Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Bob Seger Boulevard? WCSX Says ‘Yes’

Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-FM (Detroit), in support of a petition to have Bob Seger Boulevard approved by the Ann Arbor Michigan School Board, programmed 24 hours of Bob Seger music this past Saturday, June 2.

WCSX-FM’s Big Jim’s House Morning Show challenged WCSX-FM Program Director Jerry Tarrants that they could get more than 9,470 likes on the brand new “Make Bob Seger Boulevard” Facebook page. Within only a few days, Bob Seger fans from all over the world made their voices known with likes for the page going well over the 9,470 likes needed! As a result, listeners were able to enjoy 24 hours of Seger on the station.

“I should have known that Bob Seger fans would rise to the occasion,” said Program Director Jerry Tarrants. “It will be fun. The incredible response will help to support our efforts in naming a street sign after this Rock legend. It is something that everyone in the Detroit area and around the world wants to see happen!”

The effort was started in early May when the station announced that it, the City of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor School Board were teaming up to have a street named in honor of Detroit Classic Rock legend Bob Seger in front of his Alma Mater in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Nielsen Releases First CMO Report, Showing Digital On The Rise

According to an article in All Access, Nielsen released the first in what it plans to be an annual series of reports based on interviews with Chief Marketing Officers and other survey data. The Nielsen CMO Report 2018 indicates that 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital spending by an average of 49% as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next 12 months and that almost 80% plan to increase their investment in analytics or attribution solutions in the same time frame.

The marketers, however, were less enthusiastic about measuring return on investment, with just 26% saying they are “highly confident” in their ability to accurately measure ROI from digital (and only 23% saying the same for traditional media). Find the full report by clicking here.

Though the article spoke a lot about digital media in which broadcasting has a strong presence, it reported that traditional media remains “critical to brand building,” and 62% said their plans are organized to support an omnichannel approach.

“We conducted the research for the Nielsen CM Report 2018 with one central goal, to give voice to brand advertisers who are facing some of the most daunting challenges of their organizations,” Nielsen SVP/Product Marketing and Strategy Eric Solomon told All Access. “What we heard was that, despite the prevalence of new advertising and promotional channels and significant investments in data and technology, marketers are still struggling to generate and prove sales results in an increasingly omnichannel world.”

Bill Ballenger Joins Michigan Talk Network

Bill Ballenger

Longtime political commentator Bill Ballenger has joined the Michigan Talk Network to host a brand new weekly political talk program.

Ballenger who has been a staple of the Michigan political scene for years, debuted the series, The Political Insider with Bill Ballenger on June 2.

“Bill is a respected and sought-after voice in politics both in Michigan and on the national scene,” remarked MTN President Ivey Gruber. “Bill cuts through the noise and in this political season with so much going on, we knew we wanted him on the MTN team.”

A graduate of Harvard, Ballenger founded Inside Michigan Politics before leaving early in 2016. He served in both the Michigan House and Senate before joining the administration of President Gerald Ford as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Bill has “a go to perspective when it comes to important political issues and I am thrilled that he will be delivering those insights on a regular basis,” commented Steve Gruber, the host of The Steve Gruber Show, MTN’s flagship program heard statewide on 25 affiliates each day.

Ballenger is expected to cover the big races in Michigan for Governor, U.S. Senate and the 14 Congressional seats that are all up for grabs come November 6, 2018. The state will also likely have a number of ballot proposals that voters will decide on election day including a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Political Insider debuted this past Saturday on several of the 40+ affiliates serviced by The Michigan Talk Network.

For more information on The Political Insider with Bill Ballenger, contact:

Ivey Gruber, President MTN
Sarah Griffith, Director of Operations

WDIV’s Rhonda Walker Receives Prestigious NABJ Community Service Award

Rhonda Walker

On June 5, The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced the selection of Rhonda Walker, morning show anchor at WDIV-TV Local 4, as the recipient of the 2018 Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award.

The award recognizes a journalist who has had a positive impact on the community outside the normal realm of journalism and was named in honor of the late Angelo B. Henderson, who as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal won a Pulitzer Prize and later became a highly respected minister, community activist and radio talk show host.

Walker is one of the top television journalists in the Detroit market. She has a burning desire to give back to the community through events and other volunteer work, logging over 100 appearances each year.

Whether it be emceeing events or spearheading initiatives around fitness, Rhonda has proven to be an inspiration in the community. She is also making a difference in the community through the Rhonda Walker Foundation which she started 15 years ago. It is dedicated to empowering inner-city teen girls by developing their confidence, morals and character, allowing them to take their rightful place as future leaders. Walker works closely with the participants during the five year “Girls into Women” program.

