Michigan Media Professionals Honored with Silver Circle Induction

The Silver Circle Class of 2016. (L-R) Jim Lutton (WWMT-TV/Kalamzoo), Wayne Joseph (Fox Sports Detroit), Laurie Oberman (WDIV-TV/Detroit), Bob Gould (Michigan State University), and Dave Devereaux (WTVS-TV and WRCJ-FM (Detroit). Photo courtesy of Michigan NATAS.

The Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has announced their Silver Circle® class of 2016.  The Silver Circle honors media professionals who began their careers in television at least 25 years ago, either in a performing, creative, technical, or administrative role within the industry or in an area related to television such as TV journalism education, advertising, promotion, and public relations. They must also have made a significant contribution to the Michigan Chapter for at least part of their 25-year career.

The Silver Circle Class of 2016:

Dave Devereaux (Senior Vice President of Broadcasting and Station Manager of WRCJ 90.9 FM, DPTV)
Bob Gould (Professor, MSU School of Journalism)
Wayne Joseph (Senior Account Executive, FOX Sports Detroit)
Jim Lutton (General Manager, WWMT)
Laurie Oberman (Director of Local Programming, WDIV)

The Michigan Chapter of NATAS has been honoring and celebrating our Silver Circle members since 1987.

Telethon for Flint Raises Over $1.1 Million

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MAB President/CEO Karole White (back row, third from right) answers telephone calls during the Flint Telethon.

Last Tuesday (3/15), people from across Michigan opened up their hearts and wallets to help the children affected by the water crisis in Flint.

WDIV-TV (Detroit) and four other television stations across Michigan, WEYI-TV (Flint), WILX-TV (Lansing), WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) and WWTV/WWUP-TV (Northern Michigan), joined for the day-long telethon: Flint Water Crisis: For Our Families.

With a matching donation from Detroit Pistons’ owner Tom Gores, a grand total of $1,133,964 was raised during the telethon.

All proceeds will go to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund to help with things like education, nutrition and medical intervention.

MAB President and CEO Karole White pitched in to answer phones during the event.

Engineering Spotlight: Keith Bosworth, Cumulus Media (Detroit)

We continue our spotlight series featuring the hardworking engineers at our stations.
To nominate an engineer for a spotlight, please email Alisha Clack at clack@michmab.com.

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Keith Bosworth
Chief Engineer for Cumulus Media (WJR-AM, WDRQ-FM, WDVD-FM) in Detroit.

Brief Engineering Resume:

2003 Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts
2004-2013 Cumulus Media, Toledo
2013-Present Cumulus Media, Detroit

Keith shares his broadcast history:

“I started working as a Board op for Cumulus Media Toledo at WTWR (Monroe, MI) in 2004. Every time the Engineer (Kevin Hawley) would come in, I would watch him and I was a little savvy.  A few months later I was asked by Kevin if I would like to lend a hand installing new transmitters that were coming in for Cumulus Toledo. Halfway through the installs, he asked if I would like to be an assistant engineer, because as he put it, I was a good learner. Although to this day I tell him he was a good teacher.

After being at the Job for a few years and soaking up all the knowledge I could Kevin left to go to WJR. At that point, I was on my own and became Chief Engineer and IT of the eight station cluster in Toledo, which I did for 7-8 years on my own. When the position at Cumulus Detroit opened up, I applied for it and got it, but not until they found a replacement for me in Toledo.

In my career, I have also rebuilt four of the studios in Toledo and had the pleasure of helping build some state of the art facilities like the new Westwood One TOC in NY, the Nash Nights Live Studio in Nashville, TN, and 16 new studios in San Francisco, CA.

Before I got into broadcasting, I was a Chef and still love to cook.

The best advice I was ever given: to be a good engineer, you don’t have to have all the answers, you just need to know where to find them.”

Editorial: Set Yourself Up to Measure Your Own Social Media Questions

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

I often get asked very specific questions about social media, such as:

  • “How often should we post?”
  • “What topics should we post about?”
  • “Should we post videos directly to Facebook or use a YouTube link?”

