Entries in Northern Michigan / UP Category

Northern Radio now streaming all of its stations

With this week's addition of Classic Hits 'The Fox FM' WFCX-FM 94.3 Traverse City / WFDX-FM 92.5 Atlanta, all of Northern Radio of Michigan's radio stations are now streaming their programing over the Internet. In December, Soft Rock WSRT-FM 106.7 Gaylord / WSRJ-FM 100.7 Traverse City and Rock WKLT-FM 97.5 Kalkaska / WKLZ-FM 98.9 Petoskey also added streaming to their web sites.

Also, The Fox FM plans on moving its Boyne City licensed translator from FM 95.5 to FM 95.3 on January 12th and is throwing a "lean left" party to celebrate in Petoskey on that day. Details at the station's web site, www.943thefoxfm.com.

 

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Cable subscribers have paid for equipment to televise local government meetings for the past 18 months, but other than Traverse City, only one township put that money to use. Cable subscribers each pay 30 cents a month for equipment that can be installed in township halls to televise meetings, a fee that generates about $80,000 a year. Additionally, tctv2, the local public access channel, offered to make personnel available to tape township meetings... Funding for public station at risk (Mon 1/8)

 

WJML and WLDR swap AM Stations

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Two northern Michigan AM radio stations will be trading owners as well as programming formats in the near future.

Rick Stone of Petoskey, owner of news/talk radio stations WJML AM 1110 and WWKK AM 750, announced today he has signed an agreement with Fort Bend Broadcasting of Traverse City to purchase classic country WLDR AM 1210 in Traverse City. At the same time, Roy Henderson, president of Fort Bend and owner of WLDR AM and four FM stations in the region, announced the purchase of WWKK AM in Petoskey. Other terms of the deal include a $244,000 payment from Stone to Fort Bend as well as the WLDR call sign remaining under the control of Fort Bend.

AM 1210 is a daytime-only 50,000-watt station with a prime signal over Traverse City and Cadillac and a large regional signal covering as far south as Ludington, Mt. Pleasant, and West Branch. According to Stone, the acquisition will enable WJML to extend its popular news-talk programming to this new region covered by AM 1210 with a simulcast of WJML's lineup. WJML operates with 10,000 watts daytime from studios and transmitter in Petoskey and claims a northern coverage area that reaches to Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie. WJML is also licensed to operate with 10 watts at night.

Stone also commented that down the road, there are some possibilities to get nighttime power for AM 1210, but for now that the focus will be further developing the station's daytime signal.



Traverse City Record-Eagle:

The local talk radio market will get a little more crowded with a planned AM station swap that will introduce some new voices and views to the airwaves... Talk radio market expanding (Tue, 2/14)

 

Upper Peninsula: Newsmakers Feb 23, 2007

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Ironwood Daily Globe:

Michigan Tech's student-run radio station, WMTU, is hosting Keweenawesomefest, a two-day midwest music festival, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Keweenawesomefest is a tribute to the snowy peninsula and to the burgeoning independent music community of Michigan. More impressive even than Houghton's infamous winters are those willing to brave blizzards to take to the stage... Student radio to host Keweenawesomefest (Fri, 2/23)

 

AllAccess.com:

Craig Russell Joins The Fox
After a two-year stint in the cornfields of IOWA, former CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40/Rhythmic KKHQ (Q-92.3)/WATERLOO morning co-host and MICHIGAN native CRAIG RUSSELL returns home on NORTHERN BROADCASTING Classic Hits WFCX & WFDX (THE FOX 92.5/94.3)/TRAVERSE CITY-PETOSKEY MI. CRAIG takes over as APD/afternooner effective immediately. PD/morning maven MARK ELLIOTT exclaimed, “I'm happy to have CRAIG back in the fold at NORTHERN BROADCASTING. Now, if we can just get him to show up for work." (Mon, 3/12)


The Fox Adds Classic AT40
NORTHERN BROADCASTING Adult Hits WFCX/WFDX (THE FOX FM)/TRAVERSE CITY adds Classic American Top 40, the replays of the original AT40 shows from the 70's to the SUNDAY afternoon lineup from noon-3p. PD MARK ELLIOT said, "We've gotten a tremendous positive response to this program, and the fact that PREMIERE gives a shout out to the #1 CASEY fan in AMERICA, PETE BATTISTINI, at the end of every show is great." (Tue, 3/13)

 

Ironwood Daily Globe:

