Tag Archives: Issue 22

Detroit Radio Veteran Rod Hansen Passes at 75

ROD-HANSEN_200Rod Hansen, a Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductee and longtime WJR-AM radio journalist, passed away July 4 at his Canton, Michigan home.

While at WJR, he earned dozens of awards during his 38-year career, including two Peabody Awards, one for a 23-part series exposing high-level corruption and collusion between judges, staff and attorneys at Detroit’s federal bankruptcy court and another that helped exonerate a man wrongfully convicted of his girlfriend’s murder. Hansen also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Associated Press, and was a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

Hansen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bowling Green State University in 1963.  After working in radio news in Akron, Ohio, he joined WJR in 1967 as evening news anchor and shortly thereafter became a reporter, covering the Detroit riot.

Among the stories Hansen broke, was the disappearance of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.

Rick Pluta, Capitol Bureau Chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network said “Rod Hansen was simply the best. His work at WJR brought justice to the innocent and to the guilty. In the final stage of his career, he made it easy (easier, at least) to cover some high-profile federal court cases. And that ain’t easy. He will certainly be missed.”

Services were held July 7 in Canton.  He is survived by his wife, Christine, son, Eric; three daughters, Kristen Roy, Heidi Watson and Kelly Hansen; and five grandchildren.

FOIA Bill Signed Into Law

On June 30, President Barack Obama signed a Freedom of Information Act upgrade that orders the creation of a single federal online portal for info requests. Noting the federal government gets more FOIA requests than ever before, Obama said the bill codifies some of the reforms already made, and allows for ongoing efforts to make the process faster and cheaper.

Lead sponsor Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said the signing was an “important step forward,” while Democratic co-sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said the bill brings “FOIA into the digital age.” The bill went through a series of changes to narrow its provisions throughout the process amid opposition from some federal agencies.

Michigan Campaign Finance Network Releases TV Ad Spending Report

According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Republican 10th Congressional candidate Paul Mitchel has aired $662,776 in broadcast television ads in the Detroit media market as of last week. Television stations in Northern Michigan or in Flint did not report any political advertising buys in the U.S. House for the August primary election.

Lon Johnson, the Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District, has reserved air time for the General Election.

Will It Play In Grand Rapids? O’Kelly Examines Music Selection in 1960s Top 40 Radio

OKelly 2015_300Len O’Kelly, longtime radio professional, now Assistant Professor of Multimedia Journalism at Grand Valley State University, recently completed a dissertation on music selection of 1960s era top 40 radio.  Titled “But Will It Play In Grand Rapids? The Role of Gatekeepers in Music Selection in 1960s Top 40 Radio,” the 176-page paper is a fascinating read for any radio professional, student of the medium or anyone who grew up with the hits of the era.

The paper may be downloaded here.

O’Kelly explains:  “This was an effort to marry together two things: my career in radio programming and my research interest in postwar radio history. I joked that I wanted to find a way to turn my collection of 45s into a PhD.

Gatekeeping theory has long been used in the study of news. It attempts to explain the process by which decisions as to what to cover in the news are made. I applied the theory to music radio to try and understand how the decision to play (or not play) songs was reached. I used the 1960s because it was a pre-Internet world where AM was king. Listeners could hear radio from other markets (Chicago stations clearly came into Grand Rapids), but there was no other way to experience the sound of the station except for over the air. By analyzing weekly playlist surveys for Chicago and Grand Rapids, I wanted to see how closely the hits came to the national Billboard charts, and found discrepancy based on race. Part of this had to do with what I termed ‘segue rules’ : the practice of not playing certain songs back to back that is still in use today that gives preference to white male vocals.

I found that Grand Rapids actually led the way in terms of debut dates most of the time. By the time Chicago stations added records, audiences in Grand Rapids were already familiar with them. The discrepancies in terms of what songs were missed was interesting as well, and interview subjects corroborated the fact that by the 1970s, the local station charts were likely false due to the practice of ‘paper adds’ to appease record promoters. Modern Oldies programmers who rely on the charts only to program their stations may be missing out on some great regional hits or giving preference to songs their audiences may not be as familiar with as they think.

