Category Archives: September 2016

Lori Bennett Appointed Operations Manager at Cumulus/Grand Rapids

loribennett_275Cumulus Media has announced that Lori Bennett has been appointed Operations Manager for the company’s 5-station cluster in Grand Rapids.  This includes WLAV-FM, WBBL-FM, WHTS-FM, WTNR-FM and WJRW-AM.  Bennett will also program WTNR and host the afternoon drive show from 3-7pm.

Bennett joins the Grand Rapids group from Cumulus Media in Detroit, where she most recently was Program Director and Afternoon Drive Host for Hot A/C WDVD-FM.  She previously was Promotions Director/Feature Anchor at WJR-AM and air talent for WDRQ-FM.  In Detroit, Bennett also served in various capacities including Operations Manager, Program and Marketing Director and Morning Show Host for various stations such as WNIC-FM, WMGC-FM and WVMV-FM.

“We are thrilled to have Lori join our Grand Rapids team” says Vice-President/Market Manager Jeff Cartwright. She is a true broadcast professional who brings a positive energy along with new programming ideas to our cluster. I am excited to see what the future holds for our 5 stations with Lori here.”

Bennett says “I’m honored to join the remarkable family of broadcasters at Cumulus Grand Rapids! The talent and energy within the cluster extends beyond the norm, with legendary market personalities that know how to truly connect and super serve the West Michigan audience. I am grateful to Mary Berner, Mike McVay, Doug Hamand, Bob Walker and of course, the dynamic Jeff Cartwright, for the opportunity to captain such an incredible team!”

Students Design WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) ArtPrize News Desk

wzzm-1_532Students from the Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) at Ferris State University teamed up with local office environment company Custer to design and create a newsdesk for WZZM-TV for use during the 19-day ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize is an international art competition spread over three square miles of Grand Rapids, with art on display everywhere, including museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, theaters, hotels, public parks, lobbies, buildings, walls, bridges, etc.  About 400,000 people attend the free event each year.

WZZM President/General Manager Janet Mason told TV NewsCheck “The collaboration between Custer, KCAD design students and WZZM 13 has resulted in a news desk unlike any other.”

Constructed out of reclaimed ash wood, from within 25 miles of downtown Grand Rapids, the desk is detailed with donated items repurposed from Goodwill Industries and bottles representing various West Michigan craft breweries — arranged in a wave formation in homage to the area’s Grand River.

The desk is installed on the second floor of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and will serve as the studio for WZZM’s newscasts throughout ArtPrize, which runs now through October 9.

See WZZM’s story on the desk construction below:

Beth Handelong Named WXYZ Local Sales Manager

handelong-300Beth Handelong is the new local sales manager for WXYZ-TV, the Scripps-owned, ABC affiliate, in the Detroit market. Handelong replaces Cathy Goltz who was promoted to director of sales at WPTV, the Scripps-owned station in West Palm Beach, FL. Before coming to Detroit, Handelong was the national sales manager at WMAR, the Scripps-owned station in Baltimore.

“I have come to know and appreciate Detroit and its business community,” said Handelong. “Our team has so many opportunities to develop strong relationships with local business leaders to help those businesses grow. WXYZ has a very strong presence and we take seriously our role in continuing to help our city thrive.”

Handelong brings years of experience as a top television sales manager and successful sales executive to her current job at WXYZ. In addition to sales management at WMAR, she was an account executive at WCAU and WPVI in Philadelphia; a team sales manager for FOX television sales in Los Angeles; and an account executive at WLVI in Boston.

She was the sales manager for Harrington, Righter & Parsons in Los Angeles, responsible for advertising sales for 26 television stations; and an account executive for Katz American Television in Los Angeles where she managed sales for 13 television stations.

Handelong is a Pennsylvania native and a fan of college and professional football.

Gill New PM Anchor at WDIV-TV. Harlan Retiring.

Kimberly Gill

Kimberly Gill has been named co-anchor of WDIV-TV’s (Detroit) Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., announced Marla Drutz, Vice-President and General Manager of the station, NBC’s affiliate in Detroit.  The announcement was made September 26.

