Tag Archives: Issue 45

Mid-Michigan Families help launch WKAR PBS Kids

By Nikki W. O’Meara, MSU Today

Photo Credit: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU
Photo Credit: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU

Roughly 1,500 people visited the WKAR Public Media studios at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences on Saturday, January 14 to celebrate the launch of a new, free, localized 24-hour kids channel and multiplatform services from WKAR Public Media. The channel, called WKAR PBS Kids, broadcasts PBS KIDS shows 24/7 with a particular focus on kids aged two through eight. The channel is now available for free over the air on channel 23.4 and through Comcast in the capital region, as well as live streaming through pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App.

Susi Elkins, interim director of Broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media, spoke with MSU Today about the impact she hopes the channel will have.

“Research shows kids learn more when they’re co-viewing the content with an adult who takes them through the material. And most viewers are watching in the evening after work and sometimes even late at night. The viewing there is double what it is in the morning so we want to have the most impact where the viewers are,” said Elkins.

WKAR-2At the kick-off event, children and families got their photo taken with Cat in the Hat, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Sparty. Many also explored and played science games at the Curious Crew station, touched real sheepskin and wool at the MSU Extension Science Work Group station, held snakes and saw an owl up close at the Potter Park Zoo station and did a science experiment at the Impression 5 station. Early Childhood Education experts and the Michigan Digital Library were also in attendance to answer questions and provide assistance to local families.

When it came time to introduce the channel and flip the switch, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon noted how important the new channel is to the mid-Michigan community and what viewers can expect, stating, “you’ll see content… built just for kids, at your disposal, any time of the day. We know your schedules are not all the same. It’s an encouragement for people to sit down together and learn together. The way we build a stronger community is for all of us (to work) together… and to make Lansing one of the best communities in the world for children.”

Jennifer English from PBS Kids spoke to the crowd about the partnership between PBS, MSU and WKAR. “At the core of what we do is research-based content that is designed to engage kids, not just through video, but also through digital learning. And that’s also one of the reasons why we’re excited to be part of this project with WKAR and with Michigan State.”

WKAR-3Kids from the WKAR original series Curious Crew helped Sparty flip the switch and officially turn on the channel. Now airing on channel 23.4 and Comcast, WKAR PBS Kids is available 24/7 for mid-Michigan families and anyone with access to a smartphone, tablet or computer.

In addition to the new channel, WKAR also launched WKAR Family, an initiative which brings together the resources of PBS Kids and MSU to provide free programming, technology and learning tools to kids and dedicate resources to researching early childhood development. Included in this effort is a new outreach and research effort that will put a PBS Kids tablet in the hands of every kindergartner in the Lansing School District.

“We believe it’s important for us to be on the cutting edge because our kids deserve it,” said Yvonne Caamal Canul, superintendent of the Lansing School District. “I’m on my 42nd year as an educator… and this is absolutely the most exciting year for me ever.”

Ultimately, it was made clear to the crowd that the biggest driving force for both WKAR Family and the WKAR PBS Kids channel was to help build strong families in mid-Michigan. Prabu David, dean of ComArtSci, told the audience, “We want to do something fun for kids, and parents and grandparents. Empowering kids to empower others.”

Joining the launch ceremony were April Clobes, President and CEO of MSU Federal Credit Union and Dr. Heather Adams of McLaren Greater Lansing. The new WKAR PBS Kids services are supported in part by MSFCU and McLaren.

Many partners and supporters were also in the crowd, including Rachel T.A. Croson, Dean, College of Social Science, Jeff Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, Ann Austin, Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, Dr. Joan Rose, Director, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, and State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.

Watch the Sparty and the Curious Crew throw the switch on WKAR PBS Kids here: Celebrate! WKAR PBS Kids Launch

Introducing our NEW Student Broadcasting Newsletter!

mabflogo_300Career Fairs, Student Conferences, Awards Programs, Scholarships, Job and Internship Openings and more! The MAB Foundation does it all and we want to share that important information directly with students! That’s why we’re introducing a monthly newsletter that’s written by broadcasting and media students, FOR broadcasting and media students!

Don’t miss out on important updates from the MAB Foundation, sign up for our new MAB Foundation Student Broadcasting Newsletter TODAY!

Educators, please forward this to your students!


MABF Scholarship Deadlines are Quickly Approaching!

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation is excited to announce 2017 scholarship opportunities that are open to Michigan students!!

