Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

National Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Class of Inductees

The 25-person National Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee presented 24 individuals and shows worthy of consideration to listeners and industry peers and the voting results are in. In just three years since public voting was reinstituted, the National Radio Hall of Fame reports an unprecedented level of audience participation with nearly 300,000 votes cast for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. The increase is attributed to the ever-more creative campaigning waged by nominees as well as the newly offered online voting mechanism in addition to texting. The inductees by public vote are:

Bobby Bones, The Bobby Bones Show; syndicated by Premiere Networks
Music Format On-Air Personality

Bill Handel, The Bill Handel Show; KFI AM 640 Los Angeles; Handel on the Law; syndicated by Premiere Networks
Spoken Word On-Air Personality

Four of the categories were decided by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. The inductees by this panel are:

John Landecker

Tom Barnard, The Tom Barnard Show, KQRS-FM Minneapolis
Active Local/Regional, 10+ years

John Records Landecker, renowned DJ, most notably on WLS-AM and WJMK-FM, Chicago
Longstanding Local/Regional, 20+ years

Landecker began his radio career while in high school at WOIA-FM/WOIB-AM in Ann Arbor.  He attended Michigan State University, working at station WILS-AM/FM in Lansing.

Sean Hannity, The Sean Hannity Show; syndicated by Premiere Networks
Active Network/Syndication, 10+ years

Robin Quivers, The Howard Stern Show; SiriusXM
Longstanding Network/Syndication, 20+ years

Additionally, the National Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee voted to induct two individuals for their contribution to the industry. Those inductees are:

Joseph M. Field, Chairman/Founder Entercom Communications Corporation and Robert S. “Bob” Sievers, the late legendary Fort Wayne, Indiana on-air personality who was on WOWO Radio for 51 years.

National Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig T. Kitchin comments, “Each year the enthusiasm and participation from those in our industry, and the voting public, grows by leaps and bounds. We’re so happy to induct this truly deserving, talented group of broadcasters this year into the National Radio Hall of Fame.”

The black-tie optional induction ceremony takes place at the home of the National Radio Hall of Fame – the Museum of Broadcast Communications in downtown Chicago on November 2. Tickets are now available at A portion of ticket purchases is a tax deductible charitable donation to the Museum.

Leading radio imaging and production company The Mix Group is the presenting sponsor of the National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

About the National Radio Hall of Fame and Museum of Broadcast Communications: The institution collects, preserves and presents historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educates, informs and entertains the public through its archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications and online access to its resources. The museum is located at 360 North State Street in downtown Chicago and was founded in 1983 by veteran broadcaster Bruce DuMont.

‘99.3 The Lift’ Launches in Houghton

At 3:00 p.m. on June 16, Houghton Community Broadcasting launched a new contemporary hit radio station in Houghton:  “99.3 The Lift.”

The station is a combination AM station (WCCY, 1400) and FM translator (W257CZ 99.3).

Rick Allen, who has been with the company covering local news for Houghton Community Broadcasting as well as for WBUP/WBKP-TV, is handling the station’s morning show.   The station also will feature Finlandia University sports as well as Detroit Tigers baseball.

The station’s name comes from the Portage Canal Lift Bridge connecting Houghton and Hancock.  More on “99.3 The Lift” on the station’s website here.

WDVD Extends Blaine Fowler Contract

Cumulus Media
has announced that it has signed Detroit Hot AC WDVD-FM morning show star Blaine Fowler to a long-term contract extension.

Fowler’s eponymous morning show has aired weekday mornings since 2003 on the station. “The Blaine Fowler Morning Show” is heard Monday through Friday from 5:30am-9:00am on 96.3 WDVD-FM.

Robby Bridges, Director of FM Programming, Cumulus Media-Detroit, said: “Blaine and Lauren both are special talents and I’m thrilled they’ll make their magic on Detroit’s 96-3 WDVD for a long time to come.”

Fowler said: “I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had and I’m excited to continue to set the alarm and join Lauren Crocker each morning on the radio here in the Motor City!!”

Lee and Formicola Posthumously Inducted Into Country Radio Hall of Fame

Linda Lee and Joe Wade Formicola

At ceremonies held in Nashville on June 21, former Detroit air personalities Linda Lee and Joe Wade Formicola were posthumously inducted into the 2017 Country Radio Hall of Fame.

