Tag Archives: Issue 141

Take These Steps Before Launching Your Next Big Radio Station Promotion

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

Every now and then, a radio station asks me for a digital strategy for a major radio station promotion after they’ve already started it. If you’re giving away a significant prize or investing a lot of airtime into a contest, don’t let the online strategy for your promotional effort be an afterthought. Do these things as you plan your contest:

1. Set a digital goal.
In all likelihood, you probably view a ratings bump as the primary goal of a big promotion. But let’s be honest: Nielsen is fickle. Maybe you get that bump, maybe you don’t; and if you don’t, it may have nothing to do with the quality of your promotion. So in addition to higher ratings, set a digital goal as well. For example, use your promotion to build your email database, drive mobile app downloads or increase web traffic. Avoid vague goals like “increase engagement” or “raise awareness” or “branding.” Come up with a specific goal that you can quantify. This way, your station can make gains even if you don’t manage to capture that elusive ratings bump.

2. Set your station up to measure that goal.
There’s no point in setting a quantifiable goal if you can’t measure it. Make sure that you have the ability to track your success and you are reviewing the data. For example, if you decide that the digital goal of your six-week Million Dollar Turkey Drop promotion is to grow your email database, make sure you know how many email addresses you have in your database before it starts, and check the numbers each week to see if it’s working. Compare the rate of your database’s growth during the promotion to the normal rate of growth. If you see twice as many email registrations during the promotion, you’re doing well.

3. Run a website usability test.
I am a big advocate of usability tests — tests that show you how real people interact with your website to see if there are specific tasks that give them trouble. Before your radio station launches any major promotion, it should run a usability test to make sure the digital components of that campaign work properly. For example, let’s say you are running a contest where you ask people to fill out a form on your website to enter. You’ll want to run a website usability test to answer basic questions, such as:

  • Can they figure out how to get to the form?
  • Does the contest webpage make it clear how to enter?
  • Does it explain what you win?
  • Are the rules clear?
  • Does the form work?

Too often, people view website usability tests as something that you only need to perform once. I highly recommend running one before any significant station promotion. Here are more details on how to run a website usability test.

4. Only spend money on online advertising once you’ve completed the steps above.
If you haven’t done the first three steps, spending money on Facebook ads or other online marketing could be a waste. You don’t want to get to the end of your campaign and have nothing to show for it, so only spend money if you’ve taken care of everything else first.

You’re going to invest a lot of resources into your radio station’s next big promotion. Take a little extra time to follow these steps, and you’ll get digital mileage out of the promotion as well.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

MAB Foundation Awards $29,500 in Scholarships to Michigan Student Broadcasters

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation (MABF) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2019 Scholarship Program. Recipients were identified by the faculty representatives from each school, or by the sponsoring station, and ratified by the MAB Foundation Board of Directors. Scholarships were presented during the Great Lakes Media Show on March 6 at the Lansing Center. The MAB Foundation awarded $29,500 in scholarships this year.
2019 MABF Scholarship Recipients

MAB Foundation Announces 2019 High School & College ‘Station of the Year’ Awards

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation (MABF) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2019 Student Station/Program of the Year Awards. This year’s record-setting 802 Student Broadcast Award entries were judged by professional broadcasters across Michigan and presented across 40 categories.

Stations of the Year are chosen based on the number of winning entries from the High Schools or Colleges. The awards were presented during the Great Lakes Media Show on March 6 at the Lansing Center.

The following schools were honored:

2019 Station of the Year
Michigan State University


2019 Station of the Year
Rockford High School

2019 Station of the Year
Hillsdale College WRFH-FM

2019 Station of the Year
Plymouth-Canton Community Schools – 88.1 The Park

The MABF also announced winners of its 2019 Student Broadcast Awards competition. Click here for a complete list of individual award winners.


Lulu Harwell Dies at 99

Ernie and Lulu Harwell

The Detroit News has reported that ‘Miss Lulu,’ widow of Tigers’ broadcaster Ernie Harwell, has died at age 99.  

Lulu Harwell passed away March 1 at a retirement living community in Novi.   It was reported that she had been in failing health for the past six months.

Ernie Harwell died from cancer in 2010 at the age of 92.

Gary Spicer, the couple’s longtime friend and attorney said  of Lulu and Ernie, “They probably had the finest marriage I’ve ever seen. They were a perfect match.”

Lulu and Ernie first met when Ernie was studying at Emory University in Atlanta and Lulu was at Brenau University, an all-girls school in nearby Gainesville. They were married in 1941 and had four children, seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

The Detroit Tigers issued a statement following Lulu’s passing, saying, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lulu Harwell, wife of former Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell. Lulu will always be remembered for her passion for the Tigers.”

