Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WWTV/WWUP, WTCM Team Up for JOBFest

On April 3, WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac) and WTCM-FM (Traverse City) teamed up to present TC JOBfest, “the largest employee recruiting event ever held in Northern Michigan.” The event was free for job-seekers and open to the public. The media partnership offered the ability to advertise widely on both television and radio, reaching Up North audiences eager to apply for a diverse range of skilled positions.  The event was open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and was held at the Park Place Hotel and Conference Center.

Over 600 job-seekers from around the Traverse City area visited to meet local employers currently hiring for hundreds of positions, in fields ranging from construction and manufacturing to the military and the medical field.

A total of 30 area businesses were represented at this first-ever JOBfest event in Traverse City, all of which are looking to fill skilled positions with local workers.

During the event, candidates were able to connect with hiring employers and learn about employee benefits, healthcare packages, and workplace culture. There was even an open conference room at JOBfest for employers to use for interviewing exceptional applicants on-site. Northwest Michigan Works! was also present helping prospective employees write cover letters and update their resumes on the spot.

J. Steele Joins 105.1 The BOUNCE

J. Steele

Beasley Media Group, LLC; a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. announces J. Steele has been named as the new afternoon drive personality at WMGC-FM (Detroit), 105.1 The BOUNCE. He will begin his new position on April 22.

Steele most recently served as the program director and afternoon drive host at WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh.

“We are very impressed with J’s experience in this format and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit,” said 105.1 The BOUNCE Program Director John Candelaria. “His passion and skill sets are a perfect fit. The BOUNCE is fortunate to have J. on board. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.”

“When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list,” said Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards. “After having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success for 105.1 The BOUNCE.”

“This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid,” said Steele. “I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves in the Motor City for this incredible radio station. I am very grateful to John Candelaria and Mac Edwards for this opportunity to make Detroit BOUNCE!”

Mary Conway, Vickie Thomas, Kathy Barks Hoffman Welcomed Into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

Former WXYZ-TV (Detroit) reporter Mary Conway and WWJ-AM (Detroit) reporter Vickie Thomas and former “Off the Record” panelist Kathy Barks Hoffman were among seven news professionals inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at Michigan State University in East Lansing on April 14.

Mary Conway

Mary Conway spent 29 years at WXYZ reporting on local and national stories including Nelson Mandela’s visit to Detroit, the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler and the elevation of Cardinal Adam Maida in Rome. During her career, she covered every U.S. president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a reporter at WIFR in Rockford, Illinois, before joining WZZM in Grand Rapids as an anchor and reporter. Three years later she joined WXYZ and became the station’s primary automotive reporter – one of only a few women in a male-dominated field. Conway developed her passion for cars at an early age, learning from her father, who ran a gas station not far from where she grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. Her passion and knowledge of the industry led her to become one of the top automotive reporters in the city and the country.

“We are so proud of Mary Conway and this well-deserved honor,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “Mary was an incredible reporter whose work earned her the trust of top automotive executives and praise from both her colleagues and viewers.”

Vickie Thomas

Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She attended Michigan State University and graduated cum laude from Wayne State University. Since joining WWJ Newsradio 950 in 1991, she has earned from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. She also has received the national “Gabriel Award” from UNDA-USA for the WWJ Black History Month Series “The African-American Church: The Heart and Soul of Metro Detroit’s Black Community”. Thomas is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and started a scholarship and internship program for college students interested in the field of broadcast news, while serving as vice president of the local chapter. She also sits on the boards of the Midwest Aids Prevention Project (MAPP) and CASA Maria Family Services.

“For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit,” Entercom Detroit SVP/Market Manager Debbie Kenyon said. “Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.”

Kathy Barks Hoffman

Kathy Barks Hoffman currently is Vice President with PR firm Martin Waymire. She was formerly the head of AP’s Lansing Bureau and was a reporter for The Detroit News and Lansing State Journal.  She also spent many years as a panelist on public television’s “Off the Record” public affairs program. Before joining Martin Waymire, Kathy was a director in the Public Affairs Practice of Lambert, Edwards and Associates in Lansing.

In a Twitter post, Hoffman said, “I’m so honored to have been accepted this year, and to be among so many other great journalists who will be inducted this year.”

