Next week, public radio station WDET-FM (Detroit) launches a partnership with City Bureau and Citizen Detroit that will help turn residents into reporters.
On August 13, City Bureau, WDET, and Citizen Detroit will host a public newsroom workshop open to all Detroit residents.
This will be a free public event that will introduce a program called “Documenters” which will partner with Detroiters in documenting public meetings.
Candice Fortman, WDET’s Marketing and Engagement Manager, explained how the program will provide citizens with the opportunity to contribute to local news coverage in areas where most newsrooms lack resources.
Fortman says, “It’s not citizen journalism but it is a chance to teach citizens some of the skills of journalism and then also send them out to public meetings to take notes from those meetings because you know as much as I do that newsrooms do not have the same resources that they once had.”
“Often times, public meetings that are happening are not being covered because they don’t have enough people to send out to those meetings,” explains Fortman.
“So for the next few months, we will be training folks to go to those meetings, and all of the meetings we’ll be sending people to will be education meetings so public school meetings, charter meetings and even some surrounding Detroit suburban community meetings to make sure that we understand what’s happening.”
Hear Fortman discuss the project with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson here.
Michigan Radio has been recognized by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada with two Gabriel Awards. Created in 1965, the Gabriel Awards recognize outstanding artistic achievement which entertains and enriches with “a true vision of humanity.” The Michigan Radio news staff was honored in the following categories:
Short Feature, Local Release – Second Place
I wanna be a Batman!, Jennifer Guerra: Every week for five years, the same clip started every State of Opportunity story. You hear a kid telling us what he wants to be when he grows up: a Batman! Countless listeners wanted to know: where’s Batman now? Jennifer Guerra set out to track him down.
The Gabriel Awards from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada are the largest Catholic communicators’ award program in North America, judging over 2600 entries annually for journalists, book authors, students and broadcasters. Michigan Radio was the only NPR station to receive a Gabriel Award this year. A complete list of Gabriel Award winners is here.
Michigan Radio broadcasts at 91.7 FM in southeastern Michigan, 91.1 FM in Flint, and 104.1 FM in western Michigan and online at michiganradio.org.
By: Russ White, MSU Today
Michigan State University and WKAR-TV (East Lansing) have received a license from the Federal Communications Commission to launch an experimental next generation TV broadcasting station to focus on digital advancement and internet based connectivity.
Listen to Russ White’s interview with WKAR Public Media’s Susi Elkins and Gary Blievernicht:
Based on a new set of digital TV standards called ATSC 3.0, Next Gen TV adds internet-style information and interactivity, plus advanced technologies, such as 4K ultra high-definition video and multichannel, immersive audio, to over-the-air television broadcasts.
“Well, ATSC 3.0 is an exciting new way to broadcast that allows for a much more connected, interactive experience for the user,” says Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting for MSU and general manager of WKAR Public Media. “And there are other benefits that relate to revenue generation, a prettier picture, and more audio options. We’re interested in the education component and the public service component. So I think there will be a lot of broadcasters who are interested in how to generate revenue and how to serve the general public. And public broadcasters like WKAR are interested in how to utilize it for education and public service purposes.”
“ATSC 3.0 enhances the ability to transmit multiple things at the same time,” adds Gary Blievernicht, WKAR’s manager of technical services. “You can do data, you can do video, and you can do additional audio channels all at once. So it’s much more robust. The signal will be much stronger and much easier to decode once we’ve made this transition.”
So what’s ATSC 3.0 for viewers?
“I think what’s exciting for viewers is the ability for increased mobility,” says Elkins. “People will be able to watch live television on their phones, or pads, wherever they are. We’ll see how that really plays out, but we know that there will be increased mobility, for sure. And also, it’s just a much better viewing experience, and the audio experience is robust, too, with so many more channels and options. The most unique part about the standard may be its hybrid nature. So it’s a hybrid of broadcasting and IP delivery. And so when you think about integrating what you use the internet for and your broadcast experience and put that together, you can imagine what the possibilities are. And well, we’re trying to imagine that right now.
“So there are a lot of ways that I think this will benefit viewers and users. But it’s really up to us to try to figure out what those are, and offer opportunities, and then the consumers will decide what they like and what they really want to use.”
MSU will open the Next Gen Media Innovation Lab, a new research facility within WKAR, and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences on the MSU campus. The lab will have an emphasis on outcomes related to education, and public media content.