All scholarships assist in tuition and fees at a Michigan college or university, with ALL applications due to the MAB Foundation by Friday, February 17, 2017. All scholarships will be awarded during the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) on Wednesday, March 8 in Lansing.

Here is what is available for Michigan students:

MAB Foundation Board Scholarship
“Friends of Bill Burton Scholarship”
For 2017, the MAB Foundation Board is pleased to announce a college scholarship opportunity that is open to any student NOT receiving another MAB Foundation Scholarship in 2017.

The MAB Foundation board will award one $1,000 scholarship during the GLBC in March. This opportunity is open to any Michigan college student pursuing a career in a broadcast or media related field. Applications are due February 17, 2017 and winners will be announced in March.

Click here for information and application requirements.

MAB Foundation High School Scholarships
For High School Seniors ONLY – The MAB Foundation will once again offer two $750 scholarships to Michigan High School students! Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

This opportunity is open to any Michigan High School senior with plans to pursue a degree in a broadcast or media related program at a Michigan college or university. Applications are due February 17, 2017 and winners will be announced in March.

Click here for information and application requirements.

Station Sponsored Scholarship Program
Also available in 2017 for Michigan college students, is the Station Sponsored Scholarship Program, which is run through the MAB Foundation. These are one-time, $1,000 scholarships sponsored by a Michigan radio or television station and will be awarded on March 8 at the GLBC.

2017 Station Scholarships:

  • Robert Race Broadcasting Scholarship
  • Midwest Communications Southern Michigan Broadcasting Scholarship
  • WXYZ-TV Broadcasting Scholarship

This opportunity is also open to any student NOT receiving any other MAB Foundation Scholarship in 2017. Applications are due February 17, 2017 and winners will be announced in March.

Click here for information and application requirements.

MABF 2017 GLBC Career Fair

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabglbc2016It’s time to sign your station up for the MAB Foundation’s most popular and highly attended career fair!

Your station should participate in this career and networking fair because it attracts students statewide that will offer your company different views, ideas and opinions! By attending this event, you’ll be able to prove that your station is seeking out a diverse group of new staff and interns throughout the state, which is great for your EEO File!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
During the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & EXPO (GLBC)
The Lansing Center, Lansing MI

This event attracts hundreds of students and young professionals eager to meet with YOU and continue their career journey in the broadcast and media industries.

Please join us! Click here for complete vendor details.

Reserve your booth here: ONLINE REGISTRATION

Each booth is $275 and includes a co-sponsorship of the event. As a co-sponsor, you will be helping to offset the cost of the fair. As a participant, you will help to promote the event to your students, listeners and viewers by sharing event information prior to the day of the event. You can do this by airing your own PSAs, if you have a station, or by adding your involvement into any press promotion. Your assistance in promoting this career fair is vital to the success of the event. For stations, keep track of everything you air for your EEO records and send the MABF a copy of your affidavits.

Annual Super Bowl Advisory for Stations/Advertisers

Mitchell Stabbe
Mitchell Stabbe

By: Mitchell Stabbe, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP via the Broadcast Law Blog

Last year, we posted some guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly alludes to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL. We are at that time of year again, so here is an updated version of our prior post.

In addition to the monies it receives annually for the right to broadcast the Super Bowl, the NFL receives more than $1 billion in income from licensing the use of the Super Bowl trademark and logo. Not surprisingly, they are extremely aggressive in protecting its golden goose from anything it views as unauthorized efforts to trade off the goodwill associated with the game. Accordingly, with the coin toss almost upon us, advertisers need to take special care before publishing ads or engaging in promotional activities that refer to the Super Bowl. Broadcasters and other news publishers have latitude to use the phrase “Super Bowl” in their news and other editorial content, but they need to be wary of engaging in activities, particularly in advertising and promotion, that the NFL may view as trademark or copyright infringement. (These risks also apply to the use of “Final Four” or “March Madness” in connection with the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament.)

Simply put, the NFL views any commercial activity that uses or refers to the Super Bowl to draw attention as a violation of its trademark rights. Many of the activities challenged by the league undoubtedly deserve a yellow flag. However, the NFL’s rule book defines trademark violations very broadly. If anyone were willing to throw the red flag to challenge the league’s position, a review from the booth might reverse some of those calls.

