Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame to Induct New Members

Bill Proctor

Six new members will be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame on April 26, 2020 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

New honorees include former WXYZ-TV (Detroit) reporter Bill Proctor, whose investigations led to the creation of the University of Michigan Law School’s Innocence Clinic.  Proctor worked for WXYZ for 33 years before retiring in 2013.  He was inducted into the MAB’s Hall of Fame last August.

Other 2020 inductees:

  • Retired Detroit News sportswriter Tom Gage
  • The late Pulitzer Prize winner Angelo Henderson of the Detroit Wall Street Journal’s Detroit bureau and Detroit News
  • Publisher and former Executive Editor Arthur Horwitz of the Detroit Jewish News
  • Retired Grand Rapids Press editor Mike Lloyd
  • Former Detroit Free Press music and arts critic Mark Stryker

The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame was established to recognize those who have advanced the legacy of a free and responsible press and had a positive impact on journalism in Michigan. Induction memorializes extraordinary and clearly outstanding careers.

MSU’s School of Journalism has been the home of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame since 1985, reprising the Michigan Newspaper Hall of Fame, which became dormant in 1968. The Michigan Press Association and the MSU School of Journalism established the original Michigan Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1952.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be honored at the 35th annual induction banquet on April 26, beginning with a reception at 5 p.m. Dinner and the induction ceremony will follow at 6 p.m. The date for early reservations is April 1, 2020.

For reservations to the induction banquet and for more information, please see the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame website.

MAB Names Jayne Hodak as Executive Director of Programs

Jayne Hodak

The MAB has hired Jayne Hodak as the Executive Director of Programs!

Jayne has an extensive history in Michigan Broadcasting, spending more than 25 years in television newsrooms across the state. Most recently, she served as the News Director for WJRT-TV (Flint). She has also worked at stations in Traverse City, Lansing and Detroit. Jayne also served numerous terms on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – Michigan Chapter, as well as represented the MAB on the selection committee for the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

“I could not be more happy to have Jayne join our team. With her contacts and extensive knowledge of broadcasting we expect great things,” said MAB President/CEO Karole White.

“This is a wonderful opportunity, and I am excited to join the great team at the MAB.” Jayne said. “I am happy to be able to serve Michigan’s broadcast community, and have the ability to continue working with so many friends and colleagues I have made over the years.”

Jayne’s first day with the MAB was February 19.  She looks forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Great Lakes Media Show, March 3 & 4 at the Lansing Convention Center.

You can contact Jayne at the MAB at [email protected]

How to Aircheck Yourself on the Cheap

Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

As a podcaster, I find myself in a situation that was foreign to me during my radio days: as an air talent without a program director to provide critical feedback. Feedback is, of course, how broadcasters get better. As much as we sometimes fear aircheck sessions, they make us better broadcasters. Without it, it’s hard to know if what you’re doing is working.

Several years ago, I discovered the trick of using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service to pay people to listen to my podcast and provide me with critical feedback. You can see a detailed demonstration of how I hire these reviewers here:

Over the years, I have probably run close to 50 podcast episodes through Mechanical Turk for feedback and it has helped me immensely. So when my co-host and I recently made some significant changes to the format of our podcast, I decided to turn to the Turk once again to gauge the reaction. But what do I actually do with that feedback? How do I incorporate it into my show in a useful way?

For starters, I don’t heed all of it. Some of the feedback is thoughtful and thorough; some of the feedback is junk. As a general rule, I only pay attention if it reinforces something that I have felt in my gut, or if I consistently hear the same piece of feedback over and over again from multiple reviewers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some feedback I received in the latest round.

Here’s are the instructions I posted to Mechanical Turk:

Listen to a short portion of a podcast at [LINK] and provide constructive feedback. Please do NOT just summarize the podcast. Please note, this is a podcast about Detroit; for the purposes of this review, please pretend you live in Detroit.

How do you feel about this podcast overall?
What are 3 strengths of this podcast?
What are 3 things that could be improved?
Would you recommend this podcast to a friend who lived in Detroit? Why or why not?
Thank you for your feedback!

