Tag Archives: Issue 55

Who Do You Know That Has Impacted Public Media?

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabsummer2016Nominations are now open for the MAPB Public Media Impact Award.  This year marks the 32nd year of honoring Michigan’s public broadcasters.

Two awards will be presented – one award for Donors and one award for Professionals – for their contribution to public broadcasting in Michigan. The awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Banquet as part of the August 2017 Advocacy Conference & Annual Meeting at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI, which is attended by owners and operators of broadcast stations, lawmakers and other dignitaries.


  • To recognize outstanding individuals involved in public broadcasting for their innovation and creativity.
  • To inspire others involved in public broadcasting to greater achievement in the field of public radio and television.
  • To increase awareness of public broadcasting and the contributions talented individuals make to the industry statewide.

Donors and Professionals involved in Michigan public radio or television are eligible for nomination. Nominations can be made by colleagues, supervisors and/or station managers. Activities for which the person is nominated may be long-term, to recognize lifetime contributions to public broadcasting, or more recent, to reflect a concentrated period of achievement.

Nomination Process
The Deadline for nominations and supporting material (i.e. letters of support, photos and videos) is Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Visit the MAPB Award Page here for more information and to access the online nomination form.

Increasing Public Awareness Through Op-Ed Columns

In light of President Trump’s proposed budget, which would eliminate funding for public media and the arts, there has been a number of Op-Ed columns appearing in major newspapers around the country in support of public television and radio. Your MAB/MAPB News Briefs spotted a few and thought we’d share:

In the April 5, 2017 issue of the New York Times, Op-Ed Contributor Stanley McChrystal is author of Save PBS. It Makes Us Safer.   McChrystal writes: “Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice. This might seem like an unlikely position for me, a 34-year combat veteran. But it’s a view that has been shaped by my career leading brave men and women who thrive and win when they are both strong and smart. My experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.”  Read the entire column here.

In the April 5, 2017 issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville Public Media President Michael Skoler writes:
“Federal money provides just a bit of seed support for stations and the transmitters and equipment that allow programs to be shared across the nation. Those dollars are just six percent of the Louisville Public Media budget.  Federal money provides less than seven percent of PBS’s budget and less than one percent of NPR’s budget. The free market does many things well. Building community and a shared American experience is not one of them. Shared experience, by definition, is not elitist, it’s owned by everyone.”  Read Who needs PBS, NPR? Everyone here.

In the March 29, 2017 issue of the Los Angeles Times, Op-Ed Contributor Jennifer Ferro (General Manager of Public Radio Station KCRW) notes: “Public radio in particular is a critical part of the nation’s communications infrastructure. While commercial radio has cut costs by consolidating its operations into one or two main hubs, public radio stations are staffed and operated live. In rural areas, public radio stations often are the only live broadcast outlet. As in Marfa (Texas) during the wildfires, those stations provide vital information to their broadcast areas, and without federal funding, this crucial community function would surely disappear.”  Read Trump’s public broadcasting cuts will zero out live, local, real news here.

In the March 17, 2017 issue of the San Bernardino Sun, Bruce Baron, Chancellor of the San Bernardino Community College District, which operates public stations KVCR-FM-TV, authored a Op-Ed titled Federal defunding of PBS, NPR and KVCR could hurt our kids.  Baron: “Public television also provides 120,000 trusted and reliable learning tools for teachers, parents and home-schoolers nationwide. From Wild Kratts to Nature to NOVA, students and learners of all ages are exposed to the wonders of our world and the thrills of discovery and invention that can open doors to careers in high-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.”  Read more here.

Have an Op-Ed piece to share with MAB/MAPB News Brief readers?  Send a link to dkelley@michmab.com.

10 Places to Ask for Email Addresses on Your Radio Station’s Website

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

One of the most important questions you can ask as part of your radio station’s digital strategy is this: “When listeners come to our website, what do we want them to do?” We call these actions, that we want our website visitors to take, “goals.” Your website may have multiple goals, but one of them should definitely be to drive listeners to sign up for your email database.

The calls to action related to your website goals should be front and center on the website. Too often, I see radio station websites that bury their email signup forms among a lot of other clutter. When we conduct usability tests on radio station websites, we always ask our testers to try and sign up for the station’s email list. You’d be amazed how many of them have trouble doing so.

