Tag Archives: Issue 105

WKAR-TV Shares Repack Updates with Viewers

WKAR-TV (East Lansing), which is switching RF channels due to the FCC repack, is keeping its viewers updated with the latest information on the project that started on April 20.

The station is moving from RF channel 40 to RF channel 33.  The station is one of the first in the country to make the move as part of the multi-year repack process.

To make the move, WKAR is replacing the main broadcast antenna that sits atop the station’s 1000-foot tower, plus a twenty-year-old transmitter, the transmission line to the antenna, and an auxiliary antenna.

It’s a $2 million project for WKAR, paid for almost entirely by the proceeds of the recent FCC spectrum auction.

The work is also affecting WKAR-FM and WKAR-AM’s FM translator.

The station has been providing daily “Technote” updates on its website detailing each day’s progress.  You can see the advisories here.  WKAR hopes to begin broadcasting on the new channel by May 23.

What to Do When What You’ve Always Done Doesn’t Work Anymore

Dick Taylor

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: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC

There’s no doubt about it. We live in challenging times.

The big word of the day is “disruption.”

We read every day about how some new shiny toy is the latest radio “disruptor.”

But is that really what’s happening?


The radio broadcasting industry may be dealing with something bigger; dematurity. “Dematurity is what happens to an established industry when multiple companies adopt a host of small innovations in a relatively short period of time,” says John Sviokla. The term was coined back in the 1980s by Harvard Business School professors William Abernathy and Kim Clark.

Radio’s Dematurity

Think about this phenomenon as it applies to radio.

The internet introduced the concept of streaming radio. Two companies introduced nationwide radio coverage from satellites above America. The smartphone provided an opportunity for Pandora to stream to cellphones. Podcasters followed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and others would compete for a smartphone owner’s attention on these same devices. Meanwhile, on the home front, Amazon developed its Echo voice activated device, as Google, Microsoft, and Apple followed with their own smart speakers. Facebook, not to be left out, says it will introduce its own smart speaker this coming July.

Each move by these technology companies might have seemed trivial when announced, but when looked at in total, they represent a crescendo of mini-disruptions.

The Currency of People’s Time

While most will focus on the shiny new innovation, what we’re really seeing is how people spend the most valuable currency in their lives, their time.

For broadcasters, the challenge is providing people with a listening experience worth a person giving us their time.

Government Regulations

Another factor that impacts business is government regulations. While radio broadcasting has been heavily regulated since the birth of commercial radio in the 1920s, we compete against online and satellite audio providers that are not.

Government regulations have enormous impact on the type of competition and the intensity it brings in your market.

Death & Taxes

Benjamin Franklin wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” In business, you probably can add dematurity. There is not a business that won’t be impacted by it, if it’s not already.

Ask the Right Questions

John Sviokla poses these questions for trying to get a handle on how to build value and sustain value:

  • What makes for efficient scale?
  • Who is the competition?
  • Who are the customers?
  • What do the customers want?
  • Who owns what?
  • Where is the risk?

Sviokla, in his book, The Self-Made Billionaire Effect, says more than 80 percent of the self-made billionaires he’s profiled made their money by reinvigorating a mature industry. “They either introduced a product tuned to new consumer habits, changed the technologies of production, adopted new ideas from another industry, adapted to new regulation, changed the distribution system, or made some combination of those moves,” says Sviokla.

While dematurity is inevitable for all businesses, brainstorming what change is happening, and making changes to take advantage of it, is the difference between crisis and opportunity.

“Change will lead to insight far more often than insight will lead to change.”  -Milton H. Erickson

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.

10 Common Traits of Winning AC Stations

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

Have you ever looked at the ratings and wondered: How do certain AC’s always come out on top? Do a “programming x-ray” on the most successful and consistently high rated AC stations and you’ll quickly see the common elements that make them winners.

After many years of working with AC’s around the country, here’s my top ten list of the common traits of winning AC stations.

1. They understand their listeners music taste. They know that if the music is not right, their ratings will not be right. To them, music research is like a utility bill. It always gets paid. Successful AC’s don’t want their “lights turned off”, so they do the research (you know what I mean!)

2. The golden rule is “Win at Work.” Everything rallies around 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sure the other day parts are important, but 8-4 is where you will get the majority of your ¼ hours. When the book comes in, that’s the first place they look to see how they did.

