All posts by MAB Staff

Nexstar Employees Volunteered Across Michigan on June 17

Employees of Nexstar television stations in Michigan and throughout the country celebrated their annual Founders Day of Caring on June 17 by volunteering in their respective communities.

In Grand Rapids, WOOD/WOTV-TV staffers were hard at work in Grandville, Jenison, Muskegon and Grand Haven, partnering with Meals on Wheels.  The day was full of meal prep to meal delivery for seniors across West Michigan. Meals on Wheels Grandville makes anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 meals daily.

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids)

For WOOD TV employees, Nexstar Day of Caring means putting in the work and being there for the community, in a different kind of way.  “It’s nice for our employees to get out and experience something different than their day job and to get to be part of the community we serve on TV and serve them in a different way,” said Carly Munoz, WOTV 4 Women brand manager.

In Lansing, volunteer staff at WLNS-TV built beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Lansing, pulled weeds and did other yard work at the VFW Home for Children in Eaton Rapids and Hunter Park Greenhouse and Community Garden in Lansing, and built games (and played with the kids) at Youth Haven.

WLNS-TV (Lansing)

“We cover Mid-Michigan each and every day, but to be able to get out here in the community and do a lot of really great labor as far as beautifying certain areas that are giving back to the community as well, it makes you feel really good.” said WLNS General Manager Scot Chastain.  “Our hope is for these kids to see that the world is not as dark as they’ve experienced and that they see that there is hope and they see that there is a whole community of people out there not a part of Youth Haven that care about them.”

And in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, WJMN-TV (Marquette) staff partnered with the UP Land Conservancy at the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve cleaning, weeding, building accessible paths, painting bird blinds and more.

WJMN-TV (Marquette)

WJMN-TV Operations Manager Tony Stagliano said “Nature’s such a big part of the UP and its a big part of our culture and our community.  We’ve done a lot of volunteering for a lot of different organizations throughout the Upper Peninsula and we felt it was time to focus on helping to preserve our natural landscape.”

Founded 22 years ago, Founder’s Day of Caring is an annual event, taking place on the third Friday in June.  Staff members in all 100 Nexstar television markets receive paid time off to volunteer in their communities. The day is intended to shift employee focus from being a television station serving the community to employees volunteering and making a personal commitment by helping those in need within their local communities. The mission is to give back where it is needed most and help inspire viewers to give back as well.


Interlochen Public Radio Takes Home National Award for ‘Short Documentary’

via Daniel Wanschura, Interlochen Public Radio

Morgan Skinner

For the second year in a row, Interlochen Public Radio has won a national award for its “Irredeemable” series.

In Washington D.C. on Saturday, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated awarded first place in the “Short Documentary” category to the episode titled, “Irredeemable, episode 6: Coming clean.”

PRNDI is an association that represents news directors, broadcast editors and newsroom managers. It has been awarding local reporting since 1988.

“Irredeemable” is the work of IPR’s Morgan Springer, who in 2017 began telling the stories of individuals convicted of murder as juveniles and sentenced to life in prison. This is her fifth PRNDI award since working for IPR.

Michigan Radio, WJRT-TV and WDIV-TV Win National Murrow Awards

Three Michigan broadcasters have been honored with a National Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).  The awards were announced on Tuesday.

Michigan Radio’s Mornings in Michigan series received a Murrow Award.  The series installment entitled, “The Early Birder Gets the Warblers, Chickadees, and Orioles,” was given the honor for Excellence in Sound in the Large Market Radio category. Winners in the Excellence in Sound category demonstrate creative use of sound to tell a story.

The feature was written and produced by Rebecca Williams and edited by Doug Tribou, with help from Lauren Talley. In the piece, which originally aired in May, 2018, Williams followed a group of birders on an early morning hike to see migrating birds arriving in Michigan. The story captured the sounds of warblers, buntings, orioles and sparrows, and the excited birders as they spotted their favorite species. You can listen to the story here. Companion images to the feature were provided by Michigan Radio’s Emma Winowicki.

Gray Television’s WJRT-TV (Flint) received a national Murrow Award for the third installment of the station’s annual Born Into Crisis series.

The February 2018 story, which looks at children born during the water crisis and how they are developing compared to their peers, won the national Edward R. Murrow Award in the Hard News category this year.

