WGHN-AM and WMPA-FM Flip Formats

On May 26, owners Will Tieman and Wendy Hart have flipped WMPA-FM (Ferrysburg) has flipped to a new classic rock format as “Classic Rock 93.1.“  The station had previously featured a country music format.

WMPA Program Director Jesse Bruce is hosting a local request show at 12 p.m. as well as afternoons from 3-7 p.m. He had been hosting afternoons on sister AC 92.1 WGHN-FM.  WMPA will also carry the syndicated “Nights with Alice Cooper.”

WGHN-AM (Grand Haven), which has a companion FM translator has switched from sports to oldies  as “Oldies 94.9.“  The station will continue with its lineup of sports play-by-play including the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Detroit Red Wings, University of Michigan, and Spring Lake High School.

WGHN-FM (Grand Haven) retains its AC format with Mary Ellen Murphy, replacing Bruce in afternoons.

WKAR Completes Channel Repack

On June 1, WKAR-TV (East Lansing) announced that it has completed its channel repack move from channel 40 to channel 33 and is now operating at full power.

The station made the FCC-required frequency change on Tuesday, May 29, but in the days following the switch, broadcasting continued at low power to a reduced coverage area while additional work was required on the new main transmission line. Many viewers beyond 30 miles, and those with indoor antennas, had no reception during this period.

But, as of 12:50 p.m. on Friday, June 1, WKAR began broadcasting from the new main antenna at full tower height, at full power, and now reaches the full coverage area for all antenna TV viewers.

The station has been advising viewers through its website to rescan their digital television tuners.

The project also affected co-located WKAR-FM and WKAR-AM’s FM translator, both of which had to power down or go off the air for brief periods during the TV antenna project.

WKAR is the first station in Michigan, and the first public broadcasting station in the country, to begin broadcasting on their new assigned frequency.

Reminder: Register your C-Band Satellite Dishes

Radio and Television stations that receive programming via large C-band satellite dishes   should consider registering their downlinks prior to July 18 to protect their reception.

On April 19, the FCC issued a public notice freezing the filing of new or modification applications for fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth station licenses, receive only earth station registrations and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band. The purpose of this freeze is to preserve the current landscape of authorized operations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band pending Commission action as part of its ongoing inquiry into the possibility of permitting mobile broadband use and more intensive fixed use of the band.

In a post on the Barry Mishkind’s BDR (read here) Broadcaster and tech consultant Karen Johnson of LinkUp Communications  says it’s about the proposed new 5G wireless service, and “in a nutshell, broadband companies like Verizon and Google are putting pressure on the FCC to hand over or sell all of these frequencies to major Internet providers.” So there’s a 90-day freeze on new receive-only earth stations in the C-Band, while the FCC sifts through comments.

Johnson advises that in the short-term, “Take care of business…if you own one or more C-band downlinks, make sure each one is registered.” The deadline for that is July 18. More about the situation (and how to register existing earth stations) from attorney Michelle McClure at CommLawBlog here.

In an article on Tom Taylor’s daily newsletter “Tom Taylor Now,” its reported that National Public Radio (NPR) told FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly that its PRSS (Public Radio Satellite System) is “an indispensable link” between it and hundreds of NPR member stations. And that “the non-commercial, non-profit public radio system cannot afford alternative means of program distribution, such as terrestrial/fiber networks.” Those alternatives are not just more expensive. It says “for the “rural and remote part of the country where fiber does not reach, there are no alternatives to satellite distribution, regardless of cost.”

Urgent: Sage ENDEC Update Available

Sage Alerting Systems has announced the availability of an important firmware update for its Sage 3644 (blue) EAS box.

Users with the 3644 must install this update to permit the ENDEC to continue to receive EAS CAP alerts from FEMA.   A FEMA signing certificate will expire at 11:45 a.m. on June 24, 2018; if this update is not installed, you will not receive CAP messages from the IPAWS system after that date.

This release also updates the SSL certificate roots that your ENDEC must have in order to download alert audio files from state or county alert originators.

For more information, visit http://sagealertingsystems.com/support-firmware-new.htm.

Updates from other manufacturers: 

Monroe EAS Device users who are being contacted directly.

User notices are being sent out, directing to the following links:
http://www.digitalalertsystems.com/resources_fsb.html and http://monroe-electronics.com/EAS_pages/eas_fsb.html.

Trilithic updates can be found here:


Gorman-Redlich updates can be found here:


How to Manage Talents Who Hate Each Other!

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

Good news! You have a successful, well-rated morning team on your station. Bad news: They do not get along off the air. With so much emphasis on post-show events (promotions, events, appearances, social media), what’s a PD or GM to do?

I think we could all agree that on-air staffs and drama are synonymous. But what happens when there is real-life conflict? Here are some suggestions from programmers and managers who either currently have or have had this kind of problem.

Let’s start with a guy who works with morning shows all the time: morning show coach/consultant Steve Reynolds. He says, “Of course they need a relationship off-air. That’s crazy to think they don’t. The respect they have for each other, the trust they build, their ability to communicate and resolve issues is felt in their on-air chemistry. That takes work and commitment.”

John Gehron, COO at AccuRadio and longtime PD and manager, also has some sage words of advice. “If they are successful, then they are getting the job done on the air. That’s what counts. I don’t think it’s necessary to hang out off the air on their own time.”

Don Kellogg of Lagniappe Broadcasting in Louisiana shares this: “I have actually had to step in between talent before to keep a fistfight from going down. As the operations manager, I explained to both employees that they are both creating a negative work environment for those around them and that is not conducive to creativity and will not be tolerated.”

Country consultant Joel Raab comments, “I think if you can manage the dislike, it can enhance creative spark. Worked with a morning team that literally hated each other off air but sounded like best buds on the air — and had great ratings.”

