Category Archives: September 2018

Environmental Journalists to Gather in Flint, October 3-7

The Society of Environmental Journalists has announced their 28th Annual Conference, October 3 through 7.  Hosted by the University of Michigan-Flint, the Society expects over 400 journalists, students, educators and others to attend.

Nine reporting tours will visit the lush forests of Northern Michigan, study Great Lakes research and Canada’s Chemical Valley, take a schooner to explore the toxic legacy of the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, see self-driving cars and meet with EPA emissions experts, visit Detroit’s waterways and explore the city’s recovery and land re-use.  The tours will also include a check on Detroit’s garbage as well as an opportunity to meet Flint residents who are experiencing the water crisis.

Friday and Saturday sessions will include freelance journalists pitch slams, a plenary session to discuss the future of news, session tracks including the craft of journalism, climate, water, energy, the nation, the globe and environmental film screenings.

For more information on the conference, click here.

Lansing’s Midwest Communicatons, WSYM-TV Team Up for Teddy Bear Posse

The radio stations of Midwest Communications/Lansing: WWDK-FM (94.1 Duke FM), WLMI-FM (i92.9), WJXQ-FM (Q106 FM) & WQTX-FM (Fuel 92.1) have joined up with WSYM-TV (Lansing) to launch the annual Teddy Bear Posse campaign in Mid-Michigan!

The campaign is to collect new teddy bears and stuffed animals for local law enforcement agencies and first responders. These agency use the teddy bears to comfort small children involved in traumatic events and situations.

Collection boxes are located throughout the Mid-Michigan area for listeners and viewers to drop off teddy bears.  The collection effort continues through September 23.

WZZM-TV, Kendall College Design ArtPrize News Set

WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) has gotten into the spirit of the city’s annual ArtPrize event for the fourth year in a row, teaming up with Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) to create not just a news desk like in years past, but a fully functional performance space that is also an entry in the competition.

“ArtPrize is so unique – there is nothing else like it,” said Janet Mason,  WZZM-TV President and General Manager. “The artwork and conversations with the artists stimulate the senses, and at the same time, we get to show off our beautiful, vibrant city. We are proud to be a partner of ArtPrize and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.”

This year the station wanted to do something different, to move beyond the desk and create a performance space, so once again they turned to KCAD, their artistic partner over the years.

KCAD Professor Bob Marsh said, “I am truly appreciative of the relationship that has been fostered between WZZM and KCAD. The opportunity to work with a client, consider a budget, deal with the logistics of fabrication, and have the work realized by a set deadline are relevant and exceptional experiences to have as an undergraduate art major.”

Artist Emma Riley began working on the project months ago under the supervision of Professor Marsh. She is a junior studying Sculpture and Functional Art. She has skills in stone and wood carving, clay and metal fabrication, and various mold making techniques which made this project perfect for her.

“I was thrilled and nervous about the project,” said Emma. “This partnership exposed me to working with a budget as well as a federal entity; it sharpened my time-management and problem-solving skills and enhanced my self-confidence and level of professionalism. I’m really delighted at how everything turned out and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with 13 ON YOUR SIDE.”

The piece transforms the interior of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum into a garden space from which WZZM talent can broadcast the news. There are various performance areas as well as a space encouraging interaction with the audience.

The installation can be found on the second floor of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and will serve as the news set for WZZM-TV throughout the event.

Visitors are encouraged to come out and visit with talent and staff and watch the news in action. They may even get a chance to be on TV.

For the second year in a row, the set is an official entry in the ArtPrize competition: http://www.artprize.org/67764.

WILX-TV Teams Up with Red Cross for Hurricane Victims

On September 17, Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing)  raised over $3,500 for the American Red Cross over the phone and through the station’s website.

WILX teamed up with the Red Cross to provide a phone line to viewers and a specific time to call in for donations for people affected by Hurricane Florence.

Callers helped News 10 to raise $3,280 for the storm victims, with another $260 coming through the web.

Ninety-one cents of every dollar goes to relief efforts, said Kelly King, executive director of the Red Cross Mid-Michigan Chapter.

Those still wishing to participate can visit the WILX Red Cross donation site to donate.

WWMT-TV Names Matt Johnson as News Director

Matt Johnson

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo) has announced that Matt Johnson will take the reins as News Director on October 10. Johnson is coming to West Michigan from the Sinclair station in Columbia-Jefferson City, Missouri.

Johnson is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has served in many different news roles including reporter, anchor, assignment manager and news director.

“Matt’s strong credentials and wealth of news experience position him well to take the helm of our news team,” said Fred Corbus, WWMT-TV/CW7 General Manager. “I am thrilled to bring him on board as he offers exemplary leadership, judgment and a passion for news. He is excited to build on the success of our growing news operation, to provide accurate, timely information to viewers on our traditional and digital platforms.”

Johnson grew up in Minnesota, so he is no stranger to snow. He and his wife, Maureen, have two children and look forward to calling Kalamazoo home.

