All posts by MAB Staff

Elkins Named Interim Director of Broadcasting at WKAR

susi-elkins_300Susi Elkins has named Interim Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University.

As WKAR-TV Station Manager, Elkins has overseen all programming, including original content production and partnerships for the station’s three broadcast channels and digital platforms.

“This is a critical time for WKAR,” said David. “With her leadership experience at the station and community engagement expertise, Susi Elkins is the right person to keep the momentum going as we move forward into what really is a new era of broadcasting for MSU and the state of Michigan.”

Prior to her appointment as TV station manager, Elkins served as Content and Community Engagement manager for WKAR, where she oversaw the convergence of media and programming in TV and Radio and the ongoing growth of original content across platforms. Under her direction, WKAR increased capacity for providing experiential learning opportunities for MSU students, offering one of the highest number of student paid positions available on campus. Elkins also increased WKAR’s commitment to early childhood education and solidified its reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations.

Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.

Elkins succeeds Gary Reid, who is stepping down from his position as Director of Broadcasting and General Manager.  Reid has headed the stations since July, 2011.  A hall-of-fame broadcaster and University Distinguished Senior Specialist, Reid will pursue new opportunities in the college, and will continue to consult with WKAR leadership through the transition ahead.

Gary Reid was named director of Broadcasting in July of 2011, as the WKAR stations were brought into the College of Communication Arts & Sciences.

In the nearly five years since, Reid’s accomplishments include:

The launch of award-winning radio and television programs such as Current State, Current Sports, Curious Crew, Forte, Beneath The Pines and a variety of specials, even as the operating budget was trimmed by a third.

A record number of awards for the stations, including two national television awards for Curious Crew and the coveted Marconi Award for Noncommercial Radio Station of the Year from the National Association of Broadcasters.

Five consecutive Public TV Station of the Year Awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the most recent announced this past May at the Great Lakes Broadcast Conference.

Reid’s initiative also led to recent FCC approval for the acquisition of a new FM Translator license, which will expand the WKAR-AM programming to the FM band with a 24-hour programming schedule.

Reid began teaching in the Department of Telecommunication in 1976 and joined the faculty full-time in 1977. Teaching all the audio and video courses at the time, he also designed and built the departments two television and six audio studios. In addition, he served for 25 years as the internship director and 8 years as the director of Undergraduate Studies.

No stranger to broadcasting, Reid was the general manager for WDBM-FM, MSU’s student radio station, better known as The Impact. He put that station on the air in 1989 and led it for 25 years. During his tenure the station was named College State of the Year for eleven consecutive years. He was one of the founding members of the MAB Foundation, and is currently the Vice President of the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters.

In 1999 Reid received the Distinguished Senior Specialist award from MSU and in 2007 he was honored with the inaugural Faculty Impact Award from the college. That same year he was inducted into the Michigan Broadcast Hall of Fame and in 2011 was the youngest person to receive the MAB’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reid will pursue new opportunities in the college, and will continue to consult with WKAR leadership through the transition ahead.

It was reported that a nationwide search for a permanent director is expected to take up to a year.  Elkins has been Station Manager of the TV station since 2012.

On January 11, the university announced that it will not participate in an FCC auction of television broadcast spectrum.  MSU also has formed a new partnership with Detroit Public Television to coordinate community outreach between WKAR and Detroit’s WTVS.

Elkins began her new position on May 15.

WLNS News Crew Helps Clean Up Lansing

(L-R) WLNS' Emily Wahls, Sheri Jones and Chivon Kloepfer
(L-R) WLNS’ Emily Wahls, Sheri Jones and Chivon Kloepfer

On May 6, members of the WLNS-TV (Lansing) news staff helped Habitat for Humanity’s “Rock The Block” day in Lansing.

WLNS anchors Sheri Jones and Chivon Kloepfer, along with meteorologist Emily Wahls, joined other companies and organizations and offered a days worth of sweat to help clean up, paint, and repair homes and yards in Lansing’s Old Town area.

The project helps residents get their home redone, but in return those residents are encouraged to help others in their neighborhood.

Blarney Stone Broadcasting Holds Town Hall On Underage Drinking/RX Drug Abuse

WQONBlarney Stone Broadcasting (Grayling) joined forces with local leaders and law enforcement officials in hosting a town hall meeting to address the perils of underage drinking and substance abuse.

On May 13, the company’s WQON-FM committed its entire Northern Focus show to the Underage Drinking/RX Drug Abuse Town Hall Meeting at its Grayling studios. In partnership with Up North Prevention and Crawford County Partnership for Substance Abuse Awareness (CPSAA), WQON’s Dave Sherbert moderated the panel during his Friday morning talk show. The panel included Crawford County Prosecutor Everette (Trey) Ayers, Assistant Prosecutor Brendan Curran, Michigan State Police Trooper Grant Guzikowski, insurance representative Paul Hartman, substance abuse counselor Doug Pryor and guests who shared their personal testimonials.

