Here’s the latest Michigan-related FCC broadcast filings:
July 11: Michigan Community Radio filed an application to make changes for FM translator W247CU (Fort Gratiot Township). The application seeks to increase the translator’s effective-radiated power to 150 watts. The translator rebroadcasts the signal of WGRT-FM (Port Huron).
July 6: The Preservation Association of Beaver Island has applied to modify the facilities of low-power FM station WVBI-LP (Beaver Island). The licensee is requesting a new transmitter site, ERP and HAAT.
July 6: The Educational Media Foundation was granted a construction permit for FM translator W240CG (Webberville). The permit is to change the transmitter location to the WITL-FM tower (Lansing) and increase ERP and HAAT. The translator rebroadcasts WITL-FM (presumably one of WITL’s HD channels).
July 5: Resort Radio has filed an application to assign the license of FM translator W299CB (Manistee) to Smile FM for $18,000. Smile FM intends to rebroadcast its WSMZ-FM (Crystal Valley).
July 5: Zamora Broadcasting Systems, Inc. has filed a license to cover application for FM translator W300DI (Dearborn). This translator was formerly W240DL, operating on 95.9 Mhz. The new callsign reflects its new frequency of 107.9 Mhz. The translator is a fill-in translator for WDTW-AM, also licensed to Dearborn.
June 30: Good News Media, Inc. has applied for a transfer-of-control from its non-commercial stations to a new board of directors. The stations affected are WLJD-FM (Charlevoix), WLJN-AM (Elmwood Township), WLJN-FM (Traverse City), WLJW-AM (Cadillac) and WLJW-FM (Fife Lake).
In addition to these applications, television stations in Michigan have begun the repack process with applications for modified facilities. Look for a summary of those applications in the weeks to come.
Blarney Stone Broadcasting (Grayling) has named Chad Patterson the new voice of Grayling Vikings football and basketball.
From the station’s press release:
When Chad Patterson steps into the broadcast booth this season as the new voice of Grayling Vikings football and basketball, he’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream – and battling no small amount of apprehension.
“I’m sure I’ll be sweating bullets,” he said. “It’s a dream-come-true for me as someone who has followed sports my entire life. And coming from a theater background, a storytelling background, any time you can paint the picture of what you’re watching – that’s basically what directing is, what playwriting is.
“I feel like I’ve narrated a lot of games in my head already. . . I’m not going to say it’ll be an easy transition – and I’m not taking lightly the shoes that I’m filling.”
Patterson, who recently agreed to a deal with Blarney Stone Broadcasting to call Vikings games, succeeds the award-winning team of Tom McCord and Rich Calkins, both of whom have retired.
“I know I’m a novice compared to them,” Patterson said. “The fact that I’m even getting an opportunity to do this considering I’ve never done it, it’s a miracle. Following in Tom and Richard’s shoes, there’s a little bit of trepidation. I listened to those guys. They were top-notch.”
A para-pro who works with autistic students at Grayling High School, Patterson was a theater major in college and owns Acting Up Company, a children’s theater group that holds performances at schools through the state. He has been a producer of the Q100 Christmas plays as well.
But he’s no stranger to football. He was a lineman on both sides of the ball at Leslie High School in the 1980s. He knows the game and he hopes to bring more to his play-by-play than basic down-and-distance and mentioning the score often enough, which is what most listeners are interested in.
“I also know there are educated listeners who want to know if a team is in a spread offense, where the tight end is playing – weak side or strong side,” Patterson said. “I hope to get into the geeky, nerdiness of the sport that some others get into as well.”
To do that well, Patterson – who has emceed the AuSable River Canoe Marathon for years – plans to do plenty of homework.
Along with reading books on broadcasting and listening to some of his favorite play-by-play sportscasters like Grayling’s George Blaha, who calls Detroit Pistons and Michigan State football games, and others, Patterson hopes to spend some time with McCord and Calkins and the Vikings’ football staff as well.
“I also want to call all the other conference coaches, go through their rosters with them, make sure I’m pronouncing all the names right,” he said, “and learn a little about what kind of offensive and defensive schemes those coaches are running.”
Sheryl Coyne, president of Blarney Stone Broadcasting, said she is beyond confident the station has found the right voice to succeed McCord and Calkins.
“We’re thrilled and proud that Chad has agreed to call Grayling Vikings football and basketball games and we know he’ll do a great job describing all the action for our Q100 listeners,” Coyne said. “This is football country here in Northern Michigan and we’re all looking forward to another great Vikings season.”
