FCC Detroit Enforcement Office to Close in January

fcc-logo_dark-blueThe MAB has learned that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Detroit Enforcement Office, located in Farmington Hills, will close on January 7, 2017.

On August 12, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) came to a mutual agreement on the procedures and mitigation steps the parties will take regarding the Reduction in Force (RIF) as applied to the Enforcement Bureau Field Offices (EB Field).

Gary Westby, Electronics Engineer and Field Agent for the Detroit office tells the MAB “For many years, the Detroit Enforcement Bureau has had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful relationship with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and its members. On behalf of the entire staff of the Detroit Enforcement Bureau, past and present, I would like to say ‘thank you’ for your support and professionalism that the MAB has provided us.”

Jackie Green Joins WHTS-FM (Grand Rapids)

WHTS_JackieGreen_275Cumulus Media has announced that Jackie Green will be joining its on-air staff as host of “Afternoons with Jackie Green” on WHTS-FM (Hot 105.3).  Green previously worked as a reporter for WXMI-TV in Grand Rapids and spent four years as midday host on WGRD-FM, also in Grand Rapids.

Green is 2011 graduate of Ferris State University.  During her time at Ferris, she interned for eight months with the Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show.  Green began her new position on August 22.

Brian Watson Named VP/Station Manager at CBS Detroit Television Stations

Brian Watson
Brian Watson

Peter Dunn, President of CBS Television, has announced that Brian Watson has been named VP/Station Manager at the CBS Television Stations (WWJ-TV and WKBD-TV) in Detroit.  Watson has been VP/Director of Sales since 2012.

Watson replaces Tom Canedo, who is moving to the CBS-owned CW affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dunn told TV Spy “Brian is a seasoned pro who has been mentored by Tom both in Detroit and Atlanta. We look forward to having Brian take this next big step in his CBS career and work with his colleagues in Detroit to build on the success they have had with Tom at the helm.”

Dunn added “Tom is a talented executive who has done an outstanding job of leading our stations in Detroit during the past four years.  Even more importantly, he is a devoted husband and father. When Tom came to me and asked if he could continue his career with CBS in Atlanta – the place he, his wife Yvette and their children have called home for nearly 20 years – we were happy to honor his request.”

No date on the transition has been announced.

Last Chance for the Ballpark!

PACfundraiser
Whether or not you can attend the fabulous MABPAC Tigers Experience this coming Monday, August 29 at Comerica Park, you can still participate in this great fundraiser.  We have room for just a few more folks, but if you can’t attend, you can still play ball by supporting the MABPAC.  Please contact Elena Palombo for details. 

Next year, the State of Michigan will have 39 new representatives, many of whom have no idea what the MAB does.  It will take a lot to educate them on the importance of local broadcasting.  Many new lawmakers enter office with a pre-determined set of issues that they wish to accomplish and sometimes those ideas are not particularly helpful to our industry.

Be part of the MABPAC team! Help us support the lawmakers who support our industry. 

Please join the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Political Action Committee (MABPAC) for the Detroit Tigers v. Chicago White Sox baseball game and fundraiser on Monday, August 29, prior to the 2016 MAB Summer Advocacy Conference.

Guests will enjoy the game and picnic-style dinner and drinks in one of the private party suites located by third base.

What: Tigers vs. White Sox
When: Monday, August 29 – Suite opens at 6 p.m.; Game time is 7:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
Cost: $250/person

Reserve your spot by clicking HERE.

Space is limited and is available on first come, first served basis. Reserve your tickets today!

NOTE: In compliance with the Michigan Campaign Finance law, only personal checks/payments can be accepted. No corporate checks, please.

Questions? Contact Elena Palombo at Palombo@michmab.com or 517-484-7444.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the game!

MAB Meets with Congressman Dave Trott (R-11)

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(L-R): Elena Palombo (MAB Government Relations Manager); Michael Renda, VP/GM, WJBK-TV (Detroit); Congressman Dave Trott (R-11); Marla Drutz, VP/GM, WDIV-TV (Detroit); Karole White (MAB President/CEO); Rob Davidek, News Director, CBS Radio (Detroit).

Last week, the MAB met with Congressman Dave Trott (R-11) as part of our summer in-district advocacy outreach. MAB members brought the Congressman up to date on the issues affecting the Michigan broadcasting industry, including progress and the timeline of the FCC incentive spectrum auction and the impact the subsequent repacking process will have on the local TV stations. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Trott was involved in the Copyright Act review, and has co-sponsored the performance tax legislation (H.R. 1733).

MAB members discussed the impact that levying additional taxes will have on local radio stations and the amount of fees stations already pay to ASCAP and BMI. Congressman Trott expressed interest in continued discussion of performance fees and stated that he hopes to be part of the copyright reform in the next Congress.

