Category Archives: August 2018

Breaking: WWTV Transmitter Building Catches Fire

Heritage Broadcasting’s WWTV (Cadillac) was off-air today due to a fire that broke out late Thursday night (August 30) at the station’s transmitter site in Tustin.  At press time, fire crews were still on scene and there was no known cause for the blaze.

The transmitter building was built in 1961 and once housed station’s studios for decades, following a previous fire that destroyed the station’s studio and transmitter facilities.

The station moved into current studios in Cadillac early in 2017.

The MAB has already heard from one area engineer who has offered assistance, adding “there are many of us engineers in the area that are able and willing to lend a hand.”

For the latest, visit the 9&10news website here or the station’s Facebook page here.  The MAB extends its best wishes to Kevin Dunaway and the 9&10news staff.

WGVU Presents ‘Cool Teacher Contest’

WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) is once again holding its “Cool Teacher Contest” for the 2018-19 academic year.  The station has hosted the contest for more than 20 years; and the contest highlights dedicated, creative and resourceful teachers in the station’s coverage area who work hard each day to have a positive impact in the lives of their students and within their communities.

The station learns about the “Cool Teachers” through the nominations from students.  Winning entries qualify for a class party with the station.

For more information, visit the station’s website here.

WWTV/WWUP’s Michelle Dunaway To Bike from Cadillac to Grand Rapids for Benefit

Michelle Dunaway

WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac) News Anchor Michelle Dunaway is once again raising money for the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan, this time biking from Cadillac to Grand Rapids.  The ride is scheduled to take place Thursday, September 6, beginning with a kickoff event at 5:45 a.m. at Cadillac Rotary Pavilion.

The “Red Ride for Families” seeks to increase awareness of the RMHWM and give back to an organization that helps northern and western Michigan families when they need it most.

Last year, Dunaway walked 40+ miles from Traverse City to Cadillac to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House.

Dunway’s cycling journey this year will include stops in Reed City (Reed City Depot), Big Rapids (Swede Hill Park) and Cedar Springs Cedar Springs Brewing Company).  It’s expected that Dunaway will arrive at the Ronald McDonald House in Grand Rapids between 4 and 5 p.m.

Viewers are encouraged to make a donation here.

WKHM-FM Welcomes New Morning Show Co-Host

(l-R) Scott Clow and new co-host Jenny Lewis

Jackson Radio Work’s WKHM-FM  has announced a new addition to the “K Crew”: Jenny Lewis of Jackson.

She joins Scott Clow on-air from 6 -10 a.m. weekday mornings on K-105.3. She is a graduate of Northwest High School,
attended Liberty University and resides in Jackson with her husband and two daughters.

Lewis says of her new gig, “When you listen to the show, I want you to feel like we are old friends, simply hanging out in your living room laughing together.”

Midwest Communications Appoints New VP/Market Managers for Lansing, Kalamazoo

(l-r) Mark Jaycox, Kurt Luchs

Midwest Communications (MWC) has announced the arrival of new VP/Market Managers for two of company’s Michigan clusters.

Mark Jaycox has been named Vice President/Market Manager of MWC’s four stations in Lansing.  Before joining Midwest, Jaycox was General Manager at Adams Outdoor in Lansing and has served as a VP/GM at Salem Communications.

Kurt Luchs has been named Vice President/Market Manager of the company’s five stations in Kalamazoo.  Previously, he was GM at NRG’s stations in Omaha and Wausau-Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Michael Klein continues as Vice President/Market Manager of the company’s three stations in Battle Creek and Coldwater.

Midwest President/CEO Duke Wright said he is pleased these veteran broadcasters have joined his family-owned company “to share their talents in service to our listeners and advertisers. Southwest and South Central Michigan are important markets for our company.”

Programming Advice from Warren Buffett

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

Well, kind of. I recently read an interview with “The Oracle of Omaha,” arguably one of the savviest investors of all time, Warren Buffett. While reading through his interview, it occurred to me that many of his points could easily be applied to radio, so here’s my drill down on what he said about investing and how it applies to radio programming.

When Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett makes investing decisions, he focuses on one thing only: the facts. He says your opinions and emotions aren’t likely to help you.

