Category Archives: February 2018

Michigan Radio Podcast Gives Voice to Detroit’s MorningSide

Imani Mixon

Michigan Radio is launching a local project to give voice to residents of Detroit’s MorningSide neighborhood, as part of the station’s continued participation in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The MorningSide Podcast project will recruit residents from the neighborhood to produce regular podcasts of local interest and news for their fellow MorningSide neighbors. Michigan Radio will assist with the production and distribution of the podcast.

The MorningSide neighborhood is located on the east side of Detroit, bounded by Harper Avenue and I-94 on the north, Mack Avenue to the south, East Outer Drive and Whittier on the east and Alter Road and East Outer Drive to the west.

Detroit-based writer Imani Mixon is spearheading the project. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she returned to her hometown of Detroit to document its history and resurgence, with a particular focus on neighborhood change. Last year, she reported weekly articles in Detroit’s North End neighborhood as an On The Ground project editor with Model D Media.

The first MorningSide Podcast episode will be distributed by the end of February, with many more coming throughout 2018. Funding for the project is provided by the James L. Knight Foundation.

Michigan Radio is an NPR news station, and broadcasts at 91.7 FM in Detroit and southeastern Michigan, 91.1 FM in Flint, 104.1 FM in West Michigan, and online at Michigan Radio is licensed to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

About the Detroit Journalism Cooperative
The Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC) is a partnership of five media outlets reporting about and creating community engagement opportunities relevant to the city’s bankruptcy, recovery and restructuring. The Cooperative includes The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Michigan Radio, WDET, New Michigan Media and Chalkbeat Detroit,  a partnership of ethnic and minority newspapers.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouths Are

Dick Taylor

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: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC

Last week, I wrote about the power of the human voice. Each of us who decided to make radio a career was influenced by the voices we heard coming through our radio speaker.

Zenith Radio

My first radio, a pocket Zenith Royal 50 transistor, was purchased at Sammy Vincent’s Music Store on North Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. My first SONY reel-to-reel tape recorder would also come from Sammy Vincent’s.

Both of these wonderful electronic devices would be the foundation of my lifelong radio career.

Sammy Vincent’s was also the place to get a free copy of the latest WPTR-AM1540 Top 31 songs of the week.

Boom Boom Brannigan

WPTR had many famous voices travel through its 50,000-watt AM broadcast signal. Its most famous voice was that of Boom Boom Brannigan. You can hear an air check of Boom Boom from January 1974 here. The Albany Times Union wrote upon Boom Boom’s death in 2010 at the age of 82, “Boom Boom Brannigan, a pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll radio in the Capital Region was known for his energetic personality, sideburns and bright fashions. For decades, Brannigan was the voice of the local airwaves, a high-profile DJ who delivered the hits that defined the music of the baby-boom generation.”

Every market had their own Boom Boom.

For example, Boston had Arnie Woo Woo Ginsburg, New York City had Cousin Brucie and Los Angeles had The Real Don Steele.

Each were larger-than-life personalities that lived the part of being a radio star. Each were more important to their listeners than the hits they exposed them to.

Radio Stars

Bob Lawson, who worked with Brannigan at WPTR in 1964 put it this way, “They were the real stars in those days, and Boomer was the epitome of radio stardom.”

These legendary radio personalities caused so many baby boomers to get into the radio industry.

I had the opportunity to meet Boom Boom one Saturday afternoon when he was broadcasting from a little phone booth like studio in the transmitter room, next to the huge 50,000-watt transmitter. He was the consummate gentleman and further inspired this young broadcaster as he let me sit in with him during his broadcast that day.

70-20-10 Rule

Fresh off CES2018 many radio executives are talking about the latest shiny new things that are on the horizon and how they will impact radio. Everyone’s talking about how radio needs to innovate. The big question is how does the radio business manage its innovation resources.

In his book, Mapping Innovation, author Greg Satell cites the 70-20-10 Rule that is used by companies like Google to allocate resources.

70% of a company’s resources should be invested in sustaining improvements to existing products. Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, said the 70-20-10 Rule insured that Google’s core business would always get the bulk of the resources.

20% of available resources should get invested in exploring adjacent opportunities.

The remaining 10% are for creating something entirely new. Something that most likely will crash and burn, so you want to be able to sustain this effort without it damaging your core business. What Satell said he learned about businesses that invested in basic exploration was they all eventually hit on something big.

Radio’s 70-20-10

What would you say radio’s 70-20-10 rule is? 70% goes to pay down the debt? I’m sure many come away with that impression from what they read in the trades. But not every broadcast company is in that predicament.

How about your radio company?

Consider this operating strategy: 70% of your resources should be invested in your people who create the radio you broadcast every day. 20% should be invested in the adjacent delivery pipelines, like streaming, NextRadio and voice activated devices. And 10% should be invested in building a new paradigm.