Inevitably, I give the same answer: “Experiment and see.” I don’t say this as a cop-out, but because what works for other stations (or other companies) may not work for yours. Yes, there are suggested best practices out there, but you should never let those take the place of hard data.

As broadcasters, this is a relatively new idea for us. We often program by our “gut.” A record or a contest or a bit either sounds good on the air or it doesn’t; Nielsen doesn’t give us data that’s granular enough for us to pinpoint specific results, so we offer our best educated guess.

But online, we have much better analytics. We can run small experiments and see the results in real time. We don’t have to guess which is driving more traffic to our website, Facebook, or Twitter; we can actually see the answer.

A great example of how to gather this data comes from the folks at NPR. They had questions about the best time to publish Facebook posts. They had a theory — called the “Facebook Whale” — and they set out to test it. Bryan Wright and Lori Todd explain what they did and what they learned here.

How can your radio station perform similar experiments to answer your social media questions? Follow these steps:

1. Define and agree upon your metrics.

Start by asking, “What does success look like?” What is the goal of your social media efforts? To get lots of likes? To drive traffic to your station’s website? To add registrants to your email database? To increase ratings? To generate revenue? These things are all related to each other, but some are more important than the others. Make sure that everybody agrees ahead of time on what the appropriate unit of measurement is and how many constitute success.

For example, let’s say your station has its annual Spring Fling Concert coming up and you’re thinking of running Facebook ads to help sell the show. You need to fill 1,000 seats to break even and 2,000 seats to hit your revenue projections. If you sell more than 2,000 tickets, your boss will love you; if you sell less than 1,000, you’ll need to update your resumé.

At the end of your experiment, you don’t want different people to look at the same result and draw different conclusions. If you’re measuring website clicks but your General Manager only cares about ticket sales, you’re going to run into problems. By agreeing upon the proper metrics ahead of time, you can avoid this confusion. You and your GM agree that while you should monitor website clicks, success will ultimately be measured by the number of tickets sold.

2. Set yourself up to measure.

Now that you’ve decided what you’re going to measure, you need to make sure that you can measure it. Make sure that you have the appropriate tools in place, whether it’s Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Bit.ly reports, etc. Also, make sure that you understand how to use these tools. If you don’t have them or don’t understand them, you’ll need to address these issues before you run any experiments.

In the case of our Spring Fling Concert, we can set up different website landing pages, which are identical except for a hidden code passed to the ticketing service. This code allows you to pull a report to see how many of our ticket sales came through Landing Page A and how many came through Landing Page B.

3. Run experiments.

One of the simplest experiments to run is called an “A/B Test.” Control (to the best of your ability) all of the possible variables except one. Change that one variable for half of the test and measure the results.

For example, you could create two Facebook ads that are identical except for the headline: One reads, “Tickets to the WKRP Spring Fling Concert are on sale now” and links to Landing Page A while the other says, “See who’s playing the WKRP Spring Fling Concert” and drives people to Landing Page B. Set the Facebook ads to alternate so they are both shown an equal number of times. Watch to see which ad produces the most website clicks and, more importantly, results in the most ticket sales.

4. Review the results together.

Be sure to set aside time to review the results of your experiment with your team. Discuss the results and draw conclusions together. This ensures that everybody is on the same page.

After a week, let’s see which of the two Facebook ads has produced the most ticket sales. Interestingly, Headline B (“See who’s playing…”) resulted in more clicks, but fewer sales than Headline A (“Tickets…are on sale now”). While Headline B was attracting people who wanted to see the lineup, they apparently aren’t ready to make a purchase. As a group, you and your GM may decide that your budget is better spent on Headline A and shift your dollars accordingly.

The best way to figure out the proper digital strategy for your radio station is to set yourself to perform small experiments like this. If you would like help doing so, feel free to reach out to me.