Set and Meet Expectations
Remember, when asking for people to give you their email address, always tell them what you’re going to send them (Blogposts? Concert listings? Contests?) and how often they can expect to receive emails from your station. Once you set those expectations, make sure you meet them.

To make it easy for listeners to sign up for your radio station’s email list, here are ten places on your website that you can place a box that asks listeners to register:

1. Pop-Up Windows
When used incorrectly, pop-up windows are incredibly annoying. Never let your station’s sales team use pop-up windows to advertise car dealerships or mattress stores.

However, pop-up windows can be extremely effective when asking visitors if they would like to sign up for your email list. Essentially, what you’re saying is, “You seem to like what you’re reading. Would you like us to deliver more of it to your inbox?”

This strategy can be extremely effective. I have seen websites increase their email registrations by 500% by deploying pop-up windows. In fact, these windows are the top source of email signups on our own website.

2. The Stream
Many listeners visit radio station websites specifically because they are interested in listening online. According to our 2016 Techsurvey, 71% of listeners are willing to register to stream the station, making this an ideal opportunity to collect email addresses.

3. The Sidebar
If your website has a static sidebar that appears on most of the site’s pages, use this prime real estate to collect email addresses. I like to see everything in the sidebar connect back to your website’s goals, so declutter the sidebar by removing unnecessary content, such as Facebook and Twitter widgets. (Note that everything in the sidebar on our website leads you to a form that captures email addresses.)

4. End of Posts
If a person gets all the way to the end of a blogpost or article on your site, that’s an indication that they liked it. Use this as an opportunity to ask them if they would like to receive more of your station’s content by email.

5. Contest Entry Forms
Of course, everybody who enters a contest should be added to your station’s email list. Make sure that your website’s contest entry forms are properly integrated with your email database.

6. Concerts Page
On radio station websites, the Concert Listing is usually one of the site’s most visited pages. Use this page as an opportunity to extend a specific invitation to listeners. Instead of vaguely asking them to join your station’s email list, ask them to register to receive emails with concert listings, announcements and discounts. Then set up an email campaign with concert information tailored to people who register on this page.

7. Morning Show Page
This is another page on your website that deserves an invitation to register for a specific email campaign. On this page, ask visitors if they would like to receive a daily or weekly recap of the morning show. Then set up the corresponding email campaign.

8. Freemium Content
Freemium Content” is content that is free but only accessible to people who register. For example, on our website, our guides and webinar recordings are “freemium.” If your station has online content that is compelling enough that people are willing to register to access it, this can be an effective way to drive email signups. For example, your radio station may want to make any artist interviews that are older than six months available online, but put them behind a form to capture email addresses.

9. The Comments Box
If you allow visitors to comment on your site’s posts, add a checkbox that enables them to quickly and easily register for your email list when they do.

10. The 404 Error Page
The 404 Error Page is the webpage that appears when a website can’t find the link that a visitor is looking for. It often includes a message like, “Oops! We can’t find the page that you’re looking for.”

Add an email registration box to this page on your site with a message like, “…but don’t leave empty-handed. Sign up for our email list and we’ll send you our best stuff every week!” The 404 page can drive a small but significant number of email registrations.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

The Robinson Report: Richard Pryor on the Video

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.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“We’ve got disco in eight tracks and cassettes in stereo – We’ve got rural scenes and magazines – We’ve got truckers on CB’s – We’ve got Richard Pryor on the video” The Load Out – Jackson Browne.

If you find LIVE people in broadcast studios today, take note of their performance.

There was a time, not so long ago, where talent had a tremendous amount of actual work.

Before air time, program hours needed assembling (by hand) – production on an analog machine.

Computers – nowhere to be seen.

Clearing AP wire (most times it was jammed)

Updating “The Weather Phone” with current temperatures, a requirement.

Transmitter readings – taken manually.

When Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty album debuted in the 1977, we dreamed of upgrading our CB radio from 19 to 40 channels.

Cassettes in Stereo’ were a BIG deal.

Broadcast studios were full of air talent – aching for their next show.

It also paid WAY less – as today.

For some of you this is a short trip down memory lane.

Others this may sound as distance as the horseless carriage.

May of 1961.

Newton Minow, in his speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, declared television as a vast wasteland.

Minow challenged the crowd by proclaiming, “Is there one person in this room who claims that broadcasting can’t do better?”

Phenomenal technology has created time efficiencies to create GREAT content.