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development Director for Michigan Gene DeRossett announced a $71,642 grant for a weather radio transmitter in Gogebic County. The transmitter will extend the coverage of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio All Hazards early warning system... Grant issued for building new weather radio transmitter in Gogebic County (Wed, 3/14)

 

Escanaba Daily Press:

The first paycheck that Josh Bergeon, 24, received at his new job is framed and hanging on the wall of his bedroom. Unremarkable, you say? Not when you consider that almost six years ago his parents, Randy and Betty Bergeon, were told that their severely brain-injured son would probably never recover from the car accident that almost killed him a month after his Gladstone High School graduation in 2001. A year later, the teen’s prognosis wasn’t much better when his parents were informed by experts he would never come out of the coma that kept him in its grip... Unexpected wordsmith (Sat, 3/24)

 

AllAccess.com:

Mark Elliot Exits Traverse City For Evansville:
After three years on the frozen tundra of Northern MICHIGAN, NORTHERN BROADCASTING Classic Hits WFCX-WFDX (THE FOX)/TRAVERSE CITY PD MARK ELLIOT makes the not so giant leap south to SOUTH CENTRAL AC WIKY/EVANSVILLE as PD/afternooner. "I'm so grateful to CHARLIE FERGUSON and the folks in TRAVERSE CITY for the chance they gave me with THE FOX FM. It's a great station and I know it will continue to succeed. And now I'm just as grateful to be handed the reins to the number one station in Southern INDIANA. There is a talented crew all ready in the building at WIKY, all I have to do is make sure I don't screw it up." Back at THE FOX, TODD MARTIN is named PD, adding to his duties as PD of sister AC station WSRT. (Thu, 4/5)

 

On Tuesday April 17th, Casey Cook and Teri Petrie from the 'Casey & the Coffee Crew and Teri, too!' Morning Show on WMJT Eagle 96.7 in Newberry, stayed on the air for 13 hours to raise funds for Bill and Amanda Dimmer of Newberry, who lost everything and a two year old son in a tragic fire that destroyed their home on Easter Sunday. Through their efforts and the very generous support of individuals and businesses throughout Luce, Chippewa and Mackinaw counties, they were able to raise over $11,200 for the family. Less than one year ago, Cook, Petrie and Eagle 96.7 were able to raise over $10,000 for a local youth center, as well.

 

Talk radio and country radio listeners are noticing some significant changes in three AM radio stations in northern Michigan.

WJML AM 1110, with studios in Petoskey, has added 16 counties to its coverage with the addition of AM 1210 in Traverse City. Previously carrying a classic country format, AM 1210 is now simulcasting the news and talk programming of WJML AM 1110.

At the same time, what was talk WWKK AM 750 in Petoskey has switched and is now WLDR AM , simulcasting the “Sunny Country” format of WLDR-FM 101.9 in Traverse City.

Rick Stone, owner of WJML AM 1110 & 1210, said the changes were made to give WJML greater coverage throughout northern Michigan. The new AM 1210 is a 50,000-watt station, the maximum power for AM stations in the United States. Travelers can now drive over 300 miles and listen to WJML from Mt. Pleasant to Escanaba.

WJML has modified its talk program line-up to air both sides of the political debate. Progressive talker Ed Schultz, formerly on AM-750, is now on AM-1110 from 3 to 6 each afternoon. The station has also added conservative Glenn Beck, plus selected programs from the progressive network Air America on weekends and overnights. Michael Patrick Shiels continues his Michigan-oriented morning show, followed by Neal Boortz at 10 AM. Michael Savage, formerly a delay recorded broadcast, moves to his live broadcast time 6 to 9 pm.

WJML has opened its new Traverse City office and studio (overlooking the bay) at 310 West Front Street. It will also maintain its offices and studios on Click Road in Petoskey. Stone Communications has owned WJML for 14 years. The station was established in 1966. WJML can be heard worldwide with streaming audio on its website, www.wjml.com.

 

Cadillac News:

As an only child, Rich Spicer spent a lot of time listening to the radio, especially Casey Kasem and the American Top 40. “I made it a point to keep track of where the songs were on the charts,” he laughed. Spicer had no trouble choosing a career. One month after graduating from Alpena High School he started working for local station WATZ. Twenty years later, he’s still at it. “I consider myself very lucky,” he said from his office at The New Mix 96, a radio station that includes WATT 1240 AM and WKAD 93.7 FM Cadillac Oldies... Day in the life of a radio broadcaster (Mon, 4/30)

 

Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Rick Stone remembers trying to give away hundreds of dollars doing promos for his FM radio stations, and getting only a handful of calls in response. But make a change to his AM talk radio station format, and Stone's phone rings off the hook. "You don't have to have anything like (giveaways) in talk radio,” said Stone, a veteran northern Michigan broadcaster who's launched a new talk radio format at WJML-AM that crosses the spectrum of political views. The station recently began simulcasting at AM-1210 outside of Traverse City to complement its original AM-1110 signal in Petoskey. Stone is looking to crack a highly competitive Traverse City talk radio market blanketed commercially by right-wing radio giants like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on WTCM-AM 580, and a sizable following for FM news programming through Interlochen Public Radio. To do so, Stone is turning to a combination of conservative talkers, including Neal Boortz and Glenn Beck, mixed in with liberal hosts like Ed Schultz to carve out a new audience... Mixing It Up On The Airwaves- WJML turns to a blend of voices in audience bid (Sun, 5/6)

 

Broadcasting & Cable:

Fox affilate WFQX (ch. 33) in Cadillac/Traverse City, Mich., is changing hands from SDR Rockfleet Holdings to Cadillac Telecasting for "somewhere north of $10 million," according to a source. Cadillac is not expecting to run the station, but instead plans to enter into a shared services agreement under which Heritage Broadcasting-owned CBS affiliate WWTV in Cadillac would operate the station. WWTV GM Bill Kring said he thought the stations had "complementary resources." The deal, which was brokered by Kalil & Co., is subject to FCC approval. Michigan Fox Affiliate Changing Hands (Wed, 5/9)

 

WQLBSimulcasters WQLB-FM (103.3) Tawas City and WKJZ-FM (94.9) Alpena earlier this week changed format from Classic Rock to Variety Hits as "Hit's FM", featuring the greatest hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

John Carroll Jr, president of Carroll Broadcasting and Carroll Enterprises is excited about the move away from a niche format to one that has broader appeal. "Hit’s FM is not your cookie-cutter format. Most consultants want to pigeon-hole a station's format as CHR, Adult Contemporary, Country etc. Ours is plain and simple, if it was a hit in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, we will play it! Many songs you will not hear on radio stations, but you will on ours. It’s a fun sound and the songs we play bring back a lot of memories.”

Prior to this week's format change, WQLB had carried a classic rock format since signing on in July 1997 with WKJZ joining the simulcast shortly after that. Prior to its simulcast of WQLB, WKJZ simulcast the country format of sister station WKJC-FM 104.7 Tawas City.

 

Joe Matyskella, program director for public non-commercial WNMC-FM 90.7 Traverse City passed away on May 24th at the age of 49. He'd held the PD role at the eclectic Northwestern Michigan College owned station for about five years in addition to working on the air for eight years as host of "Thursday Mid-day Jazz" and co-host of the Sunday jazz program "Further Along".

Obituary (Traverse City Record-Eagle)

Read more about Mr. Matyskella on the WNMC web site

 

Daily Mining Journal:

Don Vanuum has a satellite dish to receive some television channels and an antenna to receive others, but because of rules governing channel distribution, he can no longer receive an ABC network channel over the air, and that bothers him. Vanuum said until July 1, he was able to receive ABC locally on Channel 5/10 over the air. “I have a 30-foot tower with an antenna and a rotor on it,” he said. The antenna allowed him to receive Channel 5 which is licensed in Calumet and has its broadcast tower in Painesdale. The television channels he’s able to get with his antenna come in well, Vanuum said. “I get excellent reception,” he said. On July 1, WBKP Channel 5 became an affiliate of the CW television network, but Vanuum said he doesn’t care for its programing, and he wants to receive ABC again... There’s discontent in ‘Television Land’ (Sat, 7/7)

 

SooToday.com:

WNMU-TV, Northern Michigan University’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate, has received a grant of $1,004,083 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to complete the television station’s transition to digital television. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) heralded the grant, saying it would allow WNMU-TV to improve broadcasting services for much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. "WNMU-TV provides excellent educational, PBS programming," Stupak said. "This grant will allow the station to complete their transition to a digital format and roll out innovative new services." Eric Smith, general manager of WNMU-TV said that the new digital television format will allow the station to experiment with innovative new educational services, through a technology called multicasting... Do you watch WNMU-TV? (Tue, 7/17)

 

Northern Express:

