Category Archives: MAPB

WEMU Wins Best of Washtenaw Honors

Ann Arbor-based Current Magazine, an arts, food, business and music, publication for Washtenaw County just concluded its 2019 Best of Washtenaw contest, as voted by readers.  Best radio station award went to Eastern Michigan University’s jazz-formatted WEMU-FM (Ypsilanti).

Voting ended April 19 and winners were announced June 3.  Congratulations to Molly Motherwell,  Michael Jewett, Patrick Campion, David Fair and staff!

Michigan Radio Welcomes StoryCorps MobileBooth to Flint


This August, Michigan Radio will welcome StoryCorps’ renowned Airstream-trailer-turned-recording-booth to Flint, Michigan to collect the stories of local residents. StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization celebrating the stories of everyday Americans, will record interviews in Flint as part of its cross-country MobileBooth tour.

Beginning August 6, the StoryCorps MobileBooth will make its stop in front of the Flint Institute of Arts for community members to record their personal stories. The stories will be added to the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and become part of the national historical record. The visit is part of the 2019 MobileBooth tour across the U.S. to collect and preserve the meaningful stories and memories of regular Americans and underrepresented communities. From the start of its journey, January 5 in Orlando, Florida, through the tour’s conclusion in Yuma, Arizona, on December 21, the MobileBooth will travel thousands of miles through the U.S., visiting assorted cities for a month each. The MobileBooth will remain in Flint until Sept. 4.

“As our MobileBooth crisscrosses the country, recording one conversation at a time, we are building an archive that reflects the rich diversity of American voices and tells the true story of this nation—and reminds us of the poetry, wisdom and grace that can be found in the words of the people all around us when we take the time to listen,” said Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps.

Michigan Radio is partnering with the Flint Institute of Arts and StoryCorps to invite local residents to bring a friend or loved one to participate in a recorded conversation in the booth. Conversations will be facilitated by the StoryCorps staff to help guests record meaningful conversations with a special person in their lives. Ahead of their arrival in Michigan, the StoryCorps team will begin recruiting guests who would like to be recorded. Reservations, which are free and available to the public, will be available beginning July 23 and can be booked online at storycorps.org. Participants must register in advance for their recording appointment in the Mobile Booth.

Later this year, Michigan Radio plans to air a selection of the interviews recorded in Flint. The station will also host several special events in the city in conjunction with the MobileBooth visit. StoryCorps may also share edited versions of select interviews collected throughout the tour via its weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition, or via StoryCorps’ digital platforms or best-selling books.

Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps gives people of various backgrounds the rare opportunity to sit down and listen to one another, and have that experience recorded into collective American memory. Participants have come to total over 500,000 since StoryCorps’ founding, making it both the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered and a priceless repository of wisdom for future generations.

WKAR-FM Names New Morning Edition Host

Mary Ellen Pitney Photo credit: Northwest Public Broadcasting

WKAR Public Media has announced that Mary Ellen Pitney will join the station as the Capital Region host and local producer for NPR’s Morning Edition on 90.5 FM WKAR-FM at Michigan State University.

The announcement was made May 23 by Reginald Hardwick, Digital News Director at WKAR. Pitney joins the WKAR news team on June 10, and will debut as Morning Edition local host later this summer.

“Mary Ellen is truly a connoisseur of public radio,” said Hardwick. “She grew up in a military family and learned to count on familiar voices of public radio whether she was in Texas or Hawaii. Mary Ellen brings energy, curiosity and a passion for our industry that comes across in her delivery.”

Pitney comes to the Capital region after three years as Weekend Edition host at Northwest Public Broadcasting in Pullman, Washington. She is a graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

Jim Rademaker Named Interim GM at WCMU Public Media

Jim Rademaker

Central Michigan University has named Jim Rademaker Interim General Manager of WCMU Public Media. The appointment comes following former WCMU general manager Ken Kolbe’s announcement that he was joining WGVU in Grand Rapids as their general manager.

Rademaker joined WCMU in December 2015 as director of development and community engagement. He was promoted to assistant general manager of WCMU Public Media in November, 2017. Prior to joining WCMU, Rademaker served in several capacities at WGVU from 2002 until joining WCMU.

“WCMU Public Media has several exciting initiatives underway that will advance the educational, entertainment and public services we provide,” Rademaker said. “Public broadcasting is much more than the programming you enjoy. Our success is measured on being a part of the communities we serve and addressing issues in our neighborhoods.”

Kolbe leaves WCMU after nearly five years as general manager.

Detroit Public Television, Michigan Radio, WDET, WJR, WJBK, WXYZ All Receive Honors at Detroit Chapter SPJ Awards

At a banquet held May 2, the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ Detroit) announced winners of its 2019 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Broadcast winners for various stories include Detroit Public Television, WDET-FM (Detroit), WJR-AM (Detroit), WJBK-TV (Detroit) and WXYZ-TV (Detroit).  A complete list of winning entries with comments from the judges is available for download here.

