All posts by MAB Staff

WPHM’s Caleb Gordon Goes on a UP Tour

Left: Caleb with Marquette Mayor Fred Stonehouse at WMQT/WZAM. Right: Delta County EDA director TJ Thomas with Caleb at WYKX/WDBC.


A collage of the places highlighted in the interviews.

Caleb Gordon, News & Program Director for Liggett Communication’s WPHM-AM (Port Huron) visited two MAB member stations in the Upper Peninsula in May to gather interviews for his station’s local morning talk show.

Gordon visited Taconite Broadcasting’s WMQT and WZAM in Marquette and Aurora Media’s WYKX and WDBC in Escanaba to meet with local leaders and station personalities. The interviews were played back on June 10 when Gordon filled in for WPHM’s Paul Miller that morning.

Among the guests featured were Marquette’s mayor, a manager from Travel Marquette, Delta County’s Economic Development Alliance Director, the president of the Delta County Historical Society, and personalities from both Taconite Broadcasting and Aurora Media. Interviews from the UP tour can be found on WPHM’s podcast page and are dated June 10th.

Caleb thanks WMQT’s Jim Koski and WDBC’s Craig Woerpel for helping to line up guests and Aurora Media’s Todd Mohr for his hospitality!

All photos courtesy of Caleb Gordon.  Thanks for sharing!

WEMU Wins Best of Washtenaw Honors

Ann Arbor-based Current Magazine, an arts, food, business and music, publication for Washtenaw County just concluded its 2019 Best of Washtenaw contest, as voted by readers.  Best radio station award went to Eastern Michigan University’s jazz-formatted WEMU-FM (Ypsilanti).

Voting ended April 19 and winners were announced June 3.  Congratulations to Molly Motherwell,  Michael Jewett, Patrick Campion, David Fair and staff!

Bruce Goldsen Elected Radio Board Second Vice Chair

Bruce Goldsen

Elections were held at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, June 11-12 in Washington and Michigan’s own Bruce Goldsen, President/Co-owner of Jackson Works, Inc., was elected Radio Board Second Vice Chair.

Also at the meeting, Jordan Wertlieb, President, Hearst Television, Inc., was elected chairman of the NAB Joint Board of Directors, NAB announced today. Wertlieb takes over from Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Media Group, whose term expired.

David Santrella, president of Broadcast Media, Salem Media Group, was elected Radio Board chair by the NAB Radio Board. Randy Gravely, president and CEO, Tri State Communications Inc., was elected Radio Board first vice chair.

Alfred Liggins, CEO and president, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee.

Emily Barr, president and CEO, Graham Media Group, was elected as NAB Television Board chair. Ralph Oakley, president and CEO, Quincy Media, Inc., was elected as TV Board first vice chair, and Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO, Nexstar Media Group, Inc., was elected TV Board second vice chair.

Brandon Burgess, chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks, was appointed to the designated TV network seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee.

WILX Teams Up with United Way for Diaper Drive

WILX Multi-media Journalist Megan Hiler

Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing) has teamed up with Capital Area United Way
to assist with the organization’s Diaper Drive to help low-income families who can’t afford to buy diapers for their children.

Baby and adult diapers, along with wipes can be donated until June 21, but diapers will be accepted until the end of the month.

The diaper drive will take any and all sizes and brands.

United Ways across the nation engage volunteers to help others on June 21 through their annual Day of Action.

This year they have partnered with LAFCU and the Lansing Ignite.

Items can be dropped off at all LAFCU locations (through June 20) or you can text uwdiaper to 41444 and make a monetary donation. That money will be used to buy diapers and add them to the drive.

Last year, over 12,000 diapers were collected. The drive goes until Friday, June 21.

Beasley Media Grows in Detroit with Purchase of WDMK

Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. announced June 10 that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WDMK-FM and three translators in Detroit from Urban One for $13.5 million in cash. Excluding one-time transaction costs, the acquisition of WDMK-FM is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the Company’s leverage. Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.

Beasley currently owns and operates WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM and WMGC-FM in the Motor City.

Beasley’s acquisition of WDMK-FM is complementary to the Company’s three existing radio stations and digital operations in the Detroit market, the thirteenth largest designated marketing area in the country, and reflects the Company’s long-term focus on premium local programming and content.

Commenting on the proposed transaction, Caroline Beasley, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit. Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.”

“We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders. The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30 percent revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”

“Consistent with Beasley’s disciplined approach to growing our platform, the acquisition of WDMK-FM is expected to be immediately accretive to free cash flow, excluding one-time transaction costs, and with our strong balance sheet, we will continue to have the financial flexibility to make additional return-focused growth investments, while further reducing leverage and returning capital to shareholders.”

