Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Detroit Meteorologist Jim Madaus Signs Off For Final Time

Jim Madaus

After 40 years of tracking the Midwest skies, Jim “Mad Dog” Madaus has retired.  The longtime chief meteorologist at WWJ-TV (Detroit) officially signed off from the television station after his 11 p.m. broadcast on May 31.

“I ended up working at one of the best stations in the city with the nicest people,” he said in a CBS Detroit article. “But, on the other hand, I’m looking forward to retirement and enjoying life and traveling, doing whatever I want to do.”

Madaus has been broadcasting for 42 years, 33 of which were spent in Detroit, the article said. He most recently hosted CBS Detroit’s First Forecast at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Prior to CBS, Madaus worked at WXYZ-TV, WCSX radio and served as chief meteorologist for WJRT-TV in Flint, WMTV-TV in Madison, WI and WREX-TV in Rockford, IL. He has received several awards throughout his career, including Best Weathercast in Detroit from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.

Alpha Media Promotes Caleb Gordon to Saginaw Market Engineer

Caleb Gordon

AlphaMedia Saginaw recently promoted Caleb Gordon to the position of Market Engineer for the five-station cluster including WCEN-FM, WGER-FM, WSGW-AM/FM and WTLZ-FM.

Midwest Regional Director of Engineering Geary Morrill commented on the announcement: “AlphaMedia is actively recruiting and training the next generation of Broadcast Engineers and is pleased to be able to promote Caleb to this position.”

Gordon was also recently accepted into the NAB Technology Apprenticeship Program, which partners with member stations to provide enhanced training opportunities for individuals embarking on a broadcast technology career. The program provides attendance at the NAB Spring Show, manufacturer training opportunities, a paid internship and training in preparation for taking the entry-level SBE Certification exam, among others.

“We were extremely fortunate to be able to connect Caleb with this enhanced opportunity to accelerate his professional development,” Morrill continued. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that didn’t even exist for budding broadcast engineers a decade ago.”

Gordon previously worked at both MacDonald Broadcasting and Radio First/Liggett Communications in both on air and engineering positions.


Julie Brinks Named Vice President and General Manager of WOOD-TV

Nexstar Media Group Inc. has announced that Julie Brinks has been named Vice President and General Manager of WOOD-TV (NBC), WOTV-TV (ABC) and WXSP-TV (My Network) and associated digital services including and, serving Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI (DMA #44). Brinks will assume her new responsibilities immediately and report to Diane Kniowski, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.

A Michigan native, Julie Brinks brings to her new role over three decades of expertise in local and national sales management, local programming and content, new business development, operations and strategic planning across multiple media platforms. Prior to joining Nexstar, Ms. Brinks served as General Manager of KOHD-TV (ABC) and KBNZ-LD (CBS) in Bend, OR (DMA #188), where her initiatives focused on brand development, local content leadership and excellence in viewer and client experience led to consistent revenue growth. During her tenure, she oversaw the launch of the stations’ news programming, managing all aspects of local branding, creative development, news set construction and talent recruitment.

Prior to KOHD-TV, Brinks served as a Principal Consultant for Vici Media where she provided strategic direction, digital marketing and revenue development services to broadcast groups and individual stations. Brinks also served as VP / General Manager of KGUN-TV (ABC), KWBA-TV (CW) and four radio properties in Tucson-Sierra Vista, AZ. Prior to that, she served as VP/General Manager of WPBN-TV (NBC) and WTOM-TV (NBC) in Traverse City-Cadillac, MI, where during her tenure she developed and led highly effective teams and implemented sales, marketing and digital media initiatives that resulted in increased broadcast and digital revenue, as well as market share gains at the stations.

During her time in Traverse City, Brinks served on the MAB Board.

