MAB Provides Campaign Committee Information

MAB is pleased to provide to our members, contact information to candidate campaign committees, for the lawmakers running in the 2016 election, including state and federal races. This information is posted on the MAB’s members only section and requires a log-in.

If you have further questions, please contact MAB Government Relations Manager Elena Palombo at palombo@michmab.com. Information has been compiled by the MAB lobby firm Kelley-Cawthorne.

Please click HERE for the 2016 candidate campaign committee information.

State Lawmaker Wants OMA Filers to Recover Legal Costs

capitol3Under the legislation introduced by State Representative Martin Howrylak (R-41), citizens who win an Open Meetings Act (OMA) case against a public body can recover court costs and legal fees. House Bill 5778 states that persons who who take a public body to court in a civil OMA case can recover court costs and legal fees. “Public bodies have a responsibility to operate transparently and when we fail to do so, citizens should not be forced to foot the legal bill for exposing an injustice,” Howrylak said in a statement.

Engineering Spotlight: Robert Johns

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

RobertJohns_275Robert Johns is a Contract Engineer at the facilities of the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts at Central Michigan University WMHW-FM HD1 and HD2 and Moore Hall Television (MHTV) PEG channel 34 on campus, 189 in Mt. Pleasant and outside communities.

Robert was nominated for the Engineering Spotlight by Dr. Peter Orlik, Director, CMU Broadcast & Cinematic Arts, who comments “Robert’s position is a bit unconventional, but I think it indicates the level of expertise and commitment we all look for in engineers. After many years at Dow, Robert set up his own engineering consulting firm. Since 2010, he has worked as contract engineer for the School of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts here at CMU. In this capacity, he is responsible for the facilities of two FM radio stations, a cable television station, an audio recording studio that services its own record label, two television studios and a multitude of labs and production suites. This is clearly a wide and unusual span of responsibilities and is critical to the operations of the School of BCA, its 340 undergraduates, 60 graduate students and 17 faculty. I think this is the type of dynamic engineering that deserves recognition.

Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume.
Robert:  
Not a “typical” broadcast engineer, I spent almost all of my career in industrial video. I attended Delta College Broadcasting, WUCM-TV 19 and was a student employee. Started at the “new” Gerity Cablevision system (now Charter) headend operations in Bay City. Then on to Dow Chemical Corporate Communications internal studios for 35+ years as a freelancer, then employee, then contractor; built 3 video production facilities, built a 4.5m Andrew uplink dish and ran an 80-site BTV satellite network with downlinks from Van Nuys, CA to Athens, Greece. Began working at CMU’s School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts as a contract engineer in 2010. I’ve seen 1” and 2” B&W Ampex, SONY 1” color, ¾” U-Matic and BVU, BetaCam and DVcam, and now SD card.

Someday, I’m going to really retire. It’s been a great ride.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Robert:  “Being in the right place at the right time,” and having great mentors. At Delta they couldn’t keep me out of Master Control and I asked a lot of questions. Cliff Saladine, Chief Engineer, was very patient and we spent a lot of time together in MCR. Gerity Cablevision asked Delta Broadcasting if they knew someone who could assist them in headend operations. I was Stage Managing an industrial show for Dow Chemical at the Midland Center for the Arts when Dow was looking for someone for their new industrial video production facility. I built the Dow facility with Pete Petroski, and renovated it years later with John Israel. At Central Michigan BCA, I work with support from Wayne Henderson, Pat Hanlon, Mark Brown and others at WCMU PBS.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Robert:  I asked for a Swiffer WetJet for my birthday.  I thought it would come in handy cleaning up spills on my new ceramic tile floor in front of my newly remodeled basement bar.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Robert:  A good friend said “Why don’t you ask Sue out on a date?”… Our first date was October 6, I proposed December 10 and were married the following July 11. That was 35 years ago!

Important: EAS National Test, Registration & Reporting Deadlines

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.  (added 8/16/16:  The Broadcasters Desktop Reference website has a resource for broadcasters “Meet the ETRS.”  Visit that site here.)

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

Editorial: Examples of Radio Stations Using Facebook Live

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Is your radio station looking to start using Facebook Live, Facebook’s new video streaming feature? I recently hosted a webinar explaining how.

