WMNN-LD (Lake City-Cadillac), MI News 26, Michigan’s only 24/7 local news channel, was named LPTV Station of the Year and took home three additional national awards at the annual National Association of Broadcasters Expo — known as NAB Show — in Las Vegas this week.
The station was judged against others across the country for the title of LPTV Station of the Year, with the award given based on criteria including innovative local programming, strong community involvement and involvement with local non-profits.
In addition to taking home the Station of the Year award, MI News 26 was awarded “Best TV Public Service Announcement” for a PSA produced for the Wexford Missaukee Career Technical Center’s Adult Career Training Program, “Best TV Promotional Campaign” for promotion of its high school sports broadcasts, and “Best Mixed Media Campaign” for promotion of its weather team both on TV and on the radio.
The awards were presented to MI News 26 General Manager Eric Wotila during the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance’s LPTV Day at NAB Show, the nation’s largest broadcasting conference, held each April in Las Vegas.
“I’m honored that MI News 26 received the title of ‘Station of the Year’ among several other awards during LPTV Day at NAB Show,” said Wotila, “Receiving recognition like this on a nationwide level reaffirms our commitment to serving northern Michigan at a level above and beyond that of any other station not just in our local viewing area, but in the entire country.”
MI News 26, based in Cadillac and broadcasting to all of northern Michigan, was the only Michigan-based TV station to receive an award at Monday’s ceremony.
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 I bought my Amazon Echo a year ago, it immediately changed my behavior at home. I suddenly found myself listening to music around the house far more often. Moreover, I found myself listening to a wider variety of music than ever before. And it wasn’t just music. Suddenly, it was easy to call up a podcast or audiobook while cooking or folding the laundry. Thanks to the Echo, audio entertainment became a far more frequent occurrence in my home.
I recently moved into a new house, and this week I finally found the time to configure my smart speaker setup. I have an Amazon Echo, and my girlfriend has two Amazon Dots. I spent a couple of hours figuring out which device should go in which room. (FYI: A Dot in the bedroom, a Dot in the living room, and the Echo in the kitchen.) Along the way, I discovered a few of Alexa’s quirks. Here are three that radio broadcasters (and audio fans) should be aware of:
1. Devices can be grouped, but they can only belong to one group.
In the Alexa smartphone app that you use to set up your devices, you can create “Audio Groups.” This allows you to play audio on multiple devices simultaneously. So as I move from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen in the course of my morning routine, I can listen everywhere I go.
Unfortunately, devices can only belong to one group at a time. So if I have a group called “Front of House” with my living room Dot and my kitchen Echo, I cannot also have a group called “Everywhere” that contains all three devices. Amazon forces you to pick and choose groups.
2. Bluetooth speakers don’t work with Audio Groups.
While the Echo has a decent speaker, the audio quality from the Dots is subpar. Normally, this is fine, because I can connect them to a quality bluetooth speaker. Unfortunately, when a device is used in conjunction with other devices through an Audio Group, the bluetooth functionality goes away. This apparently happens because there is a lag when using bluetooth, so the audio coming from the different devices would be out of sync.
One workaround is to connect the Alexa device to the bluetooth speaker through an old fashioned audio cable. Unfortunately, I moved into an older house where the wiring isn’t grounded. This means that when I have the bluetooth speaker plugged into a power outlet and connected to a Dot with an audio cable at the same time, there’s an annoying hum. So, at the moment, to get a high-quality voice-activated audio setup that doesn’t require me to manually plug or unplug any wires, I’ll have to spend more money. My advice: Before you plunk down a lot of cash down for expensive bluetooth speakers, make sure you understand how they work with Alexa’s Audio Groups.
3. Alexa Routines now include audio.
Last year, Amazon introduced “Routines,” the ability to chainlink multiple commands and give it a unique name. For example, you can create a routine called “Start My Day” containing weather and traffic actions. When you say, “Alexa, start my day,” she will read the weather and traffic reports. I was bummed to learn that Routines are limited to a short list of actions: news, weather, traffic, volume control, smart home devices (such as turning up the heat on a wi-fi thermostat), and silly Alexa sayings. No music — at least, not on the evening that I was arranging my devices.
