Tag Archives: Issue 87

WEMU’s Linda Yohn Retires

Linda Yohn

After 30 years as music director and on-air personality at WEMU-FM, the NPR/Jazz station at Eastern Michigan University, Linda Yohn has retired.  Her last day on the air was December 18.

Yohn announced her retirement plan early this year.

Yohn began at WEMU in April of 1987, after stints at WKSU in Kent, Ohio, and a career as a jazz publicist in New York City. She began as host of “Café Du Jazz” on weekday evenings but quickly moved into the morning jazz slot where she has been a mainstay at 9 a.m. for over 25 years.

During that time, she oversaw a massive growth in WEMU’s jazz audience and mentored countless on-air music staffers including current hosts Jessica Webster, Wendy Wright, Nik Thompson, and Daniel Long.

Yohn has been named National Jazz Programmer of the Year five out of the eight years she was nominated, was given the Duke Dubois national award for service, and last summer won the Willis Conover/Marian McPartland Award for Jazz Broadcasting from the Jazz Journalists Association.

She has worked tirelessly on behalf of jazz in the community as a board member for the Southeast Michigan Jazz Association, as a panelist at numerous conferences and conventions, and with her stage presence as emcee at countless jazz shows that include the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and many others.

Yohn’s dedication to jazz and the local community earned her a special award from former Michigan 54th District Representative, David Rutledge, as Ypsilanti’s Ambassador for Jazz.

“Nobody has done more for jazz in southeast Michigan than Linda Yohn,” said WEMU’s General Manager, Molly Motherwell. “While Linda is well known and beloved in our area, I don’t know how many know of her impact on the national industry as well, both as a broadcaster and through her relationships with musicians, record labels, promoters, and other industry professionals. I don’t think there has been a jazz presenter in this area who hasn’t consulted with Linda before bringing in national acts because they know that she knows who is hot and who will draw. Everybody who enjoys live jazz in this community owes her a debt of gratitude.”

“This decision was not made lightly,” said Yohn. “But it’s time. I’ll miss working at WEMU and serving listeners with my heart and soul. I have never felt so fulfilled and inspired by my work as I have at WEMU, thanks to our wonderful listeners and the incredible Southeast Michigan jazz community.”

Dick Purtan Highlighted in WKAR’s ‘MSU Today’

(L-R) Russ White, Dick Purtain. Photo credit: Russ White

By Russ White, MSU Today

My first hero in a lifelong love affair with the radio medium was the legendary Dick Purtan, who tells me how he first began visiting Detroit with his father when he was a child. And he recalls fondly his days at the famous Keener 13, his first stop in Detroit radio.

Listen to the interview here:

He says Keener was a fun place to work and a natural fit for his evolving talents.

Then as the Big 8 CKLW began to demolish the competition in Detroit radio, Purtan recalls a time when he had to stick up for himself and the kind of radio show he thought listeners wanted to hear. And he was becoming increasingly weary of the trend to program radio stations from New York rather than locally, like at WXYZ, a station where Dick would eventually work.

Purtan describes how he first started to hone his on air philosophy listening to morning radio in Buffalo where he grew up and then later to groundbreaking morning teams in New York. His goal was to entertain and be informative.

When Purtan retired from radio in 2010, he was already beginning to see what he sees as a decline in local morning radio. It was becoming more about music than locally-based talent, entertainment, and information. So he decided it was time to hang up the microphone and headphones.

While he’s dismayed about much of the current state of radio, he’s optimistic that things will get better someday, especially on local talk radio.

Purtan’s advice for young people who want to get into the constantly evolving broadcast and communications world is to understand and embrace what appear to be the industries of the future.

During our conversation, Purtan references a couple times his decision not to succeed J. P. McCarthy at WJR when that morning radio legend died suddenly in 1995. Here he provides the inside story on how close he came to moving to WJR. Mike Fezzey’s honesty and the fact that Purtan felt he’d already tried the ‘JR thing in Baltimore ultimately led him to decline the opportunity. “It just didn’t feel right.”

