Category Archives: April 2016

A Message from MAB Chairman Ed Fernandez

Ed Fernandez 2013If you are like me, every minute of your time is scheduled. This is why investing your time in the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo (GLBC) will be a good decision for you and your staff.

GLBC will refresh you, offer networking opportunities, and present new ideas and new ways of looking at how you do business. I always come away with a few new ideas. There are also plenty of learning opportunities for my staff as well.

Long before I was on the MAB Board of Directors and served as Chairman, I attended GLBC as a Sales Manager and then a General Manager. The GLBC was always on my schedule. There are sessions for all major positions at your station including, sales, management, news, programming, engineering, promotion and production. Plus, we also have the vitally important and “free” legislative reception with lawmakers from all over the state.

You will return from GLBC renewed and rewarded with new or reaffirmed ideas to improve your personal performance and that of your staff, all at a very reasonable registration fee. Our exhibitors, suppliers and sponsors help to underwrite the conference so we can keep the price down for you. Its only $159 per person for full registration, which includes lunch and the receptions if you sign up by April 10. There are also half-day and some single session offerings as well.

Now, more than ever, I ask that you join me at GLBC and bring your staff. It’s a day packed with information designed by a committee of broadcasters to meet your needs.

Hope to see you at GLBC this year.

Ed Fernandez,
Chairman of the Board, MAB
Divisional General Manager – E.W. Scripps

Traffic Director Spotlight: Lisa DeAngelo

lisad_350Lisa DeAngelo 
Krol Communications, Owosso

Lisa DeAngelo wears many hats at WJSZ-FM in Owosso.  Not only is she the Operations and Office Manager, she is also the Traffic Director, Production Director, and Midday host on the station.  Lisa has been with Krol Communications since December 2009.  She began her radio career in 1992 at WYCD-FM in Detroit as a Producer.

Q1: What is your favorite comfort food?
Lisa:  Chocolate or Mac ‘n cheese.

Q2: Which Superhero would you be and why?
Lisa:  Batman, because I LOVE his gadgets and cars. 

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be…
Lisa: On a cruise or at a concert.

Q4: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Lisa:  Pink, because she is an amazing artist and vocalist and has inspired me through tough times in my life.

Q5: Best advice you have ever received?
Lisa:  “Honor your truths”…from a wonderful mentor in Radio. He taught me to embrace my sensitivity and always be genuine in a very volatile business.

Q6:  Tell us something about yourself that very few people know:
I love being a Radio Personality, but I was so scared of public speaking that I actually dropped my Radio Announcing class at EMU.

Editorial: When Bad Spots Hurt Good Stations

Sean Ross webBy: Sean Ross
[email protected]
Twitter: @RossOnRadio

I set the radio buttons in my rental car. (Yes, it took a minute to find them).  And, for the next hour I found myself surprised by just how much I was really enjoying KIIS-FM, Los Angeles.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise. KIIS is a perennial on many people’s list of the best top 40s. But as a Sirius XM subscriber, I’ve had KIIS as a punch-button, even in the Northeast, for years, and yet I hadn’t listened much lately. I knew I should listen, if only out of professional curiosity, but, whenever I went there, I didn’t stay long.

The difference, I now realize, was hearing KIIS with the local commercials. On satellite, the KIIS stopsets already felt very noticeable, surrounded as the station was by satellite’s own commercial-free music channels. But, it was also the tenor of the ads. The satellite stopsets sounded like what you’d hear on an online stream — some produced vignettes, some tax-relief ads and start-your-own-business spots that you might expect to hear on a News/Talk station. They weren’t the worst of the ads I’ve heard in recent years, but, they didn’t say “fun, uptempo CHR station” either.

Hearing the station in L.A. was a much different experience. Maybe it was the combination of sunshine and Southern California. But, the stopsets on KIIS, as heard in Santa Monica flew by. And, it proved that the content of spots makes a difference.

So did a station launch that I worked on last year. The station was fun and uptempo. The ads, in the first few days, were not — debt-relief and graphic medical spots, sometimes back to back. Even one of my friends, not aware that I worked with the station, commented on them. Until then, I’d accepted the spots as all a new station could hope for. But, I passed my friend’s feedback on to the PD.

What happened next was a pleasant surprise. The PD worked with sales to help minimize the impact of the downer spots. But the station also received fast acceptance from the local ad community, even in advance of the first numbers coming back. Then, the first ratings were promising. For whatever reason, the tenor of the spots improved rapidly.

The result was that within 45-60 days of the launch, listening to the station became an entirely pleasurable experience. I’m sure some of it was just a function of the usual shakeout of any new station’s issues. But, I was already predisposed to like the music. Better spots just made the entire station experience better.

Not every station is able to upgrade its available sponsors that quickly. The same friend heard another successful recent station launch, owned by a large group broadcaster, and reported on the spots he heard online: all of them dry-voice, minimally produced, and with a hard-sell delivery. There were two tax-relief spots, a credit-relief spot, mold remediation, “and on and on.”