WXYZ-TV (Detroit) will broadcast the television premiere of the film, “12th and Clairmount,” 7:00 p.m., Sunday, July 23, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riot/rebellion. The Detroit Free Press film was produced in collaboration with WXYZ and Bridge Magazine, and explores the racial and economic tensions that led to the most violent uprising in Detroit’s history. The documentary features WXYZ archival film along with home movies from Detroiters who witnessed the five-day rebellion and shared their stories.
“It’s so important that we reflect on the past and learn from those experiences if we’re going to move our community forward,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD Vice-President and General Manager. “Improving our community is core to our mission at WXYZ and the mission of our Detroit 2020 project…to unify our region and inspire people to act.”
“12th and Clairmount” will air commercial free on the station. A Detroit 2020 town hall discussion, Detroit 1967: Looking Back to Look Forward,” will air immediately following the film on air and live on the WXYZ Facebook page, where viewers can participate. The town hall program will be hosted by 7 Action News Anchor Carolyn Clifford who was born and raised in Detroit. She will be joined by 7 Action News Anchor Dave LewAllen and WXYZ Editorial and Community Affairs Director Chuck Stokes. The show will recognize the struggles that led to the violence in the summer of 1967 and focus on efforts to learn from those experiences.
WXYZ will also partner with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to present a special screening of the film, “12th and Clairmount,” at Campus Martius Park on Thursday, July 27, at 8 p.m.
Stokes will host a special “Spotlight on the News,” program from Campus Martius Park on Sunday, July 23, at 10 a.m. The show will feature interviews with newsmakers and Detroit residents who lived through the violence, and a roundtable discussion that includes 7 Action News anchors Clifford and LewAllen.
On July 23, 7 Action News at 11 p.m. will broadcast a 7 Action News special that examines the 50 years since the 1967 uprising; looks at how far the city has progressed; and addresses the work that still needs to be done to move our community forward.
From July 17 through July 22, 7 Action News at 5 p.m. will include a daily special report focusing on the uprising. Daily coverage will also be available online at wxyz.com/Detroit1967. WXYZ will feature a series of short videos at facebook.com/wxyzdetroit that examines the roots of the violence and the progress made over the past 50 years. Topics will include what happened at the Motown studios, the experiences of a solider and Detroit native dropped into the violence, and the “white flight” that followed the rebellion.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced the finalists for the 2017 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. The winners will be announced September 7 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show and held during the 2017 Radio Show in Austin.
Three Michigan broadcasters appear in the list of finalists.
In the Large Market Station of the Year category, Beasley Broadcast Group’s WRIF-FM (Detroit) is a finalist, along with stations from Milwaukee, Seattle, Cincinnati and Denver.
In the Noncommercial Station of the Year category, once again Plymouth-Canton Community School’s WSDP-FM (Plymouth) is a finalist. This is the fourth year in-a-row that the high school station has been a finalist.
And, in the Large Market Personality of the Year category, the late Linda Lee of WYCD-FM (Detroit) is a finalist. Lee, who passed away March 31, 2017, will also be honored with the first MAB Legacy Award, at the Advocacy Conference and Annual Meeting, August 22, during the Chairman’s Banquet at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.
A complete list of 2017 Marconi Award finalists is available here.
The MAPB has announced its 2017 Public Media Impact Award recipients. CMU Public Radio’s John Sheffler will be honored for his nearly 40 years of professional service and leadership and Detroit philanthropist William H. Smith will be recognized for his generous contributions to Detroit Public Television.
John Sheffler retired in May 2015 from WCMU (Mt. Pleasant) as Director of Radio after nearly 40 years with the station, a career that began while he was a student at Central Michigan University. He is credited with creating the series “Our Front Porch” in 1979, highlighting live Traditional Americana and Celtic music. The program was broadcast nationally by NPR from 1983-1988 and was a weekend WCMU mainstay for more than 34 years. “Our Front Porch” recordings have been collected by the Library of Congress and the Irish Traditional Music Archives in Dublin.
William H. Smith founded Allied Film & Video in Detroit after he and his wife, Patsy, moved to the city in 1960. They quickly became regular patrons of local culture and education, including Detroit Public Television. When Bill sold his company in 1995, the Smiths established a private charitable foundation and donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. The couple was among DPTV’s lead donors as the organization expanded its services and facilities to convert to digital broadcasting in 2005, providing funding for the Smith Family Broadcast Operations Center. Following Patsy’s death in 2006, Bill made an additional gift for the construction of the Bill and Patsy Smith Studio at the Riley Broadcast Center. In 2013, Bill and his children made a $1 million commitment to established DPTV’s William H. Smith Family Leadership Circle to encourage other’s in charitable giving to the organization by their generous example. As of 2017, the giving circle surpassed its $4 million goal with more than 55 donors participating in high level support of the values and mission of DPTV.
