Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

Northern Michigan TV Station Named Nationwide “Station of the Year”

Eric Wotila (center) accepts WMNN’s award from ATBA representatives

WMNN-LD (Lake City-Cadillac), MI News 26, Michigan’s only 24/7 local news channel, was named LPTV Station of the Year and took home three additional national awards at the annual National Association of Broadcasters Expo — known as NAB Show — in Las Vegas this week.

The station was judged against others across the country for the title of LPTV Station of the Year, with the award given based on criteria including innovative local programming, strong community involvement and involvement with local non-profits.

In addition to taking home the Station of the Year award, MI News 26 was awarded “Best TV Public Service Announcement” for a PSA produced for the Wexford Missaukee Career Technical Center’s Adult Career Training Program, “Best TV Promotional Campaign” for promotion of its high school sports broadcasts, and “Best Mixed Media Campaign” for promotion of its weather team both on TV and on the radio.

The awards were presented to MI News 26 General Manager Eric Wotila during the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance’s LPTV Day at NAB Show, the nation’s largest broadcasting conference, held each April in Las Vegas.

“I’m honored that MI News 26 received the title of ‘Station of the Year’ among several other awards during LPTV Day at NAB Show,” said Wotila, “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.

Dish Network Teams with Sinclair, Nexstar on ATSC 3.0 Test

In a significant convergence of wireless and broadcast technologies, DISH Network has successfully trialed the transmission and reception of the new broadcast ATSC 3.0 standard as part of the Spectrum Consortium, LLC’s (Spectrum Co.’s) “Next Gen” deployment project in Dallas, Texas. Using its 700 MHz E Block spectrum (former broadcast TV channel 56), DISH deployed on Spectrum Co.’s Garland, Texas, Single Frequency Network (SFN) site, as part of the country’s first major market conversion to the Next Gen broadcast standard. Spectrum Co. is a consortium of broadcasters leading the transition to ATSC 3.0.

“We’re seeking innovative ways of bringing next generation technologies and services, like ATSC 3.0, to American consumers,” said Tom Cullen, DISH executive vice president of Corporate Development. “This trial helps us not only pursue opportunities with ‘Next Gen’ TV technology, but also identify synergies with our IoT and future 5G plans, for example broadcasting data to connected cars.”

DISH’s 700 MHz E Block is uniquely positioned to provide coverage to 95 percent of the license areas in the U.S. Additionally, DISH’s uplink spectrum assets could be used to provide a unique, dedicated reverse link channel for broadcast data applications.

John Hane, Spectrum Co. President, said, “We are thrilled that one of the most innovative companies in telecom and media has joined Nexstar, Sinclair, Univision and American Tower in our Dallas SFN project. DISH’s involvement underscores that ATSC 3.0 is much more than the most transformational upgrade of broadcast television technology in history. It’s the foundation of a robust new ecosystem of advanced services. The wireless economy is quickly outgrowing one-size-fits-all solutions. We look forward to working with DISH, broadcasters and others to bring exciting new capabilities online.”

ATSC 3.0 technology will provide multiple benefits to consumers including dramatically improved over-the-air reception, immersive audio, deep-indoor reception, mobile reception, targeted programming/advertising, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting.

Spectrum Co. is defining the requirements of the Dallas SFN deployment project. Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) and American Tower Corporation (NYSE: AMT), working within a memorandum of understanding that will help shape future joint activity, have deployed and are commissioning multiple sites that will support multiple channels as part of this SFN network. Two 6 MHz channels have been committed by market broadcasters (Univision and Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation) to Next Gen service transmission infrastructure that will also accommodate DISH’s licensed E-Block spectrum. DISH is participating in this important Spectrum Co. project, and will be able to share in and benefit from the understanding that evolves during the operation of this pilot deployment.

Vendor partners in the Dallas “Next Gen” rollout include: Hitachi COMARK (transmitters), ATEME (encoders), Enesys (gateway resource scheduler), Digicap (ESG and signaling), Dielectric (band-pass-filters, transmission line and antennae), Monroe Electronics (EAS Digital Alert Systems), TestTree (monitoring and control), Acrodyne Services (integration), ONE Media (configuration and design) and Progira (SFN coverage modeling).

MSU Asks Broadcasters to Fill Out Survey on Voice Disorders

The Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University has asked Michigan’s radio and television stations for their assistance with a study on work-related conditions associated with voice disorders among broadcasters.

In reaching out to the MAB, Research Associate Lady Catherine Cantor Cutiva writes:  “Broadcasters have been identified, among occupational voice users, as part of the group with high vocal demands in terms of voice quality. Nevertheless, there is a dearth of studies on the occurrence and work-related factors of voice symptoms that would impact their voice quality.

It has been suggested that a higher occurrence of voice disorders among occupational voice users (such as teachers, singers, call center workers, and broadcasters) may be partially associated with work-related conditions, such as prolonged periods of work-related voice use (vocal load), and noise levels and acoustic conditions at the workplaces. While a large number of studies have examined the influence of work-related factors on voice production among occupational voice users, few have looked at the effect among broadcasters specifically.

Therefore, this survey was designed to explore perceptions of voice function, work-related factors and possible consequences of voice disorders among broadcasters. The results of this survey can give us an insight on the work-related communicative profile of this occupational group.”

Please help MSU by filling out the survey here.

MAB on the Road Hosting “Snack & Learns”

MAB at Entercom/Detroit on April 11.

T​he MAB staff has been hitting the road and visiting with stations across the state!  During the visit, MAB discusses all the services provided to members!​

Contact ​Jacquelen Timm  today to ​ schedule a Snack and Learn with the MAB!

​Upcoming Snack and Learns will be held at:
  • iHeart Media, Detroit
  • ​WOOD-TV Grand Rapids
  • WLNS & WLAJ-TV,  Lansing
  • Townsquare Media, Lansing

WWMN-FM (Thompsonville) Sold from One Mitten to Another

Todd Mohr’s Mitten Media, LLC has filed an application with the FCC to sell its WWMN-FM (Thompsonville) to Mitten News, LLC for $275,000.  Mitten News, LLC is owned by Jon Yob and also operates WJML-AM (Petoskey) and WJML-AM (Kingsley).

The application was filed April 10. WWMN most recently was simulcasting the AAA format of WMTE-FM (Manistee).

Mitten News began simulcasting its talk-formatted WJML-AM on the WWMN on April 1 under an LMA.

WOMC Announces JoAnne Purtan As Co-Host Of New Morning Show

JoAnne Purtan

WOMC-FM (Detroit), which recently announced the arrival of former WXYZ-TV anchor Stephen Clark, has now announced a new morning show: “WOMC Mornings With Stephen Clark and JoAnne Purtan.” 

The show began this past Monday, April 9.

“We are thrilled that JoAnne is part of the new WOMC Morning Show. In addition to being a widely respected journalist, she is an integral part of the Detroit community,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Detroit. “JoAnne’s father, Dick Purtan, is a huge part of the heritage of WOMC and it’s exciting to have a Purtan back at the station.”

“After 27 years in television news, I’m excited for this new adventure in radio. I listened to my dad on the radio for much of my life, and I’m truly humbled to be at the same station where he spent the last 15 years of his iconic career entertaining people in the morning,” noted Purtan. “Stephen and I have always worked so well together, and we’re so excited to team up again. After covering a lot of serious news through the years, we look forward to spending mornings with Detroit’s listeners, sharing good news, great music and some fun.”

“JoAnne and I have worked together for nearly two decades and I’m looking forward to starting this new adventure with her,” said Stephen Clark. “I can’t think of a smarter, more professional, more capable partner.”

Before joining Entercom, Purtan worked with WXYZ-TV for 20 years and was most recently the anchor of the noon and 4:00 p.m. “The Now Detroit” newscasts. Purtan is the recipient of four Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Midwestern Broadcasting Hosts Industry Night for Technical Students

Midwestern Broadcasting (Traverse City) General Manager Chris Warren reports that like many in the industry, they’ve been searching for engineering talent for several years with little luck. So the company decided to host a “happy hour” themed event for area youth and young adults enrolled in computer-networking/engineering classes at local Northwestern Michigan College and Traverse City High School Vocational programs.

The event was held on April 8.

Warren reports that the event was a success, with nearly 70 excited students showing up at their facilities to get introduced to, and educated about, the mechanical intricacies of a radio operation.

He adds: “We were hopeful to get a few participants interested in an apprenticeship with us. We got nearly 20. After interviews, we were happy to select a promising young student, skilled in computer technology and mechanical engineering, who was so excited to have gotten the chance to tour our facilities, and now even more excited to get fully exposed to the maintenance of our facilities.”

Warren’s advice: “Broadcasters who find themselves in need of engineering may also wish to engage with faculty at their local high schools/colleges.”

WSJM’s Phil McDonald Celebrates 30 Years!

(L-R) Rep. Kim LaSata, WSJM’s Phil McDonald

Last week, WSJM-AM/FM (St. Joseph/Benton Harbor) Sports Director Phil McDonald celebrated his 30th anniversary with Mid-West Family Broadcasting. As congratulations came in for WSJM’s hardest-working sports guy, state Representative Kim LaSata stopped by Phil’s morning show Friday to present him with a special tribute coming out the state House.

LaSata thanked Phil for all of his hard work on behalf of southwest Michigan schools and athletes. Phil broadcasts countless local sporting events each year, and has given him the chance to interview Tiger Woods, hang out with Sparky Anderson, and call the recent Benton Harbor Tigers basketball championship game.

Phil was saluted this week by a long list of dignitaries for his 30 years with WSJM. He told WSJM News that he started out as a part-time board operator back when WSJM wasn’t even doing sports.

Entercom’s WWJ-AM NAB Crystal Award Winner

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced the 10 winners of the Crystal Radio Awards. Included is WWJ-AM (Detroit), the Entercom-owned all-news station.

Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. The 2018 NAB Crystal Radio Award recipients listed below were chosen among 50 finalists who were honored at today’s We Are Broadcasters Celebration.

Here is the nationwide list of winners:

WWJ-AM, Detroit, Michigan
KFOR-AM, Lincoln, Nebraska
WHKO-FM, Dayton, Ohio
KGSR-FM, Austin, Texas
WINS-AM, New York City, New York
KTAR-FM, Phoenix, Arizona
WSOY-AM, Decatur, Illinois
KTTS-FM, Springfield, Missouri
WTMX-FM, Chicago, Illinois
KXLG-FM, Watertown, South Dakota

NAB Crystal Radio Award finalists were chosen by a panel of judges representing broadcasting, community service organizations and public relations firms. Finalists were honored and winners announced April 10 at the We Are Broadcasters Celebration, where Chairman Pai delivered remarks about local radio and television stations’ vital role in communities and ongoing commitment to innovation that enables broadcasters to better serve listeners and viewers. Also at the event, five-time NAB Crystal Award recipient WTOP-FM was honored with the NAB Crystal Heritage Award.

Original ‘Voice of the Huskies’ Bob Olson Passed Away

Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Famer, and the original “Voice of the Huskies,” Bob Olson passed away on March 3 in Middletown, Conn., he was 87.

Olson was known as the Dean of Broadcasters in all of college hockey and did hockey play-by-play for 32 seasons until his retirement after the 2000-01 season, according to a MichiganTechHuskies.com press release.

While he started broadcasting Huskies sports with men’s basketball and football,  a lengthy meeting with legendary hockey coach John MacInnes led to hockey’s addition to the WMPL lineup. Olson called his first Husky hockey game on November 13, 1970.

Olson is the originator of the WMPL College Hockey Poll—the first of its kind in the nation. WMPL also served as the clearinghouse for all of the country’s college hockey scores with its call-in score service run by Bob and his wife, Edda. She preceded him in death in 2000.

A true community-minded individual, Olson served as president of the Michigan Tech Blueline Club (1987-91), as a member of the Michigan Tech Community Advisory Committee, on Tech’s Sports Promotion Committee (1987-92), and on the Hockey Coach Search Committee (1992).

Olson was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. He also received the Otto Breitenbach WCHA Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and the American Hockey Coaches Association Jim Fullerton Award in 1996 for someone “who gave as much as he received and never stopped caring about the direction in which our game was heading.”

The press box at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena is named in his honor. The Bob Olson Broadcast Center was dedicated during Winter Carnival 2001. The Tech men’s basketball team hands out yearly the Bob Olson Award to the team’s top newcomer.

 A memorial service for Olson will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 19 at The Church of the Resurrection in Hancock, Mich.