Tag Archives: Issue 76

Ken Evans Joins WHTS-FM

Ken Evans

Former WSNX-FM (Grand Rapids)  morning host Ken Evans has joined Cumulus Media’s WHTS-FM (Grand Rapids)  as Morning Show co-host.  Evans joins current co-host Rachael Gray.

Jeff Cartwright, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Grand Rapids/Muskegon, MI, said: “We are excited at the direction 105.3 Hot FM will take with Ken now in our Cumulus Grand Rapids family. It’s going to be a lot of fun hearing the new evolution of the Hot FM Morning Show with Ken joining Rachael in the morning.”

Lori Bennett, Operations Manager, Cumulus Media-Grand Rapids/Muskegon, MI, said: “Ken has incredible insight into the lifestyle of the local audience. His wickedly perceptive sense of humor, paired with Rachael’s equally excellent market heritage and genuine, engaging personality will make this ‘live and local’ radio show a must-hear in West Michigan!”

Evans said: “I can’t wait to talk to the West Michigan audience once again here at my new home on Grand Rapids’ 105-3 Hot FM. They have a stellar local management team focused on great content for West Michigan and serving the local audience. It would have been a mistake to pass up an opportunity to work with Rachael Gray, one of the market’s top talents!

Gary Fries Passes

Gary Fries

Following a battle with cancer, former RAB CEO Gary Fries passed away September 22 at the age of 76.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries,” said RAB president and CEO, Erica Farber, in a statement. “Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend.”

Fries served as head of the RAB for 14 years.

During his tenure, “the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing,” Farber said.

Fries spent his entire career in radio—and more than a half-century working in the industry. He held a part-time sales job at Stuart Broadcasting’s KFOR Radio in Lincoln, Neb.,  while still in college. Before he was 25, Fries had propelled himself into radio management at KRGI Grand Island, NE.

Other executive stops include president/COO of Transtar Radio Network, president of Unistar Radio Networks, president/COO of Sunbelt Communications’ Radio Division, VP of ITC Communications and VP of Multimedia Broadcasting.

Up until his death, Fries retained the title of president emeritus and held a seat on the RAB board of directors.  Fries also served as Arbitron’s liaison to small markets, where he helped lead efforts to update and improve its radio diary service. He also served as board chairman of the Bayliss Foundation. In 2006, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association. Fries had been living in Phoenix.

Jamie Sherrod Joins WNEM-TV

Jamie Sherrod

Jamie Sherrod has joined WNEM-TV (Saginaw) as News Anchor and Reporter. Originally from the Detroit area, Sherrod began her career at WBKB-TV in Alpena, where she served in multiple roles from shooting, producing, reporting and anchoring.

Sherrod is a graduate of the University of Michigan- Flint where she studied Communications with a focus in Media Studies and Political Science and interned with WJBK-TV in Detroit while attending the university.

Sherrod joined WNEM on September 18.

The Shopping Spree

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.

Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer

I’m on the road doing my one day seminar Radio Sales $101.

Our brochure advertises a 180-day money back guarantee. Still, I’m surprised when three of the participants leave at noon and ask for their refund.

The temp we’ve hired to work the registration table hands over $303 in cash to their spokesperson.

They leave.

I call Sarah McCann, my partner and wife, to let her know what just happened.

She calls the manager who signed them up. He paid for the seminar after all.

“I want you to know we’ve given your three salespeople their money back. They left at lunch. I’m sorry they didn’t find the training helpful,” she says.

The next day the manager calls Sarah to thank her for the heads up. “Those three women came back to the station gushing about your seminar. They thanked me for sending them to your wonderful training,” he said.

“When I confronted them about leaving early, they were shocked I knew. They admitted they never intended to stay. Their plan all along was to tell you it was a bad seminar so they could take the money and go shopping.”

We all have our priorities. Have you had the conversation with your salespeople about theirs?

Consider doing so before it’s too late.

Reprinted by permission

Repacking Transition Progress Report Due October 10

The FCC issued a Public Notice on September 19 notifying all TV stations that are moving channels post-spectrum auction, including those moving from UHF to VHF channels, that they must file their first quarterly Transition Progress Report no later than October 10, 2017.

The reports should be filed on FCC Form 2100 – Schedule 387, which is available by logging in to the FCC’s Licensing and Management System (https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/dataentry/login.html). Additional reports will be due on the 10th day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter.


Does Your Music Play As It Is Scheduled? 

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

Just this week, while talking with a PD we discovered that the log he was preparing was not actually playing as scheduled. Reason: The hard drive or jock was dropping music to meet time restrictions. The station ended up dropping important songs which caused both era and tempo problems. The hours he spent editing the log, all went down the drain. Is this happening to you? If so, check what is being scheduled vs what is actually playing.

Jocks and hard drives should not be making critical music decisions. Good fix: Schedule the amount of music you actually use. Make sure fill music (at the end of the hour) is always secondary. Also, make sure you reconcile music on a daily basis.

