Category Archives: June 2016

Traffic Director Spotlight: Paula Paul, Greater Media (Detroit)

Paula-Paul_300Paula Paul
Greater Media, Detroit

Paula Paul is the Traffic Director at Greater Media in Detroit (WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM, WMGC-FM), where she’s been for the past 13 years. Paula was nominated for a spotlight by her former boss, Dick Kernen.

Q1: How long have you been in traffic?
Paula:  I have been in radio since 1983, and traffic since 1988. Back when we started, everything in traffic was manual – we had a big dry erase board to write the hours, and then typewriters to do the daily log. And actually, it didn’t take that much longer than it does now, because I had most of it memorized.

We thought that it would take so much less time when it was automated, but now there are all these reports to run so it doesn’t save me much time.

Q2: What is your favorite comfort food?
Paula:  Hot turkey sandwiches … I can’t wait for Thanksgiving! And stuffing — a nice big triptophan and carb overload sounds so nice.

Q3: Which Superhero would you be, and why?
Paula:  I’d either like to be Stretch Armstrong, or the guy from Fantastic 4 that can stretch — so that I can reach down to the sales floor and either slap the person I’m trying to reach, or drag them back to my office to figure out what’s going on with their order.

Q4: When I’m not working, I’d rather be …
Paula:  I would rather be cooking a huge meal for my huge family! If nobody’s around, I’d love to hit the road and explore somewhere new. I love the National Parks, and would love to continue visiting the ones I haven’t seen, now that the kids are grown and in college.

Q5: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Paula: 
Stay positive, keep smiling — otherwise you’ll end up in the weeds. If you get all tangled up in gossip, it just drags you down. I try to stay positive!

Q6: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Paula: 
My mom! She passed away six years ago; she was the heart of our family. I would love to see her again.

Q7: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
Paula:
I’m a really good sport, and everybody’s biggest cheerleader: until it comes to cards. I HATE TO LOSE. I’m a bad sport at cards because I want to win, and I’m super competitive!

FAA Finalizes Small Drone Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized and made public its first of its kind rules for Small UAS (drone) operation, which will go into effect in 60 days. As a result, drone use within the parameters outlined in the rule can be conducted legally without special permission from the FAA. Although the rule does not provide relief from every restriction over which the National Association of Braodcasters (NAB) raised concerns – flights over people, night operations, visual line-of-site operation, in particular – it establishes a separate process by which individual users can obtain waivers for these uses.

The NAB will circulate broader guidance once they have completed a thorough review of the rule, which is more than 600 pages in length.  In the meantime, below is a high-level summary of drone use covered by this rule.

  • Maximum weight: 55 pounds.
  • Maximum altitude: 400 feet above ground level (but, may operate over a structure if it remains within 400 feet of the structure and does not operate over 400 feet above the structure).
  • Maximum speed: 87 knots/100 mph.
  • Minimum age of operator: 16.
  • Operations may only be conducted during daytime.
  • Operations may only be conducted within the visual line of sight.
  • Operations over people permitted only over those participating in the operation.
  • Transportation of property for compensation or hire permitted, as long as the total weight is no more than 55 pounds and the operation is conducted within a state.
  • Part 61 pilot certificate holders can take an online training course; others will take an aeronautical knowledge test at a designated FAA center.
  • Uses for which waivers are available: Operations from moving vehicle, visual line of sight, operations near aircraft, operations near people, operating limitations for altitude and ground speed, minimum visibility, minimum distance from clouds, daylight operations, visual observer operations of multiple UAS.

EAS Comments Filed By State Broadcast Associations

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters, along with other broadcaster associations representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, recently filed Joint Comments in the FCC’s rulemaking proceeding regarding proposed changes to the Emergency Alert System. We pointed out how state broadcasters associations played an important role in the effort to pass a federal statute authorizing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and how broadcasters and State Emergency Communications Committees (SECCs) are committed and critical stakeholders in our nation’s emergency alerting network. A broad theme of our comments was the need for EAS issues to be addressed at the state and local levels where possible, giving SECCs and EAS participants the necessary discretion to make decisions that work for their respective communities. Some of the specific points included in the comments were:

