All posts by MAB Staff

Murrow Awards Presented to Michigan Stations

Murrow_logo_2016_300On October 10, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) honored news operations nationwide with the 2016 Edward R. Murrow Awards.  Seven Michigan radio and television stations were recipents of 15 2016 Murrow Awards.

Among the national winners were two Michigan broadcasters (by category/award):

Large Market Radio – News Documentary
Not Safe to Drink
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor

Large Market Television – Reporting: Sports
Big Ann
Grand Rapids

The (regional) Region 7 Awards (by category/award):

Large Market Radio – Continuing Coverage
Lead in Flint Water
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor

Large Market Radio – Investigative Reporting
Sexual Assault Investigations at MSU: A Broken System; and the Efforts to Fix It
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor

Large Market Radio – News Documentary
Not Safe To Drink
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor

Large Market Radio – Reporting: Sports
The Community Finally Got What People Have Been Asking For All Season: A Home Football Game
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor

Small Market Television – Newscast
Funeral For A Fallen Firefighter

Small Market Television – Continuing Coverage
Flint Water Emergency

Small Market Television – News Series
Friends For Life: Men’s Health

Small Market Television – Website

Large Market Television – Breaking News
Portland Tornado
Grand Rapids

Large Market Television – Continuing Coverage
It’s A Hard Thing To Watch A Man Die

Large Market Television – Investigative Reporting
Delayed Firefighter Death Benefit
Grand Rapids

Large Market Television – Reporting: Sports
Big Ann
Grand Rapids

Large Market Television – Writing
Brent Ashcroft
Grand Rapids

A complete list of winners is available here.

The award presenters for the gala included Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” and “Dateline NBC,” ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts, ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky, CBSN anchor Elaine Quijano, RTDNA Chairman Vincent Duffy, and NPR Senior Vice President of News / Editorial Director Michael Oreskes.

FCC Updates Foreign Ownership Compliance Rules

At the FCC’s open meeting on September 29, the agency adopted new policies for computing foreign ownership of broadcast companies. The Commission’s Report and Order on this subject deals with how companies assess compliance with the rules, which limit foreign ownership to 20% of a broadcast licensee and 25% of a holding company, unless there is a finding by the FCC that the public interest is not harmed by a greater foreign ownership interest.

Under the new rules, rather than assuming that there was a compliance issue because a company cannot prove that its foreign ownership was less than 25%, the FCC will now conclude that there is an issue only where a company, based on knowledge either that it has or should have, actually knows that there it has a foreign ownership compliance problem.

Tell us what you think about the FCC action and easing up on the calculation of foreign ownership with your comments below.

FCC Announces Phased TV Repack Plan

According to a report in RBR-TVBR, the FCC released a public notice announcing that the agency’s Media Bureau is developing a plan for a “phased” post-incentive auction repacking transition schedule. The Media Bureau is tasked with the creation of construction deadlines within the 39-month post-broadcast incentive auction transition period for TV stations assigned new channels in the repacking process.

The proposal calls for stations to be assigned to “a limited number of transition phases.” The phases will all begin at the same time, but will have sequential end dates.

The key highlights of the phased transition include:

    • A station cannot cause more than 2% new interference to another station during the transition.
    • There will be no more than 10 transition phases. The phase completion date will be the date listed in each station’s construction permit as its construction deadline and will be the last day that a station may operate on its pre-auction channel. This approach takes into account international obligations and an agreement to undertake in a joint repacking with Canada.
    • All stations within a DMA will be assigned to no more than two different transition phases.
    • The difference in the number of stations in the largest transition phase and the smallest transition phase will be no more than 30 stations.
    • No phase can have more than 125 linked-stations.

Comments on the Public Notice are due October 31. Reply comments are due November 15.

Exhibitors: Connect with Broadcasters in the Mitten State at GLBC 2017!


GLBC’s dates have returned to March! Exhibitors can reserve their space now to meet potential clients and showcase all of their new products and services!

Show Date
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Lansing Center, Lansing, MI

Senior executives involved in key decision making and purchasing make up the majority of the GLBC attendees. This is your chance to showcase your new and exciting products to these vital potential customers in your target market! Whether you sell to broadcasters, audio or video producers, cable, churches, educators or corporate trainers, all are invited to the FREE exhibit hall at GLBC.


  • Centrally located in Lansing, MI
    This popular conference and expo is only a few hours’ drive for most of your current and potential Great Lakes media customers; meaning more qualified leads and more potential customers.
  • You win by choosing GLBC!
    Attending an established conference like the GLBC will keep your company and products top of mind when buying decisions are made.
  • Not all the action is on the Exhibit floor
    This all-inclusive show offers many networking opportunities for one-to-one interaction with decision makers. Our famous “Beer and Bull” opening reception, breakfast and breaks in the exhibit hall are all included.

Find more information and register HERE.

If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Krause at the MAB, or 517.484.7444.

Save The Date: GLBC 2017!

glbc17March 7-8, 2017
The Lansing Center
Lansing, MI

GLBC’s dates have moved back to March! The Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & EXPO is the Midwest’s premier educational and networking event for radio, television and media professionals.

GLBC features national caliber speakers and trainers, a free exhibit hall that showcases the latest in products, services and technology and awards presentations including the Michigan Student Broadcast Awards and the professional Broadcast Excellence Awards.

Stay tuned for more information on GLBC 2017 speakers and educational sessions!

Congress Amends Communications Act and Passes FCC Reform Bills

According to a report in AllAccess, Congress has passed an amended Communications Act, which includes two FCC reform bills. These are: the FCC Process Reform Act (H.R. 2583), and the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act (H.R. 734).

