Category Archives: March 2017

Lansing Lugnuts to Townsquare Media

(L-R) Mascot "Big Lug" and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler.
(L-R) Lansing Lugnuts mascot “Big Lug” and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler.

By:  Jesse Goldberg-Strassler

The Lansing Lugnuts, Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, and Townsquare Media have announced an exclusive partnership, with WVFN-AM (The Game 730 AM) serving as the new flagship home for Lugnuts baseball.

“We are excited to bring Lugnuts baseball to our listeners,” said Zoe Burdine-Fly, Townsquare Media Regional Vice President – Michigan. “This is a collaboration between two companies that are committed to serving the Lansing community, both now and for many years to come.”

“Baseball provides the soundtrack of summer,” said Lansing Lugnuts General Manager Nick Grueser. “It made only too much sense for fans to hear the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd at Cooley Law School Stadium on Lansing’s top sports station. We are excited to partner with Zoe and such a tremendous radio family of stations in Mid Michigan.”

In addition to The Game 730 AM, the Lugnuts will also welcome in personalities throughout the season from Townsquare Media’s Classic Rock 94.9 WMMQ, 1240 WJIM-AM, 97.5 NOW FM, 99.1 WFMK, and 100.7 WITL.

Jesse Goldberg-Strassler returns for his ninth season as the Lugnuts’ lead play-by-play broadcaster, the longest tenured voice in team history. The Greenbelt, Md. native joined the Lugnuts in 2009 after previous stints with the Brockton Rox, Montgomery Biscuits and Windy City ThunderBolts. In 2013, he was voted Midwest League Broadcaster of the Year by his peers.

Outside of Lansing, fans will be able to tune in for coverage of Lugnuts baseball via the TuneIn Radio app and The Game730am.com.

For more information, call (517) 485-4500 or go to lansinglugnuts.com.

Blarney Stone Broadcasting Wins Best Small Business Award

Jerry and Sheryl Coyne
Jerry and Sheryl Coyne, Blarney Stone Broadcasting

Blarney Stone Broadcasting is one of 12 companies from around the state selected to receive the Michigan Small Business Development Center’s Best Small Business Award.

These companies were chosen from more than 5,500 small businesses that the Michigan SBDC provided with confidential counseling in 2016. The Best Small Business award recipients were identified based on their success in creating jobs, increasing sales, improving their business strategy and their involvement with the Michigan SBDC.

“This year’s awardees have a significant impact on Michigan’s economy and truly represent the success achieved through a strong SBDC consultant and client partnership,” said Keith Brophy, State Director of the Michigan SBDC. “We are excited to take the opportunity to celebrate their success and cheer them on as they continue growing their businesses.”

The recipients will be honored on May 4, in Lansing, at the 13th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards Gala.

“We are overjoyed and proud beyond words to be recognized like this by the Michigan SBDC,” Blarney Stone Broadcasting President Sheryl Coyne said. “But more than that, we are immensely appreciative of the support and guidance we’ve received. The Michigan SBDC spent an extraordinary amount of time working with us to build a strong, viable and growing business, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Their expertise and resources perfectly complemented the commitment and hard work of our entire Blarney Stone Broadcasting staff to help us achieve the success we’re sharing with our Central and North Michigan community.”

Blarney Stone Broadcasting was founded in 2012 by Sheryl and her husband, Jerry, residents of Gaylord. The company owns and operates WQON (FM), licensed to Grayling; WGRY (FM), licensed to Roscommon and WMQU (AM), licensed to Grayling. Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc. and Northern Broadcast, Inc., have entered into a purchase agreement that will enable Blarney Stone to significantly increase reach and coverage throughout Northern Michigan.

Northern Broadcast has agreed to sell assets including WKLT (FM), licensed to Kalkaska; WKLZ (FM), licensed to Petoskey; WFCX (FM), licensed to Leland; WFDX (FM), licensed to Atlanta; WSRT (FM), licensed to Gaylord; WSRJ (FM), licensed to Honor. The agreement also includes FM translator station W263CD, licensed to Boyne City; FM translator station W252DA, licensed to Petoskey.

Jackson Radio Works Receives Chamber Award

Jamie McKibben
Jamie McKibbin

On March 23, Jackson Radio Works (WKHM-AM/FM, WIBM-AM) was the recipient of an appreciation award from the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce, honoring the company for 20 years of service (“hyper local content that matters”) to the community.

WKHM-FM is licensed to Brooklyn.  Accepting the award was  General ManagerJamie McKibbin, who tells the MAB that the staff at Jackson Radio Works is pretty excited about the honor.

“Big Boy” Returns to Detroit Radio

(L-R) Big Boy and Shay Shay
(L-R) Big Boy and Shay Shay

Beasley’s WMGC-FM (105.1 The Bounce) has announced that “Big Boy” has returned to Detroit radio, joining “Shay Shay” to anchor the station’s morning show.

