NAB Files More Comments Regarding FCC Regulatory Fee Increase

Opposing the Federal Communications Commission plans to hike regulatory fees for broadcasters, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed additional comments with the agency.  

“The NPRM imposes a steep increase in radio station regulatory fees disproportionate to other fee payor categories, as well as the increase in the commission’s overall budget,” NAB wrote in its latest filing.

“NAB simply asks the commission to show its homework by explaining its calculations of the radio regulatory fees, instead of merely issuing a chart of final fees,” it wrote. “It is frustrating that the commission has not seen fit to issue an interim public notice or some other document with additional data that could help inform stakeholders’ responses to the NPRM. Given the apparent inaccuracy of the NPRM’s count of radio station fee payors, and the lack of information and clarity, affected parties are simply unable to provide meaningful input into the regulatory fee process.”

Read the NAB’s filing here.

FEMA, FCC to Host July 9 Meeting on Nationwide EAS Test

As you may know, FEMA has scheduled a nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) test for Wednesday, August 7,  at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

To prepare for that test, the FCC and FEMA will host a meeting for EAS stakeholders (including EAS participants, EAS equipment vendors, and public safety organizations) to discuss topics such as goals, technical elements, and expectations for the upcoming test.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, July 9, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Those interested can attend in person in Washington* or by telephone.

A complete agenda with telephone information is available here.

*Those who wish to attend in person are asked to RSVP by July 8 to secure a seat:  [email protected].

9 & 10 News to Host ‘Cycles & Cider’ Fall Bike Ride

WWTV/WWUP 9&10 News (Cadillac) has announced its plans to host an inaugural “Cycles & Cider” on October 5 to benefit the Cadillac community through charities and projects.

“Cycles & Cider” participants will ride along the scenic and groomed White Pine Trail (Rails-to-Trails) for a 62-mile ride with a break for  donuts and cider. A family-friendly celebration will follow the ride.

The celebration event will feature hard cider options for 21 and older guests, along with other non-alcoholic beverages, food trucks, entertainment and photo opportunities. Ten percent of proceeds made for this event will be donated back into the Cadillac community.

FCC EAS Webinar for Low Power Broadcasters Announced

The FCC has announced that it will present a free webinar on July 11 from 1 to 1:45 p.m. EDT for low power broadcasters. The webinar will include an overview of the EAS and instructions on how low powered radio and television stations can register and file in the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). No pre-registration is required.  Login instructions are available in this release from the FCC:  click here.

For additional details, contact Maureen Bizhko at [email protected].

WJBK Names Greg Easterly New VP/GM; Mike Renda Retires

Greg Easterly

Fox Television Stations has announced that Greg Easterly has joined the company as Vice-President and General Manager of WJBK-TV in Detroit.  Easterly replaces the retiring Mike Renda.

“Greg has an impressive track record and we are happy to have him back at FTS,” said Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy. “He’s a strategic leader and we look forward to having his experience and passion at WJBK.”

Most recently, Easterly was Senior Vice President of Group Operations for Tribune Media, where he oversaw 15 markets. He’s also worked as GM at WPIX in New York, WGN in Chicago and WJW in Cleveland.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Fox family at a legacy station like WJBK, with a strong commitment to local news and community service,” said Easterly. “I can’t wait to begin working with the talented and dedicated team here.”

Mike Renda

Mike Renda released a statement to station staff, saying, “I wanted each of you to know how grateful I am for all of your hard work and support for the past six years. I’ve been very fortunate to work at some great stations with Fox, but I have always appreciated the dedication to the Detroit community here at Fox 2.”

Renda started his career in 1977 in radio at WOHO in Toledo, Ohio as a local account executive. He then made the move into TV in the same capacity at WTVG in Toledo. After stops in Chicago, New York and Cleveland, he was general sales manager at Cleveland’s WJW in 1989.

Renda then went to work at WLWT in Cincinnati as GSM before returning to WJW as VP and GM, where he worked for 10 years. He accepted a similar position at Fox owned WTXF in Philadelphia in 2007 and was named vp and general manager at WFLD-WPWR in Chicago, where he worked from 2009 until January 2013.  Renda also recently served on the MAB Board of Directors.

Nexstar Employees Volunteer Across Michigan on June 17

Employees of Nexstar television stations in Michigan and throughout the country celebrated their annual Founders Day of Caring on June 17 by volunteering in their respective communities.

In Grand Rapids, WOOD/WOTV-TV staffers were hard at work in Grandville, Jenison, Muskegon and Grand Haven, partnering with Meals on Wheels.  The day was full of meal prep to meal delivery for seniors across West Michigan. Meals on Wheels Grandville makes anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 meals daily.

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids)

For WOOD TV employees, Nexstar Day of Caring means putting in the work and being there for the community, in a different kind of way.  “It’s nice for our employees to get out and experience something different than their day job and to get to be part of the community we serve on TV and serve them in a different way,” said Carly Munoz, WOTV 4 Women brand manager.

In Lansing, volunteer staff at WLNS-TV built beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Lansing, pulled weeds and did other yard work at the VFW Home for Children in Eaton Rapids and Hunter Park Greenhouse and Community Garden in Lansing, and built games (and played with the kids) at Youth Haven.

