On May 14, the MAB hosted its annual State Capitol Advocacy Day, an event that brought many broadcasters to Lansing to meet with the state lawmakers on the issues affecting our industry.
Overall, MAB members met with 54 legislative offices during the Advocacy Day.
We discussed the need to reform public notice, our support for legislation to create open records for the State Legislature and the Governor’s office, updated the state legislature on the spectrum repacking efforts. The MAB also hosted a legislative lunch for the lawmakers and staff.
#MABsummer registration is now open. Hotel block room rates expire July 8. Learn more, register for the conference and reserve your room at MABsummer.com
Walberg is currently serving his sixth term in Congress as the representative of south-central Michigan. The diverse constituency of Michigan’s 7th District encompasses Branch, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties, along with parts of Washtenaw County. Since first taking office, he has hosted hundreds of coffee and town hall meetings to better understand the thoughts and concerns of the district.
Prior to his time in public office, Walberg served as a pastor in Michigan and Indiana, as president of the Warren Reuther Center for education and Community Impact, and as a division manager for Moody Bible Institute. He also served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1983 to 1999, and is proud to bring his reputation as a principled legislator, fiscal reformer, and defender of traditional values to Washington.
In the 116th Congress, Walberg serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
He and his wife, Sue, have been married for over 40 years, and enjoy spending time outdoors and riding on their Harley. They live in Tipton, Michigan, where they raised their three children: Matthew, Heidi and Caleb.
Julie Brinks serves as Vice President and General Manager of WOOD-TV (NBC), WOTV-TV (ABC) and WXSP-TV (My Network) and associated digital services including woodtv.com and wotv4women.com, serving Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.
Brinks has accumulated over 30 years of experience in local and national sales management, local programming and content, new business development, operations and strategic planning across multiple media platforms. Prior to joining Nexstar, Brinks served as General Manager of KOHD-TV (ABC) and KBNZ-LD (CBS) in Bend, Oregon, where she focused on brand development, local content leadership and excellence in viewer and client experience. During her tenure, she oversaw the launch of the stations’ news programming, managing all aspects of local branding, creative development, news set construction and talent recruitment.
Brinks has also held a position as Principal Consultant for Vici Media where she provided strategic direction, digital marketing and revenue development services to broadcast groups and individual stations as well as VP / General Manager of KGUN-TV (ABC), KWBA-TV (CW) and four radio properties in Tucson-Sierra Vista, Arizona. Additionally, she served as VP / General Manager of WPBN-TV (NBC) and WTOM-TV (NBC) in Traverse City- Cadillac, Michigan, where she developed and led highly effective teams and implemented sales, marketing and digital media initiatives.
Brinks earned her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts from Central Michigan University and is also a graduate of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program. She has been a member of Rotary International and served on numerous community boards including the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement and City Club of Bend. She also worked as Chair of American Heart Association’s “Go Red” for Women and was a founding member of Haven Totes, Inc., a Tucson-based organization that provides life essentials for children and families in need.
Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM (Saginaw) has announced that its long-running Listen to the Mrs. Show, on the air for 66 years, is becoming a podcast. Station News Director Ann Williams and Talk Host Art Lewis will continue to host the show, which focuses on food, including recipes and cooking tips and lifestyle topics.
Operations Manager Dave Maurer said, “While we still like to hear from people raving about a great dish they had and sharing the recipe, the days of listeners calling to ask if we have a meatloaf recipe have given way to the internet browser. Our new approach is sharing food trends, new cooking methods, and lifestyle information.”
Maurer said that Lewis has wanted to take the show national but, “The cost of satellite time and finding affiliates was a daunting task. Now, through podcasting, we can go beyond a local and national audience and reach all over the world through the Internet.”
Alpha Media Regional Director of Engineering Geary Morrill, based in Saginaw, was the featured guest this week on Kirk Harnack’s TWiRT (This Week In Radio Tech) Podcast, discussing the rise of his career beginning in the ’70s and the process today of finding, hiring and training new engineers.
Special thanks to Kirk Harnack for sharing. You can find the TWiRT podcast library here (it is a wealth of great tech information and ideas).
How did we broadcast engineers learn our craft? What experiences, resources, and people helped become broadcast engineering professionals? Geary Morrill got started with the likes of Steve Church, Vern Post, and Dave Gorman. Now Geary joins us with ideas and solid advice for finding and encouraging the next generation of audio, video, RF, and IT engineers.
On Wednesday, Cadillac-based Freelancer Television, licensee of two LPTV stations and NewsNet, broke ground on an expansion to it studios in Michigan.
The 3,500 square foot addition will consist of three studios, each with their own control rooms, as well as a new, state-of-the-art master control room overseeing the operations of both NewsNet and Freelancer Television Broadcasting’s local stations, WMNN and WXII-LP. NewsNet promotes itself as the 24-hour news network focused on delivering headlines without talk and opinion-based programming.