One Station Sale Receives FCC Approval; Two Others Filed

In the past week, one station sale in Michigan has been approved by the FCC with another two just filed, seeking Commission approval.

On September 14, the FCC gave approval to Edwards Communications, LC to assign the license of WHAK-AM (Rogers City) to John Yob’s Mitten News, LLC.  The reported price for the station was $12,000.  Mitten News has been operating the station under a Local Marketing Agreement since May 18.  WHAK operates on 960kHz with 5kw days, 140w nights.

Edwards continues to own and operate WHAK-FM (Rogers City), WHSB-FM (Alpena), WKYO-AM/WIDL-FM (Cass City) and WWTH-FM (Oscoda).  The company also owns several stations in Wyoming.

Mitten News currently owns WJML-AM/WJNL-AM (Petoskey-Kingsley) and WWMN-FM (Thompsonville).  In addition, the company has a pending application to acquire WYPV-FM (Mackinaw City) from Michigan Broadcasters, LLC.  That application was filed in mid-August. Mitten News is operating WYPV under a Local Marketing Agreement.

Darby Advertising, Inc., owned by Kent D. Smith, seeks approval to sell WUPN-FM (Paradise-Sault Ste. Marie) to TSE Broadcasting, LLC.  TSE is owned by Timothy S. Ellis of Sault Ste. Marie.  WUPN (“Eagle 95.1”) is a class C3 facilitiy, operating on 95.1mHz with 25kw at 71 meters.  The sale price was listed in the application as $296,000.  The sale also includes an FM booster.  TSE has entered into a Local Marketing Agreement to operate the station until the sale is approved.

David L. Smith has filed to sell WMJT-FM (McMillan-Newberry) to Two Hearted Media, LLC.  Two Hearted is owned by Travis Sumbera of Newberry.  The sales price announced was $100,000.  WMJT (“Eagle 96.7”) is a class C2 facility on 96.7mHz with 50kw at 126 meters.  Two Hearted has entered into a Local Marketing Agreement to operate the station until FCC approval is obtained.

In early August, David L. Smith filed to swap the license of WWSS-FM (Tuscarora Township) for Black Diamond Broadcast Holding’s WCHY-FM (Cheboygan).  The applications filed for that swap are still pending.

WQBX-FM Enters Partnership for Alma College

Alma College Director of Athletics Steven Rackley has announced that the school and WQBX-FM (Alma) have entered into a partnership that will have Alma’s coaches appear on a weekly radio show and WQBX broadcasting home events.

“We’re thrilled to be working closely with WQBX,” said Rackley. “It allows us to expand our reach in the community and helps out a station with which we’ve had ties for a while.”

“WQBX is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Alma College,” said Jeff Sommerville, Vice-President of the station and host of the Coaches Show.  “This will help bring the excitement of Alma College Athletics to Scots fans both locally and worldwide.”

The station has aired the “Alma Coaches Show” from Pizza One in downtown Alma at 7:15 p.m. every Wednesday for the last three weeks.

In addition, WQBX will add to Alma’s webcasts of its home events.  Sommerville will appear on Alma’s football and men’s basketball live streams as a color commentator alongside Topher Goggin. The audio feed will also be distributed on-air and streamed through the WQBX website.

WDET-FM, Feet in 2 Worlds Offers Food Journalism Fellowships

WDET-FM (Detroit) and Feet in 2 Worlds, an award-winning website and journalism training project, have teamed up to offer food journalism fellowships to four immigrant journalists and journalists of color in Metro Detroit. The fellowship reflects a shared commitment by the two organizations to bring greater diversity to WDET’s newsroom and to support the voices of emerging local journalists in shaping important narratives about Detroit.

“This is a unique opportunity for journalists to learn new skills while covering stories about critical issues in food including food culture in immigrant communities, child nutrition and education, labor and employment, anti-hunger efforts, sustainability, climate change, and government food policies,” explained Feet in 2 World’s Executive Producer, John Rudolph.

The four fellows named to the 2018 Feet in 2 Worlds/WDET Detroit Food Journalism Fellowship are:

  • Brittany Hutson, a freelance journalist who focuses on stories about food, culture, entrepreneurship and racial and social justice issues.
  • Dorothy Hernandez, copy editor and writer for Neighborhood Seen Magazine and Marketing and Communications Manager for the Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit.
  • Nargis Hakim Rahman, a contributing writer to Brown Girl Magazine and Metro Detroit Mommy.
  • Serena Maria Daniels, founder, publisher, and editor of Tostada Magazine, an online publication that celebrates the many communities that contribute to Metro Detroit’s food world.

During the fellowship, the participating journalists will be trained in all phases of audio reporting for broadcast and podcast, including story development, field recording, interview techniques and script development.