3. They are “brilliant with the basics” and understand how to combine them with a fun, congenial atmosphere. They don’t “read” liners. They deliver them in a warm, natural, friendly way so the listener feels good about listening to their station. They do an amazing job of making sure their listeners ALWAYS know who they are listening to whether it’s a PPM or Diary market.

4. Winning AC’s have personalities who are more concerned with being likable than funny. In sales, the line is “People BUY from people they like.” In programming “Listeners LISTEN to people they like.” Are your personalities “likable”?

5. AC winners follow a conservative road. “When in doubt, leave it out” is their rule. Whether it’s a bad spot, or bad lyrics, they don’t overthink it. They just leave it out. Remember, “You only get hurt by what you play.”

6. They position themselves with true listener benefits. They ask their listeners why they listen and they mirror that. They forget the useless language (We Love You, You’re The Best”). They sweat the small stuff. Like not talking about listening at work at 5 p.m.

7. High performing AC PD’s are not concerned with “content” as much as they are with “companionship.” The big AC’s have personalities who understand what it is to be a listener’s friend. To a listener, having their favorite, comfortable AC station on is as important as anything in the work environment.

8. They have a phone app. It’s tough to buy an AM-FM radio these days. If you don’t believe me, go into a Best Buy and look for one. The world revolves around the phone. If you’re not there, well…. you know the rest! Get that app today!

9. They make effective use of Facebook and Email marketing and do not abuse it. Successful AC’s know that Facebook is still the 500 lb. gorilla with their base and they post often with information that is useful to their base. Listener emails always contain a strong reason to open and read it (like secret contests and giveaways only for them).

10. Consistency is job #1. Day in and day out, they sound the same. Always smooth. Always warm and friendly. Everyone does formatics the same. Its smooth. Winning AC’s are like the restaurant that has mastered great service, fabulous food and a great environment.

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

How to Fix Radio Station Blogposts That Don’t Look Right When You Share Them on Facebook

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

When describing the role that social networks like Facebook play in a radio station’s digital strategy, I often compare them to billboards by the side of the highway. Your station advertises on billboards in the hope that people will see those billboards and tune in. By the same token, your radio station should share content on Facebook in the hopes that people will click on it and come back to the station website. (For more explanation, watch this short video on Content Marketing strategy.)

Of course, it takes an eye-catching billboard to convince people to tune in. And it takes eye-catching content to convince people to click through to your website. That’s why, if you’re going through all the trouble of creating great content, it’s useful to use a tool like the Yoast WordPress plugin to control what people see when your content is shared on social media. In addition to controlling your content’s presence in Google’s search results, the Yoast plugin also allows you to determine the headline, description, and image used when your content is shared on Facebook or Twitter.

Of course, every once and a while I blow it with this plugin. Sometimes, I forget to configure the Yoast settings before publishing a blogpost. Other times, I configure them but misspell a word or make another mistake. I usually don’t realize this until I’m proactively sharing our content on social media. I’ll often notice my mistake as I’m drafting a post on Facebook.

What do you do when you want to share your content on social media, but the content doesn’t look right in the post preview?

Fortunately, Facebook has a tool designed for situations like these. It’s called the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool. Here’s how it works: Enter a URL, and Facebook will show you what it saw when it scraped that link. If you don’t like what Facebook sees, you can manually force Facebook to re-scrape the URL.

For example, let’s say I wrote a blogpost called “10 Things You Should Know About Katy Perry’s “Roar,” but when I configured the Yoast plugin settings, I accidentally mistyped and told Facebook that the title of the blogpost was, “10 Things You Should Know About Katy Perry’s “Rear.” This could be extremely embarrassing! Fortunately, as I try to share the link on Facebook, I notice the mistake in the post preview. So I go back to my WordPress post and correct the Yoast settings.

But how can I make sure that Facebook notices my corrections? All I have to do is go to the Facebook Sharing Debugger, enter the URL to the blogpost and click the ‘Debug’ button. Then, when the preview comes up, click the ‘Scrape Again’ button. Ta-da! Facebook picks up on my changes, and Katy Perry and I have been spared from an awkward moment at our next meet-and-greet.

If you are prone to make mistakes with your website content as often as I am, the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool can be a lifesaver. Bookmark it in your browser, use it when you make mistakes, and you could see an uptick in your website traffic.

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

WXYZ-TV Welcomes the Brightest and Best High School Seniors


On May 12, WXYZ-TV (Detroit) held its 39th annual “Brightest and Best” celebration, at the station’s studios to recognize the academic achievements of local graduating high school seniors.

