Entercom Detroit Cleans Up For Earth Day


On April 22, staff at Entercom Communications Detroit banded together to clean up the wetlands across the street from the offices and road side near their offices on 11 Mile Road in Southfield, which houses WWJ-AM, WYCD-FM, WOMC-FM, WDZH-FM and WXYT-AM/FM.

30 volunteers worked the Earth Day 2019 event and filled more than a dozen bags full of trash, including a gift shop Mylar balloon on a stick that said ‘Merry Christmas,’ a cell phone, a fully inflated beach ball and numerous pizza boxes.

The station reports that staff volunteers, who ranged from on-air hosts to sales people and promotions staff, program directors and digital producers were hot, their arms scratched and their sneakers muddy. But no one complained. Spirits were high.

Across the company’s more than 200 radio stations, staff cleaned up parks, planted trees, worked at urban farms, picked up cigarette butts, scoured beaches and more. At more than 50 Earth Day events, Entercom engaged more than 3,000 volunteers.

CEO David Field got his hands dirty, too, joining the team in Philly.

Field Tweeted that he was “excited to be joining over 3,000 members of the Entercom team today working on Earth Day volunteer projects in all of our markets. Proud of our team and our longstanding commitment to the environment and making a meaningful difference to the planet & our communities.”




Michigan Radio’s Believed Podcast Wins 2018 Peabody Award

Michigan Radio’s Believed podcast was named a winner of a prestigious Peabody Award April 23 in the Radio & Podcast category. This is the first time that Michigan Radio has won a Peabody Award.

Hosted by Michigan Radio reporters Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith, the nine-part series investigates how former sports doctor Larry Nassar was able to abuse hundreds of women and girls for more than 20 years. The podcast was a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a member station and NPR, which distributed it.

“To be recognized with a Peabody award for our team’s work on the Believed podcast is most gratifying and humbling,” said Steve Schram, Executive Director and General Manager of Michigan Radio. “We also appreciate the efforts of NPR who helped raise the profile of our work with the distribution of Believed on NPR programs and podcast providers.”

“Michigan Radio is beyond proud to be able to bring the stories of these survivors to podcast listeners across the world,” said Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio Program Director. “We are grateful to the women who were willing to share their stories and hope this reporting will spark conversations aimed at preventing future abuse.”

The Peabody Awards are recognized as one of the highest honors in the field of journalism with the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media being celebrated each year.

“This is such well-deserved recognition for the team at Michigan Radio. They tackled a challenging investigation with tremendous tenacity and sensitivity,” said Anya Grundmann, SVP of programming and audience development at NPR. “Believed is a perfect example of how podcasting has extended public radio’s mission to give voice to people and ideas that help us see our world more clearly.”

In addition to winning a Peabody, the podcast has also been recognized with a Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma from the Columbia School of Journalism, a Scripps Howard Award for Radio/Podcast In-Depth Coverage, and an Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports from Penn State University’s John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.

Peabody Award winners will be celebrated on Saturday, May 18 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Ronan Farrow, a contributing writer for The New Yorker and an investigative reporter and producer based at HBO, will serve as host.

To listen to the Peabody Award-winning Believed, you can find it on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, or wherever you listen to podcasts.




FCC Seeks Comments on Proposal to Allow All-Digital AM Radio Transmission

David Oxenford - Color

David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

On April 11, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the receipt of the Petition for Rulemaking asking that the FCC allow AM stations the option to operate an all-digital facility. We wrote about that Petition here. Currently, AM digital operations are allowed only in a hybrid mode – where the station transmits both an analog and a digital signal. Proponents of the all-digital operation argue that the full digital operation allows for better reception and increased stability of the transmission, and submit that it is time for stations that are willing to transmit in this better system to be allowed to do so without having to seek experimental authority – the only way in which an all-digital AM transmission is now allowed.