“I was blessed to get my first job in television 20 years ago in Detroit, the city where I was born. It was an honor, a privilege and tremendous blessing and I quickly felt a calling from God to use His blessing upon my life to bless others,” said Walker. “As journalists, we are keenly aware of the needs of our community and rather than just report on those needs, I wanted to hold myself accountable for doing something to make a difference. Four years into my career, I founded the Rhonda Walker Foundation and our core five-year “Girls into Women” program to empower inner city teen girls.”

Walker also said the program has produced results. “I am extremely proud that now in our 15th year, we have graduated 12 classes of seniors out of our award winning and comprehensive college prep, career, personal development and mentoring program. We have a 100% high school graduation rate among our teens that complete our program. They are all students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and 100% enroll in a 4 year college or university and 95% of our girls graduate from college as well. I am deeply proud of our outcomes and the impact the program has on the lives of under privileged kids in Detroit.”

NABJ President Sarah Glover applauds Walker for her commitment to underprivileged girls in Detroit. “To produce such life changing and amazing results for our young girls makes Rhonda an excellent choice to receive this award named in honor of a man who also dedicated his life to making a difference in Detroit. It is also fitting that NABJ is presenting this award to Walker during our convention and career fair which is returning to Detroit after 26 years. It is also noteworthy that Angelo B. Henderson served as president of the Detroit chapter back in 1992.”

NABJ Region II Director Vickie Thomas nominated Walker and said, “Rhonda serves as a shining example of a journalist who uses her status in the community to effectuate change. She epitomizes the spirit of NABJ’s Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award. She is the perfect choice to receive this honor.”

Walker says receiving this award is special and personal, “To be recognized by NABJ for my service to the Detroit community is a tremendous and humbling honor and I am extremely grateful. Learning that this award is named after a man I truly looked up to professionally as a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and successful radio host is truly special. But I also looked up to him personally, his energy, his ever present infectious smile and incredible willingness to help others is a bar that can never be reached. It is hard to find the words to truly express how much an award in Angelo B. Henderson’s name means to me. It is truly one of the highest honors I could ever receive, thank you so very much.”

Walker will be honored at NABJ’s 2018 Salute to Excellence Awards ceremony on Saturday, August 4 during the NABJ Convention and Career Fair at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

NABJ Convention registration and Salute to Excellence Awards tickets can be purchased here.

For more information on the Foundation, and to learn how you can help positively affect the life of an inner city teen girl, please visit the RWF’s website,

WDIV-TV Launches Voter Engagement Project

WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced the launch of its new citizen engagement project, Your Soapbox, which is part of the station’s Decision 2018 coverage leading up to the midterm election.

Your Soapbox will delve into the policy, election and civility issues facing our community. Through conversations with the people of metro Detroit, WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit will identify local issues of priority for voters and work to inform and engage diverse viewpoints.

“In 2014, Michiganders were electing a Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representatives and the majority of state offices. Voter turnout was only 43% of Macomb County, 44% of Washtenaw County, 48% of Oakland County and 38% of Wayne County. As a region, we can do better and should do better,” said Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz. “Everyone should vote their own interests and we, as a non-partisan news organization, need to not only report the stories that are interesting but the policy decisions big and small that affect our viewers.”

Through the Your Soapbox roadshow, WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit will travel across the region to connect with voters and citizens of all ages to encourage voter participation and hear what is important to their lives.

In addition, comprehensive election content will be a significant focus on ClickOnDetroit, which reaches nearly 900,000 unique visitors monthly.

“To kick off this election commitment, we will be hosting 4 Minute Debates at the Mackinac Policy Conference. We are asking the public what issues they want to hear debated from elected officials, those who influence policy and the region’s business leaders,” said Digital Executive Producer Dustin Block. “We’ll match up two people on opposite sides of the issues and have them debate it, quickly.”

“Our overarching Decision 2018 election coverage will include debates starting with the Republican gubernatorial debate on July 28 at 8 p.m.,” added Drutz.

“Decision 2018: Republican Gubernatorial Debate” will be moderated by Devin Scillian and air live on WDIV-Local 4 and live stream on

“We are also committed to polling on a grand scale. Polls help to identify what issues are important and where the electorate is at any one time, which is great information for journalists to have as we cover this important midterm and state election,” said News Director Kim Voet.

Nominations for NRHoF include Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club

The nominations for the 2018 class of inductees at the National Radio Hall of Fame and voting has started for four of the categories.  Detroit’s very own Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club has been nominated.

