Local Radio Freedom Act Introduced

RadioInk reports that a bipartisan coalition of 124 Members of Congress (119 Reps, five Senators) have introduced resolutions in the House of Representatives and the Senate opposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act opposes any potential legislation that would impose new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay.

Among those supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act from Michigan are Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Rep. Upton, Fred (R-MI-6), Rep. Tim Walberg, (R-MI-7) and Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10).

“America’s hometown broadcasters are deeply grateful for this broad, bipartisan display of Congressional support for the Local Radio Freedom Act,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “Decade after decade, free radio airplay has propelled the careers of countless performing artists and generated hundreds of millions in revenue for the record labels. We thank lawmakers for standing in opposition to a job-killing performance royalty that threatens to destroy the economics of local radio.”

The prinicipal cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House (H. Con. Res. 20) are Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) and Michael Conaway (R-TX-11).  In the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5) the cosponsors of a companion resolution are Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

 




Former WOOD TV News Director Passes

Patti McGettigan

This past weekend, WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) reported that former news director Patti McGettigan died Saturday (2/16) after a long battle with cancer.  McGettigan was 53.

She became WOOD TV’s news director in 2000 and served in that role until leaving the station in 2009 to serve as news director at stations in Indianapolis and Memphis.

“Patti was a driving and trans-formative force — leading us with her strong convictions, solid decision making, and great compassion for her team and the community we serve,” WOOD-TV Director of Operations Kevin Ferrara wrote in a staff memo sent out Saturday evening. “She had the incredible vision to see the endgame to each decision with great foresight and clarity.”

One of McGettigan’s proudest accomplishments was her work on an award-winning special called “Race in Reality”. It aired in 2005. The program examined the role race plays in the community and the consequences of racism and discrimination. The initiative ultimately garnered the station a national RTNDA Unity Award.

“She didn’t just tell us what to do, she shared her reasoning and inspired us to push ourselves to be better,” Ferrara wrote in the staff memo.

The station noted that many who respected McGettigan often talk about her eye for talent. She recognized and invested in the talent of some who remain a part of WOOD TV’s news product today and others who’ve moved to large markets and the national stage — like ABC Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee and CBS Chicago news reporter Brad Edwards. She didn’t hire him, but also worked closely with ABC News correspondent Steve Osunsami during his time at WOOD-TV.

“For the ‘very Irish’ little girl who was destined to be in journalism, growing up on Dale Street in Dearborn, watching Walter Cronkite and Bill Bonds every night in her living room with her dad, you too are now a legend to many of us,” Ferrara wrote. “You’ve made an indelible impact on WOOD TV and TV journalism.”




Elkins Elected to America’s Public Television Stations Board

Susi Elkins

By: Julie Sochay, WKAR Public Media

Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, has been elected to the board of directors of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS). The announcement was made on February 7. Her three-year term begins Monday, February 25, 2019.

APTS is a nonprofit membership organization that works to ensure a strong and financially sound public television system and help member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people.

“It is an honor to be elected by my public television peers as a new trustee of the APTS board,” said Elkins. “I’m thrilled to serve an organization dedicated to helping member stations provide essential public services in communities across the country.”

Under Elkins’ leadership, WKAR has solidified its reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations, and significantly increased its commitment to early childhood education. University partnerships at Michigan State have increased the station’s capacity for providing award-winning research-based content, as well as experiential learning opportunities for students.

In collaboration with MSU, Elkins led the effort to launch the first ATSC 3.0 experimental station licensed to a public media organization. Granted the FCC experimental license in June 2018, the test station is designed to explore the potential of NextGen TV to build stronger communities through education, news and information, arts, science and culture. Prior to her appointment in March 2017, Elkins served in a variety of roles at the station, including Interim Director, Television Station Manager, Content and Community Engagement Manager, public television Producer and instructional television multi-media Producer.

Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.

Elkins joins other newly-elected trustees: Carolyn Edwards, Lay Trustee, Vegas PBS in Las Vegas, Nevada; Franz Joachim, General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS; Garrett T. King, III, Board Chair of Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA); Vickie Lawson, President & CEO of East Tennessee PBS in Knoxville, Tennessee; and David Steward II, Board Chair of Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, Missouri. Newly elected as an at-large trustee to the APTS board is Larry D. Unger, President & Chief Executive Officer of Maryland Public Television.

Visit apts.org for a full list of new board members and leaders.




Conway & Hoffman To Be Inducted into Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

Mary Conway

Former WXYZ-TV (Detroit) Reporter Mary Conway has received the honor of induction into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.  

Conway, who set the standard for automotive and business coverage throughout Michigan, spent nearly 30 years at WXYZ-TV following stops at WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) and WIFR-TV (Rockford, Illinois).

