Michigan Army National Guard Leaves the NCSA Program October 31

The MAB was recently informed that the Michigan Army National Guard (MIANG) has chosen to distribute PSAs rather than air within the NCSA Program. MIANG has received significantly less funding for FY 19-20 and plans to utilize their own social and digital media platforms and distribute PSAs.

“Though not a surprise, it was certainly disappointing,” said MAB President/CEO Karole L. White. “We have had a long successful relationship with the Michigan Army National Guard. Given the changes at Guard Bureau in Washington DC and in the Michigan Army National Guard Command, the outcome was not unexpected.”

“We have enjoyed our relationship with the Guard for the past 25 years and wish them well with their earned media and PSA campaign,” White added.

MIANG spots will be pulled from the NCSA Program October 31. You will receive a KILL ORDER for messages if you have not already. Many stations participated, when asked, to add MIANG spots to your PSA rotation in addition to NCSA messages, to help boost their presence at their peak recruiting time. These messages will all need to be KILLED, so as not to receive a fine as talent will be expired.

White indicated that NCSA partners have come and gone over the years. MIANG was a significant partner, but that is why the MAB must keep large reserves to fill the void while other NCSA partners are sought. MAB is restricted in the partners we may accept. NCSA partners must be non-profit organizations or government programs with a public information message that benefits the state.

We are very fortunate that the members have built a good reserve for just this situation. We will do the same things that all of you do when you lose a client, we will find new partners to take their place.

MAB still has a number of different clients in the NCSA program on the air right now including Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, plus a short list of organizations that are interested. We rely on the NCSA commitment of our members and thank you for the messages that you donate to the MAB for use by our statewide community partners. The NCSA helps to fund a strong broadcast association, and helps non-profits and the State of Michigan reach the public.

Reserve Your 2020 ABIP Inspection Now

Scheduling has begun for the 2020 Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP).  The MAB conducts these alternative inspections regionally from April to October.

Every broadcaster wants to be in full compliance with FCC rules, but finding out that you are not in compliance by receiving an FCC fine, can be a costly learning experience. The Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP) is a unique partnership between the MAB and FCC under which stations that pass their inspection will receive a three-year exemption from routine FCC inspections.

SAVE Money!
Stations that have successfully completed the program are exempt from routine FCC inspections and possible fines for a three-year period.

SAVE Staff Time
Now that the public inspection file is online, it is easier than ever for the FCC to inspect it without prior notice. It is not uncommon for the FCC to spend a day or more at a station. That would involve significant time from several key staff members. MAB’s inspections are set ahead of time and by appointment. They are learning experiences, without the risk of a fine.

SAVE Worry
A station’s successful participation in the ABIP is evidence of the licensee’s positive attitude toward regulatory compliance. The inspector also provides feedback to management that station personnel are performing important duties in an adequate manner.

The inspector uses inspection criteria that have been set by the FCC and are uniformly used in the many ABIP programs administered by State Broadcast Associations throughout the U.S.

If you have questions or would like to schedule your 2020 Alternative Inspection, contact Ann Walters at 517-484-7444 or [email protected].

GB Broadcasting Founder, George Benko V, Passes Away

George E. Benko V

The MAB is sad to pass on the news that GB Broadcasing founder George E. Benko V passed away on October 22 at his home in Birmingham, Mich., surrounded by his family and friends.  GB Broadcasting is licensee of MAB Member WBGV-FM (Marlette).  He was 56.

Benko was born December 12, 1962 in Yale, Michigan to Ella and George Benko. He graduated from Croswell-Lexington High School in 1981 and subsequently went to Eastern Michigan University where he graduated with a B.S. in Communications. After graduation he worked at radio stations in Sandusky (WMIC-AM, WTGV-FM) and Gladwin, Michigan (WJEB-AM). In 1992, he was awarded a construction permit for WBGV, which went on the air in 1999.

George was a devote Christian and was an active member in Campus Crusade for Christ at EMU. He actively supported the Community Baptist Church in Croswell and the First Baptist Church of Troy.

