Garry Frank Leaving WXMI for Tribune Sister Station

WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids)(FOX 17) has announced that after 4 years, FOX 17 Meteorologist Garry Frank is moving on to Tribune sister station WDAF-TV (Kansas City, Missouri).

Frank is originally from the Kansas City area.  His last day on FOX 17 Morning News will be on Wednesday, March 13.

He achieved national fame last April when he launched an on-air rant about his fellow hosts for predicting less-than-welcome weather.  The clip was later seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

WWJ-AM Hosts 16th Annual THAW Radiothon

On February 8, Entercom’s WWJ-AM (Detroit) held its 16th Annual Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW, The Heat and Warmth Fund.  This year’s goal was to raise $1.5 million in emergency energy assistance funding.  And, that goal was achieved!

Aside from one-time contributions, the station also encouraged listeners to become a Winter Survival Radiothon Hero for Heat by making a pledge of $20 per month.

THAW assists families in need by preventing utility shut-off, providing fuel or restoring services. Over 92 cents of every single dollar raised by THAW goes directly to those in need, and THAW’s utility partners match every dollar that THAW raises so that $1 becomes $2 in energy assistance.

In addition to the Radiothon, an online auction was held for THAW through February 8.  Last year, THAW assisted nearly 18,000 Michigan families thanks in part to the WWJ Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW.

Conway & Hoffman To Be Inducted into Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

Mary Conway

Former WXYZ-TV (Detroit) Reporter Mary Conway has received the honor of induction into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.  

Conway, who set the standard for automotive and business coverage throughout Michigan, spent nearly 30 years at WXYZ-TV following stops at WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) and WIFR-TV (Rockford, Illinois).

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be included in the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame,” Conway said. “I am fortunate to be honored for doing a job that I loved. I can’t thank Channel 7 and its viewers enough! It was such a privilege to be part of the WXYZ team.”

Kathy Barks Hoffman

Also being inducted is Kathy Barks Hoffman, Vice President with PR firm Martin Waymire and the  former head of AP’s Lansing Bureau.  Hoffman also was a reporter for The Detroit News and Lansing State Journal.  She has also spent many years as a panelist on public television’s “Off the Record” public affairs program. Before joining Martin Waymire, Kathy was a director in the Public Affairs Practice of Lambert, Edwards and Associates in Lansing.

In a Twitter post, Hoffman said, “I’m so honored to have been accepted this year, and to be among so many other great journalists who will be inducted this year.”

West Michigan Whitecaps Announce New Flagship

Following a format change at its former flagship, Grand Rapids minor league baseball team The West Michigan Whitecaps has announced that the team is moving to a new radio home for its 2019 season:  the simulcast of WJRW-AM/Translator W291DJ (Grand Rapids) and WBBL-AM/Translator W256DM (Muskegon) (collectively “The Ticket”). Additional stations on the Whitecaps Baseball Network will be announced in this spring.  Dan Hasty and MIke Coleman will continue to call the games.

“It’s great to join The Ticket on their new stations, and it’s tremendous to be back with our friends at Cumulus,” said Hasty.  “We have a great partnership that’s been built on the many years we’ve worked together. We’re excited to welcome several new radio affiliates to the Whitecaps Baseball Network.”

WWCK Raises $45k for Children’s Miracle Network

WWCK’s Mike & Stephanie

Cumulus Media’s WWCK-FM (Flint) (CK 105.5) raised $45,322 for Hurley Children’s Hospital in the 1st CK Cares for Kids Radiothon, held February 7-8, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day.

The radiothon is staffed by more than 115 community volunteers who donate their time to answer calls and and work a phone bank taking and soliciting donations. All gifts will stay local and go to Hurley Children’s Hospital.

While WWCK’s “Cares for Kids” Radiothon benefited pediatric services and the Child Life program at Hurley Children’s Hospital, sister station WFBE-FM (NASH FM 95.1) held the “Cure Kids Cancer” Radiothon to benefit the Pediatric Chemo Clinic’s Child Life program at Hurley Children’s Hospital.

Elkins Elected to America’s Public Television Stations Board

Susi Elkins

By: Julie Sochay, WKAR Public Media

Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, has been elected to the board of directors of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS). The announcement was made on February 7. Her three-year term begins Monday, February 25, 2019.

APTS is a nonprofit membership organization that works to ensure a strong and financially sound public television system and help member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people.

“It is an honor to be elected by my public television peers as a new trustee of the APTS board,” said Elkins. “I’m thrilled to serve an organization dedicated to helping member stations provide essential public services in communities across the country.”

