WNMU-TV Unveils New Sports Broadcasting Equipment

Left: New WNMU-TV cameras at the Barry Events Center; Right: New WNMU-TV switch board at the Barry Events Center.

WNMU-TV (Marquette), in partnership with Northern Michigan University Athletics,
is setting up new production equipment for producing NMU sports telecasts.  Equipment highlights include Sony broadcast cameras with 72-power Canon zoom optics and Ross video switching with multi-view monitoring along with a host of other production enhancements.

Not only will this new equipment enhance viewers’ experience with NMU games, but it will also give NMU broadcasting students valuable hands-on experiential learning with an ESPN-3 level facility that better prepares them for a career in multi-media production.

WKAR to Host PBS Kids Day

WKAR Public Media (East Lansing) will host another “PBS Kids Day” at their MSU Campus studios on Saturday, January 25.  The day gives viewers a chance to look behind the scenes at the station and will feature fun activities and games for kids.

The free event will feature lots of fun, hands-on activities from community partners like Abrams planetarium, The FRIB, Potter Park Zoo, and more! Everyone’s favorite pet Clifford The Big Red Dog will be visiting and taking pictures with all his fans.

Visitors can take a try at being a meteorologist with the green screen experience, visit with favorite Curious Crew cast members and learn about STEM careers.  Curious Crew, a show seen nationwide on public television stations is produced at WKAR.

The event will also have a sensory friendly quiet room with low lighting and comfy furniture, so all kids are invited!

WKAR Announces Launch of Apollo Public TV Platform in Partnership with Gaian Solutions

NextGen TV Accelerator Platform, Apollo PublicTV Platform Enables Public Broadcasters to Conceive, Design and Launch NextGen TV Services for Local Communities

WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University and Gaian Solutions, Inc., announce the launch of Apollo PublicTV Platform, a NextGen TV accelerator platform for public broadcasters.

Apollo PublicTV Platform offers broadcasters a suite of services including NextGen TV master classes, ATSC 3.0 receiver and transmitter starter kits, access to NextGen TV broadcast chains and the capability to conduct lab and field trials. Apollo PublicTV Platform also offers a certification program for technology providers, plus business consulting services for organizations interested in identifying and launching specific market-by-market NextGen TV opportunities.

This new platform offers NextGen TV services through tools that apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in a fully cloud-based, virtualized environment to enable the convergence of broadcast and digital workflows.

Through Apollo PublicTV Platform, public broadcasters can now offer rich content experiences in education, alerting, health information, community fundraising and other domains.

“Putting the tools of the Apollo PublicTV Platform in the hands of public broadcasters means that local communities can begin to benefit right now from the promise of NextGen TV,” said Susi Elkins, general manager at WKAR Public Media. “Barriers to moving forward immediately include a lack of significant investment and the absence of a clear migration path to NextGen TV. The Apollo PublicTV Platform partnership we’re announcing today is a marketplace collaboration designed to address those barriers. Apollo PublicTV Platform will help stations manage the convergence of operations now, to be well positioned for the future.”

Apollo PublicTV Platform tools include data analytics, app designer tools, AI agents, Software Development Kits (SDKs) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for rapid service curation, an ATSC 3.0 receiver application stack and the necessary business applications to manage carrier-grade content services.

“The coming NextGen TV economy will ensure overall growth of the broadcast industry and its long overdue integration with the digital transformation ecosystem,” said Chandra Kotaru, CEO and founder of Gaian Solutions. “Public broadcasters are in a unique position to leverage NextGen TV opportunities. Apollo PublicTV Platform was designed to accelerate this phenomenon.”

“The Apollo PublicTV Platform instantly opens up new opportunities and better experiences through cutting edge technology, open APIs and toolkits,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU. “Gaian Solutions has been instrumental in conceptualizing, designing, developing and operating the Apollo PublicTV Platform with WKAR at MSU. We are very hopeful this will put public broadcasters at the forefront of leading innovation in the NextGen TV space.”

“America’s Public Television Stations see great potential in the Apollo PublicTV Platform developed by Gaian in cooperation with Susi Elkins and her team at WKAR-TV,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO. “We look forward to working with them and with the public station community to make Apollo PublicTV Platform an accelerator of ATSC 3.0 adoption and of all the new service and revenue opportunities the NextGen broadcast standard holds in store for public television.”