Commenting on the appointment, Diane Kniowski noted, “Julie is a well-respected leader with an impressive broadcast television and sales management career that spans over three decades, including significant experience managing local media operations with multiple affiliations across a diverse range of markets and in Michigan. Her return home will be welcomed by the local community. As a local native, she has built deep community connections and a solid reputation as a trusted business partner who is committed to the growth and economic success of local businesses. In addition, she has a long-term record of exceeding economic goals by implementing innovative programming strategies and unique digital concepts while elevating the level of service provided to the local viewers and advertisers. Throughout her career, Julie has demonstrated a results-oriented and entrepreneurial approach to the business of broadcasting and we are confident that her valuable management expertise, strong relationships and deep dedication to the local community will enhance the position of our broadcasting and digital media operations in Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek.”

Commenting on her new role, Julie Brinks said, “I am grateful for this opportunity to return to my home state of Michigan, where I have deep personal, business and community relationships. WOOD-TV is the local market leader with a strong digital presence and long-term record of exceptional community service. In my new role, I will utilize the management and marketing experience built over my career to further grow the operations while delivering excellent results and greater levels of service to the local community. I look forward to working alongside the exceptional local media teams at WOOD-TV, WOTV-TV, and, as we work to expand our marketing solutions across multiple platforms for our advertising partners, while also building continued viewership growth through the delivery of enhanced local news and entertainment programming for the local audiences we serve across 14 counties in Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek.”

Brinks earned her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts from Central Michigan University and is also a graduate of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program. She has been a member of Rotary International and served on numerous community boards including the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement and City Club of Bend. She also served as Chair of American Heart Association’s “Go Red” for Women and was a Founding Member of Haven Totes, Inc., a Tucson-based organization that provides life essentials for children and families in need.
Julie and her husband, Tom, have been married for 26 years and have two sons Joe and Paul. They are immediately relocating to the Grand Rapids area.

Time is Running Out for AMC-8

Photo courtesy of Eric Send, WTCM-AM/FM (Traverse City)

Radio stations airing programming from any of the major network suppliers only have until June 30 to shift their satellite dishes from AMC-8 to the new AMC-18 satellite, at 105 degrees West latitude.

AMC-8, at 139 degrees West Longitude has exceeded its design life and is not being replaced by an equivalent satellite at the 139 position.   This affects users of programming from Learfield, Premiere, Skyview Networks, Westwood and Orbital Media Networks/OMNi. (OMNi was known as Clear Channel Satellite Services until Satellite Holdings acquired it in January 2015.)

Stations are encouraged to shift their dishes as soon as possible to avoid signal interruptions in the event of unanticipated difficulties in pointing their dishes to the new satellite.  All content from the the suppliers noted above is already available on the new AMC-18 bird.

There’s a list of satellite vendors, a list of frequencies and more at the AMC-8 Migration page here. Stations who need help to re-aim their dishes can search for it here.

Former MAB Board President Tom Scanlan Passes

Tom Scanlan

The MAB is sad to pass along the news that former Board President Tom Scanlan passed away June 1 in Tucson, Arizona. He was 76 years old.

Scanlan worked in the broadcast industry for nearly 50 years, 39 of which were spent in the state of Michigan.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940, he first saw television as a five-year-old when his dad took him into a New York City restaurant and he was instantly transfixed by a prizefight on a 7” screen on a TV above the door. At 14-years-old, with $100 borrowed from his dad, he went into business installing TV antennas in his neighborhood.

In 1966, he graduated from Michigan State University on an Air Force Scholarship, which carried with it a four-year active duty commitment. Scanlan was assigned to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service and served as the commanding officer for nine television and radio stations in Turkey and Germany. While in Germany, he organized a campaign to raise funds to broadcast the moon landing of Apollo 11, (at the time, the military broadcasting network received their programming via 16mm, black and white film two to six months after it was first seen in the U.S.).

Tom Scanlan speaking at GLBC (year unknown).