“One of the things we need to do as broadcasters is to figure out how to utilize this new standard and all the benefits that it could potentially bring,” Elkins says. “In the lab we’ll study what the standard can offer so we can create applications. Our interest in particular is in early childhood education. There are some stations interested in warning systems and alert systems. We’ve talked about automated vehicles and agricultural applications. We’re here at Michigan State University where there are all kinds of researchers who are interested in how they could use this hybrid application, or this ability, to benefit their life’s work. So we’re creating a space where researchers and broadcasters from around the country who have ideas on how they would like to serve their local communities have a place where they can come and research and test ideas.”
WKAR is the first public broadcasting station in the United States to receive FCC authorization to begin experimental ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.
“Well, when we first started hearing about the possibilities of ATSC 3, MSU was really interested because they saw benefits for research, business and public service. And thinking about our land grant mission, it just made a lot of sense for us to learn a little bit more about it,” says Elkins. “And MSU has been interested from the start in terms of building research relationships around ATSC 3.0. And so we’ll see potentially how to use the data, how to use the applications. And it is quite an honor to have been granted the experimental license, we’re the first public broadcaster to get it. A lot of people across the country are intrigued by what we will study in the lab, and that’s why we want to have it open. We want people to be able to apply to come and do testing on ideas that they have. And I think that’s really what MSU does best, and WKAR is perfectly positioned through the work that Gary and his engineers have done to build out the transmitter site. All of the stars aligned to allow us to be ready to build it at our site and apply for the license. Now that it’s been granted we have a lot of work to do in the next few months.”
WKAR expects to begin ATSC 3.0 experimental broadcasting in September. WKAR’s experimental ATSC 3.0 station will broadcast in mid-Michigan on digital frequency 35, with a broadcast reach of approximately 40 miles. Consumer products that can receive ATSC 3.0 signals are not expected to be widely available in the U.S. before 2020.
“I believe this new technology could really have a very strong impact, particularly in the world of education,” adds Elkins. “Right now you can use a second screen and you can somewhat interact with what you see on your television, or certainly you can interact if you’re streaming. But imagine putting that all together in a really robust way that doesn’t go down when a cell tower goes down. There’s just so much possibility with the robustness of the actual transmitter site and using the broadcast piece of it. So as technology changes and people increasingly expect mobility, I think that it will be really exciting for all of us. Those who are creating content and trying to meet the needs of the users, and then also just the people who are looking for a new, unique, very tailored experience can benefit from this. I think that’s what this can bring is even more localization, more experiences. I think stations will be able to super serve their communities because we can localize even more than we ever have. And public broadcasters have been great at localization since day one. But this really potentially could increase that tenfold.”
On July 5, Michigan Radio marked 70 years on the air. The WUOM-FM signal in Ann Arbor began broadcasting for the first time on July 5, 1948. At the time, FM radio was extremely new. It was estimated that there were only eight other educational FM stations, and only about fifty FM stations of any kind, in operation across the country.
With a full time staff of five people, including Director of Broadcasting Waldo Abbott, the station began broadcasting from temporary studios in Angell Hall on the University of Michigan campus. Students used the space for classes from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and WUOM then went on the air from 2:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The station was off the air most Saturdays and broadcast for only two hours on Sundays.
Despite these modest beginnings, the station quickly expanded its coverage and importance. In 1949, the station aired the first play-by-play broadcast of University of Michigan football by sports director Bill Fleming. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was interviewed on the station in 1950 discussing the rise of Red China. And in 1960, the station broadcast Sen. John F. Kennedy’s speech, which sparked the creation of the Peace Corps, from the steps of the Michigan Union.
Michigan Radio also quickly and steadily increased its reach across southern Michigan. In 1952, a new tower and transmitter was added in Flint, and began broadcasting as WFUM-FM. In 1962, satellite station WVGR-FM joined the Michigan Radio fold, serving Grand Rapids and west Michigan.
The station has also played an important role in developing the public radio system. WUOM General Manager Ed Burrow, and former program director Jerrold Sandler were instrumental in having radio added to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which became the financial foundation for public radio across the country. Michigan Radio was also one of the first member stations of NPR, and a flagship station to air “All Things Considered” when the program began in 1971.
Over the years, the station has aired talk, public affairs, original radio dramas, sports, classical music, jazz and other types of programming. In 1996, Michigan Radio adopted a full-time news & information format, becoming one of the first radio stations in the country to broadcast this type of format on the FM band.