WSJM’s Pat Moody Hosts Final Show

Pat Moody

On March 1, Pat Moody, host of Moody in the Morning WSJM-FM (St. Joseph), did his final show after 46 years on the air.  Moody had announced his retirement plans in January.

In the years since joining WSJM, Moody had become a prolific figure in Southwest Michigan. He’s often credited as being a primary source of news in the area, particularly in the business beat. His business news website Moody on the Market, launched in 2013, has become one of the most popular local websites in Southwest Michigan.

Moody’s final show saw many guests join him on the air to share their favorite memories and stories.  See video here.

Even though Moody is stepping away from the microphone, he will still provide content for Moody on the Market and continue to be a voice and champion for Southwest Michigan.

HOMTV Airs Bilingual Newscast

In order to better serve the diverse cultures in the community, HOMTV (Haslett/Okemos/Meridan) looks for new ways to accommodate a more inclusive audience. This year, HOMTV is incorporating bilingual programming including a Mandarin version of the “Meridian News Now” newscast.

The Mandarin version newscast began airing on February 7, 2019 in honor of the week-long observation of the Chinese New Year. The program can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/MNNMandarin2-7-19

“It is truly a historic moment at HOMTV to air our first program in Mandarin. This is something we have talked about doing for multiple years,” said Brandie Yates, HOMTV Executive Producer. “It is exciting we can provide this opportunity to our international interns and viewers.”

The HOMTV Internship Program hires multiple international and multicultural students each year. Mandarin speaking alumni members will return to HOMTV to translate scripts and anchor the Mandarin version of the newscast on a weekly basis.

“Thank you for HOMTV that gives me an opportunity to anchor in my native language. I hope it would impact local Chinese community to learn the news around them and encourage them to be involved in the community,” stated Lingfanglu Han, 2018 HOMTV Alumni Member and current anchor of the Mandarin version newscast. 感谢HOMTV给了我这个宝贵的机会让我能用自己的母语来主持新闻节目。我希望能通过这个节目来让中国社区了解身边发生的新闻,从而能够更好地参与到社区当中。

The Greater Lansing Chinese Association is also assisting HOMTV with the translation of scripts and continuation of this endeavor.

Michigan Radio’s “Believed” Wins Prestigious Scripps Howard Award

During the live broadcast of the 66th Annual Scripps Howard Award winners on Tuesday (3/5), it was announced that Michigan Radio’s Believed podcast series has won this year’s Jack R. Howard Award for Radio/Podcast In-Depth Coverage. The Scripps Howard Foundation announced its award winners in 15 categories, honoring the best in American journalism from 2018. Other finalists for the Radio/Podcast award were WNYC Studios in New York for the “Aftereffect” podcast and WBEZ Chicago and The Chicago Tribune’s podcast project, “16 Shots.”

Believed, which was produced by Michigan Radio and NPR, dealt with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Beyond the criminal case, it shared the important stories of the young women, athletes and survivors who were affected.

“The lifelong costs and consequences of childhood sexual abuse were made vividly, urgently clear in the superb Michigan Radio series Believed,” said the Scripps Howard Award judges. “Using interrogation tapes, archival audio and in-depth interviews with the victims and their families, the Michigan Radio reporters skillfully led listeners through a staggering loss of innocence.”

The Scripps Howard Awards are one of the nation’s most prestigious American journalism competitions. The awards honor work from television stations, networks, radio and podcasts, visual media, online media outlets, independent producers, newspapers and print publications.

With a focus on high-impact reporting, the awards recognize journalism that spurs action, and news organizations that go the extra mile to expose previously undisclosed or misunderstood information. Other Scripps Howard Award winners this year include the BBC, Frontline-PBS, The Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times/ProPublica.

This is Michigan Radio’s second Scripps Howard Award. The station received a 2016 award for its ongoing coverage of the Flint water crisis.

Michigan Radio’s Believed team will receive its award at a live show hosted by Michelle Miller, co-host of “CBS This Morning: Saturday” on April 18, 2019.

Mid-Michigan’s “Dean of Sports” Reflects on 50 Years in Broadcasting

By: Russ White, MSU Today, WKAR

Tim Staudt (Photo credit: Russ White)

Affectionately known as the “Dean of Sports,” Lansing-based WILX-TV and WVFN Radio’s Tim Staudt has been broadcasting in the area for 50 years. He has hosted “Staudt on Sports” on The Game 730 AM since 1993 and he has anchored the sportscasts at Channel 10 since 1980. Prior to that, he was the sports director at the former WJIM-TV in Lansing from 1970-1980. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1971 with a degree in journalism.

Listen to the interview here:

“To this day, two or three of the journalists and professors I had at Michigan State still have an impact on me; I thought they were aces. They were absolutely impartial. They taught facts and taught us to report the facts,” says Staudt.