Scanlan arranged for a microwave interconnection to Eurovision and paid for it with the money raised. He was able to bring the overseas community seven days of live, real-time broadcasts of the landing, and surrounding events to his audience. This event was the first live, overseas satellite television broadcast to military
families and demonstrated the need for live transmissions of this kind. His pioneering endeavor lead to appropriation of the necessary funds to launch satellite circuits for live broadcasts, a system that remains in place today.

Tom and Sue Scanlan

Leaving active duty in 1973, Tom’s career included serving as owner and general manager of eight full-power commercial TV stations over the next years while maintaining a career as an active reservist until retiring in 2000 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Of the stations he owned, WBKB-TV (Alpena), WBKP-TV (Calumet) and WBUP-TV (Marquette/Ishpeming), were brand new sign-ons, serving new areas in northern Michigan. He also bought and managed WGTU-TV and WGTQ-TV in Traverse City and served as general manager of four other stations in Florida, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Tom was a lifetime Rotarian, President of Michigan Association of Broadcasters and President of the Keweenaw Economic Development Association. He was on the Miscowaubik Club Board of Directors and an active supporter of Michigan Tech Hockey. He enjoyed hockey, travel and big bowls of ice cream with family. He relished the chance to watch local news from around the US, with feeds he orchestrated via various satellite providers. He loved telecommunications infrastructure and would stop at any and all microwave transmission tower, AT&T tower or radio/TV transmitter. He was also a train buff and collected antique locks.

Scanlan was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2002.  In 2013, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tom is survived by wife Sue, of Copper Falls, MI and Tucson AZ, son Thomas Jeffrey (Monique) and daughter Jessica Claire (Bryan Ramsey), and grandchildren Rowan Ramsey, Nathan Scanlan and Nova Ramsey.

(Update 6/13/17): A memorial service will be held Friday July 14, 2017 at the Eagle Harbor Community Hall, Eagle Harbor, Michigan (in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula).

Together with Sue, Tom Scanlan built a legacy of television excellence in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The MAB Foundation has set up a scholarship/education fund in Tom’s name for those wishing to honor him. Under special instructions on the form please include Tom Scanlan’s name.   To donate, click here.

WRIF Introduces “iPhone Stickers”

Detroit’s WRIF-FM (“The Riff”) is the first radio station to take advantage of Apple’s new iOS stickers, with the release of the Dave & Chuck WRIF iPhone sticker pack, provided by jacapps, a Detroit-based application developer.

As a result of Apple’s introduction of custom stickers to iPhone messages, WRIF listeners may begin to enjoy a selection of clever, whimsical images in their text messages. Listeners may download the Dave & Chuck WRIF sticker pack from a special section of the AppStore. Once installed, they can drag and drop the “stickers” into their text conversations. You can see how it works in this video:

“WRIF has always been on the leading edge of technology,” notes Beasley Detroit Market Manager Mac Edwards. “The Riff was the first radio station in Detroit to stream online, and it currently has the largest digital footprint of any radio station in the Midwest. So, when Dave & Chuck said they wanted their huge fan base to be able to use
this technology to share images, catch phrases, and memes, we were proud to make their wishes come true! “

“We are committed to pioneering new methods of engagement between our audience and our brands,” adds Beasley Media Group Digital EVP Steve Meyers. “This is a fun example of that commitment!”

“We were happy to be involved in the creation of customized iPhone stickers for Beasley,” says jacapps COO Bob Kernen. “The Dave and Chuck Show is a phenomenon here in Detroit, and these stickers are going to be incredibly popular. It’s another jacapps ‘first’ and we’re excited that Beasley Media Group led the way.”

Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs comments, “As someone who was personally involved with the original WRIF sticker craze back in the ‘70s, these virtual stickers are a wonderful evolution. And they’re a great example of how traditional radio broadcasters can make optimal use of the digital tool kit. It’s Bumper Stickers 2.0!”

National Radio Hall Of Fame Announces 2017 Nominees

The National Radio Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for its Class of 2017, with 24 nominations in six categories. Winners in four categories will be chosen by voting among a panel of almost 1,000 industry figures (currently in-progress) with two additional categories voted upon by the public starting on June 5.

