Category Archives: May 2018

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law against Sports Betting – But Broadcasters Need to Proceed with Caution

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,

On May 14, the US Supreme Court issued an opinion striking down a Federal law (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or “PASPA”) which prohibited state legislatures from taking any action to legalize betting on sports. PASPA also contained a restriction on advertising sports betting. The state of New Jersey challenged that law, arguing that it improperly limited the authority of state legislatures to act. The Supreme Court agreed, and invalidated the entire Act, including the restriction on advertising sports betting. Some trade press articles have suggested that this signals a boom for broadcasters and other ad-supported media companies as companies rush to start advertising legal sports betting now that the prohibition is gone. While in the long run that may be true, and there may be immediate benefits to stations in certain states, there are numerous caveats for broadcasters to consider before they recognize an advertising boom from sports betting companies.

The entire decision was not based on any analysis of whether or not betting on sports is a good thing, but instead it was a decision based exclusively on a question of state’s rights. The Supreme Court determined that Congress cannot tell state legislatures what they can and cannot do. While Congress may have the authority to ban or otherwise regulate sports betting, if they wanted to regulate it, they should have done so directly. Instead, as the law prohibited state legislatures from taking action to legalize sports betting and other actions predicated on that limitation on states rights, the Supreme Court determined that this was an exercise of authority that Congress does not have – Congress can’t tell state legislatures what to do. Based on the Court’s analysis that all parts of the act were premised on this ban on state legislative actions, the entire law was struck down. That means that there is no blanket federal ban on sports betting, and it leaves each state to regulate as it may wish. For companies ready to take bets on sporting events, and media companies who want to take advertising from sports betting companies, in most cases they need to wait for the states to make decisions on how to proceed.

As the Court noted, at the time of the passage of the legislation, three states (including Nevada) already had laws allowing betting on sports. Apparently, in addition to New Jersey, several other states have already passed laws allowing sports betting if the Supreme Court permitted it. And bills are pending to legalize sports betting in many other states. But there are many states in which there is no clear law permitting sports betting. As DraftKings and FanDuel found out in recent years as they attempted to establish their fantasy sports business, in many states local authorities were ready to challenge their authority to do so under state laws banning sports betting. While some of these laws were amended to allow for fantasy games, many still prohibit straight-on sports betting. Thus, as long as there are prohibitions in state law against sports betting, media companies in those states need to be restrained in their advertising for this activity.

Even in states where the concept of sports betting has been adopted, the state may still need to adopt regulations to implement the law, and licenses may need to be issued to companies who want to take advantage of the change in the law. And, in the days since the Supreme Court’s ruling, there have even been suggestions that Congress could step in and adopt some sort of legislation limiting sports betting, or that it could legislate some royalty to the sports leagues in connection with permissible betting. In short, broadcasters need to consult local counsel to carefully analyze the laws in their states in making decisions on whether or not they can take ads for sports betting.

Once permitted, there will also be questions of whether stations can take ads for legalized betting in other states. There was a Supreme Court case, Edge Broadcasting, upholding a federal law that restricts stations in a state that has no state lottery from advertising the state lottery in an adjacent state. See our post here about an FCC decision fining a station for violating this law by running an ad for an adjacent state’s lottery. But there is also a Supreme Court ruling in the Greater New Orleans case that has been considered to permit truthful advertising for legal casino gambling. How sports betting will be treated remains to be seen. Note, too, that there may well be further litigation to decide these issues.

Also, broadcasters should consider restrictions that may exist in various program contracts that can restrict specific types of advertising. As we wrote here, many sports leagues have restrictions in their contracts as to the type of ads that can be run when their games are being shown. Sports betting is likely to be included among the categories of impermissible advertising in many such contracts. Broadcasters should also consider the age of the audience for programs in which any advertising is being run to make sure that that audience is appropriate for receiving messages about legalized betting on sports.

All in all, the decision this week was a good one for media companies. But whether it will mean, in the short term, a big new source of advertising revenue for stations across the country remains to be seen.

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 MAB membership.