Log Editing

If set up properly, most music programs do a good job of rotating music. Minimal editing should be required. However, there are a few important areas to look for:

  • Use Artist Group Separation. This keeps Adam Levine away from Maroon 5. Check all artists that are in both a group as well as solo. Example: Eagles/Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks, Michael Jackson/Jackson 5, etc.
  • Keep an “Even Wave of Tempo.” Spread out your most up-tempo songs.
  • Separate sounds. Make sure all songs have the proper sound codes. Country, rock, urban, wimpy, MOR etc. Keep the sounds apart to avoid clumping.
  • Do not swap categories. Most stations have era-based systems. When you switch a category, there is a good chance you will introduce era clumping. Better, swap songs within the category within the hour first.
  • It’s all in the details. Would a cold open song sound better going from jingle to music? Are you running a :12 second sweeper intro and :03 intro song?

Too many unscheduled positions? Try this…

For those of you who get more unscheduled positions than you prefer, try scheduling the same day a few times over. Schedule the day. Then do it again, and even again. Each time you will see the number of unscheduled positions go down. This procedure only takes a few seconds and can make daily editing easier.

15-20 unscheduled positions a day is normal. If you think that is too high, think about this. Would you rather break a rule 20 times a day or 200 times a day? Unscheduled positions also force you to carefully look at the log on an hour to hour basis.

Worry about burn IN not burn OUT

Many programmers are worried that liners and sweepers burn out. I say forget burn out and worry about “burn in.” It takes a long time to burn our messages into listener’s heads. We get tired of them, but the listeners are just starting to get the message.

Messages take time to burn in, don’t give up or change too soon

This especially applies to TV spots. TV needs frequency to build in people’s minds. I just spent a night at focus groups where the listeners loved the station TV spot. They knew it, liked it and thought it was perfect for that station. Are the station folks somewhat tired of the spot? Maybe. Are the listeners? Not at all! Should they change? You tell me.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

Review These 8 Digital Places Where Listeners Interact With Your Station

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

Twelve years ago, when I was a radio station program director, my staff would huddle once a week for our “Music Meeting,” where we would decide what songs to add to, move up in or drop from rotation. We would compile a ton of data for this meeting, including airplay charts, callout research and concert calendars. But this data-driven approach bears little resemblance to how the average listener experienced music on our station.

So one day, I decided to take the staff out of the station. We piled into the car and drove to three different music stores to see what our listeners were experiencing when they went shopping for the songs they heard on the radio. Could they find the baby bands we were playing? How were the biggest artists represented in the shops? Was there a difference between the shopping experience at indie stores and big box chains?

The results were eye-opening. Often, we were championing artists on the air, only to find out that our efforts were being hindered on the ground. Sometimes, it’s useful to step out of the confines of our radio station offices and experience things the same way that our listeners do.

Today, technological changes mean that our listeners may experience our radio stations in any one of many different ways. When is the last time you examined the paths to your radio station with a fresh pair of eyes? If it’s been a while, take a moment to put yourself in a listener’s shoes and try approaching your radio station through each of these channels:

1. Website
Take a look at your radio station’s website on three different types of devices: a desktop computer, a tablet and a smartphone. Based on what you see, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Where is this station?
  2. What type of music does this station play?
  3. Who are the core artists on this station?

To fully understand how listeners are interacting with your radio station’s website, you’ll want to run a usability test.

2. Social Media
Take a look at your social media feeds with fresh eyes, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But don’t focus on your station’s page for each of these social networks. Instead, examine individual posts in isolation. After all, most people see these posts in their feeds, not on your page. Based on what you see, ask yourself:

  1. Does this post make sense without the context of the station’s website or social media page surrounding it?
  2. How does this post compare to others that might come up in a listener’s feed? How does it compare to other posts in your own feed? Is it as compelling as the other posts from your friends?

3. Search Engines
Listeners may come to your website after conducting a search in a search engine like Google. What will they see in the search engine results? To find out, you may first want to use a VPN to ensure that your search results are not colored by your browsing history. Then, conduct searches for popular terms that revolve around your website, such as:

  • Call letters
  • Morning show name
  • DJ names
  • Specialty show names
  • Names of signature concerts or events
  • Names of benchmark bits
  • “[Format] radio station in [City]”

Are the results that come up accurate? Do they link to the correct pages on your station’s website? Do the pages’ titles and descriptions support your branding? If not, you may need to optimize your website for search engines.

4. Mobile Apps
Before opening your radio station’s mobile apps, see how they appear in the Apple and Google app stores. Ask yourself:

  1. Are they easy to find when searching the app store by call letters, station name and morning show name?
  2. Is the description of the app compelling?
  3. How are the reviews for the app?
  4. Is the logo on the icon current? Is it clear and readable on the phone?

The best way to take a fresh look at your radio station’s mobile app is to run a usability test on it, just as you would for the station’s website. Be sure to test both the Apple and Android versions of your app.