Advertising that Refers to the Super Bowl: Under trademark law, use of a third party’s trademark is considered to be permissible “nominative fair use” if the use does not suggest a relationship between the advertiser and the trademark owner and the trademarked goods or services cannot be readily identified without using the trademark. This is why broadcasters can talk about the game in their news and other topical programming, using the words “Super Bowl.” Nevertheless, the NFL objects to any unauthorized advertising that refers to the Super Bowl. For example, the use in advertising of taglines such as “Stock Up for the Super Bowl” for beer or snacks or “Get the Best View of the Super Bowl” for big-screen TVs has routinely led to the prompt issuance of cease-and-desist letters. The claim may be made directly against the advertiser, as well as against a broadcaster or other news organization that publishes the ad. As a result, many broadcasters will not accept advertising that specifically refers to the Super Bowl unless the advertiser first shows that it has NFL approval.

Other Marks: To overcome these problems, many advertisers now replace any reference to the “Super Bowl” with “The Big Game.” When advertisers widely began using this tactic, NFL Properties tried to register THE BIG GAME as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. (The NFL also has federal trademark protection for “Super Sunday,” “Gameday” and “Back to Football,” and over a hundred other marks.) Over20 different parties threatened to oppose the application and the NFL voluntarily abandoned the application. We are not aware of any reported claims by the NFL against advertisers based upon the use of “The Big Game.”

Following are some examples of other activities that create a significant risk of an objection by the NFL:

“Super Bowl” Events or Parties: A bar or restaurant that has a public performance license to show television programs on their premises has the right to show the Super Bowl broadcast to its patrons, but if it uses the words “Super Bowl” in its advertising to attract customers, the league will object. Similarly, a company should not be listed as the sponsor of a “Super Bowl” event or party. And, under copyright law, a fee should not be charged to watch the game.

Famously, in 2007, the NFL sent a cease and desist letter to an Indiana church group that had used “Super Bowl” to describe a viewing party for the game and would charge $3.00 per person to cover the cost of snacks. The NFL, however, will not object to a church viewing party for the Super Bowl if it is held in the church’s usual place of worship and no fee is charged for attending. In addition, the League will likely not object to religious organizations that refer to their events as a Super Bowl party, provided that no NFL logos are used.

Sweepstakes or Giveaways (Naming or Prizes): Any sweepstakes or giveaway that incorporates “Super Bowl” in its name or as a prominent feature of its advertising should be avoided. Further, the NFL takes the position that game tickets cannot be offered as a prize or award. In most situations, the “first sale” doctrine provides that the buyer of goods may do whatever it wants with its purchase, including reselling it or giving it away. Faced with this argument some years ago, the NFL (as well as the other sports leagues) now includes language on the back of tickets, prohibiting their use as part of a sweepstakes, giveaway or other promotion. It can be argued that the purchaser of a ticket will not even see this language until after the purchase is completed and therefore the terms have not been agreed to and are not binding. Tickets to an event are legally considered a license to attend the event, rather than a good that is sold, and therefore can condition entry on any basis that does not violate public policy.

Names of Programs: Even if a broadcaster is not with the network that carries the Super Bowl (this year, CBS), it may want to produce a television program about the game. In years past, the NFL has repeatedly challenged local broadcasters that include the name of a team in a weekly program dedicated to discussions about the team. Thus, it would not be surprising if the NFL similarly objected to naming a pre-Super Bowl television program about the game if it incorporated “Super Bowl” in the title. (As discussed above, there is a strong argument that such naming constitutes permissible “nominative fair use.”)

Special Advertising: Newspapers and online news providers frequently have a special “section” that is devoted to coverage of the Super Bowl. The organization should be able to solicit advertising to accompany its stories, just as it does for any of its news reporting. It would be risky, however, to have an advertiser “sponsor” the coverage, particularly if “Super Bowl” is part of the name of the section.

Disclaimers: A disclaimer such as, “Not an Official Sponsor of the Super Bowl” or “This Advertisement (or Event) Has Not Been Licensed or Authorized by the NFL” will not ward off a cease-and-desist letter. Moreover, in the event of litigation, it is unlikely to provide a defense to a claim of infringement. And, even if ultimately did so, the defendant would still incur significant attorneys’ fees and other costs of litigation.

Risk Analysis: The policy underlying protection of trademarks is to protect consumers against consumer confusion. That said, is there a meaningful difference between, for example, an ad that invites consumers to “Stock up for the Super Bowl” as opposed to one that says, “Stock up for the Big Game!” Do they convey different messages? Is one more likely than the other to confuse consumers into believing that the product being advertised is sponsored by, endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with the NFL? Probably not.

