Category Archives: May 2017

Michigan FCC Watch

The MAB keeps watch on FCC filings in our state.   Here’s the latest filings we’ve seen.

May 2, 2017

An application for license for cover construction permit of WNUC-LP (Detroit) was filed by North End Woodward Community Coaliation.

May 1, 2017

The FCC approved the previously-filed application of Impact Radio, LLC to increase the power of FM translator W246BW (Three Rivers). The translator rebroadcasts the company’s WRCI-AM, also licensed to Three Rivers.

Smile FM has filed an application for license to cover construction permit for noncommercial WAIR-FM (Lake City).

April 21, 2017

The FCC approved the previously-filed sale of WMKG-CD (Muskegon) from Kelley Enterprises of Muskegon, Inc. has sold low-power/class A television station WMKG-CD (Muskegon) to WMKG-TV, LLC.

The previously-filed assignment of license of WDWO-CD (Detroit) from Locuspoint WDWO Licensee, Inc. to TCT of Michigan, Inc. was approved by the FCC.

April 19, 2017

The FCC accepted for filing the application by Radio One to sell its Detroit AM station, WCHB-AM, to Crawford Broadcasting.

Family Life Broadcasting System has made application to modify the construction permit of FM translator W231CV (Holly).  Family Life intends to use the translator to rebroadcast WUFL-AM (Sterling Heights).  Also filed was an application by Family Life to make changes to FM translator W232CA (Detroit).  This translator also rebroadcasts WUFL-AM.

WOOD-TV Opens Kalamazoo Studio

New WOOD-TV Kalamazoo Studio

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids), which recently announced a new streetside studio in downtown Grand Rapids, has opened a second streetside studio, this time in Kalamazoo, to be home base for a dedicated crew that will live and work in the community.

Brad Gillum

The new Kalamazoo studio is in the Comerica Building at 151 S. Rose Streeet and features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Bronson Park. It’s equipped with cameras inside and on the roof, giving a bird’s-eye perspective of downtown.

As part of the expansion, the station has announced that Bradly Gillum has joined the station to work out of the Kalamazoo facility.

Gillum was most recently an anchor and reporter at KCWY-TV in Casper, Wyoming.  Before that, Gillum spent nearly a decade as a prosecutor and defense attorney near Denver, Colorado. Gillum will work with photojournalist Nick Ponton, a 15-year veteran of the industry who has been with WOOD-TV for seven years.

In Grand Rapids, WOOD-TV also partnered with the Grand Rapids Art Museum to create the GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center, which includes a studio overlooking Rosa Parks Circle.

“This new partnership allows 24 Hour News 8, eightWest and Maranda Where You Live to be in the heart of the city throughout the year for big events in Rosa Parks Circle,” said WOOD-TV Director of Operations Kevin Ferrara. “We’ll continue to use our market-leading, technology-driven studio in Heritage Hill as our primary home, but will broadcast the noon newscast daily from downtown.”

The GRAM WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

“24 Hour News 8 is committed to providing breaking news, weather and investigative coverage to all of West Michigan” said Dan Boers, News Director for WOOD-TV. “Our news team is expanding and we’re excited that it’ll give us a greater ability to be connected to issues that are important to the community.”

Last week the station did live broadcasts from both its new Grand Rapids downtown studio (located at the  Grand Rapids Art Museum) and the new Kalamazoo studio.

As part of the opening of its new downtown studio, the station recently looked back on 7 decades of service to Grand Rapids.  See video report here.

Michigan Recipients of 2017 Regional Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has announced its 2017 Edward R. Murrow Regional Award Winners, honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism.

Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism.