With the program airing during the school day, the target audience was the parents of teens.  The program will be made available to students via a podcast at a later date.

Lynda Rutkowski, Designated Youth Tobacco Use Representative/Prevention Specialist for Up North Prevention said that their goal was to “heighten awareness of the underage drinking and prescription drug problems in the community, what’s currently happening, systems in place to curtail the problem, and words of wisdom for our youth and their parents.”

Sheryl Coyne, President of Blarney Stone Broadcasting, said her radio network is proud to serve as host of such an important event designed to raise awareness of a growing problem in today’s society.

“We believe in the young people in our listening community, and if we can arm them with the right information about alcohol and various illegal and prescription drugs then we’re confident they can make smarter and better decisions,” Coyne said. “We’re in the communications business, and we take that seriously. We believe passionately that to bring this important issue into focus is the best use of our airwaves.”

Related:  Read the Radio Ink interview here with Sheryl Coyne regarding the Town Hall Meeting and the company’s community service efforts.

Jacobs Media Announces Additional Free Webinars

Jacobs Media Strategies, based in Bingham Farms, MI, has announced additional FREE webinars in May for the radio industry.

Jacobs1On Thursday, May 19, at 2:00 p.m. eastern, the company will present “How to Launch a Podcast: An Introduction for Radio Stations.”  Is your radio station ready to start podcasting? Jacobs’ “Digital Dot Connector” Seth Resler, will show you how to plan and execute your first podcast in a few easy steps.  Register here.

Jacobs2On Thursday, May 26, 2:00 p.m. eastern,  the company will present “Understanding the Connected Car: An Introduction for Radio Broadcasters.”  The car is the number one listening location and revenue category for radio. Every month, the number of connected cars on the road grows. And today, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have gotten into the game. Fred Jacobs and Bob Kernen will help you better understand the rapidly changing technology of the connected car and offer steps your radio station can take now to ensure your presence in the automobile.  Register here.

WXYZ-TV Debuts Gun Violence Documentary Online

BeyondBullet_400WXYZ-TV (Detroit) journalists are exploring the staggering impact of gun violence in a digital short film documentary, Beyond the Bullet: The Cost of Gun Violence in Detroit. The special presentation on WXYZ.com goes beyond the headlines to explore the lasting impact of shootings on victims, taxpayers, and society.

“At WXYZ, we’re digging deeper to create unique digital content that provides background and context for the issues that impact our local community and communities across the country,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD Vice-President and General Manager.

WXYZ-TV 7 Action News reporter Aaron Baskerville, producer Lisa Gass and photojournalist John Sartin created the documentary. It debuted on WXYZ.com and the station’s apps, on Wednesday, April 27. Some of the stories told in the program will later appear as part of WXYZ-TV newscasts in May.

“By tackling this project as a digital documentary, we’re able to take viewers far beyond what they see in a newscast,” said Dave Manney, WXYZ/WMYD news director. “It’s a powerful look at what happens after the cameras and police go away and the lasting impact of gun violence.”

The special includes interviews with gunshot victims, including a 9-year-old girl who was hit by a random bullet and may never walk again. Baskerville also speaks with a grieving mother whose son was shot and killed over a cell phone. Documentary viewers will hear from Detroit Police Chief James Craig and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade about the cost of gun crimes.

The documentary goes inside for a rare look in the Detroit Police Department gun vault where police keep a collection of long guns and hand guns seized in homicide investigations.

“We have a team of journalists capable of turning stories very quickly,” said Seth Myers, WXYZ digital director. “Providing these long form opportunities gives them more time and space and lets them shine a brighter light on the issues our community faces every day.”

Eagle Radio Group Purchased By Armada

Armada Media Partners, based in Fond du Lac, WI is pleased to announce the purchase of the Eagle Radio Group Radio Stations based in Marquette and Escanaba, MI. Eagle Radio operates stations 94.9 “The Bay” WUPZ-FM, 96.7 “Yooper Country” WUPG-FM, 100.3 “The Point” WUPT-FM and 107.3 “The Eagle” WUPF-FM.

Armada Media Partners also owns and operates Bay Cities Radio – a 5 station group based in the Marinette/Menominee market and Radio Results Network – a 5 station group based in Escanaba with offices in Marquette and Manistique.

