Category Archives: November 2017

The MAB is Proud to Welcome Back the Michigan Army National Guard as an NCSA partner!

Due to federal contracting issues, the Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG) left the MAB’s NCSA program in 2013.  MAB is happy to announce a new contract has been signed for Fiscal Year 2018 and messages began airing on our member stations on November 1.  As always, your support of the program is greatly appreciated and we could not provide the services to our members without every stations participation.

You will see emails including links to new messages, new PR and attendance at many MAB events.  Please take a moment to welcome them back to our partnership.  The Michigan Army National Guard relies on their partnership with MAB and its members to educate Michigan citizens about the opportunities available to cover college tuition, training that include STEM areas and the ability to live and serve within our Michigan communities.   They strive to serve their mission: “As a component of the U.S. Army, we are an entity of the state. We defend our country when called to action, but what makes us a unique branch in the military is our duty to protect and serve the state of Michigan. This allows us to live and serve within our Michigan communities. From natural disaster relief and civil disturbances to national emergencies, we are always ready, always there.”

The MAB is looking forward to an amazing year of partnership and resource sharing.  If you would like to interview your local recruiter, please contact Richard Teeter at 517-481-7002.

Michigan Radio Brings ‘Stateside’ to East Lansing

Via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

A photo from Stateside’s live show in Detroit in 2016.

Michigan Radio’s (WUOM-FM/WFUM-FM/WVGR-FM) daily talk show, Stateside, hosted by Cynthia Canty, travels to East Lansing today, November 2, for a special live show from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

The show will be recorded in front of a live audience at the Kellogg Center auditorium on the Michigan State University campus. Segments from the live show will be broadcast during future Stateside programs in the upcoming weeks.

Among the scheduled guests on the show will be longtime Lansing mayor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and “America’s Angriest Mayor” Virg Bernero who will discuss his legacy, the strides Lansing has made and the challenges that remain. Other topics discussed on the show will be an MSU program that trains veterans in beekeeping, new ideas for teaching from a Michigan Hall of Fame teacher, why Lansing is a landing spot for so many refugees, and a look at state politics with It’s Just Politics hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta. The show will also feature live music provided by the LCC Constellations Jazz Sextet.

7 Ways to Reduce the Stress of Your Radio Station’s Podcast Launch

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

Podcasts have become a hot topic in the radio industry. Everybody’s buzzing about the need for broadcasters to embrace the medium, but there’s a side to it that also makes a lot of radio programmers apprehensive. For starters, most station staffers in the country are already stretched pretty thin.

But there’s more than just the workload causing concern among radio programmers. Many of them may quietly be thinking to themselves, “What if we’re not good at podcasting?” After all, we claim to be professionals in the audio content space. What if our podcasts suck?

I just launched a new podcast series, and trust me, I feel the same apprehension that you do. It’s a normal reaction to have when you take on something new. With podcasts, the stakes seem higher than radio shows. Bad radio shows can only be heard locally before they disappear into the ether. But bad podcast episodes can be heard around the world, and downloaded long after they were originally recorded.

This pressure can be intimidating. But the worst thing you can do is allow it to delay your radio station’s entry into the space. Here are some things you can do to lower the stakes and relieve some of the pressure:

1. Produce a pilot season.
When I first started podcasting, I assumed they were like The Tonight Show or The Today Show. That is, that new episodes came out on a regular basis from now until the end of time, and that if I wasn’t still producing the podcast in 20 years, it was a failure.

It was not until I listened to Serial I realized how wrong-headed this notion was. Serial was the first podcast that I encountered to produce a season with a limited number of episodes. This is a brilliant strategy. If the first season goes well, you can always come back for more. If it doesn’t, you aren’t committed to producing a failing show in perpetuity – or even a second season. It also give podcasters a natural break point at which they can stop, review, and tweak the show if necessary.

Instead of starting a podcast with an open-ended commitment, I strongly encourage radio stations launch with a “pilot season” consisting of a finite number of episodes (say, 6-12). Moreover, don’t call it “season one,” as that implicitly sets expectations there will be a “season two.” Instead, call it a “10-episode podcast series” and see how it goes. This will give you some breathing room and options.

2. Think of your station as a movie studio.
Not every movie is a hit. Some are huge flops. Movie studios realize this, and they build that expectation into their business model. Your radio station should do the same. Don’t bank everything on a single podcast. Instead, build a framework that allows you to launch multiple podcasts, and then run with the ones that gain traction, and drop the ones that don’t. Accept the idea that not every podcast is going to be a hit, and plan accordingly.

3. Pick a feasible show format.
My first podcast involved me going to protest sites, recording a series of interviews, editing those interviews, and compiling them into episodes. It could easily take 15 hours to produce a single episode. Not surprisingly, I was koverwhelmed by the workload, and that show “podfaded” after only a dozen episodes.

