Category Archives: MAPB

WKAR Gifts Digital Playtime Pads to Kindergartners

Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Soon, a thousand Lansing kindergartners will literally have an exciting new education tool in their hands thanks to WKAR and MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

WKAR Director of Broadcasting and General Manager Susi Elkins talking with students at Kendon Elementary School in Lansing. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

On November 13, kindergarteners at Lansing’s Kendon Elementary received the first batch of Playtime Pads, which are 7-inch Android tablets, available at retailers.

The Playtime Pad Research Project studies the effectiveness of tablet-based learning in early childhood math literacy. The pads used in the study include preloaded PBS KIDS educational game apps, but are also customized to include a special math game study app, designed by PBS KIDS software developers, in consultation with MSU early childhood education researchers. The app includes a mix of math games.

“We are honored to be working with the Lansing School District on this exciting outreach program and tablet-based learning study,” said Susi Elkins, Director of Broadcasting and General Manager at WKAR Public Media, which is housed in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “This project brings quality PBS educational games and programming from the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad to Lansing kindergartners through new technology that children love, and allows us to strengthen the community connection between MSU, WKAR and the Lansing schools.”

Prabu David, MSU ComArtSci Dean; Susi Elkins, WKAR Director of Broadcasting and General Manager; and Robert Floden, MSU College of Education Dean. Photo credit: Amanda Pinckney / WKAR-MSU

Amy Parks, associate professor of teacher education, and Laura Tortorelli, assistant professor of teacher education, will lead the research. They will collect anonymous data from the app, from periodic surveys of parents and teachers and from LSD’s AIMSWEB testing program.

The study is unique because widely available PBS KIDS math apps will be tested for effectiveness, Parks said. Most studies of this kind are based on specially designed applications rather than what is publicly available.

“Our goal is to see what teachers choose to do with the tablets and look at the impact on student learning,” Parks said. “We expect there will be variation in how engaging various applications are, as well as variation in the extent to which these applications impact learning. We also expect applications will impact different kids in different ways.”

In addition to the research component of the project, the partnership gives teachers, parents and students access to the latest technology and PBS KIDS digital learning tools.

The Lansing School District is the largest public school district in mid-Michigan, with 17 elementary schools.

“This project is about partnerships,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “MSU, WKAR, Lansing schools and PBS KIDS have come together to empower our students, families and teachers by introducing a new technology in the classroom. I’m excited about the possibilities these tablets offer for instruction and research.”

Funding for the project is provided by the National Science Foundation, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, WKAR Public Media, Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at MSU and the Lansing Rotary Foundation.


Tom Szczepanski Appointed DPTV COO

Tom Szczepanski

Tom Szczepanski has been named Chief Operating Officer of Detroit Public Television.

Szczepanski’s appointment to the new position is effective immediately, said Marty Fischhoff, director of communications for DPTV.  He will oversee all aspects of the station’s operations, including developing growth strategies.

Duties of the COO role had been handled by the executive vice president of productions and operations Jeff Forster, who left the role last year but continued on as an adviser. The role has since expanded to include more responsibilities.

Szczepanski, 58, has been assistant vice president of development at the University of Michigan since 2010. There, he led marketing for the school’s $4 billion fundraising campaign. Before that, he worked in advertising for 25 years with management roles at J. Walter Thompson, BBDO, Ross Roy and other agencies. He also worked for the Detroit Free Press in advertising sales and marketing research.

He is a native of metro Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy graduate.

“With Tom joining the DPTV team, we are even better positioned to tell the story of Detroit, which we believe is, today, the most important city in America,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of DPTV.

The 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act

Via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

President Johnson signing the Public Broadcasting Act. Source: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Fifty years ago, on November 7, 1967, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act, legislation that created America’s public broadcasting system. In signing the legislation, President Johnson expressed the hope that one day, public television and radio stations would satisfy “America’s appetite for excellence” and “enrich man’s spirit.”