One of the things I realize now is that I’m not sure which hard-sell or downer spots I’ve heard where in the last few months. Was the ad that promises to cleanse rotting food out of your intestines on a client station? Or have I just heard it so much recently that I’m unfairly tagging somebody? What about the ads encouraging listeners to talk to the doctor about their poop? It sometimes feels like no major-market outlet, no matter how successful, is safe from downer spots — even over the air. But, hearing KIIS locally, I know that’s not always the case.

After these recent experiences, I now believe that there’s some value in being the station that can say on the air, “While every station has some commercials, we’ll never run ads that make you depressed or uncomfortable.” It’s been years since stations talked that directly or earnestly about what they do. But, I now feel it’s as important a point of differentiation as “commercial-free.” And, a unique one, because “commercial-free” has been cheapened by overuse and misuse. In fact, unlike “commercial-free,” it’s not anti-sponsor. It’s supporting the integrity of the sponsors you do run.

I also think there are ways to finesse the quality of a station’s spots, even if it can’t hold the line on downer spots altogether. The most obvious is keeping them away from each other. Because many stations do not. And because it is impossible to hear two hard-sell spots back to back without thinking, “Another one? Really?”

There is also a specific combination of gratuitous and unpleasant that makes some spots particularly unlistenable, and makes other hard-sell spots around them feel that much worse. If a station is only in a position to turn down a few ads, digestive functions would be a logical starting place. I don’t want to deny anybody with the inability to break down food enzymes the help they need. Hearing the results described graphically is another matter. And any morning team who led an equally explicit discussion of the same topic would be in trouble these days.

Placement makes a difference, too. The tax-relief spots aren’t entirely gone from the station I work with. But, when they follow the concert spot and the jewelry spot, they rankle less. Many stations used to have a firm protocol of starting with the best, most-produced spots first. I don’t hear much of evidence of that these days, but perhaps that’s because so many stopsets have no “most-produced” spots.

Over the last decade, we’ve made a commitment as an industry to improving the quality of our spots — often because broadcasters feel it’s a more attainable goal than tackling spotload or converting from spots to sponsorships. Downer spots and graphic spots – coming in from bulk purchasers outside our purview – are undermining all the hard work we’ve done with other advertisers.

In Canada, there was a regional spot last year in which a caller complains that mortgage woes were keeping him up at night, so the mortgage agent sings him a lullaby. That ad is undoubtedly better in the hearing than the retelling, but it proves that even financial help can be made entertaining or even touching. The tenor of our spots is something that broadcasters can seek to control, and when we do, it makes a difference.

Editorial: Lord & Taylor Case Shows the Importance of Transparency in Advertising

By:  Lori Levine, Kimberly Buffington, Carolyn S. Toto, Lauren Lynch Flick, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Consumer protection is always in style with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Under the FTC Act, a company cannot make a misrepresentation that would affect the consumer’s conduct or decisions with regard to a product or service. The statute also prohibits companies from misleading a consumer into believing an advertisement is not an advertisement. Advertisements are increasingly indistinguishable from news articles, editorials, or everyday online content, especially when posted to social media. The recent Lord & Taylor case, and others, highlight the importance of the statute in regulating advertisements that may not look like conventional promotions, and the challenges advertisers face when marketing on social media platforms.

The FTC routinely takes action to ensure that consumers are aware they are being marketed to. For instance, in a case against an app developer, the FTC came down on the company for having its employees post reviews about the app without disclosing their relationship to the company. In another case, a home security firm hired spokespersons who appeared on television and radio programs as impartial expert reviewers but did not disclose their connections to the company. Retailer Lord & Taylor, drew the FCC’s attention due to its “deceptive” marketing of a dress online.

To promote the company’s Design Lab Paisley Asymmetrical Dress and its “Design Lab” clothing collection, Lord & Taylor launched a comprehensive social media campaign aimed at women ages 18 through 35. As part of the campaign, Lord & Taylor gifted the Paisley Asymmetrical Dress to 50 select fashion influencers. Lord & Taylor paid the influencers in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, to post one photo of themselves wearing the Design Lab dress on Instagram. Under the terms of their contract with Lord & Taylor, the company required the influencers to tag their photos “@lordandtaylor” and include the campaign hashtag “#DesignLab” in photo captions.

Lord & Taylor additionally contracted with Nylon magazine to post a photo of the dress on its Instagram account and run an article about Lord & Taylor’s clothing collection in its online magazine.

The campaign was successful, reaching 11.4 million individual Instagram users and causing the dress to sell out. All of this would have been fine, and legally sound, had Lord & Taylor also required the bloggers and Nylon to disclose that Lord & Taylor paid them to promote the dress. None of the Instagram posts featuring the Lord & Taylor dress, however, indicated that the style influencer had been paid for the post, that the post was part of Lord & Taylor’s advertising campaign, or that that the dress had been given to the influencer for free. Likewise, neither the Nylon Instagram post nor the Nylon article disclosed that the features had been paid for, reviewed and pre-approved by Lord & Taylor.

