Tag Archives: Issue 11

Michigan Talk Network (MTN) Now Offering State Newscasts

MTN1As a follow-up to our March 24 story on the closure of Lansing-based Michigan Radio Network, MAB has learned that Michigan Talk Network (MTN) is now offering hourly newscasts to affiliates throughout the state.

Based in Lansing at Townsquare Media’s WJIM-AM, the service offers two-minute state-focused newscasts each weekday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  In addition, MTN offers two, 1-minute sports updates each weekday.  Principal anchors on the service include News Director Melissa Proffitt and Rob Burkhart.  Reporters include Katie Heid and Ivey Ramos.  In addition, Michigan Talk Network’s morning host Steve Gruber contributes outdoor stories when relevant.

The service currently has 35-40 affiliates throughout the state.  For more information, contact the network at (407) 463-3778 or via email: [email protected] or [email protected].

Legendary CKLW Music Director Rosalie Trombley is Celebrated

The Juno Awards, Canada’s biggest celebration of music, were held this past Sunday, April 3.  Among the honorees this year is Rosalie Tombley, the legendary Music Director of the Big 8, CKLW-AM in Detroit back in its heyday.  This video, produced for the awards and featuring, among others, Bob Seger and Randy Bachman tells part of the story of an amazing woman with an ear for music like no other.

WQON (Grayling) adds Michigan Bluesman Larry McCray to Schedule

Standing L-R) Larry McCray is welcomed to the Q100 Studios by Q100 Midday Host Big Dog Dave Sherbert.
Standing (L-R) Larry McCray is welcomed to the Q100 Studios by Q100 Midday Host Big Dog Dave Sherbert.

WQON, Q100.3 has added the new “Larry McCray ‘Blues Is My Business’” show to its weekly schedule. Every Monday, from 7-8 p.m., McCray will share his vast experience as a blues artist with his listening audience.

“We’re absolutely thrilled and proud to add Larry and his show,” said Jerry Coyne, Owner/Operator of Blarney Stone Broadcasting. “Our listeners have proven to be some of the most sophisticated music aficionados in Michigan, and we’re convinced that spending this hour with Larry will help to amplify their discerning tastes even more.”

McCray, 55, said he plans to share his experiences as a blues artist, his favorite music, interviews with other top blues musicians, and keep listeners abreast of the local blues scene, and which artists are playing at local and regional venues.

“I want to help put people more into immediate contact with the working blues community,” McCray said. “It’s quality music, but I don’t think it gets very good representation. I’m trying to educate people about the music – helping to preserve a dying culture.  Blues is the only music that started in this country, but we’re getting less and less young people involved with it.”

The second youngest of nine siblings, McCray learned guitar from his older sister. His family moved from Magnolia, Arkansas to Saginaw, Michigan when he was 12, and after high school he went to work on a General Motors assembly line until he began producing music and touring.

His discography features nine works, including “Live on Interstate 75” in 2006, “Meet Me at The Lake” (1996) with The Bluegills, and “Blues is My Business” in 2001.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” McCray said of his new show. “We’ll let people know a little more about the music, who’s out there and what they’re doing. We’re going to have fun.”

FOIA Legislative Package – House Bills 5469-5478

capitol3A 10-bill legislative package was introduced in the State Legislature that would open up legislative communications to the public. Eight of the bills (HBs 5469 – 5476) create the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA), which mirrors the FOIA, but is applicable only to the State Legislature. The final two bills (HBs 5477 – 5478) expand FOIA to the Governor’s office. The entire proposal would go into effect on January 1, 2017 and would not be retroactive.

Under LORA, constituent communications are exempt from requests, meaning that if a local superintendent, or other official who is not a registered lobbyist, communicated with a lawmaker, that communication would not be subject to a public request. Other exemptions include:

  • Personnel records that are personal in nature, such as human resources files;
  • Records relating to an ongoing internal or legislative investigation or litigation;
  • Advisory communications within the public body or between public bodies;
  • Trade, commercial, or financial records provided confidentially to assist in public policy;
  • Communications regarding bill drafting, sergeant-at-arms security issues, and auditor general records; and
  • Records exclusively maintained by legislative caucuses.

