Ed Christian, MAB Hall of Famer, Re-Upped by Saga

According to All Access Music Group, Saga Communications has signed Chairman/Pres./CEO Ed Christian, MAB Hall of Famer, to a new five-year contract extension.

A Michigan native,  Ed Christian worked his way through college and earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 1973 at Wayne and his masters’ degree in Management in 1981 from CMU. Ed’s calling was to a career in radio, which began in 1958, at age 14, and hasn’t stopped since.

His first job as a young teen was running the control board at several FM radio stations here in Detroit. Then, while studying at Michigan State University, he worked as a radio reporter at several Lansing radio stations. In 1966, when he realized he’d reached the top of his game as on-air talent, he moved into radio sales at WCAR-AM/FM, in Detroit.

In 1971 Ed joined the ranks of station owner by partnering in the purchase of WCER-AM/FM, in Charlotte, Mich. In 1974 he was he was brought in as vice president and general manager to save the floundering WNIC AM/FM, which was in deep financial trouble. With $100,000 in cash to operate the station he cut staff, paid bills and changed the radio format to “Detroit’s Nicest Rock,” and within three months the station was profitable again. In 1986 then parent company of WNIC, Josephson Communications, decided to sell its radio division. Ed found a venture capital partner and bought eight radio stations in the group and Saga Communications was born. And the company has been steadily acquiring broadcast properties ever since.

In 2009, Ed was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ National Radio Award for his service as a national leader for radio and his passion for public service. In 2012, Ed was also honored with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ Lifetime Achievement Award. The broadcast publication Radio Ink has called Ed one of the most influential radio executives in the United States. Saga has been regularly elected to the highly selective Forbes’ list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America.

Ed’s heritage is Icelandic and he serves as Honorary Consul of Iceland for Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. In this position he promotes tourism, commerce and industry between Iceland and the U.S.




Reporter Syma Chowdhry Joins WXYZ-TV

Syma ChowdhrySyma Chowdhry, Emmy award-winning reporter, is joining WXYZ-TV’s 7 Action News team as a reporter for “The Now” daily news and information program airing weekdays at 4 p.m. on WXYZ-TV (Detroit).

“Syma’s experience makes her an ideal fit for “The Now,”” said Dave Manney, news director for WXYZ and WMYD in Detroit. “She’s adept at the breaking news and talk-about stories that make the “The Now” so appealing to our audiences.”

Says Chowdhry, “I’m excited to take the journalistic skills I honed in Philadelphia, and bring them to a city I love and to a station that enables me to take on a variety of stories, both hard news and features. At 7 Action News I’ll be able to incorporate my personality in my story-telling.”




Traffic Director Spotlight: Kae Buck, WLNS-TV & WLAJ-TV (Lansing)

Kae3_200Kae Buck
WLNS-TV & WLAJ-TV, Lansing

Kae Buck is the Media Coordinator for WLNS-TV and WLAJ-TV in Lansing, where she has been for the past 20 years.

Q1: What is your favorite comfort food?
Kae: Anything but sushi!

Q2: Which Superhero would you be, and why?
Kae: Wonder Woman. My goal in life has always been to do my best at everything I do. As most people already know, working full time and raising a family is a tough thing to do while still trying to find the happy medium of spending time with extended family and friends. Having a great employer and supportive family definitely makes this easier to accomplish. I feel very blessed to have had both over the years! Wonder Woman can do all of this and then some. 🙂

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be…
Kae: Laying on a beach or poolside!

Q4: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Kae: My friends and family regularly.

Q5: Best advice you have ever gotten?
Kae: Have confidence in yourself. If you make a mistake, own up to it, fix it, and move on. Never burn a bridge. Life tends to come full circle at some point. Always be the best you can be.

Q6: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
Kae: I am a kidney cancer survivor.




Virginia Tech Researcher Studying Flint Water Spoke at WKAR

Dr. Marc Edwards leads the Virginia Tech research team credited with revealing deadly lead contamination in the public water supply in Flint. Edwards spoke February 25 at the WKAR-TV (East Lansing) studios in the Communication Arts and Sciences building on the Michigan State University campus.

The presentation was streamed as a live webcast at wkar.org. The talk was free and open to the public.

Edwards presented his talk, “How Jonathan Baldwin Turner Saved Flint, Mich.: Public-Inspired Science and the Modern Land-Grant University.” Jonathan Turner, referenced in the title of Edwards’ talk, is credited by many as the originator of the concept of the land grant university and its mission of public service.

As an expert in the chemistry and toxicity of urban water supplies in the United States, Edwards has made significant advances in many areas, including arsenic removal, coagulation of natural organic material, and the causes and control of copper and lead corrosion in new and aging distribution systems. He is expanding his research focus to cities in crisis such as Flint, Mich.

Edwards is The Charles P. Lunsford Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2007.

