All posts by MAB Staff

Robby Bridges Now Director of FM Programming for Cumulus/Detroit

RobbyBridges_300All Access reports that Cumulus has promoted Robby Bridges to Director of FM Programming of its Detroit cluster.  Bridges will oversee WDRQ-FM and WDVD-FM.  He has been with the stations since April, 2014 as program director for WDRQ.  Bridges will continue his current role as afternoon personality for WDVD-FM.

Cumulus/Detroit operations manager Mike Wheeler told the publication “Robby’s energy and smarts make him the perfect programmer to lead the FM team. Strategic thinking, speed to action, brilliant communication … he’s the whole package and I am lucky to have such a strong partner in Detroit.”

Greg Smith Promoted to VP/GM of WDVD-FM/WDRQ-FM (Detroit)

gregsmith_275Cumulus Media has announced that Greg Smith has been upped to the newly-created position of VP/General Manager for its two Detroit FM stations, WDVD-FM and WDRQ-FM.

Smith previously served as VP of Sales for the two stations.  He joined Cumulus in August, 2014 after 14 years with CBS Radio’s Detroit stations.   Smith is a 1994 graduate of Western Michigan University.

Tom O’Brien will continue to manage WJR-AM.

In a news release, Bob Walker, Senior VP of Operations for the company said “We are excited to elevate Greg to lead the growth strategy for our Detroit FM brands.  We are confident that the collaboration of Greg and Tom O’Brien, who leads WJR, and our relationship with the Lions will create new opportunities in Detroit.”

Smith said “I am very fortunate to work with such a talented team in Detroit and look forward to helping drive the continued growth of these great brands.  I am excited for the next phase in my broadcasting career and appreciate the opportunity both [Cumulus CEO] Mary Berner and Bob Walker have given me.”

MAB Meets with Bishop

(L-R) Nick Gnau (IHeartMedia, Detroit), Reed Kittredge (WHMI-FM, Howell), Karole White (MAB President), Steve Mills (Midwest Communications, Kalamazoo), Congressman Mike Bishop (R-8) and Mike Klein (Midwest Communications, Kalamazoo).

Congressman Mike Bishop (R-8) met with the MAB members on August 15.  The group brought the Congressman up to date on issues affecting the broadcasting industry. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Bishop briefed the MAB about the review process involving Copyright issues.

Also discussed was the potential and the necessary rewrite of the tax laws. Though any effort to change the tax laws will be met with a lot of differing opinions, the MAB welcomed hearing Rep. Bishop speak about the importance of advertising as a necessary business expense deduction.  The MAB appreciates that the Congressman has the same view of the importance of advertising to business and harm it would cause if companies could not longer deduct it from their business taxes.

FCC Votes to Retain Cross Ownership Ban

The FCC has voted to retain its ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. Reuters reports that the panel voted 3-2 along party lines to retain the existing rules, which have been criticized as outdated and not reflecting marketplace trends. The rules circulated to the Commissioners reportedly included Wheeler’s proposal to allow waivers for newspapers or stations determined to qualify as “failing.”

NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton issued a statement in response to the ruling, “NAB strongly disagrees with the FCC’s decision to cling to long-outdated media ownership rules that no longer serve their purpose. For an agency that claims to be forward-thinking and focused on the future, when it comes to broadcasting, the FCC still applies analog regulation in the digital age. Most egregious is the Commission’s failure to remove its cross-ownership rules. The FCC’s greatest accomplishment with its latest order is to further hasten the great decline of our nation’s newspapers and the quality of journalism as a whole.”

Six Lawmakers Support DOJ Decision

According to the InsideRadio report, six lawmakers in Congress wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney General supporting the Justice Department’s decision not to make any changes to the antitrust consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI. The lawmakers called the decision “appropriate.”

The Congressmen wrote “So-called ‘fractional licensing’ would hamstring the music marketplace. Were the Department to propose modifying the consent decrees to allow fractional licensing, it would paralyze the market for licensed music.” The six U. S. House members included:  Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), Dave Trott (R-MI) and Jared Polis (D-CO.)

Court Denies Use of ‘Stale’ Signatures on Petition Drive

Supporters of the petition to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state, known as fracking, lost a court battle to allow the use of “stale” signatures on their petition drive. “Stale” signatures are those older than 180 days. Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello ruled that the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan had no actual controversy before the court to allow it to issue a declaratory ruling on whether signatures, older than 180 days, can be counted.

The committee had not collected enough signatures on its petitions for an initiated act to ban fracking, nor had it filed the signatures it had collected, Borrello ruled in Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan v. Director of Elections (COC docket No. 16-000122-MM).

