Category Archives: MAPB

Who Do You Know That Has Impacted Public Media?

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabsummer2016Nominations are now open for the MAPB Public Media Impact Award.  This year marks the 32nd year of honoring Michigan’s public broadcasters.

Two awards will be presented – one award for Donors and one award for Professionals – for their contribution to public broadcasting in Michigan. The awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Banquet as part of the August 2017 Advocacy Conference & Annual Meeting at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI, which is attended by owners and operators of broadcast stations, lawmakers and other dignitaries.

Purpose

  • 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.

Eligibility
Donors and Professionals involved in Michigan public radio or television are eligible for nomination. Nominations can be made by colleagues, supervisors and/or station managers. Activities for which the person is nominated may be long-term, to recognize lifetime contributions to public broadcasting, or more recent, to reflect a concentrated period of achievement.

Nomination Process
The Deadline for nominations and supporting material (i.e. letters of support, photos and videos) is Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Visit the MAPB Award Page here for more information and to access the online nomination form.

Increasing Public Awareness Through Op-Ed Columns


In light of President Trump’s proposed budget, which would eliminate funding for public media and the arts, there has been a number of Op-Ed columns appearing in major newspapers around the country in support of public television and radio. Your MAB/MAPB News Briefs spotted a few and thought we’d share:

In the April 5, 2017 issue of the New York Times, Op-Ed Contributor Stanley McChrystal is author of Save PBS. It Makes Us Safer.   McChrystal writes: “Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice. This might seem like an unlikely position for me, a 34-year combat veteran. But it’s a view that has been shaped by my career leading brave men and women who thrive and win when they are both strong and smart. My experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.”  Read the entire column here.

In the April 5, 2017 issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville Public Media President Michael Skoler writes:
“Federal money provides just a bit of seed support for stations and the transmitters and equipment that allow programs to be shared across the nation. Those dollars are just six percent of the Louisville Public Media budget.  Federal money provides less than seven percent of PBS’s budget and less than one percent of NPR’s budget. The free market does many things well. Building community and a shared American experience is not one of them. Shared experience, by definition, is not elitist, it’s owned by everyone.”  Read Who needs PBS, NPR? Everyone here.

In the March 29, 2017 issue of the Los Angeles Times, Op-Ed Contributor Jennifer Ferro (General Manager of Public Radio Station KCRW) notes: “Public radio in particular is a critical part of the nation’s communications infrastructure. While commercial radio has cut costs by consolidating its operations into one or two main hubs, public radio stations are staffed and operated live. In rural areas, public radio stations often are the only live broadcast outlet. As in Marfa (Texas) during the wildfires, those stations provide vital information to their broadcast areas, and without federal funding, this crucial community function would surely disappear.”  Read Trump’s public broadcasting cuts will zero out live, local, real news here.

In the March 17, 2017 issue of the San Bernardino Sun, Bruce Baron, Chancellor of the San Bernardino Community College District, which operates public stations KVCR-FM-TV, authored a Op-Ed titled Federal defunding of PBS, NPR and KVCR could hurt our kids.  Baron: “Public television also provides 120,000 trusted and reliable learning tools for teachers, parents and home-schoolers nationwide. From Wild Kratts to Nature to NOVA, students and learners of all ages are exposed to the wonders of our world and the thrills of discovery and invention that can open doors to careers in high-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.”  Read more here.

Have an Op-Ed piece to share with MAB/MAPB News Brief readers?  Send a link to dkelley@michmab.com.

FCC to Change Noncommercial Ownership Form

Commission to eliminate need for social security numbers from board members of noncommercial licensees for Biennial Ownership Report.

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
www.broadcastlawblog.com

Last week, we wrote about two of the three broadcast items to be considered at the FCC meeting on April 20. We wrote here about the draft order to restore the UHF discount and here about the relaxation of the restrictions on fund-raising for third parties by noncommercial stations. The third item, also related to noncommercial licensees, is the resolution of the long-simmering dispute about whether or not to require that those individuals with attributable interests in noncommercial broadcast stations – officers and board members – to provide their Social Security Numbers or other personal information to the FCC to obtain an FCC Registration Number – an FRN. The draft order released last week indicates that the FCC will eliminate that requirement at its April 20 meeting.