The program is now available for on demand viewing in the PBS App on Roku, XBox 360, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, on iPad/iPhone, and at video.wkar.org.

The talk was sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University.




Dems Want FOIA Expansion by ‘Sunshine Week’

Michigan Democratic Party leaders called on the GOP to join them in supporting an expansion to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the end of Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week promotes open government and freedom of information and lasts from March 13 to March 19.

As Governor Snyder released thousands of pages of emails from the Executive Office dealing with the Flint water crisis, Democrats are saying he should have been required to do so by law. House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-29) stated that because the governor is not required to release any of the emails, there is no way to know if he is actually releasing every email related to Flint water management.

Several bills were introduced in the State Legislature that would expand the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include State Legislature and the Governor’s office – two entities currently exempt from FOIA. House Bill 5216, introduced by State Representative John Bizon (R-62), expands FOIA to the State Legislature.  Senate Bill 716, introduced by State Senator Coleman Young II (D-1), expands FOIA to the State Legislature and the Governor’s office.  Greimel noted that 48 other states subject their legislatures and executive offices to FOIA, and Michigan can do so without risking personal constituent information.




What Would You Do with a Crystal Ball?

Speed Marriott and GLBC are here to help you be as prepared as possible for the future of our industry in a two-part series on Tuesday, May 3.

“We cannot predict the future, but we can invent it.” – Anonymous

Speed Marriott, P1 Learning, will present: 2020 Vision

Crystal ballSession Description: We’re going to do a little time travel. We’re going to fast forward to the year 2020. Sounds like a long way away, but let’s face it, it’s only four years from today. We will challenge your sales team to think about the future needs of their customer and your management team to think about the future of the sales team that they will be managing.

We will begin our journey to the future with a brief trip to the past. The year is 2012, and our world is changing. We’ll use this trip to our recent past as a baseline for what to expect as we travel to the future.

Now that we’ve examined the past, it’s time to head into the future. Our destination is to fast-forward to the year 2020. Home of a U.S. Presidential election year and the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Four years from today.

As an industry we devote a substantial amount of time and effort attempting to project future sales, but little time thinking about the factors that impact that future. In 2020 Vision we invite you to take a forward look at the broadcast industry…

Our Markets

Our Customers

Our Products

Our Teams

Our Leaders

In addition, we will take an in-depth look at the various dynamics that will affect that future. Including:

Our Competitive Environment

Our Customer Evolution

Our Changing Workforce. Baby Boomers, Gen X, The Millennial, Gen Z & Introducing Generation Alpha

Our Great Unknown

It’s time to fire up the flux capacitor and get on the road for 2020 Vision. Remember, objects in the mirror are much closer then they may seem.

Click here for information and to register for GLBC. Members can register for the full day for only $159!*

*early, member rate




MAB on Capitol Hill

Call on Congress

L to R: Chris Warren, Midwestern Broadcasting Company; Congressman John Moolenaar (R-4th); Pete Iacobelli, Heritage Broadcasting; and Kevin Dunaway, Heritage Broadcasting.

MAB’s Executive Committee and some Board members traveled to Washington D.C. February 22-24 for the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters State Leadership Conference (NAB SLC).

Call on Congress

L to R: Ed Fernandez, E.W. Scripps Television and MAB Board Chairman; Congressman Bishop (R-8th), Peter Tanz, Midwest Communications.

The conference agenda included presentations by NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith on what Washington policies have in store for broadcasters and digital media companies in 2016, the importance of using social media as an advocacy tool, and policy updates presentation from the NAB government relations team.

L to R: Ed Fernandez, Rep. Dave Trott (R-11)

L to R: Ed Fernandez, Congressman Trott (R-11th)

The MAB Executive Committee met with members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation and their telecommunication staff to discuss the need to oversee the FCC as the agency implements incentive spectrum auction procedures set up by Congress. In addition, discussions took place about broadcasters’ opposition to the performance tax and advertising restrictions, preserving the integrity of the free market process in the retransmission negotiations, and reforming media ownership rules to reflect the competitive marketplace.




Security Upgrades Coming for the Capitol Building

The Michigan State Capitol building could see more, and better, cameras and traffic barricades under plans discussed by the Capitol Commission last week. While metal detectors were not part of the discussion, the Commission also considered replacing the building’s back-up generator, including air monitoring, as part of an ongoing review of the physical plant. To support these and other projects, the commission is expected to back budget legislation currently being drafted to fund the improvements.




Google Won’t Participate in the Spectrum Auction

According to a report in FierceWireless, Google said it will not bid for 600 MHz spectrum licenses in the FCC’s upcoming spectrum incentive auction scheduled for March 2016. Google will join Sprint, Charter Communications and other tech heavyweights in sitting out the event.

“Like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we’ll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate,” a Google representative told Reuters. Google also did not participate in the FCC’s AWS-3 auction a year ago that brought almost $45 billion in total winning bids.