Category Archives: January 2016

Helping Flint: Art Van Furniture and WDIV-TV’s “Help Me Hank” Create Community Initiative

wdiv-tvWDIV-TV (Detroit) has partnered with Art Van Furniture to create a community initiative to collect water for the city of Flint.

Art Van Furniture and WDIV-TV Local 4’s Hank Winchester, consumer investigative reporter and head of the station’s “Help Me Hank” consumer unit, have joined forces to collect and deliver bottled water to those in need.

Beginning on January 12, all Art Van Furniture stores in metro Detroit, Flint, and Lansing are now accepting donations of bottled water from the public. Art Van Furniture delivery trucks will transport the collected water to Flint weekly as long as the need exists.

Reminder: TV Stations Must Caption IP Video Clips as of January 1, 2016

In July 2014, the FCC adopted new rules that require video clips delivered by Internet Protocol (IP) to be captioned if the clip is from video programming that was shown with captions on television. The rules and standards for captioning such IP clips are the same as those for regular, full-length programming if the clip is posted to a station’s website or app after it was shown on television with captions.

The FCC established January 1, 2016, as the deadline for compliance with this new obligation. Accordingly, all television stations must caption all “straight-lift” video clips, or clips that contain a single excerpt of a captioned television program with the same video and audio that was presented on television. Certain exemptions apply, including when the video clip is posted to a third-party website or app (i.e., one that is not owned or operated by the programming producer or distributor). In addition, the rules apply only to IP clips posted online after January 1, 2016. Also, the new captioning requirements do not apply to IP clips in which the audio is substantially different from the audio that accompanied the televised video.

Different deadlines apply to other types of captioned video:

(1) January 1, 2017: deadline for captioning of montages or a video clip created from multiple straight-lift clips.
(2) July 1, 2017: deadline for captioning of live programming (video clip posted online at or around the same time the program airs on television with captions) and near-live programming (video clip created and posted online within 24 hours of when the program first airs on television with captions).

Committee Has No Plans to Move Pallone’s Broadcaster Bill

As reported last week, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), unveiled a draft bill, the Viewer Protection Act. This bill empowers the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fully protect both broadcast viewers and mobile broadband users who may be affected by the upcoming Broadcast Incentive Auction by funding viewer education efforts, creating an additional $1 billion emergency fund for broadcasters and directing the FCC to create a repacking plan within six months of the conclusion of the auction.

However, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stated that he is not on board with Pallone’s new bill. Walden, who’s generally sympathetic to broadcasters’ issues, stated that Republicans have pushed for more funding to relocate stations after the auction. “We’ve always felt that there may need to be more revenue there,” he said, but “there will be a time to deal with that after we see how the auction moves forward.”

Helping Flint: FOX 2 and iHeart Media Team Up for Flint Water Drive

Fox 2 Detroit water drive

On Saturday, January 16, a joint effort between Fox 2 Detroit, iHeart Media, and the Salvation Army was able to collect water donations at the Kroger on 13 Mile and Woodward. Jay Towers was there to coordinate the donations. The station promised to “load it all into a Kroger semi-truck and they’ll haul it up to Flint later that day.”

Helping Flint: 9&10 News, Fox 32 and VanDrie Home Furnishings Team Up to Collect Water Donations

9and10 News Water DriveIn Northern Michigan, WWTV-TV, WWUP-TV, WFQX-TV, and VanDrie Home Furnishings have teamed up to collect donations of water for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The community can bring water donations to any VanDrie Home Furnishings location or make a monetary donation using this link.

According to 9&10 News, monetary donations made at the link above will go towards buying more water and helping families through the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.

Editorial: Here’s Your Most Important Digital New Year’s Resolution

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

It’s that time of year when we step back to look at the big picture. What do we hope our stations will accomplish in 2016?

I’d like to suggest one digital New Year’s resolution above all the others: Set up a weekly web meeting.

As I spoke to station after station last year, it became obvious that just about every staff member, from the on-air talent to promotions coordinators to program directors, had thoughts about how they could improve their online efforts. Unfortunately, they often have no arena in which to voice these thoughts. At best, these ideas are mentioned in passing in the hallways. At worst, they are never voiced at all.

Your online content deserves as much attention as your on-air programming. So carve out some time on a weekly basis to gather everybody to review, discuss, and plan your digital strategy.

Who Should Attend

Bring together every staff member who has a stake in the website: your webmaster, anybody who blogs, the promotions department, the appropriate salespeople, etc. If it’s inconvenient for the necessary air staff to physically be in the room, allow them to phone into the meeting or make other arrangements to get the information they need.

Old Business

Start the meeting by reviewing the performance of your website over the last week. Think of this like a music meeting at a radio station that plays songs in current rotation. Just as you would spend time reviewing callout research, sales figures, airplay charts, Shazam, etc., do the same with your online analytics. Compile Google Analytics, email reports, social media metrics, etc., and put them together in a packet so everybody can review them together.

As you look over the data, ask yourself some questions:

  • How many people came to our website?
  • Where did they come from (social media, search engines, etc.)?
  • Which social networks drove the most traffic?
  • Which keywords drove the most traffic from search engines?
  • What content brought them to the site?
  • Which device types (desktop, tablet, mobile) did they use to come to the site?
  • What percentage of visitors “bounced” from the site (left without looking at a second page)?
  • How many people completed a goal on the site (signed up for the email list, entered a contest, etc.)?

After a few weeks, you will start to discover patterns and trends. Perhaps certain topics, such as food, sports, or video games, will perform better than others. Over time, you can use this information to guide your online strategy.