ABIP Training Day will be Offered June 14

The MAB is looking for a qualified individual to conduct Alternative Broadcast Inspections for our members (learn more here) and will offer a special one-day ABIP training session for interested individuals. A day-long ABIP training session will be offered on June 14, 2018 at the Courtyard by Marriott, 2710 Lake Lansing Rd., near the Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing.
While the training is geared toward interested applicants, the MAB has opened the session to all who want to learn more about the ABIP inspection process. 
Dennis Baldridge, Baldridge Communications, LLC, a respected 35 year broadcast veteran, will conduct the training. Mr. Baldridge is a Senior Member of the SBE and holds the following certifications: CPBE, CBNT, AMD Specialist, 8-VSB Specialist, and DRB Specialist. Baldridge holds an FCC Lifetime General License (formerly a First Class FCC License) and Amateur Radio Extra Class License (K0DB). As owner of Baldridge Communications, LLC, he works as a contract engineer and has also authored several articles for Radio Guide.
A small non-refundable $40 fee will be charged to off-set the trainer’s travel expenses. Space is limited to the first 30 participants.
Whether you are interested in becoming our official MAB ABIP inspector or just want to learn more information about performing your own self-inspections, this training a great opportunity to further develop your skills and expertise that are so vital to the our broadcast industry.
Itinerary for June 14 Training Day:
8:30 a.m. – Meet for Continental Breakfast at Courtyard by Marriott, Lansing
9:00 a.m. – Training begins
12:30 p.m. – Lunch on Your Own (several options in the area)
1:30 p.m. – Meet at a Local Station (TBD) for a hands-on inspection
If you are interested in this special training opportunity, act now. Only 30 seats are available and will be reserved on a first-come basis. Click here to register now.
If you have and questions, contact Ann Walters 1-800-968-7622 or or email walters@michmab.com.

WKAR-TV Shares Repack Updates with Viewers

WKAR-TV (East Lansing), which is switching RF channels due to the FCC repack, is keeping its viewers updated with the latest information on the project that started on April 20.

The station is moving from RF channel 40 to RF channel 33.  The station is one of the first in the country to make the move as part of the multi-year repack process.

To make the move, WKAR is replacing the main broadcast antenna that sits atop the station’s 1000-foot tower, plus a twenty-year-old transmitter, the transmission line to the antenna, and an auxiliary antenna.

It’s a $2 million project for WKAR, paid for almost entirely by the proceeds of the recent FCC spectrum auction.

The work is also affecting WKAR-FM and WKAR-AM’s FM translator.

The station has been providing daily “Technote” updates on its website detailing each day’s progress.  You can see the advisories here.  WKAR hopes to begin broadcasting on the new channel by May 23.

What to Do When What You’ve Always Done Doesn’t Work Anymore

Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
DickTaylorBlog.com

There’s no doubt about it. We live in challenging times.

The big word of the day is “disruption.”

We read every day about how some new shiny toy is the latest radio “disruptor.”

But is that really what’s happening?

Dematurity

The radio broadcasting industry may be dealing with something bigger; dematurity. “Dematurity is what happens to an established industry when multiple companies adopt a host of small innovations in a relatively short period of time,” says John Sviokla. The term was coined back in the 1980s by Harvard Business School professors William Abernathy and Kim Clark.

Radio’s Dematurity

Think about this phenomenon as it applies to radio.

The internet introduced the concept of streaming radio. Two companies introduced nationwide radio coverage from satellites above America. The smartphone provided an opportunity for Pandora to stream to cellphones. Podcasters followed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and others would compete for a smartphone owner’s attention on these same devices. Meanwhile, on the home front, Amazon developed its Echo voice activated device, as Google, Microsoft, and Apple followed with their own smart speakers. Facebook, not to be left out, says it will introduce its own smart speaker this coming July.

Each move by these technology companies might have seemed trivial when announced, but when looked at in total, they represent a crescendo of mini-disruptions.

The Currency of People’s Time

While most will focus on the shiny new innovation, what we’re really seeing is how people spend the most valuable currency in their lives, their time.

For broadcasters, the challenge is providing people with a listening experience worth a person giving us their time.

Government Regulations

Another factor that impacts business is government regulations. While radio broadcasting has been heavily regulated since the birth of commercial radio in the 1920s, we compete against online and satellite audio providers that are not.

Government regulations have enormous impact on the type of competition and the intensity it brings in your market.

Death & Taxes

Benjamin Franklin wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” In business, you probably can add dematurity. There is not a business that won’t be impacted by it, if it’s not already.