Here’s the first response we received:

Strengths: 1) Jobs 2) Events 3) Signs

Improvements 1) It’s a conversation but the gentleman keeps saying yep, etc.; 2) Better intro when the podcast opens; 3) Topics are not discussed very well. I would not recommend the podcast.

There isn’t much substance and I had a difficult time determining what it was even about. The song selection was awful.

Frankly, this review is pretty brutal, but it’s hard to figure out how to apply it in a constructive way. Yep, it turns out that “yep” is one of my vocal crutches, but I’m not sure what they are referring to when they list the strengths of the podcast.

However, there is one nugget that I am honing in on: this person had a hard time figuring out what the podcast is about. In an effort to get to the meat of the podcast faster, we cut the tagline and episode roadmap at the top of the show, figuring that the tagline in the produced intro would be enough. Apparently we were wrong. As a result, I am inclined to put an explanation of the show back in (for example, “this is the podcast for and about Detroit artists and entertainers”) as well as a roadmap for the episode (“on today’s show, we’ll talk about how artists can use social media to grow their fanbase”). Oddly enough, I frequently advise other podcasters to do this, and in the revamped structured, I ignored my own advice.

Here’s the second piece of feedback we received through Mechanical Turk:

It’s something I could see myself listening to. Maybe not every podcast, but I could see myself listening [to] several in a row while cleaning or doing yard work.

1) Doesn’t interrupt the guest. Let’s them talk. 2) The recording is super clear. 3) Asks relevant questions that helps the guest reveal a lot of information that might be only found in more personable setting.

1) Get rid of the music interludes. 2) The second host needs to be more involved in questioning the guest. 3) I don’t know if the podcast has a video component. If it doesn’t, add it. Listeners want to see the hosts. I’d recommend it to recent transplants, natives who are into the art scene and those who simply didn’t know about a lot of these functions.

I like this review a lot better! It’s complimentary, yet there’s still some actionable advice in here. In our show, we use short (5 to 8-second) music interludes to separate one segment from another. Before we revamped the format, we were using production elements that sounded like traditional radio sweepers, but we decided this wasn’t working. I’m disappointed to see a negative reaction to the music interludes, as I think this elevates the overall production level of the show and makes it sound more produced than just “three people sitting around talking.” This is the type of advice that I am likely to ignore for now, but I may heed if it comes up over and over again in future feedback.

Here’s the last review from Mechanical Turk:

Overall this podcast is very good. It has an informative history of Detroit. It explains where to go for a good clean enjoyable time in Detroit. They explain that the city is not too large so it feels safe to walk around. It should not get too personal. It needs to stay on the subject of Detroit. A list of places to visit would be helpful. Which ones in Detroit visitors recommenced to go to the most. I would recommend this podcast to a friend who lived in Detroit because it explains lots of history of Detroit and places that would be fun to visit. It would also inform visitors which places to visit while in Detroit.

While this is positive feedback, I am concerned that the listener did not fully understand the concept behind the show: this is not a podcast designed for people who are visiting Detroit, it is designed for artists and entertainers who already live in Detroit. This misunderstanding could come from the fact that the reviewer is not a Detroiter, so they assume other listeners won’t be either; but it could also reveal a shortcoming of the episode. For me, this feedback underscores the need for a better explanation of what the show is about and who it is for at the top of the episode.

This feedback cost me less than $20, and gave me some useful insight into how my podcast episode is perceived. I’ve decided to incorporate a show tagline and episode roadmap into my podcast, and then I’ll run a new episode through Mechanical Turk for more feedback. This will help me improve my show, and hopefully you can use this technique to improve your podcast or radio show, too.

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.

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist Signs Marijuana Bills Into Law

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist

On February 19, Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist signed House Bills 4126 and 4127 into law.  Both laws pertain to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA).

House Bill 4126 requires the MRA to promulgate a rule requiring marijuana establishments to include a warning on marijuana packaging for women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding. The bill was sponsored by Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell).

House Bill 4127 requires the MRA to establish informational pamphlet standards, and requires marijuana establishments to make a pamphlet available to every patron at the time of sale that includes safety information related to marijuana use by minors and the poison control hotline number. The bill was sponsored by Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City).