  1. The state broadcaster associations objected to proposals claiming to enhance the security of the EAS network, but which would in fact impose unreasonable burdens on broadcasters, such as requiring broadcasters to notify the FCC of security breaches (e.g., the unauthorized triggering of an alert) within 15-30 minutes. We pointed out that imposing such burdens could have a chilling effect on full participation by broadcasters in EAS.
  2. The state broadcaster associations urged the FCC to adopt rules requiring cable systems to implement “selective override” for TV broadcast stations, which would prevent cable set-top boxes from automatically tuning all channels during an EAS alert to a cable channel providing only generic information about the emergency situation. Without a selective override requirement, TV stations which provide up to the minute news and weather reports during emergency and severe weather situations will continue to be subject to having their signals automatically blocked by cable operators at the very time when detailed emergency or weather information is most needed.
  3. The state broadcaster associations supported the idea of allowing broadcasters, at their discretion, to perform live code EAS testing without the need for FCC waivers, to use EAS tones in PSAs, and to use WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) tones in news reports designed to inform the public about WEA, (subject to safeguards) to assure that such codes do not trigger alerts downstream.
  4. The state broadcaster associations questioned a proposal to bring social media and other non-broadcast/cable platforms into the EAS network, arguing that those platforms, in many cases are still evolving, and are of uncertain reliability and utility as sources for distributing alerts.
  5. The state broadcaster associations cautioned the FCC against adopting any “one-size-fits-all” template for State EAS Plans which would impair the flexibility of SECCs to tailor plans to their own respective states’ needs, or which would impose unreasonable burdens on the SECCs that would have to rewrite their plans to fit such a template. We also cautioned the FCC generally about adopting proposals which would increase the burdens on SECCs, as they are typically volunteer organizations with limited resources.

Download the FCC filing here.

Group Seeks OTT Equality

According to the report in TVNewsCheck, the TV Neutrality Alliance, a coalition of over-the-top (OTT) service providers and broadcasters, filed comments with the FCC urging the commission to act on its proposal to classify online video distributors (OVDs) of broadcast station signals as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

The Alliance proposed a modification to the MVPD definition to promote equal access to online broadcast content and recommends language to protect online streaming video services from unintentional FCC regulations while ensuring broadcaster rights to retransmission consent.

NAB Asks FCC to Scrap Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed ex parte comments with the FCC urging changes to what it termed the “inequitable” broadcast ownership rules. The NAB called for the elimination of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership prohibition, citing the Third Circuit’s statement that the ban remains in place “even though the FCC determined more than a decade ago that it is no longer in the public interest.” The NAB argues that the ban “affirmatively harms localism,” and is no longer necessary.

The NAB also called for reform of the local TV ownership rules to loosen the restrictions on duopolies by eliminating the eight-voices test and top-four station restriction.

Democrats Reserve $600K in TV Time in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District

The House Majority PAC, a pro-Democratic Party political action committee (PAC), announced that it is reserving over $600,000 in early airtime in the Northern Michigan’s 1st Congressional district. This round of buys includes $214,294 in the Marquette media market and $378,428 in Traverse City.

The PAC also previously purchased $220,148 in TV advertising time in the Green Bay media market, which covers part of the western U.P.

To claim majority in the U.S. House, Democrats must capture at least 30 seats, which would include clearing nearly all the seats they are slated to win in November and some Republican lean seats. The Democrats’ preferred candidate in the race to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek’s open seat is former Michigan Democratic Party chairman Lon Johnson. The 1st Congressional district includes the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.

Governor Signs Public Threat Alert Legislation

capitol3Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5442 into law. The new law requires that the Michigan State Police (MSP) establish and maintain a public threat alert system plan that would rapidly disseminate useful information to radio, television, and through wireless emergency alerts (WEA).

The law states that the Public Threat Alert System shall be activated only in accordance with the policies created by the Michigan State Police. The law contains no mandates for broadcasters.

The MAB and the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) is reviewing several requests to use the EAS “LEW” (Law Enforcement Warning) code, with concern that over-use could lead to station deactivating codes that are not mandated by the FCC.

Engineering Spotlight: Gary Blievernicht, MSU/WKAR-AM/FM/TV (East Lansing)

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Dan Kelley at dkelley@michmab.com.

GaryB_300Gary Blievernicht
Engineering Supervisor, Michigan State University-WKAR-AM/FM/TV, East Lansing.  He has been at MSU since 1992.

Gary is also Chairman of the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC), which oversees the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Michigan.

