All posts by MAB Staff

FCC Watch: More Translator Modifications

Here’s the latest Michigan-related FCC broadcast filings:

July 11:  Michigan Community Radio filed an application to make changes for FM translator W247CU (Fort Gratiot Township).  The application seeks to increase the translator’s effective-radiated power to 150 watts.  The translator rebroadcasts the signal of WGRT-FM (Port Huron).

July 6:  The Preservation Association of Beaver Island has applied to modify the facilities of low-power FM station WVBI-LP (Beaver Island).  The licensee is requesting a new transmitter site, ERP and HAAT.

July 6:  The Educational Media Foundation was granted a construction permit for FM translator W240CG (Webberville). The permit is to change the transmitter location to the WITL-FM tower (Lansing) and increase ERP and HAAT. The translator rebroadcasts WITL-FM (presumably one of WITL’s HD channels).

July 5:  Resort Radio has filed an application to assign the license of FM translator W299CB (Manistee) to Smile FM for $18,000.  Smile FM intends to rebroadcast its WSMZ-FM (Crystal Valley).

July 5:  Zamora Broadcasting Systems, Inc. has filed a license to cover application for FM translator W300DI (Dearborn).  This translator was formerly W240DL, operating on 95.9 Mhz.  The new callsign reflects its new frequency of 107.9 Mhz.  The translator is a fill-in translator for WDTW-AM, also licensed to Dearborn.

July 3:  AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC filed a license to cover application for WCMM (Gulliver).  The station recently applied to reduce its effective radiated power to 60kw.

June 30:  Good News Media, Inc. has applied for a transfer-of-control from its non-commercial stations to a new board of directors.  The stations affected are WLJD-FM (Charlevoix), WLJN-AM (Elmwood Township), WLJN-FM (Traverse City), WLJW-AM (Cadillac) and WLJW-FM (Fife Lake).

In addition to these applications, television stations in Michigan have begun the repack process with applications for modified facilities.  Look for a summary of those applications in the weeks to come. 

Blarney Stone Names New Voice of Grayling Vikings Football and Basketball

Chad Patterson signs his agreement with Blarney Stone Broadcasting to become the new voice of Grayling Vikings Sports.

Blarney Stone Broadcasting (Grayling) has named Chad Patterson the new voice of Grayling Vikings football and basketball.

From the station’s press release:

When Chad Patterson steps into the broadcast booth this season as the new voice of Grayling Vikings football and basketball, he’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream – and battling no small amount of apprehension.

“I’m sure I’ll be sweating bullets,” he said. “It’s a dream-come-true for me as someone who has followed sports my entire life. And coming from a theater background, a storytelling background, any time you can paint the picture of what you’re watching – that’s basically what directing is, what playwriting is.

“I feel like I’ve narrated a lot of games in my head already. . . I’m not going to say it’ll be an easy transition – and I’m not taking lightly the shoes that I’m filling.”

Patterson, who recently agreed to a deal with Blarney Stone Broadcasting to call Vikings games, succeeds the award-winning team of Tom McCord and Rich Calkins, both of whom have retired.

“I know I’m a novice compared to them,” Patterson said. “The fact that I’m even getting an opportunity to do this considering I’ve never done it, it’s a miracle. Following in Tom and Richard’s shoes, there’s a little bit of trepidation. I listened to those guys. They were top-notch.”

A para-pro who works with autistic students at Grayling High School, Patterson was a theater major in college and owns Acting Up Company, a children’s theater group that holds performances at schools through the state. He has been a producer of the Q100 Christmas plays as well.

But he’s no stranger to football. He was a lineman on both sides of the ball at Leslie High School in the 1980s. He knows the game and he hopes to bring more to his play-by-play than basic down-and-distance and mentioning the score often enough, which is what most listeners are interested in.

“I also know there are educated listeners who want to know if a team is in a spread offense, where the tight end is playing – weak side or strong side,” Patterson said. “I hope to get into the geeky, nerdiness of the sport that some others get into as well.”

To do that well, Patterson – who has emceed the AuSable River Canoe Marathon for years – plans to do plenty of homework.

Along with reading books on broadcasting and listening to some of his favorite play-by-play sportscasters like Grayling’s George Blaha, who calls Detroit Pistons and Michigan State football games, and others, Patterson hopes to spend some time with McCord and Calkins and the Vikings’ football staff as well.

“I also want to call all the other conference coaches, go through their rosters with them, make sure I’m pronouncing all the names right,” he said, “and learn a little about what kind of offensive and defensive schemes those coaches are running.”

Sheryl Coyne, president of Blarney Stone Broadcasting, said she is beyond confident the station has found the right voice to succeed McCord and Calkins.

“We’re thrilled and proud that Chad has agreed to call Grayling Vikings football and basketball games and we know he’ll do a great job describing all the action for our Q100 listeners,” Coyne said. “This is football country here in Northern Michigan and we’re all looking forward to another great Vikings season.”