Other 2019 Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame inductees included former Lansing State Journal  reporter/columnist John Schneider, former Automotive News Publisher/Editor Peter Brown, former Detroit Free Press photographer Mary Schroeder and the late Detroit Free Press restaurant critic Sylvia Rector.

City of Norway Honors ‘The First Voice of WJNR’

Aaron Harper

On April 15, the Norway City Council recognized retired broadcast journalist Aaron Harper for his programming and community involvement with a resolution of appreciation.

Harper was the first employee and news director at WJNR-FM (Iron Mountain) and well known as “The First Voice of WJNR.”  Harper retired in January from WHTO-FM/WJNR-FM/WOBE-FM.

According to an article in the Iron Mountain Daily News, Norway City Manager Ray Anderson congratulated Harper on his “well-deserved” retirement, saying the community will miss hearing his voice in the news.  Mayor Candy Brew added, “He did a fine job for many years.  I hope he has a great retirement.”

Also planned is an Aaron Harper Day celebration on Sunday, April 28, at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway.

WXYZ Marks 100th Capture of Detroit’s Most Wanted

(L-R) Joseph Abdullah, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal; Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD, VP and GM; James Craig, Chief, Detroit Police Department; Rhonda LaVelle, WXYZ/WMYD News Director; Ann Marie LaFlamme, 7 Action News Reporter; Mark Jankowski, U.S. Marshal; Aaron Garcia, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal; Matt Conquest, Crime Stoppers of Michigan.

WXYZ-TV (Detroit) 7 Action News marked the 100th capture of “Detroit’s Most Wanted” fugitives with a daylong event and luncheon on Thursday to honor the law enforcement agencies across Metro Detroit that are working to keep the community safe.

Since the “Detroit’s Most Wanted” series began on 7 Action News nearly four years ago, 21 killers and dozens of dangerous criminals have been taken off the streets. 7 Action News reporter Ann Marie LaFlamme has worked with law enforcement agents to profile the criminals and to use tips from WXYZ viewers to help law enforcement locate and arrest fugitives. 7 Action News will feature reports on-air and on wxyz.com throughout the day profiling the lives that have been changed through “Detroit’s Most Wanted.”

(L-R) Mike Murri, WXYZ/WMYD, VP and GM; Aaron Garcia, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal.

“We want to thank our law enforcement agencies for their hard work and dedication,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ and WMYD vice president and general manager. “This partnership has allowed us to share a commitment to make our neighborhoods safer and our communities stronger. The project has changed lives, prevented additional crimes and provided justice for victims. At WXYZ, we’re proud to be part of this important effort.”

The luncheon honored U.S. Marshal Mark Jankowski, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Joseph Abdullah, Assistant Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Aaron Garcia, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (DFAT) and law enforcement members from agencies across Metro Detroit.

Columbia University’s Dart Awards Recognize ‘Believed’ Series

Michigan Radio’s Believed podcast has been awarded its first Dart Award from the prestigious Columbia School of Journalism. The Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma recognizes outstanding reporting in all media that portrays traumatic events and their aftermath with accuracy, insight and sensitivity while illuminating the effects of violence and tragedy on victims’ lives.

Episodes 6 & 7 of the series entitled, “The Parents” and “What Have You Done?” were selected as outstanding examples in the reporting of traumatic events. The awarding judges said of Believed, “[It is] a gripping tale that resonates far beyond this particular story.”

One of the series’ strongest elements highlighted by the Dart judges was the sense of relationship between the reporters and their subjects, citing the “enormous trust” that had been developed. Survivors and their parents felt secure enough to “reveal their deepest regrets and vulnerabilities” to these journalists which ultimately led to stronger storytelling. Judges called the series “incredibly in-depth” and praised the Michigan Radio podcast as “stellar,” “intimate” and “profound.”

Also honored with a Dart Award this year were NOLA.com/The Times Picayune for “The Children of Central City,” a multimedia project that tells the story of children from one neighborhood in New Orleans and the profound impacts of poverty, violence and trauma on their lives. Both winners will be recognized at a public ceremony and winners’ roundtable on May 1 at 5:30pm at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

The Believed podcast series from Michigan Radio and NPR provided an intimate look at how a team of female survivors, detectives, and prosecutors won justice in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. It was developed from the over two years of coverage of the case completed by Michigan Radio reporters. Believed was an exploration of the other side of this national scandal, that of the survivors and their families.

