Category Archives: December 2017

WLEN Raises More Than $32K for Veterans

(L-R) Kathy Williams, Marketing Specialist for WLEN; Elizabeth Salerno, Executive Director, Housing Help of Lenawee; Charles Noe, Board President of Housing Help of Lenawee; Julie Koehn President & General Manager of Lenawee Broadcasting Company/WLEN; Randy Smith, President & CEO of TLC Community Credit Union.

On November 10, WLEN Radio (Adrian) hosted the 12th Annual “Thank a Vet” day. This day is in celebration of Veterans Day and is an event to raise funds and awareness for homeless and other veterans in need in Lenawee County.

$32,218.20 was raised in 12 hours for the “Veterans Dire Needs Fund” distributed through Housing Help of Lenawee. WLEN staff, local veterans’ organizations and area business people stood curbside and collected funds to support local veterans; these funds are distributed throughout the year to local veterans for assistance with rent, mortgage payments to avoid foreclosure, utility bills, rental facilities to store possessions when they are displaced, transportation stipends and for things as simple as a pair of boots to secure employment. Again, this year TLC Community Credit Union joined WLEN with a matching funds program, matching donations to the Happy Hundred Club by 50%, which raised an additional $8,000.00 from TLC.

To date, more than $150,000 has been raised in this event and distributed to local veterans in Lenawee County.

St. Clair County RESA to Take Over Radio Station

via WPHM-AM:

WSGR-FM, St. Clair County Community College’s student radio station for 43 years, will become a part of the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA). The college took the station off the air last week, citing rising costs and declining student interest.

WSGR will be a part of RESA’s digital media technology program and the studio will be moved to the Technical Education Center in Marysville. RESA’s Kevin Miller says there is no set date for WSGR to resume broadcasting but he would like to have it on the air for the fall semester. WSGR’s 91.3 FM frequency is reserved for educational purposes only.

WDET-FM and Detroit Public Television To Receive Funding for Local Journalism Engagement Efforts

The Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund awarded a total of $322,000 to media organizations as it aims to bolster local engagement and coverage of the city’s recovery.  The gift will go to six community-media partnership projects put forth by a total of 13 Southeast Michigan news and community groups, according to a news release. They include the Michigan Chronicle, ARISE Detroit, Detroit public radio station WDET and Detroit Public Television.

This is the fund’s first round of giving, after it launched last winter with the goal of protecting quality journalism that reflects Detroit’s diversity.

Support comes from the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the New York-based Ford Foundation and the Detroit-based Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The local foundation is administering the fund. When it requested ideas earlier this year, it received so many “strong” applications that it bumped up the award pot from $220,000 to $322,000, the release said.

WDET-FM will be receiving $50,000.  The station and City Bureau, a Chicago-based nonprofit journalism lab, want to try out an approach to increase engagement in and coverage of public body meetings in Detroit with help from residents who will be trained as citizen journalists. The coverage would be aired on WDET.

Detroit Public Television will receive $48,000.  The station along with Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) and the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Community Study aim to develop content for DPTV’s “Other Detroit” series, using CDAD member organizations’ connection to neighborhoods and the study’s polling data.

The Knight Foundation’s support of the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund is part of its $2.4 million investment in Southeast Michigan journalism. The Ford Foundation also separately invested in the social media presence and community engagement of New Michigan Media through the journalism fund.

WSGW Raises Nearly $50K for Rescue Mission

Dan Streeter of Rescue Ministries unveils the grand total raised. Photo credit: Dave Maurer

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM (Saginaw) raised $49,380 on December 13 for the City Rescue Mission with its 12th Annual “Sharing Hope” Radiothon.  This exceeded the event’s goal of $45,000!

From 5:30 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., stations asked listeners to prayerfully consider making a $30 gift which is enough to provide for a night of hope and care for a person in need of food, shelter, and clothing. The donations helps provide a warm bed in a clean and safe environment for homeless men, women and children. It also helps with three meals, laundry, clothing and counseling, all in a caring place.