When the FTC caught wind of the Design Lab campaign, it brought a complaint against Lord & Taylor for the various misrepresentations made in its campaign to promote the Design Lab collection. Specifically, the complaint charged the company with: (1) misrepresenting that the 50 Instagram images and captions reflected the independent statements of impartial fashion influencers, when in fact the posts were part of an advertising campaign to promote sales of the Design Lab collection; (2) failing to disclose that the fashion influencers were paid endorsers for Lord & Taylor—a deceptive practice; and (3) failing to disclose that the Nylon article and Instagram post were not independent statements and opinions, but rather, paid-for commercial advertisements.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement with the FTC, Lord & Taylor is prohibited from misrepresenting that an endorser of its products or services is an ordinary consumer, when in fact Lord & Taylor paid for their endorsement. The settlement further requires Lord & Taylor to “clearly and conspicuously, and in close proximity to the representation” disclose the connection between the endorser and Lord & Taylor. The settlement also lays out various monitoring and compliance obligations that require Lord & Taylor to obtain signed acknowledgements from endorsers that they will disclose their connection to the retailer. The settlement requires Lord & Taylor to monitor endorsers to ensure they are in compliance.

The Lord & Taylor case serves as a cautionary tale for companies seeking to promote their products and services via social media, and the terms of the Lord & Taylor proposed settlement serve as a solid guide post to better compliance. In evaluating whether an ad’s format is misleading, the FTC will consider the “net impression” that the advertisement conveys to reasonable consumers. If the content is such that a consumer would be deceived into thinking that the content was neutral, it would violate the FTC Act. Thus, as in the Lord & Taylor settlement, qualifying information—for instance, a disclosure that the content is sponsored, that clothes have been gifted or that the influencers were paid—can help companies ensure compliance with FTC guidelines and avoid scrutiny from the FTC. To further ensure compliance, companies should make such information conspicuous and available in proximity to the claim it is intended to qualify.

For more information on the subject, read the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements.


WJRT-TV (Flint) Meteorologist John McMurray Retires

After more than four decades of delivering weather forecasts at WJRT-TV in Flint, Meteorologist John McMurray has retired at age 73.  On April 1, the station said goodbye with a look back at what’s made John such a big a part of the lives of viewers and station staff alike:

In an article published in Mlive, Jayne Hodak, News Director at the station said McMurray is going to be missed. “He’s that person people have always been able to rely on,” she said. “So many viewers rely on his forecasts. He never over-hyped storms, he just gave you the information you needed in a manner you could understand. He’s truly one of the best in the business.”

The station is currently conducting a nationwide search for his replacement.

Dr. Charles Ganzert Passes

Ganzert_300The MAB is sad to share the news that Dr. Charles Ganzert, a professor in Northern Michigan University’s (NMU) Communication and Performance Studies department, passed away early Thursday morning, March 31, with his spouse by his side.  Dr. Ganzert was 63 years old.

Dr. Ganzert was past Chairman and Honorary Board Member of the MAB Foundation. At NMU, he served students and the university for 23 years. He received numerous awards during his tenure for his outstanding performance, and was even slated to formally receive NMU’s Distinguished Faculty Award on April 25, 2016.

Dr. Ganzert received both his master’s degree and doctoral degree from Ohio University. His experience in media began when he worked with the student radio station at Virginia Tech. In 1980, Dr. Ganzert took a job with WYSO, a public radio station in Dayton, Ohio where he worked in programming, public affairs and production. While at WYSO, he produced a series titled: “Tis Sweet To Be Remembered” and was awarded the Ohio Educational Broadcasters Program of the Year Award in 1986. Dr. Ganzert won two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards through WNMU-FM (Marquette) and completed a book project with other faculty from Ohio University, Kent State University, and Kenyon College called “Oral History Done Right.”

Details on services are forthcoming.

WBUP-TV (Marquette) reporter Caleb M. Scanlon spoke with James Cantrill, Department Head and Professor, Communication Studies at NMU about “The Legacy of an Educator,” Dr. Charles Ganzert:

WKAR-FM, Interlochen Public Radio Offer Live In-Studio Music Broadcasts

In the last several weeks, we’ve noticed a couple of instances that are reminiscent of the days when radio stations featured live musicians in their studio.  Both WKAR-FM (East Lansing) and Interlochen Public Radio (Interlochen) shared some examples recently through social media and regular websites.

On March 24, WKAR-FM presented a performance of Brahms Scherzo in c-minor as part of the station’s “Live From Studio S” series.  The performance featured Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s assistant concertmaster Hai Xin Wu & Michigan State University College of Music collaborative piano professor Zhihua Tang (who is hidden from view in this video):




Also on March 24, Interlochen Public Radio hosted siblings Penny and Radel Rosin of Grayling, who perform under the name “Oh Brother, Big Sister.” While the duo has already released two albums, they treated Interlochen listeners to a new song titled “Michigan Daydream.”