Ask the Right Questions

John Sviokla poses these questions for trying to get a handle on how to build value and sustain value:

  • What makes for efficient scale?
  • Who is the competition?
  • Who are the customers?
  • What do the customers want?
  • Who owns what?
  • Where is the risk?

Sviokla, in his book, The Self-Made Billionaire Effect, says more than 80 percent of the self-made billionaires he’s profiled made their money by reinvigorating a mature industry. “They either introduced a product tuned to new consumer habits, changed the technologies of production, adopted new ideas from another industry, adapted to new regulation, changed the distribution system, or made some combination of those moves,” says Sviokla.

While dematurity is inevitable for all businesses, brainstorming what change is happening, and making changes to take advantage of it, is the difference between crisis and opportunity.

“Change will lead to insight far more often than insight will lead to change.”  -Milton H. Erickson

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.

10 Common Traits of Winning AC Stations

Gary Berkowitz

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

Have you ever looked at the ratings and wondered: How do certain AC’s always come out on top? Do a “programming x-ray” on the most successful and consistently high rated AC stations and you’ll quickly see the common elements that make them winners.

After many years of working with AC’s around the country, here’s my top ten list of the common traits of winning AC stations.

1. They understand their listeners music taste. They know that if the music is not right, their ratings will not be right. To them, music research is like a utility bill. It always gets paid. Successful AC’s don’t want their “lights turned off”, so they do the research (you know what I mean!)

2. The golden rule is “Win at Work.” Everything rallies around 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sure the other day parts are important, but 8-4 is where you will get the majority of your ¼ hours. When the book comes in, that’s the first place they look to see how they did.

3. They are “brilliant with the basics” and understand how to combine them with a fun, congenial atmosphere. They don’t “read” liners. They deliver them in a warm, natural, friendly way so the listener feels good about listening to their station. They do an amazing job of making sure their listeners ALWAYS know who they are listening to whether it’s a PPM or Diary market.

4. Winning AC’s have personalities who are more concerned with being likable than funny. In sales, the line is “People BUY from people they like.” In programming “Listeners LISTEN to people they like.” Are your personalities “likable”?

5. AC winners follow a conservative road. “When in doubt, leave it out” is their rule. Whether it’s a bad spot, or bad lyrics, they don’t overthink it. They just leave it out. Remember, “You only get hurt by what you play.”

6. They position themselves with true listener benefits. They ask their listeners why they listen and they mirror that. They forget the useless language (We Love You, You’re The Best”). They sweat the small stuff. Like not talking about listening at work at 5 p.m.

7. High performing AC PD’s are not concerned with “content” as much as they are with “companionship.” The big AC’s have personalities who understand what it is to be a listener’s friend. To a listener, having their favorite, comfortable AC station on is as important as anything in the work environment.

8. They have a phone app. It’s tough to buy an AM-FM radio these days. If you don’t believe me, go into a Best Buy and look for one. The world revolves around the phone. If you’re not there, well…. you know the rest! Get that app today!

9. They make effective use of Facebook and Email marketing and do not abuse it. Successful AC’s know that Facebook is still the 500 lb. gorilla with their base and they post often with information that is useful to their base. Listener emails always contain a strong reason to open and read it (like secret contests and giveaways only for them).

10. Consistency is job #1. Day in and day out, they sound the same. Always smooth. Always warm and friendly. Everyone does formatics the same. Its smooth. Winning AC’s are like the restaurant that has mastered great service, fabulous food and a great environment.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

How to Fix Radio Station Blogposts That Don’t Look Right When You Share Them on Facebook

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

When describing the role that social networks like Facebook play in a radio station’s digital strategy, I often compare them to billboards by the side of the highway. Your station advertises on billboards in the hope that people will see those billboards and tune in. By the same token, your radio station should share content on Facebook in the hopes that people will click on it and come back to the station website. (For more explanation, watch this short video on Content Marketing strategy.)

Of course, it takes an eye-catching billboard to convince people to tune in. And it takes eye-catching content to convince people to click through to your website. That’s why, if you’re going through all the trouble of creating great content, it’s useful to use a tool like the Yoast WordPress plugin to control what people see when your content is shared on social media. In addition to controlling your content’s presence in Google’s search results, the Yoast plugin also allows you to determine the headline, description, and image used when your content is shared on Facebook or Twitter.