When I set out to launch my second podcast series, I gave a lot more thought to feasibility of the format. I wanted to focus on something I could realistically produce on a continual basis, so I settled on a show that involved one-on-one phone interviews. It began as a biweekly show, and I didn’t turn it into a weekly show until I was confident that I could keep up with the pace.

When you set out to create your first podcast, be realistic. Use a format that you know you can realistically produce given your limited resources.

4. Know your skills.
My first few podcast series involved one-on-one interviews. After a while, I wanted to move on to something more complex. Many of the podcasts I was a fan of come out of the Ira Glass This American Life storytelling journalism mold. So I set out to do something similar. The problem? As a commercial radio broadcaster, I have no experience with storytelling journalism. I quickly discovered that creating this type of podcast is not my forté.

When you set out to launch your radio station’s first podcast, take stock of which skills your staff possesses and which skills they don’t. You’re much more likely to succeed if you build a podcast on the foundation that’s already there instead of trying to emulate somebody else’s podcasting style.

5. Pick a passion topic.
On the radio, we try to talk about pop culture topics with broad appeal. Podcasts, on the other hand, often work best when they cover specific niches. But what niche should your podcast cover?

I’m going to recommend something that runs counter to everything we’ve learned as radio broadcasters: Pick a topic based on what the host wants, not necessarily what the audience wants. (I know, I know. As a radio programmer who begrudgingly played a lot of Nickelback in heavy rotation, I’m surprised to hear me say it, too.)

Down the road, of course, you may want to launch podcasts based around the audience’s interests. But in the beginning, when we’re all still learning, the stakes are still low, and there isn’t extra money for extra work, so let the host develop a podcast around something she is passionate about.

Talk to your staff. If you’ve got somebody who’s excited about craft beer, parenting, pets, wrestling, or science fiction, let them run with it and see what happens. It will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

6. Don’t sell it.
Too often, as radio broadcasters, we don’t do anything new unless we think we can monetize it. One of the first questions I often get about podcasting is, “How do we sell it?”

Here’s my answer: “Don’t. Yet.”

I realize a lot of managers may scoff at this, but for now, treat your podcasts as an R&D project: there’s not a ton of money to be made in the space right now anyway, but there will be in the future, so develop the skills and expertise to make a great product. If you launch your first podcast by making promises to clients that you can’t deliver on, you run the risk of killing the goose that will one day lay golden eggs.

Don’t sell a sponsorship around your first podcast.

7. Make the goal to learn.
Instead of quantifying a goal for your first podcast in terms of dollars or downloads, articulate a goal more like this:

“We want to learn how to produce a high-quality podcast.”

Trust me, after your first 10 episodes, you’re going to know a whole lot more than you did at the beginning. There is a lot of value in gaining this experience. It will allow you to produce better podcasts that earn more popularity and profit down the road.

Yes, the podcasting space can be intimidating at first, and it’s natural for radio broadcasters to feel reluctance. By adopting the right attitude and planning correctly, you can reduce the pressure and make podcasting fun and rewarding.

Guide to Podcasting
Looking to launch your radio station’s first podcast? Download our Podcasting Guide for Radio Stations: here.

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

Traffic and Weather Together: Quick tips to Make it Sound Great!

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

Doing traffic and weather may seem simple, but its easy for both of these services to become “wallpaper” or just be done the wrong way. Since most radio stations do both of these daily elements, check out these tips and instantly see how great they sound on your station. Your listeners will appreciate it too!

TRAFFIC

GIVE ME THE TRAFFIC REPORT, PLEASE. Nothing annoys listeners more than hearing the traffic intro and then the jock goes off on a tangent, talking about everything but the traffic. When the intro hits, get directly to the report. Save the “schmooze” for other places.

WHAT DID THEY SAY? Have your traffic reporters developed their own language? Make sure they speak with easy to understand words. At the news station here in Detroit, they always refer to I-75 as “The Chrysler.” Problem is, nobody calls it that. People call it 75. Traffic reporters are the only ones who use that name.

SLOW DOWN. Many traffic reporters speak so fast to include everything that you end up hearing nothing.

THEN WHY DID THEY DO THE REPORT? Avoid “Nothing is going on.” If that is the case, why are we doing a report? Avoid this traffic reporter crutch: “Things are winding down.” What does that mean?

BETTER TSL. Avoid using traffic reports as a tease unless you are going to site a specific problem. “There’s a problem on 95 South by Salty’s billboard at exit 56. We’ll tell you why next on 92 PRO-FM.”

RATINGS HINT: Get credit by attaching your call letters to traffic reports. Avoid “We’ll check traffic next.” Better: “We’ll check Lite 101.9 Traffic next”

WEATHER

ONE PUNCH JINGLES SOUND BETTER. Two-punch weather jingles never sound as good as one-punch versions. Have a longer emergency bed only for use on bad weather days when necessary.

ELIMINATE PARTLY TO MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH HI’S IN THE MID TO UPPER 60’S. Use fewer words. Eliminate use of words such as Hi’s, Low’s. Do the weather format the same, all the time. This is a great one from Don Kelley when he was PD at Magic 106.7 in Boston.