In a press release, the station notes that “Big Boy has been blessed to be able to talk on the radio for a living since he was 17 years old.  It’s not only what he loves doing, it’s what’s in his blood. He’s had the privilege to travel to many cities to host radio shows, but whenever people ask what his favorite city was, he always says ‘Detroit!’ His previous three years in Detroit from 2006-2009 were some of the best years of his life. He met so many people who listened to his show. When he got the opportunity to come back and host the morning show on The Bounce, he jumped at this opportunity, saying “not only are the city and the people here amazing, but The Bounce literally plays my favorite songs!”

“This is a big throwback ‘good times’ for our city!” added 105.1 The Bounce Program Director Al Payne. “I have been a huge fan of Big Boy for a long time, yet being able to add him to this station and
our cast of Bounce Ambassadors is epic!”

Are you a Contract Engineer?

Transmitter_300The MAB is putting together a new member resource:  a list of available contract engineers working in the state, available for stations in the event they need assistance.

The list will appear on the MAB website.

To be included, please send your name, company name (if applicable), location and contact information to Dan Kelley dkelley@michmab.com.

Feel free to pass this information along to contract engineers you may know.

We hope to debut this new service, which will benefit both our member stations, and you, soon.

Rich Fisher Passes

Rich Fisher
Rich Fisher

Longtime Michigan newsman and Detroit TV anchor Rich Fisher has passed away.

Fisher died March 24 after a lengthy battle with cancer.  He was 67.

Fisher spent 7 years at WJBK-TV (Detroit) before resigning in 1997.  He later anchored a late-news broadcast at WWJ-TV (Detroit) up until 2002.

Prior to WJBK, Fisher spent 12 years as an anchor and reporter for WXYZ-TV (Detroit).  His resume also included 5 years at WJRT-TV (Flint).  He began is career in 1968 at WATZ-AM/FM in Alpena.

Among Fisher’s awards was the 1993 Michigan Associated Press Award for individual reporting for Toxic Threat, an investigative report on chemical pollution and a 1986 national award from the American Bar Association for his series on Michigan’s jury system.

Visitation is set for 3-8 p.m. Wednesday (3/29) at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks in Clawson. A memorial service is 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Statewide Tornado Drill & Test – April 19, 2017

Graphic 005In cooperation with the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, and with the endorsement of the MAB Board of Directors, the National Weather Service will conduct a test with the Tornado Warning EAS Code at 1:00pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 as part of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The MAB received a waiver from the FCC to use the actual EAS Tornado Warning Code (“TOR”) for this statewide test.

This test will be in conjunction with a statewide tornado drill. In addition to the EAS activation, your area may experience a test of tornado sirens which may alarm some members of the public. Your assistance in informing the public before the test is requested.

The MAB Board of Directors encourages all broadcasters and cable operators to participate. Other states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois have conducted similar successful tests in the past few years. Though encouraged, participation in this test by broadcast stations and cable systems is voluntary. This test was also endorsed by the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC).

If there is a threat of actual severe weather on April 19, the test will be postponed until April 20, 2017. If there is a threat of severe weather on April 20 the test will be cancelled. The go/no-go decision will be made by 4pm the day prior by the National Weather Service, as well as the Statewide Tornado Drill Working group. MAB will post a go or no-go status on its homepage at http://www.michmab.com.

While the audio of this test will repeat several times in the script “This is a Test,” and with the EAS Tornado Code being used, the crawl on TV stations and cable stations will read “A Tornado Warning has been issued for…(and it will list your counties).” We ask that TV broadcasters and cable operators participating in the test to display a “This is a Test” graphic behind the crawl. 

The test will be originated on the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) and these tests will will cover all counties in Michigan and will originate from the NWS offices at Grand Rapids, Gaylord, Marquette, Detroit/Pontiac, and Northern Indiana. They will be relayed via the State Relay (SR) and Local Primary (LP) stations.

What to Expect in Your Market on April 19, 2017

As noted above, its more than likely that your area may experience a test of tornado sirens in addition to the activation of the EAS tornado alert. All businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are welcome to participate in the voluntary statewide preparedness activity. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be involved.

How Broadcasters Can Help

This is an excellent opportunity for broadcasters to show the importance of radio and television in times of emergencies. We ask broadcasters to take an active role in their communities to alert listeners and viewers about not only the test alerts, but our role in providing vital information to the public in times of severe weather and other emergencies.

Local Emergency Management Coordinators have been encouraged to reach out to broadcasters in advance of the test.

***The MAB asks broadcasters to reach out to their local emergency management personnel regarding the activities in their own market. We ask you to cover it in your news, community affairs programs, popular personality shows and in your weather breaks.***

Please use Emergency Managers in newscast interviews and on your local morning shows and talk programming.

Not certain who to contact? The MAB has a list of statewide emergency management contacts available here.