Purtan tells me about learning that two of the most famous and successful talents in radio today consider him their hero: Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.

Keep in touch with Detroit radio legend Dick Purtan on Facebook.

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 94.5 FM and AM 870.

WXYZ-TV Collects More Than 16,800 Pounds of Food with’Together We Can’

Metro Detroiters came together over the Thanksgiving holiday to help those in need throughout Metro Detroit. The WXYZ-TV (Detroit) “Together We Can” effort collected more than 16,800 pounds of nonperishable food items to battle hunger in our community.

WXYZ partnered with Art Van Furniture and the Detroit Lions to collect packaged and canned goods for Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Gleaners will distribute the food to more than 500 soup kitchens, shelters and pantries in Wayne, Oakland, Livingston and Monroe counties.

“One in six people in Michigan struggle with hunger, so it’s more important than ever that we help those in need throughout our community, especially during the holiday season,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager.

This was the ninth annual “Together We Can” effort. The event ran from October 24 through November 17.

WDIV-TV Promotes Colthorp to 5:30 Anchor

Jason Colthorp

WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced that Jason Colthorp has been promoted to anchor of Local 4 News at 5:30 p.m. Colthorp will join Karen Drew, Ben Bailey and Bernie Smilovitz on the early evening newscast.

He will still report for Local 4 News at 11 p.m. and other newscasts. Devin Scillian will continue to anchor Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. with Kimberly Gill.

“Jason is a hard-working and curious journalist with a great sense of humor. He’s the kind of guy you want in the newsroom, on the street and on the anchor desk. I’m happy to have him officially join our early evening anchor team,” Scillian said.

Colthorp joined WDIV-Local 4 in January 2015 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. A Michigan State University graduate, Colthorp spent 14 years at WILX-TV in Lansing, first as a sports reporter and later as main evening anchor.

“We knew when we hired Jason he would be part of WDIV-Local 4’s future for a long time,” News Director Kim Voet said. “Jason is a talented anchor/reporter who understands the broadcast and digital properties of our newsroom. He navigates both brilliantly.”

Colthorp’s first official day on the news desk is January 2, 2018.

“Since I arrived three years ago, it’s been an honor to be part of such an outstanding news team. So, it goes without saying, I’m very excited to join the anchor team. It’s an assignment I don’t take lightly and one that allows me to keep finding good stories and telling them as best I can,” Colthorp said.


Old-School Marketing That Still Works

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

I spent many years working with Bob Morgan at CBS Radio in Rochester, N.Y. He had one belief that really impacted me to the point that, all these years later, I still use this line once or more each day.

Bob always said, “Be brilliant with the basics.”

With that in mind, check out these six easy-to-implement ideas for a better-sounding radio station:

  1. Fill out your Nielsen SIP (Station Information Packet). They may say you don’t have to, but I say do it. Make sure your SIP is correct, every book. You never know when an editor may need clarification. Why take chance that your information is out of date? You need every quarter hour you can get!
  2. Do you have a “relationship” with your P1s? This the number one way to achieve strong ratings. You can play all the right songs, have all the right sweepers, and the best jingles in the market. If you’re missing that hard-to-describe link that reflects the old saying “People Listen to People They Like,” you’ve got some work to do. Is your station likable? P1s always fuel their favorite radio station with lots of 1/4 hours.
  3. Listener databases still work. A little “old school” can go a long way. Take advantage of technology that is sitting on your desk today and is free. A listener database is a great way to speak to listeners and thank them with special offers that mean something to them. Many stations are wasting this by dumping worthless promotions into these databases. “Here’s what’s happening at WAAA” does not mean anything. It sends out a message that communication from my favorite station is really spam.
  4. Better: Send out an e-mail blast on Wednesday that says when you will play a secret song on Thursday. Give a “special number” to call to win $100. Make sure they understand that this contest is only for them. For $100 a week (less than some spend on lunch) you could set yourself up for a ratings spike.
  5. Change is not adult radio’s friend. About to make an adjustment? Think about it carefully. When changes in programming are made on a whim they might ultimately hurt, or even worse, open up an opportunity for a competitor. By the way, listeners are more aware of on-air changes than we think, so yes, they do hear that “extra spot.” The earlier the better with marketing. If you are marketing for the book, starting early in the book is preferred. Many believe that it takes 60-90 days for changes to affect a rating book. By starting early, you allow the cumulative effect of your marketing to affect the book.
  6. GMs & Owners: Programmers need love too! Have a weekly meeting or lunch out of the station to catch up, and allow your PD quality time for important matters. Tell a jock you heard a good break. Send a note after a jock does a nice job at a remote. Walk by the studio and give thumbs up.