For more than three decades, WXYZ has welcomed graduates and their families for a morning of celebration.

Students were also able to take part in a Twitter Scavenger Hunt.

The list required them to run around the grounds, mingle with WXYZ reporters and anchors, and snap photos. They took over social media with their adventures and you can get a recap by checking out the hashtag #BrightestAndBest on Twitter.

Nominations for NRHoF include Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club

The nominations for the 2018 class of inductees at the National Radio Hall of Fame and voting has started for four of the categories.  Detroit’s very own Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club has been nominated.

Of the six categories, four of them will be voted on a select group of nearly 1,000 industry professionals, while two of the categories are open to the public (starting June 4). Inductees will be announced June 25. The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 15, at Guastavino’s in New York City.

To be voted on by industry professionals:

Jim Harper

Active Local/Regional (10 Years or More)

  • Jonathon Brandmeier, Chicago
  • Jim Harper and The Breakfast Club, Detroit
  • Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot, Steve Morrison), Philadelphia
  • Bob Rivers, Seattle

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 Years or More)

  • Mike Francesa, New York
  • Johnny Holliday, Washington
  • Jim Kerr, New York
  • Charles Laquidara, Boston

Active Network/Syndication (10 Years or More)

  • Nanci Donnellan, “The Fabulous Sports Babe”
  • Kim Komando, “The Kim Komando Show”
  • “Marketplace”
  • Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, “Mike & Mike”

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 Years or More)

  • John Garabedian, “Open House Party”
  • Walt “Baby” Love, “Gospel Traxx”
  • Dr. Laura Schlessinger, “The Dr. Laura Program”
  • Robert Siegel, “All Things Considered”

To be voted on by radio listeners:

Music Format On-Air Personality

  • Ellen K
  • Kid Kelly
  • Angie Martinez
  • John Tesh

Spoken Word On-Air Personality

  • Mark Levin
  • Joe Madison
  • George Noory
  • Jim Rome

National Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “I personally appreciate the challenging task that our Nominating Committee accepts each year to officially nominate talent from an infinite list of deserving individuals.  Congratulations to this year’s nominees, an excellent selection of our industry’s finest.”

The National Radio Hall of Fame is located in Chicago.

NATAS Michigan Announces 40th Annual Regional EMMY® Nominations

Television stations, cable networks, ad agencies and production houses throughout Michigan have received nominations for this year’s National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Michigan 40th Annual Regional EMMY® Awards.

Tickets are now on sale for the EMMY® Awards ceremonies, to be held at the MotorCity Sound Board Theater on Saturday, June 16.

Ticket purchase information is here.

For a complete list of this year’s nominees, click here.


WDIV-TV, WXMI-TV Honored with Digital Innovation Awards

Two Michigan television stations, WDIV-TV (Detroit) and WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids), took home awards at the Local Media Association’s recent Digital Innovation Awards ceremony.

Seventy different companies from newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and digital news sites competed for the awards celebrating creative and business advancements in the digital realm.

“Our main goal is to create a website users want to engage with. From news to entertainment and everything in between, we’re constantly trying to provide what our ClickOnDetroit community is looking for,” said Local 4 Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz.

WDIV-TV received six awards:

  • Best Local Website (1st place): ClickOnDetroit.com
  • Best Contest and/or Promotion (1st place): 4Frenzy
  • Best Use of Data (2nd place): AllAboutAnnArbor.com
  • Best Redesign/Relaunch (2nd & 3rd place respectively): 4Frenzy relaunch
  • Best New Digital Initiative (3rd place): GroundSource text message campaign during America’s Thanksgiving Parade

WXMI-TV received a first-place award for Best Social Media Strategy.

Congratulations to both stations!  For a complete list of winners, click here.

Jacobs Media to Present Techsurvey 2018 Webinar

On Thursday, May 24, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Jacobs Media Strategies will present a free webinar focused on their just-completed Techsurvey 2018.

The annual Techsurvey is the radio broadcasting industry’s largest online survey. This year over 560 radio stations and 64,000 radio listeners participated.

Over the course of an hour, Jacobs will share key takeaways from the study, including:

  • How smart speakers are changing listening behavior
  • How listeners are using streaming audio and video services
  • The growth of podcasting
  • The credibility of radio contests
  • And the politics of radio – party preferences across all 14 formats

Register here.