So, why is the NFL so aggressive? The answer almost certainly lies in the fact that official “sponsors” of the Super Bowl or other licensees of the NFL would not be willing to pay for the right to do so if a competitor could freely use the Super Bowl to promote itself without also paying a license fee. This risk is particularly high for those who have been promised exclusivity in a given category and the right to promote themselves as “The Official ——– of the Super Bowl.” Thus, looking at the big picture, the NFL has a huge incentive to prevent any advertising that may cross the line.

Moreover, any news organization that wants press credentials for the game faces an additional risk. Although news organizations are not required to have permission to report on an event, as a practical matter, their ability to do so from inside the stadium will be hampered by a refusal by the NFL to issue press credentials. (And, yes, we have seen professional sports leagues make such a threat.)

For these reasons, for most broadcasters and other news organizations, the better course is to be aware of and avoid any possible pitfalls, rather than run the risk of litigation.

How We Set Goals for Our Website (And How Your Station Can Do the Same)

Seth Resler
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

Last spring, we set out to do a makeover of the Jacobs Media website. It was part of an effort to implement the very same Content Marketing strategy that we recommend to our clients. After all, we figured that if we’re recommending it to you, we should eat our own dog food. So over the next several weeks, I will use this space to show you how we did it, and how your radio station can put the same approach into practice.

When overhauling your radio station’s website, the first and most important thing to do is to define the goals of your digital strategy. Ask your team, “What do we want listeners to do when they come to the radio station’s website?” I’ve outlined some of the possibilities radio stations should consider here.

For Jacobs Media, we defined these goals:

1. Explain to People What We Do
As an organization, Jacobs Media has evolved over the years. In the early 1980s, when Fred was just starting out, the focus was on helping broadcast companies launch and program Rock and Classic Rock radio stations. In the 1990s, Alternative was added to the mix as we helped radio stations implement The Edge format across the country.

Twelve years ago, we launched Techsurvey, the radio broadcasting industry’s largest online survey. This gave us insight into a number of issues — from mobile phone and social media usage to podcast listening and the connected car — which affected all radio stations, regardless of format. Increasingly, we found ourselves serving stations outside of the Rock Radio family, including public radio broadcasters.

As we grew, our old website no longer adequately explained all of these services and areas of expertise that we offered to clients. So one of the goals of our new website was to build something that explained what Jacobs Media actually does.

While we did not have a quantitative standard to measure our progress here, we could (and did) use website usability tests to gauge the new site’s performance. I’ll discuss how that works in more detail in a future post.

2. Grow Our Email List
Given the nature of the consulting business, it’s tough to connect our sales directly back to our web metrics. This is much easier to do when you sell widgets online than when you put together relationship-oriented deals with many service and pricing options and tiers.

Given that limitation, the metric that made the most sense for us to measure the success of the website was the growth of our email database. Prior to the launch of the new website, we were actually using two email services: Constant Contact to manage our mass emails to clients, and Feedblitz to automatically send our blog out on a daily basis. We decided to consolidate everything into one MailChimp email database.

Here’s the growth curve of our email list since we launched the new website last spring:


In the coming weeks, I will explain how we achieved these results.

3. Increase Web Traffic
While encouraging people to sign up for our email database is our most important quantifiable goal, the number of people who visit the website is another metric that we monitor carefully. Before the launch of the new site, we actually had two separate websites: JacobsMedia.com, a “brochure” site which explained what our company does, and JacobsMediaBlog.com, which housed our daily blog written by Fred. Only the blog was built in WordPress.

We decided to combine these two sites into one WordPress website living at the JacobsMedia.com url. Here’s what our website traffic looks like since the launch of the new site:


4. Other Goals
There are a number of other stats that we review, including the number of stations that register for Techsurvey (this year’s number will blow away last year’s), and the number of people who register for and attend our webinars (these numbers vary depending on the topic and date, but are also generally on the upswing).

Once we decided upon the goals of the website, we set out to build it. I’ll discuss that process in future posts. As you can see, deciding upon the goals of your radio station’s website is a crucial first step. Everybody involved with the site should agree upon the answer to the question, “When listeners come to our website, what do we want them to do?’ If you haven’t explicitly agreed upon these goals, gather your team together and do so now.

If I can answer any questions about this post and the process, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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

The Robinson Report – Which Lap To Lead

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.

Kevin Robinson will be speaking at this year’s Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC), March 7-8, 2017 in Lansing.  Kevin will present two sessions: “Coaching The Coaches” and “#Branding – in a Social Media Age.”  More information and registration here.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

He didn’t need to win – to win.

Victory was already at hand.