The Public Broadcasting Act created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which today supports nearly 1,500 public media stations across the country, including Michigan Radio, by distributing federal funding amounting to roughly $1.35 per citizen, per year. The legislation helped usher in a new era of independent, non-commercial media dedicated to public service and education.

Former WUOM-FM (Ann Arbor) General Manager Edwin Burrow and Program Director Jerrold Sandler played pivotal roles in ensuring that funding for public radio was included in the Public Broadcasting Act, which was originally written just for public television. Those efforts helped ensure the financial future of both National Public Radio and the hundreds of local stations that make up the public radio system today. You can read more about how the Public Television Act became the Public Broadcasting Act in this 2005 story from Current.


Michigan Radio Brings ‘Stateside’ to East Lansing

Via Steve Chrypinski, Michigan Radio

A photo from Stateside’s live show in Detroit in 2016.

Michigan Radio’s (WUOM-FM/WFUM-FM/WVGR-FM) daily talk show, Stateside, hosted by Cynthia Canty, travels to East Lansing today, November 2, for a special live show from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

The show will be recorded in front of a live audience at the Kellogg Center auditorium on the Michigan State University campus. Segments from the live show will be broadcast during future Stateside programs in the upcoming weeks.

Among the scheduled guests on the show will be longtime Lansing mayor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and “America’s Angriest Mayor” Virg Bernero who will discuss his legacy, the strides Lansing has made and the challenges that remain. Other topics discussed on the show will be an MSU program that trains veterans in beekeeping, new ideas for teaching from a Michigan Hall of Fame teacher, why Lansing is a landing spot for so many refugees, and a look at state politics with It’s Just Politics hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta. The show will also feature live music provided by the LCC Constellations Jazz Sextet.

WNMU’s Walton on Candidate Forum Panel

Nicole Walton

On October 24, WNMU-FM (Marquette) News Director Nicole Walton participated on a media panel along with representatives from the Marquette Mining Journal and WLUC-TV for a candidate forum between two candidates: Democrat Sara Cambensey and Republican Rich Rossway.  Both are running for the 109th District State Representative seat formerly held by John Kivela who died earlier this year.

The forum aired on both WNMU-TV & FM as well as WLUC-TV.

WCMU Presents “Ask The DNR”

On Thursday Night, October 19, WCMU Public Television continues their long-running “Ask The Experts” series with a program featuring guests from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

The live-hour program allows viewers to ask anonymous questions to the in-studio DNR specialists. Viewers can call, Tweet or Facebook questions to the show.  The show airs at 7:30 p.m.

Upcoming episodes of the show include:

Thursday, October 26, 2017 “Ask The Realtors”
Thursday, November 2, 2017 “Ask The Home Energy Specialists”
Thursday, November 9, 2017 “Ask The Veterans”
Thursday, November 16, 2017 “Ask The Financial Planners”

The station also has an archive of past programs available in its website.

WGVU Presents Fall Fund Raiser

WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) will hold their annual “Food, Wine and All that Jazz” fundraiser October 27.  Supporters can enjoy samples from over 400 of the finest domestic wines and beers along with gourmet food selections all for one ticket price.

The event will take place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and will also feature live jazz.

For more information on the event, click here.

WKAR Announces NewsTalk and New Programming

WKAR Public Media from Michigan State University has announced the launch of WKAR NewsTalk, a fresh radio lineup of new shows and longtime favorites for newshounds, talk radio junkies and global citizens of Michigan’s Capital Region.

WKAR NewsTalk is heard on AM 870 during daylight hours and streaming around the clock on New additions to the schedule are Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, This American Life,
Hidden Brain and It’s Been a Minute.

“There’s a growing audience for fact-based news and reasoned talk that explores the complex issues we face today,” said Peter Whorf, WKAR Radio Station Manager. “This new lineup showcases the journalistic excellence of the BBC and NPR, combined with the analysis and deep-dive conversations of brand new programs such as Shankar Vedantam’s Hidden Brain and Sam Sanders’ It’s Been a Minute. I’m especially eager to share with our listeners the
premieres of NPR’s newest offerings.”