WB: “Being contrarian has no special virtue over being a trend follower,” Buffett says. Instead, the Oracle of Omaha suggests taking a pragmatic approach to investing decisions. First, gather all your facts. Next, learn how to dissect them to find the pertinent information you need to make your decision. For Buffett, that means looking for the pieces that are “important and knowable.”

Radio Translation: If you know me, you know that I always say “I would much rather argue the facts than the opinions.” When making programming decisions, gather up the right information and facts. Example: Your GM comes in and says, “Everybody I know hates a song we’re playing.” Opinion, yes. Fact: If the music test says it’s great, play it. Or: “A listener called to say we play the same song over and over.” Chances are, when you look it up, the facts say you’re not, but that listener most likely just does not like that song.

WB: “If something’s important but unknowable, forget it,” he says. “I mean, it may be important whether somebody’s going to drop a nuclear weapon tomorrow, but it’s unknowable.”

Radio Translation: You don’t know what is going to happen in your market or station. Always be the best you can be today and be prepared for market changes, but do not act on them until necessary. 99% of the time, these things do not happen.

WB: Whether or not you choose to invest in something should be based on your research, not on your reaction to what other people are doing and saying. As Buffett puts it, “what others are doing means nothing. Concentrate on the facts, not how you’re feeling.”

Radio Translation: Forget about “what you hear” in the market. More often than not, it’s gossip that is not accurate.

WB: “Don’t watch the market closely,” he told CNBC amid wild fluctuations. “If they’re trying to buy and sell stocks and worry when they go down a little bit … and think they should maybe sell them when they go up, they’re not going to have very good results.”

Radio Translation: Worry about your station, not your competitor. More often (almost always) listeners are not sitting around with a “scorecard” on you and other stations. They don’t compare.

WB: Though it’s tempting to sell when the market begins to drop, giving in to your fear is not a sound strategy. “You cannot possibly succeed that way, you’ve got to do the opposite. It’s when you’re not scared you probably want to sell, and when you are scared, you probably want to buy.” Even when the market it tumultuous, it’s helpful to tune out other investors and concentrate on what you know.

Radio Translation: Research and facts can and will guide you in a tumultuous market, and most of them (markets) are tumultuous today. Use your research like a pilot uses radar. My son, Michael, is a Captain with Spirit Airlines. I once asked him what happens when he is in the clouds and can’t see a foot in front of himself. His reply: “In bad weather, a pilot trusts and uses his instruments.” In radio, we should treat our research like “instruments”. Trust it and let it guide us properly.

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

Where is Your Radio Station’s Website Traffic Coming From?

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

Radio programmers should regularly review their website stats to gauge their performance. I encourage broadcasters to do this as part of a weekly web meeting. One of the most important source of stats to review is your Google Analytics data. Among other things, it will show you where people who visit your website are coming from.

Website traffic sources will be broadly grouped into these categories:

    • Direct Traffic: People who are typing your website’s URL directly into their browser. This is a bigger source of traffic for radio stations than companies in other industries because listeners hear the URL over the station’s airwaves so often. Radio stations that use a Content Marketing strategy to grow their website traffic will probably see direct traffic shrink as a percentage as other sources grow.
    • Organic Search: If people type something into a search engine like Google and your website comes back as a result, that is called an “organic search result.” When visitors come to your website after clicking one of these organic search results, Google labels the traffic as “Organic Search.” As you optimize your website for search engines and publish more content, you should see the amount of traffic from Organic Search increase. You may see a few pieces of content on your website that regularly produce organic search traffic. For example, this post by morning show personality Sheri Lynch regularly produces Organic Search traffic on our website.
    • Paid Search: Organic Search traffic is different than Paid Search traffic. If you are paying to advertise your website in search engines (such as through Google AdWords), you may get traffic when people click on one of these paid advertisements. Most radio stations don’t run paid search ad campaigns on a regular basis.
    • Social Media: People who come to your website through a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter are lumped under the “Social Media” heading. You’ll want to drill down and see which networks are providing the most traffic. In all likelihood, Facebook will be the biggest source of traffic by far, but you may be surprised to see Twitter outperform Instagram. Are LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, or other social networks a significant source of website traffic for your station?
    • Referral: People who come to your website through a link on another website, such as a blog or news site, are called “Referral Traffic.” If your station has a link on a highly trafficked website — for example, if the local newspaper publishes an article about your station and includes a link to your website — than you may see a significant source of referral traffic.
    • Email: If you capture the email addresses of website visitors and regularly send out email campaigns that drive people back to your site, email may be a significant source of traffic.