What’s happening in the 21st Century is the acceleration of change for all industries. Innosight predicts that about half of the S&P 500 will be replaced by 2026. Back in 1965, 33 years was the average tenure of a company on this stock exchange. By 1990, this narrowed to 20 years. By 2026, it’s forecast to drop to 14 years.

So, the gale force winds of change have never blown with more velocity.

Community & Companionship

What great local radio personalities each created in their markets was a sense of community and companionship for their listeners. That’s radio’s core business.

It’s where the bulk of your resources should be directed.

Put your money where your mouths are.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at

IVaccinate Focuses On The Flu

Karole White
Karole L. White

By: Karole L. White
President/CEO, MAB

The two-year partnership between MAB and IVaccinate has a new emphasis this year as we turn our attention to the flu season.  This is the particularly dangerous flu season.  It’s not only hitting children and those with a weakened immune system; it’s bringing perfectly healthy people down to their knees and in some cases is causing death from complications caused by the flu.

The flu impacts personnel at many of our member stations.  You can help us get the word out to your staff and your audience that “it’s still not too late to get a flu shot,” according to MDHHS.

There is a lot of misinformation out there.  Healthcare experts are saying that Michigan citizens should disregard recent news reports that wrongly claim the flu vaccine to be only 10 percent effective this year in the US.  In fact, this figure is an Australian estimate of the vaccine based on only one strain of the flu.  In the United States, the overall effectiveness against all circulating flu was 39 percent in the ’16-’17 flu season – a more accurate predictor of this year than foreign estimates.

As broadcasters we need our station personnel healthy because when the chips are down we need to keep going.  We want our viewers and listeners, as well as you and your team members, to stay healthy.

You are doing a great job in covering this issue.  We want to encourage you to keep up the excellent coverage of this flu season and promote flu vaccination. It is vital we provide current accurate information to your audience.

To assist you, MDHHS provides important information at that you may use in news reports, as well as experts for you to interview, ads for your website and social media posts and more.

Beyond the flu season there are 16 potentially harmful diseases preventable by a mere vaccination.  Vaccine-preventable diseases have devastating consequences on children, families and communities.

Thank you for your help in keeping the attention of this year’s flu season and the importance for vaccination.

Click here to download IVaccinate Radio/TV spots and more from the MAB. 


WMGC-FM Launches Weight Loss/Healthy Living Challenge

Beasley Media Group’s WMGC-FM (Detroit) launched of  The Bounce’s 105K lb. Weight Loss & Healthy Living
Challenge on January 27.  The challenge is a 10-week program designed to encourage listeners to exercise, eat healthier, and have a better overall understanding of what it means to live a healthy life.

Molina Healthcare, Custom Health Centers, and Eastern Market will
participate in this initiative. Interested participants can register for the FREE challenge at to pick a team to help motivate them on a weekly basis and tune into 105.1 The BOUNCE to listen for healthy tips.

Listeners also have the opportunity to join the station for a free weekly workout, attend free Zumba classes, take part in cooking demonstrations by Eastern Market chefs, speak with a weight loss
professional, and more!

On February 24 and March 24, listeners will be able to see how much progress they have made during the journey and celebrate at the final weekly work out, which will take place on March 31.

For more details, visit

WXYZ-TV Names Newsmaker of the Year

Gerry Anderson, Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy. Photo credit: DTE Energy Co.

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) has named Gerard “Gerry” Anderson, Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, the 2017 Newsmaker of the Year. Anderson has been applauded for his company’s civic contributions, including the state-of-the-art Beacon Park, the annual tree lighting at Campus Martius Park, new neighborhood street lights, and power for major public events including the Detroit Grand Prix.

WXYZ’s weekly public affairs program, “Spotlight on the News,” will feature an in-depth interview with Anderson on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. Host Chuck Stokes and Anderson will discuss topics including urban revitalization, education, youth empowerment, the environment and mass transportation in the region.

“Gerry Anderson is one of the most thoughtful newsmakers I’ve ever interviewed,” said Chuck Stokes, WXYZ public affairs and editorial director. “He is very direct and has a visionary view of what he would like to see Southeast Michigan look like in the future. We are pleased to honor Gerry Anderson as WXYZ’s Newsmaker of the Year.”

“This region needs to get its act together on transit. We stand out as a region that is weak,” said Anderson. “I understand we are a varied region but we need to find a way to come together and realize that if we nail that issue, it will be better for the region overall.”

Past WXYZ Newsmakers include Chris Ilitch and Chief James Craig (2016), Mike Duggan (2015), Kevyn Orr (2013), Dan Gilbert (2012), Justin Verlander (2011) and Rick Snyder (2010).