In addition, the chapter announced that Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells of Michigan Radio were 2018 Journalists of the Year.

In a release, SPJ Detroit said “Lindsey Smith and Kate Wells have continually demonstrated a strong commitment to quality journalism, attention to detail, energy and absolute enthusiasm about their work.  They also have the ability to develop sources on complicated stories, treat victims sensitively and tell difficult stories with a sensitive, yet compelling narrative style.  The talents of their partnership can he heard in the podcast series Believed.

Nominations for 2019 MAPB Public Media Impact Awards Due June 5

There will be up to two awards given — one Professional (all professionals including volunteers working in public broadcasting) and one Donor (individuals or foundations). The recipients will be recognized at the 2019 MAB Advocacy Conference and Annual Meeting, August 6 at the J.W. Marriott in Grand Rapids.

MAPB Public Media Impact Online Nomination Form

The purpose of the awards are to:

  • To recognize outstanding individuals involved in public broadcasting for their innovation and creativity.
  • To inspire others involved in public broadcasting to greater achievement in the field of public radio and television.
  • To increase awareness of public broadcasting and the contributions talented individuals make to the industry statewide.

For more information on the awards (criteria, etc), click here.

Deadline for nominations and supporting material (i.e. letters of support, photos and videos) is Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

All supporting materials must be submitted at the same time the nomination form is submitted. If you have any questions concerning the Public Media Impact Award program please contact Ann Walters via email at [email protected] or by phone at the MAB at (517) 484-7444.

Michigan Radio’s Believed Podcast Wins 2018 Peabody Award

Michigan Radio’s Believed podcast was named a winner of a prestigious Peabody Award April 23 in the Radio & Podcast category. This is the first time that Michigan Radio has won a Peabody Award.

Hosted by Michigan Radio reporters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith, the nine-part series investigates how former sports doctor Larry Nassar was able to abuse hundreds of women and girls for more than 20 years. The podcast was a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a member station and NPR, which distributed it.

“To be recognized with a Peabody award for our team’s work on the Believed podcast is most gratifying and humbling,” said Steve Schram, Executive Director and General Manager of Michigan Radio. “We also appreciate the efforts of NPR who helped raise the profile of our work with the distribution of Believed on NPR programs and podcast providers.”

“Michigan Radio is beyond proud to be able to bring the stories of these survivors to podcast listeners across the world,” said Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio Program Director. “We are grateful to the women who were willing to share their stories and hope this reporting will spark conversations aimed at preventing future abuse.”

The Peabody Awards are recognized as one of the highest honors in the field of journalism with the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media being celebrated each year.

“This is such well-deserved recognition for the team at Michigan Radio. They tackled a challenging investigation with tremendous tenacity and sensitivity,” said Anya Grundmann, SVP of programming and audience development at NPR. “Believed is a perfect example of how podcasting has extended public radio’s mission to give voice to people and ideas that help us see our world more clearly.”

In addition to winning a Peabody, the podcast has also been recognized with a Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma from the Columbia School of Journalism, a Scripps Howard Award for Radio/Podcast In-Depth Coverage, and an Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports from Penn State University’s John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.

Peabody Award winners will be celebrated on Saturday, May 18 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Ronan Farrow, a contributing writer for The New Yorker and an investigative reporter and producer based at HBO, will serve as host.

To listen to the Peabody Award-winning Believed, you can find it on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Columbia University’s Dart Awards Recognize ‘Believed’ Series

Michigan Radio’s Believed podcast has been awarded its first Dart Award from the prestigious Columbia School of Journalism. The Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma recognizes outstanding reporting in all media that portrays traumatic events and their aftermath with accuracy, insight and sensitivity while illuminating the effects of violence and tragedy on victims’ lives.

Episodes 6 & 7 of the series entitled, “The Parents” and “What Have You Done?” were selected as outstanding examples in the reporting of traumatic events. The awarding judges said of Believed, “[It is] a gripping tale that resonates far beyond this particular story.”

One of the series’ strongest elements highlighted by the Dart judges was the sense of relationship between the reporters and their subjects, citing the “enormous trust” that had been developed. Survivors and their parents felt secure enough to “reveal their deepest regrets and vulnerabilities” to these journalists which ultimately led to stronger storytelling. Judges called the series “incredibly in-depth” and praised the Michigan Radio podcast as “stellar,” “intimate” and “profound.”

Also honored with a Dart Award this year were NOLA.com/The Times Picayune for “The Children of Central City,” a multimedia project that tells the story of children from one neighborhood in New Orleans and the profound impacts of poverty, violence and trauma on their lives. Both winners will be recognized at a public ceremony and winners’ roundtable on May 1 at 5:30pm at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

The Believed podcast series from Michigan Radio and NPR provided an intimate look at how a team of female survivors, detectives, and prosecutors won justice in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. It was developed from the over two years of coverage of the case completed by Michigan Radio reporters. Believed was an exploration of the other side of this national scandal, that of the survivors and their families.

