NAB’s Steven Newberry is Coming to #MABsummer

Steven W. Newberry

Steven Newberry serves America’s broadcasters as Executive Vice President, Industry Affairs and Strategic Planning for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).  He will be among he distinguished guest speakers on hand for the MAB’s Advocacy Conference & Annual Business Meeting on August 5-6 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.

#MABsummer registration is now open. Hotel block room rates expire July 8. Learn more, register for the conference and reserve your room at MABsummer.com

Steven began his career as a broadcaster at the age of 14 and owned his first radio station at 21. He eventually co-founded and led Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation; a radio broadcast group with facilities throughout his home state of Kentucky. It was during his years with Commonwealth he first became engaged with the National Association of Broadcasters as an active member.

As an NAB board member, Steven served as Radio Board Chair, NABPAC Chair, and was eventually twice elected to lead America’s broadcasters as the Joint Board Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters. Based in Washington, DC, NAB is the premiere trade organization representing America’s radio and television stations and television networks.

He chaired the Authority for Kentucky Educational Television (KET) for five years and served two terms as a member of the national board of trustees of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS). Steven is a past-president of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association (1993) and is a member of the KBA Hall of Fame. He received their Distinguished Kentuckian Award in 2009.

He previously served on the board of directors of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and as a member of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) executive committee. He is a member of the International Broadcasters Idea Bank and was the named the 2013 Outstanding Alumnus from the University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information.

He received his BA in telecommunications from the University of Kentucky.




Cadillac’s NewsNet Launches In New York, Los Angeles; Adds 23 Affiliates in 5 Months

After 5 months on-air, America’s newest 24/7 news channel now reaches the top 3 TV markets in the country, and is continuing to expand its reach nationwide.

NewsNet, based in Cadillac, Michigan, launched January 1 as a subchannel on 18 TV stations across the country. Launch markets included Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Detroit, and the network has quickly expanded its reach since it launched. In April, NewsNet debuted on KFLA channel 8.1 in Los Angeles, and last month NewsNet was added to WJLP channel 33.6 in New York City. The diginet is now on-air in 6 of the country’s top 10 markets, with a total of 36 affiliates now carrying the network nationwide. Five additional stations have committed to carrying it in the coming weeks, and NewsNet is finalizing affiliation agreements with several other stations as well.

“We’re thrilled to be working with WJLP and KFLA as we continue to expand our reach,” said Eric Wotila, President of NewsNet, “Thanks to these stations and our many other affiliates, our network can now be received via antenna in over 25% of households nationwide.”

NewsNet targets cord-cutters, aiming to bring 24-hour-news to a growing audience that doesn’t want to pay for cable or satellite. The network follows a traditional “news wheel” format providing a quick look at the headlines every half hour, without the talk and opinion-based programming that’s become common on most 24-hour news channels.

“We’ve found that there’s a strong demand for no-nonsense, straight-to-the-facts reporting, and that’s what we’re delivering,” explained Wotila. That format is proving successful for the diginet, leading to its rapid expansion not just in its number of affiliates, but in its own infrastructure as well. Last month, NewsNet broke ground on an addition to its Michigan-based facility, which will add three new studios and control rooms as well as additional office space. Continued growth is in the works.

“We have some great things in store later this year,” Wotila said, “and we can’t wait to show them off once our building expansion is complete.”

NewsNet is continuing to seek affiliates in markets they don’t yet reach. Stations interested in affiliating with the diginet can email [email protected] to learn more.




Bill Black to Program WJLB/WMXD; Kristina Williamson Joins WKQI

Bill Black

iHeartMedia has announced that Bill Black has been named Director of Urban Programming for its Detroit stations, including WJLB-FM and WMXD-FM.  Black joins the company after 13 years at Radio One’s Cleveland, Ohio stations where he programmed WENZ-FM and WZAK-FM.  He was also oversaw the company’s station’s Cincinnati and Columbus.

“Bill is a highly successful programmer with a proven track record and we are thrilled to have him on the team,” iHeartMedia Detroit Regional SVP Tony Travatto said.  “His knowledge of Urban radio is unparalleled and I know he will contribute to each station’s success.”

“I am really thrilled to join the iHeartMedia team and be able to do what I love,” said Black.  “The talented programmers that I get to collaborate with, coupled with these legendary Detroit Urban stations are unmatched and I’m excited to get to work.”

Kristina Williamson aka Krissy T

In other iHeartMedia/Detroit news, the company has announced that Kristina Williamson will host nights for WKQI-FM.   Detroit’s #1 Hit Music Station, effective immediately. Known on air as Krissy T, she will be heard weekday nights from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

“We love Krissy’s sound and energy and know that she will bring those key ingredients to the night show,” said Tony Travatto, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Detroit. “We have been searching for somebody that will reinvent the way night time radio is done in Detroit and Krissy is that person.”

“I’m ready to crush it in Detroit,” said Krissy T. “The station is iconic and the city is awesome and I can’t wait to connect with the Detroit community and bring magic to their weekday nights on Channel 95.5.”

