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.
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.
On 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.
The MAB has learned that Peter Payette has been promoted to Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio.
Payette joined the stations in 2000 and was appointed News Director in 2001. For more than a decade, he hosted the weekly program Points North and has reported on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR, Michigan Radio, Bridge magazine and Edible Grande Traverse. He has taught journalism and radio production to students and adults at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also working on a book about the use of aquaculture to manage Great Lakes fisheries, particularly the use of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to create a sport fishery in the 1960s.
Payette, on the station’s website, wrote “While I will miss my work in the field as a reporter, I am excited by the potential I see for growing this station into an even more vital public service for the people of northern Michigan and our audiences around the globe.”
Roughly 1,500 people visited the WKAR Public Media studios at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences on Saturday, January 14 to celebrate the launch of a new, free, localized 24-hour kids channel and multiplatform services from WKAR Public Media. The channel, called WKAR PBS Kids, broadcasts PBS KIDS shows 24/7 with a particular focus on kids aged two through eight. The channel is now available for free over the air on channel 23.4 and through Comcast in the capital region, as well as live streaming through pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App.
Susi Elkins, interim director of Broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media, spoke with MSU Today about the impact she hopes the channel will have.
“Research shows kids learn more when they’re co-viewing the content with an adult who takes them through the material. And most viewers are watching in the evening after work and sometimes even late at night. The viewing there is double what it is in the morning so we want to have the most impact where the viewers are,” said Elkins.
At the kick-off event, children and families got their photo taken with Cat in the Hat, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Sparty. Many also explored and played science games at the Curious Crew station, touched real sheepskin and wool at the MSU Extension Science Work Group station, held snakes and saw an owl up close at the Potter Park Zoo station and did a science experiment at the Impression 5 station. Early Childhood Education experts and the Michigan Digital Library were also in attendance to answer questions and provide assistance to local families.
When it came time to introduce the channel and flip the switch, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon noted how important the new channel is to the mid-Michigan community and what viewers can expect, stating, “you’ll see content… built just for kids, at your disposal, any time of the day. We know your schedules are not all the same. It’s an encouragement for people to sit down together and learn together. The way we build a stronger community is for all of us (to work) together… and to make Lansing one of the best communities in the world for children.”
Jennifer English from PBS Kids spoke to the crowd about the partnership between PBS, MSU and WKAR. “At the core of what we do is research-based content that is designed to engage kids, not just through video, but also through digital learning. And that’s also one of the reasons why we’re excited to be part of this project with WKAR and with Michigan State.”
Kids from the WKAR original series Curious Crew helped Sparty flip the switch and officially turn on the channel. Now airing on channel 23.4 and Comcast, WKAR PBS Kids is available 24/7 for mid-Michigan families and anyone with access to a smartphone, tablet or computer.
In addition to the new channel, WKAR also launched WKAR Family, an initiative which brings together the resources of PBS Kids and MSU to provide free programming, technology and learning tools to kids and dedicate resources to researching early childhood development. Included in this effort is a new outreach and research effort that will put a PBS Kids tablet in the hands of every kindergartner in the Lansing School District.
“We believe it’s important for us to be on the cutting edge because our kids deserve it,” said Yvonne Caamal Canul, superintendent of the Lansing School District. “I’m on my 42nd year as an educator… and this is absolutely the most exciting year for me ever.”
Ultimately, it was made clear to the crowd that the biggest driving force for both WKAR Family and the WKAR PBS Kids channel was to help build strong families in mid-Michigan. Prabu David, dean of ComArtSci, told the audience, “We want to do something fun for kids, and parents and grandparents. Empowering kids to empower others.”
Joining the launch ceremony were April Clobes, President and CEO of MSU Federal Credit Union and Dr. Heather Adams of McLaren Greater Lansing. The new WKAR PBS Kids services are supported in part by MSFCU and McLaren.
Many partners and supporters were also in the crowd, including Rachel T.A. Croson, Dean, College of Social Science, Jeff Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, Ann Austin, Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, Dr. Joan Rose, Director, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, and State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.
On Jan. 16, WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) will launch new, free, localized 24/7 children’s services – WKAR’s latest initiative to support early learning in the community.
WKAR will broadcast PBS KIDS shows 24 hours a day on an additional television channel called WKAR PBS KIDS, making it easy for local children to watch their favorite series during primetime and after-school hours when viewing among families is high.
Viewers will also be able to watch the WKAR-branded live stream through pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and tablets.
“WKAR has been an integral part of the community for years, delivering content and services that parents trust and that move the needle in early learning,” said Susi Elkins, WKAR general manager and interim director of broadcasting at Michigan State University. “We are excited to build on the work we do every day for local families by adding these new 24/7 services to our offerings, ensuring our proven educational content is accessible anytime and anywhere to all kids – especially those who need it the most.”
With the launch of the PBS KIDS 24/7 broadcast and live stream, WKAR will also introduce WKAR Family, a new initiative focused on offering and creating educational programming and media for Michigan families that is free, accessible and available across all platforms.
WKAR Family will bring together the new PBS Kids 24/7 multi-platform services, long-running WKAR education services programs such as “Ready to Learn” and additional WKAR and MSU-driven projects.