Gill will join Devin Scillian, who has been anchoring WDIV evening newscasts for nearly 20 years. This follows the recent announcement that Detroit broadcasting legend Carmen Harlan is retiring from delivering the news (see more below). Her last newscast is November 11.

“Since joining the Local 4 news team, Kimberly has done outstanding work out in the field covering stories like the shooting in Charleston, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the nightclub shooting in Orlando and reporting nightly on ‘Local 4 News at 11 p.m.,’” said Kim Voet, WDIV’s news director.

Since December 2015, Gill has been anchoring Local 4 News at 5:30 p.m. and has been the regular fill-in on all of the evening newscasts.

Before joining WDIV, Gill worked as an anchor in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. She started her career at WBTW, the CBS affiliate in Florence/Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Carmen Harlan

On September 22, following a broadcasting career spanning four decades, Detroit broadcasting legend Carmen Harlan announced her retirement from the station.

Marla Drutz said “About 18 months ago, Carmen came to me to say that she wanted to retire in the near future. I wanted to pretend that I didn’t hear her. There is only one Carmen Harlan and I wish she would stay forever, but I understand her desire to spend more time with her children and their families.  She is a class act who has been a true booster for this city.”

A native Detroiter, Harlan began her broadcasting career in Detroit radio before joining WDIV-Local 4 in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. Not long after, she was promoted to news anchor with legendary newsman Mort Crim. For more than 20 years, Harlan has been partnered with anchor Devin Scillian for the station’s early evening and late news programs, making them Detroit’s longest running anchor team.

Greater Media’s Michael Mayer Wins Radio Wayne Award

michaelmayerLast Thursday (9/22) at the NAB Radio Show luncheon in Nashville, Greater Media Detroit National Sales Manager Michael Mayer was honored with the prestigious Stu Olds National Sales Manager of the Year award, presented by Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti.

The award was one of 7 Radio Wayne awards presented at the luncheon.

Taking honors as America’s Best Broadcaster for 2016 was Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan.  A complete list of winners is available here.

The Radio Wayne Awards are named in honor of “Radio Wayne” Cornils, who set a great example for professionalism in radio. A successful small-market radio broadcaster, Cornils also served as executive vice president of the RAB and SVP/Radio at the NAB.
The Radio Wayne Awards are presented to the radio superstars whose hard work, dedication and creativity separate them from the pack. They recognize the people who make the industry work, every single day.

WLEN-FM (Adrian) Wins 2016 NAB Marconi AC Station of the Year

Julie Koehn
Julie Koehn, WLEN President and General Manager

Lenawee Broadcasting Company’s WLEN-FM was named AC Station of the Year at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards. The awards were announced September 22 at the 27th annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show, held during the Radio Show in Nashville.

The prestigious awards recognize radio’s outstanding personalities and stations. Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.

This is WLEN’s fourth Marconi Award.

Julie Koehn, WLEN President and General Manager, told MAB “All of us in radio are blessed to work in an industry where we get to inspire, educate, entertain, help people and even save their lives each and every day. I am blessed to get to work with amazing broadcast professionals at Lenawee Broadcasting Company. Our team is humbled to be recognized by the industry for their hard work and service to the citizens of our community and our region. We take service to heart.”

For a complete list of this year’s NAB Marconi Award winners, click here.


WXYT-FM (Detroit) Wins Marconi Sports Station of the Year Award

971theticketCBS Radio’s WXYT-FM  (97.1 The Ticket) was named Sports Station of the Year at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards. The awards were announced Thursday night (9/22) at the 27th annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held during the Radio Show in Nashville.

Debbie Kenyon, VP/Market Manager for CBS Radio Detroit (and MAB Chairman) told the MAB “We appreciate the NAB recognizing 97.1 The Ticket for this prestigious award. It has been a huge year for us between winning the Marconi last week and the Service to America award a few months ago. Our entire staff deserve the recognition for both if these awards.”

The prestigious awards recognize radio’s outstanding personalities and stations. Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.