Now, Michigan Radio has the largest radio news staff in Michigan, with reporters in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids. The station delivers NPR and statewide news, information and original programming 24 hours a day, 7 days per week … over-the-air, online, on smartphones and smart speakers and via podcast. With a weekly over-the-air audience of over 500,000 people, plus an additional 130,000 online listeners per month, Michigan Radio is one of the most listened to public radio news services in America.
You can view a timeline of significant events over the past seventy years at Michigan Radio here.
Michigan Radio broadcasts at 91.7 FM in Detroit and southeastern Michigan, 91.1 FM in Flint, 104.1 FM in West Michigan, and online at michiganradio.org. Michigan Radio is licensed to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Following a national search, the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) announced July 6 that it has chosen WGVU (Grand Rapids) Public Media’s Tim Eernisse to be its first education vice president. Eernisse will be at the forefront of actualizing NETA’s strategic plan to amplify public media’s education role, overseeing the association’s education services and professional development activities, including the annual NETA conference this coming January in Salt Lake City. He begins work at NETA’s headquarters in early August.
Eernisse spent the last 12 years as director of development and marketing at WGVU, a service of Grand Valley State University. He developed many successful collaborations for the university licensee, both locally and nationally, including WGVU Engage, a group of more than 600 volunteers to support the station’s community engagement initiatives in inclusion, health, arts, veterans and education. The U.S. Air Force veteran and self-described “first generation PBS Kid” is already known to many in the public media system as a valued colleague on numerous working groups and advisory councils dealing with community engagement, early childhood education development, revenue innovation and communications.
Eernisse said, “I believe education is the foundational cornerstone of the services that PBS, NPR and public television stations provide to our communities. I am honored and humbled to join the NETA team and look forward to working together to make a difference in support of that educational mission.”
NETA president Eric Hyyppa said, “Tim brings a passion for the mission of public media, a service based leadership philosophy, a demonstrated creative and entrepreneurial streak and a station-centric perspective.” He added, “I am excited to have him as a partner. I am confident in his ability to lead NETA, our member stations, and our public media system forward.”
The National Educational Telecommunications Association is a public media pioneer, originally incorporated in 1967. The member organization is based in Columbia, S.C. It serves public television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands by providing quality program content from diverse sources, educational resources, professional development, management support and national representation.
The Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) is pleased to announce its 2018 Public Media Impact Awards. Mark T. Brush and Paul J. Ryan will be honored August 14 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island during the annual MAB Summer Conference.
Mark T. Brush, Michigan Radio (posthumously)
Mark T. Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He worked to develop and maintain the station’s overall digital strategy. As a senior producer/reporter and the station’s first online news content specialist from 2010 to 2016, he helped move the station toward publishing more online-first stories.
From 2006 to 2010, as the unit’s co-manager and senior producer, Mark helped transition the station’s regional environmental news unit into an award-winning national news service known as The Environment Report. He reported on many vitally important issues for Michiganders, including cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie, pollution from industrial animal production, and arsenic in groundwater… and he covered all sorts of fun stories too, such as a profile of Christmas tree farmer Duke Wagatha, and the history of the giant Uniroyal tire along I-94. Mark was a crucial member of the team at Michigan Radio that covered the Flint water crisis. He won the station’s first regional Edward R. Murrow award for his investigation into the status of Enbridge’s Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac, and spearheaded the M I Curious project that seeks to answer the questions our listeners are wondering about.
Mark was a graduate of the University of Michigan (’00 MS in Environmental Policy and Planning & ’91 BA in Political Science) and has been a “public radio junkie” since 1992. Much of Mark’s storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC “réalisateur” David Candow.
Paul J. Ryan, WGVU Public Media
Paul J. Ryan has been an integral part of the expansion of community engagement and impact for WGVU Public Media. He began supporting the station in 2010 both philanthropically and through providing his expert knowledge and leadership to the station’s desire to be a deep convener throughout our community.
In 2010, Paul began a multi-year personal commitment to help fund a scholarship endowment for veterans and their dependents to attend Grand Valley State University directly through WGVU. Additionally, he contributed to building our community outreach for veterans and made a substantial gift to allow WGVU Public Media to create a visual display of all Medal of Honor Recipients from the State of Michigan with images and bios. WGVU has leveraged this tool in schools and throughout its expanded community engagement efforts and it is only possible thanks to Paul.