Inductees will be announced on June 26.  Induction ceremony to be held at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in Chicago on November 2.

Chairman Kraig Kitchen said, “As an industry, we should all be proud of our incredibly diverse community of talent who have made, and continue to make radio great. This year’s class of nominees is a fine representation of why millions of people connect to our medium on a daily basis.”

The nominees to be voted upon by industry professionals:

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)

Johnny Holliday, Washington
John Records Landecker, Chicago
Paul Schneider, Boise
Donnie Simpson, Washington

Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)

Tom Barnard, Minneapolis
Jack Harris & Tedd Webb, Tampa
Charles Laquidara, Boston
Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison, Philadelphia

Active Network/Syndication (10 years or more)

Nanci Donnellan, The Fabulous Sports Babe
Sean Hannity, The Sean Hannity Show
Diane Rehm, The Diane Rehm Show
Bert Weiss, The Bert Show

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)

Denny Matthews, Kansas City Royals
Robin Quivers, The Howard Stern Show
Jim Rome, The Jim Rome Show

The nominees to be voted upon by the public:

Music Format On-Air Personality

Bobby Bones
Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton
Guy Phillips
Ryan Seacrest

Spoken Word On-Air Personality

Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic
Bill Handel
Joe Madison
Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

WSGW’s Ann Williams Named President of Michigan AP Media Editors

Ann Williams

Alpha Media, Saginaw has announced that WSGW News Director, Ann Williams was named President of Michigan Associated Press Media Editors (APME). She was installed at the APME banquet in Lansing on April 30. Williams has served on the APME board for the past seven years.

In addition to Williams’ honor, WSGW News received three 1st place awards at the banquet for Best Sportscast, Best Digital Presence, and Best Use of Photography.

Alpha Media, Saginaw Operations Manager and WSGW Program Director, Dave Maurer commented on the announcement, “We are so proud of Ann. She has done an outstanding job with her great attention to detail and her mentoring skills in our news department and now she will share her talents on a statewide basis in this top leadership position.”

Beasley Names Heidi Raphael As Communications VP

Heidi Raphael

Beasley Media Group has appointed Heidi Raphael as VP/Corporate Communications.

Raphael most recently served as Senior VP/Corporate Communications at Greater Media, where she spent 20 years working in several capacities, including as Marketing Director of WRIF-FM, Group Marketing Director of Greater Media Detroit and New Business Development Director of WMGC-FM in the Motor City.

She was promoted to Director of Corporate Communications in 2006. Raphael was subsequently elevated to the positions of VP in February 2008 and Senior VP in March 2016.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work at Beasley Media Group,” said Raphael. “The Beasley family has an amazing and well-respected reputation in the radio industry. I look forward to working with the incredible management team and people within the organization.”

“We are thrilled to have Heidi join the Beasley Media family,” said CEO Caroline Beasley. “Her vast experience and knowledge of the radio industry, combined with Heidi’s outstanding reputation, make her the perfect fit for our company as we continue to expand our footprint across many platforms within the organization and the industry.”

Heidi has been a leading voice in national radio and media issues. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Library of American Broadcasting. In addition, the radio veteran is a past elected member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the national Alliance for Women in Media (AWM), both based in Washington, D.C. She is also a past official spokesperson of the national Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group.

WZZM-TV Wins Eclipse Award for Best Documentary

WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) has won an Eclipse Award for its September 2016 documentary “New Heights: Restoring a City.”  The special took viewers inside Muskegon Heights and the city’s efforts to rebuild.

The special won “Best Documentary” at the award ceremonies, May 18, in Grand Rapids.  The awards are presented by WKTV (Wyoming-Kentwood) Community Access Channel 25/26, honor content creators for Excellence in Craft in the disciplines of film, television, video, acting, sound, music and writing.

To watch the documentary, click here.