All posts by MAB Staff

Lisa Knutson Named Scripps CFO

Lisa Knutson

E.W. Scripps has named Lisa Knutson as its new executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“Lisa has been an instrumental player on our management team for more than a decade,” said Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson. “She served in key roles during the spinoff of Scripps Networks Interactive and the double-spin, double-merge transaction with the former Journal Communications that divested Scripps of newspapers and doubled our broadcast holdings.”

The company also has promoted its controller and treasurer, Doug Lyons, to senior vice president, controller and treasurer.

Knutson will step into the role after filling the position since the former CFO, Tim Wesolowski ,left in early October.

Knutson was appointed chief strategy officer in August. She has since added corporate development to her prior responsibilities as chief administrative officer where she led enterprise-wide strategic planning, consumer insights, human resources, information technology and corporate communications-investor relations.

Scripps owns and operates WXYZ-TV/WMYD-TV in Detroit as well as WSYM-TV in Lansing.

WKAR Gifts Digital Playtime Pads to Kindergartners

Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Soon, a thousand Lansing kindergartners will literally have an exciting new education tool in their hands thanks to WKAR and MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

WKAR Director of Broadcasting and General Manager Susi Elkins talking with students at Kendon Elementary School in Lansing. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

On November 13, kindergarteners at Lansing’s Kendon Elementary received the first batch of Playtime Pads, which are 7-inch Android tablets, available at retailers.

The Playtime Pad Research Project studies the effectiveness of tablet-based learning in early childhood math literacy. The pads used in the study include preloaded PBS KIDS educational game apps, but are also customized to include a special math game study app, designed by PBS KIDS software developers, in consultation with MSU early childhood education researchers. The app includes a mix of math games.

“We are honored to be working with the Lansing School District on this exciting outreach program and tablet-based learning study,” said Susi Elkins, Director of Broadcasting and General Manager at WKAR Public Media, which is housed in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “This project brings quality PBS educational games and programming from the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad to Lansing kindergartners through new technology that children love, and allows us to strengthen the community connection between MSU, WKAR and the Lansing schools.”

Prabu David, MSU ComArtSci Dean; Susi Elkins, WKAR Director of Broadcasting and General Manager; and Robert Floden, MSU College of Education Dean. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Amy Parks, associate professor of teacher education, and Laura Tortorelli, assistant professor of teacher education, will lead the research. They will collect anonymous data from the app, from periodic surveys of parents and teachers and from LSD’s AIMSWEB testing program.

The study is unique because widely available PBS KIDS math apps will be tested for effectiveness, Parks said. Most studies of this kind are based on specially designed applications rather than what is publicly available.

“Our goal is to see what teachers choose to do with the tablets and look at the impact on student learning,” Parks said. “We expect there will be variation in how engaging various applications are, as well as variation in the extent to which these applications impact learning. We also expect applications will impact different kids in different ways.”

In addition to the research component of the project, the partnership gives teachers, parents and students access to the latest technology and PBS KIDS digital learning tools.

The Lansing School District is the largest public school district in mid-Michigan, with 17 elementary schools.

“This project is about partnerships,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “MSU, WKAR, Lansing schools and PBS KIDS have come together to empower our students, families and teachers by introducing a new technology in the classroom. I’m excited about the possibilities these tablets offer for instruction and research.”

Funding for the project is provided by the National Science Foundation, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, WKAR Public Media, Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at MSU and the Lansing Rotary Foundation.


Tom Szczepanski Appointed DPTV COO

Tom Szczepanski

Tom Szczepanski has been named Chief Operating Officer of Detroit Public Television.

Szczepanski’s appointment to the new position is effective immediately, said Marty Fischhoff, director of communications for DPTV.  He will oversee all aspects of the station’s operations, including developing growth strategies.

Duties of the COO role had been handled by the executive vice president of productions and operations Jeff Forster, who left the role last year but continued on as an adviser. The role has since expanded to include more responsibilities.

Szczepanski, 58, has been assistant vice president of development at the University of Michigan since 2010. There, he led marketing for the school’s $4 billion fundraising campaign. Before that, he worked in advertising for 25 years with management roles at J. Walter Thompson, BBDO, Ross Roy and other agencies. He also worked for the Detroit Free Press in advertising sales and marketing research.

He is a native of metro Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy graduate.

“With Tom joining the DPTV team, we are even better positioned to tell the story of Detroit, which we believe is, today, the most important city in America,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of DPTV.

Beasley Presents 3rd Annual People Helping People Event

Beasley Media Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast GroupInc. has announced that its WCSX-FM (Detroit) is presenting The 3rd Annual People Helping People campaign in an effort to assist families in Metro Detroit who are facing challenges during the holidays.

Happening now, through December 15, 2017, listeners are being asked to nominate families in need on the air and at WCSX-FM’s Big Jim’s House Morning Show hosts will share requests they receive on behalf of needy families and connect them with the appropriate donors, whether it’s an individual or a business. In addition, anyone interested in making a donation can also visit to see a complete list of requests on behalf of needy families.

“There’s never been a more important time to show compassion for each other than now,” said Big Jim from WCSX’s Big Jim’s House. “People Helping People is more than a way to help. It’s an idea that should be held in our hearts year round.”