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

Local Radio Freedom Act Reaches 220 Co-sponsors

The Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 13) has reached majority support in the U.S. House of Representatives, with 220 House co-sponsors. This means that the majority of our nation’s legislators in the House have taken a stand to protect local radio listeners and stations in their district from the threat of a performance tax. “We thank Congress for its support, and local radio looks forward to continuing to provide unparalleled promotional value to record labels and artists in the form of free airplay of music,” said NAB President Gordon Smith in a statement.

FCC to Review Ownership Cap

During the FCC Open Meeting on December 14 , the Commissioners voted along the partisan lines to move the agency a step closer to raising or eliminating the 39-percent ownership cap.

The rule adopted last week starts a process of review that many broadcast industry insiders view as a change to the cap, which currently limits a single owner from controlling stations with reach to more than 39 percent of U.S. households. The 39-percent  cap was last adjusted in 2004.

FCC Chairman Pai noted that technological advances and shifting consumer media habits mean “the marketplace has changed considerably” in the years since and require a new look at the cap.

BMI Consent Decree Court Decision

NABFrom the NAB Newsroom:

The 2nd Circuit released its decision in the Department of Justice’s appeal of the Southern District of New York’s interpretation of the BMI consent decree related to “fractional licensing.” The case arose out of DOJ’s two-year long review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees which concluded in August 2016. DOJ had rejected all of the PROs requested changes and issued an interpretation on the ability of the PROs to engage in fractional licensing, where BMI’s and ASCAP’s licenses would only cover the fractions of works attributable to their respective songwriters. DOJ supported NAB’s view, and concluded that the plain language of the consent decrees prohibits ASCAP and BMI from licensing anything less than full works, ensuring that a licensee who obtains a blanket license from the PRO has immediate access to every song in its repertoire and is indemnified for any claims of copyright infringement.

BMI appealed that conclusion to its rate court judge in the Southern District of New York, and that court agreed with BMI that the decree does not prevent fractional licensing. DOJ appealed the judge’s decision to the Second Circuit and NAB joined an extensive number of other licensees to support DOJ’s request for reversal.

The 2nd Circuit agreed with BMI and the rate court judge. The Court concluded in a short opinion that the consent decree does not explicitly prohibit fractional licensing. With respect to the arguments raised by NAB and other licensees about the harmful competitive effects of permitting fractional licensing, the Court noted that those issues were beyond the scope of the issue presented and that if DOJ agrees with NAB and others about competitive harm, it can seek a modification of the consent decree or bring an antitrust enforcement action.

This decision will likely have a significant impact on both radio and television broadcasters, who will no longer be able to rely on BMI and ASCAP blanket licenses to indemnify them from copyright infringement claims for all songs in the PROs’ catalogs. Instead, broadcasters will have to determine what fractions of songs they have licensed from BMI and ASCAP and where to obtain the remaining rights to play any songs not fully controlled by those two PROs. Such licenses could come from SESAC, GMR, or even music publishers themselves. The decision also increases the need for improved data transparency from the PROs, an issue that NAB has been advocating for on the Hill extensively.

FCC Adds Blue Alert to EAS

In an order adopted on December 14, the FCC created a dedicated Blue Alert event code in the Emergency Alert System so that state and local agencies have the option to send these warnings to the public through broadcast, cable, satellite and wireline video providers.

Blue Alerts warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer.

Officials may also send Blue Alerts through the Wireless Emergency Alert system to consumers’ wireless phones.