Northern Michigan has several options when it comes to morning radio shows. There are around a couple dozen in all, but let’s face it: ever since The Captain and his crazy antics disappeared from the airwaves, morning radio in these parts has been about as exciting as a morgue. Okay, one could argue that Bob & Tom keep things interesting in the morning with guests like Larry the Cable Guy and other top comedians, but there is another duo on the horizon that is offering something “for the people” that Bob & Tom can’t. Localization. Since arriving last September, Omelette has been at the reins of the WKLT morning show weekdays, from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on 97.5 and 98.9 on the FM dial. Originally from Connecticut, Omelette came to Northern Michigan with a vision of shaking up mornings in the region... Omelette & Finster make a splash

 

Daily Mining Gazette:

WGGL 91.1 FM listeners will hear one less familiar voice when they tune in to the radio now. The station, an affiliate of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), no longer has a local broadcasting presence. WGGL will continue to broadcast out of the station at Michigan Technological University, but it will no longer have a local reporter, said Marcia Goodrich, senior writer for Michigan Technological University Marketing and Communications. The station will be managed through Duluth, said Jennifer Haugh, communications manager for MPR. Local weather will still be broadcast, underwriting is available through the Duluth office and maintenance and upgrades at the Michigan Tech facility will still occur... Local radio station no longer local (Wed, 8/22)

 

Northern Michigan: Newsmakers Sep 14, 2007

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Traverse City Record-Eagle:

The local ABC television affiliate is being sold to a broadcast group that also owns TV 7&4. Max Media of Traverse City LLC is selling television station TV 29&8 to Illinois-based Barrington Broadcasting Group LLC for $10 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Barrington will assign the station's broadcast license to Phoenix-based Tucker Broadcasting to comply with Federal Communication Commission rules that prohibit ownership of two television stations in small media markets. Ben Tucker, head of Tucker Broadcasting, is a media consultant and former CEO of Fisher Communications in Seattle, where he operated 13 television stations and 30 radio stations. Tucker wouldn't comment on possible changes to TV 29&8 operations until the sale is approved by the FCC -- a process that could take up to six months. "I really can't tell you at this point what all is going to be changed," Tucker said. "We'll start to peel the onion back over the next 30 to 60 days." Tucker said the station may increase its local news content... Local TV stations mix it up (Fri, 9/14)

 

Get well wishes to engineer Brian Brachel

Broadcast engineer Brian Brachel was severely injured recently while working with 6000 volts DC at the transmitter site of WNBY-FM Newberry. According to fellow engineer Del Reynolds, Brachel's hand and arm took the brunt of the damage with burns and cuts from his hand and out the top of his shoulder. His arm drew the current and tripped the 150 amp breaker or this would be a much sadder story.

Del's report continues that Brian was alone and really dazed but managed to crawl out to his car and drive himself holding an old rag on his arm to lessen the bleeding. He was able to call Mr. Reynolds who met him and drove the rest of the way to Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey. From there, Brachel was transferred via ambulance to Spectrum in Grand Rapids where he is currently recovering in the ER burn unit.

 

WLUC-TV:

The 2007 TV6 Canathon marks a milestone for the event as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The TV6 Canathon has had an enormous impact on the community since the event began back in 1982. At that time the Marquette County Food pantries found an increased need for assistance due to lay-offs in the local mining industry. It was proposed by former TV6 News Director Ed Kearney that TV6 organize a local food drive asking residents in the area to donate non-perishable food items. That first effort resulted in 700 pounds of food being donated to the first TV6 Canathon. The annual donations have grown considerably since that first event with the 2006 TV6 Canathon collecting over 144,000 pounds of food ... The 2007 TV6 Canathon officially kicks-off on Monday, November 12, with collection continuing across Upper Michigan through Thursday, December 6. The month-long collection effort wraps up with a one-hour commercial-free special program "live" from TV6 starting at 7:00 p.m./6:00 CT on Thursday, December 6... TV6 Canathon: help feed a hungry neighbor



Leelanau Enterprise:

Television is an integral part of most daily lives today. But it wasn’t always so. In Leelanau, TV isn’t much more than 50 years old. A few area people, did, however, have television sets before the Cadillac station went on the air, followed by Channel 7, which broadcast from the top of “TV Hill” on the county’s southernmost edge. Radio pioneer Les Biederman was the prime mover for the Traverse City station, which subsequently underwent changes in ownership. Before the advent of TV stations 9/10 and 7/4, a tall antenna might be needed to pick up distant stations, and, even then, one might get good sound and a poor picture, or vice versa. Then, on the other hand, if atmospheric conditions were favorable, one might clearly receive the station at Green Bay, Wis., with even a modest antenna. Following the establishment of Cadillac and Traverse City stations, ownership of television sets in the area mushroomed and large advertisements appeared in the Enterprise to entice buyers... TV's county roots date to 1957 (Wed, 10,3)

