Tag Archives: Issue 48

Senate Committee Passes FOIA Exemptions

capitol3Information on bids, quotes or proposals involved in a procurement process would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) until after the contract is awarded under Senate Bill 69, which was voted out of the Senate Government Operations Committee. The information would be publicly available after a vendor is selected, but trade secrets, proprietary and other financial information about a company that may cause competitive harm to the company would not be available through a FOIA request under this legislation.

According to the bill sponsor, Senator Rick Jones (R-24), the purpose of the bill is that companies would not be able to see other companies’ contracts. “When companies find out that a department of state is going to do a process, they FOIA to see how much a state has to pay to make their bid higher, which hurts taxpayers,” Jones said. According to a report in Gongwer, Senator Jones said that by including this protection, he is also hopeful that companies, especially in the health care industry, will take another look at bidding on state projects in Michigan because their financial interests or trade secrets can continue to be kept from competitors. Officials with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget testified in support of the legislation.

MAB attorney John Ronayne III researched the bill and, though according to Mr. Ronayne certain parts of the bill are already covered under a FOIA exemption, trade secrets clearly are not. The MAB never likes to see exemptions to FOIA, but in this case we feel that the trade secret exemption is reasonable as long as it is narrowly applied.

Engineering Spotlight: Erik Jones (Cumulus Media/Ann Arbor)

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Dan Kelley at [email protected].
Erik Jones
Erik Jones

Erik Jones is Chief Engineer for Cumulus Media Ann Arbor (WWWW-FM/WQKL-FM/WTKA-AM/WLBY-AM) and IT Support Engineer for Cumulus Media Great Lakes Region.  Erik has been in his present position since October of 2012.

Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume.
I graduated from Specs Howard in July 1997.  I went there with a concentration in video, not radio.  I was with ENCO Systems as Senior Support Engineer from September 1998 through November 2005 and with ABC/Disney as New York City Broadcast Data Systems Engineer, overseeing WABC/WPLJ/WEPN/WQEW from November 2005 through February 2008.  During this time, WABC/WPLJ was bought by Citadel Communications with WEPN/WQEW staying with Disney.

I then moved to Michigan and became IT Manger/Assistant Engineer for Citadel Communications in the Lansing market (WMMQ-FM/WITL-FM/WFMK-FM/WVFN-AM and WJIM-AM/FM), Grand Rapids market (WLAV-FM/WHTS-FM/WLAW-FM/WTNR-FM/WBBL-FM and WJRW-AM) and Muskegon market (WWSN-FM/WVIB-FM/WLCS-FM and WKLQ-AM), from May 2008 through October 2012. During this time Citadel was purchased by Cumulus.

Q:  How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Erik:  It was never my intention to become a broadcast radio engineer!  When I went to Specs Howard, it was my hope to start a career as a TV/film video editor, and I did that for a short period of time at a local small video production company before I started at ENCO. But, even while I was there, I was the one repairing the equipment to keep things working and wiring them for a 10baseT network. From there, I went to ENCO as a part time beta tester of the DADpro32 software and made way onto the support team.  Seven years later, I had a call from the director of engineering for WABC, telling me that the engineer that was maintaining their ENCO system was leaving and asked if I would be interested in filling the position.  While there primarily as the Broadcast Data Systems Engineer, I took full advantage of the knowledge of the other engineers and learned all that I could about this field and found myself wanting to broaden my career path to more than just the IT side of the business.

Adding to that, I grew up in a household that was in the engineering world, with my father holding an advance class amateur radio license as well as a general radiotelephone operator license (as he was a part-time radio engineer himself back in the early 70’s.)  He was later a radio systems design engineer for Ford.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know:
There really isn’t a whole lot that people wouldn’t know about me if they have met me in person. I’ve been married for 17 years to my high school sweetheart (that I originally first met in preschool when we had the same class together!) I have two sons, ages 15 and 11. Also, I am a firm believer to never put random personal information out onto the web via any social media.  And, because of this, I have never had any type of those accounts and never plan to have one.

Q: Best advice you have ever received?
Erik:  Just because you may not have all the answers to an issue at that exact moment in time doesn’t mean it can’t be solved. To do this, always be well aware of your own strengths and those around you (friends and colleagues) and always make yourself available to help others so that when you need it the most others will be willing to help you. Also, let’s not forget “Always trust in Google.”  While the first search result may not be correct, just redefine your parameters and you will get the answers you need.

2017 Student Award Winners are Posted!

THANK YOU to those who participated in the 2017 MAB Foundation Student Broadcast Awards! We had 689 entries this year!  The judging process is complete and we have posted the winners’ names and schools on our website. To view this year’s winners, please click here.