2019 marks the 25th Annual Dart Awards from the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma. Since 1994 the awards have recognized exemplary journalism on the impact of violence, crime and other traumatic events on individuals, families and communities. The Dart Awards are open to newspaper, magazine, online, radio, television, video and multimedia journalism from North America that goes beyond the ordinary in reporting on trauma.


Northern Michigan TV Station Receives 4 National Awards

WMNN-LD (Cadillac), MI News 26, reports that it has  received four national awards during the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance’s LPTV Day at the NAB Show, the nation’s largest broadcasting conference, held each April in Las Vegas.  The awards were presented to MI News 26 General Manager Eric Wotila.

The station was judged against others across the country in seven categories, with roughly 1,900 stations eligible to take home awards. Only one station was awarded in each category, with the awards handed out based on criteria including innovative local programming, strong community involvement and involvement with local non-profits.

MI News 26 was awarded “Best TV Special” for its coverage of the 2018 midterm elections, “Best TV Public Service Announcement” for a PSA produced for the After 26 Music Fest, “Best Mixed Media Campaign” for an advertising campaign for the Cadillac Footliters and “Best TV Promotional Campaign” for promotion of the newly-launched, Cadillac-based national news channel known as NewsNet, which now reaches nearly 24 million television households nationwide.

“I’m honored that MI News 26 once again brought home four awards this year during LPTV Day at NAB Show,” Wotila said. “Receiving recognition like this on a nationwide level reaffirms our commitment to serving northern Michigan at a level above and beyond that of any other station not just in our local viewing area, but in the entire country.”

MI News 26, based in Cadillac and broadcasting to all of northern Michigan, was the only Michigan-based TV station to receive an award at Monday’s ceremony.

‘Drew and Mike’ Returns to Detroit Airwaves

(L-R) Drew Lane and the late Mike Clark

iHeartMedia has announced that the “Drew and Mike Show” will be returning to Detroit radio after a six-year hiatus.

Drew Lane and the late Mike Clark were fixtures in the Detroit radio scene for decades. In 2016, the two started a podcast that continued their legacy. Last year however, Mike passed away at the age of 63.  Drew is bringing back the show to weekend mornings on the all new 106.7 WLLZ, Detroit’s Wheels.

The show will air Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8-11 a.m. and will include content from their podcast.  When asked about the show, Drew said, “I’m thrilled to be back on-air in a city I love. I know my friend Mike would’ve loved to be back on the air and to broadcast on the iconic 106.7 WLLZ would’ve blown his mind.”

The show will begin this weekend, April 13-14.

WLCS Sports Duo Jon Russell and Cal VanSingel Honored

(L-R) Jon Russell and Cal VanSingel.

Cumulus Media’s WLCS-FM (Muskegon) sports team Jon Russell and Cal VanSingel have been elected as the Gene Young Distinguished Service Award winners by the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame for 2019.

They will be part of the induction class to be honored during the annual MASHF banquet on June 1 at the Muskegon Country Club.

The duo have been on the Muskegon-area airwaves for more than two decades and have called more than 1,100 high school football and basketball games in total.

Russell and VanSingel became a radio team in the 1990s at the now-defunct WSHN-AM in Fremont, before moving to WLCS in the early 2000s.

Russell told MLive that the Hall of Fame recognition is a “very humbling experience.”

ATSC 3.0 Build Out Plans Announced for Top 40 Markets

At the 2019 NAB Show, a broad coalition of broadcast television station groups – including both network owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, as well as public broadcasters — today announced plans to deploy Next-Gen TV in the 40 largest U.S. TV markets by the end of 2020.

The announcement includes Fox Television Stations, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, Univision, SpectrumCo (whose members include Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group) members of the Pearl TV business organization (including Cox Media Group, The E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group and TEGNA Inc). Additional supporting broadcasters include America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), Capitol Broadcasting, Hubbard Broadcasting, News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting, and public broadcasters participating in the Phoenix Model Market Next-Gen TV test.

The market-driven effort builds on the testing and rollouts that have already taken place not only in Phoenix but in Dallas, Baltimore, East Lansing, Raleigh and Santa Barbara. It reflects the strong commitment of commercial and non-commercial broadcasters across the country to bring advanced television services to the public.