George had many hobbies and interests including a love of bicycles, his Land Rover, sign language, nutrition and household gadgets. He was fascinated by dome homes and built his own Yurt. He loved the holidays; dressing up for Halloween, shopping for Christmas and birthday gifts, especially for his nieces and nephews. George was well known for his great sense of humor and laughter.

He served as President of the Sanilac Literacy Council and was passionate about the importance of reading. He was an active member of the Automobile Press Association and attended many automobile shows across the country. He was a member of the Amateur Radio Relay League and proudly displayed his call letters, KB8WWD, on his Land Rover’s license plate.

He is survived by his parents Ella and George Benko, sister Becky (Randy Holland), sister Barbara (Denis Murphy), brother John (Katherine Benko), and six nieces and nephews, Rachel, Eric, Daniel, Johnny, Ava and Abigail. George is the godfather to Johnny and Daniel.

Funeral services were held on October 23. Memorial contributions suggested to First Baptist Church of Troy or Community Baptist Church in Croswell.

Bill Gamble Promoted to GM at Mid-West Family South Bend

Bill Gamble

Mid-West Family Broadcasting has promoted longtime Director of Programming and Content Bill Gamble to General Manager at their South Bend, Indiana cluster. Gamble had been with the South Bend stations since 2010.  Mid-West Family acquired the stations in 2015.

WSJM, Inc. President Dave Doetsch said, “Bill is a person who knows me, knows Mid-West Family and knows the market. He is someone I have worked directly with on select projects over the past year which gives me the confidence of Bill leading us in to the future.”

Gamble previously held both programming and digital media positions for CBS Radio/Chicago, ABC Radio/Chicago, Emmis Communications, among others.  He has also been a programming consultant and was National Program Director for General Cinema Radio.  He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Radio First Hosts Cops & Jocks Spaghetti Dinner

WBTI-FM morning personalities Maddie O’ and Conrad Reed.

On October 22, Liggett Communications/Radio First’s Port Huron radio stations, together with the Port Huron Police Department, hosted the annual Cops & Jocks Spaghetti Dinner.  The fundraiser supports the  local C.A.P.T.U.R.E. Program.

The general public was invited to have a dinner served by either Port Huron Police or an on-air talent from Radio First’s WPHM-AM/WBTI-FM/WSAQ-FM/WHLS-AM/WHLX-AM.

Nearly $2,500 were raised and  over 400 meals were served. The C.A.P.T.U.R.E. program provides cash rewards for tips received on the anonymous witness tip line. The estimated $2,500 total is after all expenses are paid.

WDET Wins 2019 Local The Works Contest

Public radio station WDET-FM (Detroit) has received a $5000 prize as winner in the 2019 Local That Works contest
, for a project that tells stories of the region’s communities through audio and photography.  Since 2014, “Framed by WDET” has featured 10 communities, presenting images and audio stories in art exhibitions and community spaces.

The annual Local That Works contest, presented by Current, the nonprofit news service for and about public media in the U.S., showcases innovative and creative local content produced by public and nonprofit media organizations. Current presented the award this year in partnership with Greater Public and with co-coordinator Public Media Futures Forums.

Public radio leaders gathered for the Public Radio Super-Regional conference heard presentations on October 16 from four Local That Works contest finalists and chose WDET as the winner.

“In public media, we commonly cite our responsibility to ensure a healthy democracy. And as local media organizations, it’s also our job to ensure healthy communities,” said Courtney Hurtt, WDET’s associate director of product development and business operations, during her presentation. “And one way to do that is to reflect the lives of the people we’re here to serve. Framed by WDET did this.”

The project started when Detroit photographer Kenny Karpov suggested that the station work with him on stories about dress shops in Hamtramck, Mich., a community near Detroit with a majority of Muslim residents. Karpov took photos while audio producers recorded stories from the residents.  WDET’s GM came up with the idea of presenting the photos and stories in an art gallery in the community, Hurtt said. Creating an exhibition space “allowed us to bring different types of people together, literally, in one space” she said.