The MAB is carefully watching all bills related to restriction on marijauna sales, through not legal to advertise because the federal government has not yet legalized the substance. We want to make certain that if warnings are placed on advertising, customers can be referred to a website for further information.

Jade Springart Named APD and Midday Host at WRIF

Jade Springart

Beasley Media Group has announced that Jade Springart has promoted to Assistant Program Director and Midday Host at WRIF-FM (Detroit). She will begin her new position immediately.

Springart has been with the station for the past 12 years. She most recently served as the Music Director and as a weekend on-air personality at WRIF. In her new position as Assistant Program Director, Springart will be responsible for working in conjunction with WRIF Program Director Jerry Tarrants on the station’s music, on-air content, and production, while also overseeing WRIF’s social media presence. In addition, she will be heard on the air weekdays from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue working and winning with a brand that I have grown up with,” said Springart. “It has been a privilege to learn from some of the best in the industry. I’m very grateful for the support of everyone in the Beasley Media Group family and am excited to be able to continue 101 WRIF’s legacy in the active rock format here in the Motor City.”

“Jade not only exudes a strong belief in the RIFF mission but also understands how to achieve it,” said WRIF Program Director Jerry Tarrants. “She has done nothing but work by that example for years. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team – both as an on-air talent and programming manager now!”

Michigan Radio’s Bryce Huffman Explores Black History in America with Live Dates Around State

Michigan Radio West Michigan Reporter and Same Same Different podcast host/creator Bryce Huffman is hosting three live events around the state that will explore the importance of black history in America — how it’s being taught and its impact on black identity.

At each event Bryce and his panel will be discussing these and other questions: What does it mean for our history to be an elective and not a standard course? How does that affect how we learn our own history? How does this shape our identity? Once we realize that it’s mostly taught as an elective, where do we go from there?

The first event was held February 19 in East Lansing.  The two remaining dates are:

Sunday, February 23rd: Spread Art, Detroit, 6:00 PM – Register Here

Tuesday, February 25th: Opperman Auditorium, Mt. Pleasant, 7:00 PM – Register Here

For more information on Same Same Different or to listen to Same Same Different podcasts click here.

A Detroit native, Huffman graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. He joined Michigan Radio as a newsroom intern in May 2016.

Gray Television to Buy Lansing LPTV

On February 14, an application was filed with the FCC to transfer the license of WLNM-LD (Lansing) from Tri-State Christian TV, Inc. to Gray Television.  Gray also owns full-power WILX-TV (Lansing), plus WJRT-TV (Flint) and WLUC-TV (Marquette).

The deal permits Tri-State to program one digital subchannel on WLNM for five years after Gray takes ownership. Tri-State continues to own WAQP-TV (Saginaw/Flint), WTLJ-TV (Muskegon/Grand Rapids) and WJGP-LD (Kalamazoo).

WYCD’s Chuck Edwards, Beasley’s George Beasley Named To Country Radio Hall Of Fame!

(L-R) WYCD’s Chuck Edwards and Beasley Media Group’s George Beasley

At ceremonies on February 19, The Country Radio Hall of Fame has announced its 2020 inductees and there are a couple of names known to Michigan broadcasters.  The honorees include Chuck Edwards, of “Chuck, Rachael and Grunwald In The Morning” on Entercom’s WYCD-FM (Detroit). Chuck has spent the past 20 years at WYCD/Detroit where he hosted afternoons with late 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Linda Lee for 16 years before segueing to mornings.

His Country radio roots date to 1983 when he started in Knoxville and made the move to Memphis before joining KSCS/Dallas for afternoons in 1986. During his time in the Motor City, Edwards has been honored with the 2011 CMA Personality of the Year award, a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Broadcaster of the Year award and multiple ACM Personality of the Year and Marconi nominations.

Other on-air inductees are Tim Wilson of WAXX-FM (Eau Claire, WI) and Mark “Hawkeye” Louis from KSCS-FM (Dallas).

Also named to the Hall of Fame is George Beasley, Chairman of Beasley Media Group.  Beasley has 58 years in the radio industry.  Beasley Media Group currently owns 64 radio stations in 15 large and medium markets across the United States, including four stations in Detroit.  One of its properties includes Country powerhouse WXTU-FM (Philadelphia, PA), one of the most consistently successful Country radio stations in America.

