July 25, 2012

Kenneth Hugh MacDonald, Sr. Broadcasting Scholarship

Founder of MacDonald Broadcasting and flagship station WSAM Saginaw, Kenneth H. MacDonald, Sr. packed a lot of success and many contributions into the Saginaw area in his three decades of business.

In business, the foundation for the former Navy pilot and NBC page was his humble beginnings in Saginaw with the purchase of WSAM-AM. In 1962, Ken MacDonald, along with his wife Ann and seven children, moved to Saginaw from Ann Arbor to own and operate WSAM-AM and WSAM-FM (now WKCQ-FM). At the time of his death, MacDonald Broadcasting was one of the largest Michigan-based broadcast firms with eight AM/FM radio stations in Lansing, Cadillac and Petoskey.

In Saginaw, he worked with many service organizations including the United Way, American Red Cross, Saginaw Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Voluntary Action Center and Junior Achievement. One of Ken MacDonald Sr.’s proudest moments was when the Junior Achievement radio station aired weekly on WSAM during the school year. During the 1960s and 1970s, Saginaw area high school students got a real taste of the broadcasting business by selling airtime and going on-air with their own radio shows.

Ken MacDonald, Sr. was a proud family man who helped three of his children enter the radio business. Two of them remain active in broadcasting today. One of Saginaw’s most unique community events in the 1970s and 1980s was the WSAM Raft Race. Ken MacDonald, Sr. was the originator of this community event. The raft race at one time featured over 200 homemade rafts floating down the river from Wickes Park to Ojibway Island.

MacDonald was the former president of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Board Member of the National Association of Broadcasters. MacDonald was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 1994.

This scholarship will help a student from Bay, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee or Tuscola County achieve a degree in the broadcasting field.


  • Graduating high school seniors or current college students residing in Bay, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Huron, Ingham, Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee or Tuscola County
  • Pursuing undergraduate studies in a broadcast-related field
  • Full-time enrollment

Evaluation Criteria

  • Financial need (35)
  • Broadcasting skills (35)
  • Leadership (10)
  • Overall involvement at work, school and community activities (10)
  • Interview (10)

This scholarship will give priority to a student entering a broadcast field in radio