All posts by MAB Staff

FCC Releases Draft Order to Eliminate Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Contracts

According to the Broadcast Law Blog, the FCC released its draft order proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters file certain contracts relating to ownership and control with the Commission. The disclosure of the documents can be made by either (1) uploading the documents to the station’s online public file, or (2) making available a list of the required documents in the online public file with the documents themselves provided within 7 days to anyone who requests them, including the FCC.

Among the documents that are required to be in the public file are those showing the governance of the license entity (e.g., articles of incorporation and bylaws); options and other documents related to future ownership rights; joint sales and time brokerage agreements; and television network affiliation agreements.

In the draft order, the FCC requires that such documents be included in the online public file (either in full or by inclusion on the list) within 30 days of execution, or within 30 days of any amendment or other modification of the agreement. If only a list of the documents is provided in the file, all the information that is required on an Ownership Report, where such documents are listed, would be required – including the name of the parties involved and the execution and expiration dates of the agreements.

Michigan Democrats Call to ‘End Citizens United’

Seven of Michigan’s Democratic congressional candidates are among the 107 candidates nationally who signed a letter led by the group End Citizens United urging Congress to take up elections reform as a first priority in the 2019-2020 session.

Elissa Slotkin of Holly in the 8th District, Matthew Morgan of Traverse City in the 1st District, Robert Davidson in the 2nd District, Matt Longjohn in the 6th District, Gretchen Driskell in the 7th District, Andy Levin in the 9th District and Haley Stevens in the 11th District all signed the letter.

The letter reads in part: “We share the American people’s impatience and frustration over the lack of reforms and transparency and the role of money in our politics. We hear day in and day out that special interests are drowning out the voices of everyday citizens – to the point where many Americans no longer believe their votes even count.  Restoring faith in our elections and in the integrity of our elected officials should be a top priority that all members of Congress can agree upon.”

President Signs MMA Into Law

NABOn October 11, President Trump signed the Orrin G. Hatch – Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA) into law, putting into effect the first reform of music copyright law in decades.

In a statement released by the NAB, the organization notes that the “NAB supported this legislation, which formally establishes a role for Congress as the Department of Justice reviews consent decrees with the two largest performing rights organizations — ASCAP and BMI. The decrees are essential to a functioning music marketplace, and any action to terminate them must now be preceded by appropriate congressional oversight to protect the interests of songwriters, licensees and music consumers.”

The NAB has summarized the effect to broadcasters here.

C-Band Satellite Registration Deadline Next Week

A reminder to broadcasters that next Wednesday, October 17 is the deadline to register C-Band satellite dishes.

The FCC is exploring allowing additional users into this spectrum, and has warned that only registered users of the spectrum will be entitled to any protections against any new users who may be authorized.

As previously published in MAB News Briefs, the FCC issued a reminder to all operators “of fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band that were constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018″ that the filing window to license or register such earth stations closes on October 17, 2018. This band and is commonly referred to as the “C-Band” and many of the “FSS earth stations” are satellite dishes that receive programming used by both radio and TV stations.

The FCC also stipulated in the public notice that those being protected not only need to have been operating by April 19 and registered by October 17 to be protected, but those entities will need to certify that the information in their registrations is correct on a form that will be made by the agency at a future date.

Meet your MAB Board Member of the week: Michael Renda

Michael Renda, At-Large Director (WJBK Fox2 Detroit)

Michael Renda began his broadcast career in radio at WOHO in Toledo, Ohio in 1977 as a Local Account Executive and very shortly thereafter moved to across the street to WTVG-TV in the same capacity.

Storer Television was the next stop for Mike, moving to Chicago as the National Sales Representative.  Stops in New York and Cleveland followed with Renda taking the General Sales Manager position at WJW in 1989.

After a five year tenure as General Sales Manager at WLWT in Cincinnati, Renda returned to WJW in Cleveland, this time as VP and General Manager.  Renda served as WJW’s General Manager for 10 years before accepting a similar position at WTXF Fox 29 in Philadelphia in April 2007.

Chicago was next and another VP and General Manager position at WFLD/WPWR, overseeing both the Fox and MyNetwork Television stations from September 2009 through January 2013.

Renda graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in 1976.  He’s married to Susan and has two children, Matt and Emily.

