Corporation Scam Advisory from LARA

lara_logoBeware of a scam hitting the mailboxes of Michigan corporations and limited liability companies from a non-governmental entity called “Division of Corporate Services.”  The entity is trying to collect a $150 fee to prepare corporate meeting minutes. The misleading compliance solicitation implies that Michigan requires corporations and limited liability companies to complete a 2015 Annual Minutes Form and is designed to look like an official document, but it is not.

“Beware of mailings that may appear to come from the State of Michigan offering assistance in performing non-existent or non-required services,” said Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Chief Deputy Director Shelly Edgerton. “Our corporation customers should only respond to correspondence from LARA. No such letters are being sent from the LARA Corporations Division, no matter how official they may look.”

Michigan businesses are receiving an official-looking form called the “2015 Annual Minutes Form.” The form implies that the recipient is obligated to complete and return it with a fee payment for the preparation of corporate meeting minutes. The accompanying instructions for completing the form list a return address at 3105 S. Martin Luther King Blvd, Suite 317, Lansing, MI 48910. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, LARA warned of similar scams requesting $125 that involved a company with a similar name and an address located in Lansing.

“Annual meeting minutes for Michigan corporations are best prepared either by corporate officers, directors, or by a business attorney, but are not required to be filed with our Corporation Division,” Edgerton emphasized. “This is not to be confused with the legally required annual report or annual statement which can be filed online along with the applicable fee to the State of Michigan.”

Michigan appears to be the latest state where corporations are being targeted to file annual minutes for a fee. Similar solicitation mailings have occurred in several other states including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas where corporations have been victimized by such scams. These entities operate under identical or similar names and request payment fees ranging from $125, $150, $175 to $239 for the completion and submittal of an annual minutes statement.

The phony letters can look authentic. They may be addressed to the corporation, the resident agent, director or officers; cite a Michigan statute or a federal statute; and may appear to be issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau, Corporations Division. If such notices are received, they can be disregarded because they are neither issued by LARA nor any governmental agency

Any Michigan corporation that receives a notice to have annual meeting minutes prepared and pay a fee to avoid dissolution of their corporation are advised to do the following:

Keep the notice, mailing envelope and return envelope.
Contact the United States Postal Inspections Service to report mail fraud at: 1-877-876-2455 or https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/
Or contact the Michigan Office of the Attorney General at P.O. Box 30212, Lansing, MI 48909.

Legitimate notices and mailings to Michigan corporations are issued from LARA’s Corporations Division and are mailed to the resident agent at the registered office address on record. When receiving any official-looking document, please review carefully and read the small print. If you are not sure, please contact the LARA Corporations Division at 517-241-6470.

Customers with questions about their corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership are encouraged to use the Business Entity Search at www.michigan.gov/entitysearch to check their status. If an annual report or statement needs to be filed, customers may file online using www.michigan.gov/fileonline. Additional information is available on the Corporations Division website at www.michigan.gov/corporations or by calling the Corporations Division at 517-241-6470.

Nexstar-Media General Merger Delayed by FCC

Nexstar_300Broadcasting and Cable has reported (9/15) that Nexstar Broadcasting’s $4.6 billion purchase of Media General is on hold pending the conclusion of the current spectrum auction.  The MAB previously reported that the Department of Justice approved the merger with the requirement that Nexstar sell seven television stations in six markets, all outside Michigan.

However, the FCC has said that it would not approve any TV station transactions during the spectrum incentive auction involving stations potentially implicated in that auction.

Nexstar currently owns one television station in Michigan,  WJMN-TV (Marquette).  Media General owns WOOD-TV/WOTV-TV/WXSP-CD (Grand Rapids) and WLNS-TV (Lansing).  In addition, it has a joint sales and shared services agreement with WLAJ-TV (Lansing).

WXMI-TV Names Hutton New Lead Sports Anchor

jasonhutton_275WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) has named Jason Hutton the new lead sports anchor for the station.  Hutton has been with the station for ten years and takes over the position from Mitch Fick, who left the station in early September.

Hutton will serve as the main sports personality on the station’s weekday evening and night newscasts.  He is a native of western Michigan and attended Central Michigan University.

Al Payne Joins WMGC-FM as Program Director

al-payne_275Greater Media has announced that Al Payne has been named as the new program director at WMGC-FM (105.1 The Bounce/Detroit’s Throwback Hip Hop and R&B station). He began his new position on Monday.

Payne most recently served as the Director of Urban Programming at Alpha Media’s WGHL, WGZB and WMJM in Louisville, KY. Previous to that, he worked as the Operations Manager of Radio One’s WERQ, WWIN, WOLB and WLIF-HD2 in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, the radio veteran was the Program Director/Operations VP of the Russ Parr Morning Show and worked in a programming capacity for stations in Detroit, Richmond, Dallas, Greensboro and Raleigh/Durham.

“We are thrilled to welcome Al as the new program director at 105.1 The Bounce in the Motor City,” said Steve Chessare, Vice President and Market Manager of Greater Media Detroit.” His experience and vision is exactly what we need to take the station to the next level and beyond.”

Print“We are excited to have Al Payne join our new Detroit brand 105.1 The Bounce,” said Greater Media Senior Vice President of Program Development Buzz Knight. “Having someone of his caliber join our already strong team sends a signal to the market of our commitment to excellence.”