Brief Engineering Resume:
Gary:  
Attended the Purdue University extension in Indianapolis, which morphed into Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis. BS/EET.  I’ve worked at WTTV which was an independent station that later turned into a CBS affiliate, and WISH-TV that was a CBS affiliate and later turned into an independent.

Also, made video discs for two years with RCA Selectavision; a couple of years with the University of New Mexico’s KNME-TV/KUNM-FM; and as Engineering/Operations manager for Eastern Educational Television Network, now American Public Television. Odd that so many places change their name or go out of business after I leave. Must be to protect the innocent.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Gary:  I attended and participate in the Junior Achievement program at WFBM-TV (now WRTV) in Indianapolis. I produced/directed two episodes, and did a bit of sales for the series.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Gary:  Well, a few know that I have the record for the shortest acceptance speech for an award at the GLBC.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Gary:  Trust the Lord, Jesus.

This Old House Comes to Detroit

thisOldHouseLgLogoIn its forthcoming 37th season, the public television program This Old House will air a series of episodes recorded in Detroit.  

The program traveled to the Motor City to work with retired firefighter Frank and his family as they renovate their classic brick home. The 1939 two-story property was one of thousands of abandoned structures owned by the Detroit Land Bank. The family recently purchased the Russell Woods neighborhood house at auction with the promise they would make improvements and move in.

Expected work includes a new roof, kitchen, and baths, plus new mechanicals to replace vandalized equipment in the basement. The team will look to preserve historic details such as leaded stained glass windows and archways as the homeowners blend their modern aesthetics with the home’s historic details. The Detroit series will span 10 all-new episodes.

“The Detroit episodes will present the city’s housing situation in a new light, as residents and leaders are finding the best ways to reclaim and restore their community homes. Our team is honored to take part in these efforts in this landmark city,” said Executive Producer Chris Wolfe.

The 37th season of This Old House will premiere nationally on PBS this fall.

WZZM-TV, Michigan Radio Honored With Murrow Awards

Two Michigan broadcasters were honored with Edward R. Murrow Awards, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association.  Presentation will be at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City in October.

The Edward R. Murrow Award for “Sports Reporting – Large Market” has been given to WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids), the TEGNA-owned ABC affiliate.  It is the station’s first ever Murrow Award.

Brent Ashcroft
Brent Ashcroft

WZZM won for a story titled “Big Ann,” produced by Our Michigan Life storyteller Brent Ashcroft, with former Director of Photography, Andy Sugden. “Big Ann” tells the story of an Ada, MI athlete, Anna Lee Konsoer-Rose, who was fighting for her health during her senior year following a rare diagnosis.

“We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious journalism organization,” said Janet Mason, WZZM 13 President and General Manager. “We are elated that strong writing and great storytelling are valued by our peers and content consumers.”

“It’s exciting to see the work of our journalists recognized in this way,” said WZZM 13 News Director Taz Painter. “We have put a lot of emphasis on telling the kinds of stories that are unique in our market, and we are thrilled that the judges decided our work was worthy of this honor.”

“Big Ann” was one of three WZZM 13 stories that won regional Edward R. Murrow awards earlier this year. In the national competition, “Big Ann” was selected from a category that contained work from stations in larger markets, including Los Angeles, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis.

Click here to see the winning story.

mir-ann-arbor-logo-bwMichigan Radio was recognized with a national Edward R. Murrow Award.  The award, in the Large Market Radio – News Documentary category, was received for “Not Safe to Drink.”  The documentary series traced the history and story behind the Flint water crisis.

“Not Safe to Drink” aired on Michigan Radio in December 2015.

It was produced and written by Lindsey Smith, with help from Sarah Hulett and Jennifer Guerra. Additional reporting by Steve Carmody, Mark Brush , Rebecca Williams, and other members of the Michigan Radio news team.

“Winning a national Edward R. Murrow Award is the ultimate compliment for any news organization,” said Steve Schram, Executive Director-General Manager of Michigan Radio. “This is a tribute not only to the excellent work done by Lindsey Smith, but also by all of our journalists every day.”

This is the fifth national Murrow award for the NPR station, which last won in 2011 for the Environment Report documentary “Coal: Dirty Past, Hazy Future.” Michigan Radio has also won more than ten regional Murrow awards over the past five years.

About the Edward R. Murrow Awards
The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession.