Category Archives: January 2018

WILX-TV’s Mike King Interviewed about Television’s Future on ‘MSU Today’

Mike King

By: Russ White, MSU Today

MSU alumnus Mike King is regional vice president for Gray Television and general manager of WILX-TV 10 in Lansing.

King recalls the limited options of the television world in the early ’80s when he entered the business and how the content options for consumers have exploded. “The content is still important,” says King. “The platform has really become more agnostic to us.”

Listen to the interview here:

King says Channel 10 now delivers its content through the web, mobile, Hulu, and Amazon. And local news is still important to people, and it’s something they find more difficult to find online.

“We are really focused on providing local content on multiple platforms. We’ve always been about content. Now instead of having one television signal we have multiple channels that we’re delivering to.”

King says WILX is now a multimedia marketing organization, not only one television signal. The goal is still to sell advertising, but “it’s not just about delivering TV commercials anymore. And consumers want to be reached via multiple platforms.”

King tells how ATSC 3.0 is a new delivery standard for television stations. “It will allow for more two-way interaction with consumers and slicing of the signal so we can deliver even more content over the same amount of bandwidth.

“To simply be in a one-channel advertising-supported business model isn’t sustainable any longer.”

So what and how will we be watching 5, 10 or 20 years from now?

“I wish I had a crystal ball. But as a company – Gray Television – we are going to be in the local news and content business. What I can’t answer is how you’re going to consume our content.”

For young people who want to get into broadcasting and communications, King says to be a good storyteller first and foremost.

“And you do need to understand how consumers are consuming the media. You can’t just go into broadcasting anymore. It’s really about figuring out the news and information people want in their lives and then understanding the multiple channels on which they want to receive that information.

“It’s about standing above the noise and staying on top of the rapid pace of technological change.”

WDIV-TV, Graham Media Group Launch Podcast Series

Roger Weber

On December 21, WDIV-TV and its parent company Graham Media Group launched a new podcast featuring “stories of the incompatible.”

Hosted by long-time TV reporter and anchor Roger Weber, “Mismatch” delves into stories where two people or things that are not suited to each other are together.​

Weber said that during his time as a reporter and anchor, he encountered people who didn’t line up with each other, circumstances or expectations.

“Mismatches create challenges and consequences,” he explained.​

Stories coming in Season 1 include the tragic love story of an heir to an automotive fortune and a woman with no money or social standing. The apparent mismatch ends with a terrible tragedy on the couple’s honeymoon.

Another episode includes how an interview between a baseball Hall of Famer and President Richard Nixon came to be, and also features a man who is contacted by a family that gave him up for adoption 38 years earlier.

Both episodes are available today on popular podcast apps and at: Six more episodes will be released weekly starting Dec. 28.

“Mismatch” is produced in partnership with WDIV-TV, one of Graham Media Group’s seven TV stations. Joining forces with Weber is Zak Rosen, a Detroit-based producer who has lent his expertise producing and editing.

“When I use the word ‘podcast,’ most people under 40 know what I’m talking about,” Weber said. “On the other hand, my fellow Baby Boomers often react with a puzzled expression. They either don’t know what podcasts are, or they don’t know how to get them. The technology isn’t an obstacle. It’s a gateway to great storytelling. I can’t wait to share these stories and so much more.”

The new podcast, is part of Graham Media Group’s launch of its podcast division, which will offer compelling and original audio content across popular podcast services.

It’s convenient, and you can listen anytime, anywhere.

“We are excited to partner with our seven TV stations and other content producers to bring superior audio content to new audiences,” said Catherine Badalamente, Graham Media Group’s vice president of digital media. “This allows us to leverage our storytelling talent and community connections to bring listeners more of the content we know they love.”

Badalamente described Weber as a master storyteller.

“Roger is one of the all-time great storytellers,” she said. “For more than 40 years, he’s been skillful at telling the big stories with honesty and heart.”

Weber described “Mismatch” episodes as compelling, comical and, at times, inspiring.

“More often than not, interesting stories feature a mismatch,” Weber said.

Emily Barr, the president and CEO of Graham Media Group, said “Mismatch” and GMG’s new podcast division build on the company’s reputation for compelling storytelling.

“Our stations are the voices of our communities and full of smart and engaging storytellers,” said Barr. “Podcasts are a natural extension of what we are really good at doing. Graham Media Group has some great podcasts in the hopper. We are excited to share them.”

Go to to listen and to learn more.

WBCT-FM’s ‘The Canuck’ Dies in an Auto Accident

John Wiechenthal

On December 21, WBCT-FM (Grand Rapids) 19-year veteran part-time on-air personality  John “The Canuck” Wiechenthal died in an auto accident in Kentwood.  He was 39 years old.

“He was the guy you wanted to be around and you knew if you were going to be hanging out with him, you were going to have a great time.”  WBCT Program Director Dave Taft told WZZM-TV.

Taft and Wiechenthal have been friends for nearly two decades. Taft remembers when Wiechenthal was hired at B-93.

“He was one of those guys who just kept calling the radio station over and over, ‘I want to work there, I want to work there,’ to the point where he drove us crazy and we hired him just so he would stop calling,” he said.

Wiechenthal, a father of three, worked two jobs: as a full-time  dispatcher in Ionia County and as a part-time radio personality with B-93 for the past 19 years.

On B-93, Wiechenthal became known as “The Canuck.”

“He’s from up near the Toronto area so he had a love for his Toronto Blue Jays and definitely the Toronto Mapleleafs,” Taft said. “He would have been here Saturday night, 7 to midnight.”

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today, January 4, at Christ Lutheran Church (44th and Byron Center) in Wyoming. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, January 5, at the church.