An expanded launch of Next-Gen TV will greatly enhance over-the-air services for viewers, while bringing together broadcast and broadband functionality to give audiences more content and choice. Next-Gen TV also provides groundbreaking opportunities for TV broadcasters interested in offering new features and serving new markets. Deployment of ATSC 3.0 will provide information and entertainment to ATSC 3.0-equipped television receivers, to automobiles and to other digital and mobile consumer devices.

Next-Gen TV is powered by the new Internet Protocol-based ATSC 3.0 standard, which allows consumers to integrate the most popular and pervasive video service – broadcast television – into their digital lifestyles.

This first wave of over-the-air Next-Gen TV service will begin with several markets slated for launch this year, with dozens more planned through 2020. This timeline will make Next-Gen TV service available to tens of millions of viewers and is concurrent with the anticipated 2020 introduction of consumer devices equipped to receive the advanced signals.

Subject to final engineering and required approvals, consents and FCC license modifications, the participating broadcasters have identified the first stations that will convert to ATSC 3.0 service in this rollout. Primary broadcast programming currently broadcast on the stations planning to upgrade will be hosted by other stations in their respective markets.

Top 40 Markets where the first transitioning stations have been identified (ranked by population) include:

  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Seattle-Tacoma, WA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
  • Portland, OR
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Kansas City, KS-MO
  • Columbus, OH
  • West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Austin, TX

Work is now underway to identify Next-Gen TV stations in these Top 40 markets (ranked by population), with details to follow in the coming months:

  • New York, NY
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Washington, DC
  • Boston, MA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Tampa-St.Petersburg-Sarasota, FL
  • Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN
  • Miami – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Denver, CO
  • Cleveland-Akron, OH
  • Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • San Diego, CA
  • Hartford-New Haven, CT
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Greenville-Spartanburg, SC – Asheville, NC

Additional TV markets where stations have been identified for Next-Gen TV service (ranked by population) include:

  • Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Albuquerque – Santa Fe, NM
  • Grand Rapids – Kalamazoo, MI
  • Memphis, TN
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Providence – New Bedford, RI
  • Little Rock – Pine Bluff, AR
  • Mobile, AL – Pensacola, FL
  • Albany-Schenectady – Troy, NY
  • Flint-Saginaw – Bay City, MI
  • Omaha, NE
  • Charleston – Huntington, WV
  • Springfield, MO
  • Rochester, NY
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Charleston, SC
  • Burlington, VT – Plattsburgh, NY
  • Davenport, IA – Moline, IL
  • Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – San Luis Obispo, CA

“We know consumers are excited about all the benefits ATSC 3.0 will deliver,” said Brian Markwalter, senior vice president, research and standards, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM. “And we expect CES® 2020 will feature a wide variety of reception devices – integrated 4K Ultra HD TVs, gateway receivers, portable devices and more – optimized for reception of Next-Gen TV signals.”

“Broadcasters across America will utilize the advanced capabilities of Next-Gen TV to both delight our audiences with the best entertainment while performing a valuable public service,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “One of the most compelling features of Next-Gen TV will be the life-saving alerting functions that will give our nation’s first responders the ability to use the broad reach of local television to keep viewers informed during emergencies. Our members’ news departments will come to rely on the advanced capabilities of Next-Gen TV as a resource to forge even stronger connections with the citizens we serve every day.”

Patrick Butler, President and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations:

“Public television stations see ATSC 3.0 as a boon to our public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership. The new standard will make possible advances in distance learning, emergency communications through datacasting, connectivity service to Smart Cities,

and more. We can’t wait, and we look forward to working with our colleagues in commercial broadcasting to make all this happen as soon as we can.”

Joe Di Scipio, SVP, Legal and FCC Compliance, Legal for FOX Corporation:

“ATSC 3.0 is integral to the success and longevity of our business. We are thrilled to be on the forefront of this movement with our partners in expanding the access and footprint of Next-Gen TV broadcast. This is yet another example of our commitment to innovation and our viewers.”

Emily L. Barr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Graham Media Group:

“Graham Media Group is proud of its innovative approach to serving and covering our local communities and is looking forward to working with fellow broadcasters as we adopt Next-Gen technology across our markets.”