“I always thought I was going to be in writing because as a part time job going through school I was in sports information and that seemed fascinating to me. I worked for two hall of fame guys in Fred Stabley and Nick Vista.”

Then after working in radio and doing radio news with Detroit Pistons and Spartan Football broadcasting legend George Blaha, Staudt began his television career as a weatherman.

“Channel 6 needed an 11 o’clock television weather man because the six o’clock weather man had a radio morning shift, and they didn’t want him working 18 hours a day. Then after I’d done it for a couple of nights, I said “Now you know I’m doing this because I want to do the sports.’”

How has the broadcasting industry changed in Staudt’s 50 years on the air? Technology advances, of course. “But you can say that about medicine, automotive, airplanes; everything’s changed over 50 years due to technology. I always thought local television’s greatest impact was in the pre-cable days because, if you wanted to watch television at the dinner table, you had to watch ABC, CBS or NBC.

“Cable gave everybody options. That was in 1979, and that’s when ESPN came about. Then I think the other big change was the introduction of high-definition television.”

The challenges ahead for broadcasting revolve around who is going to pay for TV and who isn’t.

“This has been an endless issue in the industry. Should you go ala carte and be able to pay for what you want or do you have to pay for everything? Like your property tax. To this point, you pay on a tier basis. An issue with this is the Big Ten Network moving forward. If the Big Ten Network can’t keep getting money from everyone in paid TV, then that’s going to obviously reduce the amount of money they can give to various schools.

“It’s hard to predict exactly whether that same amount of revenue, let alone more revenue, is going to be available then.”

And since television funds so much of college athletics budgets, these factors could impact intercollegiate athletics.

“The new president of Michigan State, later this year, when he or she looks at where athletics are – and if that president is well versed in athletics – I would think that president is going to have to look long and hard at the future of paying the bills. This is an issue for everyone moving forward in higher education in America.”

Staudt shares his views on basketball’s “one and done” rule and weighs in on the implications of Bryce Harpers’ 13-year $330 million contract. And he says “Baseball is at a crossroads. The commissioner of baseball today is looking at the state of the game and the demographics of those who pay the money to buy the tickets. It’s a challenge for the colleges and the NFL and the NBA and everybody else to find people who are willing to meet the salary levels by paying to buy the tickets to go to the games and support it in the way that professional sports have been supported by the public through the years.”

“Baseball is a slower game that appeals to a generation prior to the advent of the popularity of the NFL. The hard cores are probably always going to stay with it, which is the nature of sports. If you want to grow the sport to the younger generation, that’s the challenge.”

Staudt isn’t exactly sure what advice to offer to young people today who want to get into broadcasting and journalism.

“The way I did it could never happen anymore. I’m a dinosaur the way this thing has all worked out. Fifty-year runs in anything are very difficult to do. Are we going to have printed newspapers next year? Are we going to have television news the way we know it? I can tell you that in television news like everything else, companies are trying to pare the health insurance down and pare the payroll down even though they might have viewership and advertising revenue and are doing well. They don’t want to lose that.

“I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t really have a lot of good advice because I don’t know where the industry is going to go relative to this. There isn’t a clear career path like there used to be where you take this job first and then this job will come second and this will come third. By the time you’ve been in it ten years you’ll be making six figures. I can’t promise that, especially now. This is an iPhone media conscious world. Every place I go when I’m in New York there used to be many newspaper stands on the corners with a plethora of newspapers to buy and everybody was buying them. Now all you see are people reading iPhones. Even people you don’t even think know how to work the things are consuming their news on an iPhone.

“To me that’s where it’s headed. But who’s going to produce the news and how will they get that information to the iPhones? And I have no idea what those people will get paid.”

WMPX-AM Now Classic Country

On March 1, Steel Broadcasting flipped WMPX-AM (Midland) from a simulcast of WMRX-FM to a classic country format and added an FM translator simulcast with W299CK.  The station is known at “107.7 The Highway.”

Tom Steel said listeners will hear music by Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Toby Keith and Reba McEntire.   In addition, the station will offer local news, live high school sports, Northwood University football, weather and information on local events.

Liggett Launches 92.7 The Hills

At 9:27 a.m. on March 1, Liggett Communications/Radio First (Port Huron) launched a new format on the AM/FM Translator combination of WHLX-AM (Marine City) and W224DT (Port Huron).  “92.7 The Hills” features a AAA/Americana music format.

Branded as “Country, Rock, Folk”, the station debuted at 9:27 a.m. on March 1.  General Manager Scott Shigley said the station will “feature the Avett Brothers, Sturgill Simpson and (more recent artists) but then also have some older. Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty.”

Shigley said they were excited to offer the station sharing the work of classic artists while also giving a platform to more contemporary artists.  “We think there is a loyal audience out there that has been waiting for a station that more closely fits their taste in music,” he said.