Google Analytics can show you your website traffic sources as a percentage in a pie graph, but these can shift over time. If your overall website traffic is increasing, the percentage of one traffic source might go down simply because another source is growing at a faster rate. So it’s a good idea to look at the raw visitor numbers, not just the percentages.

If you haven’t looked at your Google Analytics data in a while, take a peek and see how people are getting to your radio station’s website.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Senate Passes Measure to Require Disclosure of Drug Prices in TV Ads

According to a report from The Hill, the Senate passed a measure to provide funding to require drug advertisements to disclose the price of the drug. The passage came as part of the massive health-care spending bill that the Senate passed last week, which included the drug price amendment from Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“More information gives transparency to the transaction, and will help give American consumers a break and start to slow down the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs,” Durbin said in a statement.  The Senate’s health spending bill still needs to be reconciled with the House’s before it goes to the president’s desk.

The pharmaceutical industry opposes requiring prices to be disclosed in TV ads. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main drug industry lobbying group, warned the move would “confuse patients” and could violate the First Amendment.

Appeal Filed on Minimum Wage Ballot Proposal

Last week, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of placing the petition to raise the state’s minimum wage on the November ballot.

In a 2-1 decision, the Appeals Court held that the challenges brought by Michigan Opportunity, the group opposing the proposal, did not raise sufficient grounds to block the proposal from the ballot. However, the opponents of the initiative immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court asking to hear their arguments that the proposals should not be certified.

The opposition contends the proposal failed to republish the existing minimum wage law and had insufficient signatures for ballot access. The Department of State must certify the completed ballot by September 7. MAB is monitoring.

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Annual Regulatory Fees; Nationwide EAS Test; Comment Dates on FM Translator Interference, Audio Competition, Children’s Television Requirements, and Reimbursement for LPTV and FM Repacking Costs; and More

While September is one of those months with neither EEO reports nor Quarterly Issues Programs or Children’s Television Reports, that does not mean that there are no regulatory matters of importance to broadcasters. Quite the contrary – as there are many deadlines to which broadcasters should be paying attention. The one regulatory obligation that in recent years has come to regularly fall in September is the requirement for commercial broadcasters to pay their regulatory fees – the fees that they pay to the U.S. Treasury to reimburse the government for the costs of the FCC’s operations. We don’t know the specific window for filing those fees yet, nor do we know the exact amount of the fees. But we do know that the FCC will require that the fees be paid before the October 1 start of the next fiscal year, so be on the alert for the announcement of the filing deadline which should be released any day now.

September 20 brings the next Nationwide Test of the EAS system, and the obligations to submit information about that test to the FCC. As we have written before (here and here), the first of those forms, ETRS Form One, providing basic information about each station’s EAS status was due August 27. Form Two is due the day of the test – reporting as to whether or not the alert was received and transmitted. More detailed information about a station’s participation in the test is due by November 5 with the filing of ETRS Form Three. Also on the EAS front, comments are due by September 10 on the FCC’s proposal to require stations to report on any false or inaccurate EAS reports originated from their stations. See our articles here and here.

September also brings comment deadlines in numerous other important FCC proceedings. September 5 is the date for reply comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on how to simplify the resolution of complaints about interference from new FM translators (see our summaries here and here). One of the most debated issues in the initial comments is whether to ignore complaints from full-power FM licensees and other existing FM broadcasters if those complaints originate outside of the complaining station’s 54 dBu contour. Many FM licensees, as well as the licensees of LPFM stations who are also protected from interference from new translators, contend that a substantial portion of their listening audience resides outside that contour and should not be left unprotected from new translators who interfere with such listening.

Reply comments are due September 10 on the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry as to whether to create a new class of C4 FM stations, and to make changes to allow for more short-spaced FM stations using Section 73.215. See our articles here and here on that proceeding.