Watch the webinar here.

I’ve compiled some examples of how different radio stations across the country are using Facebook Live to give you some inspiration.

 

The Shan Man on KUPD, Phoenix
Shannon Hernandez, the Night Jock on KUPD in Phoenix, Arizona, gives away clues to help listeners find the hidden keg with $2,000 as part of the station’s “Big Red Easter Keg Hunt.”

I’ve got your #EasterKegHunt ANSWERS HERE!

Help me HELP you for tomorrow’s hunt!

Posted by The Shan Man on Thursday, March 24, 2016

 

Shannon also uses Facebook Live to make concert announcements:

SILVER ALERT EXPIRED: Ozzy Osbourne Found with SlipknotDid you hear the big concert news today with Slipknot and Ozzy Osbourne / Black Sabbath? Looks like California is going to be the big destination for Ozzfest and Knotfest. Jump into the live feed and find out the details.

Posted by The Shan Man on Thursday, May 12, 2016

 

Shannon has an online course for people who want to learn more about Facebook Live.

 

Diesel on 93.3 The Planet, Greenville
Diesel, the Night Jock on 93.3 The Planet in Greenville, South Carolina, used Facebook Live for this in-studio stunt with pool noodles.

Pool noodle face slap 2

Posted by 93.3 The Planet Rocks on Friday, July 22, 2016

 

Diesel often uses Facebook Live to delve into on-air topics of conversations online.

P1 Bro Code – @DieselOnTheRadio

Posted by 93.3 The Planet Rocks on Thursday, July 14, 2016

 


Cantore & Woods on FM 94/9, San Diego

Cantore and Woods, the morning show on FM 94/9 in San Diego, used Facebook Live to show off some classic dance movies as part of a ticket giveaway.

Woods nails the classic 80’s concert dance…

Posted by FM 94/9 on Wednesday, July 27, 2016

 

Steve Woods learned to skateboard in the radio station parking lot for National Skateboarding Day.

It’s National Go Skateboarding Day! Can Woodsie pull it off w/out embarrassing himself? – Cantore + Woods

Posted by FM 94/9 on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

 

 

Spezzano & Sandy’s on The Buzz, Rochester
Spezzano and Sandy, the co-hosts of The Morning Buzz on 98.9 The Buzz in Rochester, frequently mount their phone up high in the studio and broadcast long stretches of their show on Facebook.

Posted by 98.9 The Buzz on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

 

When her partner Scott was on vacation, leaving Sandy to host the show solo, she used Facebook Live as a way to entertain listeners.

Posted by 98.9 The Buzz on Friday, July 8, 2016

 

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

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.

Associate Member Highlight: The Michigan Association of School Boards

PrintThe Michigan Association of School Boards is a voluntary, nonprofit association of local and intermediate boards of education located throughout the State of Michigan.  Their membership is comprised of 600+ boards of education, representing nearly all public school districts in the state.

don-wotruba
MASB Executive Director Don Wotruba

MASB was officially organized in 1949 to advance the quality of public education in our state, promote high standards in providing educational programs, help school board members keep informed about education issues, represent the interests of boards of education and promote public understanding about school boards and citizen involvement in our schools. The Association’s first statewide conference was held in the fall of 1948, prior to MASB’s legal incorporation April 19, 1949.

The mission of the Michigan Association of School Boards is to provide quality educational leadership services for all Michigan boards of education, and to advocate for student achievement and public education.

MASB’s Brand – MASB had identified five characteristics by which it would like to be defined. These characteristics represent what they want to be as an association and what they seek to deliver to their members.

  • Value and Quality—Our priority will be delivering outstanding, quality service driven by the needs of our members that is of high value to all Michigan boards of education.
  • Influential Leadership—We will demonstrate influential leadership through unrelenting advocacy for our cause, perceived clout among education, legislative, government and community leaders and achieved results of our public policy initiatives.
  • Trust-Based Relationships—The quality of our relationships with our colleagues at MASB, with our members and with others who have a stake in the future of Michigan’s education system, will be based on trust and supported by ongoing, open communication.
  • Visionary Thinking—Awareness of the larger, evolving context in which we work will be at the forefront of continual assessment and planning, ensuring that MASB strategies and actions are progressive and that we anticipate the long-term implications of our work.
  • Agile Operations—Our systems, processes and procedures will be designed for adaptability and flexibility, enabling timely, effective action that meets the evolving needs of our constituents and facilitates accomplishment of our vision and goals.

