Category Archives: February 2018

Detroit Radio Pauses for ‘Art Van’ Elslander

Art Van Elslander

From the Detroit Radio Advertising Group:

Detroit Radio Advertising Group member stations paused for a moment of silence at 9 a.m. on February 14 to honor and remember a great friend.

On Monday, Art Van Furniture founder, Art Van Elslander passed away at the age of 87.

With the help of Detroit Radio, Art Van Elslander grew his company from a single store opened in 1959 on Gratiot to one of the country’s largest independent furniture retailers with more than 100 stores in five states, 3,500 employees, and $1 billion in revenue.

Art was a great businessman but also an unforgettably kind man that impacted the lives of countless people.

God bless the Van Elslander family and may you rest in peace, Art Van Elslander.

NAB Will Honor Texas Congressman Green With First ‘Broadcast Champion Award’

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX)

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) will be the inaugural recipient of the NAB Broadcast Champion Award. The award recognizes a member of Congress who demonstrates exemplary leadership and commitment to strengthening the future of radio and television, recognizing broadcasters’ vital role in our local communities.

As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee since 1997, Congressman Green has worked on a multitude of issues of importance to local radio and television broadcasters over the years. He has taken to the floor of Congress to champion the vital role local broadcasters play as ‘first informers’ during times of emergency, and appears as a frequent guest on Houston radio and television stations. Green also has been the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the Local Radio Freedom Act – a resolution opposing a performance royalty on local broadcast radio stations for free, promotional music airplay – since its inception in the 110th Congress.

NABCongressman Green is also a principal cosponsor of the Radio Consumer Protection Act, which would establish a fund to reimburse local radio stations impacted by the “repack” stemming from the broadcast spectrum incentive auction. Green will receive the award at NAB’s 2018 State Leadership Conference on February 27 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.

State Canvassers Consider Ballot Proposal To Boost Renewable Energy Standards by 2030

Michigan’s utilities would have to generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 under a voter-initiated act that could appear on the November ballot.

The Board of State Canvassers will consider the petition next week from Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan. The proposal would define renewable energy as solar, wind, biomass, hydropower and municipal solid waste or landfill gas and not petroleum coke, hazardous waste, scrap tires or coal waste. It would gradually raise the standard – 18 percent by 2022, 21 percent by 2024, 24 percent by 2026, 27 percent by 2028 and 30 percent by 2030. The 2016 energy law called for the percentage to be 15 percent by 2021 (PA 342 of 2016).

In 2012, environmental activists sought a constitutional amendment to set the renewable energy requirement at 25 percent by 2025, but it was defeated.

With the March 1 Deadline Looming, What Should Radio Stations Be Doing to Prepare Their Online Public File?

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,

Many radio stations need to be considering the FCC requirement that their public inspection file be made available online in a system hosted by the FCC. From the calls I have received in the last few days, it appears that, even though the FCC adopted the requirements two years ago (see our post here), and station groups with 5 or more employees in the Top 50 markets had to covert to the online file soon thereafter, many smaller stations are only now realizing that the March 1 mandatory conversion date for all stations – commercial and noncommercial – is fast approaching.

We recently conducted a series of seminars for state broadcast associations on the online public file obligation. See the Michigan webinar here. The slides from the last of these, conducted for the Iowa and Indiana Broadcasters, are available here. In addition to those slides which provide an outline of the online public file obligations, there are many resources on the FCC’s own website about the public file. To summarize some of the last minute issues being faced by broadcasters, the Indiana Broadcasters posed 5 questions about the requirements – and our answers are shared below.

