All posts by MAB Staff

The 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act

Via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

President Johnson signing the Public Broadcasting Act. Source: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Fifty years ago, on November 7, 1967, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act, legislation that created America’s public broadcasting system. In signing the legislation, President Johnson expressed the hope that one day, public television and radio stations would satisfy “America’s appetite for excellence” and “enrich man’s spirit.”

The Public Broadcasting Act created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which today supports nearly 1,500 public media stations across the country, including Michigan Radio, by distributing federal funding amounting to roughly $1.35 per citizen, per year. The legislation helped usher in a new era of independent, non-commercial media dedicated to public service and education.

Former WUOM-FM (Ann Arbor) General Manager Edwin Burrow and Program Director Jerrold Sandler played pivotal roles in ensuring that funding for public radio was included in the Public Broadcasting Act, which was originally written just for public television. Those efforts helped ensure the financial future of both National Public Radio and the hundreds of local stations that make up the public radio system today. You can read more about how the Public Television Act became the Public Broadcasting Act in this 2005 story from Current.

 

WDIV Raises $76K for THAW

On November 1, WDIV-TV (Detroit) raised a total of $76,000 for the nonprofit organization THAW, The Heat and Warmth Fund.

The Gift of Warmth telethon, held from 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. included special reports from Consumer Investigative Reporter Hank Winchester, the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. He explained how the money would be spent to help people in crisis pay their utility bills during the cold winter months.

Donations called in to the Local 4 phone bank and submitted through a link on the station’s website, ClickOnDetroit.com, totaled $38,000. DTE Energy, who sponsored the telethon, generously matched those donations, bringing the total to $76,000. This is an annual event the station has hosted for many years.

THAW provides utility assistance for Michigan residents in need and energy efficiency education for people across the state. People who receive help from THAW include the elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled individuals who find themselves in an energy crisis. Of those helped by the nonprofit, more than 70% have a child or senior in the home.

TEGNA, Cooper Media to Launch Quest

TEGNA Inc. has announced it has partnered with Cooper Media to launch Quest, a new ad-supported adventure and exploration multicast network free to consumers. Quest will initially debut early next year across TEGNA’s station portfolio as a new multicast channel. TEGNA will receive an ownership stake in Quest and will share in the network’s revenues.

Quest will capture the wonder, imagination and excitement of the natural and man-made world and features shows about natural history, engineering and science, as well as military history and man’s greatest achievements. The only broadly-distributed factual-entertainment multicast network, Quest will show how the world really works and will not only entertain but will inform and educate viewers as well.

“As part of TEGNA’s ongoing content transformation initiative, we are always examining ways to reach new and underserved audiences through entertaining, informative and relevant content across platforms,” said Dave Lougee, president and CEO, TEGNA. “Quest will do just that. It will offer engaging programming that will appeal to a national audience currently under-represented by multicast networks. Launching Quest across our portfolio is also a cost-effective and advantageous use of our valuable distribution capabilities.”

TEGNA owns and operates WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids.

Cooper Media is the newly-formed parent company of both Quest and the Justice Network, a 24/7 multicast network delivering mystery and investigations entertainment programming with a commitment to safety. The Justice Network debuted across TEGNA’s multicast portfolio in early 2015. Both networks are founded by Cooper Holdings Chairman Lonnie Cooper.

“Quest is a fresh take on a nature and science factual entertainment network designed specifically for the growing over-the-air multicast audience,” said Steve Schiffman, CEO of Cooper Media. “We are thrilled to build on our thriving partnership with TEGNA to fill a programming gap in the multicast space and to double down on the growing over-the-air segment.”

Quest is expected to launch in January 2018.

jācapps Continues A Significant Growth Phase

Mobile App Developer Doubles Staff In Past Year
Bingham Farms, MI.

The mobile application space is growing, and jācapps, a leading provider of mobile solutions, has recently made several important personnel moves to accommodate its continuing expansion. The company has more than doubled its staff in the past year as it enjoys significant growth in all business categories, including radio, logistics, health care, travel and tourism and others.