Of course, every once and a while I blow it with this plugin. Sometimes, I forget to configure the Yoast settings before publishing a blogpost. Other times, I configure them but misspell a word or make another mistake. I usually don’t realize this until I’m proactively sharing our content on social media. I’ll often notice my mistake as I’m drafting a post on Facebook.

What do you do when you want to share your content on social media, but the content doesn’t look right in the post preview?

Fortunately, Facebook has a tool designed for situations like these. It’s called the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool. Here’s how it works: Enter a URL, and Facebook will show you what it saw when it scraped that link. If you don’t like what Facebook sees, you can manually force Facebook to re-scrape the URL.

For example, let’s say I wrote a blogpost called “10 Things You Should Know About Katy Perry’s “Roar,” but when I configured the Yoast plugin settings, I accidentally mistyped and told Facebook that the title of the blogpost was, “10 Things You Should Know About Katy Perry’s “Rear.” This could be extremely embarrassing! Fortunately, as I try to share the link on Facebook, I notice the mistake in the post preview. So I go back to my WordPress post and correct the Yoast settings.

But how can I make sure that Facebook notices my corrections? All I have to do is go to the Facebook Sharing Debugger, enter the URL to the blogpost and click the ‘Debug’ button. Then, when the preview comes up, click the ‘Scrape Again’ button. Ta-da! Facebook picks up on my changes, and Katy Perry and I have been spared from an awkward moment at our next meet-and-greet.

If you are prone to make mistakes with your website content as often as I am, the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool can be a lifesaver. Bookmark it in your browser, use it when you make mistakes, and you could see an uptick in your website traffic.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

WXYZ-TV Welcomes the Brightest and Best High School Seniors

 

On May 12, WXYZ-TV (Detroit) held its 39th annual “Brightest and Best” celebration, at the station’s studios to recognize the academic achievements of local graduating high school seniors.

For more than three decades, WXYZ has welcomed graduates and their families for a morning of celebration.

Students were also able to take part in a Twitter Scavenger Hunt.

The list required them to run around the grounds, mingle with WXYZ reporters and anchors, and snap photos. They took over social media with their adventures and you can get a recap by checking out the hashtag #BrightestAndBest on Twitter.

Nominations for NRHoF include Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club

The nominations for the 2018 class of inductees at the National Radio Hall of Fame and voting has started for four of the categories.  Detroit’s very own Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club has been nominated.

Of the six categories, four of them will be voted on a select group of nearly 1,000 industry professionals, while two of the categories are open to the public (starting June 4). Inductees will be announced June 25. The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 15, at Guastavino’s in New York City.

To be voted on by industry professionals:

Jim Harper

Active Local/Regional (10 Years or More)

  • Jonathon Brandmeier, Chicago
  • Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club, Detroit
  • Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot, Steve Morrison), Philadelphia
  • Bob Rivers, Seattle

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 Years or More)

  • Mike Francesa, New York
  • Johnny Holliday, Washington
  • Jim Kerr, New York
  • Charles Laquidara, Boston

Active Network/Syndication (10 Years or More)

  • Nanci Donnellan, “The Fabulous Sports Babe”
  • Kim Komando, “The Kim Komando Show”
  • “Marketplace”
  • Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, “Mike & Mike”

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 Years or More)

  • John Garabedian, “Open House Party”
  • Walt “Baby” Love, “Gospel Traxx”
  • Dr. Laura Schlessinger, “The Dr. Laura Program”
  • Robert Siegel, “All Things Considered”

To be voted on by radio listeners:

Music Format On-Air Personality

  • Ellen K
  • Kid Kelly
  • Angie Martinez
  • John Tesh

Spoken Word On-Air Personality

  • Mark Levin
  • Joe Madison
  • George Noory
  • Jim Rome

National Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “I personally appreciate the challenging task that our Nominating Committee accepts each year to officially nominate talent from an infinite list of deserving individuals.  Congratulations to this year’s nominees, an excellent selection of our industry’s finest.”

The National Radio Hall of Fame is located in Chicago.

NATAS Michigan Announces 40th Annual Regional EMMY® Nominations


Television stations, cable networks, ad agencies and production houses throughout Michigan have received nominations for this year’s National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Michigan 40th Annual Regional EMMY® Awards.

Tickets are now on sale for the EMMY® Awards ceremonies, to be held at the MotorCity Sound Board Theater on Saturday, June 16.

Ticket purchase information is here.

For a complete list of this year’s nominees, click here.