The committee sought a ruling from the court that petition signatures collected more than 180 days before the signatures were filed, or would be filed, could still be counted. A top official for the committee said the group will appeal the decision.

Lawmaker Calls on Senate to Include Electronic Data in Constitution

capitol3State Representative Jim Runestad (R-44) called for the Michigan Senate to take action on a joint resolution extending Michigan’s constitutional prohibition against unreasonable government search and seizures to include electronic data and communications. So far, there has not been a commitment from the Senate to do so.

House Joint Resolution N passed the House in June by a vote of 107-1 but has sat on the Senate floor since the Legislature adjourned for its summer recess. The joint resolution requires warrants be used to access an individual’s electronic data and communication.

“The right of individuals to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures is fundamental, which is why it is enshrined in the U.S. and Michigan constitutions. There ought to be no difference when it comes to government searches of electronic property and physical property,” Runestad said in a statement.

WSDP “The Park” Finalist in Marconi Awards

WDSP_300For the third consecutive year, the students and staff of WSDP-FM (88.1 The Park) (Plymouth-Canton) are being recognized alongside America’s elite broadcasters after the station was named a finalist for the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Award for Non-Commercial Station of the Year.

The Marconi Radio Awards were created in 1989 and named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi.  The awards recognize stations and individuals for excellence and performance in 21 different categories.  They are among the most prestigious awards in the broadcast industry.

WSDP is the only high school radio station to receive a nomination in the history of the Marconi Awards.  Three college-level student stations and one professional station round out the 2016 class of Non-Commercial finalists.  The awards will be presented on September 22 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards 27th Anniversary Dinner and Show in Nashville, TN.

“We’re excited to be a finalist for the third year in-a-row.  This is an incredibly prestigious honor for our hard working and dedicated staff,” said Amanda Barberena, WSDP Program Director.

“We couldn’t achieve this without the support of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, the board of education, administrators and staff.  We’re lucky to have been part of such a great community,” said Bill Keith, Station Manager.

WSDP is owned and operated by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.  Students at Canton, Plymouth and Salem High Schools serve as staff members.  The station is celebrating over 44 years of serving the Plymouth and Canton Communities.

Traffic Director Spotlight: Mary Garrow

Nominate a Traffic Director you know!  Email Dan Kelley at

MaryGarrow_275Mary Garrow is Traffic Director at True North Radio Network in Alpena and stations WHSB-FM, WHAK-FM and WWTH-FM.

Mary has been in traffic for 20 years and with her present company for 21 years.

Q1: What is your favorite comfort food?
Mary:  Pasta.

Q2: Which Superhero would you be, and why?
Mary:  Wonder Woman – Because most days, with how busy I alway am, I already feel like her!!!

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be …
Mary:  Spending time with my grandchildren and children.

Q4: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Mary:  Garth Brooks.

Q5: What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Q6: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
There is nothing really to tell, my life is pretty much an open book.

Poynter Institute Announces Free Workshop For Journalists

SensemakingMAB & Poynter’s Sensemaking Summit for Journalists

Saturday, September 10 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Crown Plaza, Lansing

The workshop will help journalists ask key questions that will make your reporting more reliable and make your journalism stand out from others who just report what they read or hear.

Presented by:  Al Tompkins, Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online at Poynter Institute, and Elissa Yancey, Director of Special Projects, McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, University of Cincinnati

The workshop will help journalists:

  • Sort through claims about some of the hottest topics in this political year, including immigration, climate change and gun control.
  • Discover the money trail behind candidates to see who is supporting them, including front groups for major businesses and industries.
  • Show how political commercials manipulate the truth by using out-of-context facts, emotional music and patriotic images.
  • Show how to look critically at online and social media posts to determine if they are real.
  • Show how all sources are not created equal – and how your choices of the right ones can make your work better and more accurate.
  • Help find the hidden metadata on digital online images.
  • Teach how to verify and decode the science behind “scientific” studies.
  • Teach the key questions you should ask about every study before you report the study’s claims.
  • Help see the difference between correlation and causation.
  • Share the four key questions every journalist should ask on every assignment.

To be considered for this free workshop, complete this form. All professional journalists who apply will be accepted, if space allows. You will receive a follow-up email from Poynter with more logistical details.  This regional workshop is free for MAB and MAPB members!

Thanks to the support from the MAB, Participant Media and the Poynter Institute.  You are on your own for the hotel and travel, but we are open to hardship pleas. Please complete that part of the application if you need a travel stipend.

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