Butler continued, “APTS intends to play an active role in familiarizing stations with the Apollo PublicTV Platform and ensuring that every station understands the transformative promise of ATSC 3.0 and the ability of Apollo PublicTV Platform to help make that promise come true for stations of every size.”

WKAR at Michigan State University, Gaian Solutions, and APTS invite all content and spectrum based entrepreneurs, digital transformation agencies, broadcasters, and technology vendors to collaborate on Apollo PublicTV Platform, the new open platform for NextGen TV.

Apollo PublicTV Platform currently provides broadcasters with:

  • Migration toolkits to easily transition from 1.0 to 3.0 with minimal investment.
  • Open APIs and SDKs to build on top of existing services.
  • Master Control and Broadcast Operations reimagined with NextGen TV Services.
  • A Digital Transformation Marketplace to bring together the broadcast assets and digital services to effectively utilize & monetize the spectrum.
  • An AppStore equivalent for the TV world with broadcaster apps and receiver apps supported across various device form factors.

To learn more, visit wkar.org/apollopublictvplatform or write to [email protected].

WMUK Adds Second Frequency for Classical Programming

Western Michigan University’s WMUK-FM (Kalamazoo) has announced that it is expanding both its news and information programming as well as classical music and fine arts programming with the addition of a second frequency.  On January 20, the station will split its programming with WMUK 102.1 increasing the amount of news and information programming hours with the addition of programs including 1A, Fresh Air, On Point, Radiolab, The Daily, The Takeaway and This American Life.  The station will be known as “WMUK News.”

The station’s current classical music and fine arts programming will be expanded on its HD2 subchannel and also be heard on WKDS-FM 89.9, a station licensed to Kalamazoo Public Schools.  This HD2/FM combination will be known as “WMUK Classical.”  WMUK Classical will still offer 5-minute top of the hour newscasts.

The station says that the changes came after listener research indicated that a clear majority of our listeners say they want more news and information, particularly at middays and they want to give more people reason to stay with their local public radio station, based and originating in Western Michigan. In sharing the news with WMUK listeners, the stations says that with the balance of local reporting and cultural coverage, in addition to new network programming and the creation of Classical WMUK, the station will provide a compelling new reason for listeners to stay throughout the day for their news, information and music needs.

WDET Names Mary Zatina as New General Manager

Mary Zatina

Public radio station WDET-FM (Detroit) has named a new General Manager. Mary Zatina, a former assistant general manager of WDET and an alumna of Wayne State University, will now lead operations for the 48,000-watt station. Her appointment is effective January 2, 2020.

Zatina has spent the last dozen years as senior vice president of government relations and community affairs at Oakwood Healthcare and Beaumont Health, where she was also responsible for marketing, public relations, internal communications and community health. Prior to that, she held numerous leadership positions in communications, public affairs, fundraising and community engagement.

“We are delighted that Mary is joining us at WDET. Her wealth of leadership experience and her deep connections in the greater Detroit community are a perfect fit for the station,” said Michael Wright, WSU vice president of Marketing and Communications and Chief of Staff. “I have no doubt WDET will thrive under her leadership.”

Zatina will work to provide the highest possible quality programming to the Detroit metropolitan area with a strategic focus on audience and revenue growth, community engagement, as well as fundraising and stewardship for the station.

“It’s been a while since I worked at WDET, but I have maintained my strong belief in the station’s mission and the critical role it plays to serve metro Detroiters,” said Zatina. “I’ve never stopped listening to and supporting WDET. I am excited to be coming home, and looking forward to working with this dedicated and dynamic team of professionals.”

Previously, Zatina served as chief of staff for the Office of First Gentlemen Daniel Granholm Mulhern and an advisor to Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Cheyna Roth Leaves MPRN

Cheyna Roth

The Michigan Public Radio Network is sad to announce that Capitol Bureau reporter Cheyna Roth has left the network to join MLive in Grand Rapids as an investigative reporter.

MPRN State Capitol Bureau Chief/Managing Editor Rick Pluta said, “Cheyna’s been a great partner to work with. I know that respect for her is shared by the members of the state Capitol press corps, the people she covered and our MPRN stations. Please join me in extending our thanks, best wishes and (as we used to say in the wire services) happy landings.”