Fun facts about MASB:

  • MASB’s current Executive Director, Don Wotruba, started as an intern with the association.
  • One quarter of MASB’s membership changes every two years with the November election. In 2016, there are approximately 1,600 school board seats up for election and at least half of those seats will be filled with new school board members.
  • State Superintendent, Brian Whiston, was a school board member (Waterford School District).
  • Currently, the longest serving school board member has served 45 years…and there are three of them (the longest serving school board member in the history of MASB served for 58 years).
  • Almost all public schools in Michigan are members of MASB.

Visit their website here.

Get Your Golf On & Support The MABF!

The Inn at St. John's

Wednesday, August 31, 2016, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
The Inn at St. John’s, Plymouth Michigan

Par-tee with the MAB Foundation at this year’s Golf Fundraiser, which supports our young broadcasters, the future of our business!

Your golf experience is sure to be fun and offer an excellent networking opportunity! Join friends and industry colleagues in helping to support the MAB Foundation and broadcast scholarships, internships and education for the future of our industry, while having a great time golfing and enjoying a beautiful day!

Cost is $150 per golfer and includes: 18-holes of golf, cart, box lunch, refreshments, awards presentation and green fees.

Your company can show even greater support of young people seeking a career in broadcasting by sponsoring this event. Several sponsorship options are available, please contact us and we’ll design a sponsorship opportunity just for you!

Help support the future of our industry and have a great time too! Now that’s a hole-in-one!

For more details and to register click here.

Questions? Contact Alisha or Rachel at 800-YOUR-MAB.

MAPB Announces Public Media Impact Award

BuckyLove_300The Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) is pleased to announce the 2016 Public Media Impact Award Donor Recipient, Ms. Bucky Love. Bucky Love has a heart for, and has given from the heart, to WGVU Public Media for over 30 years – her nonprofit of choice when it comes to a champion for the arts and music. Her passion for WGVU extends first and foremost to the music the station is synonymous with, and which she helps to nourish with the Bucky M Love WGVU Music Endowment Fund. In addition, Bucky gives generously to WGVU on a heartfelt basis to help fund a variety of educational initiatives and has provided more than one lead gift to WGVU to acquire much needed production equipment.

Bucky’s love of music and sense of responsibility to give back to the community both started at a very early age influenced by her father Michael, who enjoyed singing in his native Slovenian language.

The MAPB Public Media Impact Award will be presented at the MAB/MAPB Awards Banquet, Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth.  For more information or to register, click here.

Editorial: How Your Radio Station Can (Properly) Hijack Twitter Hashtags

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

 

Many social networks, notably Twitter, use hashtags to make it easy for people to find tweets related to a specific topic. A hashtag is simply a keyword or phrase preceded by a # to indicate what the tweet is about. Hashtags are often used by event organizers to allow attendees to follow what other attendees are saying about the event. Here are some examples:

    • The 2016 Worldwide Radio Summit used #WWRS16
    • The 2016 Podcast Movement Conference used #PM16
    • Conclave 41 used #Concave41

Sometimes, people try and hijack hashtags, tapping into the popularity of a trending topic and using it to push people to something else. For example, somebody might tweet out a link to an ad for their dietary supplement using the hashtag for the Grammys in the hopes of attracting some errant clicks. This spammy technique is frowned upon. Not only does it annoy people, but it isn’t particularly effective for the hijacker either.

However, there is a benign way that your radio station can hijack hashtags — particularly hashtags for local events. Here’s how:

1. Identify popular local hashtags.
First, you’ll need to figure out which hashtags you want to hijack. You want to find hashtags that are being used a lot in your market, but not beyond your market. Don’t try to hijack national or international hashtags; if the hashtag is too popular, you’ll get lost in all the noise. Besides, you only care if local people see your tweets because they’re the only ones who can tune into your station.

