Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WPHM’s Caleb Gordon Goes on a UP Tour

Left: Caleb with Marquette Mayor Fred Stonehouse at WMQT/WZAM. Right: Delta County EDA director TJ Thomas with Caleb at WYKX/WDBC.

 

A collage of the places highlighted in the interviews.

Caleb Gordon, News & Program Director for Liggett Communication’s WPHM-AM (Port Huron) visited two MAB member stations in the Upper Peninsula in May to gather interviews for his station’s local morning talk show.

Gordon visited Taconite Broadcasting’s WMQT and WZAM in Marquette and Aurora Media’s WYKX and WDBC in Escanaba to meet with local leaders and station personalities. The interviews were played back on June 10 when Gordon filled in for WPHM’s Paul Miller that morning.

Among the guests featured were Marquette’s mayor, a manager from Travel Marquette, Delta County’s Economic Development Alliance Director, the president of the Delta County Historical Society, and personalities from both Taconite Broadcasting and Aurora Media. Interviews from the UP tour can be found on WPHM’s podcast page and are dated June 10th.

Caleb thanks WMQT’s Jim Koski and WDBC’s Craig Woerpel for helping to line up guests and Aurora Media’s Todd Mohr for his hospitality!

All photos courtesy of Caleb Gordon.  Thanks for sharing!

WEMU Wins Best of Washtenaw Honors

Ann Arbor-based Current Magazine, an arts, food, business and music, publication for Washtenaw County just concluded its 2019 Best of Washtenaw contest, as voted by readers.  Best radio station award went to Eastern Michigan University’s jazz-formatted WEMU-FM (Ypsilanti).

Voting ended April 19 and winners were announced June 3.  Congratulations to Molly Motherwell,  Michael Jewett, Patrick Campion, David Fair and staff!

Bruce Goldsen Elected Radio Board Second Vice Chair

Bruce Goldsen

Elections were held at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, June 11-12 in Washington and Michigan’s own Bruce Goldsen, President/Co-owner of Jackson Works, Inc., was elected Radio Board Second Vice Chair.

Also at the meeting, Jordan Wertlieb, President, Hearst Television, Inc., was elected chairman of the NAB Joint Board of Directors, NAB announced today. Wertlieb takes over from Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Media Group, whose term expired.

David Santrella, president of Broadcast Media, Salem Media Group, was elected Radio Board chair by the NAB Radio Board. Randy Gravely, president and CEO, Tri State Communications Inc., was elected Radio Board first vice chair.

Alfred Liggins, CEO and president, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee.

Emily Barr, president and CEO, Graham Media Group, was elected as NAB Television Board chair. Ralph Oakley, president and CEO, Quincy Media, Inc., was elected as TV Board first vice chair, and Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO, Nexstar Media Group, Inc., was elected TV Board second vice chair.

Brandon Burgess, chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks, was appointed to the designated TV network seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee.

WILX Teams Up with United Way for Diaper Drive

WILX Multi-media Journalist Megan Hiler


Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing) has teamed up with Capital Area United Way
to assist with the organization’s Diaper Drive to help low-income families who can’t afford to buy diapers for their children.

Baby and adult diapers, along with wipes can be donated until June 21, but diapers will be accepted until the end of the month.

The diaper drive will take any and all sizes and brands.

United Ways across the nation engage volunteers to help others on June 21 through their annual Day of Action.

This year they have partnered with LAFCU and the Lansing Ignite.

Items can be dropped off at all LAFCU locations (through June 20) or you can text uwdiaper to 41444 and make a monetary donation. That money will be used to buy diapers and add them to the drive.

Last year, over 12,000 diapers were collected. The drive goes until Friday, June 21.

Beasley Media Grows in Detroit with Purchase of WDMK

Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. announced June 10 that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WDMK-FM and three translators in Detroit from Urban One for $13.5 million in cash. Excluding one-time transaction costs, the acquisition of WDMK-FM is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the Company’s leverage. Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.

Beasley currently owns and operates WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM and WMGC-FM in the Motor City.

