Category Archives: June 2017

FCC Watch: Translator Upgrades and Ownership Changes

Here’s the latest Michigan-related FCC broadcast filings:

June 28:  The application by Mentor Partners, Inc. to modify the facilities of FM translator W299BE (Big Rapids) was granted.   The application is to change the transmitter site and height above average terrain (HAAT). The translator rebroadcasts the company’s WBRN-AM (Big Rapids).

June 28:  An application to assign the license of WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) from WXMI, LLC (Tribune Media) to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. was filed.   The assignment application also includes the licenses for W42CB-D (Hesperia) and W17DF-D (Muskegon).

June 27: Midwest Communications, Inc. was granted an application for direct measurement for WKZO-AM (Kalamazoo).

June 26: Both the license renewal application and the assignment of license application for WMXG-FM (Stephenson) from Escanaba License Corp. to AMC Partners Escanaba, Inc. was granted.

June 26: The application by AMC Partners Escanaba, Inc. for a construction permit to reduce the power of WCMM-FM (Gulliver) was granted.  The power reduction was to eliminate market coverage overlap.

June 23:  An application for license to cover a construction permit for low-power FM station WFAH-LP (Flint) was granted.  The station is licensed to Greater Flint Arts Council.

June 23: An application for license to cover a construction permit for low-power FM station WFOV-LP (Flint) was granted.  The station is licensed to Flint Odyssey House, Inc.

June 19:  An application was filed by Educational Media Foundation for FM translator W240CG (Webberville).  The application seeks to change the transmitter location to the WITL-FM tower (Lansing) and increase ERP and HAAT.  The translator rebroadcasts WITL-FM (presumably one of WITL’s HD channels).

June 14: the application for assignment of license for WCHB-AM (Taylor) from Radio One of Detroit, LLC to WMUZ Radio, Inc. was approved.

June 14: the application of Family Life Broadcasting System to modify the construction permit of FM translator W231CV (Holly) was approved.  The application sought to change the transmitter site, ERP and HAAT.  The translator rebroadcasts the company’s WUFL-AM (Sterling Heights).

June 5, Up North Radio, LLC filed a license application to modify the license of WBZX-FM (Big Rapids) to cover replacement of its antenna.

June 2,  Educational Media Foundation was granted an application for minor changes to FM translator W262BD (Dimondale). The application is to increase the effective radiated power of the translator from 22 watts to 99 watts.  The translator rebroadcasts the signal of WWSJ-AM, St. Johns.

May 31, Caron Broadcasting, Inc. filed an license application to cover a construction permit for FM translator W224CC (Detroit).  The construction permit was for a power increase from 70 to 90 watts effective-radiated power. The translator rebroadcasts the signal of WLVQ-AM, Detroit.

May 25, WRVM, Inc. received approval for a minor-change application for FM translator W237AW, licensed to Iron River, MI. The application was for a power change from 50 to 55 watts effective radiated power. The translator rebroadcasts the signal of WMVM-FM (Goodman, Wisc.).

NAB Releases Video Explaining TV Repack

The National Association of Broadcasters has created a YouTube video warning the public and the Federal Communications Commission about the challenges that lie ahead for the broadcast TV repack. The video highlights the possibility of radio stations going off the air, budget challenges, time constraints and the amount of work needed to safely update towers.

To sum it up, the 39-month broadcast TV repack process will be really hard:

Michigan Radio Wins Two PRNDI Awards

Michigan Radio was honored on June 24 with two awards from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI).

The station received a First Place award in the Large Newsroom-Nationally Edited Continuing Coverage category for its on-going reporting about the Flint water crisis.

“The reporters at Michigan Radio took our commitment to keep the story of the Flint water crisis in front of a national audience very seriously,” said Vincent Duffy, Michigan Radio News Director. “This award is really a credit to the whole Flint team and our entire newsroom for their work that aired on NPR. I’m really pleased that the fantastic work done by Michigan Radio reporters has been recognized in this way.”

The station also received a Second Place award in the Long Documentary category for “Out From The Shadows: Living Undocumented.” The hour-long documentary by reporter Dustin Dwyer of Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity team looked at what life is like for illegal immigrant families in the Grand Rapids area facing the prospect of deportation.

Michigan Radio has the state’s largest and most recognized radio news service, with more than thirty-five awards received in 2017 for news excellence. Michigan Radio broadcasts at 91.7 FM in southeastern Michigan, 91.1 FM in Flint, and 104.1 FM in western Michigan.