Check for Spelling
Please take a close look at all of the names and schools and notify Alisha of any spelling changes as soon as possible. Please note that these names and titles were pulled directly from the online system. The names, as they appear on the site, will be used on the award certificates and in the awards program.

Awards Presentation
Awards will be presented during the Main Luncheon at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC) at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing on Wednesday, March 8 beginning at 12:30 p.m. This luncheon will include both students and professionals. All students must arrive by 12:15 p.m. to check in at the main registration desk.

Student Winner Information
Each student winner receives a complimentary lunch ticket and admittance to all Career Sessions, Exhibit Hall and Career Fair on Wednesday, March 8. EACH student winner attending MUST complete the online Student Award Winner Registration by Wednesday, March 1, 2017 to receive their FREE registration. Late registrations cannot be guaranteed lunch.

Want to attend ALL GLBC sessions? For just $5, student winners only can upgrade their registration to a full GLBC Student Registration which includes admittance into ALL of the GLBC educational sessions. Mingle and network with Michigan broadcast and media professionals…just select the “GLBC Upgrade” option when you complete the Student Award Winner Registration.

Click here for the complete GLBC session schedule.

Click here to register EACH student winner.

Non-Winning Students, Parents, Teachers and Friends Information
If you are a non-winning student, parent, family, guest and/or advisor of a student and would like to attend the luncheon, you MUST register online to secure a seat. The cost is $35 per person. Non-winning students, parents, teachers and friends can register to attend by selecting the “Student Awards Luncheon Only” option which is $35 per person to attend the Main Luncheon.
Click here to register to attend the Luncheon.

Remember: On-site registrations are NOT guaranteed a lunch!

Contact Alisha Clack with any questions or changes at [email protected].

Awards Rules and Categories

What Amazon Could Teach Radio

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
Dick Taylor Blog

AmazonI can’t think of a more competitive marketplace than one that offers infinite choice. This is the marketplace that Amazon operates in. It’s called the Internet.


Exceptionally well.


Customer Focus

The Motley Fool writes that Amazon’s secret weapon for success is just a handful of core principles with the leading one being to “focus relentlessly on our customers.”

Jim Collins, author of such great books as “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” created the strategic framework that Amazon uses known as the “flywheel.” Here’s what that looks like from Amazon.com via Benedict Evans.
EvansThe beauty of this concept is that while it takes a lot of effort to put everything in motion, once it is moving it develops its own momentum that contributes to future growth. As much as I learned in my college physics class about Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. These things are really universal and when you can connect the dots, magic happens.

Christmas 2016

You’ve probably heard by now about how merchants did selling stuff for Christmas. The forecast for 2016 was one trillion dollars to be spent; an increase of 3.6 to 4% over 2015.

So with that kind of spending on the table what we see is Macy’s, Sears and Kohl’s, among other retailers reported flat or down sales for Christmas 2016. Macy’s, Kmart and Sears announcing store closings as a result.

Amazon, meanwhile, reported its best holiday season yet, shipping over one billion items worldwide.

AMAZON Christmas 2016

To give you a better idea of how strong Amazon’s Christmas sales were in 2016, let’s look at the Monday before Christmas. Slice Intelligence reported that Amazon sold 49.2% of items purchase online.

For the 2016 Christmas season, Amazon ended up making 38% of all online sales followed by Best Buy at 3.9%, Target at 2.9% and Walmart at 2.9%.

Customer Focus Rules

When you focus on your customer relentlessly, you organize your whole organization around a single goal and insure that everyone stays focused on that goal 24/7.

Your radio station(s) have the power to do what other media services can’t do, be live and local delivering entertainment and information that can’t be obtained from any other source.

One of the big advantages Amazon had this Christmas was their Prime 2-day delivery. It meant that Christmas shopping procrastinators (a.k.a. most of us men) could shop closer to the big day.

You might have read or seen that Amazon is working on delivery by drones and delivery services shorter than two-days. Amazon appears to be thinking about owning its own delivery supply chain eliminating the need for UPS or USPS.

So how much time has been devoted by you and your people to customer focus? That means your listeners and your advertisers.

Once per year?

Once per month?



So what’s stopping you?

Reprinted by permission.

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

Conclave Offers Discount to MAB Members

conclave_700MAB members can save $50 on their registration for the 42nd Conclave Learning Conference, to be held in Minneapolis, MN July 26-28, 2017.  From strategy sessions on generating ratings and revenue, to effective use of social, mobile and podcasting, attendees will gain actionable takeaways to implement at their stations immediately.