For a complete list of this year’s NAB Marconi Award winners, click here.


Ken Radant: January 1, 1936 – September 20, 2016

ken_radant_275The MAB is saddened to announce that past board member and Barry Broadcasting/WBCH (Hastings) owner Ken Radant passed away on September 20 at age 80.

Ken’s radio career began in 1953, when, as a senior in high school, he became a weekend disc jockey at WOAP in Owosso. He kept the job during his college years at Alma and Michigan State University, graduating from MSU in 1958.

Ken and Marjorie, his partner in life, were married June 15, 1957. They moved to Hastings in 1958 after Ken accepted an on-air and news position at WBCH. He was made manager of the station in 1960, and the couple later purchased the station. Radant liked to say the W goes on all radio stations east of the Mississippi and the BCH stands for Barry County/Hastings. Those call letters served the station well when it decided to play country music, saying WBCH stands for “World’s Best Country Hits.”

First elected in 1968 to serve on the Barry County Board of Commissioners, Radant was reelected to seven consecutive two-year terms and chair for three terms. He was appointed by Gov. William Milliken and reappointed by Gov. James Blanchard as the state appointee to the Barry County Social Services Board, on which he served for 14 years. He was president of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and member of its board of directors for 45 years. He also sat on the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ Board of Directors and the International Broadcasters’ Idea Bank.

A faithful and active member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church since 1958, Radant served many years as a lay reader, treasurer, vestry member and on diocesan committees.

Ken’s funeral service were held September 24.  Details of the arrangement are available here.

Judge Rejects DOJ Ruling on Music Licensing

The judge for the U.S. District Court in Manhattan rejected a music licensing ruling made last month by the Justice Department, writing that the interpretation of the consent decree was inaccurate. In his decision, Judge Louis L. Stanton ruled that the Justice Department (DOJ) erred when it issued a detailed interpretation of a regulatory document known as a consent decree. The document has long governed Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI).

After a two-year investigation, the antitrust division of the Justice Department decided that BMI and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) were required to issue ‘100 percent licenses’ for the songs in their catalogs. The DOJ decision was seen as a victory for broadcasters and for digital music providers like Google and Pandora.

100% licensing means that, if a song was licensed as part of the repertoire of ASCAP or BMI, the licensee would get rights to all of that song, even if there were multiple songwriters, some of whom were not affiliated with ASCAP or BMI. This interpretation was rejected by Judge Stanton, the Judge who oversees the BMI consent decree. His decision can be found on the BMI website here.

The music industry welcomed the court ruling, but the Justice Department is reviewing the order and an appeal is possible.

U.S. Senate Commerce Committee: FCC Oversight Hearing Recap

Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee held a three-hour oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with all five Commissioners present. Below is a quick recap from the NAB of the broadcast-relevant issues that arose during the committee.

Set Top Box (STB):  Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) criticized the current FCC proposal. Specifically, Senator Nelson urged the agency to proceed with caution and to allow for appropriate time to reach industry consensus on the outstanding copyright and contractual concerns with the current proposal. Chairman Thune voiced concerns with previously ‘misleading’ statements from Chairman Wheeler insisting that MVPD programming contracts would be left alone from Commission scrutiny.

Cross-Ownership Rules:  Chairman Thune voiced concern with the Commission’s failure to eliminate the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules in its recent Quadrennial Review order. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) expressed ongoing concern with the FCC’s treatment of both JSAs and SSAs in the recent order. In response to Senator Blunt, both Commissioner’s Pai and O’Reilly shared concerns with the Senator that they perceive these actions from the Commission as the first step to prohibiting future sharing arrangements.

ATSC 3.0:  Commissioner Ajit Pai urged the Commission to initiate a rulemaking on ATSC 3.0 before the end of the year.

Retransmission Consent:  Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), whose Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing and issued a comprehensive report earlier this year that was highly critical of MVPD billing practices, confirmed her intent to hold a successor hearing on the consumer impact of programming contracts.

AM Radio:  Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) expressed concern with AM radio power issues, and urged the Commission to work on measures to protect the medium.