One of my favorite activities each Memorial Day Weekend is to listen to WABC Rewound streamed over Rewound Radio. What makes this weekend so special is that people from all over the world are listening to the stream at the same time. It’s a coming together of people of all ages to celebrate one of the greatest radio stations America ever produced.
Why WABC Rewound is So Popular
This year, I streamed WABC Rewound driving back to Virginia after spending a couple of weeks in my home state of Massachusetts. Over 7-hours and four states, the stream via my iPhone7 pumped through my Honda Accord’s premium 7-speaker, 270-watt audio system was rich, full and continuous without buffering or interference of any kind. That all by itself is something to note. Streaming audio today is becoming seamless.
But it wasn’t the music that attracted me, though the records are the “music of my life” from my days in high school, college and as a disc jockey. No, what attracts me – and everyone else that faithfully tunes in each year – are the personalities.
Herb Oscar Anderson, Bob Dayton, Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, Bruce Morrow, Charlie Greer, Bob Lewis, Chuck Leonard, Johnny Donovan, Harry Harrison and George Michael, plus the newscasters that delivered news every hour.
We are attracted to the people. People we grew up with.
The New Yorker magazine wrote back in 1965 that listeners to WABC were part of the WABC family. We were “cousins” of Cousin Brucie. We were part of the Ingram tribe as he called us “Kemosabe.”
Mornings went “all the way with HOA” as New York’s morning Mayor Herb Oscar Anderson started our day before Harry Harrison moved from WMCA to WABC.
Contests, Features & Promotions About People
WABC invited listeners to vote for their “Principal of the Year” (16-million votes cast in 1964), mail in for a “Kissin’ Cousin Card” or a “Kemosabe Card” (drawing in 150,000 requests in a single week).
Herb Oscar singing “Hello Again” live on the radio and reading lost dog announcements, celebrating birthdays.
Each personality became a member of the family. Your family. And like a member of the family, you took them everywhere you went. To the lake, on a picnic, in your car, to wake up with or go to sleep with. They were companions and we were part of their community.
Father Peter Gregory
“Without people, there wouldn’t be a priesthood,” was the often-heard proclamation of Father Peter Gregory of St. Charles Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Father Peter has been the pastor of St. Charles for nearly three decades. “The church is people,” he told a reporter who interviewed him on the eve of his retirement.
I bring up Father Peter because at a time when many churches in Pittsfield have closed their doors due to a lack of followers, St. Charles is doing quite well.
It’s not the most glamorous of structures – other churches in the city I might rate more inspirational – and it’s not in the best neighborhood. No, what it has had is a spiritual leader that believed in people and whom people believed in right back.
A Mount Rushmore Sized Opportunity for Radio
I love reading the weekly Mid-Week Motivator articles from a good friend and former consultant of some of the radio stations I managed, Tim Moore.
Recently Tim asked “Why is Talent Development in Neutral?”
He wrote that his life’s education seems to have been about understanding the challenges and concepts of what it takes to be a winner. It meant he would constantly be looking for character and excellence in people who hadn’t found it yet.
The irony about today’s radio, Tim says, is “glaring opportunity, constricted by the inability or lack of will on the part of many companies and their leaders to insist on the culture of better.”
Air talent goes un-coached while radio has a huge opportunity to build relationships with its listeners. Building the same kind of bond I had with the personalities of WABC, WKBW, WTRY, WPTR, WBZ, WRKO, WDRC, WBEC, WBRK, WLS, WCFL and so many more.
Over the years, I’ve been to many diary reviews and a few focus groups. What you see are the attraction of radio listeners to radio personalities.
While a particular format may be what initially attracts a listener to a radio station, it’s the radio personality that is the glue that will cement the listener’s loyalty.
Tim says, “It’s the personality of a station that locks-in listeners’ interest and daily habit.” “The implications are simple, obvious, yet largely ignored: without better talent (defined as more relatable, interesting, and reciprocal people on the radio) we are treading water,” says Tim.
Who Influenced Dan Ingram, The Real Don Steele, Dale Dorman or…?
Most radio people my age grew up with the most talented and engaging radio personalities to grace the airwaves of American radio. They were our teachers. They were available for us to listen to and mentor under 24/7, 365-days a year.