The nation’s best mix of classical music, plus local and NPR news, continues to be heard on 90.5 FM in the Capital Region. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and This American Life have also been added to the 90.5 FM schedule.

This American Life presents news stories on a weekly theme, with an occasional comedy routine thrown in. The show airs on WKAR NewsTalk Saturdays at noon and on 90.5 FM Fridays at 6 p.m.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is NPR’s weekly hour-long quiz program, hosted by Peter Sagal. Each week listeners test their knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what’s real news and what’s made up. The show airs on WKAR NewsTalk Sundays at 2 p.m. and on 90.5 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m.

It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders provides an irreverent, casual space for listeners trying to keep up with the pace of current events. Sanders talks with journalists, newsmakers, and listeners about news, popular culture, and the internet — stories big and small, about all subjects, with equal vigor and interest. The show airs on WKAR NewsTalk Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 8 p.m.

Hidden Brain uses science and storytelling to help curious people understand the world, current events and themselves. Hosted by popular Morning Edition contributor Shankar Vedantam, the show airs on WKAR NewsTalk Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

WKAR NewsTalk continues to be the Capital Region destination for BBC Newshour, BBC World, Current State with Reginald Hardwick, Current Sports with Al Martin, Ondas En Español with El Chayo, plus Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Listeners in East Lansing and Meridian Township can now tune in to WKAR NewsTalk 24 hours day, thanks to an FCC project aimed at enabling AM stations to broadcast at night using FM translators. For those in range (an estimated 50,000 listeners) the service can be heard on 94.5 FM.

WNMU to Hold Community Open House

Northern Michigan University’s WNMU-FM and TV (Marquette) is holding a community open house of their facilities on September 23.  Listeners are viewers can:

  • Come behind the scenes at WNMU, meet the staff and tour the Public Radio 90 & Public TV 13 studios that you help make possible.
  • Tour the Center for Teaching & Learning.
  • See the Olson Library renovation plans and check out the new Digital Media Tutoring Center.
  • Enjoy bagels and books and a local author visit for family time.
  • Share some lovin’ with the Superiorland Pet Partners therapy dogs.
  • Learn about the historical documents that the NMU Archives holds.
  • And more!

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Media Sandbox, WKAR Awarded $500K from MSUFCU

A collective $500,000 has been awarded to the Media Sandbox and WKAR from the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union  to support and engage the mid-Michigan and Spartan communities and provide new learning opportunities.

“Funding from MSUFCU offers students in the Media Sandbox new opportunities for experiential learning,” said Prabu David said, dean of MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences’ (ComArtSci).  “Street Teams will help nonprofit organizations communicate their services and needs to the people they serve.”

WKAR, already well-known for its strong schedule of early childhood educational programming, has also received $250,000 from MSUFCU over a 5-year period. With these funds, WKAR will lead children’s media research and content creation, and continue offering experiential learning opportunities for ComArtSci students.

“This is a transformative gift for WKAR, allowing us to advance our educational efforts in support of schools, parents, caregivers and children in our community,” said Susi Elkins, general manager and director of broadcasting for WKAR. “We are grateful to MSUFCU for their commitment to education and their belief in our ability to make a difference with their support.”

“No other college or unit on campus has access to the community like WKAR,” said Julie Sochay, WKAR content and community engagement manager. “With four TV stations, two radio stations, a website and digital streaming, WKAR is part of what makes Michigan’s Capital Region a vibrant community.”

Consistently a leader in academics and media, the station often employs ComArtSci students for help behind the scenes with their news, radio and television programs. The station works with up to 60 students each year.

“The funding from MSUFCU will allow WKAR to expand this opportunity to even more ComArtSci students,” Sochay said.

In addition, the funds will allow WKAR to continue engaging the local community with its original programming.

“WKAR has a long history of community engagement based on a strong schedule of early childhood educational programs,” Sochay said . “The MSUFCU gift will allow WKAR to grow our new WKAR Family educational platform, to offer more programming, content and a focus backed by academic research and real world applications.”