Music Master’s Marianne Burkett has a good angle on it. “Sounds like an ‘old married couple’ issue. They probably just need to spend some time hanging out together — alone.”

Former radio producer, now mid-morning talent on Providence’s WPRI-TV Will Gilbert has a different look at the subject. “I’ve worked with both — teams that really do like each other or at the very least, deal with each other, and then teams that can’t stand each other. It’s tough to fake it on the air that much. Listeners are more and more media-savvy, and many who listen every day can read between the lines. For me, I could not be happier with my partner. Granted it’s TV and not radio — I truly could not have asked for a better ‘TV wife.’”

Sports radio consultant Tom Bigby has spent decades dealing with talent as one of the founding fathers of the all-Sports format. “You must be talking about most Sports radio talent. I’ve always thought a little bit dysfunctional group gets better ratings. And makes the talent more memorable.”

Longtime Boston-New England personality Karen Blake feels conflict may have a good place. “Also, a manager can really turn things around if he/she is truly a great manager. I can tell you firsthand that having a bad manager at times in my career has been very stressful, when you go to them for help and they do nothing. I’ve lost sleep many nights over a manager that has no balls. I will say, though, some of the best teams are the ones with a little tension. So it’s not a bad thing, but a good manager needs to keep an eye on the quarterbacks of the station and step in when needed.”

Of course, radio is not the only business that needs to deal with personality conflict, as Jim McKeon points out. “Simon and Garfunkel couldn’t and can’t stand each other. They found ways to work together, get along onstage, and achieve greatness. Offstage, separate ways, as Journey says!”

Bob Zamboni (Bob DeCarlo) has a unique perspective as a PD and on-air talent. “While I had a partner for 14 years in Tampa, I was the PD for eight of those years and had a cordial but not friendly relationship off the air. I was a polar opposite to him in manner but was a fan of his wit and humor. At times, we were at each other’s throats, but realized as a team we were doing something special. My philosophy was to accent the positive and keep apart unless necessary.”

How about when you’re married to your partner? On-air talent Kelly Cozadd shares these thoughts. “If they are highly rated and successful, then they seem to be managing it. You don’t have to like everyone you work with, or like them all the time. I did a team morning show with my husband for 25 years. We didn’t always like each other.”

Programmer Tom Calococci says, “Sometimes people lose perspective. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. If they’ve got a good thing going on the air, they should keep that in mind. Hopefully you all get it worked it out.”

Tom’s comments really bring it home: “Don’t lose perspective” and “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” This is especially important when you look at what has been going on in morning television. NBC’s Today Show and CBS’s This Morning both lost main anchors (Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose) and have not only rebounded, but ratings are up substantially since the departures. Everyone is replaceable.

Over the years, I have known many personalities who found themselves in this type of conflict. In most cases, when it’s all over, they regret the behavior. Many times it leads to dismissal, and they always say, “It wasn’t worth losing my job over.” Don’t lose perspective. Don’t blow a good thing. If it’s working in the studio, it’s working. Either way, if you value your position, it’s up to you to make it work.

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

Bill Ballenger Joins Michigan Talk Network

Bill Ballenger

Longtime political commentator Bill Ballenger has joined the Michigan Talk Network to host a brand new weekly political talk program.

Ballenger who has been a staple of the Michigan political scene for years, debuted the series, The Political Insider with Bill Ballenger on June 2.

“Bill is a respected and sought-after voice in politics both in Michigan and on the national scene,” remarked MTN President Ivey Gruber. “Bill cuts through the noise and in this political season with so much going on, we knew we wanted him on the MTN team.”

A graduate of Harvard, Ballenger founded Inside Michigan Politics before leaving early in 2016. He served in both the Michigan House and Senate before joining the administration of President Gerald Ford as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Bill has “a go to perspective when it comes to important political issues and I am thrilled that he will be delivering those insights on a regular basis,” commented Steve Gruber, the host of The Steve Gruber Show, MTN’s flagship program heard statewide on 25 affiliates each day.

Ballenger is expected to cover the big races in Michigan for Governor, U.S. Senate and the 14 Congressional seats that are all up for grabs come November 6, 2018. The state will also likely have a number of ballot proposals that voters will decide on election day including a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Political Insider debuted this past Saturday on several of the 40+ affiliates serviced by The Michigan Talk Network.

For more information on The Political Insider with Bill Ballenger, contact:

Ivey Gruber, President MTN [email protected]
Sarah Griffith, Director of Operations [email protected]

Nielsen Releases First CMO Report, Showing Digital On The Rise

According to an article in All Access, Nielsen released the first in what it plans to be an annual series of reports based on interviews with Chief Marketing Officers and other survey data. The Nielsen CMO Report 2018 indicates that 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital spending by an average of 49% as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next 12 months and that almost 80% plan to increase their investment in analytics or attribution solutions in the same time frame.

The marketers, however, were less enthusiastic about measuring return on investment, with just 26% saying they are “highly confident” in their ability to accurately measure ROI from digital (and only 23% saying the same for traditional media). Find the full report by clicking here.

Though the article spoke a lot about digital media in which broadcasting has a strong presence, it reported that traditional media remains “critical to brand building,” and 62% said their plans are organized to support an omnichannel approach.

“We conducted the research for the Nielsen CM Report 2018 with one central goal, to give voice to brand advertisers who are facing some of the most daunting challenges of their organizations,” Nielsen SVP/Product Marketing and Strategy Eric Solomon told All Access. “What we heard was that, despite the prevalence of new advertising and promotional channels and significant investments in data and technology, marketers are still struggling to generate and prove sales results in an increasingly omnichannel world.”