There are a few ways to identify local hashtags. If there are big venues in the area, such as a convention center, concert arena, or college campus, check their websites for a calendar of events. That calendar will often link out to webpages for each event. On the event webpage, find a link to the event organizer’s Twitter account and check their Twitter stream for any hashtags about the upcoming event. You can also look for event calendars on the local newspaper, TV stations, city magazines, or even other radio stations and then find event hashtags in the same way.

Another way to find local hashtags is to use a site like TrendsMap.com, which lets you zero in on the hashtags in a particular area. If you find a hashtag and you don’t know what it references, you can look it up on a site like TagDef.com.

Create a spreadsheet with a running list of any hashtags that are likely to recur again in the future, such as hashtags used for annual events. This will make it easier for you to hijack hashtags in the future.

2. Create a piece of web content that will interest followers of the hashtag and tweet it.
The more relevant you can make your content to the hashtag followers, the better. For example, if there’s an arts and wine festival in your town using the hashtag #ArtsAndWine2016, here are some pieces of content that you may want to consider:

  • A preview of the event
  • An interview with the organizer or exhibitors
  • A guide to the event, including info on parking, prices, etc.

Of course, you may not be able to create an original piece of content for every event that uses a hashtag, so you may want to focus on a few of the biggest events. For smaller events with hashtags, it’s useful to have some broader but still relevant content on standby. For example, you could create a list of “5 Restaurants Every Visitor to Portland Should Try” or “5 Things You Didn’t Know About the City of Omaha.” Tweet out a link to this content with the appropriate hashtag when #ComicCon2016, the #WarpedTour, or the #NursesConvention comes to town.

The most important thing is to post a link to content that is both compelling and relevant. Otherwise, you’re just being spammy.

3. Measure the results.
Be sure to use a link shortening service that provides analytics, such as Bit.ly or Hootsuite’s Ow.ly, when you tweet out your content. This way, you’ll be able to track how many people clicked on the link to your content. You’ll also want to look at your Google Analytics to see how many people came to your content by way of Twitter. These two numbers should be in the same ballpark.

At first, it will be difficult to tell if a piece of content works or doesn’t work because of the hashtag or the content itself, but if you experiment over time, you should be able to get a feel for what produces the best results. For example, you may find that restaurant suggestions work but city trivia does not. Or you may find that the hashtags for events with more attendees work much better than events with less attendees. Adjust your hashtag hijacking strategy accordingly.

Hashtags are a very useful way to keep tabs on what’s going on in your market and attract traffic back to your radio station’s website. Get into the conversation!

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

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: The Looming Engineering Age Crisis

ChrisTarr2_300
Chris Tarr

By: Chris Tarr, CSRE, DRB, CBNE

Broadcast companies are standing on the train tracks, watching a train from a mile away making its way towards them. “Boy, that thing’s going to kill us! Should we jump? Should we run? Well, I’m pretty busy…I sure hope someone pushes us out of the way before the train hits us!”

And that’s how the end will be. The surprise? The train isn’t “new media” or the internet.

The train is our inability to act.

There’s something we’ve been talking about in the industry for years – it’s the lack of new Engineering and Technical talent. We all know the problem is there. We know that it’s already a big problem. The issue is we keep waiting for someone to do something about it.

We need to act. We need to do it now.

I know of two small market stations that were off the air for an entire day. One of them was repaired and put back on the air at full power. The other was patched up and ran at 20% power for almost two weeks. How do I know this? Because I’m the reason they were hobbled for so long. You see, I have a full time job managing the technical operations for six large market stations. Those are my primary responsibility. The two small stations have no engineer. The only contract guy in the area retired several years ago. I got a call from the station owner one morning after one of them went off the air. He told me there was nobody else to call. I helped him out, and agreed to do what I could until he found a local engineer. Two years later, he’s still looking. So, when those stations recently went down, they had to sit until I was done with my primary responsibilities and could get them back together. It killed me knowing that this small business owner was losing money and that he had to wait until I could get there.

That story is not unusual. I turn down all but dire emergency work these days. I tell people that I have more money than time. They’re always willing to pay whatever I’d demand, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that I only have so many hours in the day.

