CBS Radio Detroit Signs Multi-year Agreement to Air U-M Sports

CBS-Michigan_283CBS Radio Detroit’s WWJ-AM, WXYT-FM and WXYT-AM, in association with IMG Sports has announced a long-term alliance to air University of Michigan football, men’s basketball and ice hockey. The multi-year agreement is an extension of a partnership that began more than 20 years ago.

WWJ-AM is the flagship station for U-M football and WXYT-FM (97.1 The Ticket) will simulcast select games. U-M men’s basketball will air on WWJ-AM and U-M ice hockey will air on WXYT-AM (Sports Radio 1270). In addition, 97.1 The Ticket will carry a weekly interview with Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh.

WWJ-AM and 97.1 The Ticket offer the most 24/7 live and local sports and news programming in the market. Listeners can hear all three stations online at and via the app for a variety of mobile devices.

“We are excited that IMG renewed our great partnership with the CBS Radio Detroit family. This will continue to provide a consistent flagship home for Michigan football and basketball broadcasts in southeast Michigan and will place our hockey games on a regular channel in the market. We look forward to another multi-year partnership on game broadcasts and coaches radio shows,” said Warde Manuel, Director of Athletics.

Debbie Kenyon, CBS Radio Detroit Senior Vice President/Market Manager, said, “WWJ Newsradio 950, CBS Sports Radio 1270 and 97.1 The Ticket are thrilled to renew our partnership with IMG and the University of Michigan. IMG and U-M are truly one of the best sports partners in the business.”

“It’s an honor to continue our relationship with the University and be the flagship station for University of Michigan football and basketball. It’s a perfect partnership between two traditional organizations, WWJ Newsradio 950 and the U-M” said Rob Davidek, WWJ Program Director.

Editorial: Facebook Has Changed Its Algorithm. Here’s What Your Station Should Do.

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Recently, Facebook announced that it is changing its algorithm to prioritize content posted to a person’s newsfeed by family and friends over content from brands, media outlets and other pages. Your station has probably seen a steady decrease in engagement with its posts over the last few months, and now it seems its going to get worse.

We have seen year after year in our Techsurvey that Facebook is far and away the most important social network for stations trying to reach their listeners. So what should your station do?

Facebook’s Goals
First, it’s important to understand why Facebook is making these changes. Facebook has a vested interest in providing its users with content that they like. If the network fills people’s newsfeed with promotional content that they don’t want to see, people may start using Facebook less. This algorithm is an attempt to provide a better user experience. This is a laudable goal, and stations should also want to ensure that they are not filling the feeds of their users with unwanted content.

Facebook also wants to keep people on Facebook, rather than sending them to third party sites. When people are on Facebook, Facebook can show them ads that generate revenue. Once Facebook sends them elsewhere, they can no longer show them ads. Facebook has introduced features like Instant Articles in an attempt to keep people in their walled garden of content. On this point, stations (and other media outlets) may be at odds with Facebook: A key goal of many station’s digital strategies ought to be to get people back to their own websites.

Finally, Facebook wants to sell ads. It’s a business, and that’s how this business generates revenue. Facebook doesn’t exist so that your station can advertise itself for free. Again, your station may be at odds with Facebook on this point: you probably don’t want to pay to reach your listeners if you don’t have to. But then, you don’t allow Facebook to advertise on your station for free, so it cuts both ways here.

With Facebook’s goals in mind, let’s look at what your station can do.

1. Know the goals of your digital strategy.
Whenever I discuss digital strategy with a station, my first question is “What are your goals?” If you don’t have a firm grasp on the station’s digital goals, you won’t be able to make an informed decision about what to do. Are you trying to:

  • Encourage online streaming?
  • Increase email registrations?
  • Drive contest entries?
  • Generate sales leads?

You’ll need to know your goals and then determine how Facebook helps you achieve those goals. Your station’s digital strategy may have multiple goals and those goals may not be equally valuable. For example, a sales lead may be worth a lot more to your station than an email registration.

