iHeartMedia Promotes Two in West Michigan

(L-R) Dave Taft, Jim Costa

iHeartMedia has announced the promotion of Country “B93.7” WBCT Grand Rapids’ David Taft to Senior VP/Programming for the company’s West Michigan region.

Taft, who has been with WBCT since 1997 and has served as PD since 2009 after previously holding the APD/MD duties, will continue overseeing that station. He also previously served as OM Clear Channel Muskegon and PD of defunct AC “Star 108” WSHZ.

“Dave is an incredible programmer,” said Regional SVPP Tony Travatto on Taft’s new position. “He’s got the perfect blend of expertise to grow our listeners and clients, and we know he will continue to dominate the media market in West Michigan with our team.”

Concurrently, Jim Costa has been promoted to PD of Sports “ESPN 96.1” WMAX-FM Holland from the role of APD. He will also continue as afternoon co-host alongside ‘Big Drew’ McCarthy. Phil Tower retains the PD role for News/Talk 1300 WOOD/106.9 WOOD-FM and Talk 1230 WTKG.

WLNS-TV’s Bob Simone Promoted to Nexstar Massachusetts Station

Bob Simone

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. announced on Monday that Robert “Bob” Simone has been promoted to Vice President and General Manager of WWLP-TV (NBC), EWLP (CW) and all associated digital services, including WWLP.com serving Springfield, Mass. He assumes his new responsibilities immediately and reports to Doug Davis, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.

A Springfield native, Simone returns home to lead WWLP-TV, the station where he began his broadcasting career over three decades ago. He is an accomplished industry veteran who has significant expertise in station general management, content development and directing market-leading local television and digital operations. From 2012 to 2018, he served as Vice President and General Manager of WLNS-TV, the Nexstar-owned CBS affiliate serving Lansing, where he also had oversight of the services agreements with Shield Media’s ABC-affiliate WLAJ-TV and CW-5.

During his tenure in Lansing, Simone elevated WLNS-TV to the market’s highest rated station by implementing innovative local content strategies and unique digital concepts to enhance the station’s local news programming. With expanded audience reach and community engagement, WLNS News 6 garnered several Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for outstanding news coverage and service under his leadership.

Before joining WLNS, Simone served as Vice President and General Manager of KMSB-TV (FOX) and KTTU-TV (MyNetworkTV) in Tucson, Arizona (DMA #73) from 2009 to 2012, where his initiatives focused on branding, local content development and sales led to increased revenues. Earlier in his career, Simone served as Vice President and General Manager of two Fox owned-and-operated stations over a 10-year period, including WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, PA (DMA #4) and KDVR-TV in Denver, CO (DMA #17). In each of these leadership roles, he expanded local news programming and implemented revenue-generating strategies resulting in enhanced operational performance.

Commenting on his new role, Simone said, “I want to express my sincere gratitude to our outstanding teams at WLNS, WLAJ and CW-5 in Lansing, as well as the local clients and organizations I’ve proudly served over the past six years. This promotion is an exciting opportunity to extend my record of service at Nexstar and return to WWLP-TV in my hometown of Springfield where I began my career. In this new role, I will utilize my management, sales, programming and marketing experience to build upon the success of 22 News and further strengthen the position of our Western Massachusetts station and digital operations. Our goal is to develop new premium local marketing opportunities that drive results for our advertising partners, while also generating continued viewership growth through the delivery of enhanced local news content and entertainment programming for our local viewers. I look forward to working alongside the exceptional local media team at WWLP-TV and CW-Springfield, while cultivating new business relationships and supporting community organizations in our market.”

WILX-TV Adds 5:30 News Beginning October 1

Gray Television’s WILX-TV (Lansing) has announced that the station will be adding a 5:30 p.m. weekday newscast to its line up starting October 1.

WILX General Manager said: “Adding the 5:30 newscast is a game changer for us.  A strong, local 90-minute block with the latest news and weather updates in each half hour gives viewers the information they need, whenever they tune in.

The station currently has newscasts at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weekdays.

WILX will retire the 4 p.m. newscast to focus on the new evening lineup.

“We’re always looking at new and innovative ways to keep our audience engaged and growing,” said Barb Roethler, WILX News Director. “We’re excited to rethink the typical evening newscast, and give viewers something fresh and new at 5:30.”

Radio Royalty Fight May Resurface

NABNow that the Music Modernization Act passed both the U.S. House and Senate, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is reporting that the royalty fee fight related to radio airplay could soon come back. The NAB is holding informal talks with the music industry in attempts to reach a compromise according to a report in Inside Radio. The NAB President Gordon Smith said, “There’s room for common ground and a settlement of the disputes between us and the performance community.”