More than 20 exhibits appeared in community spaces throughout the Detroit area, Hurtt said. Nearly half of attendees said it was their first WDET event.

WDET funded the project primarily through grants. The project allowed the station “to interact with new organizations, people who support the arts,” Hurtt said. The station also raised more than $19,000 through Kickstarter to produce a “Framed by WDET” book.


iHeartMedia’s WMXD-FM Presents 20th Annual Sista Strut Cancer Walk

This past Saturday, October 19, iHeartMedia’s WMXD-FM (Detroit ) presented the 20th Annual Sista Strut Cancer Walk.  The event is held to increase awareness to the benefits of breast cancer screenings and other breast cancer resources in the African American community.

PD Cheron Sanders said, “We hope our 20th Annual Sista Strut event will help heighten the awareness of breast cancer in the African American community and to assist in providing free screenings for those who are under-insured. 92.3 is committed to furthering the health and well-being of people in Metro Detroit.”

The station’s PM drive personality Frankie Darcell hosted the event.  Performances and guest speakers will included J. Brown, Pastor Kinloch of Triumph Church, a clinician from Karmanos Cancer Institute’s Breat and Cervical Cancer Control Program, and Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield. The event was held as Grand Circus Park.

Andy Rent Celebrates 50 Years in West Michigan Broadcasting

Andy Rent

This past Sunday, October 20, marked the 50th Anniversary of West Michigan Radio/TV personality Andy Rent. The current morning personality at Townsquare Media’s WTRV-FM (Grand Rapids) began his West Michigan career in 1969 at WOOD-TV, where he served as live booth announcer, weatherman and children’s television host known as “Captain Woody.”

Rent later went on to work at both WCUZ-AM/FM (Grand Rapids) as well as WOOD-FM (now WSRW-FM) (Grand Rapids), serving as morning host on both stations.

Rent, a Muncie, Indiana, native, graduated from Ball State University and prior to Grand Rapids, worked in radio and TV in Richmond, Muncie and Indianapolis. He has served on the board of directors of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the Metropolitan YMCA, and Easter Seals-Michigan. Rent also assists the Salvation Army, DeGage Ministries, JDRF, Disability Advocates, Hope Network, and various other non-profit organizations.


Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2020 Launches in January

Michigan-based Jacobs Media announced on Thursday that registration is open for commercial radio stations to participate in the company’s annual Techsurvey.

In a press release, the company said the previous survey launched early in 2019 broke ground once again in the annual series that began in 2005. Overall, more than 500 radio stations across North America, representing a diverse group of broadcasting companies, contributed more than 50,000 respondents to radio’s largest web survey devoted to media and technology.

Fourteen different formats were represented, helping programmers and managers focus their efforts and resources on what is truly important for their listeners. Techsurvey 2020 will provide even more insights as Jacobs Media tracks media usage and tech trends.
Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs noted, “Our Techsurvey 2019 study from earlier this year once again revealed compelling data, both on a national level and among individual radio station audiences, to help broadcasters navigate the shifting media environment. As digital audio proliferates and with the rapid adoption of smart speakers, voice technology, and podcasting, this study also helps broadcasters better understand radio’s unique attributes crucial to thriving in the new media landscape. We’re looking forward to Techsurvey 2020 and another great turnout.”

This year’s study will launch in early January. Stations have until Friday, December 20 to sign up: jacobsmedia.com/techsurvey

Techsurvey 2020 will again feature trending so broadcasters can track the changes that occur with audience usage and habits from year-to-year, as well as delving into the following areas:

  • Further exploration into how generations impact behaviors and media choices
  • Smart speakers, the voice revolution, and how radio broadcasters can take optimal advantage of this opportunity
  • A continued deep look at the state of podcasting – who’s participating, how on-demand audio is used, preferred podcast genres, and their impact on over-the-air radio listening
  • Now that Nielsen will be surveying its PPM markets to measure headphone usage, Techsurvey 2020 will include this topic, and break it down by formats to help determine the highest impact
    Facebook is under immense pressure, and Techsurvey 2020 will explore whether it is impacting usage. And of course, the other key social platforms – Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok – will be accounted for as well.
  • Use of Internet radio, from station streams to Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Apple Music and others
  • A deeper look into mobile apps and their proliferation, including individual station apps, as well as iHeartRadio and Radio.com
  • Privacy concerns and how they impact the way stations interact with their listeners digitally
  • Video games – who’s playing them and how radio broadcasters can take advantage of this explosive trend, including eSports
  • How listeners learn about and connect with their favorite stations using streams, websites, social media, smart speakers, podcasts, etc.
  • Connected cars, their continued growth, and their impact on media consumption and driving
  • The changing world of new music discovery

The public release of Techsurvey 2020 will premiere at the 10th anniversary of Worldwide Radio Summit in Burbank, CA, on March 26th, 2020.

Stations can participate in two different ways:

No fee – This allows participation in the results webinar, along with receiving national data
A small fee based on market size – Stakeholder stations receive all the national data, participation in the webinar, as well as an in-depth look at their unique audience, their format’s audience, including their station’s “Media Usage Pyramid” and “Brand Platform Pyramid.” We are holding prices at last year’s levels to give everyone a chance to see their station data.

Broadcasters can sign up online at jacobsmedia.com/techsurvey and/or contact Lisa Riker at Jacobs Media for more information: 248-353-9030 or [email protected]

Gov. Whitmer Sends Letter to Trump Administration on Overtime Rule

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

In a letter, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer expressed opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to overtime eligibility, which substantially lowers overtime pay protections for working people from the far stronger Obama-era standard.

“These changes to the overtime rule are far too weak to provide Michigan’s workers with the overtime pay protections that they need and deserve,” Whitmer said. “This hurts Michigan’s working families and fails to ensure that working people who work long hours away from their families for their jobs are paid fairly for their time.”

In 2016, the Obama Administration announced a rule to raise the salary threshold for overtime eligibility from $23,000 to $47,000, including an eligibility index every three years to meet wage growth, which was projected to increase the threshold to more than $55,000 per year.

Upon taking office, the Trump Administration discontinued support for the previous administration’s overtime rule, leading to a loss of $56 million in overtime compensation earned by Michigan workers since the reversal in policy.  In early March, the Trump Administration announced new rules to overtime pay that were substantially weaker than the previous protections. The proposed rule would strip guaranteed overtime pay away from salaried workers earning more than $35,308 a year. As a result, approximately 192,000 working people in Michigan would lose overtime protections that were previously guaranteed.

On October 24, Governor Whitmer directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to submit a request for rulemaking to expand the right to overtime pay to more Michigan workers. Changes in federal law are set to extend overtime pay rights to workers making up to $35,500, but even then less than one in six Michiganders will benefit, down from a peak of more than 60% of workers.

“In America, hard work should be recognized and rewarded. When I was growing up, that meant you got overtime if you worked more than 40 hours,” said Whitmer. “President Obama took the first step towards restoring this right for millions of Americans five years ago, and if his proposed rule had taken effect, workers earning up to $51,000 today would be eligible for overtime pay. Instead, President Trump took a big step backwards when he implemented a rule that leaves 200,000 Michigan workers behind. That’s why today I’m directing the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to take action that will extend the right to overtime pay for thousands of Michigan workers. Strengthening paychecks is good for families, good for business, and good for our economy. It’s time to get it done.”

Gov. Whitmer has introduced or proposed many policies since taking office to build a stronger economy and ensure that everyone has access to high-paying jobs in Michigan. In the State of the State address, she introduced Michigan Reconnect and MI Opportunity Scholarships to provide students and working people with a pathway toward high-wage jobs. In a series of executive orders, the governor also aimed at securing equal pay for equal work and expanding opportunities for businesses in Michigan’s opportunity zones.

The Department of Labor is accepting public comment on the proposed revisions until Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Many workers in the broadcasting industry fall under the Creative Exemption and are exempt from overtime pay.