Since launching on January 1, NewsNet has operated out of those stations’ existing studios. A combination of factors led to the decision to add additional studio space to the company’s 2,200 square foot building.
“When we launched NewsNet, we wanted to operate ‘lean and mean’ from the existing facilities of our local TV stations with the idea that we would add additional space once the network was on-air,” explained Eric Wotila, President of NewsNet. “Now that we’re up and running, we’re thrilled to be moving forward with this new addition, which will benefit NewsNet as well as our local stations.”
Staff at NewsNet are excited about the construction of the new studios. “I think it will really benefit our ability to gather news and present it in an efficient manner,” said NewsNet Anchor/Producer Remington Hernandez. “Space has always been an issue but with more space we’ll be able to efficiently produce more content.”
“It’s amazing how much we’ve grown over this short time,” explained NewsNet Chief Meteorologist Morris Langworthy. “I’m very excited that we’re more than doubling the size of our workspace, and I’m eager to explore the potential the new space holds.”
NewsNet’s new studios are expected to be completed and on-air this fall.
At a banquet held May 2, the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ Detroit) announced winners of its 2019 Excellence in Journalism Awards.
Broadcast winners for various stories include Detroit Public Television, WDET-FM (Detroit), WJR-AM (Detroit), WJBK-TV (Detroit) and WXYZ-TV (Detroit). A complete list of winning entries with comments from the judges is available for download here.
In addition, the chapter announced that Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells of Michigan Radio were 2018 Journalists of the Year.
In a release, SPJ Detroit said “Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells have continually demonstrated a strong commitment to quality journalism, attention to detail, energy and absolute enthusiasm about their work. They also have the ability to develop sources on complicated stories, treat victims sensitively and tell difficult stories with a sensitive, yet compelling narrative style. The talents of their partnership can he heard in the podcast series Believed.
Beasley Media Group announced May 9 that Heidi Raphael has been promoted to the position of Chief Communications Officer at the company.
Raphael, who joined Beasley Media Group in May of 2017, most recently served as the Vice President of Corporate Communications. Previously, she held the position of Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Greater Media, Inc., where she spent 20 years prior to the company being sold to Beasley Media Group.
“Heidi has proven time and time again that she is most deserving of being promoted to the position of Chief Communications Officer,” said Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley. “While she’s only been at our company for two years, she’s accomplished more than others would in five! We are so very proud and lucky to have her in our Beasley Media Group family.”
“It is such an honor and a privilege to work with Caroline and all the incredible people at Beasley Media Group,” said Raphael. “I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an innovative organization that makes a difference in the industry and the communities it serves. I am proud to be on their team!”
Raphael currently serves on the boards of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, the Broadcast Education Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters. In addition, she is a member of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group Executive Committee.
Midwest Communications has announced that Terry Stevens has been transferred to the company’s Lansing cluster and assumes the role of Operations Manager. He previously worked as Brand Manager at sister station WOZZ-FM in Wausau, Wisc. ,and has been with the company since 2001.
A Cincinnati, Ohio native, Stevens will oversee WWDK-FM, WJXQ-FM, WLMI-FM and WQTX-FM.
“The addition of TERRY is a breath of fresh air,” said Lansing Market Manager Mark Jaycox. “He is creative, passionate and offers a sincere drive to win.”
Added Stevens, ”The smartest decision I ever made was marrying my wife. The second smartest was coming to work for Midwest Communications. I’m stoked about this new opportunity in Lansing, and can’t wait to take all four stations in this group to the next level.”
Bill Harris, anchor at WEYI-TV and WSMH-TV (Flint) announced last week that he plans to step down from daily newscast anchoring at the end of May.
Harris has spent more than 50 years in broadcast journalism – including the last 40 years anchoring and reporting at various stations in the Flint-Saginaw television market. The nine-time Emmy award winning anchor isn’t completely stepping away from the anchor desk. He will occasionally anchor newscasts, report important news stories affecting mid-Michigan viewers and host specials like NBC25-FOX66’s annual “Classy Brassy Christmas & More” holiday broadcast.
In making his announcement, Harris said: “After considerable thought, I have made the difficult but correct decision that ‘it’s time’ for Bill Harris. After 47 years as a full-time news anchor, I will anchor my last, regularly scheduled, newscast on Friday, May 31 on FOX66 (WSMH-TV) News at 10. It has been an incredible and rewarding ride and I have you the viewers to thank. Your support, your trust, your viewership, your friendship is what has made this job so rewarding and memorable for me. I and my family are eternally grateful.
“With that said, I’m happy to say I am not entirely disappearing from the TV screen. On the first of June, I will be entering a “semi retirement” mode, responsible for some news stories, special projects such as ‘Classy Brassy Christmas & More’ and an occasional appearance back here on the anchor desk. So, for the moment, a brief, but sincere, thank you to all.”