WXYZ’s Galli to Host ‘Inside Michigan Football Radio Show

Brad Galli

The University of Michigan Athletic Department and The Michigan IMG Sports Network has announced that WXYZ-TV (Detroit) sports anchor Brad Galli will host the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show, held Mondays throughout the football season.

“Bringing fans closer to the Michigan football program and providing unique access every week will be a lot of fun,” said Galli. “I have a lot of enthusiasm about hosting the show — and I think I’m smart enough to know I don’t have to do much talking with Coach Harbaugh on the microphone next to me.”

The past two seasons, Galli has interviewed J. Ira, the Nicki Harris Family and Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh on Mondays as part of WXYZ-TV’s Sunday broadcast of the Inside Michigan Football TV show.

A Detroit native who grew up in Troy, Galli anchors sports on WXYZ’s 7 Action News. He earned an Emmy in 2016 for Excellence in Sports Anchoring in the state of Michigan after winning his first Emmy in 2014 for Excellence in Sports Reporting. Galli also received a Merit Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for Best Sportscast in 2014. He began working at WXYZ-TV in 2011 after graduating from Marquette University.

Jim Brandstatter, the host since the inception of the weekly radio show, has decided to step away from the Monday night show. Brandstatter will continue to handle play-by-play duties for the IMG/Michigan Sports Network and host the Inside Michigan Football TV show as well as provide color commentary on the Detroit Lions radio broadcast.

“The decision to step away from the Monday night Inside Michigan Football radio show with Jim Harbaugh was mine,” said Brandstatter. “I made the decision based on the increased responsibility of the Michigan football play-by-play position and the travel involved in my fall weekends broadcasting both the Wolverines and Detroit Lions NFL games.

“I had a blast doing the show and thank IMG for the opportunity, and especially Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan media staff over the past couple of years,” added Brandstatter. “I have loved working with producer Kathleen Stevens and engineer Tony Butler and the wonderful staff and Michigan fans at the Pizza House. Going forward, I wish for continued and increased success (with new host Brad Galli) of this popular radio program.”

IMG is the multimedia rights partner of University of Michigan Athletics.

National Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Class of Inductees

The 25-person National Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee presented 24 individuals and shows worthy of consideration to listeners and industry peers and the voting results are in. In just three years since public voting was reinstituted, the National Radio Hall of Fame reports an unprecedented level of audience participation with nearly 300,000 votes cast for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. The increase is attributed to the ever-more creative campaigning waged by nominees as well as the newly offered online voting mechanism in addition to texting. The inductees by public vote are:

Bobby Bones, The Bobby Bones Show; syndicated by Premiere Networks
Music Format On-Air Personality

Bill Handel, The Bill Handel Show; KFI AM 640 Los Angeles; Handel on the Law; syndicated by Premiere Networks
Spoken Word On-Air Personality

Four of the categories were decided by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. The inductees by this panel are:

John Landecker

Tom Barnard, The Tom Barnard Show, KQRS-FM Minneapolis
Active Local/Regional, 10+ years

John Records Landecker, renowned DJ, most notably on WLS-AM and WJMK-FM, Chicago
Longstanding Local/Regional, 20+ years

Landecker began his radio career while in high school at WOIA-FM/WOIB-AM in Ann Arbor.  He attended Michigan State University, working at station WILS-AM/FM in Lansing.

Sean Hannity, The Sean Hannity Show; syndicated by Premiere Networks
Active Network/Syndication, 10+ years

Robin Quivers, The Howard Stern Show; SiriusXM
Longstanding Network/Syndication, 20+ years

Additionally, the National Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee voted to induct two individuals for their contribution to the industry. Those inductees are:

Joseph M. Field, Chairman/Founder Entercom Communications Corporation and Robert S. “Bob” Sievers, the late legendary Fort Wayne, Indiana on-air personality who was on WOWO Radio for 51 years.

National Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig T. Kitchin comments, “Each year the enthusiasm and participation from those in our industry, and the voting public, grows by leaps and bounds. We’re so happy to induct this truly deserving, talented group of broadcasters this year into the National Radio Hall of Fame.”

The black-tie optional induction ceremony takes place at the home of the National Radio Hall of Fame – the Museum of Broadcast Communications in downtown Chicago on November 2. Tickets are now available at www.radiohof.org. A portion of ticket purchases is a tax deductible charitable donation to the Museum.