Anchor Angie Hendershot reported the story while Photographer Timothy Robertson captured the video that accompanies it.

Graham Media Group’s WDIV-TV (Detroit) received a national Murrow Award for Criss-Cross Crash, coverage of figure-eight racing with school buses and boats at the Flat Rock Speedway — “Criss-Cross Crash” — won the “Excellence in Sound” award for large market television.

Criss-Cross Crash was produced by WDIV photojournalists Alex Atwell and Hans Ihlenfeldt.  You may see the story here.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971.  Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism.

“These winning pieces from news organizations large and small have educated, uplifted, inspired, uncovered and enlightened,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director. “We’re proud to recognize the most outstanding ways journalists are keeping the public informed, holding the powerful accountable and enhancing the quality of life in their communities.”

Michigan Stations Celebrate Emmy® Award Wins!

At ceremonies held June 16 in Detroit, television stations across Michigan were recipients at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Michigan 41st Annual Regional EMMY® Awards.

Evan Linnert, WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) accepts his Emmy for Visual Storytelling.

Both commercial and non-commercial stations from Detroit, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Flint/Saginaw, Bay City, Mt. Pleasant and Cadillac received honors.


For a complete list of winning entries, click here.

Chad Schwartzenberger and Tina Brunn took home three awards each for their work with Detroit Public TV.

WOOD-TV Assignment Editor John Arguello Passes

John Arguello

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) has announced that 43-year-old station veteran John Arguello passed away June 15 at age 61.

Arguello, a native of South Dakota, came to the station in February, 1976 at the age of 18, beginning in the mailroom, then moving on to become a part-time production assistant.  Later he became a staff photojournalist, and is well known for working with investigative reporter Henry Erb, conducted undercover stings and parking lot confrontations, helping to bring down scammers and, on at least one occasion, catch a killer.

During his career, Arguello met five sitting U.S. presidents and covered national political events including national conventions and the Iowa caucuses. He knew Congress members and governors and was on a first-name basis with many local politicians.

Arguello  eventually moved to the assignment desk, gathering information that everyone in the newsroom relied on and providing guidance on editorial decision-making.

He leaves behind two children, several grandchildren and a 24 Hour News 8 team that considered him family.

Retired Michigan Broadcaster Bill Thompson Releases Book

Bill Thompson, whom  many broadcasters around the state know from his days as a reporter and anchor at the Michigan Radio Network, has published My Life as a Great Lakes Broadcaster, a compelling book that shares personal and insightful perspectives in the field of media and communications.

In the book, Thompson shares stories and extensive photos from the stops along his career beginning in college radio, WFYC/Alma, WSOO/WSUE in Sault Ste. Marie, WJOR/South Haven, WJIM-AM/FM in Lansing, WITL-AM/FM in Lansing, WION/Ionia. Michigan News Network and Michigan Radio Network, both based in Lansing.  He retired in December of 2017.

My Life as a Great Lakes Broadcaster begins with Thompson in his youth, growing up on the family farm in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. It shows readers how he was proficient at performing music in band and orchestra, then became interested in speech at Remus Chippewa Hills High School. From there he moved on to five active years at Central Michigan University where Bill describes his broadcast and  journalism training. That college training helped to combine all of those earlier interests into one, and it came up, radio! That led to a forty-year career of rapid cultural, technical and personal changes.

Once leaving CMU, the journey took Bill “up and down the dial” across the State of Michigan, from Alma to Sault Ste. Marie and South Haven, working in various radio jobs except for sales and engineering, before coming to Michigan’s Capitol City of Lansing where he settled into news reporting. After twelve years at two Lansing stations, Bill found his calling at a statewide radio news network for the next twenty-three years, despite turmoil and five ownership changes.

Thompson is recipient of recognition and awards from the Associated Press, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Central Michigan University Alumni Association.

Published by Covenant Books, My Life as a Great Lakes Broadcaster is currently available at Barnes and Nobel bookstores, and online at the the Apple iTunes store, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Bill is available for interviews.  Contact him at (517) 243-1892 or
[email protected].

Paul Jacobs Honored at Conclave

Edit 6/24/19:  Read “What Does It Take To Win A Rockwell Award?” and Paul’s full acceptance speech here.