Some have suggested that, in order for the FCC to move this proposal forward on a timely basis, industry support is needed. Comments on this Petition for Rulemaking, specifically seeking comments on allowing operation in the MA3 All-Digital Mode of HD Radio, are due on May 13. If you are interested in having the option to operate an all-digital AM station, comments urging the FCC to move forward on this Petition should be filed by that deadline. Once comments are received, the FCC will consider them and, if they sense enough industry support, they will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking additional comments on rules for implementing this proposal. FCC approval for an all-digital AM service will not happen overnight, but this Public Notice and the comments due in May are certainly the first step in this evolution of AM radio.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership.




Hoadley To Challenge Upton in 6th Congressional District

State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-60)

State Representative Jon Hoadley (D-60) announced he is running for the 6th Congressional House District in Michigan which is currently held by Congressman Fred Upton (R-6). Upton held this seat since 1986.

Traditionally, Michigan’s 6th Congressional is a Republican seat; however, Upton’s 2018 win was very close: 50.2 percentage compared to 45.7 percent of the vote for the Democratic challenger.

Hoadley currently serves as the minority vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He is in his third term in the House, so he cannot seek re-election for the 60th House District in 2020.




FCC to Vote on FM Interference

The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month on new draft regulations that would govern FM translator interference. According to a report in RBR, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the proposed rules will streamline remediation procedures, more clearly outline requirements for listener complaints and better facilitate channel changes for translators.




J. Steele Joins 105.1 The BOUNCE

J. Steele

Beasley Media Group, LLC; a subsidiary of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. announces J. Steele has been named as the new afternoon drive personality at WMGC-FM (Detroit), 105.1 The BOUNCE. He will begin his new position on April 22.

Steele most recently served as the program director and afternoon drive host at WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh.

“We are very impressed with J’s experience in this format and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit,” said 105.1 The BOUNCE Program Director John Candelaria. “His passion and skill sets are a perfect fit. The BOUNCE is fortunate to have J. on board. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.”

“When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list,” said Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards. “After having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success for 105.1 The BOUNCE.”

“This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid,” said Steele. “I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves in the Motor City for this incredible radio station. I am very grateful to John Candelaria and Mac Edwards for this opportunity to make Detroit BOUNCE!”




WWTV/WWUP, WTCM Team Up for JOBFest

On April 3, WWTV/WWUP-TV (Cadillac) and WTCM-FM (Traverse City) teamed up to present TC JOBfest, “the largest employee recruiting event ever held in Northern Michigan.” The event was free for job-seekers and open to the public. The media partnership offered the ability to advertise widely on both television and radio, reaching Up North audiences eager to apply for a diverse range of skilled positions.  The event was open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and was held at the Park Place Hotel and Conference Center.

Over 600 job-seekers from around the Traverse City area visited to meet local employers currently hiring for hundreds of positions, in fields ranging from construction and manufacturing to the military and the medical field.

A total of 30 area businesses were represented at this first-ever JOBfest event in Traverse City, all of which are looking to fill skilled positions with local workers.

During the event, candidates were able to connect with hiring employers and learn about employee benefits, healthcare packages, and workplace culture. There was even an open conference room at JOBfest for employers to use for interviewing exceptional applicants on-site. Northwest Michigan Works! was also present helping prospective employees write cover letters and update their resumes on the spot.




Here’s What I Look for When I First Look at a Radio Station’s Website

Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler,
Jacobs Media Strategies

From time to time, Fred Jacobs pops into my office and asks me to take a quick look at a radio station’s website to see what I think. When I’m doing a five-minute diagnosis of a website, here’s what I look for:

1. Is it built in WordPress?
I always start by pulling up the station’s website and taking a look under the hood. In my Google Chrome browser, I go to View > Developer > View Source. This allows me to see the HTML code for the website. I search the page for “wp-.” If the site is built in WordPress, there will be multiple instances of “wp-.”

A radio station website doesn’t need to be built in the WordPress platform to succeed, but it does need to be built in a Content Management System (CMS) platform. A CMS makes it easy for radio stations to consistently publish new content. WordPress just happens to be the most popular CMS platform.

