Category Archives: February 2018

‘ALERT’ Act Gives the Feds Sole Responsibility to Notify the Public of a Missile Threat

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have introduced the “Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats (ALERT) Act.” They say this bill would improve the emergency alert system and give the federal government the sole responsibility of alerting the public of a missile threat, prohibiting state and local governments from doing so.

The ALERT Act also mandates the following:

  1. Requires FEMA to establish a process to notify state authorities when a missile alert is issued so they can activate their own protective action plans to ensure public safety;
  2. Requires the IPAWS subcommittee of the FEMA National Advisory Council to make recommendations on the best practices that state and local governments should follow to maintain the integrity of IPAWS.
  3. Requires FEMA to establish minimum requirements for state and local governments to participate in IPAWS within 120 days of receiving the subcommittee’s recommendations.
  4. Requires FEMA to establish a process to test the incident management and warning tool that a state or local government adopts to originate and send alerts to the public in the FEMA IPAWS Lab
  5. Requires FEMA to review its Emergency Operations, National Watch and Regional Watch Centers to assess their ability to track state and local alerts issued under IPAWS and determine which ones they should be notified about when states send them out.

2018 Tornado Drill Scheduled

The 2018 Severe Weather/Tornado Drill EAS Alert is scheduled for  April 11, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.

However this year, Michigan will not be running a “TOR” test as in the past.  After two years of difficulties the test, the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) elected to run the EAS Required Monthly Test (RMT) in place of a live TOR test, with some additional language mentioning how EAS can alert in the event of severe weather.

This should be good news for most broadcasters.  An RMT makes all broadcaster participation possible, since they are required to run the monthly test anyway; and it makes it easier as they do not have to air it “live”, interrupting their programming and/or commercials. They can delay it and air at the next natural break, if they choose.  It is just a routine event.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB), on behalf of all Michigan Broadcasters, received a waiver from the FCC to run the April RMT in the daytime hours, a month where it would normally air at night/overnight.

The test is a joint effort of the MAB, Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division as well as the National Weather Service.

More information to come, but please mark your calendars.


Come to the #MABshow, ‘Double Your Audience’

Paige Nienaber

Radio and TV seem unable to get more than about 4 percent of the audience to engage and participate in on-air contesting. So if you were able to double that, you’d be a star. Paige Nienaber will show you how 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.

Now serving as the Minister Of Good Times at Clifton Radio & CPR,  Nienaber got into promotions in radio after failing at being on the air. And that would be “Fail” with a capital F. After working at stations in Portland, Minneapolis, Charlotte and San Francisco he began consulting stations on marketing and promotions and currently works with more than 200 stations across the United States  and Canada. ​

Nienaber will present the #MABshow breakout session “Double your Audience,” on March 7. Learn more about him and other dynamic speakers lined up for the event at 

Discover the Ins & Outs, Ups & Downs of Drones at the #MABshow

The sky is the limit when it comes to boosting your broadcast capabilities. Learn about drones and other media enhancing technologies and regulations surrounding them at the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.

The Great Lakes Media Show, formerly know as the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC), will take place March 6 and 7 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Learn more at

Brian Town, CEO of Michigan Creative and Bob Kirk, Partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, will present the following two breakout sessions dealing with drones and more:

Brian Town

Drones and Tools
presented by Brian Town, Michigan Creative
Brian will present about new technologies and tools that we can all use to tell stories: 360-degree video, GoPros, virtual reality, drones, hand-held steady cams and more. He will show various tools available for video and talk about how they are using them at Michigan Creative and how you can add some of the tools to your toolbox. He will also talk about the types of videos companies are using, how they are distributing them, and how they are advertising with them.

Bob Kirk

Broadcasters and Drones – Rules and Regulations Governing Operations
presented by Bob Kirk, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP
More and more broadcasters are relying on drones for news gathering and tower inspections, but what is really required to ensure that you are operating legally? This session will provide an overview of the current federal regulations governing drone operations. Learn about registration requirements, pilot requirements, operational limitations and opportunities to operate outside the current rules.

Michigan Drone Pros also will be on hand during the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show  to provide drone demonstrations from the Innovation Stage in the Exhibit Hall.

Learn more about Brian Town, Bob Kirk and other dynamic speakers coming to the 2018 #MABshow at

WKAR Holds Celebration for WKAR Family and PBS KIDS 24/7

Left photo: The community celebrates the birthday of WKAR Family and the PBS KIDS 24/7 Channel! Right Photo: Sparty hanging with kids at PBS Kids Day at WKAR. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney

On January 27, nearly 800 children, parents and families visited the WKAR studios in East Lansing to celebrate the first birthday of WKAR Family and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel with “PBS KIDS Day at WKAR!”

There were many special guests who helped bring in the fun, including Sparty, Laura Sams and Robert Sams from “Get Your Feet Wet LIVE”, Splash and Bubbles, Curious Crew and host Dr. Rob Stephenson, our sponsors and various community organizations.

“We are ecstatic with the turnout for PBS KIDS Day at WKAR,” said Susi Elkins, WKAR director of broadcasting and general manager. “Thanks to our sponsors and all the various community organizations that participated, families were able to not only have fun but also receive valuable information on local resources involving education and health.”

The open house and party featured many fun activities and games for kids to partake in. Many enjoyed taking pictures with Potter Park Zoo’s owl, exploring the impression table with Impression 5 or reading books with the Capital Area District Library.

“PBS KIDS Day is an absolutely exceptional endeavor in supporting families and children throughout our region,” said Robin Pizzo, WKAR director of education.

Kids also participated in MSU’s Department of Kinesiology’s obstacle course , baby treadmill and tummy time and posed for a picture with Sparty, Splash and Bubbles!

“PBS KIDS Day at WKAR was so much fun,” said Julie Sochay, WKAR content and community engagement manager. “We loved celebrating this special day with so many of our local families, friends, teachers and partners. Thank you to all those who joined us!”

In addition to the activities, WKAR presented a video of the Playtime Pad Research Project, a collaboration with WKAR, MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, PBS KIDS, MSU’s College of Education and the Lansing School District. The project explores the effectiveness of tablet-based learning in early childhood math literacy, while providing access to the latest digital learning tools for students, teachers and parents.

“The data collected from student usage will better inform how technology can increase math proficiency,” said Pizzo on the significance of the Playtime Pad Research Project. “This is powerful when we look to increase student achievement at an early age and improve educational outcomes in the STEM fields.”

For more pictures of the event please visit WKAR’s Facebook and Flickr pages.

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).