Broadcasters – try creating just ONE brilliant content piece every hour.

Just one.

The end result for your audience will be – engaging.

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 robinsonradio@aol.com.

FCC Watch: KMB Broadcasting Sale Approved

On April 4, Sovereign Communications received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to purchase Escanaba radio stations WDBC-AM and WYKX-FM from KMB Broadcasting.

With this acquisition, Sovereign will own a total of 17 stations in the U.P. region, which includes stations in Sault Ste. Marie, Newberry, Marquette and Iron Mountain.   According to the asset purchase agreement filed with the application, the price paid for the two stations was $866,000.

In other applications filed with the FCC:

Impact Radio, LLC applies to increase the power of FM translator  W246BW (Three Rivers).  The translator rebroadcasts the company’s WRCI-AM, also licensed to Three Rivers.  Filed April 10.

Larry Langford, Jr. seeks to increase the power of FM translator W242CN (Cassopolis).  The translator rebroadcasts his WGTO-AM, also licensed to Cassopolis.  Filed April 10.

Caron Broadcasting, Inc. has filed an application to increase the power of FM translator W224CC (Detroit).  The translator rebroadcasts co-owned WLQV-AM (Detroit).  Filed April 10.

Remembering Tim Davis

This piece originally appeared in the The Jacobs Media Strategies Blog on April 10, 2017 and is reprinted by permission.

Tim Davis

By Fred Jacobs, President
Jacobs Media Strategies,
Bingham Farms, MI

If you’ve done business with Jacobs Media or jācapps throughout the ’90s and ’00s, chances are you interfaced with Tim Davis. He worked for our companies for a lot of years and impacted them in more ways than I can even convey to you in this blog post. In fact, this blog wouldn’t have existed had it not been for Tim convincing me – OK, cajoling me – to start it more than 12 years ago.

So the truly sad next chapter in the Tim Davis story is that he passed away over the weekend after a brief illness at the shockingly young age of 49. He touched a lot of lives throughout radio, in our companies and across an eventful and successful career.

Tim’s journey with Jacobs Media was a bit….non-linear. We originally hired him to back up Tom Calderone during the early go-go Edge years. We were signing on stations pretty quickly in the early ’90s in the middle of the Grunge explosion and Alternative music was Tim’s passion.

He moved to Detroit from some place called Texas with his young wife, Kathy. And, as he acclimated to the Motor City and our company, it became very clear to us that while he loved radio programming, it was technology, computers and the Internet where his true talents lied.

He was ahead of the curve, he even read Wired, he listened to The Church, he couldn’t understand why more people didn’t subscribe to Rhapsody and his instincts for how consumers would get and share entertainment and information as technology burgeoned were very sharp and incisive.

It wasn’t long before Paul and I convinced him to shift out of programming consultation to become our first (and only) Director of Digital. Tim fought us – which became common. He wasn’t sure a position that wasn’t clearly connected to specific client revenue was a good long-term plan. Thankfully we convinced him otherwise, and his longevity with our companies proved that for once, he was wrong. We actually had a lot of mostly healthy, philosophical arguments during a time in radio and media when those exchanges were really beneficial.

Tim knew a lot about a lot of things and enjoyed talking about where it was all headed. And he was a true fan of radio – commercial and public – and wanted very much for it to survive the Digital Revolution. He also was a fan of Christian radio and ended up introducing our company to a different world of broadcasting where we continue to have a footprint to this day.

As Steve Goldstein commented on Facebook yesterday, “Tim dragged many of us into the digital world. Many great conversations. He will be missed.”

True that. Tim designed Jacobs Media’s first website. And the second. And the third.

As mentioned, JacoBLOG was his idea. And he held my hand through its early years, encouraging me to keep it going and entered every post to make sure they looked good and contained clever and relevant links.

Tim also was a key player in our foray into ethnographic research. In both “The Bedroom Project” and “Goin’ Mobile,” he played a huge role in how those projects were analyzed and presented. There were many conversations, debates and arguments along the way as we all worked together to figure out how to do something very challenging that we’d never done before.

And when I had this ridiculous idea that we could aggregate hundreds of radio station databases to conduct web studies that would be cost-effective and predictive, he figured out how to engineer it and make it happen. If you participated in the first 10 Techsurveys or any of the other research studies we conducted during that period, Tim was the guy behind the wheel, coordinating it all. And then building hundreds of tables, charts, pyramids and infographics that helped make the data come alive and helped make Jacobs Media look good.