Under Elkins’ leadership, WKAR has solidified its reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations, and significantly increased its commitment to early childhood education. University partnerships at Michigan State have increased the station’s capacity for providing award-winning research-based content, as well as experiential learning opportunities for students.

In collaboration with MSU, Elkins led the effort to launch the first ATSC 3.0 experimental station licensed to a public media organization. Granted the FCC experimental license in June 2018, the test station is designed to explore the potential of NextGen TV to build stronger communities through education, news and information, arts, science and culture. Prior to her appointment in March 2017, Elkins served in a variety of roles at the station, including Interim Director, Television Station Manager, Content and Community Engagement Manager, public television Producer and instructional television multi-media Producer.

Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.

Elkins joins other newly-elected trustees: Carolyn Edwards, Lay Trustee, Vegas PBS in Las Vegas, Nevada; Franz Joachim, General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS; Garrett T. King, III, Board Chair of Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA); Vickie Lawson, President & CEO of East Tennessee PBS in Knoxville, Tennessee; and David Steward II, Board Chair of Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, Missouri. Newly elected as an at-large trustee to the APTS board is Larry D. Unger, President & Chief Executive Officer of Maryland Public Television.

Visit apts.org for a full list of new board members and leaders.

MSU Alumnus and MAB Foundation Vice Chair Stephen Schram: MSU Sales Leadership Alumni Spotlight

Stephen Schram

Stephen Schram, Executive Director and General Manager at Michigan Radio, loves to mentor the next generation of broadcasters and help to find up and coming talent for the industry, and students in the Sales Leadership program at MSU have taken notice.

Check out The Sales Report, the official newsletter of the Sales Leadership Minor, to read his Alumni Spotlight and learn how Schram played an integral role in implementing the Sales Leadership program at Michigan State University; article by Riley Van Pelt and Ellie Denison, students in the Sales Leadership Minor at Michigan State University.  Check It Out  here.

Making Important Connections: MAB Members Team up with MSU’s Sales Leadership Program

Hiring talented sales professionals is vital to the success of the broadcasting industry in Michigan. This has been a top concern of MAB members over the past several years. This year, the MAB Foundation has stepped in to help by partnering with Michigan State University’s Sales Leadership Program. The Sales Leadership Minor at MSU is offered to students as a compliment to their major field of study. Students must pass a screening process before they are accepted into this competitive program.

Last week, MAB member stations took the opportunity to participate in the All MSU Sales Competition and Career Fair. Representatives from WILX-TV (Lansing), WDIV-TV (Detroit), Entercom Detroit, Beasley Media Group and Michigan Radio spent the day interacting with sales students and participating as role-play buyers or judges during sales presentations. The event featured several knock-out rounds, with one winning student left at the end – receiving a $2,000 cash prize!
This event, and the partnership between MAB and MSU’s Sales Leadership Program, has helped to put sales broadcasting jobs in Michigan on the radar for many students that want to work in that rewarding field. The continued partnership will lead to great connections between sales students and MAB member stations.

If you’re interested in getting involved in the partnership between MAB and MSU’s Sales Leadership Program for the next school year, please contact Rachel Krause, [email protected] or 517-484-7444.

Michigan Congresswoman Co-sponsors $15 Minimum Wage Legislation

Rep. Haley Stevens, D-11

U.S. Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-11) co-sponsored legislation in Washington D.C. to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

“American workers are more productive than ever, and they deserve better,” she said. “This is about recognizing the value of work. Anyone who works full-time in the richest country on earth should earn enough money to stay out of poverty, and this legislation will ensure that a living wage is the law of the land.”

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. In Michigan, it’s $9.25 an hour.

MAB and CMU Deliver State of the State Across Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

On February 12, the MAB with much assistance from CMU Public Media, delivered live coverage of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State address to member stations throughout the state.

The broadcast covered every DMA market in Michigan. Overall, 29 commercial and public radio stations and 28 commercial and public TV stations carried MAB’s satellite feed.

With Tuesday’s snowstorm, there were some rattled nerves that morning as to whether the CMU uplink would make it to Lansing.  With just a slight delay, the truck arrived and the satellite feed was set to go by the first test at 2:30 p.m.

Special thanks go out to CMU Public Media General Manager Ken Kolbe, Operations Supervisor Shawn Hoskey and Maintenance Supervisor Daryl Vanderhoof for their assistance with the uplink;  WKAR Public Media Television Director of Engineeing Gary Blievernicht for assistance with booking satellite time; and MPRN and Michigan Radio for making their radio feed available to both commercial and non-commercial stations throughout the state.

The Governor’s speech has been archived on the MAB website here.