Status: The bills have been referred to the House Oversight and Ethics committee. A hearing is expected to take place at the end of April.

House Bill Requires User-Friendly Websites for State Agencies

Last week, the House Oversight Committee voted in support of House Bill 4814 – legislation that would make it easier to understand and contact state government agencies. Called the Open Electronic Access to Government Act, and sponsored by State Representative Jim Runestad (R-44), the bill would require all state departments to work with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) to standardize the presentation of the state department’s websites, maintain updated information, and make available contact information for each department and major office.

The bill …slated that the website updates will not take effect until January 1, 2018. DTMB requested the two-year delay in order for the website overhaul to coincide with DTMB’s efforts to comply with the Federal Americans With Disabilities Act requirements for screen reader-accessible websites.

Incentive Auction Begins

March 29 marked the official start of the incentive auction. However, the official start was a bit anti-climactic since no actual bidding begins until May.

Broadcasters had until 6 p.m. on March 29 to tell the FCC whether they’re willing to go off-the-air entirely, channel share, or move to a different frequency. The FCC cannot release information on how many broadcasters will be participating in the auction, but will use their commitments to create a spectrum clearing target, or the amount of frequencies the agency aims to auction off. That target, expected to be released in several weeks, will provide some insight into the level of interest among TV stations.

NAB Urges TV Band Repack by Region

According to a report in TVNewsCheck, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says that the most logical way to conduct the post-auction repacking of the TV band is on a regional basis with the most populated regions going first. The NAB believes such approach would minimize disruption of service to broadcasters and viewers and get the spectrum in the hands of the wireless buyers “as quickly as possible.”

Department of Labor’s Proposed Overtime Rules Move Forward

According to an HR Morning article written by Christian Schappel, The Department of Labor’s (DOL) revised rules regarding the white-collar overtime exemption regulations has advanced.

The final ruling is now in the hands of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This will be the final step before the rule is published and made public for all to see.  Based on past practice, it should be approved in four to six weeks, perhaps longer.  Employers may be able to see the final rule by early to mid-May.

Congress Has The Right to Disapprove

Congress has the right to disapprove “major” final rules promulgated by federal agencies, like the DOL. However, the disapproval can be shot down by a presidential veto. The act states that if a major rule is submitted to Congress with fewer than 60 session days remaining on the legislative calendar, then the next Congress will have a similar 60-day period to consider the rule. And according to recent calculations by the Congressional Research Service, if the DOL’s overtime rule isn’t released by the OMB by May 16, the rule will be at the mercy of the next Congress and president.

HR 4773, The Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, was just introduced in the Senate and House by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and cosponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), would delay publication of the Labor Department’s expected regulation, dramatically expanding mandatory federal overtime pay, despite widespread opposition from stakeholders. The bill would require the department to first conduct a comprehensive economic analysis on the impact of mandatory overtime expansion to small businesses, nonprofits, and public employers.

Rundown of the Act

    • Drastically increasing the FLSA’s salary threshold. The current minimum salary a worker has to be paid to be exempt from overtime is $455 per week or $23,660 per year. Under the proposed rule, it would jump to $970 a week or $50,440 per year. The DOL calculated that $50,440 would equal the 40% of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers.
    • The highly compensated employee threshold will also climb. The total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees would climb to $122,148 from $100,000 — or the 90th percentile of salaried workers’ weekly earnings.
    • The salary thresholds will automatically increase. For the first time ever, the salary thresholds would be tied to an automatic-escalator. The DOL is proposing using one of two different methodologies to do this — either keeping the levels chained to the 40th and 90th percentiles of earnings, or adjusting the amounts based on changes in inflation by tying them to the Consumer Price Index.
    • No changes to the duties tests have been proposed. The DOL didn’t suggest changing the executive, administrative, professional, computer, or outside sales duties tests (see them here) as of yet. However, the agency sought comments on whether they should be changed and whether they’re working to screen out employees who are not bona fide white-collar exempt employees. Early indicators were that the DOL would look to adopt a California-style rule in which employees would be required to spend more than 50% of their time performing exempt duties to be classified as exempt.
    • Discretionary bonuses wouldn’t count toward salary threshold. In the proposed rule, discretionary bonuses weren’t part of a person’s salary calculation — but that could change depending on the comments the agency received. Currently, such bonuses are only included in calculating total compensation under the highly compensated employee test. But the DOL said some stakeholders are asking for broader inclusion of bonuses in salary calculations.