Of the six categories, four of them will be voted on a select group of nearly 1,000 industry professionals, while two of the categories are open to the public (starting June 4). Inductees will be announced June 25. The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 15, at Guastavino’s in New York City.

To be voted on by industry professionals:

Jim Harper

Active Local/Regional (10 Years or More)

  • Jonathon Brandmeier, Chicago
  • Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club, Detroit
  • Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot, Steve Morrison), Philadelphia
  • Bob Rivers, Seattle

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 Years or More)

  • Mike Francesa, New York
  • Johnny Holliday, Washington
  • Jim Kerr, New York
  • Charles Laquidara, Boston

Active Network/Syndication (10 Years or More)

  • Nanci Donnellan, “The Fabulous Sports Babe”
  • Kim Komando, “The Kim Komando Show”
  • “Marketplace”
  • Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, “Mike & Mike”

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 Years or More)

  • John Garabedian, “Open House Party”
  • Walt “Baby” Love, “Gospel Traxx”
  • Dr. Laura Schlessinger, “The Dr. Laura Program”
  • Robert Siegel, “All Things Considered”

To be voted on by radio listeners:

Music Format On-Air Personality

  • Ellen K
  • Kid Kelly
  • Angie Martinez
  • John Tesh

Spoken Word On-Air Personality

  • Mark Levin
  • Joe Madison
  • George Noory
  • Jim Rome

National Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “I personally appreciate the challenging task that our Nominating Committee accepts each year to officially nominate talent from an infinite list of deserving individuals.  Congratulations to this year’s nominees, an excellent selection of our industry’s finest.”

The National Radio Hall of Fame is located in Chicago.

NATAS Michigan Announces 40th Annual Regional EMMY® Nominations

Television stations, cable networks, ad agencies and production houses throughout Michigan have received nominations for this year’s National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Michigan 40th Annual Regional EMMY® Awards.

Tickets are now on sale for the EMMY® Awards ceremonies, to be held at the MotorCity Sound Board Theater on Saturday, June 16.

Ticket purchase information is here.

For a complete list of this year’s nominees, click here.


WDIV-TV, WXMI-TV Honored with Digital Innovation Awards

Two Michigan television stations, WDIV-TV (Detroit) and WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids), took home awards at the Local Media Association’s recent Digital Innovation Awards ceremony.

Seventy different companies from newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and digital news sites competed for the awards celebrating creative and business advancements in the digital realm.

“Our main goal is to create a website users want to engage with. From news to entertainment and everything in between, we’re constantly trying to provide what our ClickOnDetroit community is looking for,” said Local 4 Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz.

WDIV-TV received six awards:

  • Best Local Website (1st place):
  • Best Contest and/or Promotion (1st place): 4Frenzy
  • Best Use of Data (2nd place):
  • Best Redesign/Relaunch (2nd & 3rd place respectively): 4Frenzy relaunch
  • Best New Digital Initiative (3rd place): GroundSource text message campaign during America’s Thanksgiving Parade

WXMI-TV received a first-place award for Best Social Media Strategy.

Congratulations to both stations!  For a complete list of winners, click here.

Jacobs Media to Present Techsurvey 2018 Webinar

On Thursday, May 24, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Jacobs Media Strategies will present a free webinar focused on their just-completed Techsurvey 2018.

The annual Techsurvey is the radio broadcasting industry’s largest online survey. This year over 560 radio stations and 64,000 radio listeners participated.

Over the course of an hour, Jacobs will share key takeaways from the study, including:

  • How smart speakers are changing listening behavior
  • How listeners are using streaming audio and video services
  • The growth of podcasting
  • The credibility of radio contests
  • And the politics of radio – party preferences across all 14 formats

Register here.

Longtime Michigan DJ Bob Steel Passes

Bob Steel

The MAB has learned that longtime Michigan DJ/Air Personality Robert Arthur “Bob Steel” Leets passed away April 25 at age 76.

Under the stage name of “Bob Steel”, Leets became a well-known radio and car show DJ. He was a long time member of the Buick Club of America. He was actively involved in the Back to the Bricks event serving for fourteen years. He was also involved as the official DJ for the Sloan Museum for 25 years, and the Christian Cruisers for 10 years.

Steel’s radio career began when, as a kid, he pushed his nose against the glass to watch the DJ spin music at WNIL-AM In Niles, where he grew up.  Steel worked in radio from 1968 to 1977 before joining Motorola.  After retiring in 1989, he continued to spin music at car shows and later joined WFNT-AM in Flint, where he hosted a weekend radio program “Cruisin’ with Bob Steel” up to the time of his death.

Steel is survived by his wife, Judy, two children, two step-children and their families. Services were held April 30.