Tag Archives: Issue 59

Well Liked State Representative Dies From Apparent Suicide

Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette)

The MAB is sad to report the passing of John Kivela, a Democratic state representative from Marquette.  News sources report that Kivela was found dead from an apparent suicide Tuesday (5/9) at a Lansing home he owned.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) told WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) “I truly have no words about the loss of our dear friend John Kivela .As we go forward over the next couple of days, please keep his wife Sandy and his children in your prayers.”

Kivela’s is the third untimely death of House members in the past year. On June 25, 2016, state Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights), died of an apparent heart attack while hiking with her daughters in Oregon. And Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle), died Sept. 12, 2016, when a truck pulled out in front of his motorcycle.

Casting Call for WKAR Science Show Draws from Mid-Michigan and Beyond

Curious Crew Casting Call for season 4. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney, MSU-WKAR.

More than 240 aspiring scientists visited the MSU campus on Saturday (5/6) to audition for season four of Curious Crew, the WKAR original series exploring science, technology, engineering and math.

“It was wonderful to see so many kids excited about science and Curious Crew,” said Julie Sochay, WKAR promotion coordinator. “This year’s casting call brought in a lot of wonderful talent and we look forward to another great season.”

Cast hopefuls and their families came from areas near Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Mt. Pleasant and as far away as Indianapolis, Indiana!

“This year’s Curious Crew Casting Call was a great success! We had a fantastic turnout of excited and eager children – and supportive family members,” said Tim Zeko, WKAR TV executive producer.

Mini screen test during the Curious Crew Casting Call season 4. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney, MSU-WKAR.

Parents and guardians watched from afar as each child conducted a mini screen test for Zeko and Matt Ottinger, producer and host of WKAR’s QuizBusters. From there, participants were then grouped and tasked together for the Team Challenge led by Curious Crew Host Rob Stephenson.

“They all did a great job showcasing their love of science and interest in exploration,” said Zeko. “I’m confident we’ll have a terrific cast for season 4!”

Children worked together on the Curious Crew Casting Call Team Challenge. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney, MSU-WKAR.

Out of the large number of attendees, 45 will be chosen to participate in the TV show and will be notified in late May 2017. Once the cast is selected, season four will begin production during the summer of 2017 and is expected to debut on WKAR TV beginning January, 2018.

Curious Crew season four is made possible in part with support from MSU Federal Credit Union, ITEC and Capital Area District Libraries.

Fore more pictures of the event please visit WKAR’s Facebook and Flickr pages.

Public Media Impact Award Nominations Due June 7

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabsummer20162017 marks the 32nd year of honoring Michigan’s public broadcasters with the MAPB Public Media Impact Award.

Two awards – one award for Donors and one award for Professionals – will be presented during a banquet at the August 2017 MAB Advocacy Conference & Annual Meeting at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI.

The awards honor individuals for their contribution to public broadcasting in Michigan.

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.

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.


How Your Radio Station Can Send Tailored Email Campaigns to Listeners

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

Email marketing is a fantastic way to stay engaged with your radio station’s listeners. You can use it to encourage them to come back to your website regularly. I am a big proponent of setting up automated email campaigns. Few stations have the personnel they need to constantly be writing new emails. But, if you let the people in your database sit for too long without sending them any email, they may be surprised when they get receive a message after months of silence and view it as spam. By automating your email campaigns, you can stay in constant touch with your listeners without overburdening your staff.

There are two types of automated email campaigns: RSS-to-Email Campaigns, which are used to send out emails linking to content that you’ve just published on your website and Drip or Autoresponder Campaigns, which are used to recycle evergreen content on your website. The campaigns discussed below are RSS-to-Email campaigns for new content.