“We are excited to be able to expand our coverage even further into the Central U.P. market as the premier media company in Upper Michigan. Eagle Radio has a great group of stations and we look forward to building upon their hard work over the last several years,” says General Manager Jesse Huff. “This now gives us 14 radio stations in the Central U.P. that are each committed to great local radio and serving as a resource for the communities in which we serve. We now have even more resources and opportunities to offer our listeners and advertisers.”

Huff will lead the operations in both Escanaba and Marquette for Armada Media and all Eagle Radio employees will continue in their current roles.

Chris Bernier, President and CEO of Armada Media Partners said, “We truly enjoy doing business in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is home to a lot of great communities, each with unique strengths and all with a sense of pride. This is a great opportunity to grow our company in this region.”

In addition to the stations in Upper Michigan and Wisconsin, Armada and affiliated companies also operates radio stations in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. Eagle Radio Group will continue to own and operate its radio stations in Newberry, Sault Ste. Marie, The Straits and Gaylord.

Traffic Director Spotlight: Juli Morgan

JuliMorgan_300Juli Morgan 
WCSR-AM/FM, Hillsdale

Juli Morgan is not only the Traffic Director for WCSR, but also is Office Manager, Account Executive, and On-Air Talent! 

Q1: Favorite comfort food?
Juli:  Pretty much any carbs.

Q2: Which Superhero would you be and why?
Juli:  Wonder Woman – she was my hero as a child, and I just love a superhero portrayed as a smart, strong, confident, and beautiful woman.

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be…
Juli:  Outside on a nice day or working on my house.

Q4: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Juli:  Mother Teresa.

Q5: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Juli:
Career-wise, my first week at Specs Howard, my instructor, Jim Bell, stressed that if we didn’t have a genuine love for people, we needed to get out of the business right then. I went home and cried because I honestly didn’t know if I had that love, but I stuck with it and realized how many people we help on a regular basis in broadcasting. I think you really can’t work in the trenches and be content unless you want to help people as a big part of your job.

Q6: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
Juli: 
I have a strong personality and confidence, but I have a very hard time engaging in or initiating confrontation.

Engineering Spotlight: Shawn Hoskey, CMU Public Broadcasting

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Alisha Clack at clack@michmab.com.

Hoskey_300Shawn Hoskey
Operations Supervisor for Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting.

Brief Engineering Resume:

  • Graduated from Delta College in 1995 with an associates degree in Broadcasting – Radio and Television.
  • Worked at 93.3 WKQZ-FM as a part-time on-air talent for three years in the mid-90s.
  • Worked for some Delta college public broadcasting and freelance work for Hardy Commutations (Dow in Midland) from 94-97.
  • I taught a year of audio operations as an adjunct professor at Delta College.
  • Worked for WNEM-TV (Saginaw) in engineering from July 1997 until December 2009. Jobs included MCR, VTR editor, Uplink operator, editor, Audio operator and Technical Director for live news.
  • Have been with Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting since December 2009.
  • I also volunteer with technical operations audio and video at my church.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Shawn:  I spent a year in college in Grand Rapids with no major. I volunteered for a campus-wide talent show having no actual talent to perform anything, so I helped with the tech and really loved the idea that even though I was not on stage, I helped to make it happen. I started in television audio production, but as my career moved forward, I rapidly found myself working more in engineering. I have always loved the bridge between the creativity of production and the technical “nuts and bolts” of making it happen. Engineering is in of itself an art form.

Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Shawn:   I am a huge board gamer . I even have a 10-foot conference room table in my living room for me and my “nerd” friends to gather around to play weekly “nerd” poker.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Shawn:  “Making the right decision does not define maturity (we are all human and make mistakes). Rather, it is how you take responsibility for the decisions you make that define maturity.”  -Ruth Sission, my family living teacher in grade 12.

FCC Announces Details of May 24 Reverse Auction Workshop

fcc-logo_dark-blueAccording to the Broadcast Law Blog, the FCC released a Public Notice outlining the agenda for the May 24 workshop to explain the process of bidding in the reverse auction. The May 24 Workshop will be held at the FCC’s offices and will also be streamed live on the Internet . The workshop, scheduled from 10 AM to 1 PM Eastern, will cover the process for bidding and will review the bidding software itself. Prior to the workshop, an online tutorial will be available that includes an overview of the bidding software and a review of the bidding procedures that bidders should understand in order to participate in the auction.

NAB Thanks Congress For Opposing Performance Royalty With Ad

NAB_thanksThe National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is running an ad in Capitol Hill newsletters and publications thanking more than 250 members of the U.S. House and Senate for co-sponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges on local broadcast radio stations. The resolution, which was introduced in Congress in February 2015, has 230 co-sponsors in the House and 26 in the Senate.