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be included in the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame,” Conway said. “I am fortunate to be honored for doing a job that I loved. I can’t thank Channel 7 and its viewers enough! It was such a privilege to be part of the WXYZ team.”

Kathy Barks Hoffman

Also being inducted is Kathy Barks Hoffman, Vice President with PR firm Martin Waymire and the  former head of AP’s Lansing Bureau.  Hoffman also was a reporter for The Detroit News and Lansing State Journal.  She has also spent many years as a panelist on public television’s “Off the Record” public affairs program. Before joining Martin Waymire, Kathy was a director in the Public Affairs Practice of Lambert, Edwards and Associates in Lansing.

In a Twitter post, Hoffman said, “I’m so honored to have been accepted this year, and to be among so many other great journalists who will be inducted this year.”




WWCK Raises $45k for Children’s Miracle Network

WWCK’s Mike & Stephanie

Cumulus Media’s WWCK-FM (Flint) (CK 105.5) raised $45,322 for Hurley Children’s Hospital in the 1st CK Cares for Kids Radiothon, held February 7-8, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day.

The radiothon is staffed by more than 115 community volunteers who donate their time to answer calls and and work a phone bank taking and soliciting donations. All gifts will stay local and go to Hurley Children’s Hospital.

While WWCK’s “Cares for Kids” Radiothon benefited pediatric services and the Child Life program at Hurley Children’s Hospital, sister station WFBE-FM (NASH FM 95.1) held the “Cure Kids Cancer” Radiothon to benefit the Pediatric Chemo Clinic’s Child Life program at Hurley Children’s Hospital.




West Michigan Whitecaps Announce New Flagship

Following a format change at its former flagship, Grand Rapids minor league baseball team The West Michigan Whitecaps has announced that the team is moving to a new radio home for its 2019 season:  the simulcast of WJRW-AM/Translator W291DJ (Grand Rapids) and WBBL-AM/Translator W256DM (Muskegon) (collectively “The Ticket”). Additional stations on the Whitecaps Baseball Network will be announced in this spring.  Dan Hasty and MIke Coleman will continue to call the games.

“It’s great to join The Ticket on their new stations, and it’s tremendous to be back with our friends at Cumulus,” said Hasty.  “We have a great partnership that’s been built on the many years we’ve worked together. We’re excited to welcome several new radio affiliates to the Whitecaps Baseball Network.”




MSU Alumnus and MAB Foundation Vice Chair Stephen Schram: MSU Sales Leadership Alumni Spotlight

Stephen Schram

Stephen Schram, Executive Director and General Manager at Michigan Radio, loves to mentor the next generation of broadcasters and help to find up and coming talent for the industry, and students in the Sales Leadership program at MSU have taken notice.

Check out The Sales Report, the official newsletter of the Sales Leadership Minor, to read his Alumni Spotlight and learn how Schram played an integral role in implementing the Sales Leadership program at Michigan State University; article by Riley Van Pelt and Ellie Denison, students in the Sales Leadership Minor at Michigan State University.  Check It Out  here.




Donate Now to the Congressman John D. Dingell Jr. Journalism Scholarship

The late John D. Dingell Jr.

As announced in last week’s newsletter, the MAB Foundation has launched the John D. Dingell Jr. Journalism Scholarship, as a perpetual reminder of the Great Statesman and friend.

Congressman Dingell was a key supporter of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 that allowed for creation of PBS and NPR. He fought to ensure broadcasters were treated fairly in the first DTV transition in 2009 and during the FCC’s TV spectrum incentive auction.

This Scholarship will serve as a perpetual reminder of the Great Statesman and friend.

Send your contributions to MAB Foundation 820 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing MI 48906. Our goal is $50,000.00.  You may also give securely online by major credit card.  CLICK HERE




MAB and CMU Deliver State of the State Across Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

On February 12, the MAB with much assistance from CMU Public Media, delivered live coverage of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State address to member stations throughout the state.

The broadcast covered every DMA market in Michigan. Overall, 29 commercial and public radio stations and 28 commercial and public TV stations carried MAB’s satellite feed.

With Tuesday’s snowstorm, there were some rattled nerves that morning as to whether the CMU uplink would make it to Lansing.  With just a slight delay, the truck arrived and the satellite feed was set to go by the first test at 2:30 p.m.

Special thanks go out to CMU Public Media General Manager Ken Kolbe, Operations Supervisor Shawn Hoskey and Maintenance Supervisor Daryl Vanderhoof for their assistance with the uplink;  WKAR Public Media Television Director of Engineeing Gary Blievernicht for assistance with booking satellite time; and MPRN and Michigan Radio for making their radio feed available to both commercial and non-commercial stations throughout the state.