Kid Rock and CBS Radio’s Vice President of Programming Tim Roberts gave induction speeches on Lee’s behalf. Her husband, Jeff Young, and two daughters, Gina Holmes Mills and Alex Young, were also present for the ceremony.  Lee died on March 31, 2017 after a seven-month cancer battle.   Lee was an air personality on WYCD-FM (Detroit) for more than 20 years.

Formicola, who worked at both WWWW-FM and WYCD-FM in Detroit as well as other markets around the country passed away unexpectedly on May 31, 2017.

See WYCD’s article on Linda Lee and Joe Wade Formicola here.

Both Lee and Formicola attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts before launching their radio careers.  Dick Kernen, VP of Industry Relations at Specs Howard, told the MAB that Formicola was in one of the school’s first graduating classes back in 1970.

“It seemed that everyone was into rock music back then, but Joe decided to move into country.”  Kernen said, recalling that Formicola’s first job in radio was in Port Huron in the early ’70s.

“The irony is that in 1994, Linda Lee interned at Detroit’s WYCD, working for the station’s morning show co-host, another Specs Grad and Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Karen Dalessandro.  Eventually Linda’s career landed her a job as producer and co-host of the morning show at WYCD, paired with fellow Specs grad, Joe Wade Formicola.”

Kernen said he spoke with Formicola days before he passed away, remarking that “both (Joe and Linda) were terrific people.  Linda was one of the sweetest beyond belief.”

Linda Lee also will be inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame with the MAB Legacy Award and will be honored at ceremonies on August 22.  More information here.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made a significant impact on the radio industry over the course of a 20-year period, with 15 of those years being contributed to Country-specific radio.

WDIV Receives NABEF Service to America Award

(L-R) Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow presenting the Service to America Award to Marla Drutz, WDIV Vice-President and General Manager.

Graham Media Group’s WDIV-TV (Detroit) was presented with the Service to America Award on June 20 in Washington, D.C. by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF).

WDIV received the prestigious award for its ongoing commitment to outstanding community service.

In a news release, the NABEF said, “Through news coverage, philanthropy and community service, WDIV puts the needs of viewers first. When the city of Flint found itself in crisis, WDIV hosted a telethon, raising more than $1.13 million. WDIV also provided extensive coverage of the Flint water crisis, airing a primetime special and traveling to Washington, D.C., to cover developments on Capitol Hill. To address the opioid epidemic, WDIV ran numerous PSAs and provided significant news coverage to keep the conversation on drug addiction front and center. With Detroit having the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S., WDIV created the ‘Arab in America’ news series, which showed viewers personal stories of Arab Americans in their local community. In partnership with Bookstock, WDIV raised over $1.4 million for literacy and education programs in its community. The station’s commitment to education continued with its renovations of a school in the Detroit Public School Community District. This is just a small sampling of the work WDIV does to serve the local community.”

“This award reflects the hard work and contribution of every single member of our WDIV/ClickOn Detroit team. I couldn’t be more happy and proud of what we do here at this station,” said Vice-President and General Manager Marla Drutz.

Here is the video played at the award reception:

Jacobs Media: A Startling Discovery About Autonomous Cars

Bingham Farms-based Jacobs Media Strategies has just released more information from its annual Techsurvey:

Predicted Driver Behavior In Driverless Cars Might Surprise You.

Whether drivers like the idea or not, autonomous cars will one day become a fact of life. When Jacobs Media constructed the questionnaire for its thirteenth version of its annual web-based Techsurvey, the research team included a hypothetical question about a driverless car future:

“The year is 2025. You’re driving in an autonomous car. The technology has almost totally eliminated traffic accidents, leaving you to do whatever you’d like while in the vehicle. Which one of the following do you think you’d do most often?”

Possible options centered around media and entertainment: listening to AM/FM radio or streaming audio, watching video, talking on the phone, working on a computer, reading, or the catchall “all of the above.” To be sure that no activity was left off the list, respondents also were given an “other” choice – the chance to write in something entirely different they’d do in a driverless car than what was listed.

The initial results were predictable, with AM/FM radio leading the way, followed by “all of the above.” But what was surprising was the fact that more than 2,500 respondents took the time to share other things they plan on doing while the car is driving itself.

The “word cloud” below is a compilation of those responses. The larger the word, the more frequent the response:

Sleeping is the lead activity, followed by having sex in an autonomous car. Playing video games and simply enjoying the view also are popular responses. It is noteworthy that drinking and knitting are also mentioned with frequency (hopefully, mutually exclusive activities).