Traffic Tips & Tricks

The MAB is collecting your “Tips &Tricks” to spotlight different ways to better control traffic. Do you have some advice? Take our survey and look for your ‘two cents’ to be featured in and upcoming issue of the MAB News Briefs. Here’s what some of your peers are suggesting:

Traffic Tip: Get Everything in Writing
Communication is always key in being a Traffic Director, keeping everything in writing is a big help for reference, keeping up with day to day tasks, and in case there was a miscommunication issue you have everything in writing. Sales orders and copy changes are usually in writing, and provided by the salesperson or traffic department when discrepancies or changes must occur. If you have a form that you feel would be useful to other traffic departments, e-mail it to [email protected]

Traffic Advice: Create Checklist to Understand Why and How
Once you get everything under control, you’ll be able to create your own way of getting everything done. Creating a checklist will make your job easier. Sometimes is helps to check things off a printed or written list. This serves as a reminder for you of what you have done and what still needs to be completed.  Some free Online To-Do lists that can be of assistance,  include, and

If you have any tips or tricks that you would want to share with others, we encourage you to click here and complete our survey.

State of the State Broadcast is January 23

On January 23, 2018 at 7 p.m., Governor Rick Snyder will deliver his final State of the State address to Michigan citizens. In response to a survey of our TV members, the MAB will once again up-link the State of the State address live via satellite for all stations to use.

The feed will be a clean (unanchored) feed, in HD and closed-captioned. MABP stations will receive a seperate HD feed anchored by veteran State Capitol reporter Tim Skubick.

We encourage all radio and television stations to carry this program live on their main broadcast channel and/or digital channels. Its important that we show State government the value of broadcasting.

Airing the State of the State also goes a long way toward helping to influence lawmakers on the value of supporting a strong  Michigan broadcast media. The State of Michigan is one of the largest sponsors of public education programming, a major funding source of your association. We hope you will make the address as well as the Democratic response available.

Central Michigan University Television (WCMU-TV) has generously offered to once again uplink the address for MAB with their mobile uplink/production truck. The address will be on Galaxy 17 at 91 degrees west. More detailed satellite information to come. We will pre-feed the Democratic Response in two test periods prior to the live address, and again 90 seconds following the end of the Governor’s address.

And, after many requests last year, we will be happy to provide code to embed the State of the State broadcast on your websites, courtesy of WKAR-TV.  The embedded broadcast will  be closed-captioned and feature the Michigan public television broadcast hosted by Tim Skubick.

RADIO:  Radio stations are also encouraged to air the address.  The MAB will be providing an Internet feed of the hosted broadcast, details are pending.

Please complete this survey for us as soon as possible regarding your State of the State plans:


ON-SITE INFORMATION: It is important to note that due to State Capitol construction, parking on the streets surrounding the Capitol will not be available this year. Stations should be prepared to park vehicles, as available, on nearby streets.

Video/audio feeds from the House Floor will not be available as they’ve been in the past (again, due to Capitol construction). Stations should be prepared to use the MAB clean feed of the Governor’s address.

PRESS CREDENTIALS: Be aware the the Capitol Building will have increased security. Anyone entering the Capitol will be required to have special pre-apporved credentials, including news media. You may not get in if you just show up. Request credentials by contacting John Whetstone at (517) 373-5059 or cell: (517) 899-9671. Email: [email protected] . THIS MUST BE DONE IN ADVANCE – DEADLINE IS JANUARY 16, 2018. You will need a photo ID to pick up credentials; a press pass will not do.

‘Fighting Fake News,’ ‘Covering Guns and Ammo’ and ‘Tell it Online’: Poynter’s Al Tompkins Will Present 3 Breakouts at Great Lakes Media Show

Al Tompkins, The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online, will be on hand at the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show to present three fantastic and timely breakout sessions.

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 and register to attend at

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters,” which was adopted by more than 75 universities as their main broadcast writing textbook. For almost 10 years, thousands of people a day read his online journalism story idea column “Al’s Morning Meeting” on

He will present the following three sessions during the Great Lakes Media Show:

Fighting Fake News
As much as journalists resist the phrase, fake news is real. Discover the difference between information, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda.  One of these is toxic! Learn to spot fake photos and videos and see how the hidden metadata on images and documents can help you unlock who generated them plus where and when they were produced. Discover the four questions that will reveal fake studies and claims and learn how to understand the dark web where rumors and conspiracies hatch and spread.

Covering Guns and Ammo
Michigan viewers and listeners know and like guns.  It is a hunting culture that is so loyal highways are jammed with hunters heading north to deer hunting camps on the opening day of the season. It is vital for journalists to understand guns in order to report on the unfolding debate about gun control and gun violence. Tompkins will address the difference between calibers and gauges, show the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons, help participants understand what is legal to own and what is not, demonstrate how ammo works, outline the key words and phrases that journalists often get wrong, help participants understand why the Second Amendment is key to the gun control conversations and illustrate how the background check, licensing and record systems work (or not) in the United States, compared to other places including our northern neighbor, Canada.

Tell it Online
Online storytelling involves more than posting a newspaper or TV story on the website. Learn the secrets of what kind of video stories become online hits. See why graphics and images are vital to online content and let us show you how to take your legacy media story and make it interactive online.  The word to remember  is “engagement” and the way to get it is “interactivity.” You can do this. Discover how.

For 24 years, Tompkins has worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.  He has trained thousands of television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his One-Day Storytelling Workshops in 45 states, Canada, Denmark, Iceland and South Africa.

Click here to learn more about Tompkins and the full line-up of dynamic and engaging speakers who will be a part of the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.