Among the winners in Region 7 are numerous Michigan broadcasters, both radio and television, commercial and noncommercial:

Small Market Radio

Hard News
Slashed Budgets Mean Less Independence for the Developmentally Disabled
Interlochen Public Radio
Interlochen, MI

News Documentary
Grandmother’s Letter from the Holocaust
Interlochen Public Radio
Interlochen, MI

News Series
Faces of Flint
East Lansing, MI

Sports Reporting
Polo is Bliss in Northern Michigan
Interlochen Public Radio
Interlochen, MI

Large Market Radio

Continuing Coverage
The Flint Water Crisis
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor, MI

Excellence in Social Media
7th District Road Trip
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor, MI

Excellence in Sound
Students Recreate the “Golden Age” of Radio – Live on Stage
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor, MI

Feature Reporting
New Life for Neglected Jewish cemetery in Detroit
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor, MI

News Documentary
Out from the Shadows: Living Undocumented
Michigan Radio
Ann Arbor, MI

Small Market Television

Continuing Coverage
Flint Water Crisis
Flint, MI

Excellence in Sound
Drumline: Heartbeat of the Band
Lansing, MI

Feature Reporting
The Fan
Lansing, MI

Flint Water Crisis Criminal Charges
Flint, MI

Large Market Television

Continuing Coverage
Flint Water Crisis
Detroit, MI

Excellence in Social Media
The Doppelganger Killings
Kalamazoo, MI

Excellence in Sound
Moving the Chapel
Detroit, MI

WDIV 5pm News – Bashara Bombshell & Flint Emails
Detroit, MI

Michigan AP Media Editors Awards Announced

Winners of the 2016 Michigan Associated Press Media Editors annual contest were announced  at ceremonies this past Sunday, April 30 in East Lansing.

Among the individual winners in various categories were public radio stations Michigan Radio (Ann Arbor), WDET-FM (Detroit), WGVU-FM (Grand Rapids) and WKAR-FM (East Lansing).

Commercial radio winners were WGHN-FM (Grand Haven), WHMI-FM (Howell) and WSGW-AM (Saginaw).

Commercial television winners included WLNS-TV (Lansing), WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac), WJRT-TV(Flint), WEYI-TV (Flint), WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids), WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo), WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) and WNEM-TV (Saginaw).

In addition, three stations were honored with the award for 2016 Outstanding News Operation:

Television II category – WLNS-TV (Lansing)
Radio I category – WDET-FM (Detroit)
Radio II category – WGVU-FM (Grand Rapids)

A complete list of individual awards is available here.



May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, ATSC 3.0 and Broadcast Deregulation

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

May is one of the few months without the normal list of quarterly filings and EEO public file reports. But, just because there are none of these regular filings due, that does not mean that the month will be a quiet one for broadcasters on the regulatory front. In fact, far from it. There are obligations for television broadcasters in connection with the incentive auction and the subsequent repacking of the TV spectrum, an FCC meeting that will start two proceedings that could dramatically reduce the regulatory burdens of broadcasters, and comments due on the FCC’s proposal for the next generation of television broadcasting.

In connection with the incentive auction, on May 11, stations that are relinquishing their channels in exchange for compensation from the FCC must file an FCC Form 1875 detailing where payments for that relinquishment will go. After that information is received and processed, the FCC will send an email to the payee asking for bank account information that must be entered into the “CORES Incentive Auction Financial Module.” Stations looking for their auction payouts need to observe these details so the FCC knows where to send their money.

In addition to these steps to ensure that relinquishing stations are properly compensated, those stations that are remaining in operation, but which will have a change in channel as part of the FCC’s compression of the TV band, may elect to forego the reimbursement of their expenses in exchange for a waiver of the TV service rules to allow these stations to offer a non-broadcast service. What exactly this means is open to some question, as all TV stations can already offer some non-broadcast services through the excess capacity provided by their digital channel. Whatever it may mean, stations choosing to take advantage of this provision of the legislation that authorized the auction must file, by May 15, a statement of intent to rely on this provision. The FCC has been urging stations thinking about such filings to contact the FCC to discuss their plans before submitting the request. For more information about upcoming deadlines for stations that are surrendering their licenses or ones that are being repacked, see the FCC’s Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice, here.