“I am so blessed and happy to be returning to the D for another run,” said Payne. “This city has so much pride, heritage and passion! I’m humbled to be chosen to program their dynamic new brand, 105.1 The Bounce, which is, and will remain, all about everything Detroit. You can feel the energy when you walk into their beautiful facility. There’s something special happening between those walls. I can’t wait! Thanks to Buzz Knight, Steve Chessare and ALL of the Greater Media family for this incredible opportunity.”

WOOD-TV Adds 7:00 P.M. Newscast

wood-tv_300WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) has announced that it is expanding their news coverage, adding a 30-minute edition of “24 Hour News 8” at 7:00 p.m. beginning September 20.

Marlee Ginter will anchor the newscast with Meteorologist Kyle Underwood.

WOOD-TV News Director Dan Boers said “On top of the big stories of the day, the newscast will give us an opportunity to take a deeper look into issues impacting our communities.  It will be at a time of day that is more convenient for some viewers who are just getting home from work or after-school activities.”

Diane Kniowski, WOOD-TV General Manager added “24 Hour News 8 is dedicated to bringing viewers more news at a time of day that is convenient for viewers to access breaking news, weather and investigative reports throughout the day.  It is just another way we serve our community.”

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters

According to the Broadcast Law Blog, several dates in September are of particular importance to broadcasters. The lowest unit rate window started on September 9. This means that commercial broadcasters should be offering the lowest unit charges to political candidates because of the 60-day window before the November election. Annual regulatory fees for all commercial broadcasters are due by September 27. Any commercial broadcaster that cumulatively owes more than $500 must file its fees by that date. On September 28, the FCC will conduct its second nationwide test of the EAS system. This is the first test that will use, not only the over-the-air “daisy chain” system of transmitting alerts by passing them through over-the-air station-to-station transmissions, but also will test the Internet-based CAPS system. The FCC open meeting is scheduled for September 29, and the agenda includes set-top boxes, ways to promote independent video programming and relaxing foreign ownership rules.

FCC Reverse Auction – Stage 2

fcc-logo_dark-blueSeptember 13 marked the beginning of the second stage of the television incentive auction. The FCC is now trying to clear 114 MHz of TV spectrum to repurpose for wireless uses. If the auction is successful in clearing this target, channels 31 and below will remain in the TV band. Adding more channels to the TV band allows more stations to be repacked in their pre-auction band, the FCC explained in the public notice. This means that stations that were provisionally winning after Stage 1 will become “unfrozen” in Stage 2, and will be presented decreasing price offers during the bidding rounds. This process will result in lowering the overall costs of clearing spectrum for wireless use. The Public Notice also includes a warning that any broadcaster who filed an application to potentially participate in the auction is still bound by the rules against prohibited communications.

Committee Votes to Amend FOIA

capitol3The Michigan House Oversight and Ethics Committee unanimously voted in support of HB 5826. This legislation amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to prohibit a public body, that receives a request for information, from commencing a civic action under the act, against the requesting person or entity.

The intent of the bill is to address the chilling affect that may occur if public bodies are allowed to sue citizens, or news organizations, for exercising the right to seek information about the actions of publicly elected officials. The bill now moves to the House Floor for a vote.

EAS National Test Next Week!

eas-logo_300The next national test of the Emergency Alert System is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  (A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if necessary”). 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).  The FCC encourages EAS Participants to take steps to prepare for the test.   The public notice is available here.

Important National Test Reporting Deadlines

1) 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.

2) 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 Broadcasters Desktop Reference website has a resource for broadcasters “Meet the ETRS.”  (Visit that site here.)

All EAS participants were required to register with ETRS and complete the filing on ETRS Form One on or before August 26, 2016.

In addition, the FCC has released an updated EAS Handbook available for download to print locally here.  A copy of the Handbook must be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately available to staff responsible for administering EAS tests.  Please note that the new EAS Handbook requires licensees to “fill-in” information on various pages throughout the handbook and that stations should review the Handbook before placing it in a normal duty position.

There is also a Microsoft Word version of the EAS Handbook available here that may aid some stations in customizing the handbook for their operations.

Detroit Television Personality John Kelly Passes

(L-$) John Kelly and Marilyn Turner.
(L-R) John Kelly and Marilyn Turner.

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) reports that Detroit television TV news and entertainment icon John Kelly passed away this past Sunday afternoon (9/18) at age 88.

Kelly was an anchor for WJBK-TV  (Detroit) beginning in 1965. In the early 1970s, he moved to WXYZ-TV and worked alongside Bill Bonds, Marilyn Turner and Al Ackerman.  He married Turner in 1975.  Both Kelly and Turner hosted the long-running morning show “Kelly & Company.”  The show was described by the Detroit Historical Society as a “personable, guest-oriented talk show taped in front of a live studio audience.  As Detroit’s premiere local talk show, it became a key component of Channel 7’s image in the community.”

Kelly is survived by Turner, his brothers Daniel and Kenneth, three children and six grandchildren.  No services have been announced as of this writing.

See WXYZ-TV’s story and tribute here.
See WJBK-TV’s story and tribute here.