Returning are the highly rated and favorite sessions among attendees like, “Ask Me ‘Almost’ Anything,” where industry favorites take questions from the audience on radio’s future and its growth.

Also, Conclave will host the third annual, “Speed Mentoring Breakfast,” giving everyone access to decision makers to help advance their career.

Complete details here: www.theconclave.com.

When registering, use the promo code STA42 to access the discount.


FCC Releases First EEO Audit for 2017

Over 200 radio and almost 80 TV stations named in the audit notice, including Michigan stations.

David Oxenford - ColorBy: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

In the swirl of news about the deregulatory efforts of the new FCC, one could almost forget that there are still many regulations in place that require significant amounts of paperwork retention by broadcasters. That point was hammered home last week,  when the FCC released its first EEO audit letter of 2017 for radio and TV broadcasters. The FCC’s public notice announcing the commencement of the audit includes the audit letter that was sent to all of the targeted stations. The list of over 200 radio stations subject to the audit is here. The list of almost 80 TV stations is here. Responses are due March 28, 2017. As employment information for all stations within a named station’s “employment unit” must be provided in response to the audit, the reach of this notice goes far beyond the 300 stations targeted in the audit notices. While the FCC is considering a proposal to allow online recruiting sources to suffice to meet a broadcaster’s wide dissemination requirements (as we wrote here), that proposal is still at an early stage and, as this audit notice evidences, the underlying rules remain in place.

The FCC reminds stations that were targeted by the audit to put a copy of the audit letter in their public file. The response, too, must go into the file. For all the TV stations hit by the audit letter, and those radio stations that have already converted to the online public file, that will mean that the audit letter and response go into that FCC-hosted online public file.

The Commission has pledged to randomly audit 5% of all broadcast stations and cable systems each year to assure their compliance with the Commission’s EEO rules – including the requirements for wide dissemination of information about job openings and non-vacancy specific supplemental efforts to educate a station’s community about job opportunities in the media industry. We recently summarized FCC EEO issues here, reminding broadcasters of the possibility of being audited. The FCC also has the opportunity to audit larger broadcasters’ EEO performance when they file their FCC EEO Mid-Term Report. We also wrote about the start of the obligations for the filing of FCC Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Reports – which started the year before last for radio groups with more than 11 full-time employees and last year for TV licensees with 5 or more full-time employees in a few months, and are filed on the 4th anniversary of the filing deadline for the station’s license renewal – which will give the FCC another chance to review station EEO performance.

The audit letter requires all stations with five or more full-time (30 or more hours per week) employees to provide a significant amount of information about their EEO programs and recruiting efforts (including copies of their two latest Annual EEO public file reports and documentation backing up the efforts listed on those reports). Even stations with fewer than five full-time employees need to report the job titles of their employees and the number of hours they are assigned to work each week, and provide any information about law suits, EEOC complaints or similar employment actions brought as a result of equal employment or discrimination matters. Information about any time brokerage agreement must also be disclosed.

If any station in your cluster is on the list, all stations in that “station employment unit” (a group of commonly owned stations serving the same area with at least one common employee) must respond. But, if a cluster has been audited in 2014 or 2015, or if its renewal was granted in the last 18 months, the FCC may allow you to avoid responding to this audit – but you have to request that “pass” from the FCC. If a station that is being audited is involved in an LMA with another broadcaster, the audit may require that the broker provide employment information as well as the licensee.

All stations should review the audit letter as it provides a good outline of the documents that stations should be retaining to demonstrate their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. For more information about compliance with the EEO rules, see our post about an EEO webinar in which I participated, held by the FCC in early 2012 to explain its EEO rules. Also, you can find a link to a presentation that I did just over a year ago on the EEO rules for broadcasters, here. You may also want to review the last set of fines for broadcast EEO violations, about which we wrote here.

Many broadcasters complain that the EEO rules are among the more burdensome paperwork requirements, and no doubt much time and money will be spent responding to this audit notice. But whether a broader review of the EEO requirements, beyond simply looking at the acknowledgement that online recruiting is how recruiting is now done, will be in the cards at the FCC remains to be seen.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline.  Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your membership.

WWJ-AM Raises 1.45 Million+

WWJ_700On February 10, CBS Radio’s WWJ-AM (Detroit) held its 14th annual Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW (The Heat and Warmth Fund), raising more than $1.45 million to help thousands of families in southeastern Michigan who cannot afford to heat their homes or keep their lights on this winter.

The one-day event had the station broadcasting live from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and featured live interviews with families that THAW has helped during previous years, on-air check presentations from sponsors, on-site reporting and more.  Volunteers took phone pledges as well as bids on auction items to raise money for the fund.