Moving forward, I would like to expand the analysis into Detroit weekly playlists to study geographic spread of music. I also plan to work on the creation of a national repository for these station playlists as no such collection exists. I was fortunate to be able to find private collectors that had these surveys intact. I’ll be calling on stations all over Michigan to ask to peek into their storage closets and see what historical materials may exist.”

Len O’Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Multimedia Journalism at Grand Valley State University. He advises both the student radio and television stations. Before teaching, Len spent almost three decades in radio programming, primarily in Chicago and Grand Rapids. He still serves as the news anchor for stations in Michigan and California and provides voice imaging for others. Len is also a Research Associate for the Radio Preservation Task Force, a project of the Library of Congress dedicated to saving recordings of radio broadcast for researchers and students.

The Power Cow Comes to Jackson!

logo_power_cowJackson Radio Works is taking full advantage of opportunities now available with FM translators, and has moved HD2/translator simulcast “Hot Country 101.5” to a new frequency and relaunched it as “95.9 The Power Cow.“  The country format now airs on both WIBM-AM, as well as translator W240DG.

With the movement of the country format, the company has begun simulcasting its news/talk format WKHM-AM on the FM band at 101.5.

But wait…there’s more!  The company has also shifted the ESPN sports format (formerly airing on WIBM-AM) to a third translator, W270CJ, at 101.9 on the FM dial.  The ESPN format is also heard on the HD2 channel of WKHM-FM.

FCC Will Unveil Forward Auction Bidders Mid-July

According to the report in Broadcasting & Cable, the FCC stated that it would reveal the final list of eligible bidders in the forward portion of the broadcast incentive auction. Upfront payments from the approximately 100 bidders who are eligible to bid and subject to those payments were due to the FCC by July 1.

“Once we’ve validated which applicants have made payments, we will release a list (in a public notice) of qualified bidders in mid-July,” announced Chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force Gary Epstein. Since the FCC decreed that the forward auction cannot begin for 15 business days after the public notice, which puts the earliest start of the forward auction in mid-August.

The clearing cost for TV broadcasters’ airwaves is a staggering $86.4 billion. That price must be met by carriers and would-be wireless service providers in aggregate to acquire spectrum licenses during the forward auction.  According to Broadcasting  & Cable, that figure “is sure to prompt speculation that bidders in the forward auction will not pony up enough to cover it.”

One analyst was quoted as saying, “Given the current financial profile of the industry, this number ($86.4 billion) may have to become significantly lower. A second stage of the reverse auction later this year is likely. Indeed, we could well see the proceedings drag on into early 2017 before coming to a final conclusion.”

Roxanne Steele Joins WYCD

SteeleRoxanne Steele, most recently midday host at CBS Radio’s WDZH-FM (Detroit), has moved down the hall (and down the dial) as midday host for the company’s WYCD-FM.

Steele attended the Academy of Radio Broadcasting and landed her first on-air job at age 19. After stints in Washington, Texas and Arizona, Steele spent 12 years at WBBM-FM in Chicago.

Steele also hosted “Street Beat” for WKBD-TV (Detroit) and worked two years at WDVD-FM (Detroit).

Roberts Named CBS Radio (Detroit) VP of Music Programming

TimRoberts_300CBS Radio (Detroit) has named veteran programmer Tim Roberts to VP of Music Programming for Country WYCD-FM, Classic Hits WOMC-FM and CHR WDZH-FM. Roberts previously held the title of OM/PD for the three stations.

Debbie Kenyon, SVP/Market Manager for the CBS Detroit stations said, “Tim has been instrumental in the success of our cluster. His passion for radio and his winning track record make him perfect for this position.”

Roberts was recently inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame at ceremonies held June 22 in Nashville.

In a release, Roberts said, “It’s truly been a whirlwind experience for me being inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame – an honor that has been beyond amazing – and now to be elevated to this position couldn’t be more thrilling.  Likewise, it’s fantastic to work with the incredible CBS Radio/Detroit brands of WYCD, WOMC and WDZH under the leadership of Debbie Kenyon.”