Leading radio imaging and production company The Mix Group is the presenting sponsor of the National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

About the National Radio Hall of Fame and Museum of Broadcast Communications: The institution collects, preserves and presents historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educates, informs and entertains the public through its archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications and online access to its resources. The museum is located at 360 North State Street in downtown Chicago and was founded in 1983 by veteran broadcaster Bruce DuMont.

‘99.3 The Lift’ Launches in Houghton


At 3:00 p.m. on June 16, Houghton Community Broadcasting launched a new contemporary hit radio station in Houghton:  “99.3 The Lift.”

The station is a combination AM station (WCCY, 1400) and FM translator (W257CZ 99.3).

Rick Allen, who has been with the company covering local news for Houghton Community Broadcasting as well as for WBUP/WBKP-TV, is handling the station’s morning show.   The station also will feature Finlandia University sports as well as Detroit Tigers baseball.

The station’s name comes from the Portage Canal Lift Bridge connecting Houghton and Hancock.  More on “99.3 The Lift” on the station’s website here.

WDVD Extends Blaine Fowler Contract


Cumulus Media
has announced that it has signed Detroit Hot AC WDVD-FM morning show star Blaine Fowler to a long-term contract extension.

Fowler’s eponymous morning show has aired weekday mornings since 2003 on the station. “The Blaine Fowler Morning Show” is heard Monday through Friday from 5:30am-9:00am on 96.3 WDVD-FM.

Robby Bridges, Director of FM Programming, Cumulus Media-Detroit, said: “Blaine and Lauren both are special talents and I’m thrilled they’ll make their magic on Detroit’s 96-3 WDVD for a long time to come.”

Fowler said: “I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had and I’m excited to continue to set the alarm and join Lauren Crocker each morning on the radio here in the Motor City!!”

Lee and Formicola Posthumously Inducted Into Country Radio Hall of Fame

Linda Lee and Joe Wade Formicola

At ceremonies held in Nashville on June 21, former Detroit air personalities Linda Lee and Joe Wade Formicola were posthumously inducted into the 2017 Country Radio Hall of Fame.

Kid Rock and CBS Radio’s Vice President of Programming Tim Roberts gave induction speeches on Lee’s behalf. Her husband, Jeff Young, and two daughters, Gina Holmes Mills and Alex Young, were also present for the ceremony.  Lee died on March 31, 2017 after a seven-month cancer battle.   Lee was an air personality on WYCD-FM (Detroit) for more than 20 years.

Formicola, who worked at both WWWW-FM and WYCD-FM in Detroit as well as other markets around the country passed away unexpectedly on May 31, 2017.

See WYCD’s article on Linda Lee and Joe Wade Formicola here.

Both Lee and Formicola attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts before launching their radio careers.  Dick Kernen, VP of Industry Relations at Specs Howard, told the MAB that Formicola was in one of the school’s first graduating classes back in 1970.

“It seemed that everyone was into rock music back then, but Joe decided to move into country.”  Kernen said, recalling that Formicola’s first job in radio was in Port Huron in the early ’70s.

“The irony is that in 1994, Linda Lee interned at Detroit’s WYCD, working for the station’s morning show co-host, another Specs Grad and Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Karen Dalessandro.  Eventually Linda’s career landed her a job as producer and co-host of the morning show at WYCD, paired with fellow Specs grad, Joe Wade Formicola.”

Kernen said he spoke with Formicola days before he passed away, remarking that “both (Joe and Linda) were terrific people.  Linda was one of the sweetest beyond belief.”

Linda Lee also will be inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame with the MAB Legacy Award and will be honored at ceremonies on August 22.  More information here.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made a significant impact on the radio industry over the course of a 20-year period, with 15 of those years being contributed to Country-specific radio.

WDIV Receives NABEF Service to America Award

(L-R) Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow presenting the Service to America Award to Marla Drutz, WDIV Vice-President and General Manager.

Graham Media Group’s WDIV-TV (Detroit) was presented with the Service to America Award on June 20 in Washington, D.C. by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF).

WDIV received the prestigious award for its ongoing commitment to outstanding community service.