  1. If a station is starting from ‘square one’ in preparing for the Online Public File requirement that kicks in for all radio stations on March 1, what are the first couple of steps one should do immediately?
    With the March 1 deadline fast approaching for having your online file up and activated , stations should now be actively uploading the required material to the FCC file, and making sure that the information automatically uploaded by the FCC is accurate. We have already heard reports that the FCC system for hosting the online public file is running slowly, especially during business hours, making uploads difficult. That is likely to get even worse as we get closer to the March 1 deadline. So if a station has not started to get its online public file ready, it needs to do so immediately.For a station that has done nothing, it needs to start by registering to get a password for the FCC’s site that hosts the file. A station first needs to go to the “Owner Sign In” page here. Using the station’s FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password will allow it to log in and set up a passcode for the public file. If a station doesn’t know its FRN or has forgotten its password, it can call the FCC’s FRN Help Line: 877-480-3201 (Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. ET). Once the station has its passcode, a station uses that passcode to log into the FCC-hosted platform, here, and start uploading its documents.

    The FCC has a good set of Frequently Asked Questions about the online public file process here.

  2. Are all radio stations now going to be required to use an online Public File?The online public inspection file is required for all stations, commercial and noncommercial, unless the station has obtained a waiver. Few if any waivers have been granted. Unless you are a very small station with real provable issues with Internet access, I would not expect waivers at this point, so late in the game.
  3. What are the most important uploading obligations?The FCC has already uploaded many of the required documents, and those documents should be found already in the folders when you first log into the FCC’s hosting platform. The information already uploaded by the FCC includes pending applications, ownership reports, a contour map showing the stations coverage, The Public and Broadcasting procedure manual, and copies of the station’s license and renewal authorization. Look these over carefully and determine which of the FCC-uploaded documents need to be made available to the public. The FCC will upload all applications filed for your station going back many years – when only pending applications need to be made visible to the public. So you need to select which ones will be made available to the public by keeping them in the “On” position and toggling the rest to the “Off” position so that the public can’t see them. We have also heard reports that there have been instances where the FCC has not uploaded the most recent license into the authorization folder, so you should check to make sure that what has been uploaded reflects accurately your current operations.

    A station will have two sets of documents that will take a significant amount of time to manually upload. Any station that is part of a Station Employment Unit with 5 or more full-time employees needs to upload all of its Annual EEO Public Inspection File Reports, back to the start of the current renewal term for the state in which the station is located. There will likely be 4-6 of these reports, depending on the license term for the state in which the station is located.

    In addition, stations need to upload all of their Quarterly Issues Programs lists going back to the start of the license term. All stations, commercial and noncommercial, should have these reports. These are the only documents that the FCC requires to show how your station met the needs and interests of its community of license. As all of the Quarterly Issues Programs lists going back to the start of the license term need to be uploaded, you are looking at uploading more than 20 of these quarterly reports. Because there are so many, these will likely take more time than anything else to upload.

    Unlike the EEO Reports and Quarterly Issues Programs lists referenced above, the FCC has said that you only need to upload “new” political file documents (i.e. those created after the file goes live to the public). If you decide not to upload the old political documents, you must maintain all “old” political file documents in a paper public inspection file for two years from the date that the document was created. If you are thinking of no longer maintaining a main studio open during normal business hours, you may want to consider uploading all political documents now so you no longer need to maintain a paper file available to local residents.

    There are other documents commonly to be included in the file that station employees will need to manually upload. These include licensee organizational documents, contracts relating to ownership rights (e.g. options, pledges or voting proxies), and other contracts that restrict a licensee’s control over station operations (all of which are supposed to be listed on your ownership report) either need to be uploaded or included on a list of documents available for inspection upon request (with information as to how to contact someone at the station that can provide the documents within 7 days). Time brokerage or joint sales agreements need to be uploaded. And, for noncommercial stations, a list of donors contributing to support the broadcast of a specific program (as opposed to general station donors) is to be included in the public file.

    The FCC has published a complete list of all of the documents that you need to have in your file here.