City Rescue Mission is dependent on the gifts of compassionate supporters to provide care for the homeless and hungry.

Broadcaster Bill Thompson Hangs Up His Headphones

(L-R) Bill Thompson with friend and colleague Tim Skubick at retirement party on December 12.

On December 12, longtime Michigan broadcaster Bill Thompson, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, celebrated a 40-year radio career with a retirement party in Lansing.

Thompson’s career began as a weekend announcer and DJ at WFYC-AM (Alma) in 1975 and after graduation from Central Michigan University in 1978, moved on to WSOO-AM (Sault Ste. Marie) as Production Director.  In late 1979, he moved on to become Program Director at WJOR-AM (South Haven).  A year later, Thompson moved to Lansing an afternoon news anchor job at WJIM Radio. In 1983, he was promoted to Capitol Correspondent and joined the Capitol Press Corp for WJIM until the station was sold in 1985.  In 1986, Thompson joined WITL-AM/FM in Lansing (as “Bill Perry”), eventually taking over as News Director.

In 1991, Thompson then worked as a news reporter at WION-AM (Ionia).

He is best known throughout the state for his 23-year tenure as a statewide network news reporter/anchor/editor, beginning in 1992 with the Michigan News Network/Great Lakes Media Group.  Thompson remained with the network, renamed the Michigan Radio Network through a series of owners including Full Circle Broadcasting, Saga Communications and Learfield Communications.

He also served as a member of the CMU Broadcast and Cinematic Arts Alumni Advisory Board for 14 years and has helped mentor BCA students since his graduation nearly 40 years ago.

Bill and his wife Debbie reside in Mason.

The Robinson Report – The Interview

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“Don’t ever do an interview … make it a conversation.” That’s the advice Jack Paar gave to Dick Cavett.

It almost seems without effort. His execution is flawless.

And again this weekend.

To watch CBS Sunday Morning’s Steve Hartman interview REAL people, you’d think they were long lost friends.

Which is exactly his gift.

You might not know Jack Paar or Dick Cavett from a bucket of chicken.

Watch them work. And learn.

Even facing cantankerous John Lennon, Dick Cavett’s conversation with the famous ex-Beatle and his Yoko – made history.

It certainly was far from an interview but a clear, intimate look into their lives.

The art of the interview eludes most radio talent because we make it an interview, not a conversation.

We’re faced with diverse sets of “interviews” – local city officials, charity leaders along with regional and national stars.

First – do your homework.

Nothing tells the Listener you don’t know what you’re doing if you’re not in control of the answer – or can regain control if a fastball flies by you.

Second – put the interviewee at ease.

Perhaps a nugget of personal information not previously in the spotlight that lifts them up.

Finally – always record the conversation.

Or at least delay.

Imagine if  Diane Sawyer were ‘live’ with her conversations.

Messy, messy, messy.

Yet, we do it in broadcast – every day.

Cancel the interview. Book the conversation.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink and he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin was a featured speaker at the 2017 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) in Lansing.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or

Creating Personas: Envision the Audience for Your Radio Station’s Blog or Podcast

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

When I was the Program Director of WBRU in Providence, we often talked about “Mr. BRU,” a fictional character that represented our audience. Mr. BRU was 25 years old, single, lived in the Providence suburbs, and liked to drink beer and go to Newport in the summer. Mr. BRU helped the programming staff at the radio station think of the audience in concrete terms. Before putting a promotion on the air or creating a morning show bit, we would ask ourselves, “What would Mr. BRU think of this?”

Mr. BRU is the result of an exercise that is common not just in broadcasting, but in marketing circles as well. Mr. BRU is a persona — a personification that helps people get a handle on their audience. Gathering the staff together to create personas — it’s useful to create a few — that represent your audience helps to ensure that everybody is on the same page when it comes to creating compelling content.