A word of warning here: Beware of the word “branding.” While there is value in branding, it is nebulous. People sometimes invoke “branding” when they don’t know what their goals are or how to achieve them. Don’t make that mistake.

2. Set yourself up to measure Facebook’s impact on your digital strategy.
Once you know your goals, you need to determine how Facebook helps you achieve those goals. For example, if your goal is to drive email registrations, how does Facebook help you do that?

Keep in mind, just because you can measure something, that doesn’t mean that it affects your station’s goals. You can measure Facebook likes, comments, and shares. Presumably, more of these are better. But that doesn’t mean that more likes leads to more email registrations. Some of these things that you can measure are more important than others. Make sure that you are paying attention to the important metrics and not giving undue weight to unimportant metrics.

The most important number to track is not found in your Facebook analytics, but in your Google Analytics: How many people came to your website by way of Facebook. The more people that come to your website, the more that will sign up for your email database. You want to pay close attention to the website traffic from Facebook, and try to figure out what causes that traffic to increase or decrease.

3. Create more compelling content.
Facebook wants to show people stuff that they like; Facebook doesn’t want to show people junk. This is true of every company that uses an algorithm to surface content, including Google. So the best way to protect your station from algorithm changes is not to try and game the system, but to produce high quality content. If you’re producing good stuff that people want to see, Facebook is more likely to show it to people.

For most stations, this means that it’s time to step up their game when it comes to online content, especially If you’ve been phoning in your blog and paying significantly less attention to it than your on-air product. We now live in a world where every media company is a multi-media company. You need people on your staff who can write and create compelling content that goes beyond just audio.

In addition to increasing the amount of high-quality content that your station produces, you should decrease the amount of low-quality content that you share on social media. Blatantly promotional posts that pitch advertisers’ products or encourage people to enter contests should fall by the wayside.

4. Don’t try to game the system.
Don’t buy into simple tricks that will allow you to circumvent Facebook’s algorithm. You’ll lose.

5. Experiment and review metrics regularly.
Gather the appropriate staff for a weekly web meeting in which you review the station’s digital metrics. Keep track of what’s happening with Facebook. Set up experiments to see what impacts those metrics. If you see certain types of content reacting on the social network, produce more of that content.

6. Allocate a budget for Facebook ads.
They say a good drug dealer always gives away the first batch for free, then charges customers when they come back for more. I hate to tell you this, but Facebook may have gotten your station addicted. You may need to pay if you want to continue to see the same amount of traffic from the social network. Figure out how Facebook ads can help your station achieve its digital goals and start experimenting with paid advertising now.

7. Strengthen other incoming traffic channels.
While Facebook is far and away the most important social network for stations, it’s not the only one. Develop and strengthen your strategy with other social networks, including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Also, pay attention to sources of traffic besides social networks, especially search engines like Google and YouTube. (YouTube is the second-largest social network.) Implement and fine tune your station’s email campaigns to drive website traffic. Lastly, don’t forget to use your airwaves to drive people to the station’s website. This is a powerful tool that most stations don’t fully take advantage of to drive website traffic.

In the end, Facebook’s changes may negatively impact your station’s ability to reach your audience. You will probably need to alter your station’s strategy as a result. But, if you are tracking everything appropriately, you’ll be able to determine the best course of action.

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: Molly Anderson

Mary-Wasielewski_300Molly Anderson is Traffic Director for Bay Cities Radio/Bay City Multi-Media in Marinette, WI/Menominee, MI and stations WMAM-AM, WSFQ-FM, WAGN-AM, WHYB-FM and WLST-FM.  She has been with her current company for four years, the last three years in traffic.

Q1: What is your favorite comfort food?
Molly:  Garlic mashed potatoes and beef or venison tips.

Q2: Which Superhero would you be, and why?
Molly:  Storm – She has a variety of abilities, including the ability to control the weather. My family farms – and they would be ecstatic if I could control the weather! 🙂

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be …
Molly: Reading, Gardening, Farming, Photography, going on the ATV trails, snowmobiling or fishing.