Oddly enough, Tim had a knack for tech but also studied graphic design at Texas A&M. All those logos for all those projects came from him.

But perhaps his biggest contribution came with the launch of jācapps. We were talking a lot back in 2007 about the rise of mobile. We were seeing it very clearly in our Techsurveys and other studies, but like others, we were doing a lot of talking. So, in the fall of 2008 when the Dow was dropping hundreds of points a day and radio (and maybe our company) was on the brink, Tim walked into my office holding his iPhone and pointing to an app for a radio station he discovered. Its key feature was that it streamed a Rhode Island radio station – something none of us had seen before. He connected the dots that the smartphone could become the new millennium’s Walkman.

A few weeks later – and just 100 days after Apple opened its now-famous App Store – jācapps was born. Tim was at the helm during the first few years when we were still feeling our way along as software developers. Most of you now know that adventure worked out pretty well.

A quick story: Every year, we take the staff to a Detroit Tigers game and while Tim was not a baseball fan, he got excited at that first game when the Tigers scored a couple of “points.” Tim was an early adopter of a lot of gadgets and was one of the first people I knew who had a GPS. On the way home from that game, Tim was driving. When we got a couple blocks away from the office, he flipped on his GPS. I sarcastically assured him I could get us successfully back to the office without the help of satellite technology, but he told me how comfortable it made him feel to simply know where he was. That very much summed up how the guy lived his life.

Along the way, Tim became a Detroit guy (although he still pined for Texas), settled into the community and had two kids – Xander and Alyssa – both of whom are teenagers now. As hard as he worked, for him and Kathy, it was always about family – his kids, his parents and his brother.

We parted ways 2+ years ago, but Tim’s impact on our company is always a part of our conversations. Back home in Dallas, he went to work for Rockfish, an Internet ad agency, where he became their Director of Digital Strategy. I spoke to him before the holidays and he was truly enjoying the gig and its new challenges.

It’s cliché to say, but in this case, it’s true. Tim left it on the field every day. He worked very hard and was the most loyal employee who ever graced our doors. He challenged me and everyone who worked for the place. And he made us better, smarter and more thoughtful. Tim was often blunt, always honest and very much in your face if you pissed him off. But you never questioned his work ethnic or his passion for doing the job well and making it look good.

A number of you have asked about where to send flowers and as Kathy reminded me yesterday, “Tim was not a flower guy.” She’ll be forming an education trust for Xander and Alyssa and we’ll get you that info as soon as it becomes available.

If you’ve been on the planet for a while, you have no doubt become accustomed to the births and passings of friends, family and co-workers. It’s all part of life. But this one hits very close to home for us at Jacobs, as well as for many of you who came to know Tim over a bright career of innovation, accomplishment and just being a good guy.

Tim Davis will be missed.

A postscript: Tim was a big fan of South By Southwest and made the trek during his years here with Jacobs Media. I always asked for a little “ROI” in exchange for attending – a client memo, a blog post, or some other tangible benefit. Tim never let me down and this post is one of his takeaways from the 2011 SXSW event that became a much-talked-about topic here at the company. It’s here.

WMXG Flips to Classic Country

AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC (Armada Media/Radio Results Network) has switched the format of WMXG-FM (Stephenson) to classic country.  The change was effective on April 3.

The station is now operating under the “The Maverick” moniker and is playing “the biggest country songs and artists from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.”

WMXG  was recently acquired by AMC Partners from Escanaba License Corporation.  An application for the transfer was filed on March 21 and is pending FCC approval.  AMC Partners has been running the station under a LMA and up until the format flip, had been simulcasting news/talk WCHT-AM.

WOOD-TV Signs Agreement For Downtown Studio

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) has announced that it has entered into a one-of-a-kind partnership with the Grand Rapids Art Museum to form the GRAM WOOD TV Media Arts Center.

The station has reached a long-term agreement with GRAM for a permanent studio location overlooking Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.

Every year during ArtPrize, WOOD TV8 broadcasts almost 150 hours from the “Today Show”-type studio. Because of the new agreement, it will be possible to broadcast year-round.

WOOD TV8’s main studio will remain in Heritage Hill, just east of the downtown area.

GRAM WOOD TV Media Arts Center is tied to a comprehensive plan that will be announced in late April to expand local engagement across West Michigan. Details will be announced at a later date.