2. Does it have Google Analytics installed?
While I’m poking around the HTML, I also search the page for “ua-.” If I come across some code that looks like this…

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>
<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-XXXXXXX-X”></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-XXXXXXX-X’);
</script>

… then I know that the site has Google Analytics installed on it. This is a good sign — it means that the station has the ability to collect data about how visitors are using the website. Of course, whether anybody is actually looking at that data or not is a separate question.

3. Do they publish original content on a regular basis?
Next, is the radio station creating original content on a regular basis? Sometimes, the homepage will have a blog or news section on it; sometimes, I’ll have to search through the main menu to find it. If I find a blog or news section, I check to see whether they are creating original content on a local level or simply importing it from a national service. I also check to see how often new posts are published. And I take a quick look to see how good the content is: Are the headlines well written? Is there just an embedded video or audio file with no text description?

4. Is it obvious where this radio station is and what they play?
One of the best ways to see how good your station’s website performs is to run a usability test on it. At this point, I’ve run usability tests on enough radio station websites that I know some common issues to look out for.

One common issue is that the website does not make it clear where the radio station is, what type of programming the station airs, or even that it’s a radio station at all. When somebody tunes in to your station on the radio, of course they know what city it’s in — they’re in the same city!

But website visitors can come to your website from anywhere in the world. Often, they come by clicking on a link found on social media or in search engine results. So don’t assume that people who come to your website know what the radio station is all about. The homepage — especially the header — needs to make it very clear.

5. Is the language in the menu clear?
Another common issue that shows up in website usability tests is vague or confusing language in the main menu. For example, some stations will use the term “On Air” when they should use “DJs” (after all, aren’t the commercials and the music also “on air”?). Others will have a link for “Concerts” and another link for “Events” (aren’t concerts also events?).

Here are some common menu mistakes that I look for.

6. Are there clear calls to action?
The most important question you can ask when it comes to your radio station’s digital strategy is this: “When people come to our website, what do we want them to do?” I can usually tell if a station has asked this question just by looking at the site. Sometimes, they will be driving me to clear call to action, such as a big red “Listen Now” button or an email newsletter registration form.

Unfortunately, most radio station websites don’t steer me towards a few clear actions. Instead, they are cluttered with too much content, too many links, and too many choices. This is a sign that even if a radio station’s website is good at attracting visitors, it’s not very good at converting them. The station needs to set clear website goals.

By asking these questions, I can usually get a good sense of how a radio station’s website is performing. Yes, I always want to spend more time diving deeper into analytics before making a complete diagnosis, but this will do in a pinch.

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.




Meet your MAB Foundation Board Member of the Week: Wendy Hart

Wendy Hart

Wendy Hart is Vice President of Operations for Spartan Sports Network, Inc., the state of Michigan’s largest and most listened to sports network.  Hart helped found the Network in the early 1990s and is responsible for day-to-day operations and corporate strategy, strategic direction and branding.  She oversees the development and implementation of digital media platforms and sports broadcast operations. She also co-owns WGHN-AM/FM  (Grand Haven) and is a member of the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame. A graduate of Illinois State University with a B.A. in Mass Communications, Hart resides with her family in Haslett.




City of Norway Honors ‘The First Voice of WJNR’

Aaron Harper

On April 15, the Norway City Council recognized retired broadcast journalist Aaron Harper for his programming and community involvement with a resolution of appreciation.

Harper was the first employee and news director at WJNR-FM (Iron Mountain) and well known as “The First Voice of WJNR.”  Harper retired in January from WHTO-FM/WJNR-FM/WOBE-FM.

According to an article in the Iron Mountain Daily News, Norway City Manager Ray Anderson congratulated Harper on his “well-deserved” retirement, saying the community will miss hearing his voice in the news.  Mayor Candy Brew added, “He did a fine job for many years.  I hope he has a great retirement.”

Also planned is an Aaron Harper Day celebration on Sunday, April 28, at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway.