Federal Court Orders New Maps for State’s U.S. House Seats, Legislature

A three-judge federal panel unanimously ruled last week that the 2011 district reapportionment plan for the state’s 14 U. S. House districts, 38 Michigan Senate districts and 110 Michigan House districts is unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.

The court also ordered that the new map for the Michigan Senate would be used in a special 2020 election for the upper chamber which is not scheduled to stand for election until 2022.

The court called for the Legislature to pass remedial plans by August 1 with the court to evaluate the constitutionality of those maps. If the Legislature and the Governor cannot agree on new district maps by August 1, the court said that it would draw its own remedial maps.

On Monday, Republicans in the state Senate filed their intent to appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senator Peters Sponsors PIRATE ACT

Michigan Senator Gary Peters

Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) along with Montana Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced legislation to combat pirate radio in the Senate. S. 1228 has been referred to the Senate committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Radio pirates cause real economic harm to broadcasters and signal interference inhibits broadcasters’ ability to serve their communities.

The MAB greatly appreciate Senator Peters’ leadership on this issue.

Annual EEO Report Due in Public Files By June 1. Have You Checked Your Online Public File?

In a post on his Broadcast Law Blog, MAB Washington attorney David Oxenford reminds Michigan broadcasters that are part of an Employment Unit with 5 or more full-time employees should be preparing to add to their online public inspection file their Annual EEO Public File Report – due to be added to their files by June 1.

A complete list of additional dates in May broadcasters may want to take note of, including commenting on rulemaking regarding all-digital AM broadcasting, updating C-band satellite  information with the Commission as well as other proceedings can be found in Oxenford’s blog post here.

Have you checked your online public inspection file?  The MAB would like to remind broadcasters the importance of keeping their online public inspection file current, especially those quarterly issues and programs list are required to be placed in the public file on 10th day of April, July, October and January for the preceding three months.

You can check your public file here by entering your call letters in the search box.

David Oxenford has reminded broadcasters that the FCC, or interested public-interest groups, will be able to raise questions about a station’s compliance with the rules from afar – just by looking at the online public file.  The FCC has been fining stations with incomplete public files and this could also affect a station’s license at renewal time.  Read more here.

Remember that an MAB ABIP inspection includes a confidential review and report of a station’s public file.  More information on the MAB ABIP program is available here.


EAS Region Change for St. Clair County

This past January, the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) met and approved a proposal to move St. Clair County from the Southeastern EAS Region to the adjacent East Central Region.

The reason for this change was continued complaints from broadcasters that reliable, clear reception of the Southeastern LP-1 and LP-2 stations has been difficult.

As part of this shift, the SECC has added an additional local primary station to the East Central Region.  Radio First/Liggett Communication’s WSAQ-FM has volunteered to become a local primary.  WSAQ already had much of the infrastructure in place, including an EMnet terminal.

Broadcasters in St. Clair County were notified this past week that they will be required to monitor WHNN-FM (Bay City/Saginaw) as well as WSAQ-FM for EAS needs.  In order to give them time to install a neccessary antenna to receive WHNN, the date of the change was set as July 1, 2019.

The SECC and MAB would like to thank Radio First/Liggett’s Sean Richardson and Caleb Gordon for stepping up and helping resolve this issue.

Miggy Santos Named Brand Manager At WNWN-FM

Miggy Santos

Midwest Communications has announced that Miggy Santos has joined the company’s WNWN-FM (Battle Creek) as brand manager.  Santos comes from the Neuhoff Media clusters in Bloomington-Decatur, Illinois.

Santos takes over management duties from longtime (20+ years) programmer P.J. Lacey, who will remain on the staff.

Market Manager Kurt Luchs said, “First off, we want to thank P.J. Lacey for her dedication and hard work in making WNWN a tremendous and dominating brand. And at the same time, we’re happy to bring Miggy’s passion and guidance to the team in Battle Creek.”

Added Santos, “I am so happy to be returning to Midwest Communications. I want to thank Jeff McCarthy, Kurt Luchs and Mark Hamlin for this amazing opportunity. Radio programming is in my blood, and I am so excited to work with the team at WIN 98.5.”

Michigan AP Elects Directors

Vincent Duffy, Michigan Radio

Matt Seward, managing editor of the Cadillac News, was elected president of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors association for 2019-20 at the group’s annual convention on April 28.

Vincent Duffy, news director at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, was named president-elect.

Also elected to the board for three-year terms were:

Michael Percha, WSGW-AM

— Director, representing Small-Market Radio: Michael Percha, digital news editor/anchor/reporter, WSGW-AM, Saginaw.