“This goes to show that whenever new technology is introduced, consumers will find a way to adapt it to their needs,” Jacobs Media President and creator of the Techsurvey, Fred Jacobs observes. “Because we serve broadcasters, we were curious to see how the audience might entertain themselves in driverless cars, but obviously, the respondents have a broader definition of ‘entertainment.’”

About Techsurvey13. For the past thirteen years, Jacobs Media has been tracking the media, digital, social, mobile and other habits of radio listeners. These studies have helped identify areas of opportunity for broadcasters as they evolve their business to accommodate changing consumer needs due to the proliferation of new gadgets and entertainment offerings. Techsurvey13 is a web survey, comprised of 51,760 respondents, generated from the email databases of 321 radio stations across North America. It was conducted in January/February 2017.

Mathew Treadwell Appointed MAB Marketing & Communications Manager

Mathew Treadwell

Mathew Treadwell joined the MAB team as Marketing & Communications Manager on June 19.

In his position, Mathew will help to coordinate the marketing and communication efforts of the MAB, MABF, MABPAC and MAPB staffs and best share news of programs, opportunities and successes among organizational members.

“We are excited to add Mathew’s experience and creativity to the talents of our wonderful team,” MAB President/CEO Karole White said. “Our marketing and communications efforts have a direct and important impact on our ability to best serve our members.”

Before joining the MAB, Mathew served as Communications Director at The Peoples Church of East Lansing. His professional background also includes time as Development Director at the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Columbus, Ohio; Communication Director at the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, MI, where he was the founding editor of FAITH Saginaw magazine; and as a government reporter at the Huron Daily Tribune in Bad Axe, MI.

Mathew earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University, where he spent many semesters as a reporter and editor at The State News, including a stint as host of The State News Live on WDBM-FM during the early 2000s.

He currently resides in Okemos, where he enjoys spending quality time and sharing in life’s adventures with his beloved wife of 14 years and their four children.

Caroline Beasley Elected As NAB Joint Board Chair

From the NAB Newsroom:

Caroline Beasley

Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Media Group, has been unanimously elected as NAB Joint Board Chair by the NAB Joint Board of Directors. Beasley takes over from Dave Lougee, president and CEO of TEGNA Media, whose term expired.

Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television, was elected as NAB Television Board Chairman. Emily Barr, president and CEO, Graham Media Group, was elected first vice chair of the Television Board, and Ralph M. Oakley, president and CEO, Quincy Media, Inc., was elected as second vice chair.

It was announced that Joseph M. Di Scipio, senior vice president, Legal and FCC Compliance, Fox Television Stations, LLC, was appointed to the designated network seat on the TV executive committee.

Randy D. Gravley, president and CEO, Tri State Communications Inc., was elected Radio Board Chair by the NAB Radio Board. Mary Quass, president and CEO of NRG Media LLC, was re-elected Radio Board first vice chairman, while Beth Neuhoff, president and CEO of Neuhoff Communications, was re-elected Radio Board second vice chairman.

Kim Guthrie, president of Cox Media Group, was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat.

The Board elections took place at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, held June 20-21 in Washington, D.C.


WBCT Birthday Bash Turns 25

This past weekend (June 17-18) iHeartMedia’s WBCT-FM/B-93 (Grand Rapids) held its 25th annual Birthday Bash country music concert at US-131 Motorsports Park near Martin, Michigan.  The two-day music concert is considered one of the biggest draws for country music fans in the Midwest.

The lineup for this year’s event included Big & Rich, Granger Smith, Jake Owen, Michael Ray, Tucker Beathard, Brook Eden, Parmalee, Luke Combs, Joe Diffie, Trent Harmon and Jackie Lee.

iHeartMedia Market President Tim Feagan was not able to supply the MAB with a final attendance count, but said typical attendance is 20,000 to 40,000 each day of the event.

Alex Jokich Rejoins WWTV-WWUP

Alex Jokich

After nearly five years as a reporter at WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo), Alex Jokich has rejoined WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac) as Morning News Anchor.  She will anchor the 4:30 -9:00 a.m. news segments where she was previously a reporter.

In a Facebook post dated May 30, Jokich thanks “everyone who’s been a part of this chapter in my life! I am leaving here a stronger reporter and a stronger person. West Michigan will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

Jokich graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a major in Broadcast News and a minor in Sociology. She was also honored as Pepperdine’s “Most Outstanding Broadcast News Graduate” in 2009.   On June 10, Jokich won two Michigan Emmy awards for her work on a documentary at WWMT titled “Devil in the Details: The Doppelganger Killings.”

She will begin her new job at WWTV/WWUP on June 26.