“Each of these moves enables jācapps to invest time and resources to develop new products as well as providing our clients with outstanding service,” comments jācapps President Paul Jacobs. “Our rapidly expanding list of clients is expecting more from us, from websites to new platforms, and of course, great mobile applications, and this expanded team is up to the challenge.”

jācapps is pleased to announce:

Jody Messinger has been promoted to VP, Operations. “Jody joined us almost two years ago as Director of Production and her impact on how we operate was instantaneous and has allowed us to scale the way we have,” said company COO, Bob Kernen. “This promotion will allow Jody to further expand her impact on the growth of jācapps by taking on an expanded range of responsibilities. She’s proven herself again and again, and we’re delighted to recognize that.”

Ben Levy has been promoted to Director of Software Architecture. “Our growing technical platform and expansion into new devices and technologies requires putting more emphasis on advanced development capabilities,” said Kernen. “Ben has always been one of our go-to guys when it comes to new technical challenges and opportunities and it’s time that becomes his primary focus instead of a side gig.”

Nathan Turner has joined jācapps as Director of Product Development. Nathan joins jācapps from his previous position as head of UI/UX design at web development firm, Entrega. “It was time for us to have some senior leadership over our design group and Nathan brings tremendous expertise and creativity,” said Kernen. “We’re excited for him to make an impact on our overall product strategy.”

These moves cap a year where jācapps has expanded all areas of the business, including design, UX, development, customer service and business development. “jācapps is a Detroit success story,” remarks Jacobs. Our area is full of talented, hard-working, creative people, and everything about our company reflects that ethic.”

Michigan Muslim Community Council honors WXYZ-TV’s Simon Shaykhet

Simon Shaykhet

The Michigan Muslim Community Council honored WXYZ-TV (Detroit) and Investigative Reporter Simon Shaykhet with its “Fairness In Media Award” Sunday night. The award is given to an individual and news outlet exhibiting a willingness to use honest and fair reporting to tell the story of the community.

The station and Simon Shaykhet were also recognized for their recent work on a series of special reports titled Muslim American: Inside a growing Michigan community.

The series was a team effort: Digital Reporter Alexandra Bahou and Photographer Editor Johnny Sartin were also part of the collaboration.

During the exclusive report, several aspects of the community were covered, including the history of Dearborn, education about Islam, holy month of Ramadan and fear and discrimination. Above all, the series gave a unique perspective into what it means to be Muslim American.

“It’s a great honor for WXYZ-TV and we are so proud of Simon Shaykhet and the rest of the team who worked so hard on this project,” said General Manager Mike Murri. He added, “This award is truly special, and shows the commitment we have to being fair and truthful, especially at a time when news outlets are being questioned for their fairness.”

Entercom Unveils New Management Structure With CBS Merger

Merger Expected to Close as Early as November 17.

Entercom has unveiled the management structure the company will follow after its merger with CBS Radio.

“From day one of the merger announcement, we have said that we wanted to assemble the best team in the business,” Kramer said in the memo to company employees. “Regardless of whether you wear an Entercom jersey, a CBS jersey or one from the opposing team – we want to make sure that we have the best starting line up on opening day.”

Among the many appointments, it was announced that Michael Doyle, currently Entercom president of sales operations/regional president, will have regional responsibility for Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Rochester and Seattle.

Following the merger, Entercom will assume control of the CBS stations in Detroit:  WWJ-AM, WXYT-AM, WDZH-FM, WOMC-FM, WYCD-FM and WXYT-FM.

On November 9, 2017, the FCC approved the Entercom/CBS merger.

 

Shannone Dunlap Joins Black Diamond

Shannone Dunlap

Former Alpha Media (Saginaw) General Manager Shannone Dunlap has joined Black Diamond Broadcasting as Director of Business Development.