NOTE: The MAB researched the impact on broadcasters and according to MAB Human Resources Attorney Terry Kasiborski, Washington Attorney David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, and NAB SR. VP & Corporate Counsel, Bart Stringham, there doesn’t appear to be any changes to the exemptions afforded certain broadcast personnel like reporters, anchors, engineers and outside sales reps.

Stay tuned!

Statewide Tornado Drill/EAS Test – April 13, 2016

Graphic 005In cooperation with the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, and with the endorsement of the MAB Board of Directors, the National Weather Service will conduct a test with the Tornado Warning EAS Code at 1:30pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 as part of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The MAB received a waiver from the FCC to use the actual EAS Tornado Warning Code (“TOR”) for this statewide test.

This test will be in conjunction with a statewide tornado drill. In addition to the EAS activation, your area may experience a test of tornado sirens which may alarm some members of the public. Your assistance in informing the public before the test is requested.

The MAB Board of Directors encourages all broadcasters and cable operators to participate. Other states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois have conducted similar successful tests in the past few years. Though encouraged, participation in this test by broadcast stations and cable systems is voluntary. This test was also endorsed by the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC).

If there is a threat of actual severe weather on April 13, the test will be postponed until April 14, 2016. If there is a threat of severe weather on April 14, the test will be cancelled. The go/no-go decision will be made by 4pm the day prior by the National Weather Service, as well as the Statewide Tornado Drill Working group. MAB will post a go or no-go status on its homepage at http://www.michmab.com.

While the audio of this test will repeat several times in the script “This is a Test,” and with the EAS Tornado Code being used, the crawl on TV stations and cable stations will read “A Tornado Warning has been issued for…(and it will list your counties).” We ask that TV broadcasters and cable operators participating in the test to display a “This is a Test” graphic behind the crawl. Download the available graphics package.

The test will be originated on the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) and these tests will will cover all counties in Michigan and will originate from the NWS offices at Grand Rapids, Gaylord, Marquette, Detroit/Pontiac, and Northern Indiana. They will be relayed via the State Relay (SR) and Local Primary (LP) stations.

What to Expect in Your Market on April 13, 2016

As noted above, its more than likely that your area may experience a test of tornado sirens in addition to the activation of the EAS tornado alert. All businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are welcome to participate in the voluntary statewide preparedness activity. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be involved.

How Broadcasters Can Help

This is an excellent opportunity for broadcasters to show the importance of radio and television in times of emergencies. We ask broadcasters to take an active role in their communities to alert listeners and viewers about not only the test alerts, but our role in providing vital information to the public in times of severe weather and other emergencies.

Local Emergency Management Coordinators have been encouraged to reach out to broadcasters in advance of the test.

***The MAB asks broadcasters to reach out to their local emergency management personnel regarding the activities in their own market. We ask you to cover it in your news, community affairs programs, popular personality shows and in your weather breaks.***

Please use Emergency Managers in newscast interviews and on your local morning shows and talk programming.

Not certain who to contact? The MAB has a list of statewide emergency management contacts available here.

A Statewide Tornado Drill Media Toolkit, including talking points, sample social media posts, and more. Download the kit here.

The MAB encourages you to begin on-air mentions and promotion of the tornado test no later than April 7 (one week from the test).

There are recorded radio PSAs for severe weather week available:

PSA #1 :30 Download (Statewide Tornado Drill)
PSA #2 :30 Download (Outdoor Warning Sirens)
Additional scripts for TV/live read: Download

The State of Michigan has prepared graphics for use on your webpage and social media posts here.

Additional Information/Contacts

The official website for the Statewide Tornado Alert: http://michigan.gov/miready

Michigan State Police contact:

Ron Leix
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division
Phone: (517) 284-3962
[email protected]

Michigan Association of Broadcasters contact:

Dan Kelley
Technology Manager
Phone: (517) 484-7444
[email protected]