RSS-to-Email Campaigns
Here’s how an RSS-to-Email Campaign works: Your Email Service Provider (your ESP, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, etc.) pulls your latest website posts and drops them into an email template, then sends the email out. Think of the RSS feed as a pipe that pushes your website content out to the ESP. If there’s nothing new in the pipe, no email goes out. And you can set these emails to go out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

You can set up different RSS feeds for different types of posts on your website. For example, if your station’s website is built in WordPress, it already has different feeds for the posts that you put in different categories. They look like this:


This means that you can set up a different email campaign for different types of posts. By doing so, you can allow listeners to tell you what type of content that they would like to have sent to them. Here’s how:

1. Set Up Your Email List with Groups
In your ESP, set up “groups” or “segments” for your email list. As part of this, you’ll be adding a checkbox question to the registration form. It might look like this:

What would you like us to send you each week?

  • Concert Info
  • Contests
  • Local Music Info
  • Morning Show Recaps

2. Create Corresponding Categories for Your Website Posts
In the backend of your website, set up categories for each of the groups. When you add content to your website, categorize it accordingly so that it is included in the proper email campaign.

3. Set Up an RSS-to-Email Campaign for Each Category
Get the RSS feed for each of the categories you have set up. For example, if your site is built in WordPress, the feed for the Contests category might be http://wkrp.com/category/contests/feed. In your ESP, use that feed to set up an automated email campaign. For example, you might set up the campaign to say, “Every Thursday at 3:00pm, check the Concerts RSS feed for new posts. If there are new posts, drop them into an email template and send it out to everybody in the ‘Concerts’ group.”

You don’t want to send out all of your automated campaigns at the same time. You may want to send your morning show recaps out daily at noon, your concert listings on Thursday mornings, your local music updates on Sunday nights and your contest info on Monday mornings. Not everybody will get every email; they’ll only receive the emails they opt into.

By setting up multiple automated campaigns, you can continually engage with your listeners by sending them just the information that they want.

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

Jacobs Media Releases Techsurvey Results: Listening Locations Are Changing

“Navigating The Digital Landscape”

In Jacobs Media’s new web study of radio listeners, a big story is how radio’s traditional listening locations – the home, the car and the workplace – are undergoing change. From content consumed to new distribution outlets, to emerging gadgetry, the traditional pattern of media usage and radio listening are changing – in some cases, rapidly.

The media habits of 14 format core audiences, along with five generations, are examined in this mega-survey of radio listeners. From Boomers to Millennials, different patterns of consumption are emerging, providing radio broadcasters with information from which they can map out game plans and strategies.

Techsurvey13 (TS13) was conducted from January 16 – February 27 of this year. Stakeholder stations participated in a recent webinar and the results of the study will be released over the next few months.

As Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs points out, “We’ve been focused on the car for several years in Techsurvey – and for good reason. But as time goes on, radios are disappearing from the home front and being replaced in many cases by smart TVs, wireless audio systems and ‘smart speakers’ like Amazon Echo and Google Home. The ‘Alexa Factor’ is a big finding in this year’s study of radio listeners.”

TS13 provides two different “pyramids” for stakeholder stations. The “Media Pyramid” contains broad categories, including smartphone and tablet ownership, audio and video streaming and this year, devices like the Amazon Echo. The “Brand Platform Pyramid” unveiled in 2015 continues to provide fascinating usage information about big brands that include Snapchat, Netflix, TuneIn and Shazam.

Jacobs continues, “Devices like the Echo and Google Home are in 11% of our respondents’ homes. While smartwatch ownership has doubled from 2016, these devices are still trying to discover their true value proposition. In the meantime, most other categories are showing growth, including podcasting, mobile devices and audio and video streaming.”

This year’s Media Pyramid is below:

More than nine of ten respondents spend at least one hour a day with radio and/or television, the foundation of this pyramid.

