With the quiet period lifted, broadcast groups from around the country are slowly announcing their profits (or not) from the recently completed FCC Reverse Spectrum Auction.
We covered a few broadcast groups in our last newsletter here. As of this writing, only one Michigan full-power station announcing that it will go off the air as a result of the auction.
Last week, CBS announced that it did not sell any full-powered television stations. COO Joe Ianniello told securities analysts and investors “As the auction continued to drop rapidly in value, it just didn’t make sense for us to participate because we make so much more money by broadcasting in the highest standards possible. So, that’s our bread and butter.”
Tim Roberts, Program Director of CBS Radio’s WYCD-FM (Detroit) has been named one of the 30 Best Program Directors In Country Radio in a new list, released February 13 by RadioInk.
Roberts was ranked at #4!
RadioInk notes that “A successful Country PD has to execute the format flawlessly in markets where there is typically more than one station competing for country fans. A successful Country PD has to have an ear for the music, and be willing to take chances on a new song or new artist. A successful Country PD has to nurture relationships with label executives in Nashville who now have more outlets than ever to get their music to the masses. And a successful Country PD must serve the local community, which is one of the hallmarks, along with strong ratings, of a consistently successful Country radio station. And over the past year, every one of the PDs on this list has succeeded at all of those things.”
The magazine notes that Roberts has been in radio for 39 years, 11 of those at WYCD.
After 63 years broadcasting from a remote hilltop in Osceola County, Heritage Broadcasting and WWTV/WWUP-TV recently moved to Cadillac into a highly recognizable building. We thought all MAB members might enjoy this two-part series, originally broadcast February 14-15, 2017.
In conjunction with Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 16-22, broadcasters and emergency management partners statewide are encouraging to participate in a statewide tornado drill at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 19.
With the endorsement of the MAB Board of Directors, the National Weather Service will conduct the test with the Tornado Warning EAS Code. The MAB received a waiver from the FCC to use the actual EAS Tornado Warning Code (“TOR”) for this statewide test.
As with last year’s test, participation by broadcasters is voluntary.
In 2016, some areas in the state received multiple EAS alerts from the NWS weather radio. After reviewing the results of last year’s test, the weather service has corrected the issues regarding those multiple alerts.
In addition to the EAS activation, areas of the state may also be testing outdoor tornado sirens, which may alarm some members of the public. Your assistance in informing the public before the test is requested.
The MAB will be distributing more details and information to broadcasters within the next few weeks.
Gary Langley is Chief Broadcast Engineer at Interlochen Public Radio (WIAA/WICA/WICV/WLMN/WHBP/WIAB/W234BU).
He joined Interlochen Public Radio on September 9, 2016 after four years at WPBN/WTOM/WGTU/WGTQ.
Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume:
Gary: I signed up for the US Marines in 1992, on an open contract. This means they could have put me anywhere, doing anything. Fortunately for me, I scored very high in math and electronics, and was given a billet as a ground radio repairman. I spent one year in school at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twenty-Nine Palms California and attended classes at Marine Corps Communications Electronics School where I graduated second in my class. I then spent three years at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport California where I maintained our radio network for operations and our search and rescue radio network.
After leaving the service with an honorable discharge in December of 1996, I applied and was hired on as a Supervising Engineer for WEYI-TV (Saginaw) in January of 1997. I spent three years there learning and digging into everything I could get my hands on. I even went back to college and picked up an associates in computer networking because I could see it’s potential in broadcasting and wanted to get ahead of the curve.
Since then, I’ve worked for KUSA in Denver Colorado where I maintained 14 remote receive sites and microwave links, communications from the Professional sporting area’s including Coors Field, the Pepsi Center and Mile High Stadium. I was also the EIC for a weekly Monday night program called Broncos Tonight where we interviewed the coach and a few players live at a small bar called Jacksons Hole.
I moved back to Michigan in 2001 after my father took ill, taking a job as an assistant chief engineer for WGTU/WGTQ-TV when it was owned by Tom Scanlan. During this time Tom decided to move operations for our sister station WBKP-TV from Calumet Michigan to Marquette Michigan. Jay Zachirios and I moved the station during a 74 hour span while maintaining on air continuity. It remains to be the longest stretch of work I have experienced since the US Marine Corps, but when it was done it was a proud moment for everyone involved. We even had sales reps helping to haul concrete blocks to the roof while we installed new 3.5 meter patriot dishes. It remains one of my greatest accomplishments.
In 2007 I missed a step on a ladder while coming off the roof after sweeping snow out of those same satellite dishes, and crushed many discs in my lower spine. After surgery and a few shiny new implants, I was told by my doctors that I should be happy that I could walk, though the constant pain kept me away from working for many years. I officially resigned from WBKP as their Chief Engineer soon after. It wasn’t until I took another fall from my front steps years later that shifted my new titanium hardware by about an eighth of an inch, and broke my back higher up, that my leg pains subsided and I began to actively seek employment again.
In January 2013 I hired on as a broadcast engineer for WPBN/WTOM who had also acquired WGTU/WGTQ. After a year there of ironing out many of the issues that were repeat offenders which took us off the air, I was promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer.
This past summer I was told about an open position at Interlochen Center for the Arts, as a Chief Engineer for their public radio department. My company had been bought out by Sinclair broadcasting and there was nothing on the horizon there as far as moving up the ladder. Ultimately, I applied and was hired on at IPR in September 2016.
The transition from TV to radio was a welcome surprise. I often say it was like coming home after years away. Currently IPR is setup with an Axia Audio over IP system, which basically makes your entire system the most flexible router you’ve ever worked on. Most of our transmitters are made by Nautel and have many of the remote monitoring capabilities built right into them. I absolutely love what I do and count myself fortunate to be working for such a great organization.
Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering? Gary: When I PCS’d (permanent change of station) from the USMC. I began looking for a job right away. While I spent sometime as a bouncer for a large nightclub in Genesee County, I knew there was something more out there for me. I saw an ad in the Bay City Times for a broadcast engineer at WEYI, and applied. I got the job and worked for Garth Simms, who took me under his wing and taught me some good habits, and had the patience to endure my mishaps. I’ll forever be thankful that Garth took a chance on me for that position.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know:
Gary: Very few people know that I have a passion for writing, and laughing. I learned at a young age that if people were laughing, they weren’t fighting. Three years ago I began performing standup comedy all across Michigan with a great local group of comedians from Falling Down Stairs Productions. I have to admit, their name struck me as ironic, being that falling down stairs is exactly what got me back on my feet again. I’ve performed with them for many fundraising events and recently took an improv class with many of those same comedians which was put on by our only local improv troupe, Good On Paper Improv.
Q: Best advice you have ever received? Gary: The best advice I ever received was from my old chief engineer Jay Zacharius. He told me quite frankly, “One ‘oh sh!t’ wipes out ten ‘adda boys,'” Which turns out, is a mathematical formula for success in broadcast engineering.
The FCC announced last week that the forward auction has ended with $19.6 billion raised. Of this total, broadcasters will receive about $10 billion, with $1.75 billion going to broadcasters that incur costs in repacking and moving to a difference channel in the post-auction spectrum channel reassignment. More than $6 billion will go to the U.S. Treasury for deficit reduction.
The auction resulted in 84 megahertz of TV spectrum being repurposed for broadband use.
According to the FCC, the agency will prepare a Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice announcing the formal close of the incentive auction and providing information about the winning bidders and the post-auction TV band, including:
The results of the reverse auction, including the winning stations, the markets they serve, their incentive payments, their successful bidding option (moving off-air or to a different band), and whether they indicated an intent to channel share.
The results of the forward auction, including the winning bidders, the prices paid, and the specific frequencies they won in the assignment phase. The public notice will set the deadline by which winning bidders will then file “long form” applications to apply for licenses to operate on those frequencies.
The post-auction channel assignments for all reverse auction-eligible stations who will remain on the air after the auction.
The date by which each station must transition off its pre-auction channel.
The release of the Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice also marks the start of the 39-month transition for stations that are required to move.
The MAB were a guest of Governor Snyder on February 14 as he signed Senate Bill 992 into law. This legislation allows a person that authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate unmanned aerial systems (aka drones) for commercial purposes in a manner consistent with the authorization. The new law also sets up a legislative drone task-force to develop statewide policy recommendations on the use/operation of drones, and must include a member recommended by the MAB to represent the broadcast industry.
We received a record number of Broadcast Excellence Award entries this year and stations and networks that have won awards have been notified. Make plans now to attend this prestigious awards ceremony and celebrate your station and co-workers. This ceremony is your chance to meet and mingle with professional broadcasters statewide and show off your hard work from 2016!
Wednesday March 8, 2017 | The Lansing Center | Lansing, MI
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Prior to the Awards Ceremony, you’re invited to join the MAB for the Legislative Reception/Walk Around Dinner from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. (This will be the only meal before Broadcast Excellence Awards; light refreshments will be served at the awards ceremony).
Pre-registration is required to attend the BEA ceremony, which is only $35 for MAB station members. Register HERE. Broadcast Excellence Award winners have been notified by email on the number of complimentary tickets each station will receive for the awards ceremony, which varies by number of awards won.
Your station should participate in this career and networking fair because it attracts students statewide that will offer your company different views, ideas and opinions! By attending this event, you’ll be able to prove that your station is seeking out a diverse group of new staff and interns throughout the state, which is great for your EEO File!
DATE & LOCATION Wednesday, March 8, 2017
During the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & EXPO (GLBC)
The Lansing Center, Lansing MI
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
This event attracts hundreds of students and young professionals eager to meet with YOU and continue their career journey in the broadcast and media industries.
Each booth is $275 and includes a co-sponsorship of the event. As a co-sponsor, you will be helping to offset the cost of the fair. As a participant, you will help to promote the event to your students, listeners and viewers by sharing event information prior to the day of the event. You can do this by airing your own PSAs, if you have a station, or by adding your involvement into any press promotion. Your assistance in promoting this career fair is vital to the success of the event. For stations, keep track of everything you air for your EEO records and send the MABF a copy of your affidavits.
Don’t miss out on your chance to save some money on registration to this outstanding event. You will leave the conference reinvigorated and also learn concrete information you can use in your job today.
SBE’s Ennes Broadcast Engineering Workshop: this all-day program will feature multiple topics and speakers that provide television and radio engineers with the latest information in broadcast and media technology.
Opening General Session featuring Phil Gwoke from BridgeWorks. Phil will speak on When Generations Connect: Communicating Across Generational Divides.
Network Security for Radio with Brian Lindemann, Broadcast Electronics.
Contagious Selling: How to Sell Profitably in a Media Fragmented World with high energy sales trainer David Rich, Rich Ideas.
Sound Advice with Les Rose, Professor of Practice, Broadcast and Digital Journalism, Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. We are thrilled to have Les at GLBC for FOUR sessions on using video, sound and lighting to enhance your reporting.
#Branding –in a Social Media Age with Kevin Robinson, Robinson Media.
Facebook – Snapchat – Twitter – Instagram… Where should you AND your BRAND be?