Nielsen Announces 2019 TV Market Rankings

Nielsen has unveiled its television market rankings for 2019, and rankings of Michigan markets have been slightly adjusted.  Markets are ranked by the number of TV households in a DMA.  Detroit remains the #14 television market in the country.  Other markets saw some slight adjustments:

  • Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek shifted from #43 in 2018 to #49 in 2019.
  • Flint-Saginaw-Bay City moves from #71 to #65.
  • Lansing moves from market #115 to #110.
  • Traverse City shifts from market #118 to #120.
  • Marquette is bumped from #180 to #182.
  • Alpena remains as market #208.

See the complete ranking of Nielsen TV markets here.

WKAR Partners with MET To Provide Books For Kids

via WKAR.org

(L-R) WKAR Education Director Robin Pizzo, MET’s Whoodini and MET Executive Director Robin Lott. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU

Through 12 days in September, listeners of WKAR Radio (East Lansing) combined efforts with Michigan Education Trust (MET) to provide more than 600 books to capital region children in need.
The public radio station from Michigan State University recently concluded its annual fall on-air fundraising campaign encouraging listeners to support the capital region’s source for NPR News and classical music.

Through a special partnership with MET, every donation made to WKAR during the station’s fall campaign will provide a book for a child in need in our community. More than 600 books will be donated to children in the capital region.

“Each year, our listeners step up with financial support to provide news that matters and music that inspires for their community,” said ShaDonna Crosby, WKAR director of annual giving. “Partnerships like this can channel the generous energy of our audience back to the community in so many ways.”

“We’re so glad to partner with WKAR on this important project,” said Robin Lott, executive director of Michigan Education Trust, the state’s prepaid 529 college savings plan. “Reading plays such a vital role in every child’s education and their lifelong learning process.”

The fundraising drive concluded at midnight Sept. 30 and raised more than $97,000.

WXYZ-TV Celebrates 70 Years of ‘7’

WXYZ-TV (Detroit)  is celebrating “70 Years of 7.” For 70 years, the station has served Southeast Michigan.  October 9 will mark the 70th anniversary of the day the station signed on the air from studios in the Maccabees building in Detroit.

WXYZ will recognize this historic milestone with an on-air and social campaign that celebrates the moments that made us proud to be Detroiters. The station will look back at the news events that defined them and the most memorable sports events of the past seven decades. The project will also look ahead to the next 70 years and showcase the technology that will keep the station connected.

“It’s an honor to look back at the past 70 years and the incredible impact WXYZ has had on this community,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “It’s even more exciting looking to the future as WXYZ continues to evolve as a media organization and serve the community at the highest level on every platform. This station has always been about the passion of the remarkable people who work here and their dedication to deliver great story-telling with fair and balanced content on all platforms.”

On October 9 at 7:30 p.m., WXYZ will broadcast a “70 Years of 7” half-hour special that explores the impact of the station on the community. The special will be streamed live on WXYZ.com, Facebook and OTT platforms.

For more on “70 Years of 7” go to http://WXYZ.com.

Blarney Stone Enters LMA with Henderson Stations

Jerry and Sheryl Coyne’s Blarney Stone Broadcasting has taken over operations of Roy Henderson’s three stations in Traverse City and debuted new formats on two of them, while relaunching the third.

Henderson’s WBNZ-FM (Frankfort) has flipped from a simulcast of WLDR-FM (Traverse City) to Sports simulcasting Blarney Stone’s WGRY-FM (Roscommon) as “Up North Sports Radio.“

Blarney Stone’s WQON-FM (Grayling) is now simulcasting on Henderson’s WOUF-FM (Beulah), which also had been simulcasting WLDR-FM.

And Henderson’s WLDR-FM Traverse City has been relaunched under the LMA.  The on-air lineup on WLDR-FM will also feature The Morning Scramble with Lorri & Mike, JJ in middays and Maria Miller in afternoons.

The addition of Henderson’s stations replaces the proposed deal that Blarney Stone had in 2016 attempting to purchase six stations from Northern Broadcast. That deal never closed.

WDET/WRCJ’s Christopher Felcyn Passes

Christopher Felcyn

Christopher Felcyn, a longtime Detroit radio personality and host of “The Well Tempered Wireless” for classical music station WRCJ-FM (90.9), has passed away.

Felcyn, 67, died at his home on September 28.

“He was one of the best interviewers in the business, a talented pianist, and an ultimate professional with wit and creativity in sharing classical music,” Detroit Public TV, which manages WRCJ, said in a statement, announcing Felcyn’s death. “Chris and his passion will truly be missed.

A Detroit-native, Felcyn was the host of classical/jazz music program “The Listening Room” on Sunday mornings on WDET-FM (101.9), and later on WRCJ for more than 30 years. He hosted “The Well Tempered Wireless,” a mid-day weekday show up until his death.