House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) said, “This legislation is further evidence of our dedication to advancing thoughtful solutions that empower consumers and small businesses, make the FCC more transparent and enhance our public safety communications networks. The Communication Act Update of 2016 lays an important foundation as we work to update our laws for the innovation era.”

AG Schuette Joins Lawsuit Against Department of Labor Overtime Rules

Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined a lawsuit challenging new federal regulations on overtime for workers. The regulations, which go into effect on December 1, would raise the annual salary threshold at which professional employees are eligible for overtime, from $23,660 to $47,476 a year. Nineteen other states joined the lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Texas.

The U.S. Department of Labor has said increasing the threshold would make another 4.2 million workers eligible for overtime. In Michigan, this means 101,000 employees, or 2.5 percent, of all workers, would be eligible for overtime under the new rule.

The AG’s office released a statement saying that “the attorney general is suing on behalf of the people of the state of Michigan because this rule could have a significant impact on taxpayers and job creation.”

Black Diamond Closes on Northern Star Stations

blackdiamond_300Black Diamond Broadcast Group has closed on its previously announced acquisition of seven stations and a FM translator from Northern Michigan-based Northern Star Broadcasting for $1.95 million. The transaction encompasses multiple signals in Traverse City/Petoskey, and includes WCBY-AM (1240), WGFM-FM (105.1) and WCHY-FM (97.7)/Cheboygan, along with WGFN-FM (98.1) and WQEZ-FM (95.5)/Glen Arbor, WMKC-FM (102.9)/Indian River, WOEZ-FM (106.3)/Onaway and W264CF (100.7)/St. Ignace.

Black Diamond, owned by long-time broadcast executives and life-long Michigan residents, Mike Chires and Norm McKee, currently own WUPS-FM/Harrison and WTWS-FM/Houghton Lake, both purchased in 2015.

Northern Star Broadcasting’s President Del Reynolds said, “These radio stations are huge technical facilities reaching from Cadillac to Canada and Traverse City to Alpena. I believe that Black Diamond is the radio group to continue the tradition of being committed local broadcasters and will be honorable trustees of these FCC licenses. Our staff and our clients are the best in the country and we know that they are in good hands with Black Diamond.”

Black Diamond Partner/CEO Mike Chires stated, “Del and Mary have done a tremendous job of building powerhouse stations that serve their communities extremely well. They have strong relationships with their clients and the respect of broadcasters throughout the industry, especially in Michigan, which is the ultimate compliment. We look forward to continuing the legacy and the relationships they’ve built with their clients and communities these great stations serve.”

Jason James of Patrick Communications was the broker on the transaction.

Related:  Up North Radio, LLC has closed on its purchase of former Northern Star station WCKC-FM (Cadillac) and began programming it on September 29.  See that story here.

Baraga Radio Network acquires WSRT-FM

baragaBaraga Broadcasting, Inc. and Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc. have entered into a purchase agreement that will enable Baraga Radio to significantly increase reach and coverage in northern Michigan.

Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc. has agreed to sell WSRT (106.7 FM) licensed to Gaylord, to Baraga Broadcasting, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) listener-funded Catholic ministry dedicated to serving the people of the Diocese of Gaylord and the Diocese of Marquette.

Tom Hornacek, president of Baraga Broadcasting said, “On behalf of our Board of Directors, we are extremely thankful and excited for the opportunity to expand our coverage throughout northern lower Michigan with this acquisition.”

The addition of 106.7 FM to the Baraga Radio Network, makes it only the seventh 100,000-watt station providing Catholic radio programming in existence. Traverse City-Petoskey-Cadillac is the 160th largest radio market in the country with a Metro 12+ population of 297,300, according to Nielsen Media Research. The region is a destination to more than one million visitors each year.

Founded in 2006, Baraga Radio has grown into a network of six stations, WTCK (90.9 FM) Charlevoix, WTCY (88.3 FM) Traverse City, WGJU (91.3 FM) East Tawas, WGZR (88.9 FM) Alpena, WIDG (940 AM) St. Ignace and WMQU (1230 AM) Grayling.

On November 1, Baraga Radio will begin broadcasting on 106.7 FM through an LMA agreement, pending the approval by the FCC of the sale and transfer of the license. Programming features shows from EWTN and Ave Maria Radio, and recently Baraga began producing two of their own local programs, “The Cross Walk” and “Called to Freedom” with plans for more local shows to come.

“Baraga Broadcasting will celebrate our 10th anniversary this November,“ Hornacek added. “As The Catholic Light of Northern Michigan, we strive to bring hope, peace and joy to a troubled world through the light of Christ. The purchase of this station is going to help us reach areas that have never had access to Catholic radio before. To have it take place at this special time in our history – well, it’s quite a blessing,” he concluded.

Baraga Broadcasting proclaims the truth and beauty of the Roman Catholic faith by offering educational and inspirational programming that aims to engage its listeners and encourage them to live out their faith in Jesus Christ.

Up North Adds WCKC-FM

wckc_300Up North Radio, LLC has closed on their purchase of WCKC-FM (Cadillac) and has relaunched the classic rock station as “107.1 The Drive.“

Under the previous ownership of Northern Star Broadcasting, the station had been part of a regional trimulcast with WGFN-FM (Glen Arbor) and WCHY-FM (Cheboygan) as “The Bear.”  Those stations were sold to Black Diamond Broadcasting, which closed on those and the other Northern Star stations on September 29.

Jason James of Patrick Communications was the broker on the transaction.

Up North Radio, owned and operated by Jennifer Theodore, already owns WCDY-FM in the Cadillac market. It also is in the process of purchasing WBZX-FM in Big Rapids, pending FCC approval.