Category Archives: October 2017

Michigan Legislature Introduces Unemployment Insurance Reform Bills

The Michigan House of Representatives introduced a package of bills to repair several major problems within Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.
According to a Gongwer report, the bipartisan legislation was the outcome of a large workgroup consisting of Republicans, Democrats, business, labor, experts in unemployment benefits and the MI Unemployment Agency, which spent close to 900 hours drafting the the bills. 
The major points of the legislative package include:

  • Reducing penalties for fraud from four times the benefits received to an amount equivalent to the benefits received on the first offense and 1.5 times the amount received on subsequent offenses. Identity theft penalties would remain four times the benefits received.
  • Allowing anyone accused of fraud to have a state-funded advocate assist them through the process, something currently barred, though if the individual is found to have committed fraud they have to repay the state for the advocate’s service.
  • No longer requiring those improperly given benefits to pay interest on those benefits if the error in awarding benefits was made by the agency.
  • Clarifying language to assure the agency awards hardship waivers to those who received an over-payment but did nothing wrong and have income below the federal poverty level so they do not have to pay the benefits back.
  • Allowing an employer and employee to sign an affidavit together stating an unemployment benefits claim filed by someone else in the name of the employee was identity theft. The agency currently lacks mechanisms to address this growing problem, business groups have said.
  • Better notification to those accused of committing fraud.
A committee hearing on these bills is expected soon. The MAB is monitoring.

Court Rejects Appeal of FCC Decision Not to Mandate Multilingual EAS Alerts

The MAB and the SECC are currently surveying all Michigan Broadcast Stations and Cable Systems at the request of the FCC (see below).  If you have not been contacted for your information, please contact Dan Kelley at the MAB:  dkelley@michmab.com and you will be provided a link to your station’s information.

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

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

On October 17, The United States Court of Appeals issued an order denying the appeal of an FCC order that rejected a requirement that multilingual EAS alerts be provided in every market. We wrote about the FCC’s proceeding here and here. The Court upheld the FCC’s decision as reasonable, finding that the Commission did not have enough evidence to determine how such alerts should be implemented on a nationwide basis, and noting that the FCC was still reviewing whether to adopt requirements that broadcasters provide alerts in languages other than English in the future. That decision should serve as a reminder that in the FCC order rejecting the call to mandate multilingual EAS alerts in all markets, the Commission did call for broadcasters to supply more information – information that is due in early November.

In 2016, when the FCC rejected the imposition of multilingual EAS alerts, they imposed an obligation on broadcast stations to report to their State Emergency Coordinating Committees (“SECC”) information about what the stations are doing to implement multilingual EAS – including a description of any plans they have to implement such alerts in the future, and whether or not there are significant populations of non-English speaking groups in their communities that would need such alerts. We wrote about that obligation here. The one year deadline would seem to be November 3, one year after the FCC’s order was published in the Federal Register (though an FCC small-business compliance guide summarizing the obligations, released in August, available here, states on the top of page 3 that the deadline is November 6). In any event, given the Court’s decision relying on the FCC gathering information about the provision of emergency alerts to non-English speaking communities, it is important that stations provide their SECCs by early November. The FCC’s Small Business Compliance Guide is a good summary of what is required.

The Court decision was a 2-1 decision, with a dissenting judge finding that the FCC already had asked for information about multilingual EAS alerts several times, and did not get it. The dissenting judge thought that the Court should have found that the FCC was unreasonable in once again saying that they were looking for more information with no guarantee that they would receive that information. This dissent highlights the importance that seems to be placed on the upcoming submission of this information to state EAS committees.

Broadcasters need to find out who heads their SECC, and get them the information about multilingual EAS alerts in the next few weeks, so that the SECCs can review their state EAS plans and, where necessary, make changes by next May based on the information in the November reporting, so that broadcasters can better serve non-English speaking populations with emergency alerts.

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.

WCMU Presents “Ask The DNR”

On Thursday Night, October 19, WCMU Public Television continues their long-running “Ask The Experts” series with a program featuring guests from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

The live-hour program allows viewers to ask anonymous questions to the in-studio DNR specialists. Viewers can call, Tweet or Facebook questions to the show.  The show airs at 7:30 p.m.

Upcoming episodes of the show include:

Thursday, October 26, 2017 “Ask The Realtors”
Thursday, November 2, 2017 “Ask The Home Energy Specialists”
Thursday, November 9, 2017 “Ask The Veterans”
Thursday, November 16, 2017 “Ask The Financial Planners”

The station also has an archive of past programs available in its website.

Regional EAS LECC Meetings Underway

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan State Police 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.

The first regional meeting was held November 16 in Oak Park with local Emergency Managers from Southeast Michigan and representatives from the area LP-1 (WJR-AM) and LP-2 (WWJ-AM) stations, Dan Kelley from the MAB, as well as personnel from MSP Emergency Management and Homeland Security division.

After an open discussion of issues regarding emergency alerting, those attending broke into groups to focus on the individual needs of the each stakeholder.  The three 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.

The meetings will continue region-by-region.  Local Primary Stations should be receiving an invitation to a coming meetings in their area.

WXYZ-TV Holds Town Hall Meeting in Oakland County

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) continued its series of Detroit 2020 town hall meetings with an event in Oakland County on October 17.  The event took place at Kensington Church in Troy with area residents invited.

The 7 Action News town hall series is part of WXYZ’s Detroit 2020 community initiative that was created to project a vision for our communities in the future.

