Category Archives: May 2018

Help to Mentor the Future Generation of Broadcast and Media

BCBC’18 is just around the corner. We’re hard at work planning educational sessions for the upcoming Broadcast Career Builder Conference (BCBC) on November 16. BCBC is one of Michigan’s only broadcast and media conferences that is strictly focused on educating students and giving them a direct path to success in the media industry.

Friday, November 16
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Lansing Community College West Campus
5708 Cornerstone Dr., Lansing MI 48917

We need YOU to get involved in this conference.  We’ll be offering the popular Speed Networking session which allows attendees to network with professionals for 5 minutes at a time in a “Speed Dating” type of setting.  We need professionals in sales, programming, management, on-air talent, traffic, marketing and more to serve as mentors.  If you’re interested in becoming a Speed Networking mentor, please contact Rachel Krause at krause@michmab.com or 517-484-7444.

Are You Squandering Your Radio Station Website’s Potential to Build Cume?

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

In radio, there are two ways to grow your ratings: Attract new listeners, or get your existing listeners to listen to the station longer. In industry jargon, you can build the cumulative audience (cume) or increase the time spent listening (TSL).

The conventional wisdom is that it is easier and less expensive to focus on getting existing listeners to listen longer. You can entice listeners to stick around to hear their favorite song, a clever morning show bit, or a compelling contest without breaking the bank. Attracting new listeners, on the other hand, is more difficult. You have to go get listeners that you don’t already reach through your airwaves and convince them to tune in. Historically, this has required paid advertising through billboards, television ads, etc. — things that few stations have large budgets for these days. It is also possible to build cume through unpaid earned media — such as the press coverage a station might get for a morning show stunt or a charity event — but this can be unpredictable.

Which is why a radio station’s website can be so valuable. If people who are not current listeners find your station’s online content on social media or in search engine results, they can click through to the station’s website, and discover the radio station. This is how a Content Marketing strategy works:

As a cume-building tool, Content Marketing can be far more cost-effective than traditional advertising…if your station’s website is set up for it.

Unfortunately, many radio station websites are geared towards existing listeners to the exclusion of newbies. This happens because we’re so familiar with the details of our own station, when we sit down to create our websites, we tend to forget that other people may not have the same level of familiarity. But if we’re not conscious of the fact that non-listeners may come to our sites, we could miss out on the opportunity to build cume.

The most common example of this is radio stations that use proper nouns in their website menus. For example, a radio station website menu may include a link labeled, “Fidget and Kim.” Fans of your station may know that Fidget and Kim are the morning show hosts, but others will not. Re-labeling the link “The Fidget and Kim Morning Show” will give these people more context. This issue can pop up all over a radio station’s website: with the names of contests, concerts, specialty shows, benchmark features, and e-mail clubs. Often, adding an extra word or two will make your website far more accessible to the masses.

This issue can crop up again when it comes to the order in which items are presented on the menu of a radio station website. To a P1 listener, it may make perfect sense why the DJs are listed in this order:

  • Johnny Fever
  • Les Nessman
  • Venus Flytra

After all, this is the order of their airshifts on the station. But to the uninitiated, this order makes little sense. It would be helpful to point this order in the menu so it makes sense:

  • Mornings: Johnny Fever
  • Middays: Les Nessman
  • Nights: Venus Flytrap

Sometimes, a radio station’s website can alienate potential listeners not because of what it says, but because of what it omits. For example, does the homepage make it clear what kind of music the station plays? Or is this crowded out by a slideshow? When you go to the morning show’s page, is there a blurb or introductory video explaining what the show is all about? Or does the page assume that visitors already know?

Take some time to review your radio station’s website with a fresh pair of eyes. Pretend you’re somebody who just moved to town, happened to click on a link on Facebook, and you’ve stumbled onto the site for the first time. Is this website welcoming to somebody who’s not already acquainted with the station, or does it presume a certain level of familiarity? (If you want to take this exercise a step further, a Website Usability Test is an excellent way to see how people interact with your site.)