NATAS Announces 2018 Silver/Gold Circle Nominees

The Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has announced the nominees for its 2018 Silver and Gold Circle awards.  One of the highest honors given by NATAS, the Michigan Silver Circle® recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25 years or more. Gold Circle® inductees have served the industry for 50 years or more. Silver and Gold Circle® members are honored for more than their longevity — they are honored for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting standards of achievement we can all hope to emulate. These honorees also give back to the community as mentors, educators, and volunteers.

This year’s Silver Circle® class:

Dianna Craig-Astrop, WWJ -TV (Detroit)
Jayne Hodak, WJRT-TV (Flint)
Kristine Kelly, WWJ/WKBD-TV (Detroit)
Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD-TV (Detroit)
Nate Penn, WXYZ-TV (Detroit)
Susan Shaw, WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids)

The Gold Circle® Nominee:

Diana Lewis, formerly of WXYZ-TV (Detroit)

The Silver Circle® Luncheon will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham at 12:30 p.m.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.



Doug Podell Joins WDRQ-FM

Doug Podell

Longtime Detroit radio personality Doug “The Doc” Podell has joined the staff of Cumulus Media’s WDRQ-FM (Detroit).

Podell will be on air Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m.

Podell’s radio career in the Detroit area dates back to 1976, with his most recent stint being at WCSX 94.7 FM. He worked as the program director and a host for the classic rock station before exiting in November.  Podell replaces DJ Lisa Lisa Orlando’s time slot, who moves over to sister station WDVD-FM.

Olympic Gold Medalist Meryl Davis joins WDIV’s Winter Games Coverage

WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced that Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis has joined the station
for coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. Davis and her skating partner, Charlie White, became the first U.S. Olympic ice dance gold medalists of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“We started following Meryl before the Vancouver Olympics in 2009. We knew then she was going to be a superstar, and boy is she ever,” said News Director Kim Voet. “We celebrated her gold medal win with her in 2014. We’re excited to have her join our team in 2018. Having Meryl as part of Local 4 helps set our coverage apart from the rest. She’s going to be able to give us insight into the sport no one else has provided in the past. We’re very much looking forward to her contributions on Local 4 and”

Davis will do feature reports and be a contributor to the station’s “Olympic Zone” program which airs at 7:30 p.m. most nights during the Olympic Games. It’s a daily summary and showcase of up-to-the-minute Olympic news that sets the stage for the most important action every day of the Games. The show originates from the Local 4 downtown Detroit studio and is hosted by Devin Scillian, Kimberly Gill and Bernie Smilovitz.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Local 4 leading up to and throughout the 2018 Winter Olympics. I’m happy to share my passion for and knowledge of figure skating with Metro Detroit as we cover the Games,” Davis said. “I’ll be sharing some specifics about what’s happening on the ice as well as what life looks like from an athlete’s perspective throughout this unique experience. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity and grateful to Local 4 for their mentorship as I tackle this new role and challenge.”

Davis and White started skating together at ages 9 and 10 in 1997 in Michigan. The ice dancing duo captured six straight national titles, two world titles and three Olympic medals. They started their training at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills and finished their Olympic career at Arctic Edge of Canton.

In early 2017, they announced that they would not be competing for a spot in the 2018 Olympic Games but they continue to perform together around the world.

Three of the top ice dance teams vying for a spot in this year’s Winter Games have metro Detroit ties.

NBC’s live primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics begins Thursday, February 8.

WNEM-TV Says Goodbye to Al Blinke

On a January 19 newscast, the staff of WNEM-TV (Saginaw) said goodbye to 13-year station veteran, Vice President and General Manager Al Blinke:

Blinke announced his retirement in October of 2017, following a 40-year career in broadcasting.

He started his career in radio as a reporter, writer and producer at WWJ-AM (Detroit). He moved into television as an assignment editor at WJBK-TV (Detroit), then as an assistant news director and assignment manager at WTNH-TV (New Haven, Conn).

He went on to became news director at WPXI-TV (Pittsburgh), and later took on the same role at WSB-TV (Atlanta). He was then a domestic television consultant for Frank N. Magid Associates before returning to news directing at the KDKA-WNPA duopoly in Pittsburgh for three years.

Blinke is a member of the MAB Board of Directors and has served on the board for many years.

Blinke’s replacement at WNEM is Julie Zoumbaris, who began her new position on January 22.  Zoumbaris joins the station from WRTV in Indianapolis.  Read more here.


On January 18, Ave Maria Communications filed an application to transfer the license of WHHQ-AM (Bridgeport) to Northern States Broadcasting Corporation for $175,000.  The station serves the Saginaw/Bay City Market.

Ave Maria also operates WDEO-AM (Ypsilanti) and WMAX-AM (Bay City).  Northern States Broadcasting Corporation is headed by Susan and Philip Bernstein of Chicago.  WHHQ operates on 1250 kHz with 5kw-DA-D and 1.1kw-DA-N.