Appeals Court Denies Stay of Decision That Keeps Straight Ticket Voting

The 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s request for a stay of a lower court decision placing a preliminary injunction on the law enacted this year ending straight ticket voting.

The three-judge panel unanimously held that the state “offered only vague and largely unsupported justifications of fostering voter knowledge and engagement” in response to the district court ruling that ending straight ticket voting would place a burden on voters who tend to use the straight ticket option in greater numbers.

“After evaluating the burdens imposed by the law and the state’s asserted justifications, we hold that the secretary has not shown that there is a substantial likelihood that she will prevail on appeal in demonstrating that the district court erred in evaluating the plaintiffs’ Equal Protection Clause claim,” the court wrote. Further, the court held that the preliminary injunction preventing the repeal of straight ticket voting would cause no injury to the state.

EAS Form One Deadline this Friday. New EAS Handbook Released.

eas-logo_300Broadcasters are reminded that this Friday (8/26) is the deadline for filling out “Form One” in the FCC EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”).  This new system will allow broadcasters to electronically report on the success of the next EAS National Test, scheduled for September 28, 2016.

The FCC Public Notice announcing the new filing requirement is available here. More information about the form and a link to the Registration Page for the form are available on the FCC’s website, here.

Please refer to this most recent article from the MAB regarding Form One and other upcoming EAS deadlines.

Broadcasters are encouraged to complete this form at their earliest convenience as time is short.  MAB Washington attorney David Oxenford says that while the FCC has given stations until September 26 to edit their initial filings, they must get something on file by this Friday. Time is short, and completing the form (especially if you have multiple stations) may take some effort.

In addition, the FCC has released an updated EAS Handbook available for download to print locally here.  A copy of the Handbook must be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately available to staff responsible for administering EAS tests.  Please note that the new EAS Handbook requires licensees to “fill-in” information on various pages throughout the handbook and that stations should review the Handbook before placing it in a normal duty position.

There is also a Microsoft Word version of the EAS Handbook available here that may aid some stations in customizing the handbook for their operations.

FCC Spectrum Auction Bidding Raises $11.5 Billion in the Seventh Round

According to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, the FCC’s spectrum incentive auction now generated over $11.5 billion in bids. The FCC will need at least $88,379,558,704 to cover the cost of paying broadcasters for the 126 MHz of spectrum; paying TV stations to move off the spectrum and paying for the auction itself.

The auction is expected to take up to several months before the FCC knows if it can come close to that financial figure. If it does not, the agency will have to lower its spectrum requirement to 114 MHz and resume the reverse portion of the auction. Currently, the FCC is conducting two rounds per day of two hours apiece, 10-12 a.m. and 2-4 p.m., but that number could be increased and the length shortened as the auction progresses as a way to speed the bidding process.

WXYZ-TV To Air Woodward Dream Cruise

WXYZ_300WXYZ-TV (Detroit) has been designated the official television broadcast partner of the 2016 Woodward Dream Cruise presented by Chevrolet and will broadcast live coverage of the event Saturday, August 20 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Station anchors Stephen Clark and Carolyn Clifford will host the show from a street-side studio along Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.  In addition, WXYZ-TV anchors JoAnne Purtan, Glenda Lewis, Alicia Smith, Malcom Maddox, Keenan Smith and Brad Galli will provide live reports from along the route and station meteorologist Dave Rexroth will cruise in a classic Chevy convertible providing live reports as he travels through traffic.

The station will later be syndicating a one-hour special of the event to more than 100 television stations throughout the country.  Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD Vice President and General Manager said “We’re thrilled to share the excitement of this classic Detroit event with audiences around the country.”

The station will also be streaming live video and give their audience a chance to experience the Dream Cruise through Facebook.  In addition, the station has set up a digital garage on their website where classic car owners can show off their rides.

Member Service Highlight: EnStar Energy

Did you know that virtually all MAB members
are eligible for an exemption on sales tax on energy?

EnStar-Logo-croppedMelissa Burris and Steve Clark from Enstar will be attending the 2016 Advocacy Conference on August 30 and talking to all MAB members about services they provide. Their hope is to get all stations involved so you can get the appropriate sales tax in place for your business. They also want to talk to stations about any other energy problems that you may be experiencing.

The MAB members that have participated in this program have received, on average, $4,800 up to $40,000 in refunded taxes from their utility companies. Plus, they save about $1,200 annually at no cost and little to no effort on their part.

What are you waiting for?

Start the process of getting your refund today by contacting MAB’s energy partner Enstar Energy.

Phone: 517-694-2510 or email Melissa at mburris@enstarenergy.com or Steve at sclark@enstarenergy.com.

We look forward to meeting each and every one of you at the Conference on August 30!