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: Helen Skinner, WPXD-TV (Detroit)

Helen SkinnerHelen Skinner
WPXD-TV (Detroit)

Helen Skinner is the Traffic Director for WPXD-TV.  Helen has been in traffic for 37 years.

Q1: What is your favorite comfort food?
Helen:  My favorite comfort food is Tomato Soup with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. There were six kids in the family and Mom used to fix this for us quite a bit, so it takes me back to a time that holds nothing but wonderful memories.

Q2: Which Superhero would you be, and why?
Helen:  I would be Aquaman. His abilities include telepathy, which he uses to communicate with all sea life. How wonderful it would be to interact with all those magnificent creatures.

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be …
Helen:  Spending time with the family. Take the time today to spend with those you love.

Q4: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with …
Helen:  How easy! With my mom. She passed away years ago. How I would love one last chance to see her and tell her how much I miss her and how much I love her.

Q5: Best advice you have ever received?
Helen: Let it go and move on. Let go of the past and embrace the future.

Q6: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Helen:   After high school, I traveled for six months with a group called Up with People. They are still around, and have grown tremendously since those days. I would recommend this whole heartedly.  What an all-around amazing experience.

 

 

CBS, Disney, Fox, Univision File Comments with FCC to Support Foreign Ownership Rule Changes

According to a report in AllAccess, CBS Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, Inc., and Univision Communications, Inc., have filed comments in a joint letter to the FCC supporting extension of foreign ownership rule relaxation.

In the letter, the parties stated that the proposal to extend the looser foreign ownership limits and review procedures applicable to common carrier and aeronautical licensees to broadcasters as well have been endorsed by the NAB, the MMTC, Fox, Comcast, Nexstar, Media General, and T-Mobile, the latter of which the parties say, “can be said to owe its very existence to the Commission’s previous liberalization of foreign investment in common carrier (and other non-broadcast) licensees.”

Read more here.

FCC Reverse Auction Webinar Available On-Demand

The Federal Communications Commission has released a new on-demand webinar regarding the current spectrum auction.  Owners, general managers and other interested parties may find this of interest as it offers a sneak preview of the software will that will be used to enter their bid preferences.

While stations have attorneys who would likely manage this for participating stations, the webinar may help owners and managers understand the process in order to better communicate with legal counsel in a more effective manner.

The webinar can be found here.

FOIA Requests on the Rise for State Agencies

capitol3According to a report in MIRS, state departments say they are facing an onslaught of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The main state agencies in the spotlight, the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ), as well as Health and Human Services (DHHS), have been slammed with a record number of FOIA requests this year due to the media attention and coverage of the Flint water crisis.

The DEQ reported receiving 6,895 FOIAs during Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. So far in FY 2016, now in its sixth month, the department is up to at least 3,562 requests. The agency is projecting a 20-percent increase from last year, according to a DEQ spokesperson. The DHHS has had to bring on three temporary employees to help address the volume of FOIA requests. There have been at least 163 health-related FOIAs received by the DHHS so far this calendar year, compared to 680 total in 2015.

Mike Scott Joins Midwest Communications/Lansing

MikeScottMidwest Communications has announced that Mike Scott (pictured right) has joined the company as Operations Manager of their four-station Lansing cluster.  Mike will oversee WJQX-FM, WLMI-FM, WWDK-FM, and WQTX-FM.  Mike was previously with Kroll Communications’ WRSR-FM (Flint).

Mike’s background includes work at WOMC-FM, WNIC-FM, and WYCD-FM, all in Detroit.

Midwest VP/Market Manager Patrick Pendergast, in a news item appearing in All Access said,  “We are thrilled to land Mike given his talent and experience across a wide variety of formats. He is ideally suited to lead our four station cluster. As a Michigan native, he’s the perfect fit for us.”

Mike is quoted as saying, “I can’t express in words how excited I am to join the great team at Midwest Communications and lead this great programming group. I’d especially like to thank both Jeff McCarthy, Vice President of Programming and Patrick Pendergast  for this opportunity and look forward to joining the Lansing team.”