5. TuneIn
Some listeners will access your radio station through the TuneIn mobile app. When’s the last time your opened up TuneIn to see how your station is represented there? Take a look.

6. Car Dashboards
How do listeners see your radio station when they’re in the car? That often depends on the type of car stereo they have. Try tuning in to your radio station in a car with a radio equipped with RDS, a dashboard running the Android Auto operating system and a dashboard running the Apple CarPlay operating system. Ask yourself:

  1. Is it easy to get to your station?
  2. How well is any additional data displayed in the dashboard?

7. Smart Speakers
As we’ve seen in our most recent Techsurvey, 11 percent of radio listeners now own smart speakers and the number is growing quickly. Have you tried to access your radio station on the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple Homepod? Test it out and ask yourself:

  1. What words can be used to pull up the radio station?
  2. Are there phrases that don’t work?

If you have developed special skills for your radio station, do all the commands work as they should?

8. Podcatchers
If your radio station produces podcasts, people may be accessing them in iTunes, Apple’s Podcasts app or other podcatchers (podcast listening apps). Try searching for your radio station in popular podcatchers, including:

  • iTunes (on a desktop computer)
  • Apple Podcasts app
  • Stitcher
  • Google Play Music
  • iHeartRadio

As broadcasters, it’s easy for us to get mentally stuck inside the confines of our own building. Every once and a while, it’s a good idea to step back and reevaluate how listeners are accessing our stations, and see if there are opportunities for improvement.

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

Oakland University’s WXOU Highlighted in Press

WXOU-FM, the student-run radio station at Oakland University, was recently highlighted in an article published in the Oakland Press.

The station was named the College Radio Station of the year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The piece quotes WXOU General Manager Drew Marczewski: “Our station consists of a hard working group of community DJs, staff and faculty. I want to make sure that WXOU continues to provide an environment for them all to thrive at what they do, whether it is covering news, mixing music, producing content or conducting interviews.”

Read the complete article here.

MAB Meets with Lawmakers During Congressional Recess

L-R: Chris Warren (Midwestern Broadcasting Co.) Elena Palombo (MAB), Trish MacDonald-Garber (MacDonald-Garber Broadcasting), Stephen Marks (Stephen A. Marks Group), Congressman Jack Bergman (R-1), Pete Iacobelli (Heritage Broadcasting), Kevin Dunaway (Heritage Broadcasting), Sheryl Coyne (Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Inc.)

Last week, the MAB held a series of congressional meetings across the state. We want to thank all of our members who joined us for these important meetings – we appreciate your time and your grassroots advocacy on behalf of the MAB and our industry!

The focus of these meetings was to advocate on behalf of Michigan broadcasters regarding:

  • the post-spectrum auction repack and the need for additional funding and deadline extension beyond the 39 months to ensure that all the stations moving to a new channel are made whole in the repack;
  • the MAB’s opposition to the performance tax and our support for the Local Radio Freedom Act; and
  • the need to preserve deductibility of advertising as ordinary and necessary business expenses in any future tax reform proposals.
L-R: Brad Lanser (Lanser Broadcasting Corp) Dan Boers (WOOD-TV), Julie Brinks (WOOD-TV), Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-2), Janet Mason (WZZM-TV), Kim Krause (WXMI-TV), Jeff Scarpelli (Big Rapids Radio Network)
L-R: Julie Brinks (WOOD-TV), Dan Boers (WOOD-TV), Rhonda Reeser (WXMI-TV), Congressman Justin Amash (R-3), Elena Palombo (MAB) and Tim Feagan (iHeartRadio Grand Rapids)
L-R: Elena Palombo (MAB), Gary Baxter (WSYM-TV), Karole White (MAB), Congressman John Moolenaar (R-4), Al Blinke (WNEM-TV) and Jacquelen Timm (MAB)
L-R: Bruce Goldsen (Jackson Radio Works), Congressman Tim Walberg (R-7), Karole White (MAB) and Mike King (WILX-TV)
L-R: Mike Renda (WJBK-TV), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-12), Karole White (MAB), Elena Palombo (MAB), Marla Drutz (WDIV-TV), Mike Murri (WXYZ-TV) and Rob Davidek (CBS Radio Detroit)

Snyder Signs Super PAC Legislation

Gov. Snyder

According to a report in Gongwer, legislation authorizing a candidate for state office to raise funds for Super PACs that can then spend those funds to help elect that candidate was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Snyder said in a statement that SB 335 and SB 336 provide clear guidance on how the Department of State is to regulate independent expenditure committees.

“The Supreme Court of the United States ruled on this issue more than seven years ago, and still there has been confusion about how this decision affects Michigan law,” Snyder said in a statement referencing the Citizens United decision that legalized Super PACs at the federal level.

“Under the bills signed into law today, the Department of State finally has clear statutory authority to regulate independent expenditure committees, to mandate registration and reporting of contributions and expenditures, and to investigate and punish entities violating those regulations.”

Opponents of the new law say that it makes meaningless the limits on how much PACs and individuals can contribute to candidates’ committees.