Dunlap told All Access, “I’m excited to join the Black Diamond Broadcasting team.  As a young, independent media company that’s growing extremely fast, this position carries a great responsibility, as well as being a tremendous opportunity for me and my family. I’d like to thank Mike Chires and Norm McKee for their trust in me.”

Dunlap spent the last decade as the GM of Alpha Media in Saginaw, Michigan. Prior to that she held Manager, GSM and NSM positions for Digity, NextMedia, as well as Cumulus, Emmis and CBS-Buffalo.
Dunlap has also served on the board of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.  She began her newly created position in Traverse City, November 1.

Redistricting Proposal Collects More Than 300K Signatures

Organizers behind a ballot proposal initiative to change how Legislative and Congressional districts are drawn in Michigan have collected more than 300,000 signatures toward putting its constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot, according to a report in Gongwer.

The organization Voters not Politicianshas set a goal of about 400,000 signatures to provide a cushion against invalid signatures, such as duplicates or people not registered to vote. The group is required to submit 315,654 valid signatures from registered voters to place the proposal on the ballot.

Their proposal would move redistricting authority out of the Legislature and put it in the hands of a 13-member commission consisting of four self-identified Democrats, four self-identified Republicans and five people who say they are not affiliated with either of the two major political parties.

The selection of commission members would come from a combination of people applying on their own and having the Secretary of State mail applications to 10,000 randomly selected registered voters. Once a pool of 60 applicants from each of the two major political parties and 80 from the unaffiliated group would be randomly drawn from the applicants, legislative leaders from both parties could veto up to five applicants. The Secretary of State would then randomly draw the names of the commission’s members from the final pool of applicants.

State House Rejects No-Fault Overhaul

Legislation to change  Michigan’s auto insurance system was defeated last week in the state House of Representatives.

HB 5013 proposed three levels of personal injury protection (PIP). A $250,000 plan – split into $225,000 for emergency care and $25,000 for post-hospital care – $500,000 and the current unlimited medical coverage for those injured in catastrophic accidents. Those levels would have provided an average savings on the PIP portion of a bill of 40 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent respectively. The bill would also have established a fraud authority, made  changes to the litigation process and limited attendant care. Changes adopted to the bill before it failed would have increased the fee schedule to 160 percent of Medicare for health care services and put a five-year sunset on the entire bill.

The bill was defeated by a vote of 63  to 45.

FCC Sets Dates for Lifting Upgrade Freeze for Unrepacked TV Stations

The FCC announced on November 6 that it will temporarily lift its 2013 freeze on certain TV station modification applications that would increase coverage areas. The freeze will be lifted on November 28 and reimposed at 11:59 p.m. on December 7, according to a news release by the media bureau.

“Lifting the freeze would let full-power and Class A TV stations that weren’t able to expand facilities in the just-ended modification windows for repacked stations (ie, stations that were not affected by the repack) to do so for the first time in nearly five years,” explained Pillsbury Chief Editor Scott R. Flick in a CommLawCenter.com article following the FCC announcement.

“The purpose of the planned thaw is to let these stations implement desired modifications of their facilities long prohibited by the freeze, as well as to react to changes in coverage and interference coming from competing stations that were repacked. By lifting the 2013 freeze before the FCC opens its planned Special Displacement Window for LPTV stations early next year, the FCC hopes to avoid having LPTV stations apply for and build out displacement facilities only to then be displaced again when these long-frozen full-power and Class A TV stations finally have a chance to modify their facilities.”

During the temporary thaw, full-power and Class A TV stations that were not assigned a new channel in the repack will be able to file for minor modifications of their facilities.

“Unlike other recent filing windows where applications filed at any time during the window were all treated as having been filed on the same day, applications filed in this window will be processed on a first come, first served basis,” Flick wrote. “That means there is a definite benefit to filing on the first day of the window.

“While most stations that avoided being moved to a new channel in the repack were thrilled by that fact, being locked in place while those all around them modify and maximize facilities has been frustrating. Now they have a chance to join other stations in nudging and jostling for position in a post-repack world. They will need to move quickly, however. Winter is coming.”