Tag Archives: Issue 96

NPR’s Lakshmi Singh Guests at Upcoming WGVU Fundraiser


Lakshmi Singh

WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) will present Brunch at the Gardens: A Toast With Your NPR Hosts to honor the work of their local NPR team with special guest, NPR Newscaster, Lakshmi Singh.  The event will be held on Saturday, March 10 at 11 a.m. at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.

Guests will enjoy highlights from some favorite stories of the past year as well as give station hosts a chance to discuss what stories have them excited about 2018. Appearing will be Shelley Irwin of WGVU’s Morning Show and Jennifer Moss of Morning Edition West Michigan.  They will sit down for a conversation with Lakshmi Singh about the importance of local and national news partnerships as well as the issues facing media outlets today.

$75 ticket includes 3 drink vouchers, brunch buffet, silent auction, and admission to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park after the event (it’s butterfly time!).  Details here.

Help us kick off the 70th Anniversary for the MAB!

The MAB Foundation is asking MAB members to donate $7 per month to help celebrate.  These donations will contribute to the continuation of the educational programs that have benefited Michigan broadcasters over the years.

For the price of one latte a month…YOU can help mold the future of our industry

​The MABF sustains the longevity of the broadcast industry through education, awareness and resources as a stepping stone into the business.

Your gift to the MABF helps fund the future of the industry by educating and recruiting young, fresh, and talented people through career fairs, conferences, and award ceremonies. Your tax-deductible gift will help fund the future of broadcasting, think of it like life insurance for the industry.​Go to  SEVENfor70.com to make your gift.

Upcoming 2018 MAB Foundation Career Fairs

Save the dates for upcoming 2018 Media Career Fairs at these locations:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018​
Lansing Center, Lansing
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
FREE to attend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Northern Michigan University-University Center
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
FREE to attend!

October 10, 2018
Ferris State University
FREE to attend

October 24, 2018
​Western Michigan University
FREE to attend ​

For more information, contact the MAB Foundation at [email protected].

7 Ways to Strengthen the Calls to Action Your Radio Station’s Website

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

When listeners come to your radio station’s website, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to stream the station? Sign up for the email newsletter? Enter a contest? Purchase tickets to a station event? It’s important to know the goals of your website.

Once you’ve determined these goals, you’ll want to create clear “calls to action” on the site to encourage people to do these things. A call to action is usually a link that takes people where you want them to go, such as a button that says “Listen Now” that allows people to stream the station. Here are some ways to improve the calls to action on your radio station’s website:

1. Know Which Calls to Action Are Important
Too often, radio station websites homepages are overloaded with stuff. What’s worse, all of this stuff is given equal weight. The truth is, some actions that listeners can take on your website are far more valuable than others. If they stream the station, that could increase ratings and impact the station’s bottom line. If they peruse the station’s photo gallery, that’s not nearly as valuable. The website  layout ought to prioritize the calls to action that are most valuable, and de-emphasize or remove links to less valuable actions.

2. Give Them Prime Real Estate
Your most important calls to action should be given the best spots on your website. Studies shows that people’s eyes move across websites in an “F” pattern. First, they scan the top of the site from left to right. Then, they scan from left to right again below the first pass. Finally, they scan down the left side of the page.

This means the most important spot on your website is the top left corner. This is where you want to put the station logo so people know what the website is all about. The second most important spot on your radio station’s website is the top right corner. Don’t waste this space on something trivial like a weather report. Put your most important call to action — such as a “Listen Now” button — here.

The sidebar is also valuable real estate. Put other calls to action here in order of importance. Remove anything that isn’t an important call to action from the sidebar. Less is more.

Keep in mind, the layout of the mobile version of your website is different — people simply scroll from top to bottom. This may change the value of the real estate. For example, if your mobile website moves the sidebar to the bottom of the page, this location may not be as effective for calls to action as it is on the desktop version of the site.

3. Give Them Some Space
Instead of cramming calls to action up against other elements of your website, set them apart with some whitespace. A buffer indicates that an action is important and draws attention to it.

4. Make Buttons Look Like Buttons
From time to time, I’ll come across a call to action that looks more like an ad than a button. It’s often an image with some overlaid text. In some cases, it’s not immediately obvious that this is a clickable link. Make sure that your most important calls to action look like buttons so that it’s clear to listeners that can click on them.

5. Set Them Off with Color
To attract attention to a call to action, use button colors that contrast with the rest of your radio station’s site. For example, the dominant colors on our website are blue and grey. When a call to action is really important — in our case, usually when it leads to a page where we ask people for their email address — we create an orange button. For links that are less important, we’ll use a blue button or just linked text.

Can you spot the call to action on the Jacobs Media homepage?