Q4: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Molly:  Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

Q5: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Clint Eastwood.

Q6: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
I was on a chess league in grade school. I won 2nd place.

FCC Adds New Warning Codes to EAS

eas-logo_300The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updated its rules to add more specific warnings through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) before extreme weather strikes. The amended rules add three new “event codes” that can be used to warn the public about the storm surges and extreme winds that may accompany hurricanes and other severe weather events.

The three added codes signify an (1) “Extreme Wind Warning,” (2) “Storm Surge Watch,” and (3) “Storm Surge Warning.” The updated rules require EAS equipment manufacturers to integrate the codes into new equipment and will also enable EAS participants to update their existing equipment in advance of 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

Further information about EAS is available here.

NAB FOIAs FCC Media Ownership Work Product

According to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FCC requesting access to documents used in the process that led to the FCC’s recent ownership rules proposals. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s quadrennial review of broadcast ownership regulations leaves those regulations essentially intact, and restored additional restrictions on TV joint sales and shared services agreements.

The request, from NAB General Counsel/EVP Rick Kaplan, asks for materials used by the Media Bureau, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, and Wheeler in connection with developing and/or drafting policy recommendations for the circulated proposals. The Commission has 20 days to respond to the request. MAB is monitoring.

Michigan Among States Looking At Drone Regulations

To date, 31 legislatures have enacted laws and another five have adopted resolutions addressing drone usage, according to a study done by the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL). In Michigan, nine bills have been introduced addressing drone usage but none were signed into law yet.

The MAB continues to lobby the state legislature to include ‘news gathering exemption’ in the no-drone fly zone bills. The MAB also supports state legislation to create a legislative drone task force with the power to recommend policy proposals about drone use.

According to the NCSL:

  • 12 states have passed legislation providing privacy protections from other citizens that are specific to drones.
  • 18 have passed legislation requiring law enforcement to obtain a search warrant to use drones for surveillance or to conduct a search.
  • 3 prohibit law enforcement from using drones with attached weapons.
  • 13 states have passed legislation that create criminal penalties for misusing drones.

Drone sales are estimated to grow from 2.5 million in 2016 to 7 million in 2020, according to the National Council of State Legislatures study. By 2025, drones will have created 100,000 jobs and wield $82 billion worth of economic impact.

Coalition Calls for Federal Investigation of State Agencies Over Flint

water_300A coalition of activist groups from Detroit and Flint, organized by the Sierra Club and Earth Justice, are calling for a federal interagency investigation into Michigan’s Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Health and Human Services (DHHS) to determine if either agency violated civil rights laws of the Flint citizens in handling water complaints. The organizations are asking the federal counterparts of the Michigan agencies to conduct the investigation, with the U.S. Department of Justice coordinating. The coalition charged DHHS with failing in its duties to provide information about the services it was offering to Flint residents in languages other than English, to serve both Hispanic-American and undocumented populations there.

EAS National Test, Registration and Reporting Deadlines Announced

eas-logo_300The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a public notice outlining the upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), as well as mandatory registration and reporting deadlines for each EAS Participant.

The national test is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  (A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if neccessary”).  EAS Participants must be prepared to take part in a test on both the primary and alternate test dates.  All EAS Participants are required to participate in this nationwide test.

This test will use the National Periodic Test (NPT) code, the location code for “All of United States.” FIPS number: 000000; and will be issued via FEMA Open IPAWS.

The results of the nationwide EAS test will be captured and analyzed using the new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

Important Dates

1) All EAS Participants are reminded that they are required to register with ETRS and must complete the filing of ETRS Form One on or before August 26, 2016.

2) EAS Participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  This is the same day as the national test.

3) EAS Participants shall file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 14, 2016.

The FCC’s ETRS page is here.

The FCC public notice also encourages EAS Participants to take steps to prepare for the test.   The public notice is available here.