Nielsen To Change Diary Markets To Monthly Reporting

Nielsen announced on Monday that it will transform the measurement of markets that are measured with the audio diary from a quarterly or two times a year view to year-round measurement with monthly reporting. This more dynamic measurement solution enables clients to see seasonal shifts and react more quickly to marketplace changes. With this transition, radio will be able to find new insights and tell its reach story to advertisers each month.

“Big billion-dollar advertisers leave nothing to chance,” said Brad Kelly, Managing Director, Nielsen Audio. “Every decision they make is data driven and updated audience data is crucial for timely decisions. Nielsen Audio is excited to help diary market clients have a better understanding of the audio landscape and respond faster to dynamic market conditions. Continuous Diary Measurement, will help radio reinforce its compelling reach story more often and provide fresh radio data to fuel Marketing Mix Models—the decision tools big advertisers rely on to allocate budgets and evaluate the effect of their ad spend.”

The implementation of Continuous Diary Measurement will begin in phases with the first starting in July 2019 in the markets currently measured four times a year. The current four-book markets will convert to 12 currency releases that will comprise three months of data starting with the May/June/July 2019 report period. Effective with July 2019, approximately 70% of radio’s ad spend will be reported monthly by Nielsen Audio.

“With digital advertising providing near real-time metrics and TV moving to a year-round model, audio needs to compete on a level playing field,” said Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media and vice-chair, Nielsen Audio Advisory Council. “As a client and member of the Advisory Council, I’ve challenged Nielsen to think differently and deliver a better solution. This is an important step forward for diary market clients because it will help audio remain relevant in an environment where advertisers expect more timely data and greater accountability. We should never forget that our advertiser clients are what matter most. They deserve the most timely data we can provide.”

Going forward, Nielsen plans to deliver monthly reports covering six months of data in markets with at least 1,000 metro in-tab, and monthly reports covering 12 months of data in the smallest markets.

Currently, Nielsen reports larger diary markets four times a year (winter, spring, summer and fall), mid-sized diary markets twice a year in the spring and fall and the smallest markets with two book averages of Spring/Fall and Fall/Spring.

Do Not Use Photos on Your Radio Station Website Unless You Have the Rights

Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Radio stations can pull all of their digital tools together into a single overarching strategy using Content Marketing. At the heart of a Content Marketing strategy is online content housed in a blog or news section of the website. This content is more likely to go viral on social media and generate traffic from search engines if it includes images.

Yet images are one of the most dangerous potential pitfalls for companies publishing posts written by multiple authors. That’s because if one of these authors uses an image that the company does not have permission to use, the company leaves itself open to a lawsuit.

Radio Ink recently reported that Entercom was forced to write a check for an undisclosed amount as a settlement with photographer Jesse Cuervas after their (almost) morning DJ Kevin Kline used one of Cuervas’ photos as part of a controversial social media post. The fact that unauthorized use of photos can lead to unexpected costs shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the radio business. After all, broadcasting attorney David Oxenford has written about the issue in his Broadcast Law Blog here, here, here, here, here, and here — and that’s just in the last few years! Entercom isn’t an isolated case – many companies have been fined these past several years.

The point is, using unauthorized images could impact your radio station’s bottom line. Here are some steps that you can use to avoid this problem:

1. Write and distribute a clear policy regarding images.
Work with your station’s legal team to develop a clear policy. It should address is the difference between images that can be used for editorial purposes and images that can be used for creative or commercial purposes. For example, a photographer may make a photo of Twenty One Pilots available for somebody writing a news story about the band, but that doesn’t mean you can also use the photo to promote your station’s contest giving away tickets to the band’s next show. Your lawyers should help you clarify this distinction.

Of course, it’s not enough to have a policy. Every person on your staff who has the ability to publish online content must also be aware of and understand this policy. Proper communication and training is key. In all likelihood, this is a policy that you will need to reiterate at frequent intervals.

2. Use a stock image provider.
While there are several stock image websites out there that offer photos that can be used for free, these are probably going to be insufficient for most radio stations. These sites are great if you need generic birthday cake doodles, but if you need photos of popular bands or the local football team, you’re going to have to pay for them. Set up an account with a service like Getty Images or Shutterstock. Make sure that everybody who needs access to images can get it easily. When writers don’t know about the account or can’t log in, they’re going to be tempted to do a Copy & Paste job that could cost you thousands of dollars.

3. Make it easy for staff members to get answers.
If somebody on your staff has a question about whether or not they can use an image, make sure they know who to ask. Establish a point person for questions about images. If you have staff members who may have questions after hours, make sure they know how to contact this point person. Make sure that all questions are answered in a timely manner. If you leave your staff guessing, you increase the chances that they’ll use an image without permission.

It’s easy for radio broadcasters to think they can get away with using images when they don’t have permission, but these days, the rights holders are more vigilant than ever. Don’t get caught making this mistake — it could cost your station a lot.