6. Use a Strong Verb
Use a short phrase that starts with a strong verb as the text for your button. For example:

  • “Listen Now”
  • “Enter to Win”
  • “Sign Up”
  • “Get Details”

7. Set Clear Expectations
Make sure that people know exactly what is going to happen when they click on a link. In some cases, the text on the button will be enough to convey this information (ex: “Listen Now). In other cases, you will want to include supporting text above the call to action. For example, if you are asking people to sign up for an email list, tell them exactly what you will send them and how often they can expect to receive emails. (Ex: “Get our concert listing in your email inbox every week.”)

Taking a few moments to strengthen your website’s calls to action can dramatically improve its performance and can have a noticeable effect on your radio station’s overall digital strategy.

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

More MAB Third Thursday Webinars Announced

Mark your calendars to spend “Third Thursdays with the MAB” each month throughout 2018. Webinars are free to MAB members. Questions? Contact Jacquelen Timm at 1-800-YOUR-MAB or [email protected].

March 2018 | No webinar this month.
Join us March 6-7 for the Great Lakes Media Show!
Learn more at GreatLakesMediaShow.com.

April 19, 2018 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
“Advertising Issues for Social and Digital Media”
With David Oxenford

As broadcasters seek to find ways to monetize their digital offering and social media followers, legal issues arise. A broadcaster trying to sell advertising and conduct sponsored promotions on its digital and social platforms needs to worry about legal issues that arise not just from the FCC, but also issues from the FTC and other government agencies, as well as from state authorities. Join David Oxenford and Aaron Burstein of the Washington Law Firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP for a discussion of how to stay out of legal troubles in connection with your online advertising and promotions.

May 17, 2018 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
“Being Able to Change your Plan”
With Paige Nienaber

Some of the greatest moments in Radio have happened when stations have called an audible and just torn up the game plan on the spot. These are the things that have actual meaning for the audience and that actually matter. It’s the “stuff” that Radio can do that Sirius can’t.

NAB To Present TV Repack Webcast March 8

NABVia NAB Pulse:

Is your station moving frequencies due to the recent spectrum incentive auction? If so, make plans to watch an important NAB webcast on Thursday, March 8 at 12:00 p.m. EST where new station tools will be unveiled. During the webcast, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith and members of NAB’s advocacy team will discuss the importance of using consistent tools and resources available to stations at TVAnswers.org/Tools and coordinating with other stations in your market to send a clear message to minimize viewer confusion. They will also showcase new customizable spots in English and Spanish that instruct viewers how to rescan their TVs and converter boxes.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 8 and stay tuned for more details.

As a reminder, the tools currently available to stations include a checklist of activities to keep you on track, talking points, sample scripts and crawls and even automated phone messaging. Click here for station tools and here for station tools in Spanish.

Keep in mind that while FCC consumer education requirements start 30 days before your scheduled move date, the FCC requires that your satellite and cable partners be notified no less than 90 days prior to your move. You can find this information and more in the checklist of activities.

In order for NAB to help your station educate viewers, we need to know exactly when you are making the transition, whether that is due to a channel sharing agreement or the repack. As your plans become firm, please fill out this form with your exact date of transition if it has been determined and the name and contact information of the person at your station who will handle consumer education.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]

WXYZ-TV’s Stephen Clark Retires

Stephen Clark

In a career that has spanned more than four decades, journalist Stephen Clark will tell you he’s just about done it all. Now, after 16 years as an anchor and multi-platform journalist at WXYZ-TV and WMYD-TV, Stephen Clark has retired.

“Stephen has been a valued member of the 7 Action News team and has made a tremendous impact on our station and the Detroit community,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager.

Clark started his career as a newspaper photographer in Colorado. He worked as a TV photographer, reporter and anchor at stations across the country, including KCNC in Denver, KGTV in San Diego and WCBS in New York. He ran a news bureau in Washington D.C., covering political stories for viewers in his home market of Denver.

During his career, Clark reported on some of the biggest stories of our times, including the conflict in Bosnia, the Los Angeles riots, the California wildfires, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Clark was a correspondent for CBS News at the time of the attacks and reported from ground zero.

Clark was one of the early adapters of social media, using it to communicate directly with television viewers. He started a popular social media community, #backchannel, that became a model for stations across the country.

At WXYZ, Clark anchored the station’s signature events, including the North American International Auto Show, the Detroit Grand Prix, the Woodward Dream Cruise and the holiday tree lighting at Campus Martius Park.

“I became a journalist more than 40 years ago to tell inspiring stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things,” said Clark. “As I begin my retirement, I’m happy to report the story of Detroit’s comeback is perhaps my favorite story over these past 40 years. The reborn, revitalized and re-energized Detroit has inspired me to get involved in my own community and I can’t begin to describe how happy I am to have been even a small part of one of the greatest stories of all time.”

