Three Republican Senators plan to introduce legislation mirroring a House package of bills that expands the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include the governor’s office and the legislature, despite their caucus leader’s resistance to the idea. According to a report in Gongwer, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-30) has opposed expanding FOIA to the legislative branch, specifically citing concerns over communications between constituents and their legislators.
But, both the House package and the bills expected to be introduced by Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (R-26) and Senator Rick Jones (R-24) exempt communications between constituents and their legislator from being disclosed. The bills would remove the current FOIA exemptions for the governor, lieutenant governor, and executive office employees and create a new part to the act, the Legislative Open Records Act, which would subject the Legislature to the disclosure provisions of FOIA. Records currently exempt from disclosure under FOIA would remain exempt as well.
On March 20, a press conference was held in downtown Lansing to announce the kickoff of the I Vaccinate Campaign, a project adopted by the MAB Board of Directors. The campaign is designed to increase immunizations in the state as Michigan has the 4th highest rate of vaccination waivers in the nation.
In a letter to broadcasters, MAB President/CEO Karole White wrote: “Our members have joined together on other issues in the past to eradicate unnecessary risks to our children’s health. We need your help to educate parents, caregivers and grandparents about the risks of not vaccinating children. We ask all stations in Michigan to help reach the goal of immunizing all Michigan children by covering this issue in your news products, placing the interview clips on your website, sharing or tweeting on Twitter and creating Facebook posts.”
Public Service announcements for both radio and TV, as well as talking points and other materials are available for download on the MAB website here.
White spoke at the press conference about the broadcaster’s role in both the campaign and overall service to their communities:
Michigan has one of the highest vaccine-waiver rates in kindergartners in the country, three times the national average, according to the CDC. The number of kindergartners getting vaccine waivers is growing. In five years it’s increased 23%
There is a great deal of false information out there about immunizations and the MDHHS has turned to the MAB, as they have with other tragic health issues and is asking members to help by shedding light on the subject.
Next week, broadcasters will receive a participation packet on how your station may get involved. Join in the fight to prevent childhood diseases. Answer the call of your state and your community.
Tell us what your station is doing to promote Sunshine Week. We would like to feature you in our Newsletter!
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Many citizens take our freedoms for granted. It is the job of a “free press” to be the eyes and ears of the citizens and to question government, to hold government accountable. We are not the villains, we are the good guys. If we did not question government who would diligently seek the truth? At a time in history when the integrity of “the media” is being questioned by powerful people in high offices for their own gain, we need to remind our audience and ourselves what it is like in other countries where freedom of the press does not exist. Look at those governments and ask ourselves, is this the type of government we want in America?
Help your viewers and listeners understand the value of the First Amendment to their lives, Sunshine Week March 12-18.
Join in the celebration of Sunshine week. To access the Sunshine Week Toolkit, click here.
Michele DeSelms is leaving Tribune Media’s WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) after more than 18 years.
DeSelms anchored the station’s first newscast in 1999 after joining the station from WSYX-WTTE in Columbus, Ohio in 1998. She started her career at WLWT in Cincinnati working alongside Jerry Springer.
“For nearly two decades she has delivered important news and information to our viewers from across West Michigan and around the world,” said news director Brooks Blanton. “Michele is a fixture in West Michigan and has worked hard each day to make our community better, and we will miss working with her.”
The station says she will stay in the area and spend more time with her family.
“Michele has been a mainstay in West Michigan, and we’ll certainly miss her at FOX 17, as will everyone who welcomed her into their living rooms over the years,” said GM Kim Krause. “We wish Michele nothing but the best and congratulate her on a remarkable career.”
Longtime Motor City Sportscaster Eli Zaret has joined WJR-AM (Detroit) as host of a new daily sports feature, which will be heard on Guy Gordon’s afternoon drive program. The feature, “After Further Review” will air weekdays at 4:36 p.m.
Zaret is a long-time Detroit broadcaster, starting in 1974 at WABX-FM. He has covered the Detroit Pistons, has been sports anchor at both WDIV-TV and WJBK-TV and also was a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York. He’s also served as sports director for WCSX-FM and WRIF-FM.
Guy Gordon said “Eli is one of the most iconic and distinctive voices, both literally and figuratively, and I can’t wait to share his take every afternoon.”
Zaret added, “I’m excited about the opportunity to play a role at one of America’s legendary radio stations that features a cast of Hall of Fame broadcasters. Before starting in television at WDIV in 1980, I loved writing radio sports commentaries. Now, over 40 years later, to be able to do them at WJR alongside my long-time friend and colleague, Guy Gordon, is a very cool thing. I feel like I’m going back to my roots in radio.”
You may have read that an Indiana broadcaster’s EAS system was recently hacked, triggering multiple EAS alerts on linked stations and warning of a “zombie invasion.” The station group has been in touch with federal authorities and equipment suppliers to diagnose exactly what happened.
“Last week’s attack is all the reminder a station owner, general manager, and engineering staff need to conduct an immediate assessment of your station’s firewall and password management process. A vulnerable firewall led to the intrusion into this station’s system, and I strongly recommend that station personnel review the cybersecurity precautions needed to keep our broadcast facilities safe from attack,” said Indiana Broadcasters Association (IBA) State EAS Committee Chair Dan Mettler of iHeartMedia.
In an effort to avoid a similar issue at your station(s), it is highly recommended that you confirm changing EAS hardware from the default password and confirm EAS hardware is on a secure firewall that is setup without the default password or default IP address.
In the Indiana situation, apparently (as the result of a power outage a few weeks prior), the station’s firewall defaulted to an out-of-box condition that was eventually hacked after it was pinged repeatedly by an unknown person or persons. The hacker was able to crack into the stations’ SAGE EAS encoder and hijack the broadcast airwaves from linked stations for several minutes. The FCC, the FBI, and state Department of Homeland Security have all been involved. The vendor, SAGE, has sent new equipment to the station and encoder that was compromised is being evaluated by the company.
The MAB has reminded broadcasters to change default passwords on any equipment in the past, citing issues with Barix streaming devices.
Keeping broadcast facilities and listeners safe should be a high priority and Michigan broadcasters should be certain that they are not only prepared for an emergency, but also carefully following security precautions.
Update:Another hacking incident occured last week in Philadelphia where a radio station’s RDS was hijacked, displaying a anti-Trump message, including an expletive.