Engineering Spotlight: Del Reynolds

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Dan Kelley at

Del_Reynolds_300Del Reynolds is owner of Northern Star Broadcasting and a broadcast engineer. He has been affiliated with the same group of Northern Star Radio stations since 1989.

He is also engineer for TV 4 (WTOM-TV) in Cheboygan, TV 8 in (WGTQ-TV) in Goetzville, the 4 stations of the Northern Christian Radio Station Group and their two translators, Interlochen Public Radio stations in Mackinaw City and Harbor Springs, plus WBLW-FM in Gaylord and helps with projects for Strong Tower Radio.

Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume.
Most of my electronics have been self taught, as well as knowledge gleaned from other qualified broadcast engineers that I have had the privilege to know and work with over the years and the NAB Engineering handbook. I obtained my General Radio Telephone Operators License (GROL) and also have my Amateur Extra Ham Radio license as well.

I was also honored with the Carl E. Lee Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award from the MAB in 2007.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Del:  When I was 13 years old I built a radio station in my attic at home in Cheboygan and capacitor coupled my Lafayette AM phono oscillator to the phone lines and transmitted to the neighbors on 740 kHz. I called it “WRFN Wireless Radio of the Frozen North.”

Then when I was 15, I tested for my 3rd Class Restricted Radio Operators License, when disc jockeys needed to be licensed, and began as a Disc Jockey for WCBY-AM 1240 in Cheboygan. I was fascinated with all aspects of radio and tagged along with Walt Reingahns, the station engineer and also credit my early days to engineer Marvin Veurink for mentoring me as well. I began doing the studio maintenance at WCBY AM/FM and slowly worked into understanding AM and FM broadcast transmitters and moved into that arena where I continued to learn.

I also enjoyed programming and became the program director at 21 and eventually the GM of WCBY AM/FM at 23.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Del:  I am a Licensed Airport Manager and Chairman of the Cheboygan Airport Authority. I am a private pilot and own a Mooney M20F. I’ve also been a church organist and keyboard player. I told my parents that I was going to own WCBY someday and as it turns out, I did, twice. The first time at 32 and then I sold it and 8 other stations I owned in 1998 and then bought it and the rest of the group back in 2013.

The first station I owned was at 27 years old and it was WLXX in Sault Ste. Marie and I changed the call sign to WYSS and called it YES-FM. WLXX was a pretty eclectic mix of programming so I launched the first Top 40 station on FM in the Sault. We went from worst to first in 9 months in Sault Cananda. The AM top 40 stations CFYN and CKCY eventually turned in their licenses to the CRDC and abandoned competing for the Top 40 CHR audience.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Del:   “It’s all in the presentation.” If you communicate respectfully, honestly and with regard to how people may receive your advice or request, you will have better results in every area of your life.

Detroit Radio Veteran Rod Hansen Passes at 75

ROD-HANSEN_200Rod Hansen, a Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductee and longtime WJR-AM radio journalist, passed away July 4 at his Canton, Michigan home.

While at WJR, he earned dozens of awards during his 38-year career, including two Peabody Awards, one for a 23-part series exposing high-level corruption and collusion between judges, staff and attorneys at Detroit’s federal bankruptcy court and another that helped exonerate a man wrongfully convicted of his girlfriend’s murder. Hansen also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Associated Press, and was a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

Hansen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bowling Green State University in 1963.  After working in radio news in Akron, Ohio, he joined WJR in 1967 as evening news anchor and shortly thereafter became a reporter, covering the Detroit riot.

Among the stories Hansen broke, was the disappearance of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.

Rick Pluta, Capitol Bureau Chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network said “Rod Hansen was simply the best. His work at WJR brought justice to the innocent and to the guilty. In the final stage of his career, he made it easy (easier, at least) to cover some high-profile federal court cases. And that ain’t easy. He will certainly be missed.”

Services were held July 7 in Canton.  He is survived by his wife, Christine, son, Eric; three daughters, Kristen Roy, Heidi Watson and Kelly Hansen; and five grandchildren.