“I have been working in the print and digital world my entire career, so being a fellow with Feet In 2 Worlds certainly is a blessing in that I have the opportunity to brush up on my audio skills,” said Serena Maria Daniels. “As as a freelance journalist, I know the importance of expanding one’s skill set to be prepared for whatever assignment comes our way. This fellowship will allow me to expand upon my food and culture writing repertoire, and having the mentorship of Feet In 2 Worlds will be transformational in my ability to report on communities that too often are ignored by mainstream media.”

Feet in 2 Worlds’ highly successful training methods have helped advance the careers of immigrant journalists across the U.S. The heart of the program is a one-on-one mentoring arrangement that pairs fellows with experienced audio producers. Mentors for the Detroit fellows include:

  • Jerome Vaughn, News Director at WDET.
  • Rob St. Mary, award-winning writer, radio and podcast host/reporter/producer, journalist, filmmaker, and crowdfunding professional.
  • Sara Alvarez, founder of Outlier Media, a Detroit-based service journalism organization.
  • Zahir Janmohamed, co-host of the Racist Sandwich podcast and Senior News Editor at Hyphen magazine.

Stories produced under the fellowship will be part of WDET’s Detroit StoryMakers, an initiative that trains multimedia artists, journalists and producers and provides them with platforms to bring their stories to life. Stories will also be featured in Feet in 2 Worlds’ online food magazine at www.fi2w.org. Follow this year’s fellows on Detroit StoryMakers page, the Feet in 2 Worlds’ website and on social media by searching the hashtag #food313.

Support for the fellowship comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and through matching gifts from station donors, the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program. The Food Writing Program is funded with the support of the Boston Foundation.

Support for Detroit StoryMakers initiative comes from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs and through matching gifts from station donors.

‘Brother Bill’ Gable Passes

Bill Gable

Bill Gable, best known to Michigan listeners for his tenure (as “Brother Bill”) at CKLW-AM (Windsor) passed away on Tuesday, September 18. He died suddenly in a Windsor, Ontario hospital from complications of chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD).

Gable had retired in 2014.

He got his start in radio as a teenager in Allentown, Penn., and went on to work in the biggest markets in North America, including Detroit-Windsor at CKLW.

Gable’s daughter Lisa posted this on Facebook:

“Yesterday 9/18/18 our family said an unexpected good bye to my wonderful, kind, loving and wise Dad, Bill Gable. Our hearts are completely shattered, shocked and broken. My Dad had been battling COPD, coupled with other health issues for sometime but it took a sudden turn. We covet your prayers at this time. We also know Facebook is the only way of communication with many of his beloved friends and colleagues. Memorial arrangements will be communicated by the family once we know those details. I “miss you already” Daddio. I’m so proud and grateful to be your daughter. I love you.”

Radio’s Best Friend, Art Vuolo, Jr. has posted a tribute to Gable:

The Fall Book Is On. Now What?

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

The fall book is on and before we get too deep into it, here are a few basic and easy to implement tactics that will help you get a better outcome.

Air Talent: Personality? Yes. Excessive talk? No. Listeners do not know that our jocks are often reading liners. Work with them to deliver the message in a warm, friendly, natural sounding manner. The best talent can take liners and make them sound like they are full of personality. The best sounding stations are benefit driven, but do not sound like liner card radio.

Music Flow: Keep the music tempo flow even. Spend the time to make sure that every segue flows. Familiarity continues to be a key element. New music continues to be a limited pool to choose from. Only play the proven current hits as you start the book. Keep the music up but don’t overly push tempo.

Jock liners & production: Have you freshened these lately? Old copy allows jocks to fall into a comfort zone. Have you freshened your music promos, hook promos and station promos in general? Short and to the point is always best.

Usage: The more research I see, the more it becomes very clear that AC radio stations are used for relaxing, unwinding and helping to “keep things calm.” Many programmers have fought this over the years trying to replace it with up, hot, hip. Presenting your station the way listeners use it is important. Recommendation: do not fight the easy/relax part. It is how they use it. Include it in your verbiage and let your listener know that they have found the radio station that helps them relax and feel good.

Basics 101: Slowly and deliberately selling calls (name and frequency) and position. Calls always first & last. Making sure your music position is clear, simple and most important, unique. Brand your name to everything you do. From weather, traffic and other items, always make sure they have your name “embossed” on them. In diary, over 80% of diary keepers record listening by exact frequency.

Local: You hear a lot about local these days, and yes, is it is important. Letting your listeners know what is going on in their world still matters. Great localization ideas include:

– Use local points of interest in traffic reports (“The accident is right across from the McDonald’s at 3rd and Main.”).

– Do a “”Here’s what’s going on in town today” segment on the morning show (much more useful than some of the bits that are out there).

– Write liners and allow jocks to talk about people and the places they are listening. Local names, people and places still work.

Morning Show Idea: Take an idea from ABC. Do a weekly “Person of the Week” on Friday mornings. Salute a local person for a contribution they have made to the local community. Ask listeners for nominations.

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