Other highlights include:

  • The home is the new car – While 88% of homes have a working radio, that’s not the case with Millennials, where only three-fourths (76%) have a radio at their residence. Techsurvey13 shows wireless speaker systems, smart TVs and now devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home showing up in homes.
  • Oh, Alexa! – In its debut year, 11% of the entire sample own “smart speakers.” And they are increasingly using voice commands on their devices. Overall, nearly half (45%) frequently or occasionally use their voice, especially owners of gadgets like the Echo and Google Home.
  • It’s free – Consumers love broadcast radio for the music, personalities and emotional drivers such as companionship and mood elevation. But in a new response option in TS13, nearly six in ten (57%) say a main reason they enjoy listening to the radio is that it’s a free service.
  • The mobile revolution marches on – Nearly nine of ten respondents (87%) now own a smartphone and two-thirds (68%) now have a tablet – mobile continues to grow year after year. And more consumers wake up with a mobile phone than a clock radio.
  • Radio’s digital platforms are growing – While 74% of consumption to the average station in TS13 take place on “regular radios,” 22% of usage is now occurring via computer streams, mobile apps and podcasts. The shift is more pronounced with each passing year.
  • Who’s using headphones? – Overall, 15% of respondents in TS13 use headphones half the time or more often while listening to radio. These consumers are most likely to be members of Gen Z, Hispanics, African-Americans and especially fans of the Rhythmic CHR and Urban AC formats.
  • Podcasting is growing, but ever so slowly – More than one-fifth (21%) listen to podcasts weekly or more often. And the preferred device for podcast listening is the smartphone, chosen by a majority (51%) of regular podcast users.
  • Smartwatches are growing…but slowly – Ownership of connected watches doubled from last year, but only 8% of respondents own one, a gadget that is in search of a market.
  • Privacy issues – For the first time since it’s been included in our Techsurveys, fewer streamers of our stakeholder stations express a willingness to register to access the stream. Yet, nearly two-thirds (65%) say they’d provide basic information – name, email address and zip code.

This year’s Brand/Platform Pyramid provides data points that help broadcasters get more granular with their audiences, identifying the key media brands they use. For each of the brands and platforms, this pyramid shows weekly usage (with the exception of broadcast radio which is one hour/day or more and SiriusXM which is based on subscribership/free trial).

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Brand Platform pyramid:

  • Three-fourths (75%) are on Facebook weekly or more, making it the dominant social media platform. One-fourth spend time on Instagram (25%), showing solid growth from TS12.
  • Nearly half (48%) watch YouTube videos weekly or more, while more than four in ten (41%) connect with Netflix during a 7-day period, up sharply from last year.
  • One-fourth (25%) listen to Pandora on a weekly basis, a drop for the second year in a row. While Spotify (12%) is up incrementally.
  • Of the social media brands on this pyramid, Snapchat (14%) is showing the strong year-to-year growth.

Both pyramids are available by format, gender and generation, making them useful tools in better understanding how radio listeners are expanding their horizons.

This year’s survey covers key areas of interest to all media brands, including actionable information about connected and autonomous cars, social media usage, mobile devices and apps, audio and video streaming and other key topics.

Techsurvey13 was powered by NuVoodoo who provided analytical and platform support.

Download the TS13 Slide Deck here.

The Robinson Report: Talent – Coach

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

Around the hoop, it’s easy to grab coaching comparisons.

Would Duke’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski be as successful today if Bob Knight hadn’t mentored him first as a player at Army and then an assistant with Indiana?

Nearly all of us have, or had, one.

They carry names like teacher – mentor – tutor – big brother.

Talent – Coach.

There’s good reason ‘talent’ precedes ‘coach’.

Without talent first, there is no – coach.

Talent trumps coach – every time.

Also note that the term COACH is not Talent Critic, Talent Manager or Talent Dissector.

The term COACH shows up in my Webster Dictionary as:

‘One who instructs or trains, especially one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a competitive sport and directs team strategy.’

Clearly, coaching can vastly improve talent.

Some of the best coaches were mediocre performers.

Ever see Bob Knight play basketball?  It’s not pretty.

At Robinson | Media, we coach:

  1. Strategic alignment
  2. Tactical atmospherics
  3. Hands-on programmer and talent training

If you’ve elected not to be our partner, enlist someone who can help you grow.

Manager, seller, engineer.

Production whiz or air talent.

Better yet – become a mentor or tutor today.

Share one thing you’ve learned with someone else on your staff.

Yes, even though it’s a beaten cliché, pay it forward.