July 30 EAS Deadline Looms

eas-logo_300A new set of EAS Rules and Guidelines adopted by the Federal Communications Commission will become effective on July 30, 2016, mandating the following: 

1). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes the new FCC EAS location ‘FIPS’ Code for “All of United States” #000000.

2). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes and acts immediately to ‘relay‐to‐air’ an EAS Activation coded with the EAS Event Code; ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test) that is received with a valid ‘FIPS’ Code.

3). As of June 27, the EAS Test Reporting System is operational and ready to accept filings, according to a release.

EAS participants must complete Form One of ETRS on or before Aug. 26. Corrections or updates must be submitted by Sept. 26. (Forms Two and Three will become available on ETRS at the time of initiation of the September 28, 2016 nationwide test – see below.)

To register for ETRS and access Form One, visit the ETRS page and register. You will then be emailed ETRS account credentials and a link to the login page, which you should click on and then log into. You will then go to the ETRS homepage, which has detailed instructions on how to access Form One. Filers may contact FCC staff for assistance in completing Form One at [email protected].

4). With ‘ETRS’ operational, Stations must log in and report all EAS Activations to the FCC’s Server using the log‐in account registered for each Station.

5). FEMA has scheduled a National EAS Test for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016 at 2:20 PM EDT. The National EAS Test will originate using the new EAS FIPS Code 000000 and using the EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test).

SIDEBAR via MAB ABIP Inspector R. Dale Gehman:

Unfortunately, many of the original 1996 vintage EAS Decoders/Encoders must now be replaced as they cannot be upgraded to accomplish both the modified response to receipt of an ‘NPT’ Event Code, nor can they be upgraded to recognize the new ‘000000’ FIPS National Location Code.

An example of vintage EAS Gear that cannot be upgraded includes, but not limited to; TFT’s EAS911, the Gray SAGE ENDEC and most of the 1996 era EAS boxes.

Most Stations previously upgraded to current vintage EAS Gear that polls FEMA’s IPAWS-CAP Server via the Internet, in compliance with the FCC Rules. Licensees should insure that current vintage EAS Gear has the latest software and firmware updates prior to July 30, 2016!

Stations that continue to operate with vintage EAS Gear that has not been upgraded successfully to recognize the National FIPS Code ‘000000’ and upgraded with a modified response to the EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ – will be in violation of the Rules on August 1, 2016, a violation that subjects the Licensee to a significant monetary assessment and notice of violation upon inspection.

10 Reasons YOU Should Golf with the MABF!

The Inn at St. John's
The Inn at St. John’s Golf Course

MABF Golf Scramble Fundraiser
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
The Inn at St. John’s Golf Course

Are you on the fence about golfing this year?

Here are 10 important reasons to golf with the MABF:

1. Your show of support will mean that students interested in broadcasting will be able to pursue their dreams in college and beyond.

2. A day in the sun will do great things for your farmer’s tan.

3. You can golf and still be working.

4. The cost to golf is only $150 per golfer and includes 18-holes of golf, cart, box lunch, refreshments, awards presentation and greens fees.

5. Who doesn’t love driving a golf cart?

6. You’ll have unlimited bragging rights about your hole-in-one.

7. Proceeds from this event go directly into broadcast scholarships, internships and education for the future of the broadcasting industry.

8. The golf fundraiser is the day after the MAB’s Advocacy Conference and Annual Meeting. You can enjoy two great days of networking, celebrating our 2016 award recipients and golfing for a great cause, all in one convenient location.

9. We’ll be golfing too, which means you definitely won’t get the worst score of the day.

10. A little friendly station-to-station competition never hurt anyone!

Make plans to make a difference today!

Not a golfer? You can sign up to be a phantom golfer and we won’t even make you wear a cape and mask. Sponsorship details can be found here.

For more details and to register click here: Golf Scramble

Questions? Contact Alisha, Jennifer or Rachel at