2000: A New Century Brings New Challenges; New Opportunities

Highlights in MAB History: 2000 through 2009

  • Members along with MAB continue to monitor the infamous Y2K bug.
  • MAB battles Low Power FM in Washington DC while encouraging Michigan’s delegates to support HR 3439.
  • MAB joins other state broadcast associations to contest the FCC’s action of establishing EEO requirements. This initiative continues throughout the first decade of the new century.
  • Amber Alert program is first launched in June 2001. MAB works with various organizations for a number of years to improve this program for Michigan and even battles copycat programs.
  • In an effort to help Michigan stations save in energy costs, MAB launches the Energy Choice Program.
  • 2000 Michigan Census enlists Michigan stations for assistance through the MAB’s NCSA program.
  • To assist members with the new EEO rules, MAB and MAB Foundation begin to offer EEO-friendly programs such a career fairs, judging the student awards and cross-training.
  • MAB begins the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP).
  • Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) initiative joins the NCSA program. This campaign included a license plate program as well as the “kids pins”.
  • In the State Legislature, MAB and its members, battle issues with Casino Gaming.
  • April 2001 – MAB pledges $100,000 to the James H. and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunications Management and Law at Michigan State University.
  • June 2001 – MAB members complete a survey and strategic plan that helps create a new mission for the MAB.
  • Michigan stations take action after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In addition, the Michigan Army National Guard campaign as part of the MAB’s NCSA program becomes even more important.
  • December 2001 – To better serve the engineering and technical needs of its members, MAB creates a new Director of Technology position and hires Larry Estlack.
  • May 2002 – MAB adds new Engineering Hotline to list of member services.
  • After the 2000 census, the Michigan reapportions its Congressional Districts leaving Michigan citizens with one less seat.
  • NAB and MAB announced that Michigan broadcasters provided $328 million in community service in 2001. MAB publishes an official publication to share this news with lawmakers and supporters of Michigan broadcasting.
  • July 2002 – MAB receives a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for EAS improvements.
  • FCC begins review of Broadcast Ownership Rules.
  • Fall 2002 – Broadcasters and Educators meet for the first-ever Broadcaster/Educator Summit.
  • January 2003 – MAB and broadcasters battle Advertising Tax in Lansing.
  • January 2003 – MAB introduces a new format for the MAB newsletter.
  • January 1, 2003 – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm is sworn in as Michigan’s 47th Governor. MAB and Michigan stations coordinated to offer live coverage of the inauguration.
  • March 2004 – MAB partners with MAPB to kick off the “Michigan DTV for Me” campaign to prepare Michigan broadcasters and citizens for the impending transition to Digital Television.
  • Michigan stations combat “Localism Hearings” and, with the help of MAB, set-out to prove that Michigan broadcasters are local and serve their communities.
  • MAB and NAB announce that Michigan stations provided $308 million in community service throughout 2003.
  • March 2005 – MAB launches Radio Research Project to test consumer attitudes toward local radio and newer competing audio services. The project results were very favorable to over-the-air radio broadcasters.
  • July 2005 – MAB launches the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Political Action Committee (MABPAC).
  • September 2005 – MAB and Michigan stations join Governor Granholm with the Michigan Cares, Michigan Gives public service campaign to aid victims of the recent hurricanes.
  • 2005 – TV stations deal with mandated and changing deadlines for the transition to digital television which, became a costly venture for most stations. Radio stations deal with HR998 the Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2005.
  • September 2006 – NAB and MAB announce that Michigan stations provided $330 million in community service throughout 2005.
  • November 2007 – MAB launches “Countdown to 2-17-09 The Digital Transition” campaign. This campaign was designed to educate member stations so they might better serve their communities on the transition.
  • January 2008 – MAB introduces the new electronic form of the MAB newsletter.
  • February 20, 2008 – MAB holds Digital Day at the State Capitol to educate Michigan legislators on the pending transition to Digital Television deadline on February 17, 2009. Digital Day included a news conference, educational training session, reception and a visit from the NAB’s DTV Road Show truck. Hall of Fame sportscaster Ernie Harwell joined the effort as the PSA spokesperson.
  • March 2008 – GLBC is moved to the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids for the first-time. The two-year run ends in March 2010 when the show will return to Lansing’s Lansing Center.
  • Spring 2008 – White spaces becomes a bigger issue in DC as well as LPTV and Localism.
  • January 2009 – In his first few weeks of office, President Barack Obama pushes Congress to extend the Digital Transition date from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009, which passes. This change puts financial strain on Michigan stations who had budgeted to end analog signals and sell unused equipment after the 17th.
  • Spring 2009 – Radio stations battle a proposed Performance Tax that could costs Michigan stations millions.
  • Past Chairmen from 2000-2009 include: 99-00 Edward E. Essick; 00-01 Judy D. Kenney; 01-02 Curtis W. Smith; 02-03 Susan E. Goldsen; 03 Eduardo Fernandez (partial term); 04 Jeffrey J. Scarpelli (partial term); 04-05 Joseph Berwanger; 05-06 Julie Koehn; 06-07 Mario Iacobelli; 07-08 Bart Brandmiller; 08-09 Diane Kniowski.

2000-2009 Photo Gallery



(l-r) Tom Griesdorn, MAB President 1991 and Karole White.