In addition to them, we had program directors – many of them off-air – who coached us and inspired us to be better.
I’ve often wondered about the iconic radio personalities that did it first. Who did they learn from? How did they become the engaging, relatable, interesting personalities that attracted our ears like metal to a magnet?
And can a talent voice-tracked over multiple radio stations ever be as compelling to not just listeners but to the next generation to want to pursue radio as a career?
Again, Father Peter understood his church’s most valuable asset, its youth. “It’s the kids and youth who are the future of our church,” he said. “I’m now dealing with kids whose parents I had as kids.”
The Community Band
Once upon a time, every community in America had at least one town band. Most of them are long gone.
When I was managing a radio cluster in Lancaster, Pennsylvania I came to know and love the New Holland Band of New Holland, Pennsylvania.
The band was not only strong and vibrant, but performed at a level that would have made John Phillip Sousa proud. Its concerts are very well attended and it has produced some of this country’s finest musicians, some of whom now perform as part of the President’s band.
Why did the New Holland Band not just survive but continue to thrive? It understood it’s all about people. The band’s members are made up of a diverse group of professional, semi-professional and student musicians. The oldest member of the band has been a member since 1959 and the newest member since 2016. It’s this blending of youth with experience and wisdom that keeps the New Holland Band fresh, contemporary and relevant.
It was the initiative of one of my hometown radio stations (WBEC) that convinced the Junior Achievement to create a JA Radio Company.
Junior Achievement was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1919 by Theodore Vail of AT&T, Horace Moses of Strathmore Paper Company and Massachusetts Senator Winthrop Murray Crane (who’s family paper company, Crane and Company, makes the paper all U.S. currency is printed on).
The JA website states: “Junior Achievement is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement’s programs—in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy—ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century. Our Purpose: Junior Achievement inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.”
WBEC’s management realized that getting high school students actively involved with the radio station would engage their parents, siblings, families and friends too. Many of them who owned local businesses. It was both mentoring a new generation of radio broadcasters as well as leveraging the people attract people principle.
As Tim Moore says, “Human development is the essence of life. Weak excuses such as ‘we don’t have the time to develop talent’ are just chin boogie.”
All my radio life, I’ve invested my energies in the development of people. Many of them today are owners and managers of their own broadcast operations.
I’m also proud to have spent the past seven years of my life as a broadcast professor paying-it-forward to a new generation of broadcasters.
Radio is a people business.
It will never attract people to its product like it once did without a serious commitment to talent development.
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.
Are you attending the MAB Advocacy Conference in August? Are you looking for a great incentive for your employees? Do you like to win? If you answered YES to any of the above questions, the MAB Foundation’s Golf Fundraiser is for YOU! Come out and have fun while supporting a GREAT CAUSE.
Join us on Wednesday, August 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Crystal Mountain Resoirt’s Betsie Valley Golf Course in Thompsonville.
Cost is $600 for a team to enter ($150 per individual) and includes 18 holes of golf, cart, box lunch, refreshments, awards presentation, team photo and green fees. Proceeds benefit the MAB Foundation and support the future of broadcast excellence
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
Summer concert season is now in full swing and many radio stations around the country have been hard at work booking their own festivals. These events can be a significant source of non-traditional revenue for radio stations. Yet many radio stations will make digital mistakes that prevent them from selling more tickets and making more money. Here are some of those common mistakes and tips on how your radio station can avoid them:
1. Radio stations don’t pay enough attention to the event’s landing page on the website.
If you are selling tickets to your radio station’s big event, the webpage that tells listeners about that event is incredibly important. Think of it as a two-step process:
Drive people to the station’s event page.
When they get there, get those people to buy tickets.
Too many radio stations focus on the first step and ignore the second. If the station event’s webpage doesn’t make people want to buy tickets, it doesn’t matter how many people see it. Review this page on your site and ask yourself these questions:
Does this page have all the necessary details about the concert: Performers? Date? Time? Location including address? Price? Age restrictions? Parking instructions?
Does the page have a big, bright button that says “Buy Tickets” which makes the call to action really obvious?
Does the page feature an embedded audio promo for those baby bands that listeners don’t know by name? (“Oh, they do that song!”)
Have you removed all other links except the “Buy Tickets” button, including the sidebar and main menu? (This is called a “squeeze page” because it drives people towards a single action.)