“Throughout this series of town hall meetings, we are going out to communities across Metro Detroit to simply listen,” said WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager Mike Murri. “Understanding the issues and challenges people are facing helps us do a better job of serving our viewers. It also gives us the opportunity to address those concerns in stories on 7 Action News. Our goal is to have a positive impact in communities throughout our area.”

7 Action News stories on the Michigan auto insurance crisis and Detroit water bills came from concerns shared at 2020 town hall meetings.

7 Action News anchor Carolyn Clifford hosted the event. She was joined by 7 Action anchor Glenda Lewis and 7 Action News investigator, Ross Jones.

The station featured portions of the town hall meeting live on 7 Action News at 7 p.m. and on Facebook Live.

This was the 5th Detroit 2020 town hall meeting. WXYZ also held events in Detroit, Sterling Heights, Taylor and at WXYZ in Southfield, where a studio audience screened the film, “12th and Clairmount,” on the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots.

For more information about the Detroit 2020 town hall meetings, go to wxyz.com

Why Should your Stations be Members of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters?  

Peter Tanz

By: Peter Tanz,  MAB Chairman
Vice President, Midwest Communications (Kalamazoo)

All of my company’s stations in Michigan are members of the MAB and have been for decades. Why? Simply because the MAB offers value that we can’t get from any other affiliation.

The MAB is the voice for broadcasters in Michigan.  Individually, I can be as active politically as time will allow, but our lawmakers react positively when they hear the united voice of the MAB.  Our combined voice through the MAB has strength in numbers and helps to prevent legislation that could harm our ability to do business, serve our communities and make a profit.

Additionally, we derive great value from the many services offered free of charge to members.  Services including on-demand sales training with P1 Sales;  EEO tracking and reporting from Broadcast Compliance Services; Legal Help Lines with David Oxenford – Wilkinson, Barker and Knauer LLP and John J. Ronayne –  Bernardi, Ronayne & Glusac PC on FOIA, Libel and First Amendment Issues; Energy Audits for sales tax refunds; Legal and regulatory Live Webinars and industry issue updates in the weekly MAB News Briefs update.

Members benefit from low cost education and networking opportunities at the spring Great Lakes Media Show and the summer Advocacy Conference.  Whether your station is part of a large corporately owned group or a small independent owner, being a member of the MAB is a small investment that makes good business sense.

MAB membership dues continue to be some of the lowest in the nation and the Public Education messages we air are good for our local community and demonstrate the power of our broadcasting.

Look for your 2018 Dues statement coming to your mailbox.  Pay by the end of the year and take a discount.  Over 80% of all broadcasters in Michigan are members of the MAB. In 2018 let’s make it 100%.

Show Your Support for Michigan’s Premiere Media Show

Sign up now to partner your brand with the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show, previously known as the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC), presented by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB). This is your premier opportunity to engage influential leaders from across the broadcast industry.

The 2018 Great Lakes Media Show will take place March 6 and 7 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Click here to learn about the many ways your business or organization can become one of our honored event sponsors.

Contact Jacquelen Timm at 517-484-7444 or timm@michmab.com  to design a sponsorship package that is right for you.

Learn more at GreatLakesMediaShow.com

WCSX’s Jim O’Brien Helping Detroit Vets Get Back To Work

RadioInk reports that WCSX’s (Detroit) Big Jim’s House Morning Show (hosted by Jim O’Brien) wants to help veterans get jobs through the 94.7 WCSX-FM “Employment After Deployment” initiative.

Members of the military who have returned home from a recent deployment and are looking for a job can go to the station’s website or send an email to O’Brien and share their job experience, skill set, and type of position they’re looking for. In addition, Big Jim’s House will feature a veteran selected from all submissions received each week on the morning show and will work to match the individual up with employers located throughout the Metro Detroit area.

“As a proud veteran of the U.S. Naval Submarine Service, I’ve always wanted to find ways to give back and support fellow veterans,” said WCSX-FM Morning Personality Big Jim O’Brien. “Employment after Deployment is yet another great example of the people of Detroit helping each other and supporting our veterans with jobs.”

See the “Employment After Deployment” website here.

WBCT Birthday Bash Moves to Fifth Third Ballpark

B-93 Birthday Bash 2017

A major annual music festival in West Michigan will have a new home in 2018.  WBCT-FM’s (Grand Rapids) annual “Birthday Bash” country music event is relocating to the Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids.  For the last seven years, the festival has been held at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park near Martin in Allegan County.

“After evaluating the changing concert landscape and reviewing facilities and infrastructure, B-93.7 has decided to move its Birthday Bash celebration to the Fifth Third Ballpark,” said iHeartRadio Media Market President Tim Feagan, in a released statement. “The new facility for the Birthday Bash will provide better sightlines, concession choices, facilities, and seating for all attendees.”

The 2018 event will be held June 2.  The concert lineup will be announced at a later date.

Update: New Advertising Disclaimers on E-Cig and Cigar Advertising Still on for 2018

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

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

Last year, the FDA adopted requirements to tag advertisements for vaping and e-cig advertising with a warning that e-cigs contain nicotine and that nicotine is an addictive chemical. These requirements were to go into effect in 2018.

In the last week, I have received several questions about these rules and their effective date. According to this FDA document (see the table on Page 5), released in August, the new disclosure obligations are still set to become effective on August 10, 2018. We wrote about that effective date here, and about the adoption of the requirements, including additional health warning disclosures required for cigar advertising, here. We don’t claim to be FDA experts, so companies offering these products should consult with lawyers who are knowledgeable about the status of additional obligations imposed on manufacturers and retailers adopted by the FDA last year.

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.