Editorial: How to Use RSS Feeds to Create a Free Radio Show Prep Service

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

A show prep service can be a valuable resource for on-air personalities. It can help overworked airstaff stay on top of current events. Unfortunately, prep services require you to trade out precious inventory. And, they can’t help your jocks keep up with local events.

Fortunately, you can use online services to create your own prep service. You can customize this to not only keep you plugged into to national news sources like Entertainment Weekly and People magazine, but local outlets like your hometown newspaper, bloggers from your neighborhood, or the college down the street as well. Best of all, you can do it for free by using RSS feeds.

Behold, the power of RSS

What is an RSS Feed?

Many websites, particularly websites that regularly publish new content like newspapers and blogs, offer RSS feeds. An RSS feed lets you view that site’s content in an RSS reader. Think of the reader as a TV set, and the RSS feeds as cable channels that you can plug into the back, allowing you to subscribe to just the content you want. This lets you pull all the info into one place where it’s easy to scan and read so you don’t have to go to each individual site. This is how we’re going to build your custom prep service:

1. Sign up for an RSS Reader.

An RSS reader will let you collect the articles from your RSS feeds into one convenient place. There are several RSS readers that are available for free. I recommend using Feedly.

2. See if your favorite websites have RSS feeds and subscribe.

Go to one of your favorite websites to see if it has an RSS feed you can subscribe to. One of the easiest ways to do this is to click the “Add Content” link in the left sidebar of Feedly and type in the URL of the site that you want to subscribe to. For example, click “Add Content” and type in “newyorktimes.com.” You will see feed for the newspaper appear and you can click the button to add this to your Feedly list.

However, the New York Times actually offers numerous RSS feeds. For example, you can subscribe to a feed for the entire sports section or just tennis coverage. If you don’t want to every article on a website to appear in your Feedly account, look for RSS feeds to specific sections.


There are several ways to look for RSS feeds:

  • Some browsers will automatically display the RSS symbol in the URL bar when there is a feed you can subscribe to.
  • Look for the RSS symbol on the page. It is an orange square with two white radio waves, and can often be found next to the social media buttons or in the website’s footer.
  • On the homepage, hit Ctrl-F and search the page and type “RSS” to see if it takes you to the RSS link.
  • Try adding “/rss” or “/feed” to the end of the site’s URL.
  • If the site has a search box, search for “RSS feeds” (this is how you will find the RSS feeds on the New York Times‘ website).

Where should you pull your RSS feeds from? Here are some ideas.

3. Organize your feeds to fit your radio show.

Most RSS readers, including Feedly, allow you to organize your feeds into folders. For example, you could put all of your sports feeds into one folder and all of your celebrities feeds in another. This is helpful if you are looking for content to match specific features in your show (e.g., celebrity gossip, sports news, movie previews, etc.)

You can view all of the latest articles in a single folder, or click on an individual feed to see just articles from that source.

Tutorial Video

This post first appeared at SethResler.com.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Editorial: Why Internships Are Important

dicktaylorBy:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog


In his new book There Is Life After College, Jeffrey Selingo discloses an important statistic: 79% of students that had an internship while in college moved into a full-time job upon graduation. So having an internship is important. But there are some tips I’d like to share to make sure you get the most out of an internship.

Internship Tip #1

When you are in an internship, say “Yes” to everything. Be passionate and enthusiastic and let people around you know you want to learn about everything and that you’re hungry for every opportunity.

Internship Tip #2

To get the most out of your internship, ask lots of questions. Internships are learning experiences, so be curious. Mentors love sharing what they know with people who are really interested.

Internship Tip #3

Don’t be afraid to contribute your ideas. Interns bring a fresh perspective, one that may seem obvious to you, but isn’t necessarily to the people inside the station. Learning can be a two-way street.

Internship Tip #4

Interns need to earn the trust of the people inside the station. People at the station may feel it’s easier to just do something themselves than to ask the intern to do it. Don’t expect people to just give you things to do, ASK for things to do.

Internship Tip #5

Be persistent. One of my favorite quotes about persistence comes from President Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Internship Tip #6

Never think what you’re doing goes unnoticed. People are watching. If you spend all your time on your smartphone, people will notice. If you’re a student that is always there, helping out even before being asked, people will notice that too.

Bonus Internship Tip

Remember, when you are being interviewed for an internship, that you are also interviewing the person who will mentor you. Mentoring Talent is a subject I wrote about on another blog post and it’s a list of things you will want to be looking for in the person you will be interning under.

I’ve seen so many students of mine turn their internships into their first job upon graduation, because they so impressed the people at the radio or TV station they were interning at the management of the station didn’t want to see them leave at the end of the internship.

This is how you full leverage your internship into a job opportunity.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.