2019 marks the 25th Annual Dart Awards from the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma. Since 1994 the awards have recognized exemplary journalism on the impact of violence, crime and other traumatic events on individuals, families and communities. The Dart Awards are open to newspaper, magazine, online, radio, television, video and multimedia journalism from North America that goes beyond the ordinary in reporting on trauma.

Amanda Sewell to lead Classical IPR

Amanda Sewell (Photo credit: IPR/Daniel Wanschura)

Interlochen Public Radio is proud to announce that Amanda Sewell will step into the role of Music Director, leading the growth and development of Interlochen Center for the Arts’ unique music service, Classical IPR. Amanda is a musicologist who received her Ph.D. from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She became involved with Interlochen in 2015 writing program notes for concerts. She volunteered at IPR helping with the music library and was later hired to host music live on air.

“I have found her talents and deep love for music almost a match for her energy and ambition,” says IPR Executive Director Peter Payette.

Amanda developed the weekly program “The Interlochen Collection” to showcase the extensive music archive at Interlochen Center for the Arts. In addition to her radio work, she has a book deal with Oxford University Press for a biography about American composer Wendy Carlos. She was recently awarded the Paul Charosh Fellowship from the Society for American Music in recognition of her musicological scholarship.

Interlochen operates one of about 66 all-classical radio stations operating in the U.S. It exists to ignite a passion for music, share the wealth of artistry at Interlochen and champion the northern Michigan music community.

“I can’t imagine anyone better equipped to lead that mission,” says Peter Payette

WKAR’s Elkins Talks Federal Funding, ATSC 3.0, Serving the Audience

By: Russ White, MSU Today, WKAR

Congratulations are in order for WKAR Public Media. Recently, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters named WKAR Michigan Public Television Station of the Year and Public Radio Group One Station of the Year for 2018.

Listen to the interview here:

Susi Elkins

“I’m very proud of our team,” says Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting at Michigan State University and general manager of WKAR Public Media. “It’s always exciting to be recognized by your peers and so for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters to support us in this way is really fantastic. Our team works especially hard all year and so we always look forward to seeing if what we’ve done is resonating with our peers and if our hard work is paying off. So to be recognized in this way of course feels really good.”

Elkins provides updates on WKAR initiatives like WKAR Family, the Playtime Pad Research Project, and the development of ATSC 3.0 technology.

“ATSC 3.0 is essentially a new television standard. The unique part about it is that it’s a hybrid, So it’s part IP, part broadcast, and is still disseminated one to many like a standard broadcast. What’s unique about it is it’s much more efficient with the spectrum. It has a much stronger mobile capacity. It’s just a stronger signal so it can get through walls and potentially people can view TV over their phones and in their cars or automated vehicles. It’s also just a much more beautiful picture with over 20 channels of audio.

“We’re the first public broadcaster in the country to have this experimental license, so that’s really exciting, and I think that’s really because of our university license.”

Elkins was recently named to the board of directors of America’s Public Television Stations.

“One of the big challenges is really communicating the value of public broadcasting for the federal funding. It’s not a challenge to communicate value, because the general public has said over and over and voted to say that we’re a trusted organization. The president’s budget is proposing zeroing out funding for the corporation for public broadcasting, and that federal funding piece is extremely important to the entire infrastructure for public broadcasting around the country.

“We’re some of the last independently owned media organizations and communities across the country, and particularly in rural areas where there isn’t any viable commercial service, that federal funding piece is what really holds the whole infrastructure together. If you’re in a rural community with simply not enough of a population to support the expense of providing this content, then you can’t function without that federal funding piece. So it’s really important that all stations thrive and have that funding piece.”

As technology continues to expand at a fast pace, people are consuming WKAR content through a variety of platforms beyond the traditional broadcast signal.

“I just want to serve audiences when and where they are with what they need. The broadcast piece is extremely important to me and I think to our community members because it is free, over the year, and we’re reaching 98 percent of the population. So regardless of your resources you can have access to important, informative, educational, and entertaining content.

“We need to be relevant to people’s lives, and so if they want to listen via the app, we need to be there and be everywhere where people are in order to remain relevant. We know they love our content. We know we have very high quality and important content, so it’s our responsibility to make sure that we are adapting along with audiences to make sure it can be there for them at their convenience, not ours.”

Elkins offers her advice to young people who want to get into this ever-changing and fast-paced world and says WKAR will remain busy and innovative in 2019.

“We’re investing in education, public safety, and civic leadership. We’re really trying to be audience focused and community minded, and that’s what’s driving our decisions on where we go in the future.”