In a news release, the NABEF said, “Through news coverage, philanthropy and community service, WDIV puts the needs of viewers first. When the city of Flint found itself in crisis, WDIV hosted a telethon, raising more than $1.13 million. WDIV also provided extensive coverage of the Flint water crisis, airing a primetime special and traveling to Washington, D.C., to cover developments on Capitol Hill. To address the opioid epidemic, WDIV ran numerous PSAs and provided significant news coverage to keep the conversation on drug addiction front and center. With Detroit having the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S., WDIV created the ‘Arab in America’ news series, which showed viewers personal stories of Arab Americans in their local community. In partnership with Bookstock, WDIV raised over $1.4 million for literacy and education programs in its community. The station’s commitment to education continued with its renovations of a school in the Detroit Public School Community District. This is just a small sampling of the work WDIV does to serve the local community.”

“This award reflects the hard work and contribution of every single member of our WDIV/ClickOn Detroit team. I couldn’t be more happy and proud of what we do here at this station,” said Vice-President and General Manager Marla Drutz.

Here is the video played at the award reception:

Remotes: Make ‘Em Great

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

From radio’s earliest days, remotes have been a part of our landscape. Today, they still cause much talk at radio stations. Should we do remotes or not is the most commonly asked question (especially among programmers).

At many stations, remotes are necessary, especially this time of year (summer).  So, with that in mind, here are a few tips to make them work for the client as well as your station.

MAKE SURE YOU SOUND GREAT!

Avoid having talent remotes or call in’s on the telephone. Listeners are used to hearing them over the air with finely tuned audio chains. Years ago, getting a good remote phone line was complicated and costly. Not the case today. If you do remotes, invest in one of the many systems that easily produce digital quality over any type of phone.

If you are going to have a PA at the remote, avoid feedback. While PD at WJR in Detroit, we did many remotes and always seemed to have a PA problem. Our Chief Engineer, Ed Buterbaugh, came up with a great solution. Instead of having one or two large PA speakers (that usually cause feedback) he bought 10 smaller, high quality speakers. He would surround the remote site with these. Each had a separate volume control so we could adjust each individually. Since there were many speakers, they did not have to run at high levels. We never had feedback on remotes again.

SOUND GREAT: LOOK GREAT

The fact that listeners cannot see us is a great part of the radio mystique. When we go out on remote that goes away. It is for this reason that we must look great with equipment and sets as well as talent. If you use a van, make sure it is spotless and always polished. It should not have body damage and the inside should be neat and clean.

Leave the “card table” home. Get an impressive looking “set” to bring on remotes.

All station personnel should be “dressed for success.” Some type of “station wear” should always be worn. Unless you are at a pool/beach/summer outdoor promotion, T-shirts are a no-no. The station should invest in contemporary outfits. Remember that first impressions are lasting ones!

PREPARATION EQUALS SUCCESS

1. Have a plan. Know who is responsible for what. Review and go over the day before. Load the van the day before. Make sure the van is neat and clean inside out.

2. Make sure the account executive is at the remote. Since this is their account, they must plan to be there for the entire event to make sure that client relations are handled in the correct way.

3. Get to the remote site at least two hours ahead of the event. Have plenty of banners and giveaways at the site. Balloons are great. They are inexpensive and kids love them. Do not forget the helium tank. Having some type of gimmick can also be most effective. Some stations have a mascot that hands out pictures. Some have the Money Machine. The more you have to offer the more attractive you are to not only the client, but to perspective listeners.

4. Test the connection to the studio. Make sure you have a good line, and the board op can hear you and you can hear them. In this day and age of advanced technology there is no excuse for the first breaks to be sloppy and all over the place.

5. If you are going live, make sure there is good communication from the remote to the studio. The talent at the remote site must have working headphones to hear.

6. Have a plan/script for all drops/call-in’s. Keep remote drops to :60. Write it down so you do not end up repeating yourself repeatedly. Pre-plan each drop with the client so they will know exactly what they will be getting.

7. Do an email blast before the remote. If you have a database, send out e-mails to the database letting them know that you are coming to their neighborhood. Invite them to come and meet you. Won’t you look great to the client when you load the place up with people!

Finally: Record the drops

When you are doing one or two drops an hour, many stations find that recording the drops is more effective than doing them live. This way if an error is made, it can be re-done. Over the years, I did many a remote this way and listeners never realized the talent was recorded. This also allowed talent more time at the remote site to meet, entertain and talk to listeners.

Hopefully these tips will help you turn your next remote into a win-win for everyone!

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

Gary can be reached at (248) 737-3727 or gary@garyberk.com.