Traffic Director Spotlight: Paula Paul, Greater Media (Detroit)

Paula-Paul_300Paula Paul
Greater Media, Detroit

Paula Paul is the Traffic Director at Greater Media in Detroit (WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM, WMGC-FM), where she’s been for the past 13 years. Paula was nominated for a spotlight by her former boss, Dick Kernen.

Q1: How long have you been in traffic?
Paula:  I have been in radio since 1983, and traffic since 1988. Back when we started, everything in traffic was manual – we had a big dry erase board to write the hours, and then typewriters to do the daily log. And actually, it didn’t take that much longer than it does now, because I had most of it memorized.

We thought that it would take so much less time when it was automated, but now there are all these reports to run so it doesn’t save me much time.

Q2: What is your favorite comfort food?
Paula:  Hot turkey sandwiches … I can’t wait for Thanksgiving! And stuffing — a nice big triptophan and carb overload sounds so nice.

Q3: Which Superhero would you be, and why?
Paula:  I’d either like to be Stretch Armstrong, or the guy from Fantastic 4 that can stretch — so that I can reach down to the sales floor and either slap the person I’m trying to reach, or drag them back to my office to figure out what’s going on with their order.

Q4: When I’m not working, I’d rather be …
Paula:  I would rather be cooking a huge meal for my huge family! If nobody’s around, I’d love to hit the road and explore somewhere new. I love the National Parks, and would love to continue visiting the ones I haven’t seen, now that the kids are grown and in college.

Q5: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Stay positive, keep smiling — otherwise you’ll end up in the weeds. If you get all tangled up in gossip, it just drags you down. I try to stay positive!

Q6: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
My mom! She passed away six years ago; she was the heart of our family. I would love to see her again.

Q7: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
I’m a really good sport, and everybody’s biggest cheerleader: until it comes to cards. I HATE TO LOSE. I’m a bad sport at cards because I want to win, and I’m super competitive!

FAA Finalizes Small Drone Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized and made public its first of its kind rules for Small UAS (drone) operation, which will go into effect in 60 days. As a result, drone use within the parameters outlined in the rule can be conducted legally without special permission from the FAA. Although the rule does not provide relief from every restriction over which the National Association of Braodcasters (NAB) raised concerns – flights over people, night operations, visual line-of-site operation, in particular – it establishes a separate process by which individual users can obtain waivers for these uses.

The NAB will circulate broader guidance once they have completed a thorough review of the rule, which is more than 600 pages in length.  In the meantime, below is a high-level summary of drone use covered by this rule.

  • Maximum weight: 55 pounds.
  • Maximum altitude: 400 feet above ground level (but, may operate over a structure if it remains within 400 feet of the structure and does not operate over 400 feet above the structure).
  • Maximum speed: 87 knots/100 mph.
  • Minimum age of operator: 16.
  • Operations may only be conducted during daytime.
  • Operations may only be conducted within the visual line of sight.
  • Operations over people permitted only over those participating in the operation.
  • Transportation of property for compensation or hire permitted, as long as the total weight is no more than 55 pounds and the operation is conducted within a state.
  • Part 61 pilot certificate holders can take an online training course; others will take an aeronautical knowledge test at a designated FAA center.
  • Uses for which waivers are available: Operations from moving vehicle, visual line of sight, operations near aircraft, operations near people, operating limitations for altitude and ground speed, minimum visibility, minimum distance from clouds, daylight operations, visual observer operations of multiple UAS.

EAS Comments Filed By State Broadcast Associations

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters, along with other broadcaster associations representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, recently filed Joint Comments in the FCC’s rulemaking proceeding regarding proposed changes to the Emergency Alert System. We pointed out how state broadcasters associations played an important role in the effort to pass a federal statute authorizing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and how broadcasters and State Emergency Communications Committees (SECCs) are committed and critical stakeholders in our nation’s emergency alerting network. A broad theme of our comments was the need for EAS issues to be addressed at the state and local levels where possible, giving SECCs and EAS participants the necessary discretion to make decisions that work for their respective communities. Some of the specific points included in the comments were:

  1. The state broadcaster associations objected to proposals claiming to enhance the security of the EAS network, but which would in fact impose unreasonable burdens on broadcasters, such as requiring broadcasters to notify the FCC of security breaches (e.g., the unauthorized triggering of an alert) within 15-30 minutes. We pointed out that imposing such burdens could have a chilling effect on full participation by broadcasters in EAS.
  2. The state broadcaster associations urged the FCC to adopt rules requiring cable systems to implement “selective override” for TV broadcast stations, which would prevent cable set-top boxes from automatically tuning all channels during an EAS alert to a cable channel providing only generic information about the emergency situation. Without a selective override requirement, TV stations which provide up to the minute news and weather reports during emergency and severe weather situations will continue to be subject to having their signals automatically blocked by cable operators at the very time when detailed emergency or weather information is most needed.
  3. The state broadcaster associations supported the idea of allowing broadcasters, at their discretion, to perform live code EAS testing without the need for FCC waivers, to use EAS tones in PSAs, and to use WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) tones in news reports designed to inform the public about WEA, (subject to safeguards) to assure that such codes do not trigger alerts downstream.
  4. The state broadcaster associations questioned a proposal to bring social media and other non-broadcast/cable platforms into the EAS network, arguing that those platforms, in many cases are still evolving, and are of uncertain reliability and utility as sources for distributing alerts.
  5. The state broadcaster associations cautioned the FCC against adopting any “one-size-fits-all” template for State EAS Plans which would impair the flexibility of SECCs to tailor plans to their own respective states’ needs, or which would impose unreasonable burdens on the SECCs that would have to rewrite their plans to fit such a template. We also cautioned the FCC generally about adopting proposals which would increase the burdens on SECCs, as they are typically volunteer organizations with limited resources.

Download the FCC filing here.

Group Seeks OTT Equality

According to the report in TVNewsCheck, the TV Neutrality Alliance, a coalition of over-the-top (OTT) service providers and broadcasters, filed comments with the FCC urging the commission to act on its proposal to classify online video distributors (OVDs) of broadcast station signals as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

The Alliance proposed a modification to the MVPD definition to promote equal access to online broadcast content and recommends language to protect online streaming video services from unintentional FCC regulations while ensuring broadcaster rights to retransmission consent.

NAB Asks FCC to Scrap Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed ex parte comments with the FCC urging changes to what it termed the “inequitable” broadcast ownership rules. The NAB called for the elimination of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership prohibition, citing the Third Circuit’s statement that the ban remains in place “even though the FCC determined more than a decade ago that it is no longer in the public interest.” The NAB argues that the ban “affirmatively harms localism,” and is no longer necessary.

The NAB also called for reform of the local TV ownership rules to loosen the restrictions on duopolies by eliminating the eight-voices test and top-four station restriction.

Democrats Reserve $600K in TV Time in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District

The House Majority PAC, a pro-Democratic Party political action committee (PAC), announced that it is reserving over $600,000 in early airtime in the Northern Michigan’s 1st Congressional district. This round of buys includes $214,294 in the Marquette media market and $378,428 in Traverse City.

The PAC also previously purchased $220,148 in TV advertising time in the Green Bay media market, which covers part of the western U.P.

To claim majority in the U.S. House, Democrats must capture at least 30 seats, which would include clearing nearly all the seats they are slated to win in November and some Republican lean seats. The Democrats’ preferred candidate in the race to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek’s open seat is former Michigan Democratic Party chairman Lon Johnson. The 1st Congressional district includes the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.

Governor Signs Public Threat Alert Legislation

capitol3Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5442 into law. The new law requires that the Michigan State Police (MSP) establish and maintain a public threat alert system plan that would rapidly disseminate useful information to radio, television, and through wireless emergency alerts (WEA).

The law states that the Public Threat Alert System shall be activated only in accordance with the policies created by the Michigan State Police. The law contains no mandates for broadcasters.

The MAB and the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) is reviewing several requests to use the EAS “LEW” (Law Enforcement Warning) code, with concern that over-use could lead to station deactivating codes that are not mandated by the FCC.

Engineering Spotlight: Gary Blievernicht, MSU/WKAR-AM/FM/TV (East Lansing)

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Dan Kelley at dkelley@michmab.com.

GaryB_300Gary Blievernicht
Engineering Supervisor, Michigan State University-WKAR-AM/FM/TV, East Lansing.  He has been at MSU since 1992.

Gary is also Chairman of the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC), which oversees the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Michigan.

Brief Engineering Resume:
Attended the Purdue University extension in Indianapolis, which morphed into Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis. BS/EET.  I’ve worked at WTTV which was an independent station that later turned into a CBS affiliate, and WISH-TV that was a CBS affiliate and later turned into an independent.

Also, made video discs for two years with RCA Selectavision; a couple of years with the University of New Mexico’s KNME-TV/KUNM-FM; and as Engineering/Operations manager for Eastern Educational Television Network, now American Public Television. Odd that so many places change their name or go out of business after I leave. Must be to protect the innocent.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Gary:  I attended and participate in the Junior Achievement program at WFBM-TV (now WRTV) in Indianapolis. I produced/directed two episodes, and did a bit of sales for the series.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Gary:  Well, a few know that I have the record for the shortest acceptance speech for an award at the GLBC.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Gary:  Trust the Lord, Jesus.