The Early 90s: Random Thoughts from Deep Within the Memory Bag!
By Tim Griesdorn, MAB President 1991

To MAB…thanks for the invitation to look back, reflect and ponder the life and times of the MAB in the 1990’s. What I remember most vividly is joining the Board of Directors (“keeping my mouth shut”) and learning so much at the hands of my predecessors – Jim White, Guy Spitsberg, Jerry Colvin, Chuck Mefford and Tom Bryson…a smart thing to do.

The late 80s and early 90’s brought two things to the MAB – Karole White and a permanent home in Lansing at 819 N. Washington Avenue. Photo right: Tom Griesdorn, MAB President 1991 and Karole White.

First – I remember spending time (lots of time) on the phone with Tom Bryson discussing how to encourage Ms. White to continue in her position as Executive Director/President. The board was lucky enough to persuade her to move to Lansing and take over the role and she was establishing a name and reputation for the broadcasters of Michigan. Looking back – nice job, Mr. Bryson – as Karole is now celebrating 20+ years leading the organization…seems to have been a great “fit” for everyone involved.

Second – upon becoming President in 1991, I remember burning up the asphalt between Southfield and Lansing meeting with Karole to look over, investigate, plan review and finally – sign a mortgage on a permanent home for the MAB. Karole, remember how one second in almost every meeting we felt as if we were taking a giant step to solidify the future of the organization—only to be followed by a tick of the clock and being filled with fear that we were over-extending our capabilities and insuring certain ‘doom’ to the MAB and our respective careers?

Other random thoughts about the year – 1991:

    • January marked the swearing in of the 45th Governor of the State of Michigan, John Engler, who took over the reins from Jim Blanchard – a shift from Democratic to Republican control was causing many changes in Lansing.
    • Karole – remember the challenge of “re-establishing” a dues structure to support the NCSA program in order to comply with the rules of the IRS?
    • Look around the board table – those directors who would go on to accomplish so much in our industry…Bob Ottaway, Pat Mullen, Elaine Baker, Tom Scanlan, Steve Trivers, Alan Frank, Scott Blumenthal (only a few in name).
    • What is this new industry “cable television” – how do you think this will play out in the future? Do you think it will have an effect on over-the-air television? Man, we have enough competition in our TV markets with three networks and those independents.

…all good times and today as I sit as Vice President of the OAB (Ohio Association of Broadcasters), I will assume the presidency next year, and have the privilege of doing it all over again 19 years later in my home state, here in Columbus – near my beloved “OSU Buckeyes” (Sorry…had to do it!).

Tim Griesdorn’s comments originally appeared in the May, 2009 issue of the MAB E-Newsletter.

(left) Bob Ottaway, MAB President 1992 presenting Ernie Harwell the 1992 Lifetime Achievement Award.

MAB Memories
By Bob Ottaway, MAB Past President 1992

I think that it might have been Chuck Mefford who encouraged me to join the MAB while I was still broadcasting WMMQ-FM out of our original Charlotte studios. It was one of the best things that I ever did in my professional career. The people, the information, the lobbying…what great years.

Although times are tough now, we thought that they were tough then too. I remember at one of my first meetings when Tom Griesdorn announced that they had had MAB headquarters appraised and that we may need to sell it and rent it back! That caused a few jaws to drop.

And, I had fond memories a few weeks ago when my client Macomb Community College invited me to attend a celebration of their Sixties Exhibit followed by an evening with the Smothers Brothers Live. You can imagine my surprise to see a video clip of Pat Paulsen, whom we saw live in Traverse City at one of our summer meetings, on the big projection screen “running for President” and espousing a platform to rid the country of greed, end the Middle East conflict and get the economy under control among other things. Can you believe it? And, this was before CBS cancelled their program in April 1969!

More proof that…”the more things change, the more they stay the same. My best wishes to all of my fine MAB friends! The best IS yet to come.

Bob Ottaway’s comments originally appeared in the May, 2009 issue of the MAB E-Newsletter.

Passing the gavel (l-r) Stephen Trivers, MAB President 1996 passes the gavel to Ross Woodstock, MAB Chairman 1997

MAB Memories
By: Ross Woodstock, MAB Past President 1997

I’ll never forget my first board meeting at the MAB. It was announced that there had become an unexpected vacancy as the chair of the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) and an immediate replacement was needed, as the conference was just a few months away. One of my friends Gil Buettner, then with WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo), on the board pointed at me and said, “You’re elected. Welcome to the board.”

I’ll never regret getting “drafted” as GLBC chairman as it gave me a wonderful opportunity to work with the talented MAB staff and meet many broadcasting colleagues from around the state. It also gave me a deeper appreciation of how blessed the broadcasting industry in Michigan has been to have an association that consistently provides the finest broadcast training and programming services in the country.

Without question, the best part of being part of the MAB board was getting to know so many outstanding individuals who have been leaders of the broadcasting industry in our state. I would have never known many of those people had it not been for my association with MAB. Many remain friends to this day.

The broadcasting industry provided me with a lot of wonderful opportunities and memories. MAB allowed me the privilege of making a small contribution back to that industry. Thank you!

Ross Woostock’s comments originally appeared in the May, 2009 issue of the MAB E-Newsletter.

Memories of the MAB
Audio interview with Stephen Trivers, MAB President 1996