This year’s program is presented by Mother Waddles Car Donation Program and Greektown Casino.

WJLB-FM Holds Annual Coats For Kids Fundraiser

On November 4, iHeartMedia’s WJLB-FM (Detroit) held the 34th Annual Coats for Kids fundraiser to benefit the Salvation Army of Eastern Michigan.

SVP/Programming Tony Travatto said, “iHeartMedia Detroit is committed to the community in which it broadcasts, bringing the community together in one place to collect coats and raise money for those that need a little extra help this holiday season.”

The event featured a live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  WJLB on-air personalities hosted the event and there were free fun activities such as ice skating, face painting, photo booth and games.

The event was held at Adams Butzel Recreation Complex in the city.

WTCM Teams Up for ‘Paper Angels’ Christmas Giving Program

WTCM Morning Personality (and Operations Director) Jack O’Malley explaning the program live on WFQX-TV’s Michigan This Morning.

Midwestern Broadcasting’s WTCM-FM (Traverse City)
has once again teamed up with Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan for a project called Paper Angels Christmas Giving Program.

Now in its 12th year, the project matches generous donors in the community with children through the Paper Angels Christmas Giving Program, to provide Christmas gifts to those who might go without. Last year, the project fulfilled over 700 wish lists.

Read more on the Paper Angels Christmas Giving Program here.

Julie Flynn named WZZM 13 News Director

Julie Flynn

Julie Flynn has been named News Director at WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids), the TEGNA owned ABC affiliate in the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan market. Flynn has been the night-side Executive Producer at WKYC, the TEGNA owned NBC affiliate in Cleveland since 2013. She begins her new role on January 2, 2018.

In making the announcement, WZZM 13 President and General Manager, Janet Mason said, “Julie brings a wealth of experience from her many years in Cleveland. She has been one of the key leaders at WKYC in moving the news department forward in the digital age of journalism.” As Executive Producer of the 11pm newscast, she guided the show into first place. She also spearheaded the development of WKYC’s Donavan Live at 7pm.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to lead WZZM 13 and its extremely talented team of journalists,” said Julie Flynn. “Grand Rapids is a city on the rise and I look forward to helping tell its success stories.”

Before joining WKYC, Flynn spent 11 years at WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, in a variety of positions, including Newscast Producer and Weekend Assignment Editor.

She has won a number of awards for outstanding newscast producing, including multiple EMMYs and most recently her 11pm team won the 2016 and 2015 Cleveland Press Club Award for Best Newscast in Ohio.

Flynn received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/English from Fordham University – Bronx, New York.  Flynn begins her new position with WZZM on January 2, 2018.

Juline Jordan Promoted to Middays at WCSX

Juline Jordan

Beasley Media Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced that Juline Jordan has been promoted to Midday Personality at Classic Rock WCSX-FM (Detroit).

Jordan has spent over 20 years working in Detroit, most recently working as a weekend and fill-in on-air personality at WCSX-FM. Prior to that, she was heard on WRIF-FM.

“Juline is an outgoing personality who thrives on listener engagement on-air and in live settings, said Beasley Media Group Detroit Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards. “She impressed us with an eagerness to share and assist in generating ideas for promotions and features that will continue to strengthen the WCSX Classic Rock brand! Additionally, her creative digital and writing chops will help grow our social platforms in midday & beyond.”z

“I’m very humbled and grateful to be part of the full-time WCSX lineup,” said Jordan. “It’s my extreme pleasure to be given this opportunity, and I’m more inspired than ever to give Detroit my very best. I would like to thank my program director, Jerry “JT” Tarrants and our market manager, Mac Edwards for believing in me and giving me this opportunity rock Detroit every day!”

Group Submits Signatures for Prevailing Wage Repeal

Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, a group seeking a voter-initiated act to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law, announced that it has submitted over 380,000 signatures of registered voters to put its proposal before the Legislature.

Michigan’s current prevailing wage law requires the payment of union-scale wages on public construction projects.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Elections will take 60 days to review a sample of signatures to determine whether the group gathered at least the necessary 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters.

If it succeeded, the initiative will go to the Legislature, which will have 40 days to pass it. While Gov. Rick Snyder indicated his support for the prevailing wage and said he would veto a bill repealing it, he cannot stop a voter-initiated act passed by the Legislature under Michigan’s Constitution.

Congresswoman Dingell Raises Privacy Concerns about ATSC 3.0

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) recently sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai with questions about ATSC 3.0. Specifically, she is concerned about the privacy implications the new broadcast technology standard will have on consumers.

Dingell asked questions about what types of information would be collected from consumers to implement targeted advertisements under the new standard, and how the data would be handled and protected to ensure consumers’ privacy. She also asked how many television sets will be obsolete when the new standard is fully implemented.

“Broadcasters and other stakeholders deserve credit in developing this new standard that will undoubtedly bring significant benefits to consumers including more localized safety warnings and improved picture quality,” Dingell wrote.

“It is my understanding that the new standard also contemplates targeted advertisements that would be ‘relevant to you and what you actually might want to see.’ This raises questions about how advertisers and broadcasters will gather the demographic information from consumers which are necessary to do targeted advertisements, and what privacy protections will be in place for consumers.”

Dingell also sent a similar letter to NAB’s CEO Gordon Smith.