So how did we get here? It’s pretty simple, really. Before deregulation, each station (or market AM/FM) had their own engineer. Many of them were radio operators in the military and received excellent training. They came back home and settled in to radio careers. They lived in the back office, fixing cart machines and unclogging toilets. Engineers needed to be licensed, so there were technical schools with training programs turning out newly-minted license holders. Things were good. Then, consolidation and deregulation. Stations no longer needed to have an FCC licensed, full-time engineer on staff. It was left to them to decide what worked best. Soon you had one or two engineers for half the stations in a market. Many engineers used that “opportunity” to retire. Others tried it and simply burned out.

Time marched on and technology improved. Now with today’s tech, it’s not so hard to juggle multiple stations. Sure, we added computers to the mix, but we also added IT staff. The balance shifted – it was no longer enough to know electronics and RF. You needed to know computers and IT. More engineers took this “opportunity” to retire, while many others took on the challenge and learned and grew their skills. Meanwhile, since there was no longer a requirement for engineers to be licensed, the smart schools did a pivot and changed their curriculum from Engineering and Electronics to IT. There was (and is) a huge demand for IT staff, so they followed the money.

For a while, nobody noticed. Many of the retired engineers moved into contract positions, becoming “firemen” who came by whenever things broke. The smaller stations enjoyed the savings, at the expense of the routine maintenance that a full-time engineer provided.

Then, the wheels started to fall off.

A significant portion of those original engineers have either passed on or are well into their 80’s. The younger ones who were still doing contract work are now retiring in staggering numbers. Meanwhile, nobody has been turning out new engineers. The younger guys who were mentored by these original professionals are now getting snapped up by the larger broadcasting companies and are being well compensated in an effort to keep them.

This still leaves a few significant problems. First, the smaller stations can’t afford an experienced engineer. The salary competition can be fierce. Second, the “younger guys” aren’t that young any more. I fall into that category, and I’m 46!

So what do we do?

It’s a multi-faceted problem, but here are the broad strokes. First off, it’s a discipline that few are aware of. You’d be surprised how many people have no clue that there are technical people making the transmitter work. It’s very much “out of sight, out of mind”. So there is a definite “marketing” problem.

Second, and this is a biggie, we compete with just about everyone for talent. Ask yourself – why would you take a job in radio, with 24/7 on-call requirements, lower pay, requests to fix plumbing, etc., when you can be a 9 to 5 desk jockey?

Third is training. How do we teach the next generation the skills that they’ll need? Transmitter and RF basics, radio automation, management…the list goes on. There isn’t much in the way of broadcast engineering training out there.

Finally, there’s the baggage. You likely know what I’m talking about. Broadcast engineers have historically had a (in some cases well deserved) reputation for being the odd guy who works strange hours and acts like a mad scientist. They are often looked at as one notch above the janitor, instead of the technology professional that they are. Look at the companies that “get it” – Emmis’s Paul Brenner who developed NextRadio and iHeartMedia’s Jeff Littlejohn who perfected iHeartRadio. These are engineering professionals who were given a seat at the management table and did big things for their employers. They work for companies that recognize and reward their technical staff the same way they do their sales and programming staff. That’s something that’s very attractive for a young technical professional who is thinking about career paths.

So I’ve laid out some of the issues. Now it’s time to start solving the problem. This isn’t a one person, one organization solution. It’s going to take all of broadcast media’s stakeholders working together to make it happen. I envision manufacturers teaching courses (I got a lot out of Harris’s “Broadcast Technology Training Center” back in the day), organizations like SBE, NAB and state broadcast associations recruiting and promoting, broadcast companies taking a hard look at how they handle their technical staff and we as engineers making sure that we continue to do our best to bring value to the table for our employers. We all need to put our heads together and come up with a coordinated effort, working in concert to open up the pipeline to recruit and retain technical talent.

Otherwise the next time a station goes off the air, it may be forever.

Have a suggestion or an idea to help raise awareness within the industry? You can contact me at chris@tarr.cc.

Chris Tarr, CSRE, DRB, CBNE is the Director of Technical Operations for Entercom’s Wisconsin stations. He is one of the industry’s biggest evangelists, and dedicates himself to helping create great radio.

The piece originally appeared on RadioInsight.com and has been reprinted with permission of the author.