Category Archives: April 2017

Reminder: Statewide Tornado Drill/Test April 19, 2017

Graphic 005In cooperation with the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, and with the endorsement of the MAB Board of Directors, the National Weather Service will conduct a test with the Tornado Warning EAS Code at 1:00pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 as part of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The MAB received a waiver from the FCC to use the actual EAS Tornado Warning Code (“TOR”) for this statewide test.

This test will be in conjunction with a statewide tornado drill. In addition to the EAS activation, your area may experience a test of tornado sirens which may alarm some members of the public. Your assistance in informing the public before the test is requested.

The MAB Board of Directors encourages all broadcasters and cable operators to participate. Other states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois have conducted similar successful tests in the past few years. Though encouraged, participation in this test by broadcast stations and cable systems is voluntary. This test was also endorsed by the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC).

If there is a threat of actual severe weather on April 19, the test will be postponed until April 20, 2017. If there is a threat of severe weather on April 20 the test will be cancelled. The go/no-go decision will be made by 4pm the day prior by the National Weather Service, as well as the Statewide Tornado Drill Working group. MAB will post a go or no-go status on its homepage at http://www.michmab.com.

While the audio of this test will repeat several times in the script “This is a Test,” and with the EAS Tornado Code being used, the crawl on TV stations and cable stations will read “A Tornado Warning has been issued for…(and it will list your counties).” We ask that TV broadcasters and cable operators participating in the test to display a “This is a Test” graphic behind the crawl.

An updated graphics kit for on-air, web and social media use is available here.

The test will be originated on the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) and these tests will will cover all counties in Michigan and will originate from the NWS offices at Grand Rapids, Gaylord, Marquette, Detroit/Pontiac, and Northern Indiana. They will be relayed via the State Relay (SR) and Local Primary (LP) stations.

The TOR code test may be run in lieu of a Required Weekly Test (RWT) the week of April 17, 2017.

What to Expect in Your Market on April 19, 2017

As noted above, its more than likely that your area may experience a test of tornado sirens in addition to the activation of the EAS tornado alert. All businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are welcome to participate in the voluntary statewide preparedness activity. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be involved.

How Broadcasters Can Help

This is an excellent opportunity for broadcasters to show the importance of radio and television in times of emergencies. We ask broadcasters to take an active role in their communities to alert listeners and viewers about not only the test alerts, but our role in providing vital information to the public in times of severe weather and other emergencies.

Local Emergency Management Coordinators have been encouraged to reach out to broadcasters in advance of the test.

***The MAB asks broadcasters to reach out to their local emergency management personnel regarding the activities in their own market. We ask you to cover it in your news, community affairs programs, popular personality shows and in your weather breaks.***

Please use Emergency Managers in newscast interviews and on your local morning shows and talk programming.

Not certain who to contact? The MAB has a list of statewide emergency management contacts available here.

A Statewide Tornado Drill Media Toolkit, including talking points, sample social media posts, and more. Download the kit here.

An updated graphics kit for on-air, web and social media use is available here.

The MAB encourages you to begin on-air mentions and promotion of the tornado test no later than April 9 (ten days from the test).

There are recorded radio PSAs for severe weather week available as well as a live read script for both radio and television:

PSA #1 :30 Download (Statewide Tornado Drill)
PSA #2 :30 Download (Outdoor Sirens)
Live Read Script Download

The State of Michigan has prepared graphics for use on your webpage and social media posts here.

Additional Information/Contacts

The official website for the Statewide Tornado Alert: http://michigan.gov/miready

Michigan State Police contact:

Dale R. George
Public Information Officer
Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Michigan State Police
7150 Harris Drive
Dimondale, Michigan 48821
Phone: 517-284-3962
Fax: 517-284-3857
GeorgeD5@michigan.gov

Michigan Association of Broadcasters contact:

Dan Kelley
Technology Manager
Phone: (517) 484-7444
dkelley@michmab.com

Filing Deadline Reminder

By April 10, 2017, all commercial and noncommercial radio and television stations must prepare a list of important issues facing their communities of license, and the programs aired during January, February and March dealing with those issues.

All TV stations and radio stations in the top 50 markets with five or more full-time employees must post these documents to the FCC’s online public file database. All other radio stations must place these documents in their local public inspection files. Also by April 10, all commercial full power and Class A TV stations must file the Children’s Programming Report on FCC Form 398 for the first quarter of 2017.

Pai Expected to Announce Ownership Rule Changes

Ajit Pai
Ajit Pai

According to NAB SmartBriefs, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to release a proposal that would reverse the elimination of the UHF discount in calculating the audience reach of TV station owners. The proposed change is expected to go before the FCC in April and could lead to a series of mergers if the discount is reinstated. MAB is following.

Read more on the proposed ownership changes from David Oxenford here.

Performance Tax Reintroduced

According to a report in InsideRadio, supporters of a performance royalty on AM/FM airplay have introduced legislation in Congress that would require stations to pay a fee on music they use for over-the-air broadcasts. Introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ‘Fair Play Fair Pay’ Act would create a performance right on AM/FM airplay which Nadler says would put broadcasters on “equal footing” with internet and satellite radio services.

Like proposals made in the past, this bill would offer a carve-out for small stations with less than $1 million in annual revenue. Those stations would pay a flat $500 per-year royalty rate if the station operates commercially.

Whitmer Selects Campaign Manager

Gretchen Whitmer
Gretchen Whitmer

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer has selected Jerid Kurtz as her campaign manager. Kurtz worked on a number of Democratic campaigns around the country, most recently as campaign manager to U.S. Representative Ami Bera (D-CA). He was the communications director for the unsuccessful Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2014, is a former communications director for the Ohio Democratic Party and served as a press secretary to U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH).

Call for Nominations: Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame & Lifetime Achievement Award

LA-HOF_700
Left photo: (L-R) MAB Immediate Past Chairman Ed Fernandez, 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Julie Koehn, MAB President/CEO Karole White. Right photo: (L-R) Ed Fernandez and 2016 Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame Inductees Paul Jacobs, Paul W. Smith and Stephen Schram.


Do you know a broadcaster that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, or receive the Lifetime Achievement Award? Now is the time to nominate them!
Nominations due Friday, April 28, 2017.

Click here for more information on the qualifications, and to fill out the form to nominate someone.

Check out the previous award recipients here.

All awards will be presented at the Awards Banquet on Tuesday, August 22 at Crystal Mountain Resort.