Tag Archives: Issue 104

Longtime Michigan DJ Bob Steel Passes

Bob Steel

The MAB has learned that longtime Michigan DJ/Air Personality Robert Arthur “Bob Steel” Leets passed away April 25 at age 76.

Under the stage name of “Bob Steel”, Leets became a well-known radio and car show DJ. He was a long time member of the Buick Club of America. He was actively involved in the Back to the Bricks event serving for fourteen years. He was also involved as the official DJ for the Sloan Museum for 25 years, and the Christian Cruisers for 10 years.

Steel’s radio career began when, as a kid, he pushed his nose against the glass to watch the DJ spin music at WNIL-AM In Niles, where he grew up.  Steel worked in radio from 1968 to 1977 before joining Motorola.  After retiring in 1989, he continued to spin music at car shows and later joined WFNT-AM in Flint, where he hosted a weekend radio program “Cruisin’ with Bob Steel” up to the time of his death.

Steel is survived by his wife, Judy, two children, two step-children and their families. Services were held April 30.

Former WJBK TV 2 reporter, anchor Joe Weaver Passes

via Fox2Detroit.com:

Former WJBK-TV (Detroit) Reporter and Anchor Joe Weaver has died.

Joe worked at the station even before it was FOX 2, covering some of the most iconic stories in metro Detroit – including the aftermath of the 1967 riots.

His career at WJBK stretched from the 1960s all the way to the 1990s.

Joe came here in 1963 from Toledo and immediately became one of Detroit’s top street reporters.

But he also became an expert in covering the auto industry. Weaver used his knowledge and contacts to give viewers an inside look at the negotiations between management and labor, and what went on behind closed doors.

Joe also had big heart. He hosted events for dozens of charities, always willing to give his time and talents for a good cause.

He was a role model for everyone who knew him.

Joe passed away from congestive heart failure and kidney failure according to his family.

Cumulus Detroit Adds One, Promotes Another

Marty Wall

Cumulus Media/Detroit has announced that it has appointed veteran radio and television marketing executive Marty Wall as Director of Marketing, Cumulus Media-Detroit. Wall, a three time Billboard Magazine Radio Promotion Director of the Year recipient, brings more than 20 years experience to the cluster and will oversee all marketing initiatives for Country radio stations WDRQ-FM, WDRQ-HD2 as well as WDVD-FM.

Robby Bridges, Director of FM Programming, Cumulus Media-Detroit, said: “Marty’s work at Z100 in New York is legendary. That, paired with his experience across the media landscape during his years in L.A., gives him the unique ability to connect audiences to station brands and brands to clients. He’s a relentless competitor whom I believe will be a game changer for our Detroit cluster. I’m looking forward to his working with me, Promotion Manager Rochelle Burk and Promo Director/Street Team Captain Adam Ficorelli.”

Wall said: “I am thrilled to join Cumulus and Robby’s team in one of the most competitive radio markets in America. I want to thank him and Mike Wheeler for the opportunity. Both NASH FM and WDVD are poised to move to the next level. I look forward to powering up the marketing and super focusing on upping our brand position in Detroit.”

After 20 years in Los Angeles working for top creative agencies and both domestic and international television networks, Wall recently returned to his hometown of Detroit to be closer to family. He credits much of his career success to mentors including Scott Shannon, Steve Kingston, Pat Martin and Alan Burns. Wall’s radio experience includes five years at WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York, the launch of WQHT-FM (New York) and WRQX-FM (Washington, D.C.)

In addition, Josh ‘Bru’ Brubaker has been promoted to Local Anchor for the “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” morning show on WDRQ-FM. Brubaker had been serving as a production assistant and weekend host for the station since last year.

WJMK Radio Launches in Saginaw-Bay City

WJMK Radio has debuted in the Saginaw-Bay City market, offering listeners the Me-TV Music oldies music format.  Created and on-the-air in Chicago, WJMK is the first station in the country to adopt the syndicated format.

The station has most recently had the WHHQ call letters, but was purchased by Northern States Broadcasting Corporation for $175,000.  The FCC approved the sale on March 15, 2018.  Northern States is headed by Susan and Philip Bernstein of Chicago.

The station holds a construction permit for an FM translator.

WMIC AM 660 Celebrates 50 years On The Air June 27

Radio station WMIC-AM (Sandusky) will observe its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

On Saturday, June 23, Sanilac Broadcasting is having an open house at their studios and offices at 19 South Elk Street in downtown Sandusky. The public is invited to stop by between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for food, refreshments, and door prizes. Listeners who have their Special “Charter Listener” cards will receive free $50  gift certificates. Also free $50  gift certificates will be given to all listeners with identification who were born on June 27, 1968.