Nascar’s Jimmy Johnson cruised to Nextel Cup victory in 2007 (Now Monster Energy Cup) by leading only one lap and finishing seventh in the season’s finale at Homestead.

With a comfortable points lead over teammate Jeff Gordon, Johnson simply needed to finish no more than 18 spots behind Gordon to snatch the cup.

No reason to jeopardize this battle when the war is in the can.

We face similar situations every day – which battle to win, which hill to own.

With clear strategic objectives, know that you don’t have to win all the battles to win the war.

During our Civil War’s horrific four-year span, the South won more battles and skirmishes than the North. But, not history.

The time is ripe to map out your 2017 game plan for victory.

Managers are corralling the budget, allocating resources for best use and plotting to improve the talent stable – future laps to lead!

Content providers are forming strategic and tactical warfare, free to walk away from poor cross-partnerships. THAT lap isn’t worth leading.

Revenue generators are targeting key clients, as the strong leave bad rates on the table and plan on attrition.

Your staff is waiting on your leadership to grab victory.

Fast-forward nine years to Homestead Sprint Cup 2016 – Johnson KNEW which lap he had to lead!

Know that this winter, Jimmy Johnson and his crew are planning now which laps to lead in February’s Daytona – and a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup repeat.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or [email protected].

Jacobs Media Announces Partnership With Podcast Movement

jacobsIf podcasting has moved into the mainstream during the past few years, 2017 could be the year when it becomes a major opportunity for radio broadcasters.

To that end, Jacobs Media and Podcast Movement, have joined forces to custom design a radio track at Podcast Movement 2017 this August in Anaheim, California. These sessions will focus on how radio companies, stations and personalities can succeed in this emerging space.

“Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” is designed to combine the energy and electricity of the podcasting space with the expertise, talent and reach of the broadcasting world.

Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs explains, “We loved Podcast Movement in Chicago last year and were struck by the breadth and energy of the space. The goal is to get radio broadcasters involved, given the industry’s ability to create compelling audio content, promote it, and generate revenue around it. It just makes sense to bring these two worlds together to help broadcasters – and podcasters – elevate their game.”

Podcasting represents a significant growth opportunity for the radio industry. Edison/Triton’s Infinite Dial 2016 study estimates that 98 million Americans have listened to a podcast. And, Nieman Labs reports that podcast advertising grew at a rate of 48% in the past year, and is projected to show solid increases through 2020.

Co-organizer of Podcast Movement Dan Franks says, “Our team has been asked for years by broadcast professionals, ‘How can we get involved in podcasting? What steps should we take?’ We’re excited to finally have answers, as we partner with Jacobs to create this track – the first ever of its type!”

Jacobs Media’s Digital Dot Connector, Seth Resler, is a podcasting veteran who works with broadcasters to shape their podcast strategies. He will be an integral part of the “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” track.

Resler comments, “More and more broadcasters are trying to figure out their podcasting strategies. Our sessions at Podcast Movement will provide solutions that anyone in radio can take back to their stations and implement.”

Podcast Movement 2017 runs August 23-25 at the Anaheim Marriot in Anaheim, California. Jacobs Media’s “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” track is scheduled for Thursday, August 24.

More information here.

WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) Promotes Chris Legg to Director of Sales

Chris Legg
Chris Legg

WZZM-TV, the TEGNA owned ABC affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has promoted Chris Legg to Director of Sales.

Chris has been part of the WZZM 13 family and the sales department for 19 years. He started as an account executive managing local and regional business. In 2003, Chris was promoted to the local sales manager position, where he led a team developing customized multi-platform advertising solutions for local businesses.

“Chris knows this market like the back of his hand and his strong leadership has produced an outstanding track record of finding successful business solutions for clients,” said Janet Mason, WZZM 13 President and General Manager.

Over the past few years, Chris has been instrumental in transforming the sales department into WZZM 13 Media Solutions, a full service advertising company offering a robust suite of television and digital services.

“I am excited to lead the WZZM 13 Sales Department. I am passionate about our commitment to providing the best strategic advertising expertise for businesses in West Michigan,” said Chris Legg. “It is a privilege to have this leadership opportunity at a company that I have served since the start of my career.”

Chris is active in the West Michigan community and passionate about volunteering his time to Relay For Life and any organization striving to find a cure for cancer. He also speaks regularly to marketing students at GVSU, helping them better understand the evolving media landscape and the impact that has on strategic marketing decisions for a local business.

Chris is a graduate of Hope College where he majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Advertising.