Category Archives: October 2018

24/7 NewsNet Sets Launch Date, Seeks Affiliates

New network based in Cadillac

Left: NewsNet’s Remington Hernandez and Photojournalist Wyatt VanDuinen film a report outside a Michigan courthouse. Right: NewsNet Midday Anchor Jessica Mojonnier practices a broadcast in preparation for the network’s launch.

NewsNet, a new 24/7 news channel focused on headlines rather than talk and opinion, has set its launch date for January 1, 2019.

Developed by the award-winning team responsible for building 24/7 local news channels across the country, NewsNet aims to bring the success of these local channels to the national level.

“In recent years, we’ve heard more and more complaints about existing 24/7 national news channels, particularly the increase in opinion-based programming on these channels,” explained Eric Wotila, President of NewsNet. “Meanwhile, we’ve received nothing but compliments about the no-nonsense and commentary-free local news coverage we provide on the 24/7 local news channel we operate in northern Michigan. Earlier this year, we decided it was time to make the same style of news available nationally – and we’re going to do that with the launch of NewsNet.”

NewsNet will follow a traditional news wheel format, with updates added to the wheel throughout each day when breaking news develops. A typical half-hour will start with about 2 minutes of coverage of the top story of the moment, followed by several minutes of headlines, an overview of the weather across the nation, various franchise segments such as health, technology or entertainment, a sports report, and finally, feature stories highlighting unique people, places and organizations across the country – which, in some markets, may be preempted by a local news cut-in.

At its launch, NewsNet will be available primarily as a diginet carried on the subchannels of TV stations across the country. The network is working with both low-power and full-power stations to distribute its signal. So far, they’ve secured several million households worth of distribution – but they’re working to increase that number significantly by the time they launch in January.

“We received strong interest in NewsNet from stations across the country when we first announced the network in March,” explained Wotila, “but many of them wanted to wait until we were closer to launch to commit to carrying our programming. Now that our launch is less than 3 months away, we’re seeing more stations actually signing affiliation agreements, rather than just expressing an interest in the network. That said, we’re still actively seeking affiliates – we’d love to be in at least 10 million households when we launch.”

Stations interested in becoming NewsNet affiliates can email affiliates@yournewsnet.com to learn more. The network will also be available to meet with stations interested in affiliation during NAB New York later this month.

 

McDonald’s Returns To Radio Advertising Prominence

InsideRadio reports that McDonald’s has returned to its radio advertising dominance after falling out of the top 10 national advertisers back in June.

The publication notes that “for the week of Oct. 1-7, McDonald’s is No. 7, according to Media Monitors, which tracks national radio advertising in 85 markets. It catapults up from No. 27 a week ago, logging 20,976 spots.”

The story mentions that the uprising reverses a trend noted by Shayna Sharpe, CEO of rep firm Regional Reps, who lamented McDonald’s abrupt advertising cuts in numerous markets, in a Radio Advertising Bureau interview reported by InsideRadio September 21: “That really hurt a lot of our stations,” she said. “I think we’re still recovering from that piece of it.”

 

 

WGVU Presents ‘Food, Wine & All That Jazz’

On October 26, WGVU Public Media will present its annual “Food, Wine & All That Jazz” fundraiser at Grand Rapids Public Museum from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.

The event is presented by WGVU and D&W Fresh Market. Sample more than 400 domestic wine and beer selections all for one ticket price.  Tickets are $50 in advance; $60 at the door, if available. Tickets can be ordered by calling 800-442-2771, online at wgvu.org, or at any D&W Fresh Market store. $40 for WGVU members if ordered by phone before October 12th.

WWMT To Host 6th District Congressional Debate

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo) has announced that it will host an in-studio debate between candidates Matt Longjohn and incumbent Fred Upton, the candidates for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District.

The debate will take place on Wednesday, October 17 starting at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the station’s CW7 digital subchannel as well as streamed live on wwmt.com.

The station is currently soliciting potential questions from the public to use during the debate.

Jim Nantz To Serve As Grand Marshal for 92nd America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit

Jim Nantz

On September 27, The Parade Company announced that three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year recipient Jim Nantz will serve as Grand Marshal for the 92nd America’s Thanksgiving Parade® in Detroit presented by Art Van.

A veteran sportscaster for the National Football League (NFL), National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour for CBS Sports since 1985, Nantz is widely recognized as an American sportscast icon.

The Parade will be featured on WDIV-TV (Detroit), including a one-hour national broadcast reaching more than 190 major cities across the country. WJR-AM Detroit’s Paul W. Smith and CBS Radio will also broadcast live from the parade route. WOMC-FM’s Stephen Clark and JoAnne Purtan will be hosting the live broadcast.