Beasley’s acquisition of WDMK-FM is complementary to the Company’s three existing radio stations and digital operations in the Detroit market, the thirteenth largest designated marketing area in the country, and reflects the Company’s long-term focus on premium local programming and content.

Commenting on the proposed transaction, Caroline Beasley, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit. Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.”

“We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders. The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30 percent revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”

“Consistent with Beasley’s disciplined approach to growing our platform, the acquisition of WDMK-FM is expected to be immediately accretive to free cash flow, excluding one-time transaction costs, and with our strong balance sheet, we will continue to have the financial flexibility to make additional return-focused growth investments, while further reducing leverage and returning capital to shareholders.”

“We look forward to realizing the strategic benefits of the WDMK-FM transaction in 2020 as we continue to advance our initiatives focused on leveraging our premium local programming and brands, while aggressively rolling out our digital offerings and distribution capabilities to reinforce and grow Beasley’s leadership position across all audio platforms in our markets. This approach will enable us to deliver great local content to listeners while creating an even stronger marketing platform for local businesses.”

The transaction, expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019, is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval and other customary closing conditions. The proposed transaction was brokered by Michael Bergner.

It is reported in the trade press that Urban One plans to continue its LMA with WGPR-FM until the end of 2019.

Congressman Tim Walberg Presents WLEN with National Award for Community Service

WLEN News Director Ian Wendt; director of sales and digital engagement, Ashley Gonzalez; president, Julie Koehn; and Congressman Tim Walberg. (Courtesy of WLEN.com)

Congressman Tim Walberg (R-7) presented WLEN Radio with the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation’s  Service to Community Award on Tuesday evening (6/11) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Lenawee  Broadcasting’s WLEN-FM (Adrian) was recognized for its based annual “Thank a Vet” effort.

“I was proud to recognize the WLEN team, led by Julie Koehn, and congratulate them for earning this prestigious national award,” Congressman Walberg said in a press statement.

“At the foundation of building a strong community is honoring the promises we have made to our veterans. WLEN has done exceptional work in raising money for local veterans, including those who are homeless. For all of us who call Lenawee County home, we’re grateful for WLEN’s commitment to giving back to the community.”

Each Veteran’s Day, WLEN’s “Thank a Vet” program raises funds to offer immediate help for veterans in need. Last year, over $30,000 was raised to assist veterans in Lenawee County.  More than $250,000 has been raised since effort began.

WLEN Holds 6th Annual PSA Contest

L-R) Kay Ross, Customer Service Specialist at Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority. Mariah McKinney, 1st place winner; Adrian Public Schools. Suzanne Miller, Assistant Vice President – Marketing at TLC Community Credit Union. Kathy Williams, Senior Marketing Specialist at WLEN.

Lenawee Broadcasting’s WLEN-FM (Adrian) has announced winners in its 6th Annual PSA Contest.  With the theme of “How do you envision a world of kindness that would: reduce suicide, reduce drug use or reduce bullying,” students in classes, groups and organizations all across Lenawee County were challenged to create public service announcements in audio or video around this theme. The entries were judged on line by the entire community. The contest was open to Lenawee students aged 12 to 20.

In 1st Place and receiving a $1,000 scholarship from Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority was Mariah McKinney (Adrian Public Schools); in second place was Paige Lemay Smith (Onsted Public Schools), the winner of a $300 gift card from TLC Community Credit Union; and in third place was Brandt Brown (Clinton Community Schools), the winner of a $200 gift card from TLC Community Credit Union.

The winner’s PSAs will be airing on the station as well as the WLEN website for the remainder of 2019. This project was undertaken to bring awareness to issues affecting our youth in school and in our community, and was generously supported in by the Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority and TLC Community Credit Union.

Cadillac’s NewsNet Launches In New York, Los Angeles; Adds 23 Affiliates in 5 Months

After 5 months on-air, America’s newest 24/7 news channel now reaches the top 3 TV markets in the country, and is continuing to expand its reach nationwide.

