TV previously had a Kalamazoo Bureau based out of the Comerica Building — though it wasn’t called that at the time. We were there for one of the city’s scariest days: the May 13, 1980 tornado that rushed through downtown. The tornado caused five deaths, though none of those were our employees.

WOOD TV also partnered with the Grand Rapids Art Museum to create the GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center, which includes a studio overlooking Rosa Parks Circle. 24 Hour News 8 aired its first newscast at the Media Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center
The GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center. (April 26, 2017)

“This new partnership allows 24 Hour News 8, eightWest and Maranda Where You Live to be in the heart of the city throughout the year for big events in Rosa Parks Circle,” said WOOD TV Director of Operations Kevin Ferrara. “We’ll continue to use our market-leading, technology-driven studio in Heritage Hill as our primary home, but will broadcast the noon newscast daily from downtown.”

The noon newscast is anchored by Susan Shaw, Emily Linnert and meteorologist Matt Kirkwood. It airs Monday through Friday from the Media Arts Center.

The glass backdrop of the GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center is adorned by a 40-foot long digital news sign that will provide important information to the community. It will be used to display news, weather, traffic, sports, community events and other information.

GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center
The 40-foot long digital news sign at the GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center. (April 26, 2017)

“The Grand Rapids Art Museum is thrilled to extend its partnership with WOOD TV8 year-round as the Media Arts Center,” commented GRAM’s Chief Operating Officer, Neil Bremer. “Imagine your 12-year-old, who is already shooting videos on their smartphone, visiting GRAM and learning that their creativity has no limits. This first-of-its-kind collaboration will explore media arts through presentation, broadcast, and educational activities in a way that I believe will inspire our audiences throughout West Michigan.”

>>Photos: GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center opening

The studios are part of a WOOD TV8’s dedication to covering and connecting with its viewers wherever they live.

“24 Hour News 8 is committed to providing breaking news, weather, and investigative coverage to all of West Michigan,” News Director Dan Boers said. “I’m really pleased that we’re able to expand our news team to better serve the interests of our entire viewing area.”

WOOD TV changed ownership in January and is owned by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. The company, which owns 171 stations across the country, is committed to local coverage in each station’s individual communities.