“Jim Nantz is a true media legend who has been seen and heard in households across America for decades,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “We are thrilled to have Jim serve as Grand Marshal of America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van and look forward to having him join us on Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning.”

A graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in radio and television as well as an honorary doctorate of humane letters, Nantz joined the CBS Television Network in 1985 where he currently serves as the lead play-by-play announcer for the NFL on CBS, including the Super Bowl; the lead anchor of CBS’s golf coverage, including the PGA Tour, Masters and the PGA Championship; and lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball, including the NCAA Men’s Final Four. In 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016, Nantz completed a rare broadcasting triple by becoming the first commentator in history to broadcast the Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s Final Four and the Masters, all in the same year. He will repeat this trifecta again in 2019. A frequent play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Lion’s Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit, Nantz and his family have attended and enjoyed America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van for years.

To commemorate the life and legacy of longtime parade supporter Art Van Elslander, “Art!! Heart & Soul!” has been announced as the theme of the 92nd America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. A friend of the parade for over 30 years, Van Elslander is remembered and recognized as a great supporter of the Detroit community. Art Van Furniture, now under new ownership, continues the outstanding partnership with The Parade Company as presenting sponsor of America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van.

About The Parade Company

Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region. The Parade Company is celebrating more than 90 years of Parade tradition in Detroit and is committed to funding, creating and executing the best family events in Michigan. The Parade Company staff, board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit and the region including the Ford Fireworks, Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot, and America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Follow The Parade Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Former WJBK Anchor Joe Glover Dies at 79

Dr. Joseph Lawrence Glover, 79, died at home in Mobile, Ala., the morning of October 5th from complications associated with metastatic lung cancer.

The popular and award winning reporter and lead anchor worked at WJBK-TV in the 1980s and closed every broadcast with: “That’s all the news that fits.”

He was a tremendous colleague and friend, according to former co-worker FOX 2 anchor Huel Perkins.

After retiring from TV, he returned to school to pursue a PhD at the University of Florida and became a professor of broadcast journalism at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, where he taught, and loved teaching, until his illness forced him to retire in the fall of 2017, his daughter said online.

jācapps Hires Anne Clark as Vice President of Sales

Anne Clark

To support its ongoing growth initiatives, leading application developer jācapps has hired Anne Clark as its Vice President of Sales. Anne has more than 15 years of experience in sales management working for multiple high-tech companies around the U.S.

In this role, Anne will oversee jācapps’ sales organization, and client-relations activities after serving in a similar position with Cengage Learning, where she managed $105 million in annual revenue and oversaw 40 high-performing sales directors and strategic account managers who engage at all decision-making levels in the for-profit higher education market. Anne has a proven track record of implementing data driven sales strategies and establishing internal sales processes, competencies and metrics that drive efficiency and performance.

“Anne was a perfect hire for us because she has experience fine tuning and scaling a sales organization to perform at a very high level,” said jācapps President Paul Jacobs. “She has the experience and steady hand to really help us get to the next level. Anne’s great at managing complex solutions and will lead our efforts to work with bigger clients in 2019 and beyond.”

Throughout her career in the technology field, Anne has served as a collaborative sales leader focused on driving growth in changing markets. In driving technology solutions, she has helped turn around underperforming sales teams while transforming them to become highly effective and deliver results. Previous to Cengage, Anne was Vice President of Educational Sales at Wolters Kluwer Health, where she was a key decision maker in shifting the business to an all-digital solution leveraging adaptive technology and simulations which resulted in significant growth.

“I’m proud to be joining a company that has so many opportunities ahead of it as jācapps,” Anne said. “The company has a great brand in the media business and is just now scratching the surface with all types of businesses helping them create innovative mobile solutions that solve real problems. We have the opportunity to apply these mobile technologies in amazing ways and it’s my role to let the market know about it.”

Dave LewAllen Named Evening Anchor At WXYZ

Dave LewAllen

Dave LewAllen has been named nightly anchor at E.W. Scripps’ WXYZ/WMYD-TV in Detroit.  LewAllen has already been working in the position as interim replacement for Stephen Clark, who retired from the station in February.

LewAllen is a journalism graduate of Central Michigan University and joined WXYZ in 1988 as a sports reporter. He switched to news in 2004 after serving as weekend sports anchor. Duties have included a lead role on the Detroit 2020 project, which showcases issues, challenges and people creating change.

In a Facebook post, LewAllen announced: “It is an honor to continue my work alongside Carolyn Clifford WXYZ as the station’s permanent evening anchor at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and  11 p.m.  In addition, I will continue to anchor the 10 p.m. news nightly on TV20 Detroit – WMYD with my longtime partner, Glenda Lewis. This station has been my workplace and second home for 31 years now. Channel 7 is the station I grew up watching and it is still a cool and humbling thing to walk into our newsroom on a daily basis.”