NewsNet, based in Cadillac, Michigan, launched January 1 as a subchannel on 18 TV stations across the country. Launch markets included Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Detroit, and the network has quickly expanded its reach since it launched. In April, NewsNet debuted on KFLA channel 8.1 in Los Angeles, and last month NewsNet was added to WJLP channel 33.6 in New York City. The diginet is now on-air in 6 of the country’s top 10 markets, with a total of 36 affiliates now carrying the network nationwide. Five additional stations have committed to carrying it in the coming weeks, and NewsNet is finalizing affiliation agreements with several other stations as well.

“We’re thrilled to be working with WJLP and KFLA as we continue to expand our reach,” said Eric Wotila, President of NewsNet, “Thanks to these stations and our many other affiliates, our network can now be received via antenna in over 25% of households nationwide.”

NewsNet targets cord-cutters, aiming to bring 24-hour-news to a growing audience that doesn’t want to pay for cable or satellite. The network follows a traditional “news wheel” format providing a quick look at the headlines every half hour, without the talk and opinion-based programming that’s become common on most 24-hour news channels.

“We’ve found that there’s a strong demand for no-nonsense, straight-to-the-facts reporting, and that’s what we’re delivering,” explained Wotila. That format is proving successful for the diginet, leading to its rapid expansion not just in its number of affiliates, but in its own infrastructure as well. Last month, NewsNet broke ground on an addition to its Michigan-based facility, which will add three new studios and control rooms as well as additional office space. Continued growth is in the works.

“We have some great things in store later this year,” Wotila said, “and we can’t wait to show them off once our building expansion is complete.”

NewsNet is continuing to seek affiliates in markets they don’t yet reach. Stations interested in affiliating with the diginet can email [email protected] to learn more.

WWJ Afternoon Anchor Greg Bowman To Retire on July 12

Greg Bowman and Brooke Allen

Entercom’s WWJ-AM (Detroit) has announced that it’s award-winning Hall of Fame afternoon anchor Greg Bowman is retiring.

His last broadcast will be July 12.

Bowman has been delivering the news for WWJ Newsradio 950 listeners for the past 29 years. Along with anchoring, Greg has done extraordinary work as a reporter covering everything from presidential inaugurations in Washington DC to everyday educators as part of his Making the Grade feature.

Although he is retiring, Bowman will stay on as a part-time, fill-in anchor.

Among his many honors, Bowman was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Michigan Associated Press in 2012.

Bowman started his career at the University of Michigan Radio station in the 1970s. He says he saw the sign for the station and thought he’d give it a try.

“As we hear many days in the newsroom, Bowman’s humor is well-known and well-loved here at WWJ,” program director Rob Davidek said. “In the past, he has said staying in one place for most of your career gives you the hometown advantage and listeners learn to trust those who have a strong history in the community.”

Bowman’s first love is his wife and co-host Brooke Allen, and four children. His other loves are baseball and community theatre.

Brooke Allen will stay on to hold down the afternoon fort. WWJ will conduct a national search for a new afternoon co-anchor.

Brian Thomas Joins Townsquare Grand Rapids as OM

Brian Thomas

Townsquare Media/Grand Rapids has announced the addition of veteran programmer Brian Thomas as its new Operations Manager.

He’ll also oversee the company’s 17 Classic Hits stations.

Thomas’ previous posts include Program Director at WCBS-FM New York, WLS-FM Chicago, KFRC/San Francisco, WEZB (B97)/New Orleans and most recently Cumulus Media in Atlanta.

“Townsquare is excelling in local radio by investing in personality and programming, both on-air and online. This is a perfect fit for my skills and I’m thrilled to join. Thanks to Kurt Johnson and Todd Lawley for the opportunity,” said Thomas.

SVP/Programming Kurt Johnson added, “Brian’s extensive achievement across several formats and markets is well-known. His passion for local radio, music programming, building digital audience, and talent development make him a fantastic addition to the team, helping us build on our already strong local success in Grand Rapids, and taking our Classic Hits stations to the next level.”