Owners George E. Benko, President, and Robert P. Benko, Vice-President, along with Robert Cudney, founded Sanilac Broadcasting in 1968. WMIC Radio went on the air on June 27, 1968 at 1560 on the AM dial. Bob Armstrong has been with the station since 1971. He became General Manager in 1975 and part owner in 1981. John E. Benko and Barbara Murphy are also on the Board of Directors. Nick Lien is Assistant Manager.

In December 1987, full-service station WMIC moved down to the left side of the dial to 660. With this clear-channel daytime frequency, the local information and entertainment that WMIC provides is now heard across most of Lower Michigan.

On August 17, 1971, WTGV-FM signed on at 97.7, as a simulcast partner of WMIC-AM. In 1977, WTGV separated programming and continues to air a light and easy-listening format, and recently switched to the “Greatest Hits of the 60’s 70”s and 80’s” along with local news and sports broadcasts. WTGV is also the Thumb area’s “Voice of the Detroit Tigers and Lions.

In 1981, the stations became affiliates of the ABC Information Network, and since 1983 Michigan’s most respected meteorologists John McMurray and Judy Coy have been providing daily weather information.

On September 2, 1999, WBGV-FM, Country 92.5 signed on, broadcasting “Today’s Best Country” 24 hours a day.  WBGV is owned by G.B. Broadcasting. Its President is George Benko V.

Up-to-date news, sports, and community information can be found 24 hours a day on the company’s website www.sanilacbroadcasting.com.

The stations’ mission has always been to serve the residents of the Thumb and Blue Water area by providing maximum local information as well as top entertainment.

The directors and employees of Sanilac Broadcasting extend a special note of gratitude to all of our listeners and advertisers who have been responsible for the success and growth of the stations.

Are your personalities ‘Difference Makers’?

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


There’s a lot of noise out there in radio-land these days. Digital. Internet advertising. Podcasting, Apps, Alexa and many others. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that’s all important. Very important. But, we may need to slow down for a second and look at an area that is a key reason listeners listen and that is the on air personality. Whether you have talk show hosts or DJ’s on a music station, listeners enjoy and more importantly want their local radio stations to have personalities.

The other day I was scanning thru Rick Sklar’s “Rockin America”. It’s the story of what is arguably one of radios most successful radio stations ever, WABC in New York. In his book, Rick details what made WABC so successful. He devotes a full chapter to the air personalities and how important they were the station’s success.

I would like to share just a few of his quotes from Rockin America. After you read them, ask yourself: How is my station with our on air people? Would my listeners think of our personalities like New York listeners thought of WABC’s? Could this be the missing link for greater success on my radio station?

From Rockin’ America…

  • The impact of WABC cannot be summed up in a corporation’s profit and loss statement.To the listener, radio is a personal medium.
  • During the dozen years of its heyday, WABC, its music and its air personalities became an intimate part of the lives of tens of millions of people who lived in the Northeast.
  • Mornings without Herb Oscar Anderson or Harry Harrison, afternoons without Ron Lundy or Big Dan Ingram, evenings without cousin Brucie were unthinkable to WABC listeners.
  • Those voices, each so unusually amiable and delivered with the warmer than life resonance of the WABC sound, were friend, family and counselor all in one.
  • The songs they played were so popular that they became the national hit music for America. Their appeal crossed every demographic barrier.

Think about it. Can you say these things about your on air personalities? I believe that on music driven stations we sometimes focus too much on content and not nearly enough on how our jocks sound and come across to the listener.

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

How to Subscribe to Podcasts on Your Android Phone

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

The podcasting world is abuzz over a five-part interview with Zack Reneau-Weeden, Google’s Podcasts Product Manager, that was published recently. For years, podcasts have primarily been an iOS medium, with around five times as many downloads happening on Apple devices as Android devices. This is largely attributed to the fact that when you buy an iOS device, there is already a Podcasts app pre-installed. On Android devices, you have to go to the app store and download an app to play podcasts. That extra step results in a huge disparity between Android and iOS podcast listening.

According to our just released 2018 Techsurvey results, only 24% of radio listeners listen to podcasts weekly or more often. In fact, 45% never listen to podcasts at all. Many in the podcasting space, including me, believe that the key to unlocking podcasting’s growth will not be content — a hit podcast like Serial, for example — but rather a technological development. Namely, that Google will start shipping Android devices with a podcast app already installed on it.