FCC to Change Noncommercial Ownership Form

Commission to eliminate need for social security numbers from board members of noncommercial licensees for Biennial Ownership Report.

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

Last week, we wrote about two of the three broadcast items to be considered at the FCC meeting on April 20. We wrote here about the draft order to restore the UHF discount and here about the relaxation of the restrictions on fund-raising for third parties by noncommercial stations. The third item, also related to noncommercial licensees, is the resolution of the long-simmering dispute about whether or not to require that those individuals with attributable interests in noncommercial broadcast stations – officers and board members – to provide their Social Security Numbers or other personal information to the FCC to obtain an FCC Registration Number – an FRN. The draft order released last week indicates that the FCC will eliminate that requirement at its April 20 meeting.

The obligation to obtain an FRN was adopted so that the FCC could comprehensively track the ownership of broadcast stations and determine the interests of individual parties across the broadcast media nationwide. This was principally done for purposes of assessing the diversity of ownership of the media – including by minorities and women. By making each attributable owner get their own FRN, interests across the broadcast media landscape could be tracked with greater precision. However, objections were raised when the FCC proposed to apply this obligation to noncommercial broadcasters, requiring that officers and board members provide their Social Security Number or other personal information to obtain an FRN. Despite these objections, the previous Commission ordered noncommercial broadcasters to provide this information, going so far as to suggest that attributable interest holders who did not provide the information necessary to obtain an FRN could be sanctioned. See our articles here and here. The current FCC under Chairman Pai rescinded the decision of the Media Bureau upholding the obligation (see our post here) – leading to the draft order to be considered at the April 20 meeting.

Noncommercial broadcasters have argued that this information is not as necessary as for commercial broadcasters in assessing diversity, as noncommercial stations don’t have owners in the traditional sense of the word. Their officers and board members don’t have an economic interest in the business success of the station. In fact, those with attributable interests in noncommercial stations often don’t become officers or directors because they are interested in radio or television at all, but instead because they are interested in a noncommercial entity’s broader purpose. For instance, a member of the board of a state university may become a board member because of his or her interest in some academic department, or because of the athletic teams at the university and not even know when appointed to the board that among the university’s holdings is a broadcast station. Some board members may become members by being an elected official – e.g. state governors are often ex-officio members of state university boards. The fear is that, by requiring that these individuals provide personally sensitive information, they may be discouraged from participating in these nonprofit endeavors. A majority of the current Commission appears to have accepted that reasoning and has now teed up the concept of allowing noncommercial stations to obtain Special Use FRNs (“SUFRN”) for these individuals – which will not require personally identifiable information or Social Security Numbers.

The FCC did note, however, that these individuals need to use the same SUFRN for any broadcast interests that they may have. So if an individual sits on the board of multiple broadcast licensees (e.g. the governor of a state who may be on the board of several state universities that are the licensee of broadcast stations), that individual must provide the same SUFRN to each licensee. Also, if an attributable party has an interest in a commercial broadcast station and obtains an FRN in connection with the ownership report of that station, they need to use that FRN on the ownership report of the noncommercial licensee. Noncommercial licensees thus will still need to survey their officers and board members to make sure that they don’t have other broadcast interests and to coordinate with other licensees in state systems to make sure that the same SUFRN is used.

Biennial ownership reports for all stations, commercial and noncommercial, are due on December 1 of this year, reporting on the ownership of the licensee as of October 1. While this order, if adopted on April 20, will make information collection easier for noncommercial licensees, they should still start planning their information collection process for getting information about the broadcast interests of board members in time for the December 1 deadline.

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.

Another Performance Royalty Bill Introduced

Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) has once again introduced performance royalty legislation that would require radio stations to pay fees to the record labels to play their songs. In response, the NAB issued the following statement:

“NAB has significant concerns with this legislation that would upend the music licensing framework that currently enables broadcasters to serve local communities across the country and would result in less music being played on the radio to the detriment of listeners and artists. NAB thanks the almost 200 Members of Congress who support the Local Radio Freedom Act and recognize the tremendous benefits of free, promotional airplay for musicians and labels.”

In Michigan, Congressmen Fred Upton (R-6), Tim Walberg (R-7), Paul Mitchell (R-10) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-12) cosponsored the Local Radio Freedom Act.

MAB Washington Counsel David Oxenford discusses both, this most recent royalty bill and an older proposal, here.