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.

The Robinson Report: Relevancy Revisited (Pt. 3)

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.

Kevin Robinson

By: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“Quality, relevant content can’t be spotted by an algorithm. You can’t subscribe to it. You need people – actual human beings – to create or curate it.”

Kristina Halvorson, Content Strategy for the Web

When you make a move – a big cross-country move – you’re certain to stumble over irrelevancy.

That’s exactly what happened to us here this year.

During our move – Back Home Again In Indiana – THIS TV …

… could not be given away. Who wants low-def?

And who needs FREE hours…

… with super-fast  dial up?

Media friends can count the number of lost relevancy here …

… and ONE of these jammed more often than the other …

… BOTH, at one time, vitally relevant to journalistic reporting.

It’s not things that create relevancy.

It’s people.

So, the shiny NEW toy “podcasting” was met here with a cynical eye.

Because most of them, MOST of them, suck.

The content and assembly is pedestrian at best.

The sonics are foul.

Most are TOO long.

Anticipation certainly rose with the dawn of  the Podcast Movement.

Brilliancy induced to this growing on-line and downloadable wave.

Radio Royalty like Buzz Knight, Dave Beasing and Caroline Beasley.

Talent that have guided great brands.

But now two different chapters are upon us.

The BIGS, those who build platforms and national formats, are buying in.

Big time.

The same who homogenized radio with plug and play solutions.

And  there’s a sea of what Fred Jacobs names PodFade

Under-invested Podcasters.

Both of which might taint the whole movement.

If you’re considering a Podcast, find a niche.

Stay relevant.

Shoot an email or call this way for a :45 second coaching template for newbie Podcast creators.

A 10-point ‘test’ to see if you’re fit for a robust and lasting offering.

Cobbled from the best practices from the best Podcasters.

There is no shelf life for Podcasts,  only bad ones.

People, not pyrotechnics, will raise its relevancy.


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink and he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent.  He lives in Indiana with his wife of 32 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or [email protected].

Broadcasters Foundation Raises Over $250,000

The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $250,000 at its Celebrity Golf Tournament on Sept. 17 at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.

One hundred percent of the annual event’s proceeds support broadcasters in need. It is one of the Broadcasters Foundation’s biggest fundraisers. This year, more than 150 broadcasters and celebrities participated in support of their colleagues, who have experienced loss due to illness or unforeseen disaster.

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel Launches Women in Tech Podcast

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has launched the first-ever commissioner led podcast called “Broadband Conversations.” The podcast will highlight women making an impact in media, technology and innovation.

“Women are almost half the labor force in this country yet only hold barely a quarter of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields,” said Rosenworcel in announcing the initiative. “I’m reminded of this fact when I go into boardrooms, classrooms, or meeting rooms—there are not enough women at the table. Because there are just too few, it’s time to amplify women’s voices from across the technology and innovation sectors.”

WZZM-TV, Kendall College Design ArtPrize News Set

WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) has gotten into the spirit of the city’s annual ArtPrize event for the fourth year in a row, teaming up with Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) to create not just a news desk like in years past, but a fully functional performance space that is also an entry in the competition.

“ArtPrize is so unique – there is nothing else like it,” said Janet Mason,  WZZM-TV President and General Manager. “The artwork and conversations with the artists stimulate the senses, and at the same time, we get to show off our beautiful, vibrant city. We are proud to be a partner of ArtPrize and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.”

This year the station wanted to do something different, to move beyond the desk and create a performance space, so once again they turned to KCAD, their artistic partner over the years.

KCAD Professor Bob Marsh said, “I am truly appreciative of the relationship that has been fostered between WZZM and KCAD. The opportunity to work with a client, consider a budget, deal with the logistics of fabrication, and have the work realized by a set deadline are relevant and exceptional experiences to have as an undergraduate art major.”

Artist Emma Riley began working on the project months ago under the supervision of Professor Marsh. She is a junior studying Sculpture and Functional Art. She has skills in stone and wood carving, clay and metal fabrication, and various mold making techniques which made this project perfect for her.

“I was thrilled and nervous about the project,” said Emma. “This partnership exposed me to working with a budget as well as a federal entity; it sharpened my time-management and problem-solving skills and enhanced my self-confidence and level of professionalism. I’m really delighted at how everything turned out and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with 13 ON YOUR SIDE.”

The piece transforms the interior of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum into a garden space from which WZZM talent can broadcast the news. There are various performance areas as well as a space encouraging interaction with the audience.

The installation can be found on the second floor of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and will serve as the news set for WZZM-TV throughout the event.

Visitors are encouraged to come out and visit with talent and staff and watch the news in action. They may even get a chance to be on TV.

For the second year in a row, the set is an official entry in the ArtPrize competition: http://www.artprize.org/67764.