Lo and behold, the very next day, Amazon announced that they were adding the ability to listen to music, radio, and podcasts to Routines. However, this audio can only come from a short list of audio providers: Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, or your personal library. The good news for radio stations is that this makes it possible for Alexa owners to include their favorite radio morning show in their morning Routines. The (only somewhat) bad news is that it’s only possible through a third party that radio stations have no control over.
At the Worldwide Radio Summit in May, Fred Jacobs will reveal the results of our latest Techsurvey. This year, over 550 radio stations participated and more than 64,000 radio listeners told us how they’re using new technologies. But we’ve already revealed once juicy tidbit: smart speaker ownership is exploding. In fact, it nearly doubled in a single year, with 21% of respondents reporting that they own a smart speaker, up from just 11% in 2017. The vast majority of these people own Amazon devices.
If the audio listening habits of these people change as dramatically as my own habits have, it could have significant impact on radio broadcasters. If you’re in radio and you don’t own a smart speaker, I highly recommend getting one or two to see what you learn by using them. Plus, you can write them off as a business expense!
For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.
In a significant convergence of wireless and broadcast technologies, DISH Network has successfully trialed the transmission and reception of the new broadcast ATSC 3.0 standard as part of the Spectrum Consortium, LLC’s (Spectrum Co.’s) “Next Gen” deployment project in Dallas, Texas. Using its 700 MHz E Block spectrum (former broadcast TV channel 56), DISH deployed on Spectrum Co.’s Garland, Texas, Single Frequency Network (SFN) site, as part of the country’s first major market conversion to the Next Gen broadcast standard. Spectrum Co. is a consortium of broadcasters leading the transition to ATSC 3.0.
“We’re seeking innovative ways of bringing next generation technologies and services, like ATSC 3.0, to American consumers,” said Tom Cullen, DISH executive vice president of Corporate Development. “This trial helps us not only pursue opportunities with ‘Next Gen’ TV technology, but also identify synergies with our IoT and future 5G plans, for example broadcasting data to connected cars.”
DISH’s 700 MHz E Block is uniquely positioned to provide coverage to 95 percent of the license areas in the U.S. Additionally, DISH’s uplink spectrum assets could be used to provide a unique, dedicated reverse link channel for broadcast data applications.
John Hane, Spectrum Co. President, said, “We are thrilled that one of the most innovative companies in telecom and media has joined Nexstar, Sinclair, Univision and American Tower in our Dallas SFN project. DISH’s involvement underscores that ATSC 3.0 is much more than the most transformational upgrade of broadcast television technology in history. It’s the foundation of a robust new ecosystem of advanced services. The wireless economy is quickly outgrowing one-size-fits-all solutions. We look forward to working with DISH, broadcasters and others to bring exciting new capabilities online.”
ATSC 3.0 technology will provide multiple benefits to consumers including dramatically improved over-the-air reception, immersive audio, deep-indoor reception, mobile reception, targeted programming/advertising, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting.
Spectrum Co. is defining the requirements of the Dallas SFN deployment project. Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) and American Tower Corporation (NYSE: AMT), working within a memorandum of understanding that will help shape future joint activity, have deployed and are commissioning multiple sites that will support multiple channels as part of this SFN network. Two 6 MHz channels have been committed by market broadcasters (Univision and Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation) to Next Gen service transmission infrastructure that will also accommodate DISH’s licensed E-Block spectrum. DISH is participating in this important Spectrum Co. project, and will be able to share in and benefit from the understanding that evolves during the operation of this pilot deployment.
Vendor partners in the Dallas “Next Gen” rollout include: Hitachi COMARK (transmitters), ATEME (encoders), Enesys (gateway resource scheduler), Digicap (ESG and signaling), Dielectric (band-pass-filters, transmission line and antennae), Monroe Electronics (EAS Digital Alert Systems), TestTree (monitoring and control), Acrodyne Services (integration), ONE Media (configuration and design) and Progira (SFN coverage modeling).
The Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University has asked Michigan’s radio and television stations for their assistance with a study on work-related conditions associated with voice disorders among broadcasters.
In reaching out to the MAB, Research Associate Lady Catherine Cantor Cutiva writes: “Broadcasters have been identified, among occupational voice users, as part of the group with high vocal demands in terms of voice quality. Nevertheless, there is a dearth of studies on the occurrence and work-related factors of voice symptoms that would impact their voice quality.
It has been suggested that a higher occurrence of voice disorders among occupational voice users (such as teachers, singers, call center workers, and broadcasters) may be partially associated with work-related conditions, such as prolonged periods of work-related voice use (vocal load), and noise levels and acoustic conditions at the workplaces. While a large number of studies have examined the influence of work-related factors on voice production among occupational voice users, few have looked at the effect among broadcasters specifically.
Therefore, this survey was designed to explore perceptions of voice function, work-related factors and possible consequences of voice disorders among broadcasters. The results of this survey can give us an insight on the work-related communicative profile of this occupational group.”
Todd Mohr’s Mitten Media, LLC has filed an application with the FCC to sell its WWMN-FM (Thompsonville) to Mitten News, LLC for $275,000. Mitten News, LLC is owned by Jon Yob and also operates WJML-AM (Petoskey) and WJML-AM (Kingsley).
The application was filed April 10. WWMN most recently was simulcasting the AAA format of WMTE-FM (Manistee).
Mitten News began simulcasting its talk-formatted WJML-AM on the WWMN on April 1 under an LMA.
WOMC-FM (Detroit), which recently announced the arrival of former WXYZ-TV anchor Stephen Clark, has now announced a new morning show: “WOMC Mornings With Stephen Clark and JoAnne Purtan.”
The show began this past Monday, April 9.
“We are thrilled that JoAnne is part of the new WOMC Morning Show. In addition to being a widely respected journalist, she is an integral part of the Detroit community,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Detroit. “JoAnne’s father, Dick Purtan, is a huge part of the heritage of WOMC and it’s exciting to have a Purtan back at the station.”
“After 27 years in television news, I’m excited for this new adventure in radio. I listened to my dad on the radio for much of my life, and I’m truly humbled to be at the same station where he spent the last 15 years of his iconic career entertaining people in the morning,” noted Purtan. “Stephen and I have always worked so well together, and we’re so excited to team up again. After covering a lot of serious news through the years, we look forward to spending mornings with Detroit’s listeners, sharing good news, great music and some fun.”
“JoAnne and I have worked together for nearly two decades and I’m looking forward to starting this new adventure with her,” said Stephen Clark. “I can’t think of a smarter, more professional, more capable partner.”
Before joining Entercom, Purtan worked with WXYZ-TV for 20 years and was most recently the anchor of the noon and 4:00 p.m. “The Now Detroit” newscasts. Purtan is the recipient of four Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Midwestern Broadcasting (Traverse City) General Manager Chris Warren reports that like many in the industry, they’ve been searching for engineering talent for several years with little luck. So the company decided to host a “happy hour” themed event for area youth and young adults enrolled in computer-networking/engineering classes at local Northwestern Michigan College and Traverse City High School Vocational programs.
The event was held on April 8.
Warren reports that the event was a success, with nearly 70 excited students showing up at their facilities to get introduced to, and educated about, the mechanical intricacies of a radio operation.
He adds: “We were hopeful to get a few participants interested in an apprenticeship with us. We got nearly 20. After interviews, we were happy to select a promising young student, skilled in computer technology and mechanical engineering, who was so excited to have gotten the chance to tour our facilities, and now even more excited to get fully exposed to the maintenance of our facilities.”
Warren’s advice: “Broadcasters who find themselves in need of engineering may also wish to engage with faculty at their local high schools/colleges.”