Other off-air inductees are Jim Duncan, who has spent seven decades in Country radio and Victor Sansone, who spent 34-years career with Capital Cities/ABC/Disney.

All the inductees will be honored during The Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner, Wednesday, June 24, in Nashville.

Litigation Continues as Court Rejects GMR Motion to Dismiss RMLC Lawsuit – and RMLC’s Request to Dismiss GMR Claims

David Oxenford - Color

David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Global Music Rights, the relatively new performing rights organization that signed a number of composers of popular songs away from ASCAP and BMI in order to seek higher music royalties for the public performance of their works on radio stations and other media platforms (see our articles here and here), lost one round in its litigation with the Radio Music License Committee in RMLC’s attempt to bring GMR under some sort of rate review under the antitrust laws. RMLC has alleged that GMR, by combining multiple artists in a single essentially take-it-or-leave-it package, is able to charge rates well above what any artists could receive on its own, thus violating the antitrust laws (see our articles here and here). This is a theory like the one which lead to an arbitration with SESAC dramatically lowering royalty rates the radio industry pays to that organization (see our articles here and here). In a decision released Friday, the Judge presiding over RMLC’s case rejected GMR’s arguments that the suit should be dismissed without a trial. The Judge, in a short three-page opinion, said that viewed in their most favorable light to RMLC (which is the standard used in deciding on such motions), the facts alleged by RMLC were enough to support the claims it made in the lawsuit, so the case will go to trial.

But this is not necessarily a great victory, as the Judge notes that it remains to be seen whether, when the full facts are introduced at the trial and challenged by GMR, these facts will in fact be enough to sustain the claims of RMLC. A similar finding was made in GMR’s countersuit – arguing that RMLC formed an illegal buyer’s cartel in violation of the antitrust laws by trying to negotiate royalty rates for most commercial radio operators (see our article here on that countersuit). The Court rejected RMLC’s argument that the GMR suit should be dismissed, finding that there were enough facts raised to potentially support GMR’s claims, though also warning that it remained to be seen if, once the facts were presented and challenged at trial, whether they indeed would sustain GMR’s claims.

So the litigation continues. As we have written before, the suit, unless settled, could take years to resolve. Perhaps these decisions give both sides more reasons to think about a settlement as they know that they are looking at significant legal fees if the case goes to trial, with likely years of appeals after that. Moreover, the Judge’s opinions show that both parties have significant stakes in any adverse decision – a finding that GMR’s structure violated antitrust law could be used as precedent by other music services to challenge the rates that it is imposing on them, while a finding against RMLC could undermine its negotiations on behalf of the radio industry on other music rights issues (though its position has never been found to be an issue in other cases where it has represented the commercial radio industry). Once again, we will need to watch as this case slowly develops as trial preparation moves forward.

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. 

WXYZ Launches Day of Giving Telethon with Humane Society

On February 13 and 14, Scripps’ WXYZ-TV (Detroit) is presenting the Michigan Humane Society’s annual Telethon fundraiser, presented by Purina.  Telethon segments are running both days all day long on the station.

The Telethon plays a major role for the organization and funds raised from the event support MHS programs and services, including cruelty investigation, emergency rescue, owner support programs and humane education. The organization will expand on its Telethon model by offering opportunities to the public to connect with MHS in a different way.

“In years past, the Telethon has been focused on our on-air segments with our partners at WXYZ,” says media manager Anna Chrisman, “but we wanted to provide supporters with as many avenues to give as possible.”

To that end, the Michigan Humane Society’s social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, etc) will feature content all day long and donations can be made right from your smartphone or desktop. In addition, all MHS facilities will have the ability to accept donations so no matter where you are on Telethon day, you have the chance to give a gift.

The Day of Giving Telethon will highlight several impact stories from the past year, the work MHS does and just how far donations can go in support of animals. Appearing in the WXYZ studio will be several groups of puppies who will enjoy time in the Puppy Playpen, sponsored by US Mattress, and also cats and kittens enjoying a luxury cat condo. Live feeds of the pets can be seen on both the MHS and WXYZ social media pages.

Segments will run from 6:00 a.m. on February 13 through midnight on February 14, with content available all day.