Four Questions to Ask About Your Website (and the Answers You Want to Hear)

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, we conduct all sorts of research: call-out research, library tests, perceptual studies, etc. Yet too few of us regularly test our websites to see how listeners are interacting with them.

I am a big proponent of running Website Usability Tests — tests designed to see how real people interact with your website. When I conduct these tests on radio station websites, I follow the methodology described by Steve Krug in his book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. I find three people on Craigslist who are willing to give up an hour of their time for $40 apiece. I prefer to use people who are not in the same market as the radio station that runs the website we are testing. That’s because I want our testers to give us feedback based solely on the website itself, not on any other information they may have gleaned from listening to the radio.

I sit each person in front of a computer with the radio station website on it. I ask them to perform a series of tasks and to think out loud as they do them. I am looking for tasks that they have trouble completing. This tells me that we need to tweak some things to make the site easier to use. But before I start doling out tasks, I will ask them a few general questions. Here are those questions, along with the answers I hope to hear:

1. “What does the organization that runs this website do?”
In my recruitment for these tests, I am very careful never to give any hint as to what the website might be about. I never tell people that I am testing a “radio station’s website,” just a “client’s website.” That’s because I know that I am purposely asking a very broad question to open the test. Of course, the answer we’re looking for here is, “It’s a radio station.” You’d be surprised how long it sometimes takes people to figure out that they’re looking at a radio station website. I once had a tester take 10 minutes to figure it out!

Of course, some stations have signals on their site that makes it more obvious: If the station logo features a frequency followed by “AM” or “FM,” testers tend to figure it out pretty quickly. On the other hand, stations with generic names like “Arrow,” “Mix” or “Hawk” don’t usually fare as well.

2. “What city is this radio station in?”
My best guess is that 90% of all radio station website fail this question. On the air, we don’t need to identify our location consistently because everybody who can hear us is in the same place. On the web, however, that’s not the case. People can visit us from across the world. As broadcasters, we often neglect to tell people where we are on our website, but it’s not safe to assume that people know.

3. “If you tuned into this radio station, what would you expect to hear?”
Ideally, the testers will identify the musical genres a station plays or its format. (Testers are more likely to answer with the name of some formats than others; they might say “Top 40″ but they’re unlikely to respond with “Triple A.”) Hopefully, you’ve placed a musical positioning statement right beneath your station’s logo that tells people what type of music your station plays. Again, some positioning statements are going to be clearer than others: “Today’s Hot Country,” “Hip Hop and R&B,” and “Classic Rock” conjure up a more specific music selection in the minds of testers than a vague phrase like, “A Wider Variety.” That’s why I usually follow up this question by asking…

4. “Which artists would you expect to hear if you tuned in to this station?”
We’re hoping that the testers are able to namecheck your biggest artists in response to this question: “Kanye West, Beyonce and Rihanna,” or “Green Day, Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” The best way to ensure that you get this type of answer is to have artwork that features these artists on the homepage. This could be labeled photos of bands, a collection of logos or a collage of album covers.

Unfortunately, too often, radio station homepages are dominated by a rotating slideshow. This slideshow usually doesn’t showcase the station’s core artists. Instead, it might feature a Dunkin’ Donuts promotion or whatever C-level band is playing the 300-seat club in town this weekend. Rotating slideshows detract from the message you want to send with your homepage, which is why I recommend removing it and replacing it with a static image featuring core artists.

If you’re reluctant to remove the slideshow, I have seen some radio stations successfully include the images of core artists in the website’s header.

After that, I’ll ask the testers to perform specific tasks. Here’s a full sample list of questions. I’ll also spend time examining the verbiage in main navigation, which often reveals these common mistakes. Based on what I learn from this usability test, we’ll implement changes that can improve the user experience. I recommend running a website usability test at least twice a year, before the launch of a new website or when adding a page for a key component of the station, such as a new morning show or an annual concert event.

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

It Was Always a ‘Good Day!’

Dick Taylor

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: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
DickTaylorBlog.com

When I started in professional radio, 51 years ago this week, there was a gentleman broadcasting that captivated my attention, his name was Paul H. Aurandt. The radio audience knew him better by his middle name, Harvey; Paul Harvey.

He broadcast six days a week, just like all radio personalities did back in those days. It was a time when all radio was delivered LIVE. Paul Harvey was heard over the ABC Radio Networks with his News and Comment week day mornings and middays. His Saturday noon-time broadcasts were extra special broadcasts that were always sure to surprise and delight his audience of as many as 24-million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried by 1,200 radio stations in America, plus 400 American Forces Network stations broadcasting all over the world.

Page 2

Paul Harvey covers Election Night in 1958.