WLNS-TV (Lansing)

“We cover Mid-Michigan each and every day, but to be able to get out here in the community and do a lot of really great labor as far as beautifying certain areas that are giving back to the community as well, it makes you feel really good.” said WLNS General Manager Scot Chastain.  “Our hope is for these kids to see that the world is not as dark as they’ve experienced and that they see that there is hope and they see that there is a whole community of people out there not a part of Youth Haven that care about them.”

And in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, WJMN-TV (Marquette) staff partnered with the UP Land Conservancy at the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve cleaning, weeding, building accessible paths, painting bird blinds and more.

WJMN-TV (Marquette)

WJMN-TV Operations Manager Tony Stagliano said “Nature’s such a big part of the UP and its a big part of our culture and our community.  We’ve done a lot of volunteering for a lot of different organizations throughout the Upper Peninsula and we felt it was time to focus on helping to preserve our natural landscape.”

Founded 22 years ago, Founder’s Day of Caring is an annual event, taking place on the third Friday in June.  Staff members in all 100 Nexstar television markets receive paid time off to volunteer in their communities. The day is intended to shift employee focus from being a television station serving the community to employees volunteering and making a personal commitment by helping those in need within their local communities. The mission is to give back where it is needed most and help inspire viewers to give back as well.


Michigan Stations Celebrate Emmy® Award Wins!

At ceremonies held June 16 in Detroit, television stations across Michigan were recipients at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Michigan 41st Annual Regional EMMY® Awards.

Evan Linnert, WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) accepts his Emmy for Visual Storytelling.

Both commercial and non-commercial stations from Detroit, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Flint/Saginaw, Bay City, Mt. Pleasant and Cadillac received honors.


For a complete list of winning entries, click here.

Chad Schwartzenberger and Tina Brunn took home three awards each for their work with Detroit Public TV.

Retired Michigan Broadcaster Bill Thompson Releases Book

Bill Thompson, whom  many broadcasters around the state know from his days as a reporter and anchor at the Michigan Radio Network, has published My Life as a Great Lakes Broadcaster, a compelling book that shares personal and insightful perspectives in the field of media and communications.

In the book, Thompson shares stories and extensive photos from the stops along his career beginning in college radio, WFYC/Alma, WSOO/WSUE in Sault Ste. Marie, WJOR/South Haven, WJIM-AM/FM in Lansing, WITL-AM/FM in Lansing, WION/Ionia. Michigan News Network and Michigan Radio Network, both based in Lansing.  He retired in December of 2017.

My Life as a Great Lakes Broadcaster begins with Thompson in his youth, growing up on the family farm in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. It shows readers how he was proficient at performing music in band and orchestra, then became interested in speech at Remus Chippewa Hills High School. From there he moved on to five active years at Central Michigan University where Bill describes his broadcast and  journalism training. That college training helped to combine all of those earlier interests into one, and it came up, radio! That led to a forty-year career of rapid cultural, technical and personal changes.

Once leaving CMU, the journey took Bill “up and down the dial” across the State of Michigan, from Alma to Sault Ste. Marie and South Haven, working in various radio jobs except for sales and engineering, before coming to Michigan’s Capitol City of Lansing where he settled into news reporting. After twelve years at two Lansing stations, Bill found his calling at a statewide radio news network for the next twenty-three years, despite turmoil and five ownership changes.

Thompson is recipient of recognition and awards from the Associated Press, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Central Michigan University Alumni Association.

Published by Covenant Books, My Life as a Great Lakes Broadcaster is currently available at Barnes and Nobel bookstores, and online at the the Apple iTunes store, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Bill is available for interviews.  Contact him at (517) 243-1892 or
[email protected].

WOOD-TV Assignment Editor John Arguello Passes

John Arguello

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) has announced that 43-year-old station veteran John Arguello passed away June 15 at age 61.

Arguello, a native of South Dakota, came to the station in February, 1976 at the age of 18, beginning in the mailroom, then moving on to become a part-time production assistant.  Later he became a staff photojournalist, and is well known for working with investigative reporter Henry Erb, conducted undercover stings and parking lot confrontations, helping to bring down scammers and, on at least one occasion, catch a killer.

During his career, Arguello met five sitting U.S. presidents and covered national political events including national conventions and the Iowa caucuses. He knew Congress members and governors and was on a first-name basis with many local politicians.

Arguello  eventually moved to the assignment desk, gathering information that everyone in the newsroom relied on and providing guidance on editorial decision-making.

He leaves behind two children, several grandchildren and a 24 Hour News 8 team that considered him family.

Whitmer Pushes for Federal Legislation to Allow Banking by Marijuana Businesses

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

MLive reports that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has joined national bipartisan for federal legislation that would make it easier for state-licensed marijuana businesses to bank their money.

Whitmer signed on with 19 governors to a letter calling on Congress to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.

Currently, most banks will not do business with the industry because the federal government still considers marijuana illegal.

“Michiganders turned out in historic numbers in this last election to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, and we must respect the will of the voters,” Whitmer said in a statement. “There is an inherent danger for businesses operating in an all-cash business because financial institutions are unable to accept the risks and penalties associated with providing service to this industry under current law. This letter sends a clear message to Congress that our states are looking for a real solution to a real problem, and we support them to get this done.”

The MAB cautions broadcasters with regard to marijuana and CBD advertising, since they hold federal licenses.  Read more on this topic here.