The Governor’s speech has been archived on the MAB website here.




How to Use Email Templates to Book Guests for Your Radio Show or Podcast

Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler,
Jacobs Media Strategies

I often hear new radio morning show producers or new podcasters ask for advice on reaching out to guests. Over the last eight years of podcasting, I have found that using email templates and a shared spreadsheet can dramatically streamline the process. Here’s how it works:

1. Create a shared spreadsheet for guest bookings.
If you have multiple people working on your show, it’s helpful to create a Google spreadsheet so that everyone on your team can easily log in and see which guests are booked on which dates. For my podcast, The D Brief, we use a Google spreadsheet so that my co-host, Becky, and I don’t have to worry about double-booking guests. We have one tab on the spreadsheet that serves as a calendar for upcoming shows and another that serves as a running list of potential guests that we want to reach out to.

2. Find software that allows you to create email templates.
Writing the same email over and over to solicit guests gets tedious, so I use software that allows me to insert a pre-written email template with a click of the mouse. Because I use Gmail on the Chrome browser, I use the Gorgias Templates browser extension. Outlook has templates functionality already built into its software. If you’re using Yahoo! or another email client, you’ll need to find a solution that works for you. Worst case, you could always save your templates in a text document so that you can cut and past them into your emails, but they are more elegant solutions available if you’re willing to do some research.

3. Brainstorm a list of potential guests.
Who would make a good guest for your show? For my my podcast, The D Brief, it’s anybody involved in the Detroit arts and entertainment scene. When you’re brainstorming, include people that you know you can get on the show, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. Our moonshots include famous Detroiters like Jeff Daniels, Jemele Hill and Kristen Bell. Yours might include Brad Pitt, Kim Kardashian or Tom Brady. Don’t be afraid to put them on the list.

4. Find their email addresses.
Sometimes, finding an email address is as easy as looking up a website or checking the end of a press release. For bigger names, you may need to subscribe to IMDB Pro or reach out to records labels or talent agencies. When you do find email addresses, add them to your spreadsheet.

5. Send a short introductory email.
I like to keep the initial outreach very short. People may receive it on their phone, so I don’t want to intimidate them with too many details. The basic gist is this:

“We’ve got a show. It’s about _____. You can listen here: [link]. We’d love to have you on as a guest. If you’re interested, please let us know and we’ll send you more details.”

Of course, I clean it up a little bit:

“My name is Seth Resler. I am the co-host of The D Brief, a new podcast about the arts and entertainment scene in metro Detroit. You can hear recent episodes at http://thedbriefdetroit.com.

We’d love to conduct an interview with somebody from your organization for an upcoming episode. If you’d be interested, please let me know and I can provide more details.”

6. If they respond, send a more detailed invitation.
People rarely say no to my interview requests. They either express interest or simply ignore my emails. Don’t take it personally if they ignore yours; it happens. Over time, you’ll get a feel for how many requests you need to send out to fill your guest slots. If you’re only shooting for A-list celebrities, you may get a 30% response rate, whereas if you’re soliciting local chefs, you may get an 80% response rate.

When somebody does respond asking for more information, give them more details:

  • What dates and times are you looking at?
  • Is it an in-person or over-the-phone interview?
  • How long will the interview last?
  • What topics will you cover?

While this email template isn’t as short as the initial outreach, I still try to keep it pretty concise while answering any question that they might have. I close by asking them to pick a date and time that works for them.

Once you’ve sent this email, make a note in your spreadsheet so you don’t forget to follow up if they don’t respond.

7. If they say yes, send an email with specific instructions.
Once the guest picks a date, send them an email (using a template) with all of the details they could possibly need, including:

  • For a phone interview, how to call in.
  • For an in-person interview, where to go.
  • How to prepare for the interview (especially if it is a guest that doesn’t do many).
  • If you will take photos, tell them (some guests like to make sure they look good).
  • If you need a headshot, bio or press kit, ask for one.
  • A backup phone number in case of any issues.

Again, make a note in your spreadsheet indicating that you sent them instructions.

8. Send a reminder email.
Either the day before or the day of the interview, send an email (with another template) reminding them of the interview. This can be short, but repeat key details from the previous email, including the time, phone number or address.

9. After the interview, send a follow-up email.
After the interview, send your guest a final email thanking them for coming on the show. If there is a recording or a podcast episode with the interview, include a link and encourage them to share it. Make sure that your social media handles are in the email so they can include them in their posts.

As you can see, there’s a lot of emailing back and forth involved in booking guests. Using email templates can cut down on the workload dramatically, while a spreadsheet in the cloud can keep you organized.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

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.