Currently in production as part of WKAR Family is a series of video shorts featuring tips and takeaways for parents and caregivers on topics such as literacy, social emotional development and science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts. The videos are produced in partnership with MSU colleges of Education and Social Sciences, MSU Extension and other researchers at MSU, with the goal of distributing in Michigan’s capital region, Detroit and across the nation.
More than 20 videos in the series will be available at launch and are being shared with Detroit PublicTelevision for broadcast on the new Detroit PBS Kids channel.
MSU, WKAR and DPTV have been working closely since a partnership was announced in January 2016, and DPTV will also launch PBS KIDS 24/7 in its market. As part of the relationship, MSU Extension educators and staff members are creating user experiences that engage children and their caregivers, thereby extending the educational value of PBS programming.
“Our team has done a great job of creating activities and lessons that caregivers can do with children,” said Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension. “That helps drive the programming messages home by helping them jump off the screen and right into real-life situations — whether that’s in childcare settings or in their own home.”
The public is invited to WKAR PBS Kids Day, which will be 12:30-3:30 p.m. January 14 at WKAR TV studios on the MSU campus. During the open house, the Cat in the Hat and other PBS favorites will be available for photos. At 1:30 p.m., MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, Sparty and other special guests will officially launch WKAR Family and present a special sneak peek at the new WKAR PBS Kids 24/7 channel.
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced (12/15) that Michigan Radio is a winner of a prestigious 2017 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for the documentary, Not Safe to Drink.
The Not Safe To Drink documentary traced the story of the Flint water crisis, and how the water in Flint became unsafe to drink. The documentary first aired on Michigan Radio in December, 2015. 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 four public broadcasting duPont-Columbia award winners nationwide, which also included the PBS programs Frontline and Nova, and NPR/Colorado Public Radio for their joint exposé on the Army’s mistreatment of disabled veterans.
“Now more than ever, reliable news and information are critical to our society,” said Bill Wheatley, the chairman of this year’s awards jury. “In their 75th year, the duPont Awards continue to recognize the vital contributions to public knowledge made by free, fair and probing journalists.”
Since the founding in 1942, the duPont Awards have honored accurate and fair reporting about important issues that are powerfully told. In 2017, the duPont-Columbia Awards will celebrate their 75th anniversary with special events featuring distinguished past winners and award-winning reporting in the public service, including Ira Glass, of This American Life and past winner of four duPonts, and a tribute to the late Gwen Ifill, PBS news anchor.
The duPont Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at Columbia University, co-hosted by Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and Dateline, and Jane Pauley, host of CBS News Sunday Morning.
Central Michigan University’s CMU Public Radio (WCMU-FM), in collaboration with the distribution network of Michigan Community Action (M.C.A.) and the generosity of Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank, presented a unique fundraising effort titled Warm Hearts, Warm Homes, December 9 through 12.
Every donation made to CMU Public Radio during the Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign was matched dollar for dollar through the support of corporate sponsors Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank, which will give the matching funds to M.C.A. to distribute to residents in need of heating assistance through a network of local Community Action Agencies. The station’s goal was to raise $65,000 for heating assistance in central and northern Michigan.
The campaign is the brain child of CMU Public Radio. Program Director, Rick Westover notes that the effort puts the strength of their listenership into action. “Our listeners care about their community and the world around them. We tried something new with Warm Hearts, Warm Homes in 2014, we look forward to seeing the tradition continue. It gets cold here in the mitten state, too cold to go without heat over the winter. Here’s a chance to help.”
Delta College/WDCQ-TV host Andy Rapp has announced his retirement. After hosting the station’s Currently Speaking program for 17 years, he has announced that he is leaving the program.
Rapp said “I’ve had a great run with Currently Speaking and feel it’s been well-received,” said Rapp, who lives in Midland with his wife Donna. “For seventeen and a half years, we’ve presented a unique local program that featured important and interesting guests. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with people who call to participate in the show.”
Rapp worked full-time at the college for 18 years in the 1970s and 1980s, teaching broadcasting, history and law classes. He launched Currently Speaking in 1999. The weekly program features a panel of journlists, academics and experts offering their opinions on a variety of subjects.
At this point, a decision has yet to be made whether the program will continue with another host. The show’s final episode with Rapp will air on December 18.
WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) General Manager Michael Walenta recently returned from taking the WGVU Explorers on a 14-day trip to the Magnificent Cities of Central and Eastern Europe.
Michael and the WGVU Explorer travelers toured Berlin where they saw many sites including the Sans Souci Palace, the former residence of Frederick the Great, and saw the remains of the Berlin Wall including “Checkpoint Charlie.” Then it was on to Dresden, Prague and the Czech Republic. From there, they visited Vienna and took in a classical concert and lovely dinner consisting of local cuisine. They traveled to the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary where they visited a Hungarian Horse Farm. Krakow, Poland was their next stop where they visited historic Old Town and toured Wawel Castle, a former residence of Polish kings. Auschwitz was their next stop where they saw first-hand the various prison cells and learned more about the history of the prison and many of the hardships that occurred within those walls. Warsaw was their last city on the tour where they experienced the local capital city. It was a very memorable trip, filled with history and education.
For more information on an upcoming trip, visit wgvu.org/explorers or call (800) 442-2771.
Upcoming WGVU Explorer trips include:
Alaska Discovery Land & Cruise – May 9-21, 2017
Exploring Ireland & Britain featuring Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales – October 13-27, 2017