Make sure that you’re not squandering the opportunity to use your website to grow the radio station’s ratings.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

What I Learned From Buying a New Car…

Gary Berkowitz

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

My lease was up and after 10 or so years of driving a Honda (loved it), I decided it was time for a change. Cut to the chase, I wind up with a GM vehicle. Best part: it has an HD radio, which my Honda did not. I am now excited!

When the salesperson was explaining all of the bells and whistles of the new car, we finally got to the radio. Here’s how the conversation went:

Gary: Wow, it has HD radio.
Salesperson: Really?
Gary: Yes
Salesperson: I’m really not sure what that is.
Gary: Let me explain (and I do).

She looks at me and says: “I just thought it meant the radio sounded better.”

Needless to say, I love all the HD channels. New formats. New music choices. The audio is great and the signals are pretty solid. I just wonder how many people are out there and have HD in the car but are unaware of it. I guess you could say we have not done a stellar job promoting HD radio. There’s still time.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

WILX-TV Offers Elementary Students A Chance to Explore Broadcast Journalism Careers

Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing) recently offered elementary school children the chance to see what life as a television anchor or reporter would be like.

The station participated in a career day at Oakwood Elementary School in Portland, Michigan.

WILX’s Clayton Cummins gave students the chance to get in front of the camera and try anchoring for themselves along with getting a look inside the WILX live truck.

The event was held May 22.

WRSR-FM Helps Local Food Bank Find Volunteers

Video from WJRT-TV

On May 23, Krol Communication’s WRSR-FM (Flint) helped the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan with a live broadcast encouraging people to come in and volunteer to help sort food.

This initiative was launched by the band Metallica and organized locally by 103.9 The Fox morning hosts Johnny Burke and Lisa Marie.

“They have their All Within My Hands Foundation and decided a few months ago that they wanted to do National Day of Service and encourage all of their fans to donate time to their local food banks. We heard about it and jumped on board for sure,” Marie told WJRT-TV news.

An open call was put out to anyone and everyone to just drop by the Food Bank and lend a hand for an hour.

“It’s huge because leading into the summer, people are on vacation and traveling, they go north for the weekend. We struggle with getting people to come in to volunteer and sort food for the agencies,” said Food Bank of Eastern Michigan Development Director Cathy Blankenship.

The Food Bank estimates that 60 minutes of volunteerism will make a major impact on its service area of 22 counties.

“This sorting can be broken down and we can say that 335 people will eat because of your hour of service here,” said Blankenship.

The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan hopes that Metallica’s day of service will leave a long lasting impression and that all of these volunteers are inspired to return.

WDIV-TV Launches Voter Engagement Project

WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced the launch of its new citizen engagement project, Your Soapbox, which is part of the station’s Decision 2018 coverage leading up to the midterm election.

Your Soapbox will delve into the policy, election and civility issues facing our community. Through conversations with the people of metro Detroit, WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit will identify local issues of priority for voters and work to inform and engage diverse viewpoints.

“In 2014, Michiganders were electing a Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representatives and the majority of state offices. Voter turnout was only 43% of Macomb County, 44% of Washtenaw County, 48% of Oakland County and 38% of Wayne County. As a region, we can do better and should do better,” said Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz. “Everyone should vote their own interests and we, as a non-partisan news organization, need to not only report the stories that are interesting but the policy decisions big and small that affect our viewers.”

Through the Your Soapbox roadshow, WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit will travel across the region to connect with voters and citizens of all ages to encourage voter participation and hear what is important to their lives.

In addition, comprehensive election content will be a significant focus on ClickOnDetroit, which reaches nearly 900,000 unique visitors monthly.

“To kick off this election commitment, we will be hosting 4 Minute Debates at the Mackinac Policy Conference. We are asking the public what issues they want to hear debated from elected officials, those who influence policy and the region’s business leaders,” said Digital Executive Producer Dustin Block. “We’ll match up two people on opposite sides of the issues and have them debate it, quickly.”

“Our overarching Decision 2018 election coverage will include debates starting with the Republican gubernatorial debate on July 28 at 8 p.m.,” added Drutz.

“Decision 2018: Republican Gubernatorial Debate” will be moderated by Devin Scillian and air live on WDIV-Local 4 and live stream on ClickOnDetroit.com.