“We look forward to realizing the strategic benefits of the WDMK-FM transaction in 2020 as we continue to advance our initiatives focused on leveraging our premium local programming and brands, while aggressively rolling out our digital offerings and distribution capabilities to reinforce and grow Beasley’s leadership position across all audio platforms in our markets. This approach will enable us to deliver great local content to listeners while creating an even stronger marketing platform for local businesses.”

The transaction, expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019, is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval and other customary closing conditions. The proposed transaction was brokered by Michael Bergner.

It is reported in the trade press that Urban One plans to continue its LMA with WGPR-FM until the end of 2019.

Congressman Tim Walberg Presents WLEN with National Award for Community Service

WLEN News Director Ian Wendt; director of sales and digital engagement, Ashley Gonzalez; president, Julie Koehn; and Congressman Tim Walberg. (Courtesy of

Congressman Tim Walberg (R-7) presented WLEN Radio with the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation’s  Service to Community Award on Tuesday evening (6/11) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Lenawee  Broadcasting’s WLEN-FM (Adrian) was recognized for its based annual “Thank a Vet” effort.

“I was proud to recognize the WLEN team, led by Julie Koehn, and congratulate them for earning this prestigious national award,” Congressman Walberg said in a press statement.

“At the foundation of building a strong community is honoring the promises we have made to our veterans. WLEN has done exceptional work in raising money for local veterans, including those who are homeless. For all of us who call Lenawee County home, we’re grateful for WLEN’s commitment to giving back to the community.”

Each Veteran’s Day, WLEN’s “Thank a Vet” program raises funds to offer immediate help for veterans in need. Last year, over $30,000 was raised to assist veterans in Lenawee County.  More than $250,000 has been raised since effort began.

Local Radio Freedom Act Gains More Support

As of June 13, nine more members of the House of Representatives and one Senator have added their co-sponsorship to the Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), which is a resolution opposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations.

In the House, more support came from Representative James Baird (R-IN-4), Troy Balderston (R-OH-12), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Mike Johnson (R-LA-4), Daniel Meuser (R-PA-9), Denver Riggleman (R-VA-5), Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13), William Timmons (R-SC-4) and Rob Wittman (R-VA-1).

In the Senate, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) added her support.

The Local Radio Freedom Act says “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.”

Plan to Swap Sales Tax for Fuel Tax Headed to House Floor

MLive reports that House Republicans continue to push a budget plan that would replace the state’s 6-percent sales tax on gasoline with a fuel tax to be allocated to infrastructure. The House plan calls for all the funds currently collected as sales tax to be shifted to roads, generating an estimated $830 million.

Currently, the tax collected at the pump largely goes to schools and local governments.

In an effort to maintain existing funding for schools, the overall House plan shifts school aid fund dollars out of the university budget and into the K-12 budget.

The plan lacks Democratic support with one representative saying it doesn’t do enough to bring Michigan’s roads up to snuff.

Governor Creates Committee For Accurate Census Count; MAB’s Karole White Appointed

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

The AP reported on Wednesday (6/12) that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order creating a committee aimed at encouraging an accurate federal census in the state next year.

MAB President/CEO Karole L. White has been appointed to the committee.

“Not only does the state depend on the census as the basis for the number of federal funds it receives to help serve our residents, but broadcast markets are also drawn and ranked according to the population as set in the census,” she said. “Right now Detroit is in the 15th Media Market Nationally. Any slip in population or under count could mean a loss of market position resulting in a significant loss in advertising dollars for stations in rated markets.”

In a release, the governor said the 2020 United States Census Complete Count Committee, which she leads, has roughly 60 members from numerous organizations and communities statewide. It includes business, academic, governmental and faith-based representatives.

The purpose of the group, according to Whitmer, is to ensure a comprehensive count so Michigan gets the right amount of federal money as well as accurate representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The committee is charged with raising awareness of the Census and identifying and overcoming barriers to achieving a full count.  The group will be advising the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

More information on the Census to come as the very large committee gets together to set their plans.

Meet Your MAB Foundation Board Member of the Week: Eric Hammerstrom

Eric Hammerstrom

Eric Hammerstrom is a native of Marquette and has been a public school Language Arts teacher for the past 28 years, including 24 years at Marquette Senior High School.

For the past 18 years, he has taught a course on video production, film-making and broadcasting as part of his caseload at MSHS.  When not in the classroom, Hammerstrom works as a freelance journalist and contributing writer for Marquette Monthly Magazine.  He has been an independent videographer in the Marquette area for more than a decade.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Writing and History from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he did sports broadcasting for WRTC and interned with the Hartford Courant.  He received his master’s degree from The Colorado College in Colorado Springs.  He and his wife, Michelle, have a daughter, Alexis.