The obligation to obtain an FRN was adopted so that the FCC could comprehensively track the ownership of broadcast stations and determine the interests of individual parties across the broadcast media nationwide. This was principally done for purposes of assessing the diversity of ownership of the media – including by minorities and women. By making each attributable owner get their own FRN, interests across the broadcast media landscape could be tracked with greater precision. However, objections were raised when the FCC proposed to apply this obligation to noncommercial broadcasters, requiring that officers and board members provide their Social Security Number or other personal information to obtain an FRN. Despite these objections, the previous Commission ordered noncommercial broadcasters to provide this information, going so far as to suggest that attributable interest holders who did not provide the information necessary to obtain an FRN could be sanctioned. See our articles here and here. The current FCC under Chairman Pai rescinded the decision of the Media Bureau upholding the obligation (see our post here) – leading to the draft order to be considered at the April 20 meeting.

Noncommercial broadcasters have argued that this information is not as necessary as for commercial broadcasters in assessing diversity, as noncommercial stations don’t have owners in the traditional sense of the word. Their officers and board members don’t have an economic interest in the business success of the station. In fact, those with attributable interests in noncommercial stations often don’t become officers or directors because they are interested in radio or television at all, but instead because they are interested in a noncommercial entity’s broader purpose. For instance, a member of the board of a state university may become a board member because of his or her interest in some academic department, or because of the athletic teams at the university and not even know when appointed to the board that among the university’s holdings is a broadcast station. Some board members may become members by being an elected official – e.g. state governors are often ex-officio members of state university boards. The fear is that, by requiring that these individuals provide personally sensitive information, they may be discouraged from participating in these nonprofit endeavors. A majority of the current Commission appears to have accepted that reasoning and has now teed up the concept of allowing noncommercial stations to obtain Special Use FRNs (“SUFRN”) for these individuals – which will not require personally identifiable information or Social Security Numbers.

The FCC did note, however, that these individuals need to use the same SUFRN for any broadcast interests that they may have. So if an individual sits on the board of multiple broadcast licensees (e.g. the governor of a state who may be on the board of several state universities that are the licensee of broadcast stations), that individual must provide the same SUFRN to each licensee. Also, if an attributable party has an interest in a commercial broadcast station and obtains an FRN in connection with the ownership report of that station, they need to use that FRN on the ownership report of the noncommercial licensee. Noncommercial licensees thus will still need to survey their officers and board members to make sure that they don’t have other broadcast interests and to coordinate with other licensees in state systems to make sure that the same SUFRN is used.

Biennial ownership reports for all stations, commercial and noncommercial, are due on December 1 of this year, reporting on the ownership of the licensee as of October 1. While this order, if adopted on April 20, will make information collection easier for noncommercial licensees, they should still start planning their information collection process for getting information about the broadcast interests of board members in time for the December 1 deadline.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline.  Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your membership.

Bill Stegath, Michigan Radio Alumnus, Passes

Bill Stegath in 2013
Bill Stegath in 2013

Michigan Radio (WUOM/WFUM/WVGR) reports that Dr. William B. Stegath, its longest living alumnus, passed away March 29, just two weeks before his 97th birthday.

Stegath was sports director for WUOM from 1953 to 1962 and is best known as the Voice of the Wolverines, announcing Michigan football games on the station, a role only held by two other people.

He also announced Michigan basketball, baseball and hockey games.   He was the recipient of eight national broadcasting awards and was inducted into the Michigan Stadium Media Hall of Fame this past September.

Stegath enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1938, earning his under undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees at the University.  He also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1943 to 1946 and earned the rank of captain.

Returning to Michigan after the war, he served as professor of communications, the assistant executive director of the Alumni Association, and the first camp director at Camp Michigania.

More on Bill Stegath in the 2013 video:

Public Media Impact Award Nominations Now Open!

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabsummer2016This year marks the 32nd year of honoring Michigan’s public broadcasters with the MAPB Public Media Impact Award.

Two awards will be presented – one award for Donors and one award for Professionals – for their contribution to public broadcasting in Michigan. The awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Banquet as part of the August 2017 Advocacy Conference & Annual Meeting at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI, which is attended by owners and operators of broadcast stations, lawmakers and other dignitaries.

Purpose

  • 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.

Eligibility
Donors and Professionals involved in Michigan public radio or television are eligible for nomination. Nominations can be made by colleagues, supervisors and/or station managers. Activities for which the person is nominated may be long-term, to recognize lifetime contributions to public broadcasting, or more recent, to reflect a concentrated period of achievement.

Nomination Process
Deadline for nominations and supporting material (i.e. letters of support, photos and videos) is Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Visit the MAPB Award Page here for more information and to access the online nomination form.

 

Presidential Budget Eliminates Funding for Public Media

Protect_700aPresident Trump’s proposed budget eliminates funding for public media and the arts.  The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is the nonprofit agency that primarily channels funding for programming and operations to local public radio and TV stations nationwide. Additional funds go to National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), who supply programming to thousands of local affiliates including Michigan Public Broadcasters.

The federal investment in CPB is $1.35 per citizen per year, which public media turns into $6.00 through their individual local fundraising efforts and grants. Unlike several other states, Michigan does not fund Public Media.  It would be very difficult and impossible for some to operate without this funding.  On average this federal funding, represents between 15-17% of Michigan’s Public Media stations income.

On average, federal funding only represents approximately 16% of Michigan’s Public Media stations income.  While it is a small percentage, it would be nearly impossible to make it up from other sources.

Public Media serves the nation with local news and information, children’s programming, in particular pre-school, distance learning, town hall events, classical entertainment and educational programming. For many, their local Public Media is the only access to classical music, symphony, opera, art and classical theater. Many public TV stations provide distance learning that rural schools could not provide. If CPB funding is removed, who will fill that void?

Why is this so important to commercial broadcasters?  In the past it has been suggested that commercial broadcasters could be required to offer more community interest programming, locally produced programs, classical entertainment and children’s programs.  Some in Congress suggested that commercial broadcasters could be taxed to support public media.  Faced with a deficit, Public Media stations would increasingly turn to local underwriting to make up lost revenue. None of these ideas are suitable.

MAPB is asking for your help to preserve federal funding for public media. You can go to protectmypublicmedia.org  and sign the petition to fund public media, place a PBS Button on your personal Facebook profile, or editorialize about the value of public media in the over all media landscape of Michigan.

Elkins Named Director of Broadcasting/GM at WKAR

susi-elkins_300
Susi Elkins

Susi Elkins has been named Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, effective immediately.

The announcement was made March 3 by Prabu David, Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Elkins has been serving as interim director since May 2016. Under her leadership, the station launched a new 24/7 PBS Kids channel and live stream; created WKAR Family, a new content initiative in partnership with MSU researchers and educators aimed at forming connections to help kids be resilient, lifelong learners; and made programming adjustments to bring more classical music and local news to radio listeners. New partnerships with Detroit Public Television will bring new content to the capital region community while extending WKAR’s reach into southeast Michigan.

“With her accomplishments in eight quick months as interim director, Susi Elkins has demonstrated quite clearly that she is the best person to lead WKAR forward in these challenging and exciting times for media and journalism,” said David. “Her unwavering commitment to our capital region and MSU communities, combined with her inspired leadership that led to the launch of the children’s channel, has drawn praise from many quarters.”

“Susi has truly taken WKAR to a whole new level of innovation, collaboration and operational excellence,” said Scott Westerman, associate vice president for Alumni Relations and a member of the WKAR interim advisory group. “[She] is the ideal choice to take this unique multimedia content creation engine into a future where creativity and agility will be key success factors.”

In her previous position as WKAR television station manager, Elkins oversaw all TV programming, including original content production and partnerships for the station’s broadcast channels and digital platforms.

During her tenure as TV station manager, WKAR-TV was named the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Public Television Station of the Year for five consecutive years (2011-2015), and earned numerous regional Emmy Awards and top awards from the MAB and the National Educational Telecommunication Association, among others.