“We are also committed to polling on a grand scale. Polls help to identify what issues are important and where the electorate is at any one time, which is great information for journalists to have as we cover this important midterm and state election,” said News Director Kim Voet.

Kehler Named Director of Corporate Partnerships at WKAR

Judy Kehler

Judy Kehler has been named Director of Corporate Partnerships for WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University. The announcement was made today by Susi Elkins, Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR. Kehler steps into the role beginning May 31.

As Director of Corporate Partnerships, Kehler will oversee development and cultivation of all corporate entities at the PBS- and NPR-affiliated public broadcasting station serving Michigan’s capital region.

Kehler comes to WKAR from the Michigan Public Health Institute within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services where she served as Financial Manager.

“Judy is a strategic and creative thinker, experienced in building collaborative relationships that have a positive impact in our community,” said Elkins in making the announcement. “WKAR will benefit greatly from her passion and commitment to leveraging our programming and engagement in service of others.”

Judy Kehler holds a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration on Accounting/Liberal Arts from University of Michigan.

SECC Meets in Lansing

On May 23, members of the State Emergency Communications Committee met in Lansing to discuss EAS changes and issues in Michigan.

SECC members were updated on the progress of the Michigan State Police Emergency Alert System LPI project which began late last year.  The project is focusing on upgrading the state’s hardware for emergency reporting, along with policies and training.  The good news for broadcasters is that the changes will improve the speed relaying EAS messages to air, as well as incorporating mass notification systems for incidents that may not require a full EAS alert.

In addition, both broadcasters and the public will have access to an online portal that will allow for the dissemination of follow-up information once an alert has been issued.  Presently there is no formal avenue for such information.

It is hoped that the goal for a vendor to provide the neccessary hardware will be selected by the end of 2018 with the entire project shooting for a completion date of December 31, 2019.

Gary Blievernicht, state SECC Chairman and MAB’s Dan Kelley have both been involved in representing broadcasters with the project.

Other items discussed at the May 23 meeting included an update on the 800mHz radios that were provided by broadcasters.  MSP is hiring a project manager to assist broadcasters with radio installation and updating .  Also on the agenda was discussion of local primary reception problems in the Cadillac and Port Huron areas, plus discussion of the local primary station situation in a region, where both the LP-1 and LP-2 are at a shared location, rather than separate locations as desired.

Music Modernization Act Passes Unanimously in House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447) by a unanimous 415-0 vote.

The legislation is the result of the multi-year copyright review headed by House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA), and combined three previous standalone measures: the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 4706) which addresses issues relating to songwriter/publisher compensation by on demand streaming services; the CLASSICS Act (H.R. 3301) which addresses royalties paid to owners of pre-1972 sound recordings; and the AMP Act (H.R. 881) which addresses royalties paid to music producers.

Importantly, the final version of the bill incorporated the text of an agreement reached earlier this year between National Association of Broadcasters, ASCAP and BMI on provisions related to those PROs’ rate courts, as well as an agreed upon compromise approach to the treatment of pre-1972 sound recordings by digital services. The legislation steers completely clear of the terrestrial performance tax issue, which has been the NAB’s and MAB’s advocacy goal from the outset of this copyright review.

Appeals Court Denies CPMC Request for Delay in Redistricting Case

According to a report in Gongwer, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution’s (CPMC) request for oral arguments in its fight against Voters Not Politicians’ (VNP) redistricting petition.

Katie Fahey, VNP’s founder and executive director, said the organization is pleased with the appeals court’s Friday order, which also denied CPMC’s request to extend time to file briefs with the court.

“We are very confident the people of Michigan will have a chance in November to change the state’s redistricting system, which now allows partisan politicians to operate behind closed doors to create districts that benefit them, to one that is transparent, replaces politicians and lobbyists with citizens, and is prohibited from providing partisan gain to any political party or politician,” she added.

VNP asked the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) for speedy certification of more than 425,000 signatures submitted for its ballot proposal to establish an independent redistricting campaign in Michigan.

However, CPMC is challenging that in the appeals court, where they seek an order to require the Secretary of State to reject the petition and not place it on the 2018 general election ballot. A hearing at Board of State Canvassers is set for May 24.