The technique is useful not only for a radio station’s on-air programming, but also for a station’s blog or podcast. If you haven’t gone through this exercise with your team before (or in a long time), the launch of a station blog or podcast is a great opportunity to do so.

In all likelihood, the personas you create for your radio station’s on-air programming will be identical to those that you create for your radio station’s blog. However, because podcasts typically focus on a narrower niche that the radio station as a whole, they may require fewer, more specific personas. One Mr. BRU may drink Budweiser while a second Mr. BRU may be a beer snob; only the latter will listen to the radio station’s craft beer podcast.

Once you’ve gathered the appropriate members of your team together, give your first persona a name and brainstorm their characteristics, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Where they live
  • Marital status
  • Number of children
  • Type of job
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Hobbies
  • Annual income
  • Musical tastes
  • Allegiance to sports teams
  • Political leanings
  • Other interests

Create as many personas as you need to adequately represent a wide swath of your audience (4 to 6 for your on-air programming or blog, perhaps fewer for a podcast). When you’re done, you may even want to find a place to post bios for these personas for everybody in the station to see.

Personas can help your radio station’s staff members focus on creating the most compelling content for the audience, whether on the air, on the blog or in podcasts. Carve out some time to help them envision the audience together.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at or 1-800-968-7622.

2018 Will be a Great Year to be Part of the MAB

Happy New Year … 2018 is quickly approaching. There are many exciting things in store here at the MAB.

The Great Lakes Media Show will be held March 6 and 7 and host dynamic exhibitors, speakers and sessions to address new challenges facing broadcasters as they evolve into multi-media platforms.  We also will be launching a new website and member CRM, giving members the ability to interact easily through the MAB.

Dues and invoice renewals have been sent to every station for 2018. At this time, more than 39 percent have taken advantage of the early payment discount.  If your station has not paid the 2018 modest dues investment, you have until December 31 to get the discount. We offer many programs and services reaching every employee at your station, most of them are free!  Be certain to take advantage of your MAB membership.

New membership cards are being sent along with a 2018 window cling.  You can proudly display the cling on office doors and windows or on station vehicle windows.  You are the MAB!

To find out more about the MAB services offered, contact Denise Weston or Sara Siegmann at 1-800-YOUR MAB (1-800-968-7622).

Majority of House of Representatives Back Local Radio Freedom Act

Via NAB:

NABA majority of the House of Representatives now supports the Local Radio Freedom Act after a bipartisan group of five House members signed a resolution opposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) now has 220 cosponsors in the House, two more than is needed to constitute a majority in the 435-member body. There are 25 LRFA co-sponsors in the Senate.

Adding their support recently for the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House are Reps. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Tom Garrett (VA-5), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Gregory Meeks (NY-5) and Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2).

“We’re gratified that most House members stand with America’s hometown radio stations against a job-killing performance royalty,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “For decades, local radio has jump-started careers of countless musicians and exposed legacy artists to younger listeners. We thank Congress for its support, and local radio looks forward to continuing to provide unparalleled promotional value to record labels and artists in the form of free airplay of music.”

Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) are the principal cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 13) in the House of Representatives. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 6).

“Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air,” reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.

The 220 House co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act include (new cosponsors in bold):

The Local Radio Freedom Act’s 25 Senate cosponsors are:

John Barrasso (R-WY)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Steve Daines (R-MT)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
John Hoeven (R-ND)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)


Second Window for AM Stations to Seek New FM Translators Opens on January 25

The FCC released the Public Notice outlining instructions for the final window for AM stations to get exclusive access to FM translator stations.  The window will be open January 25 through January 31. It is primarily for Class A and B AM stations that were not permitted to file in the summer’s window when Class C and D AM stations could file for new FM translators. But any AM licensee who did not file in this summer’s window, and who also did not acquire a translator last year during the period when AM licensees could acquire existing FM translators and move them up to 250 miles to rebroadcast their AM station, can also participate.