In a note to MPRN member stations, Roth wrote,  “Working with you all has been a wonderful adventure. While I’ve gotten to know some of you more than others, I can truly say that it has been an honor to work with each of you. Thank you for your patience, your kindness, and your sense of humor. While my focus shifts to Grand Rapids (and to print), please know that I am always available to you and can think of nothing I’d love more than to make a guest appearance on your air again, or even better, collaborate on a story.”

Roth started her new position in MLive on December 16.

Prior to joining MPRN in 2016, Roth was an assistant prosecutor in Ionia County handling a lot of prisoner misconduct cases when she decided, after about a year and a half, that her passion was story-telling.

“NPR got me through an almost hour long commute every day,” she said. “Listening to the stories and amazing quality of radio production was a real catalyst for my leaving the legal field to pursue journalism.”

Roth returned to school and graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University. During grad school, she interned with Michigan Radio, and post-graduation, her freelance career included multi-media reporting for WKAR and researching and producing a documentary on an ex-con’s experiences teaching life lessons to kids in Flint.

Michigan Radio Wins Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for “Believed”; April Baer Joins Station as Stateside Host

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced December 11 that Michigan Radio is a winner of a 2020 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for the station’s podcast series, Believed. This marks the second time Michigan Radio has been the recipient of this prestigious award, the first being in 2017 for Not Safe to Drink, a documentary on the Flint water crisis.

The Believed podcast series from Michigan Radio and NPR details how a team of women brought Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to justice. Hosted by award-winning Michigan Radio reporters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith, Believed was first distributed in October, 2018.

The 2020 dupont-Columbia Award winners focus on timely issues such as immigration, political corruption, and abuse of power, especially as it relates to sexual assault. Believed is one of three podcasts that were winners in the Audio award category.

Founded in 1942, the duPont-Columbia Awards uphold the highest standards in journalism by honoring winners annually, informing the public about those journalists’ contributions and supporting journalism education and innovation. The duPont Awards ceremony will take place on January 21, 2020 in New York City.

April Baer

In other Michigan Radio news, Veteran public radio journalist April Baer is joining Michigan Radio to host the station’s popular Stateside talk show. She will take the helm of the show beginning Monday, January 6, 2020.

April Baer is replacing Cynthia Canty, who has been the host of the award winning show for the past seven years and is retiring later this month.

Baer comes to Michigan Radio from Oregon where she’s been the host of the weekly show State of Wonder on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) for the past six years. State of Wonder features interviews and reporting on the latest in visual arts, theater, music, literature, culture and more. Prior to that, she was the Morning Edition host and a reporter at OPB, covering beats including government and legal affairs, changing demographics and the arts.

“My experience covering government, legal affairs, military deployments, gun violence, the arts, and other topics leaves me well-prepared for the range of issues Stateside explores each day.” added Baer. “I treat our work not as a checklist of stories, but as a dynamic space for civil public dialogue.”

Hosting Stateside brings Baer back to her midwest roots. She is originally from Ohio and worked as the Morning Edition host and Public Affairs Director at WCPN Ideastream (Cleveland) and WYSO (Yellow Springs). Her husband Ryan grew up in Ann Arbor, and she has spent time in the state every year for the past 13 years, visiting places from Detroit to Marquette.

Baer has been the recipient of a number of awards including the 2006 New York Festivals – Bronze Medal for podcast; The Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Best Social Justice Reporting Award; and a Finalist in the 2007 Public Radio Talent Quest, a nationwide competition to select new public radio hosts and shows.

“We are thrilled to have April Baer join the Michigan Radio team,” noted Steve Schram, Executive Director and General Manager of Michigan Radio. “She is an extremely talented and experienced journalist with a strong understanding of public radio and its core values. The Michigan-focused content of Stateside,” anchored by an experienced professional like April, will help listeners across the state make sense of the events and issues affecting them.”

Stateside with April Baer will continue covering a wide range of Michigan news and policy issues—as well as culture and lifestyle stories. Guests on the show include newsmakers, politicians, writers, artists, and cultural influencers.

The show airs weekdays from 3-4 pm on Michigan Radio, with an encore broadcast each weekday evening from 10-11 pm. In addition to being heard across all of southern Michigan on Michigan Radio, Stateside also airs in Traverse City and northwest Michigan on Interlochen Public Radio.