The first commercial break in each broadcast was clearly announced with the words, “Now page 2.” And it caused me to turn up my radio and give Mr. Harvey my full attention as he told me about another great product that he personally used. The ad copy, just like the news and comments, were all crafted by the mind of Paul Harvey.

I bought my BOSE WAVE radio due to Mr. Harvey telling me how wonderful music sounded coming through its speakers and baffle system design. It started me on the path to owning several BOSE products as a result.

Paul Harvey News had a waiting list of sponsors to get on his program. In 1986 his News & Comment broadcasts were rated #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 in network radio programs when he was the focus of a CBS 48-Hours broadcast commemorating Paul Harvey’s 70th birthday.

Bob Sirott did the profile piece and it showed Paul Harvey as few ever saw him. I encourage you to watch the segment on YouTube by clicking HERE.

Paul Harvey News

On April 1, 1951, ABC Radio Network premiered Paul Harvey News and Comment. His Chicago based broadcasts were often called “the voice of the silent majority” or “the voice of Middle America.”Paul Harvey (2)

Paul Harvey was making so much money for ABC, they added a third daily broadcast to the schedule on May 10, 1976 called, The Rest of the Story. These broadcasts were written and produced by Paul’s son, Paul Harvey, Jr. for its 33-year long run.

While Paul and his son maintained this entertaining feature which was based on true stories, not all critics agreed, including urban legend expert Jan Harold Bunvand.

I know from my own personal experience of the two times Paul Harvey included stories based on my hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that Mr. Harvey played fast and loose with the facts of the events to tell a good story. It made me wonder how all the other stories I heard might have been so “massaged.”

Iowa

In 2000, I was managing a cluster of radio stations for Connoisseur and Cumulus. We carried Paul Harvey on my 100,000-watt KOEL-FM. It was the only thing, other than local news in morning drive, that stopped the flow of the best in country music.

I remember being in my car at the time Mr. Harvey’s noon-time broadcast came on the air and hitting the scan button to hear Paul Harvey News and Comment on virtually every station my car radio stopped on. In media, that’s called a “road block,” the same program or advertisement, broadcast at the same time on multiple radio or television stations.

$100 Million Dollar Contract

In November of 2000, Paul Harvey had just inked a new 10-year contract with ABC Radio Networks when a few months later he damaged his vocal cords and had to leave the air. It wasn’t until August of 2001 that Paul returned to the air waves, but only with a reduced clarity and vocal presence in his voice.

I remember this very well as I was now back in Atlantic City running a cluster of radio stations, and my AM radio station WOND-AM1400, was the Paul Harvey radio station for South Jersey.

I had been cajoling Mr. Harvey’s secretary in Chicago for months before he lost his voice for customized promotional announcements to be voiced by Paul Harvey to promote his daily broadcasts over WOND radio.

One day in the fall of 2001, a reel-to-reel tape came in an envelope from Chicago addressed to me. It contained my customized, Paul Harvey voiced, WOND announcements. I was thrilled, but just a little disappointed when we played the tape due to the hoarse, raspy sound of Paul’s voice when he recorded them.

Before the end of 2001, Paul Harvey was back to full vocal dynamics.

Touched My Heart

It was after watching the Bob Sirott piece produced for 48 Hours a second time and then sharing my personal Paul Harvey memories with the love of my life, Sue, that I found myself choking up and tearing up about the heartfelt emotional impact that this gentleman from Tulsa, Oklahoma had made on me.

Using only wire copy and his manual typewriter, Paul Harvey crafted a broadcast of words that vividly created in the mind of the listener exactly what he intended. His full vocal range, the power of the dramatic pause and dynamic inflection completed his radio magic, what most like to call radio’s “Theater of the Mind.”

Could you imagine Paul Harvey doing podcasts?

I have no doubt that they would have been as popular as the original SERIAL podcast was from NPR.

Paul Harvey didn’t use any music or sound effects.

Paul Harvey created great radio, that was welcomed into homes all across the globe by his great writing ability and vocal acting talents.

Harvey receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005

Good Day

Paul Harvey died on February 28, 2009 at the age of 90.

Three weeks after his death, ABC Radio Networks cancelled the entire News and Comment franchise.

At the time of his death, he had less than two years left on his 10-year contract.

Paul Harvey called himself a salesman, not a journalist, newsman or anything else. He loved his sponsors, saying “I am fiercely loyal to those willing to put their money where my mouth is.

He never would have promoted his broadcast as “commercial free,” as he understood that this free, over-the-air medium called radio, was a powerful way to move product for his advertisers and that it was those very folks that paid all the bills for him and the ABC Radio Networks.

Imagine that, radio ads that were as cherished to hear as the rest of the broadcast itself.

That’s the definition of “GREAT RADIO.”

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.