Who knows – without Clifton ‘Pop’ Herring, the Chicago Bulls might have six fewer championships.

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].

Scripps Brings Local News to Amazon Alexa

Amazon Echo and Echo Dot

The E.W. Scripps Company has launched its local television news brands on Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant. News from 23 Scripps local TV markets is just a voice command away for users of Amazon Echo and all Alexa-enabled devices.

In many of its markets, Scripps is the only local news provider available on Alexa. It joins other top news outlets in offering news updates on the platform, including CNN, NPR and the Scripps-owned national news network Newsy. In each Flash Briefing, Scripps stations deliver top local news headlines, updated throughout the day.

Amazon’s website indicates that the service is available for both Scripps Michigan stations: WXYZ-TV (Detroit) and WSYM-TV (Lansing).

“Through our broadcast, web and mobile products, and now through virtual assistants, our local TV stations are committed to delivering news in all the places where consumers are engaged,” said Brian Lawlor, senior vice president of broadcast for Scripps. “As connected devices surge in popularity, our stations are tailoring their news and information to those platforms in order to deliver it into the home.”

The expansion to Alexa continues Scripps’ commitment to building its brands across over-the-top video and audio platforms. Several months ago, the company launched Roku channels for each of its TV brands, which are receiving high engagement times on that platform.

Local news headlines in Flash Briefing from Scripps stations can be enabled in the Skill Store of the Alexa app or on amazon.com. Once enabled, users can ask, “Alexa, what’s the news?” or “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing?” and Alexa will deliver audio of the latest headline news from the selected Scripps market.

CBS Radio Detroit to Construct Studio Inside Hockeytown Cafe

Photo courtesy of Olympia Entertainment.

CBS Radio Detroit
, in association with Olympia Entertainment, is constructing MusicTown, a venue designed to host and celebrate music, culture and entertainment in the city of Detroit. The venue will be located inside Hockeytown Café, within the 50-block, mixed-use sports and entertainment development known as The District Detroit.

From the company’s press release:

MusicTown consists of a new broadcast studio, recording studio and performance space, in addition to national and local artist performances inside the intimate City Theatre adjacent to Hockeytown Café.

MusicTown will support artists, educate children of all ages and celebrate the Detroit community and its visitors through lifestyle, collaboration and entertainment.

The MusicTown broadcast studios will serve as the radio stations’ downtown studios (for 99.5 WYCD, 98.7 AMP Radio WDZH, 104.3 WOMC, 97.1 The Ticket WXYT, and WWJ Newsradio 950 WWJ-AM) when broadcasting from major events in the city, keeping them directly involved and in touch with the local community.

“We are strongly committed to continuing Detroit’s tradition as a great ‘Music City,’” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President/Market Manager, CBS Radio Detroit. “By identifying new talent and sharing the many music stories that Detroit has inspired, this initiative will help celebrate a once booming industry in our great city, stimulating significant economic growth in the region along the way.”

CBS Radio Detroit is also committed to bringing national and local acts to MusicTown, which in turn will bring many new visitors to The District Detroit and to Hockeytown Café.

“Detroit’s connection to music has a rich and varied history,” said Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “Motown changed the sound of music forever; techno was founded in Detroit; some of the greatest rock musicians are from Detroit; and gospel, hip hop and jazz have strong roots here. We couldn’t be happier to support this wonderful initiative.”

Through a partnership between CBS Radio Detroit and Michigan State University, MusicTown will also provide a significant educational component. It will host educational workshops, musical performances and lectures by MSU professors and musicians – much of which will be free to the community. In addition, MusicTown will include a state-of-the-art recording studio that will be used by local talent, choirs and schools at no charge.

James Forger, Dean, MSU College of Music, said, “Michigan State University’s College of Music and MSU Community Music School – Detroit are proud to partner with CBS’s MusicTown to empower, inspire and encourage the growth of a musical community of excellence. The partnership with CBS Radio represents an extraordinary way MSU can continue to contribute to the resurgence of Detroit’s creative economy throughout Southeast Michigan.”