— Director, representing Newspapers At-Large: Rick Mills, local news editor, The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun.

The following director serves on the board with a term expiring in 2020:

— Representing newspapers with a daily circulation up to 10,000: Jeremy McBain, executive editor of the Petoskey News-Review.

The following directors serve on the board with terms expiring in 2021:

Jam Sardar, WLNS-TV

— Representing newspapers with a daily circulation over 40,000: Gary Miles, managing editor, The Detroit News.

— Representing newspapers with a daily circulation of 10,000-39,999: Jeff Payne, managing editor, Macomb Daily.

— Representing Small-Market TV: Jam Sardar, news director, WLNS-TV, Lansing.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative serving 1,400 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States.

WLEN-FM Named 2019 Recipient of National Service to Community Award

WLEN-FM (Adrian) will be honored with the National Service to Community Award. This award is presented each year by the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) to honor the public service commitment that local radio and television stations make year-round to their communities.

WLEN was selected to receive this award for it’s Thank a Vet event which is held each November. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to help homeless and other veterans in Lenawee County. This past years’ event raised over $30,000 and over $250,000 has been raised to date. These funds are distributed by Housing Help of Lenawee and they are used for immediate needs of veterans in Lenawee County; things other programs will not cover and things veterans can’t wait for.

“WLEN Radio has always embraced the importance of a strong community. To that end, we donate in excess of $800,000.00 in cash and in-kind community giving every year. A strong community is important to all of us, and non-profits are part of the building foundation of that. Keeping those organizations strong helps to provide those most vulnerable with the services they need to survive and thrive. We love what we do at WLEN and we hope all our efforts make Lenawee a stronger place to work, live and raise families. Service to our community is a cornerstone of our mission as a company, and our entire team embraces that mission. I’m blessed to work with some of the best broadcasters in America and Lenawee County is fortunate to have such a strong group of advocates working on its behalf,” said WLEN’s President and General Manager Julie Koehn.

The awards will be presented at the Service to America ceremony in Washington D.C. in June. At that time the NABLF will also present the Service to America Leadership Award to a person of national profile. Past recipients have included Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Gary Sinise, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul Simon, President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalind Carter and First Lady Nancy Reagan.

View the full press release here.

Legendary MSU Hall of Fame Broadcast Educator says “Content is King”

Russ White and Gary Reid in 2007. Photo credit: Russ White.

By: Russ White, MSU Today, WKAR

“I never expected to be a teacher. I really never did,” says retiring MSU hall of fame broadcast educator Gary Reid. Forty-four years later, he has impacted hundreds of broadcast and communications-related careers.
Reid tells how his predecessor, the father of the classic rock radio format Fred Jacobs, “put his job on the line for me,” and he describes the tremendous change in students he’s observed over the years.

Listen to Russ White’s interview with Gary Reid here:


Reid is the first person I heard say “content is king” several years ago. But he’s still bullish on terrestrial radio’s future. One of the keys to the medium’s success, he says, is its human connection.

“From my standpoint, it’s really important to differentiate content from delivery. For the older generation, for the gray beards like me, when we say radio, we basically are combining content and delivery. We’re doing a radio show now, but it’s only radio if it’s transmitted. It’s going to be a podcast as well. The difference is a podcast is just streamed online and it comes to the point of convenience.

“Content, from my standpoint, is always going to drive what we’re interested in. While the internet is wonderful, and I think the artificial intelligence, and Pandora, and Spotify, and all that is just fine. To me, the content is really driven by a human connection. We don’t get that from a computer. We don’t get that from artificial intelligence.

“I’m old enough to remember what they called the heyday of radio in the ’50s. Once television came in, there were people saying, ‘turn radio off. Radio is dead. It’s all gone to TV.’ Well, radio reinvented itself. To be honest with you, here it’s 2019 and radio is still the largest mass medium, striking 93 percent of the American population every week – greater than TV, greater than the internet, greater than cell phones, and greater than streaming. So, it’s still a mass medium.

“The delivery is going to continue to change, but the content, ultimately, needs to stay the same. From the listeners’ standpoint, I don’t really care how you get it. I don’t care if it goes up a thousand-foot tower; I just care that you get it.”

Reid shares his concerns about the future of higher education and adds that he’ll stay active in retirement.

“I’m currently the president of the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters. I feel very strongly about the value of free, over the air broadcasting, public and commercial. So, I’m going to try to stay as relevant as I can there, both in Michigan and nationally.”