New Business

A Content Marketing strategy will enable you to attract listeners to your website. (This short video explains.) At the heart of this strategy, of course, is content. Use the second half of the weekly meeting to plan the specific content you’ll post to the site in the coming week. Again, this is similar to a music meeting, except instead of adding songs, you’ll be adding blogposts, podcasts, or videos – in short, digital content.

Decide who’s responsible for specific content creation to the site. Is there a promotion that needs to be added to the homepage? Are there concert photos that need to be uploaded? Is there a sporting event that somebody should blog about?

There are two tools that will help you here:

1. A Content Calendar

A Content Calendar is a spreadsheet that helps you dole out web assignments to the staff. Don’t try to keep track of all the blog assignments by email; you’ll waste a lot of time digging through your inbox. Instead, create a Content Calendar as a Google spreadsheet, and share it with all of your online content creators. This way they can log in anytime and quickly see what’s going on with the website.

I have created a Content Calendar template that you can use for your station. If you would like a copy, please email me.

2. A List of Blog Topic Formulas

There’s nothing worse than being told you have to write a blogpost and not knowing what to write about. You can help your staff avoid writer’s block by having a list of sure-fire topics to fall back on, from album reviews to interviews with local celebrities to a list of things to do this weekend.

Feel free to email me for a list of blog topic formulas. Adapt this list to suit your station’s audience and use it as you fill out the Content Calendar. This will make it easier for your station to produce content on a regular basis.

You can’t pull together a successful online strategy overnight. It takes a lot of work over an extended period of time. But every journey starts with a single first step. Your first step is to set up weekly website meetings.

I’m excited about the year ahead for digital, and I hope you are too.

Please reach out to me with questions, comments, and thoughts.

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

Editorial: Back to Basics

Back to Basics: Start the New Year off with a review of your most important elements – the basics.

BerkowitzBy: Gary Berkowitz, Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, Inc.

First and foremost, air check your jocks. PD’s are busier and multi-tasking more than ever, and this art seems to be falling in-between the cracks. There is no better way to build relationships and help jocks sound better than to close your door, turn off devices, listen to their show, and offer constructive feedback.

Sell the product. Many radio stations sell everything but their number one product: the music. Promote the quantity, quality, benefits, and DIFFERENCE of listening to your station. Remember the power of titles and artists. Listeners always rate this very high. If you think they know all the titles and artists, please re-think this.

Do not worry about liners burning out. Let them “BURN IN.” They need to be updated and freshened, but make sure you do not lose the focus in the process.

Be involved with the daily editing of the music log. Since music is #1, there is nobody more qualified than the PD to make sure that the music on target. Constantly look at songs to make sure they are rotating properly. Not only through the dayparts, but the hours as well. Lookout for “vertical rotation” problems. Delegating music editing to a less qualified person could cost valuable rating points. Remember with the music, safe, familiar, and smooth always wins in AC.

Make sure your station is not dull and boring. Jocks, jingles, sweepers, and promotions give you a great opportunity to keep your station alive and vibrant. Make this week the week to invent some new imaging.

Remember, personality is all about the way you sound, not in the amount of words you use. Take a tip from the PPM markets. Keep talk elements to the point, and always make sure they are delivered with sincerity in the jocks voice.

Review and improve your website. Is there a reason for listeners to visit you more than once? With marketing budgets at a premium, do all you can to maximize this free marketing tool.

Work on technical improvements now. Do not wait for the start of the spring book to work on your audio processing or any other technical issues. Check with the jocks and production people to see what needs repair.

Plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to plan research, promotions, or marketing programs. We all know the upcoming sweep dates. If you are planning music testing for the spring book, plan to have it on the air between 3-4 weeks prior to the books start.

Review Christmas now. While it’s still fresh, look back at how this Christmas season went. Take notes on improvements for next year. Make lists of songs you’ll need, and believe it or not, start working now on clock grids so they are ready next year.

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

Ralph Hauenstein Passes Away

Ralph HauensteinWGVU Public Media joins the community in mourning the death of Ralph W. Hauenstein.

After a career in newspapers in Grand Rapids, Hauenstein served in intelligence during WWII under General Eisenhower. After a distinguished military career, he became a business leader in the import-export business. Hauenstein went on to become a leading philanthropist in the region.

WGVU Public Media broadcast Ralph Hauenstein: A Celebration of Life on January 13, 2016. The program was a live feed of the funeral on WGVU Life (35.2/52.2), WGVU FM (88.5/95.3), and a live stream via the WGVU website.

“Ralph Hauenstein was a great man, a man who has impacted many throughout our community,” said Michael T. Walenta, WGVU General Manager. “We are honored and humbled to share the celebration of his life with everyone in our community.”

MAB Brings 2016 SOS in HD to Members

The State of the State was carried live on air and on the websites of member television and radio stations in every market. Recently, you received an email asking for your web views during SOS and your viewership on air during SOS. We need to take every opportunity to show the superiority of broadcast media.

MAB Members at SOS 2016
from L-R: Debbie Kenyon (MAB Vice-Chair and Senior VP Market Manager CBS Radio Detroit); Karole L. White (MAB President); Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-30); Elena Palombo (MAB Government Relations Manger)

MAB is grateful to WCMU-TV Central Michigan University for providing the uplink truck staff and technical support, and WKAR for  their help booking uplink time for all of us. A big congrats to MAB’s own Dan Kelley, who handled the project expertly again this year.

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House Passes Sweeping FOIA Reform Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would create the most sweeping reforms to federal open records laws in nearly a decade. The measure would limit exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that now allow federal agencies to hold back information.

The bill would also create a single online portal for people to make FOIA requests and require agencies to publicly post frequently requested records online. The new bill, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act, H.R. 653, represents the most significant push to overhaul the FOIA system since 2007. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

MAB is tracking.