Congress has also requested that the FCC provide it with a report on the state of competition in the Audio Marketplace. As we wrote here and here, we expect that, while this report is directed to Congress so that it can use this information in assessing statutory changes, as the report will be prepared at the same time as the FCC is working on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in its next Quadrennial Review which will likely review the radio ownership rules, the facts gathered in preparing the report to Congress are likely to be important in the Quadrennial review. Comments on this report to Congress are due September 24.

The potential for changes in the Children’s Television rules, particularly the rules mandating three hours of weekly educational and informational programming directed to children on each programming stream broadcast by a TV station, are being reviewed by the FCC. Comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking at potential changes in these rules (about which we wrote here) are also due September 24.

As the Incentive Auction repacking marches on (with the testing period for repacked stations in Phase 1 of the repacking starting in September), the FCC is also considering the reimbursement of expenses incurred by LPTV stations, TV translators and FM broadcasters whose operations are affected by the repacking. Comments are due September 26 on the FCC’s proposals on eligibility and administration of the finds to reimburse these stations. See our article here for more details on these proposals.

Commercial radio stations that have been paying the newest Performing Rights Organization, GMR, under an interim license while litigation continues between GMR and the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) to determine if GMR should be subject to any sort of antitrust regulation, have an interim license that expires at the end of September (see our article here). As the litigation is unlikely to be resolved in the next few months, GMR is reportedly offering yet another extension of its interim license through March 31, 2019. Look out for notice of that extension directly from GMR but, if you have not received it, you may want to reach out to them before the end of the month.

And watch for the agenda of the FCC meeting on September 26. That agenda should be released next week, and we will see what broadcast items may be on it just in time for the Radio Show at the end of the month. Plenty of issues to keep broadcasters busy. As always, check with your legal advisor to make sure that there are no other legal issues that may affect your station’s operations.

More September Regulatory Dates – Effective Date of New Application Fees, Filing Deadline for TV Shared Services Agreements, Lowest Unit Rate For September Election and Reminder on Repacking Requirements

And, here are a few more issues to consider in September. Plus, the FCC on August 27, reminded repacked TV stations of all of the requirements for TV stations involved in the repacking of the TV band following the Incentive Auction which, as we noted in our post yesterday, formally begins this month.

Another date is the effective date for a general increase in FCC application fees – those fees that commercial broadcasters pay every time they file an application for a construction permit, approval of a purchase or sale of a station, a license renewal, an STA or many other requests for FCC action. As we wrote here, the FCC recently announced that the fees were going up to reflect inflation. Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that those new fees are effective on September 4. So commercial stations filing applications on September 4 or afterward need to remember to pay the new fees, or risk having their applications returned.

Another obvious date is the first day of the Lowest Unit Rate window for the November election. 45 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election, political candidates (whether Federal, state or local – see our post here) can only be charged the lowest unit rate that any commercial advertiser is paying for advertising spots of the same class that are running during the same time period. See our articles here and here for more information about the lowest unit charge window which, for the November election, starts on September 7. For more information about political broadcasting rules generally, see our Political Broadcasting Guide.

A somewhat less obvious date is the deadline for filing TV shared services agreements. In its 2017 order reconsidering the FCC’s decision in its last Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules, the FCC decided to retain the previously announced requirement that TV stations file shared services agreements with the FCC. We wrote about that obligation here, addressing the broad definition that the FCC gave to a shared services agreement. The FCC gave stations 180 days to comply for any agreements that were already in effect at the time the new rule became effective (new agreements being required to be filed “in a timely fashion” once entered into). Time flies, and that 180-day deadline is now upon us, on September 19.

Finally, the FCC on Monday released a Public Notice setting out all the deadlines that must be met by TV stations that are being repacked following the Incentive Auction. With September 14 starting the testing period for TV stations assigned to move to their new channels in Phase 1 of the repacking, this notice is very timely. The notice talks about the deadlines in the transition and the various notices and public education requirements that stations early in the repacking schedule should be contemplating right now. The Public Notice also notes that any Phase 1 station that is unlikely to meet the required November 30 deadline for completion of their transition to their new channel must file an extension by September 4.

So add these to the list of September dates that we gave you yesterday, as well as any other specific deadline that may apply to your own station, and you can see that the academic year will begin with a bang. Get ready for a busy month ahead!

 

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.