In addition, listeners were invited to join the “WWJ THAW 360 Club” by making a one-time donation of $360 or $30 a month for one year. Those joining the 360 Club received a limited edition Winter Survival Radiothon tumbler.

THAW assists families in need by preventing utility shut-off, providing fuel or restoring services. 91 percent of every dollar that THAW spends goes directly to help those in need and THAW’s utility partners match every dollar that THAW raises, so that $1 becomes $2 in energy assistance.

Find your Next Top Employee at the GLBC Career Fair

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabglbc2016The number one request we get from stations is assistance in recruiting future employees. This is why the MAB Foundation hosts several career fairs throughout the year! Make plans now to attend the GLBC Career Fair, your station will definitely benefit from the new contacts you’ll make with future employees and interns!

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.

jacapps Adds Sari Zalesin, Shifts Alex Burnstein to Marketing Director

Sari Zalesin (left) and Alex Burnstein (right).
Sari Zalesin (left) and Alex Burnstein (right).

On February 6, Bingham Farms-based jacapps, a leading radio mobile app developer, announced an expansion of its sales force by adding former radio programmer, salesperson and on-air talent, Sari Zalesin, to focus on new product lines for radio. The company is shifting Alex Burnstein, who has held that role for the past seven years, into the newly created position of Director of Marketing.

jacapps President Paul Jacobs said, “Sari brings a unique set of skills and relationships to our company. She’ll provide hands-on advice to our radio clients about how to promote and increase the effectiveness of their mobile apps, how to implement apps in platforms like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.”

Adds jacapps COO Bob Kernen, “Sari’s deep experience in radio will help the managers tasked with making key decisions around mobile strategy. She has an understanding of the challenges they face, as well as how to execute mobile promotions in key sectors that include on-air, programming, and sales. She will be a valuable resource to jacapps clients as she helps them optimize their mobile apps strategies.”

Zalesin will focus on bringing jacapps’ unique mobile solutions for audio content providers to the rapidly expanding market for mobile. That includes radio, but also digital pure-plays such as streaming radio and podcasters. “I’m excited to be joining this innovative, dynamic team that have long been leaders in the mobile space,” says Zalesin.

Sari comes to jacapps with nearly three decades of radio broadcasting and voice over experience. She has held the title of Music Director/Talent Liaison and National On-Air Talent at XM Satellite Radio, as well as legendary radio brands that include WLLZ/Detroit, WCSX/Detroit, KZPS/Dallas, and WLUP/Chicago. Sari made national history when she became the first female public address announcer during the Dallas Stars’ inaugural NHL season. Most recently, she has been an Account Executive for The Walt Disney Company/Radio Disney, CBS, and Michigan.com.

Alex Burnstein is taking on the leadership of jacapps’ newly formed marketing team. “Alex has been with us since the beginning,” says Jacobs, “Her knowledge of our clients and their businesses will help us to better serve them, while also helping us to open up new markets for our company. jacapps is undergoing a tremendous growth spurt, not only in radio, but across other verticals that include health care, B2B, and others. Alex is one of the most experienced players in the mobile apps space whose broad knowledge of our business will help us continue that growth.”

“From my sales experience at jacapps,” comments Burnstein, “I am privileged to have a unique understanding of how our clients can benefit from a properly implemented mobile strategy. I’m excited to share this knowledge with all of the different businesses that we work with.”

Television Groups Announce Spectrum Proceeds

Without mentioning any specific call letters of affected facilities, major broadcast groups have begun announcing the proceeds they expect to receive from the FCC’s broadcast spectrum auction, now that the commission has lifted the quiet period for broadcasters.

Fox Broadcasting said last week that it expects to receive about $350 million from its participation in the auction. Tribune Media announced that it expects to grab $190 million.  Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that it expects to receive $313 million for its spectrum.  Gray Television said it anticipates $90.8 million in broadcast spectrum auction proceeds, bringing the total from commercial TV groups to $943 million, so far.

In a article published Februrary 13 in Tom Taylor’s NOW Newsletter, it was reported that E.W. Scripps Broadcasting will get “nothing from the spectrum auction – prices were too cheap for its taste.”  Scripps Senior VP/Broadcast Brian Lawlor is quoted as saying “none of the spectrum we or our [potential channel-share] partners offered was selected during the auction process because the prices available in the auction fell below the value we ascribed to it.”

The only specific full-power facility in Michigan, so far, affected by the spectrum auction is WCMZ-TV in Flint, owned by Central Michigan University.  See story here.