The capacity to expand their offerings of non-broadcast services is one of the benefits for TV broadcasters advanced by advocates of the new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard. The transition to the new standard was much discussed at last week’s NAB Convention, and we are sure to write more about it on these pages. But the first step is adopting rules for the service. The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, available here, sets out those proposed standards and asks a number of questions about the regulations that should apply both to the conversion to the new transmission system and to the actual operations of stations once they convert to the new standard that is adopted. Comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due on May 9, with replies to be submitted by June 8.

Also up for consideration in May, at the Commission’s May 18 meeting, are the two steps toward the further deregulation of broadcasting that we wrote about here. One is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to eliminate the main studio rule. The second is a Public Notice, starting the FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, looking at what broadcast rules should be revised or eliminated. Many broadcasters will be interested in commenting on these matters, assuming that they are adopted as proposed in the draft documents released last week.

As always, there are many other regulatory deadlines that we haven’t covered here, including some that apply to specific stations. So pay attention to those deadlines that apply to your operations to make sure that you remain in compliance with the rules that exist – and take the opportunity to comment on proposals to change rules that may impact your operations.

For more information about other upcoming regulatory dates, see our Broadcasters’ Regulatory Calendar, here.

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 membership.

Pai Moves to Modernize the FCC

Ajit Pai

According to a report in TVNewsCheck, the FCC Chair Ajit Pai announced the introduction next month of an overarching review of the commission’s broadcasting, cable and satellite rules. “Broadcasting remains an indispensable part of America’s communications landscape. And under my chairmanship, broadcasting won’t be seen as a speed bump. We’ll want to hear which rules you think should be modified or repealed as part of this review, and why.”

In a speech at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the FCC would undertake a “comprehensive” review of the 1,000 pages of broadcasting, cable and satellite TV rules with the goal of slashing or changing those that are “no longer needed or counterproductive.” Pai said a draft of the review has been sent to the other commissioners with the expectation that the FCC would vote to order the review at the FCC’s next meeting on May 18.

Bill to Give Student Journalists More Autonomy

State Representative Darrin Camilleri (D-23) has introduced legislation that safeguards the rights of student journalists to exercise free speech and freedom of the press. HB 4551 would make Michigan the 10th state to pass such protections for student journalists. Some schools currently require administrative approval before their publications can go to print. The legislation would remove that ability, provided the content being printed isn’t libel, invades privacy or incites readers to violence.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, Massachusetts and Oregon have passed legislation to protect student journalists.

Help Sink Pirate Broadcasters!

While the MAB has not had any reports of any significant pirate radio activity in our state in a number of years, legal broadcasters are asked to report known pirate radio operations via the FCC Unlicensed Broadcast Station “Pirate” Reporting form.

Reporting pirates helps keep legal operations free from interference.  Additionally, unlicensed broadcast pirates don’t pay licensing and regulatory fees as well as music licensing expenses as legal broadcast stations do.

The pirate reporting form is here.  In addition, stations are encouraged to also file a complaint about any unlicensed broadcsters with the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center here.

Thank you in advance for your help.  Feel free to share any reports of pirate stations with us at [email protected].  We’d like to be aware of any activity around our state.

MAB Board Profile: Dan Boers

Dan Boers

MAB News Briefs is pleased to bring you profiles of your MAB Board of Directors.

Dan Boers is the News Director for WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.

Dan has been with WOOD-TV for 20 years in a number of roles.  Prior to his appointment as news director in 2015, he was assistant news director since 2009 and director of news operations from 2003 to 2009.   He joined the station as a producer in 1997 and became assignment manager in 2001.

A 1998 graduate of Grand Valley State University, Boers worked as a weekend assignment editor for WOOD-TV and as a producer for WILX TV in Lansing while finishing his undergraduate studies.

Dan is a 2016 Kneeland Fellow. The organization focuses on news ethics, management and leadership.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting from Grand Valley State University. He and his wife Lisa have two children.

Dan is serving his first term on the MAB Board of Directors.