A Statewide Tornado Drill Media Toolkit, including talking points, sample social media posts, and more. Download the kit here.

The MAB encourages you to begin on-air mentions and promotion of the tornado test no later than April 9 (ten days from the test).

There are recorded radio PSAs for severe weather week available:

PSA #1 :30 Download (Statewide Tornado Drill)

The State of Michigan has prepared graphics for use on your webpage and social media posts here.

Additional Information/Contacts

The official website for the Statewide Tornado Alert: http://michigan.gov/miready

Michigan State Police contact:

Dale R. George
Public Information Officer
Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Michigan State Police
7150 Harris Drive
Dimondale, Michigan 48821
Phone: 517-284-3962
Fax: 517-284-3857
GeorgeD5@michigan.gov

Michigan Association of Broadcasters contact:

Dan Kelley
Technology Manager
Phone: (517) 484-7444
dkelley@michmab.com

NAB Wants Changes to the FCC’s Repack Plan

NABAccording to a report in Broadcasting & Cable, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has petitioned the FCC to reconsider its “flawed” framework and timeline for repacking TV stations after the incentive auction, saying not to do so will hurt broadcasters and their viewers.

The auction’s official ending date is scheduled for the end of March and a final “Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice,” announcing who won what, is expected to be released mid-April. From that point, broadcasters remaining on the air have 39 months to move to new channels. The FCC has said a deadline is needed so that the spectrum forward auction bidders, paying almost $20 billion, can be freed up.

In a filing with the FCC March 17, NAB says the agency made mistakes in setting up the auction, including making it overly complicated and not letting stations that had dropped out back in, and created a framework for repacking that does not sufficiently take into account the “unprecedented logistical and operational challenges” both for the commission and industry.

Voters Could Ban Warrantless Searches Of Electronic Data

capitol3Under a House Joint Resolution C (HJR C), introduced by State Representative Jim Runestad (R-44), Michigan voters would get a chance to say whether the state’s Constitution should be amended to protect “electronic data and electronic communications” from warrantless searches. The constitution already states “the person, houses, papers, and possessions of every person shall be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.” Cell phone call logs, text messages and computer files, along with other electronic data would be added to that list under the resolution.

According to a report in Gongwer, Runestad stated that “I think there is a crying need for this because some law enforcement agencies have interpreted the constitution to not include electronic communications. New technology exposes people’s private lives in unexpected ways and his amendment would give citizens the certainty of privacy protection.”

HJR C has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day

On Tuesday, March 28, Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) and Senator Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) introduced a resolution that the members of the Michigan Senate proclaim March 29, 2017, as “Vietnam Veterans Day.”

The resolution encourages all citizens of the state of Michigan to honor our Vietnam Veterans. Read the complete resolution below.

In conjunction with the proclamation, Sen. Kowall’s office released this video, highlight the 50th Anniversary Pin Ceremonies that have been held around the state to formally welcome Veterans home.


Resolution:

Senator O’Brien and Senator Kowall offered the following resolution:

A resolution commemorating March 29, 2017, as “Vietnam Veterans Day”.  Whereas “Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam Veterans and their families; and

Whereas, The Vietnam War was fought in Vietnam from 1961 to 1975, and involved North Vietnam and the Viet Cong in conflict with the United States Armed Forces and South Vietnam; and

Whereas, The United States became involved by serving in an advisory role to the South Vietnamese in 1961; and

Whereas, In 1965, United States Armed Forces ground combat units arrived in Vietnam and by the end of that year there were 80,000 United States troops in Vietnam with a peak of approximately 500,000 troops in 1969. Michigan residents joined with the rest of the nation, serving our country and our state with honor in Vietnam; and

Whereas, On January 27, 1973, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which required the release of all United States prisoners-of-war held in North Vietnam and the withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from South Vietnam; by March 29, 1973, the United States Armed Forces completed the withdrawal of combat troops from Vietnam; and

Whereas, More than 58,000 members of the United States Armed Forces lost their lives in Vietnam and more than 300,000 members of the Armed Forces were wounded. More than 2,650 Michigan residents lost their lives in the Vietnam War; and

Whereas, It was not until 1982, that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. to commemorate those members of the United States Armed Forces who died or were declared missing-in-action in Vietnam; and

Whereas, Members of the United States Armed Forces who served bravely and faithfully for the United States during the Vietnam War were caught upon their return home in the crossfire of public debate about the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War; and
Whereas, March 29th marks the anniversary of the day that combat and combat support units withdrew completely from South Vietnam; and

Whereas, The members of the Michigan Senate support the establishment of a “Vietnam Veterans Day” as an appropriate way to honor those members of the United States Armed Forces who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and the 242,562 Vietnam veterans living in Michigan; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, That the members of the Michigan Senate proclaim March 29, 2017, as “Vietnam Veterans Day”; and be it further  Resolved, That all citizens of the state of Michigan are encouraged to honor our Vietnam Veterans.