Prior to her appointment as TV station manager, Elkins served as Content and Community Engagement manager for WKAR, where she oversaw the convergence of media and programming in TV and Radio and the ongoing growth of original content across platforms. Under her direction, WKAR increased capacity for providing experiential learning opportunities for MSU students. Elkins also increased WKAR’s commitment to early childhood education and solidified the station’s reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations.

Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.

On Point Visits WDET

OnPoint1_700
On Point host Tom Ashbrook at WDET.

On February 17, WDET-FM (Detroit) hosted NPR and WBUR Public Radio’s On Point  program, as host Tom Ashbrook broadcast 2-hour program live from WDET’s Midtown Detroit studios.

The program airs on 290 stations nationwide.

During the broadcast, host Tom Ashbrook spoke with a number of guests from in and around Detroit, including local politicians, activists and business leaders about how the city is doing.  Those guests included Kim Trent, a writer and former journalist from Detroit who sits on the Wayne State University Board of Governors, state Sen. Bert Johnson (D-Highland Park), former state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), and Shinola CEO Tom Lewand.

In addition, Stephen Henderson, host of WDET’s Detroit Today and Created Equal, participated in a discussion about the week’s news and the state of national politics.

A podcast and video feed of the broadcast is available here.

Michigan Radio accepts duPont-Columbia Award for Flint Documentary

via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

Lindsey Smith holds the duPont Silver Baton award accompanied by (l to r) Michigan Radio's Mark Brush, Rebecca Williams and Steve Carmody.
Lindsey Smith holds the duPont Silver Baton award accompanied by (l to r) Michigan Radio’s Mark Brush, Rebecca Williams and Steve Carmody.

Members of Michigan Radio’s news team were in New York on Jan. 25 accepting the station’s first Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. Michigan Radio received the prestigious award for the documentary, Not Safe to Drink.

The Not Safe to Drink documentary traced the story of the Flint water crisis. The documentary helped bring the water crisis to national attention and pursued the state agencies’ cover up of Flint’s lead poisoning. The documentary first aired on Michigan Radio in December 2015 and later also aired nationally. Not Safe to Drink was reported and produced by Lindsey Smith and edited by Sarah Hulett, with reporting help from Michigan Radio‘s Steve Carmody, Rebecca Williams and Mark Brush.

Michigan Radio was one of fourteen national winners of the 2017 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. Public broadcasting had three other award winners: the PBS program FRONTLINE for their Syria and Iraq reporting, NOVA’s dazzling, yet disturbing look at the impact of global warming, and NPR/Colorado Public Radio for their joint exposé on the Army’s mistreatment of disabled veterans.

Since the founding in 1942, the duPont Awards have honored accurate and fair reporting about important issues that are powerfully told. The winning pieces are selected by the duPont jury from hundreds of entries. The 2017 duPont Awards ceremony was co-hosted by Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and Dateline, and Jane Pauley, host of CBS News Sunday Morning.

 

Spectrum Auction Includes Flint’s WCMZ-TV

WCMU-logoOn February 8, Central Michigan University outlined plans for its five public television and eight radio stations following the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark broadcast spectrum auction, which was conducted to gain spectrum for the nation’s cellular and digital services.

CMU Public Broadcasting will continue to operate its radio stations
and four TV stations across central and northern Michigan while selling its Flint station (WCMZ-TV) for $14 million. Nearly all Flint station viewers — 99 percent — live in areas also served by other public broadcasting stations. Additionally, CMU will encourage cable and satellite companies serving the region to continue to carry its programming.

“This was a difficult decision,” President George E. Ross said. “Two facts, however, greatly influenced our conversation. First, nearly all viewers will continue to have access to PBS through other sources. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t have participated in the auction.

“Second, our students are our core mission. Our mandate. We must focus our resources on their success. This decision was made to benefit Michigan families, including those in Flint.”

The CMU Board of Trustees will discuss and determine how the auction revenue will be invested, Ross said.

The Flint station consists of a transmission tower and small building. No employees work there, and no jobs will be lost as a result of the auction. Broadcasting from the tower will end in about three months.

CMU purchased the station in 2009 from the University of Michigan for $1 million. The university invests more than $3 million a year in its public broadcasting system.