Sunny & Warm Today, 78

Clear Tonight, 66

C’MON, I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO DRESS. Like with traffic, once the jingle hits, get to the weather. This is not schmooze time. Now that we’re into Fall, how about “What to Wear Weather.” or “School Day Weather.”

RATINGS HINT WITH WEATHER: When doing weather back to music, make sure your format includes a strong station benefits.

“Sunny and 89 with another 30 minutes of Today’s Best Music starting now.”

TV PEOPLE ARE GOOD FOR YOU. Have a relationship with a TV station and its meteorologist in AM Drive. Use their name on weather reports throughout the day. Make sure they do not get too technical and involved. Keep it fun, simple and concise (TV weather people are notorious for going too long).

Once you get these on your station, let me know how it’s working for you.

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

Judge Refuses to Dismiss FOIA Lawsuit Against AG’s Office

According to a report in Gongwer, a judge rejected the Department of Attorney General’s motion to dismiss a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, brought by Progress Michigan, asserting department employees conducted public business using undisclosed private email accounts.

The lawsuit is seeking all emails sent by Attorney General Schuette and 20 staff and department attorneys from their personal accounts. The complaint, filed in April, alleges Schuette and his staff used personal emails to conduct state business, and that the office’s refusal to disclose those emails violated the Freedom of Information Act. The complaint also alleges failure to preserve state records.

The Office Attorney General moved to dismiss the case on technical grounds, but the court disagreed against the attorney general’s argument that the Progress Michigan filed its amended complaint after the statute of limitation under FOIA had expired.

Michigan May Face a New Health Insurance Tax

According to a report in MIRS, health insurance costs in Michigan are expected to go up by 2.7 percent and the state’s General Fund will take another $40 million hit in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 under a federal health care tax that’s set to take effect January 1, 2018.

The Health Insurance Tax (HIT), created to pay for the state exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes effect on January 1, 2018. A report from Oliver Wyman Health concludes that the tax will mean an average increase of $165 per person in the individual market and up to $523 per family in the small group market.

This means that over the next ten years, the mean premium increases will range from $2,376 per person in the individual market to $6,969 per family in the large group market. Overall, this will have a $7.7 billion impact on Michigan over the next 10 years, according to the Michigan Association of Health Plans.

Michigan Congressmen Mike Bishop (R-8), Jack Bergman (R-1), Bill Huizenga (R-2), Paul Mitchell (R-10), John Moolenaar (R-4), Dave Trott (R-11) and Tim Walberg (R-7) cosponsored legislation H.R. 246, that would stop the Health Insurance Tax from taking effect in 2018. The bill has been referred to the U.S. Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

FCC Announces Information Session on Revised Biennial Ownership Reports

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,
BroadcastLawBlog.com

The FCC has released a Public Notice announcing that it will be holding an information session on November 28, 2017 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to familiarize broadcasters with the new Biennial Ownership Report forms. This information session can be viewed live online and will also be archived for viewing after the session (archive to be available here). As we wrote here, the FCC has extended to March 2, 2018 the due date for filing Biennial Ownership Reports, as it is in the process of developing a new form that will, hopefully, make it easier for broadcasters to complete the Form 323 and 323E Ownership Reports that must be filed by licensees once every two years. This information, which will present an overview of the new form, appears to be its official unveiling.

Note that this will be the first time that noncommercial broadcasters will be filing at the same time as commercial broadcasters (see our article here). Also, while commercial broadcasters will need to obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) for each person who has an attributable interest in a station, the FCC recently decided that noncommercial licensees need not get an FRN for each member of its governing board (as it would entail getting each member’s social security number). But noncommercial broadcasters still will need to get a Special Use FRN for all officers and directors reported on their ownership reports (see our article here).

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.

Regional EAS Meetings Continue

Standish meeting on October 30.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) and Michigan State Police (MSP) are coordinating regional EAS/Local Emergency Communication Committee (LECC) meetings around the state.  The purpose of the meetings is to discuss ways of improving emergency alerting, including EAS within the state.

Thus far, meetings have been held in Oak Park, Standish, Marquette and Grayling.  Additional meetings (so far) are scheduled:

  • November 6: Taylor
  • November 9:  Kalamazoo
  • November 27: Big Rapids
  • November 30: Howell

All local EAS primary stations serving the appropriate meetings are being invited to participate in these meetings.  Other broadcasters are invited to attend if they desire.

Thus far, the three primary areas the broadcasters would like to see from an improved statewide effort included better audio from the alerting authorities, better communication to radio and TV stations from the local emergency management, plus “First Responder” designations, so broadcast personnel could access their facilities when roads and other passage may be restricted.

One other area directly impacting broadcasters is the desire to be certain that broadcast stations have their EAS equipment set up properly to pass along alerts.  This is primarily for the stations downstream from the local primary stations.

Following these meetings, MSP, in January, will review the information gathered from these meetings to formulate an action plan for improving emergency communications, including EAS.