Pat LaPlatney, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Gray Television, Inc.:

“With Gray’s focus on operating leading televisions stations with continued growth in mind, we are proud to be a part of Pearl TV and the efforts to move to the ATSC 3.0 standard. We know the advanced technology will allow us to better serve our communities with Ultra High Definition content, delivery to mobile devices, enhanced audio experiences, and emergency communications. Additionally, these efforts will lead to more sustainability for local broadcasters in the future as they continue to compete with international online and digital services. We look forward to working in our 90+ markets with other broadcasters to bring the ATSC 3.0 technology and its benefits to the viewers in our communities.”

Patrick McCreery, President of Meredith Corporation’s Local Media Group:

“We’ve seen amazing things from our involvement in the Phoenix Model Market, and we are excited to continue forward progress on ATSC 3.0 with Pearl and its partners in other large markets across the United States.”

Eric Bradley, VP of Business Development, News-Press & Gazette Company:

“News-Press & Gazette Company is encouraged to see other broadcasters join us as we ride the road to ATSC 3.0. The potential of ATSC 3.0 as lifesaving technology is a great benefit to our viewers in Santa Barbara and other NPG markets as we look to the future of television broadcasting. We are proud to serve our communities as the local source for news and information daily and at the times when it matters most!”

Perry A. Sook, Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar Media Group, Inc.:

“With a culture rooted in entrepreneurship and an overarching commitment to localism, Nexstar has long understood the importance of innovation in driving the growth and success of our business as well as the entire broadcasting industry at large. Next-Gen TV services will enable us to deliver new value and capabilities to viewers and advertisers, while creating new business opportunities to support the continued growth of our industry well into the future. That is why Nexstar is proud to join together with many other television broadcasters in an effort of unprecedented industry collaboration to facilitate the successful roll-out of ATSC 3.0 across the United States.”

Anne Schelle, Managing Director of the Pearl TV broadcast business group:

“Our Consumer Lab Research clearly shows excitement for Next-Gen TV, driving interest in broadcast TV and enhanced audio and video and interactivity. Today’s announcement helps to solve the ‘chicken or egg’ question about the introduction of new, higher-quality television services. Now consumer technology companies have a clear roadmap for Next-Gen TV, allowing them to innovate and introduce the first receivers for U.S. consumers in 2020.”

Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group:

“Sinclair is proud to join other leading broadcasters and television stations across the country to launch Next-Gen TV – the most important upgrade ever of the nation’s broadcasting infrastructure. Sinclair was instrumental in pioneering ATSC 3.0 and is committed to bringing its many benefits to consumers across the country with an aggressive rollout schedule. ATSC 3.0 allows broadcasters to combine the infinite flexibility of Internet Protocol with the unparalleled efficiency and quality of broadcast distribution. The combination will allow Sinclair and all other broadcasters to provide vastly improved television service to our communities while creating entirely new services to diversify revenue and better serve the public.”

John Hane, President of SpectrumCo:

“SpectrumCo is proud to have helped organize Next-Gen TV rollouts in many of the first wave markets announced today. Broadcasters large and small, commercial and public, from coast to coast have invested countless hours of analysis, planning and coordination to develop the rollout plans announced today. The industry is enthusiastic about the game-changing opportunities to improve the broadcast experience for consumers, better serve advertisers and subscribers, and diversify into new businesses and new sources of revenue. SpectrumCo will continue to support the industry as stations execute on these plans in 2019 and 2020.”

Dave Lougee, President and Chief Executive Officer, TEGNA Inc., representing PearlTV:

“PearlTV’s 300 local broadcasters, along with our network partners, are aligned in our support of Next-Gen TV, which opens up new opportunities and business models while ensuring that local broadcasters remain a vital and forward-looking resource in our communities. We are honored to join other broadcasters in leading the rollout of Next-Gen TV to additional markets across the country.”

John Buergler, SVP of Growth Initiatives, Univision:

”Univision is excited to continue supporting the NAB and the broadcast industry as we transition to Next Gen TV in several markets in 2020. Our partnership with the broadcasters of Pearl Group in Phoenix and the SpectrumCo group in Dallas has helped create an easily replicated template for other broadcasters to follow in many more markets in 2019 and 2020.”