2. Radio stations don’t make it easy to get to the event page.
Radio stations often promote their big concert by including it as the first slide in the slideshow on their homepage, but nowhere else. My official position is that the homepage slideshow is an abhorrent feature that should be abolished from every music radio station website in America. But even if you’re not willing to go that far, it’s important to recognize that just including the concert in the slideshow isn’t enough. For starters, after a few seconds, the slide switches and now there’s nothing on your homepage to direct people to the event page.
To fix this, make sure there’s a link to the event page in your site’s main menu. Also, make sure that the concert listings page has a big, obvious link to the station event page. I strongly recommend including a link to the station event page at the top of the website sidebar. I would also use some of the website ad inventory to advertise the station event. Finally, consider using pop-up windows to promote the station concert. (Be cautious — we don’t want this to turn into a slippery slope that leads to the sales department selling pop-up ads for discount mattress stores.)
You can find out if listeners are having a hard time getting to the station concert page by running a website usability test.
3. Radio stations send listeners directly to the ticketing agency’s webpage.
Some radio stations direct listeners to the event webpage of the ticketing service instead of sending people to a page on their own website. For example, a station might tweet out a link to the “WKRP Big Picnic Concert” page on Ticketmaster’s site. The problem is that the station has very little control over Ticketmaster’s site. It can’t change the designs to make the page more enticing to potential concert goers. And it can’t see any analytics to measure how much traffic it is driving to the tickets page. Whenever possible, you want to drive traffic to your radio station’s website, not somebody else’s. That’s especially true when you have revenue riding on the page.
4. Radio stations flood social media with salesy posts instead of creating compelling content.
People don’t like ads. We go to great lengths to skip them. So when posts pop up in our Facebook newsfeeds and Twitter streams telling us to “Buy tickets now!,” we get annoyed. Typically, these types of blatantly promotional posts don’t perform well on social media.
So what do you do? Create compelling content. If a band is performing at your concert, send the record label a list of written questions for its members. Then publish the answers as a Q&A on your website. In this interview, embed a YouTube video of the band’s latest single. In both the introduction and the conclusion of the interview, mention that the band will be performing at your concert and include a big, bright “Buy Tickets” button.
Now, share this interview on your social media accounts. It’s likely to attract more incoming website traffic than a salesy post and the people it attracts are more likely to be interested enough in the band to go see them perform live.
5. Radio stations focus on social media and ignore other marketing channels.
When radio stations seek my advice for selling more tickets to their concerts, they usually ask about social media to the exclusion of other digital marketing avenues. Social media can be powerful, but it’s only one part of the equation. Make sure that you are also using these channels:
Your Airwaves: Create an easy-to-remember vanity URL that redirects to your station concert page, such as wkrp.com/bigpicnic. Use this URL in recorded promos, sweepers and live on-air mentions.
Search Engines: People often turn to search engines like Google when looking for information about big radio station concerts. Make sure that you’ve properly optimized your station’s website — especially the station event page — for search engines.
Email Blasts: You know that email database you’ve been collecting names for all year? This is why you did it. Email marketing is a crucial component in your concert promotion strategy.
Text Messaging: Texting can be an effective way to reach your listeners, but be sure to check with your station’s legal team first. Some broadcasting companies have been fined for violating text message spam laws, so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t run into any issues.
6. Radio stations don’t track their ticket sales efforts with Google Analytics.
Having a website and not looking at its Google Analytics reports is like having a radio station and ignoring the ratings. I noted above that selling tickets is a two-step process: first, you drive people to your event page, then you convert them into ticket buyers. Google Analytics can show you how you’re doing at each stage. Are you attracting people back to your website but not convincing them to buy? Then you need to revise the page (see #1). Are you failing to get people to the website at all? Maybe your social media posts are too salesy (see #3). Use Google Analytics to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. If you’re new to Google Analytics, here’s a guide for radio programmers.
7. Radio stations don’t put a link for sponsorship inquiries on the station event page.
Tickets sales aren’t the only way to generate revenue from station events; sponsorship dollars are often just as important. Make it easy for potential advertisers who are interested in your event to request sponsorship information. Include a link on the station event page for people to request more information.
If ticket sales for your radio station’s big event are underwhelming, see if you’re making any of these mistakes. A correction could have a significant impact on the bottom line.
For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.
And the race (strategic battle) is market specific.
There IS no cookie cutter.
Radio re-invention is occurring at many levels – with great success.
When guys in suits tell you that a race worked in Reno – or Raleigh, tell them that your road is different.
It’s – market unique.
Enjoy the ride.
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 was a featured speaker at the 2017 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) in Lansing. He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or [email protected].