  4. After uploading the documents, how long do I need to keep copies of these files? Retention periods vary for the various documents that need to be in the file. As noted above, EEO Public Inspection File Reports and Quarterly Issues Programs lists for the entire license term need to remain in the file until your next license renewal is granted. Applications need to be in the public file only until the application is granted and the grant is final (no longer subject to any appeal or review). Only the most recent ownership report needs to be in the file (as a reminder, the next biennial ownership report is due by March 2, 2018). Documents in the political file need to be maintained for two years from the date of their creation. Certain contracts and agreements (like time brokerage agreements) need to be maintained for the life of the agreement. So review the FCC’s rules on the retention of documents. In the slide deck we prepared here, many of the retention periods are provided.
  5. What advantages and disadvantages of the online file?
    The obvious advantage is that you no longer have to maintain a paper file and give physical access to your studio to anyone who wants to see the file. Of course, by putting the file online, you make the contents of the file available for review by anyone, anywhere, any time. So public interest groups and the FCC itself can use it to assess your compliance – including looking at electronic date stamps on documents to determine whether documents were timely included in the file. Late filings could become a real issue for documents like Quarterly Issues Programs lists which were rarely, if ever, reviewed by the FCC when they were kept in the paper public file. Remember, on the next renewal application, you will likely be asked to confirm that you placed all required materials in the public file on time. The FCC and the public will now know whether your response is accurate or not.


The March 1 deadline is fast approaching. If you have not already completed the process and made your file available to the public, start working on that file soon. It will take longer than you think, so don’t run out of time to comply.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership.

‘Be a Human Reporter’ with Joe Little

Joe Little

There is a historical thought that reporters need to remove themselves from a story and be desensitized to everything. Joe Little disagrees and he will tell you why at the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.

The Great Lakes Media Show, formerly the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC) will take place March 6 and 7 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Register to attend by February 16 to take advantage of discounted rates.

Little is a television news reporter with KGTV 10News, the ABC affiliate in San Diego, Calif.  He’s a proud Multimedia Journalist and often travels the country with his Garden Gnome teaching professionals and students his strategies for better storytelling and on-camera performances. Joe has been awarded 11 Emmys and was a finalist for the NPPA’s Photojournalism Award for Reporting in 2017.  His creative stories have taken viewers as far away as Pakistan; to a story completely contained inside a dumpster.

His coverage of the 9/11 attacks is among Joe’s greatest accomplishments.  He was four miles away from Shanksville, Penn., when United Flight 93 crashed.  Little was one of the first reporters on the scene.  His accounts are included in a book called Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report on 9/11. His expertise has also been included in a number of journalism textbooks.

Little will present the #MABshow breakout session “Be a Human Reporter,” on March 7. Learn more about him and other dynamic speakers lined up for the event at 

Neilsen’s Abcarian will Help You ‘Elevate the POWER’ of Your Station at the #MABshow

Kelly Abcarian

Nielsen’s Vice President for Product Leadership Kelly Abcarian  joins the line up of presenters at the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show to help stations across Michigan “Elevate the POWER of Broadcast AND Digital and reach the largest most effective audience leveraging real truthful measurement.”

The Great Lakes Media Show, formerly the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC) will take place March 6 and 7 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Register to attend by February 16 to take advantage of discounted rates.

Abcarian is a media research executive with more than 17 years of industry and technical leadership in aligning cross-product solutions for television, digital and cross-platform content and advertising.  She is responsible for the strategic vision and roadmap for Nielsen’s National TV Ratings and Total Audience products, focused on the convergence of devices and cross-platform audience measurement.  Since joining Nielsen in 2005, she has held numerous senior roles managing the company’s largest technology platforms and servicing clients in the Watch & Buy segments of Nielsen’s business.

Abcarian will present the #MABshow breakout session “Elevate the POWER of Broadcast AND Digital,” on March 7. Learn more about him and other dynamic speakers lined up for the event at 

MAB Snack ‘N’ Learns Are Coming to YOU!

From left to right: MAB Government Affairs Director Elena Palombo, Beasley Media Group VP/Market Manager Mac Edwards, MAB President/CEO Karole L. White and MAB Director of Education and Development Jacquelen Timm.

The MAB Staff is out and about sharing about the virtues of association membership with MAB members and their employees. Several stations have already hosted the MAB in 2018 and we are now booking Snack ‘N’ Learns for the for the second week in March.

Staff members at Beasley Media Group in Detroit are ready to Snack ‘N’ Learn with the MAB.

“With the turn over at stations, we can no longer assume that all members know the many services of the MAB;  we are taking our show on the road,” said MAB President/CEO Karole L. White. “MAB staff members will come directly to your station. We set up in your board room, break room, conference room or hall and share about the many benefits of MAB membership with your employees as they come by. We answer questions and we bring snacks. The casual drop-in, meet-and-greets have been very successful so far.”

Staff members at Midwest Communications in Lansing gather to Snack ‘N’ Learn with the MAB.

“We’ve learned a lot in just the first few Snack ‘N’ Learns. It has given us an opportunity to meet with many of our general managers and staffs that we might not get to know otherwise. We discuss the issues that are important to members and have met really great people.”

White said the MAB plans to host as many as to two Snack ‘N’ Learns a day, going on the road  two or three days a week following the Great Lakes Media Show. We hope to visit every station or station group by years end.

Contact Jacquelen Timm at 1-800-YOUR-MAB to book your station’s Snack’N’ Learn.

WDIV launches true-crime podcast series called ‘Shattered: Black Friday’

Graham Media Group’s WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced the launch of their second podcast series “Shattered: Black Friday.” This 10-part series investigates the 2010 disappearance of three brothers from Morenci, Mich. Alexander, Andrew and Tanner Skelton’s father claimed that he gave the children to an underground organization. Seven years have passed and their mother, Tanya Skelton, is still without answers.

“Shattered: Black Friday” is produced and hosted by Jeremy Allen and executive produced by Ro Coppola. Black Friday refers to the popular shopping day after Thanksgiving, which was the same day the boys went missing. The boys’ mother told Morenci police that her husband, John Skelton, was supposed to bring the children back to her. But he never did.

“We asked ourselves what stories have we covered in-depth that still haunt us. The Skelton brothers’ disappearance was at the top of everyone’s list. It was heartbreaking then. It’s heartbreaking now,” said News Director Kim Voet.

Recently, this missing persons case made headlines on the other side of the country when human and animal bones were found in Montana. The bones were examined and found to be those of three young children.

“This case is still open and there are so many unanswered questions,” says Allen. “As a father I really connect to the story. We hope that through this podcast, someone who might know something will help lead the police to the truth.”

The first two episodes of “Shattered: Black Friday” was released on Sunday, February 4 with new episodes released every Friday.

In December, Graham Media Group announced a podcast division and released “Mismatch,” a podcast series hosted by celebrated journalist Roger Weber which features stories about the incompatible.

For more information and updates, follow Shattered Podcast on Facebook and Twitter. Listen to the trailer and new episodes at

WCMU To Present Kids and Culture Event

WCMU Public Media is partnering with Art Reach of Mid-Michigan’s Kids & Culture free event from noon to 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 17, for a variety of activities such as bracelet making, coloring, etc.

The event will be held at the WCMU studios in Mt. Pleasant.

Alysha Fisher of WCMU said, “The date of our event ties in nicely with the launch of a new PBS Kids show, ‘Pinkalicious and Peterrific’. The program is based on a book series which encourages kids to get creative with art and self-expression.”

“Pinkalicious and Peterrific” will premiere its on-air broadcast on WCMU on Monday, Feb. 19.

“I’m excited to add WCMU Public Media as a new partner to Kids and Culture in 2018,” said Amy Powell, executive director of Mid-Michigan Art Reach. “Kids and Culture is in its third year, and each year we add new elements to keep the kids engaged.”