Paul Jacobs

Jacobs Media Strategies’ Paul Jacobs was honored Thursday  with the Conclave’s  Rockwell Award, an annual Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes individuals of unquestioned accomplishment who have made a lasting impact on radio.

“Receiving this award is truly rewarding and a high mark in my career in radio,” Jacobs said. “I have been a big fan of the work of the leaders of the Conclave had done for our industry for decades, and to be acknowledged by them is truly an honor.”

The annual Conclave event in Minneapolis began on Wednesday and continues through today (6/21).

FCC Sends Out Second Set Of EEO Audit Letters For 2019

The FCC has sent out its second set of Equal Employment Opportunity audit letters of 2019 to randomly selected radio and television stations.

The letter was sent June 13 to the second batch of stations picked to report, and responses will be due to be posted to station online public inspection files by July 29.  About 5% of all stations are selected for EEO audits each year.  A quick look by the MAB shows one Michigan station on this latest list.

Read the release here.

NASBA Success Stories Continue

As many readers know, the MAB is a member of the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations (NASBA), which represents broadcast associations in Washington, filing joint comments in FCC proceedings.

In 2017, when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai launched the Media Modernization proceeding, he asked broadcasters to submit comments proposing changes to the FCC’s broadcast rules to improve those rules while eliminating unnecessary burdens. NASBA responded with comments proposing a broad number of changes, most of which have either been adopted by the FCC or are the subject of ongoing rulemakings considering such changes.

On June 18, Chairman Pai released, in a blog post, a list of matters to be voted on at the FCC’s July meeting. In it, he wrote:

“The Commission’s July meeting will also feature three media-related items. The headliner out of this trio will be an update to the FCC’s children’s television programming rules. In recent decades, we’ve seen a monumental shift in the way young viewers access video programming. I’ve seen it myself in comparing my own television viewing habits as a child to those of my kids today. So this update of our rules is long overdue.”

The children’s television item is another aspect of the Commission’s Modernization of Media Regulations Initiative (MMRI), which is focused on updating the rules to match the realities of the media marketplace. And it’s not the only MMRI item on our July agenda.

The Commission will also vote on two items that will replace wasteful and costly paper notifications with electronic notifications. The first is an order updating the triennial must-carry/retransmission consent election process for broadcasters and covered video providers, such as cable operators and satellite TV providers. Under these new rules, commercial broadcasters would no longer be required to send their elections via certified mail to each provider, but instead would upload their elections into their public files every three years and notify video providers by e-mail of any change.

NASBA’s comments in the Media Modernization proceeding urged the Commission to streamline its Children’s TV requirements, so we are pleased to see the FCC move forward on that (final details are still being debated), but of particular interest to broadcasters is Chairman Pai’s paragraph regarding Retransmission Consent Elections. Based on the description above, it sounds like the FCC is pretty much adopting NASBA’s exact proposal. Depending on the size of the broadcaster, the cost of complying with the old rule could be in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each election cycle, with incredibly high stakes (being dropped from a cable system or forfeiting retrans payments for the next three years) for making an error. If adopted, as appears likely, this will be a big win for NASBA and state broadcast association TV members.

Bets are Off for Online Gambling Bills, For Now

Michigan House Republicans and the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer are in a stalemate over bills that would allow online casino gambling in the state, according to an article published by Gongwer on Thursday.

The House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo), and members of the Whitmer administration met Wednesday with stakeholders on the issue, House Republican spokesperson Gideon D’Assandro said. But governor’s staff broke off the meeting after a few hours.

Whitmer told reporters on Thursday that she hasn’t been a part of the meetings and reiterated her concern that allowing online casino gambling would mean fewer people playing online Lottery games and result in less funding for K-12 schools, which draw most lottery proceeds.

The Department of Treasury has said while $700 of a $1,000 net win from an iLottery game would go to the School Aid Fund, only $4 would go to the School Aid Fund for a $1,000 online casino gambling win.

D’Assandro said other states have not seen Lottery gaming suffer as a result of allowing online casino gambling. New Jersey recently moved to a similar model as Iden’s proposed legislation and saw strong growth in both sets of games, he said.

The House Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to meet on the bills Thursday, but canceled. The online gambling bill is HB 4311.