Google came a little closer to this goal when they started including podcasts in their native Google Play Music app in 2016. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to an explosion of podcast listening on Android devices because not many people knew podcasts were available in the app. In reality, this step only caught Google up to Apple circa early 2012, back when Apple was still including podcasts in iTunes. Podcasting didn’t see a significant lift until 2014 when, with the introduction of iOS8, Apple started pre-installing its stand-alone Podcasts app on all of its devices.

The excitement around the recent interview with Reneau-Weeden comes from Google’s first public recognition that it could have a significant impact on podcast listening. “Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years,” he declared. Many of us have been saying that for a long time, so it’s encouraging to finally hear it from the mouth of a Google representative. Reneau-Weeden then lays out Google’s vision for podcasting. What’s interesting about this vision is that it will not merely copy what Apple has done — which would probably be enough to double podcast listening by itself — but rather, it will attempt to marry podcasting to the company’s core strength: Search.

Many of the pieces of this vision are already in place. So let’s take a closer look at how you can now discover podcasts on an Android phone:

1. Open up the Chrome mobile browser and search for a podcast in Google.
Here, I have searched for my podcast, The D Brief, on my Samsung Galaxy S8. You can see that the results are formatted specifically for a podcast: It offers a description, the ability to play the three most recent episodes, and a link to “More episodes.”

2. Click on “More episodes” to get to the podcast page.
By clicking on “More episodes,” I am taken to a new page that includes podcast artwork and, more importantly, a button that allows me to “Subscribe” to the podcast.

3. Click “Subscribe” and the Podcasts app will open with the podcast in it.
By clicking the “Subscribe” button, I am now taken to the Podcasts app, where I can find all of the podcasts that I have subscribed to. Interestingly, there is also a “Top Podcasts” section in the app (here featuring Joe Rogan and NPR). This may eventually rival Apple’s “New and Noteworthy” section in terms of importance in podcast discovery.

4. A Podcasts app has now been added to my Android home screen.
I did not have to go to the Android app store to install this app. It was there as soon as I subscribed to my first podcast from the search results in Chrome.

What is less clear at this point is whether or not, in the future, Google will make this app visible on all home screens from the start. In other words, will it appear as a pre-installed app in the same way that the Podcasts app does on iOS devices? Doing so may be the key to truly doubling the number of podcast listeners out there. However, the fact that Google has a dedicated team embracing podcasts is taken by everybody in the community as a positive sign that we could see more growth in the medium soon.

You can read the interview with Google’s Zach Reneau-Weeden here:  Part 1 · Part 2 · Part 3 · Part 4 · Part 5

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Cable Pushes for Centralized Retrans Election

According to a report in Multichannel, executives from Comcast, Charter and NCTA-The Internet & Television Association met with the Media Bureau Chief Michelle Carey and other FCC staffers last week to talk up their proposal for centralized retrans elections.

The agency, in one of its moves to ease regulatory paperwork, proposed to allow more electronic delivery of information, like subscriber notices and retrans/must carry elections, rather than the current certified mail requirement for retrans elections.

Broadcasters have asked the FCC to allow them to post retransmission consent elections in their individual online public files, which presumably means MVPDs would have to look for them there, creating a new burden at odds with the FCC deregulatory efforts.

FCC Considers Eliminating Broadcast License Posting Requirements

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday launched a proceeding to consider eliminating various rules that require the maintenance and posting of broadcast licenses and related information in specific locations.

The Commission originally adopted broadcast license posting rules in 1930. Over the years, it expanded these rules to apply to new services that were deployed by broadcasters.

Because the vast majority of the information contained on these licenses is now available through the Commission’s electronic databases, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asks whether regulations requiring broadcast licenses and related authorizations to be physically posted are outdated and no longer necessary.

This marks the 10th proceeding that has been launched as part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to modernize its rules by eliminating or modifying regulations that are outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome.

Senate Provision Can End Healthy Michigan Eligibility after 4 Years

The Michigan Senate version of the Department of Health and Human Services budget for the Fiscal Year ’19 could have major implications on Healthy Michigan recipients who have been on the program for four years.

The state now  keeps individuals on Healthy Michigan if they show they have adopted a healthy behavior, but the Senate provision would end Healthy Michigan participation for any person who had been with the program for four years and had an income of at least 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

If adopted into the final 2018-19 budget, this provision will affect 10,000 people initially. However, the early estimates are that about 110,000 people on Healthy Michigan who have incomes of more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level, so the total population affected will grow over time. The budget provision passed in the Senate last week and now heads to the House.