Krissy T joins the iHeartMedia Detroit market from Hot 104.7 in Portland, Maine, where she most recently served as the morning co-host. She also served as part-time, swing and night show co-host for WODC in Boston. She began her career at WJMN/WXKS in Boston and is a graduate of Merrimack College in Boston.




Michigan Radio Welcomes StoryCorps MobileBooth to Flint


This August, Michigan Radio will welcome StoryCorps’ renowned Airstream-trailer-turned-recording-booth to Flint, Michigan to collect the stories of local residents. StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization celebrating the stories of everyday Americans, will record interviews in Flint as part of its cross-country MobileBooth tour.

Beginning August 6, the StoryCorps MobileBooth will make its stop in front of the Flint Institute of Arts for community members to record their personal stories. The stories will be added to the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and become part of the national historical record. The visit is part of the 2019 MobileBooth tour across the U.S. to collect and preserve the meaningful stories and memories of regular Americans and underrepresented communities. From the start of its journey, January 5 in Orlando, Florida, through the tour’s conclusion in Yuma, Arizona, on December 21, the MobileBooth will travel thousands of miles through the U.S., visiting assorted cities for a month each. The MobileBooth will remain in Flint until Sept. 4.

“As our MobileBooth crisscrosses the country, recording one conversation at a time, we are building an archive that reflects the rich diversity of American voices and tells the true story of this nation—and reminds us of the poetry, wisdom and grace that can be found in the words of the people all around us when we take the time to listen,” said Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps.

Michigan Radio is partnering with the Flint Institute of Arts and StoryCorps to invite local residents to bring a friend or loved one to participate in a recorded conversation in the booth. Conversations will be facilitated by the StoryCorps staff to help guests record meaningful conversations with a special person in their lives. Ahead of their arrival in Michigan, the StoryCorps team will begin recruiting guests who would like to be recorded. Reservations, which are free and available to the public, will be available beginning July 23 and can be booked online at storycorps.org. Participants must register in advance for their recording appointment in the Mobile Booth.

Later this year, Michigan Radio plans to air a selection of the interviews recorded in Flint. The station will also host several special events in the city in conjunction with the MobileBooth visit. StoryCorps may also share edited versions of select interviews collected throughout the tour via its weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition, or via StoryCorps’ digital platforms or best-selling books.

Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps gives people of various backgrounds the rare opportunity to sit down and listen to one another, and have that experience recorded into collective American memory. Participants have come to total over 500,000 since StoryCorps’ founding, making it both the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered and a priceless repository of wisdom for future generations.




WWJ Afternoon Anchor Greg Bowman To Retire on July 12

Greg Bowman and Brooke Allen

Entercom’s WWJ-AM (Detroit) has announced that it’s award-winning Hall of Fame afternoon anchor Greg Bowman is retiring.

His last broadcast will be July 12.

Bowman has been delivering the news for WWJ Newsradio 950 listeners for the past 29 years. Along with anchoring, Greg has done extraordinary work as a reporter covering everything from presidential inaugurations in Washington DC to everyday educators as part of his Making the Grade feature.

Although he is retiring, Bowman will stay on as a part-time, fill-in anchor.

Among his many honors, Bowman was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Michigan Associated Press in 2012.

Bowman started his career at the University of Michigan Radio station in the 1970s. He says he saw the sign for the station and thought he’d give it a try.

“As we hear many days in the newsroom, Bowman’s humor is well-known and well-loved here at WWJ,” program director Rob Davidek said. “In the past, he has said staying in one place for most of your career gives you the hometown advantage and listeners learn to trust those who have a strong history in the community.”

Bowman’s first love is his wife and co-host Brooke Allen, and four children. His other loves are baseball and community theatre.

Brooke Allen will stay on to hold down the afternoon fort. WWJ will conduct a national search for a new afternoon co-anchor.




FCC Now Accepting ATSC 3.0 Applications

On May 28, the Federal Communications Commission formally began accepting applications from television stations for ATSC 3.0 operations.

Applications must be filed by all full- and low-power TV stations, Class A and TV translator stations –except for licensed channel sharing stations—that intend to transmit 3.0.

Stations currently on air with 3.0 service are operating under Experimental Special Temporary Authority granted by the agency.

The new licensing form and procedure will need to be used going forward by stations voluntarily adopting Next-Gen TV service, including those operating under an experimental STA. Those stations must file a Next-Gen TV license application in LMS no later than the expiration date of their experimental authorization, the agency said.

More information is available on the FCC website here.




Ken Kolbe Returns to WGVU

Ken Kolbe has returned to WGVU Public Media to serve as General Manger. He previously served as General Manager for WCMU for nearly five years.

Ken has been a professional broadcaster for over 40 years, including more than 20 years in public media. He was also an Adjunct Professor at Grand Valley State University for 15 years. Ken has won dozens of personal and team awards, including the Pioneer Award from the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters for fostering innovation and inspiring creativity among public broadcasters.

Ken is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where he received a BAA degree in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts, and Business Administration. He received his MBA from Grand Valley State University in 2002.