House Passes IPAWS Modernization Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a public warning improvement bill — the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act. The legislation, S. 1180, introduced by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator Claire McCaskill, (D-MO), integrates multiple communication systems like EAS and wireless alerts, promotes local and regional public and private partnerships, and provides redundant alert mechanisms to reach the largest number of people during an emergency.

The legislation also establishes a training program to instruct federal, state, tribal, and local government officials in system use. It includes the capability to alert those with disabilities and those who have limited English proficiency. NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said NAB “applauds the House’s bipartisan passage of this legislation strengthening the public’s access to important emergency warnings and alerts. As ‘first informers,’ local radio and television stations understand the crucial need for up-to-the-second information when danger is near.” The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

Tuesday (3/29) is Decision Day for Broadcasters in Spectrum Auction

March 29 is “D-Day,” as in decision day for television broadcasters who have applied to participate in the FCC’s Spectrum Auction.  They must decide whether and how to give up their spectrum.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, has confirmed that the Commission is on track to start the auction on March 29 and should begin the reverse auction bidding in May as planned.  In an story published by Broadcasting and Cable, Wheeler said that “if he had to guess, the auction, both the forward and reverse portions, could be finished by August or September.”

The FCC’s list of applicants in the forward auction shows that its not just wireless companies and venture capitalists that are interested. Companies with cable and broadcast interests are also on the list of potential auction participants. Though a company has registered to participate in the forward auction does not necessarily mean that they will bid, according to a Broadcasting and Cable report.

Senate Committee Unanimously Passes Student Press Rights Bill

Rick Jones
Senator Rick Jones (R-24)

Legislation establishing “protection for freedom of expression for student journalists in public schools and institutions of higher education” unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with immediate effect. Committee chair and bill sponsor of Senate Bill 848 (The Student Free Press and Civics Readiness Act) Senator Rick Jones (R-24), called the bill a “victory for free speech.”

The bill establishes that student journalists in public schools and universities have a “right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press in school-sponsored media, regardless of whether the media are supported financially by the school or public institution of higher education.” It prohibits a school from exercising prior restraint against the publishing of an article unless the article was libelous or slanderous, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of state or federal law or an incitement to students that could cause them to commit an unlawful act, violate school policies, or substantially disrupt school operations.

SB 848 follows legislation enacted a year ago in North Dakota and which is now being considered in 28 states, including Michigan.

The MAB Board of Directors voted to support this legislation and promote its passage. The bill now moves to the full Senate chamber for a vote.

Legislation Creates Open Government Commission

capitol3State Representative Martin Howrylak (R-41) introduced HB 5488, legislation to establish an Open Government Commission within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR).

Howrylak’s bill would establish the Commission to receive and investigate citizen complaints regarding responses to request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Commission may refer complaints to the Attorney General or recommend policies to a public body after a complaint is investigated. The Commission would be composed of nine members appointed by the Governor from recommendations by the Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and Michigan Press Association.

HB 5488 is now referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Ethics.

Michigan Radio Network Closing Its Doors

MRNAccording to a report in MIRS, the Michigan Radio Network (MRN), which provides daily state Capitol coverage to over 60 radio stations in Michigan, is closing its doors after 36-year run at the end of March. The parent company out of Missouri, Learfield Communications, is closing the operations because it’s no longer making enough money to keep the bureau alive. MRN personnel affected by the closing include veteran state capitol correspondent Rob Baykian who started with the network in 1981. Correspondent Dale George, Bureau Chief Ryan Hermes, and morning sports reporter Chris Lepley will be released from their duties.

The MAB would like to thank past and current owners of MRN and their staff for all the help they have given the MAB over the years, including help with radio distribution of the State of the State Address, the Governor’s Inauguration, and serving as relay for EAS.  Your help has been greatly appreciated.

Learfield acquired MRN in December, 2014 from Michigan-based Saga Communications.

MNN-Logo-300With the MRN shutdown, Michigan News Network (MNN) has stepped up its affiliation efforts throughout the state.  MNN offers both 1 and 2-minute hourly news updates Monday-through-Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m,  In addition, the network offers a 1-minute Michigan sports update three times daily each weekday.  All content is produced by CBS Radio’s WWJ-AM (Detroit).

Presently, MNN serves 30 radio stations throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula.  Stations interested in an affiliation should contact affiliation information, contact Christopher Conn at (248) 327-2748 or

This article was updated on March 28 to include a thank you message from the MAB.

Station Grant Opportunity from PBS Kids

PBSkids_300This summer, PBS KIDS and the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative will bring the “Odd Squad: Be the Agent” camp program to select sites and is inviting all interested PBS member stations to apply to participate. 50 stations will be selected from the pool of applicants to host these summer camps in their communities. These stations will receive Odd Squad camp curriculum materials and activities, as well as PBS KIDS Media Lab that will include:

  • 1 iPad
  • 2 PBS KIDS branded Odd Squad bannerstands
  • USB with Odd Squad curriculum materials
  • Odd Squad badges that can be given to the children participating in the camp.

More information on the “Be the Agent Camp” and the grant requirements can found on the Odd Squad Camp Station RFP here.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Wednesday, MARCH 23, 2016

If you have any questions about this application process, please contact Celeste Ho:

DPTV Remembers J.P. McCarthy

Photo courtesy of Detroit Public Television.

Detroit Public Television (WTVS) is honoring the memory of Michigan radio legend J.P. McCarthy with J.P. – The Voice of Detroit, an hour-long documentary that tells J.P.’s story, the ultimate local-kid-done-good tale.

Working extensively with the McCarthy family and conducting over 20 interviews with J.P.’s friends, family, co-workers, and contemporaries, J.P. – The Voice of Detroit is a fitting memorial to someone who was considered more of a family member than a voice on the radio to anyone who tuned in to hear him.

The program has aired twice on WTVS and can be seen on demand here.

NAB To Offer Cybersecurity Webinar

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is offering a webinar on cybersecurity for broadcast stations.  “Broadcast Cybersecurity: The Essentials” will stream live on Wednesday, March 23 from 2 p.m.- 3 p.m. (EST) and will be moderated by NAB Associate General Counsel, Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Larry Walke.  FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Admiral David Simpson will give opening remarks.

Additional panel participants include:

  • Cynthia Brumfeld, President and independent analyst, DCT Associates
  • Steven Carpenter, Cybersecurity Engineer, Cybersecurity Communications Reliability Division, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Bureau, FCC
  • Howard Price, Director, business continuity, ABC Television Network
  • Kelly Williams, Senior Director, engineering and technology policy, NAB

For more information and to register, please click HERE.

HOMTV Summer 2016 Internship Program Application Deadline

HOMTV (Meridian Township) has been equipping interns with tools for success for 35 years.  Dozens go through their internship program every year and hundreds have found successful jobs in the television and communications industry as a result. If you know of anyone who you think would benefit from practical, hands-on experience in television reporting, production, or social media and promotion, HOMTV encourages you to direct them to for more information and to submit the online application, available here:

The application deadline for the Summer 2016 Internship Program has been extended to April 1, 2016.  HOMTV notes that the Summer semester is an exciting time with a big election year ahead, both nationally and locally.  HOMTV provides intense award-winning election coverage and they would like new interns to be a part of it.

HOMTV will begin reviewing applications and sending out interview invitations on Tuesday, April 5.

Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference – Early Bird Deadline Approaching!

GLBC16-WebPostcard_500The GLBC schedule has been finalized, and features some national-caliber speakers and educational sessions. Check out the line-up here:

Presenters include Valerie Geller, Al Tompkins, Fred Jacobs, Seth Resler, Steve Julin, Jeremy Ruck, Speed Marriott, Don Backus, Jeff Welton, David Oxenford, Rich Chernock, and more!

The GLBC offers a discount on registration to members who sign up early. Members can attend the entire conference for only $159! This includes all the educational sessions on Monday, the legendary “Beer & Bull” welcome reception, all sessions and Keynote address on Tuesday, along with breakfast, lunch, and the Legislative Reception. After April 1, the rates to attend the GLBC go up. Save money by registering today!