WCMU Raises $65K with ‘Warm Hearts, Warm Homes’

WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant) has announced that its sixth annual Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign raised $65,000 during the month of November.  The campaign provides home-heating assistance programs across central and northern Michigan.  When a listener donates to WCMU during Warm Hearts, Warm Homes campaign, they trigger matching funds from Consumers Energy and Isabella Bank. The matching funds are then distributed to families in need of home-heating assistance by the Michigan Community Action agency serving the listener’s community.

The station reports that Warm Hearts, Warm Homes has now generated more than a third of a million dollars in matching funds for home heating assistance over six years!

Michigan Radio Selected as Report for America Host Newsroom

Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM/WFUM-FM/WVGR-FM-Ann Arbor) has been selected as a host newsroom by Report for America. As part of this initiative, Michigan Radio will hire a new reporter who will focus on coverage of mental health care in Michigan. A recent study found nearly 670,000 Michiganders with mental illness and more than 500,000 with a substance use disorder are not receiving treatment, a circumstance compounded by a shortage of health professionals and treatment facilities in the state. Some mental health advocates consider this a statewide epidemic.

The journalism that this new reporter will conduct will help Michigan residents understand the seriousness and depth of the mental health care problem in Michigan, from the severe shortage of emergency psych beds to lengthy political debates and the underfunding of public mental health services.

The Report for America project is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America’s mission is to strengthen communities and democracy through local journalism that is truthful, fearless, fair and smart, while covering stories and beats that would otherwise go uncovered. In total, Report for America announced today that it will field 250 emerging journalists in 164 host news organizations to serve local communities across 46 states in the coming year.

Michigan Radio was the only radio news organization in the state that was chosen as a Report for America host newsroom. Other news organizations in Michigan that were selected include the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Public Television, the Traverse City Record-Eagle and FlintBeat.com.

Applications for this and other available Report for America positions are being accepted now until Jan. 31 at reportforamerica.org.

PBS and WKAR Unveil New Look on Eve of PBS 50th Anniversary

via WKAR.org

Refresh of Iconic Logo Modernizes Brand to Better Connect with Viewers in the Digital Age

PBS announced this week an update to its iconic brand, including a refreshed logo, bold color palette, custom typeface and illustration style. The new identity will roll out throughout 2020 as PBS celebrates its 50th anniversary. With the new PBS look, WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University has also made updates to its logo.

“PBS has connected with hundreds of millions of Americans through the stories that matter to our lives,” said Ira Rubenstein, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer, PBS. “Our new look and feel better represent how we are doing that in today’s digital age, while also preserving the most iconic aspects of this beloved brand. From broadcast to every major streaming platform, from your screens to your communities, we’ve created one connected experience that spans PBS locally and nationally.”

Along with the refreshed look for PBS, WKAR Public Media has updated the WKAR logo to coordinate better with the new PBS logo and with updates made earlier this year to the logo of NPR, public broadcasting’s other national partner. The new WKAR logo is set in a clean, bold font, and draws its green from the official Michigan State University color palette. Overlapping letters represent the WKAR mission to connect people to powerful ideas.

Audiences will see an exciting new look and feel that spans broadcast, mobile, and digital, making it easier to identify and rediscover the PBS content they know and love across platforms. The new logo is an evolution of its iconic symbol, reflective of the diverse perspectives PBS offers through its content. It is paired with “PBS” rendered in a custom type that’s more modern, prominent, and designed to be highly legible as it migrates across platforms. The new brand identity also features a new, vibrant signature color, PBS Blue, designed to convey a sense of trust and integrity.

PBS worked with Lippincott, a global creative consultancy, to elevate the enduring strength of the brand and how it shines a light on the new and familiar to inspire, entertain, and inform. The robust two-year process factored in the diverse considerations of PBS’ audiences, member stations, and partners to ensure a consistent and connected user experience across all platforms hosting PBS content.

“We believe PBS represents the best of what media is capable of, and this brand refresh demonstrates that,” said Connie Birdsall, global creative director at Lippincott. “We built the new visual identity to be flexible and modern for a brand that sits at the center of both broadcast and digital media, providing memorable visual brand cues that highlight PBS programming and unify local and national communities, who all share a love of PBS.”

An evolution of the PBS brand can be viewed here. Over the next year, nearly 70 percent of local PBS member stations, including WKAR, will also be adopting the new brand identity, helping to provide a consistent viewer experience.