Clark has also worked tirelessly with the non-profit organization he co-founded, “Scarlet’s Smile,” that is committed to improving the lives of children afflicted with debilitating diseases. The foundation is named for his granddaughter Scarlet who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The primary goal of the foundation is to build a million dollar playground in Oakland County where kids of all abilities can play together.

In addition to being able to spend more time with his family, Clark plans to pursue his passion for writing and performing country music. He’s an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Clark’s last show at the anchor desk was 7 Action News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, February 28.

FCC Proposes Ending Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Report

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,

At its meeting February 22, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggesting the abolition of the EEO Mid-Term Report, FCC Form 397. That form is filed at the mid-point of the renewal term of TV stations with 5 or more full-time employees and radio clusters with 11 or more full-time employees (see our post here about the form). As the content of the report is principally made up of the broadcaster’s last two EEO Public Inspection File Reports, and those reports are available in a broadcasters online public inspection file (which should be in place for virtually all broadcast stations when the final radio stations covert to the online public file next week, see our post here), the FCC concluded that there is no real reason that these reports need to be separately submitted, and thus proposed its elimination.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking did suggest that there were issues on which comments would be appropriate. The one bit of information that would not be readily available without the filing of the Form 397 would be which TV stations have 5 full-time employees and which radio clusters have more than 11 full-timers. That is important as Congress required the mid-term review of the EEO performance of stations meeting these employment thresholds. So the FCC asks how that information should be tracked. It is also noteworthy that the FCC will continue to conduct the EEO mid-term review of stations meeting these employment thresholds even without the filing of the Form 397 reports.

As the FCC says that they will continue to conduct that mid-term review, it is interesting that the FCC also asks in the NPRM what other EEO review should be conducted to assess the EEO performance of stations, seemingly at the insistence of Commissioner Clyburn who feared that the abolition of the Form 397 might send the wrong message about the FCC’s commitment to EEO even if its retention served no useful purpose. Commissioner Clyburn’s comments are available here. Seemingly, as the Commission will continue to do the EEO mid-term review, and continue audits and complaint-based reviews, many methods of assessment are already in place.

Comment dates on this proposal will be set when it is published in the Federal Register. This is one more proposal for procedural reform advanced as part of Chairman Pai’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative. As we wrote earlier, we are looking forward to more substantive proposals in the months to come.

The First EEO Audit of 2018 With a New Wrinkle – Notifications by Email and Responses Submitted Through the Online Public File

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,

Eight Michigan Stations on the FCC Audit List, including 2 commercial FM stations, 3 non-commercial FMs, 2 commercial TV stations and 1 non-commercial TV.

On Friday, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing its first EEO audit of 2018. The Notice lists the almost 300 radio and television stations that will be subject to the review as well as the rules that apply to that audit. And those rules are somewhat new. First, the notice itself was not sent by mail, but instead by email – the first time that email has been used to deliver the notice of an EEO audit. Some broadcasters who received the email seemed surprised and wondered if the email really was an official FCC communication, so the FCC included verification methods in the letter including a link to the Public Notice. So, if you are listed on the Public Notice, you are subject to the audit.

Second, the procedure for responding to the audit is different. No longer does the broadcaster subject to the audit have to submit paper copies of all of its documents to the FCC through the FCC Secretary’s office. Instead, the response will be filed in the station’s online public file. The response must be uploaded to the online public file by April 12. There, the FCC can review that response (as can anyone else anywhere, at any time, as long as they have an internet connection). The audit requires that the broadcaster submit their last two EEO Public File Reports (which should already be in the online public file) and backing data to support the outreach efforts. Broadcasters subject to the audit should carefully review the audit letter to see the details of the filing.

If any station in your cluster is on the list of audited stations, all stations in that “station employment unit” (a group of commonly owned stations serving the same area with at least one common employee) must respond. If that cluster has 5 or more full-time employees, it must observe the FCC’s EEO requirements and respond to this audit. If a station that is being audited is involved in an LMA with another broadcaster, the audit may require that the broker provide employment information as well as the licensee. There are some exceptions where stations can be excused from the audit for stations renewed or audited in the recent past.

Be sure to take care in responding to the EEO audit as the FCC will be reviewing it carefully, and issues with the audit can lead to fines. Even though the FCC has allowed online recruiting to be the sole method in which a station recruits new employees (see our article here), if a station does not keep the required paperwork and submit it in response to the audit, the station can still be fined by the FCC (see the article here about recent EEO fines). So check the audit list twice to see if your station is on it, and if it is, take your time and answer carefully.

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 MAB membership.

MAB Launches 2-Minute Video Update

We are pleased to announce our newest communication vehicle, a monthly two minute wrap up video blog. It informs or reminds you of those things you absolutely need to know about legislation, regulations and MAB up coming events. “Your MAB in 2 Minutes” will be available at the end of each month.

Let us know how you like it and what we can do to improve this quick reference of only those items that are hot that month.

Thank you to Lila Lazarus, LilaToday.com