WXYZ to Air Film on Detroit Riot Anniversary

WXYZ-TV (Detroit)
will broadcast the television premiere of the film, “12th and Clairmount,” 7:00 p.m., Sunday, July 23, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riot/rebellion. The Detroit Free Press film was produced in collaboration with WXYZ and Bridge Magazine, and explores the racial and economic tensions that led to the most violent uprising in Detroit’s history. The documentary features WXYZ archival film along with home movies from Detroiters who witnessed the five-day rebellion and shared their stories.

“It’s so important that we reflect on the past and learn from those experiences if we’re going to move our community forward,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD Vice-President and General Manager. “Improving our community is core to our mission at WXYZ and the mission of our Detroit 2020 project…to unify our region and inspire people to act.”

“12th and Clairmount” will air commercial free  on the station.  A Detroit 2020 town hall discussion, Detroit 1967: Looking Back to Look Forward,” will air immediately following the film on air and live on the WXYZ Facebook page, where viewers can participate. The town hall program will be hosted by 7 Action News Anchor Carolyn Clifford who was born and raised in Detroit. She will be joined by 7 Action News Anchor Dave LewAllen and WXYZ Editorial and Community Affairs Director Chuck Stokes. The show will recognize the struggles that led to the violence in the summer of 1967 and focus on efforts to learn from those experiences.

WXYZ will also partner with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to present a special screening of the film, “12th and Clairmount,” at Campus Martius Park on Thursday, July 27, at 8 p.m.

Stokes will host a special “Spotlight on the News,” program from Campus Martius Park on Sunday, July 23, at 10 a.m. The show will feature interviews with newsmakers and Detroit residents who lived through the violence, and a roundtable discussion that includes 7 Action News anchors Clifford and LewAllen.

On July 23, 7 Action News at 11 p.m. will broadcast a 7 Action News special that examines the 50 years since the 1967 uprising; looks at how far the city has progressed; and addresses the work that still needs to be done to move our community forward.

From July 17 through July 22, 7 Action News at 5 p.m. will include a daily special report focusing on the uprising. Daily coverage will also be available online at WXYZ will feature a series of short videos at that examines the roots of the violence and the progress made over the past 50 years. Topics will include what happened at the Motown studios, the experiences of a solider and Detroit native dropped into the violence, and the “white flight” that followed the rebellion.

Three Michigan Broadcasters Finalists for 2017 Marconi Awards

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
 has announced the finalists for the 2017 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. The winners will be announced September 7 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show and held during the 2017 Radio Show in Austin.

Three Michigan broadcasters appear in the list of finalists.

In the Large Market Station of the Year category, Beasley Broadcast Group’s WRIF-FM (Detroit) is a finalist, along with stations from Milwaukee, Seattle, Cincinnati and Denver.

In the Noncommercial Station of the Year category, once again Plymouth-Canton Community School’s  WSDP-FM (Plymouth) is a finalist.  This is the fourth year in-a-row that the high school station has been a finalist.

And, in the Large Market Personality of the Year category, the late Linda Lee of WYCD-FM (Detroit) is a finalist.  Lee, who passed away March 31, 2017, will also be honored with the first MAB Legacy Award, at the Advocacy Conference and Annual Meeting, August 22, during the Chairman’s Banquet at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.

A complete list of 2017 Marconi Award finalists is available here.



MAPB will honor John Sheffler, William H. Smith with Public Media Impact Awards

The MAPB has announced its 2017 Public Media Impact Award recipients. CMU Public Radio’s John Sheffler will be honored for his nearly 40 years of professional service and leadership and Detroit philanthropist William H. Smith will be recognized for his generous contributions to Detroit Public Television.

John Sheffler

John Sheffler retired in May 2015 from WCMU (Mt. Pleasant) as Director of Radio after nearly 40 years with the station, a career that began while he was a student at Central Michigan University. He is credited with creating the series “Our Front Porch” in 1979, highlighting live  Traditional Americana and Celtic music. The program was broadcast nationally by NPR from 1983-1988 and was a weekend WCMU mainstay for more than 34 years. “Our Front Porch” recordings have been collected by the Library of Congress and the Irish Traditional Music Archives in Dublin.

William H. Smith

William H. Smith founded Allied Film & Video in Detroit after he and his wife, Patsy, moved to the city in 1960. They quickly became regular patrons of local culture and education, including Detroit Public Television. When Bill sold his company in 1995, the Smiths established a private charitable foundation and donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation of  Southeast Michigan. The couple was among DPTV’s lead donors as the organization expanded its services and facilities to convert to digital broadcasting in 2005, providing funding for the Smith Family Broadcast Operations Center. Following Patsy’s death in 2006, Bill made an additional gift for the construction of the Bill and Patsy Smith Studio at the Riley Broadcast Center. In 2013, Bill and his children made a $1 million commitment to established DPTV’s William H. Smith Family Leadership Circle to encourage other’s in charitable giving to the organization by their generous example. As of 2017, the giving circle surpassed its  $4 million goal with more than 55 donors participating in high level support of the values and mission of DPTV.

The MAPB Public Media Impact Awards will be celebrated on Aug. 22 at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville as part of the MAB’s annual Advocacy Conference evening Awards Banquet.  Click here to attend.