Beasley Media Group Extends Contract for Dave & Chuck

(L-R) Dave Hunter, Lisa Way and Chuck “The Freak” Urquhart.

Beasley Media Group
has announced that it has signed a four-year contract extension for WRIF-FM (Detroit) morning show Dave & Chuck “The Freak”.  The deal includes Dave Hunter and Chuck Urquhart along with co-host Lisa Way.

From the station’s press release:

Both Dave and Chuck each bring more than two decades of radio experience to their morning microphones. Dave started his radio career as a news writer and reporter. But, Dave quickly joined Chuck, who began as a board operator, to form the on-air partnership of Dave & Chuck the Freak. The duo expanded to a trio when they added co-host Lisa Way and joined WRIF in 2013. The Detroit Market responded tremendously, which required the team to expand again quickly, adding Co-Host Andy Green, Producer James Campbell and Video Editor Jason Watson.

The show was reaching new heights by 2017, when their contracts had two years remaining. A four-year extension was offered by the station’s new owners, Beasley Media Group.

“Of course, we extended their contracts!” commented Beasley Detroit Market Manager Mac Edwards. “Dave and Chuck have crushed the competition and dominated Detroit’s morning radio for men and women, ranking #1 in every key demo including 18 to 34, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54! We value their amazing talent and are fortunate to work with them.”

“It’s a huge compliment to know Beasley is so enthusiastic about continuing our show,” said Dave Hunter. “We are not only radio morning co-hosts. We are friends, with families who are enjoying being part of this community.”

“Beasley has not asked us to change our show. They want us to thrive, so they’ve been beyond supportive. We enjoy working as professional partners with our Detroit Market Manager Mac Edwards, WRIF Program Director Mark Pennington, Beasley Media Group Chief Operating Officer Brian Beasley, as well as Beasley Media Group Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley. It just doesn’t get better than that!”

Sinclair Broadcast Group to Acquire Tribune Media

On May 8, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. and Tribune Media Company announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Sinclair will acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Tribune for $43.50 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of approximately $2.7 billion in net debt.

Tribune owns or operates 42 television stations in 33 markets, cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV, minority stakes in the TV Food Network and CareerBuilder and a variety of real estate assets. Tribune’s stations consist of 14 FOX, 12 CW, 6 CBS, 3 ABC, 2 NBC, 3 MyNetworkTV affiliates and 2 independent stations. The group includes stations in the top three DMAs in the country, seven in the top 10 and 34 in the top 50 DMAs.

In Michigan, Tribune owns FOX affiliate WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids).

“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” commented Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair. “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets. The acquisition will enable Sinclair to build ATSC 3.0 (Next Generation Broadcast Platform) advanced services, scale emerging networks and national sales and integrate content verticals. The acquisition will also create substantial synergistic value through operating efficiencies, revenue streams, programming strategies and digital platforms.”

“This will be the largest acquisition in our company’s history and I want to thank everyone from the Sinclair team, as well as our advisors and bankers who made this possible,” commented David Smith, Executive Chairman of Sinclair. “Television broadcasting is even more relevant today, especially when it comes to serving our local communities. Tribune’s stations allow Sinclair to strengthen our commitment to serving local communities and to advance the Next Generation Broadcast Platform. This acquisition will be a turning point for Sinclair, allowing us to better serve our viewers and advertisers while creating value for our shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of an extensive strategic review, which has delivered significant value to our stockholders,” said Peter Kern, Tribune’s Chief Executive Officer. “Since we announced the strategic review 15 months ago, we have streamlined the business, monetized non-core assets, strengthened our balance sheet and returned more than $800 million to stockholders — all of which has resulted in a 50% increase in stockholder value. We are extremely proud to join Sinclair and we’re excited that Tribune stockholders and employees will have the opportunity to participate in the long-term growth of the combined company.”

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is anticipated to close and fund in the fourth quarter of 2017. Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Tribune’s stockholders, as well as customary closing conditions, including approval by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and antitrust clearance.