In September of 2017, Paul spearheaded the community effort to support WGVU Public Media’s LZ Michigan, a “Landing Zone” to Remember, Honor and Celebrate our community’s veterans and their families. He took the lead role in helping to raise the needed revenue to help support the statewide community engagement effort. His personal support is multiplied by his work to share his passion for WGVU and being able to help bring over $100,000 of additional philanthropic support for the station in recent years.
At the 2018 PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) Conference Awards Banquet, held June 23 in Washington, three Michigan public radio broadcasters were honored, winning multiple awards for their work.
Winning stations in Michigan include Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM/WVGR-FM/WFUM-FM, based in Ann Arbor), WMUK-FM (Kalamazoo) and Interlochen Public Radio (Interlochen).
PRNDI awards is the only national contest recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations.
Covering the outstanding efforts of 2017, more than 190 awards were presented to stations across the country for categories including Breaking News, Call-in Programs, Documentaries, Interviews, and News Features.
Emily Fox will join WKAR-FM (East Lansing) as the Capital Region host and local producer for NPR’s Morning Edition.
The announcement was made June 26 by Peter Whorf, radio station manager at WKAR. Fox joins the WKAR news team on July 23, and will debut as Morning Edition local host the week of August 13.
“We’re all thrilled that Emily will be joining WKAR as our local host and producer for Morning Edition,” Whorf said. “Emily brings a major radio market background, years of experience, deep Michigan roots, and MSU degrees in both communications and music. I can’t imagine anyone better suited for this position than Emily.”
Fox comes to WKAR from KUOW in Seattle, Washington, where she was the local Morning Edition host for the Seattle market. No stranger to Michigan, Fox previously worked at Michigan Radio as host, reporter, and producer.
“We’re excited to have another strong journalist join WKAR’s Morning Edition,” said Reginald Hardwick, WKAR digital news director. “In addition to hosting NPR newscasts in Michigan and Seattle, Emily has produced stories of indigenous peoples in our state and the northwest, which were picked up by national newscasts. It’s that kind of unique reporting that we cannot wait to have Emily share with our community.”
Emily Fox is a graduate of Michigan State University receiving her masters of arts in telecommunication information studies and media in 2013, and her bachelor of music in 2011.
The MAB is sad to report that Dr. Jerry Henderson, 79, of Bay City, Mich., passed away on the afternoon of Saturday, June 16, 2018, at Brian’s House Hospice.
Dr. Henderson was a Professor of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts at Central Michigan University and a member of the faculty since 1975. As station operations manager since the mid-1970’s, he shepherded station WMHW-FM from 10-watt to 13,000-watt HD status, training hundreds of students in station operations and paving the way for many of them to win a wide-range of awards, as well as pursue highly successful radio industry careers. His beloved students often referred to him as “Dr. Jerry.”
Born in Malone, N.Y., on November 19, 1938, Jerry was the son of the late Robert A. and Charlotte (Disque) Henderson. He graduated from Franklin Academy High School in June of 1956, then went on to study at the University of Rochester, N.Y., Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths NY, and Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY… Jerry completed his undergraduate career at Hartwick College where he earned a B.A. in Psychology in 1962.
Prior to his tenure at CMU, Jerry was an Assistant Professor at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., an instructor for speech at the University of Maine, and a speech and drama instructor at Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas. In between semesters in 1980, Jerry served as a production assistant and driver for NBC. He worked as a radio programmer at various stations in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Maine and was a recording and editing engineer at Magnetic Recorder and Reproducer Corporation. Early in his career, Jerry was a staff writer for the Malone Evening Telegram.
On June 20, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly announced the granting of a special license allowing MSU and WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) to launch an experimental Next Generation TV broadcasting station. Based on the ATSC 3.0 digital TV standards, NextGen TV adds internet-style information and interactivity, plus advanced technologies such as 4k ultra high-definition video and multichannel, immersive audio, to over-the-air television broadcasts.
The announcement was held at a press conference at the WKAR studios in East Lansing.
WKAR will be the first public broadcasting station in the U.S. to receive FCC authorization to begin experimental ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.
With the experimental ATSC 3.0 station as a testbed, MSU will open the NextGen Media Innovation Lab, a new research facility alongside WKAR studios in the Communication Arts and Sciences building on the MSU campus.
The lab will serve as a collaborative research hub exploring the potential of ATSC 3.0, with an emphasis on outcomes related to traditional public media content, such as education, health, local news and emergency alerting, plus new areas such as connected vehicles.