Golf for the Future of Broadcast Excellence

Are you attending the MAB Advocacy Conference in August? Are you looking for a great incentive for your employees? Do you like to win? If you answered YES to any of the above questions, the MAB Foundation’s Golf Fundraiser is for YOU! Come out and have fun while supporting a GREAT CAUSE.

Join us on Wednesday, August 23 from  9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Crystal Mountain Resoirt’s Betsie Valley Golf Course in Thompsonville. 

Cost is $600 for a team to enter ($150 per individual) and includes 18 holes of golf,  cart, box lunch, refreshments, awards presentation, team photo and green fees. Proceeds benefit the MAB Foundation and support the future of broadcast excellence


Police Body Camera Bill Signed by Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed HB 4427 into law (now Public Act 85 of 2017), which exempts public release of footage from police body cameras if the footage was taken in a person’s private residence. The new law also request that police departments  create rules for disclosure and retention of audio and video recordings from body cameras worn by police officers. The bill was unanimously approved by both chambers of Michigan Legislature.

Public Act 85 exempts the recordings from public-records request under certain circumstances, including if the recordings were made in a “private place.” Recordings also will be kept private during ongoing criminal or internal investigations but only for listed reasons such as public disclosure interfering with law enforcement proceedings or invading personal privacy. Body camera recordings retained as part of civil lawsuits will not be considered public records.

The MAB has serious concerns about this law and testified against this bill in previous legislative sessions. By stating that body-worn camera footage is not a public record,  this law places the recorded content outside the purview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)  in connection with criminal or internal investigations. Exempting such recordings  removes any chance of impartial, neutral and judicial review of exemptions as provided by the FOIA.  Furthermore, there are unanswered questions about the manner in which the law enforcement will collect, retain, use and disclose these recordings. Each of those issues bears on the public’s right to know.

FEMA Sets Date for Next National EAS Test

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has scheduled the 2017 National EAS Test (NPT) for Wednesday, September 27 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

In the event the test needs to be postponed due to a significant event, weather or otherwise, a backup date of Wednesday, October 4, has been reserved.

The test will be conducted in the same way it was in 2016, with both English and Spanish language text and audio. Total duration is expected to be about one minute.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission has already released instructions as to how Emergency Alert System participants must register for access to the 2017 EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

As a result of feedback regarding last year’s use of the ETRS, the FCC has mandated that filers using the ETRS must use a single account. The Public Safety Bureau also said to expect a further notice soon about the opening of the 2017 ETRS and the date by which EAS participants must file their data.

In the 2016 test, FEMA reported that approximately 88 percent of EAS participants across the country were able to receive and relay the test message.  A few test participants reported complications ranging from equipment configuration issues, equipment failures, failure to update equipment software, audio quality issues, source issues, clock errors and, in some cases, noncompliance with Part 11 rules.

FEMA Appoints New IPAWS Subcommittee

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced the names of 31 individuals who will serve on a new IPAWS subcommittee to offer guidance on best standards and operating procedures for the nation’s emergency alert system.

Now part of the FEMA’s National Advisory Council (NAC), the first IPAWS subcommittee meeting will be held August 8 and 9 in Washington, D.C. Members will meet again up to four times per year.

The subcommittee’s appointed responsibilities include providing recommendations for new alerting protocols and operating procedures for the public alert and warning system and submitting a recommendation report on the overall system to the NAC. Any subcommittee report will be shared with other government agencies, including the House and Senate committees on homeland security.

Click here to learn more about the new IPAWS subcommittee and its members. 


Advocacy Conference Early-Rate Deadlines Approaching

Don’t miss the speakers at this year’s Advocacy Conference and Annual Meeting, August 22-23 at Crystal Mountain Resort.  Register today to take advantage of discounted room rates at Crystal Mountain (through this Friday, July 21) as well as early-bird conference rates (through July 31).

MAB members will hear policy and advocacy updates as well as attend the MAB Annual Meeting. The evening activities include the banquet, featuring the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductions, Lifetime Achievement Award and the MAPB Public Media Impact Awards.

Speakers at this year’s conference include:

Rob Elhenicky
Partner and MAB Lobbyist
Kelley Cawthorne

Ed Fernandez
VP/Divisional General Manager
E.W. Scripps

Rick Kaplan
General Counsel and Executive VP
Legal and Regulatory Affairs
National Association of Broadcasters

David Oxenford
Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

John D. Pirich
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohen LLP

Register NOW and Save: Registration

Early-Bird Registration (before 7/31/17)
Member-Full Conference $140
Member- Annual Business Meeting &
Sessions Only $0
Member- Reception/Banquet Only $140
Non-Member- Full Conference $170
Non-Member- Reception/Banquet Only $170
MABF Golf Fundraiser $150

The MAB has secured a discounted group room rate at Crystal Mountain Resort. Part of the charm of this location is the variety of lodging room types available. Click here for a description of the rooms.

Reserve your discounted room at Crystal Mountain by calling the Reservations Department at 855-520-2974 or by clicking here.

Hotel Room Discount Deadline: July 21

See the schedule of events here: Schedule

Questions? Contact Jennifer at