 

Broadcasting and Cable:

Retro Television Network will partner with Barrington Broadcasting Group to launch RTN on the digital streams of WNWO Toledo, Ohio; KXRM Colorado Springs; and WPBN Traverse City, Mich. RTN is replacing music channel The Tube, which “ceased its national broadcast,” according to its Web site. Owned by Equity Media Holdings, RTN offers affiliates a customized feed made up mostly of classic shows like Get Smart and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, along with local programming... Three markets go retro with Retro Television Network (Mon, 10/8)

 

Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Two media watchdog groups filed a federal complaint against television station WGTU ABC 29&8 alleging it passed off fake news clips paid for by banks and manufacturers as independent news reports. East Coast-based Free Press and Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy filed the complaint Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission. The complaint alleges the Traverse City-based TV station violated FCC rules that require stations to "clearly disclose" to the audience who paid for video news releases. "These (videos) are sponsored public relations messages," said Diane Farsetta, senior researcher for the Center for Media and Democracy. "They are ads dressed up as news stories." The videos typically discuss topics of financial importance to the sponsor and interview people from the company or an associated organization. Some make repeated references to the company by name or logo and refer viewers to company sponsored Web sites. Farsetta cited three videos used by WGTU in August and September... TV 29&8 accused of airing fake 'news' (Mon, 10/15)

 

AllAccess.com:

Scharge Joins Northern Star/Marquette
Former SPORTING NEWS RADIO reporter ASHLEY SCHARGE joins the NORTHERN STAR BROADCASTING/MARQUETTE, MI cluster as morning news anchor, TUESDAY night sports show host, and voice of NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY hockey on Rock WIMK-WUPK (THE BEAR 93.1-94.1). (Tue, 10/16)


Arbitron Recalls Traverse City eBook
ARBITRON has acknowledged that three SPRING 2007 TRAVERSE CITY-PETOSKEY, MI metro diaries were returned from a media-affiliated household, and have eliminated them from the in-tab sample. A revised SPRING 2007 ARBITRON eBook for that market will be released on MONDAY, OCT. 22nd at 10a (ET). The ratings firm also noted that audience estimates for NORTHERN BROADCASTING AC WSRT may be substantially affected. What's more, estimates for other stations may be slightly affected as a result of the sample balancing and reprocessing procedures that accompany deletion of any diary from the sample. (Wed, 10/17)

 

Upper Peninsula: Newsmakers Oct 19, 2007

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Cook flies the coop

Glenn 'Casey' Cook has exited as morning show co-host at variety hits WMJT-FM, Eagle 96.7, Newberry and is on the hunt for a new gig.

Cook sent the following mini-bio to Michiguide.com:

Michigan Association of Broadcasters award winning morning personality and international award winning voice-over/production specialist, Glenn 'Casey' Cook, is on the loose and is currently looking for his next challenge. His experience includes on-air work in all day parts in small/medium markets, as well as being an exciting remote broadcaster, program director, production director, and sports play-by-play. Formats inlcude rock, classic rock, country, hot country, adult contemporary, and 'we play everything'. Looking for opportunities in Michigan, especially Flint, Saginaw, Midland, Bay City, Lansing area, but would be happy in any Michigan area - available immediately! Get in touch with 'Casey' by emailing him at gcook@nmo.net. Aircheck available upon request and award winning commercial production demos can be heard at www.spotsthatcook.com. He would very much like to be a major contributer to your radio broadcast team.

 

WWTV/WWUP-TV:

Deputies are looking for witnesses of a deadly crash in Ogemaw County that killed a television news anchor. Ogemaw County deputies say the accident happened on M-33, south of Engel Road in Churchill Township shortly after 9:15 Friday night. They say it appears a southbound car crossed the center line and hit a car heading north. Kristen Rath of Holly died in the crash. She was an anchor for WBKB-TV, a CBS affiliate in Alpena... News anchor killed in Ogemaw county crash (Mon, 10/22)

- More information on Ms. Rath here: WBKB TV news team



WSRT admits wrongdoing in Spring ratings book

In the wake of Arbitron signaling it would be issuing a corrected spring ratings book that would likely have a negative effect on the ratings of WSRT-FM 106.7 Gaylord last week, there were numerous Internet rumors that someone within the station was responsible for the three diaries that are being excluded from the corrected numbers. Northern Broadcasting general manager Charlie Ferguson has now issued a statement on the issue:

"On Friday, October 12th, 2007, Arbitron alleged that one or more of our employees had filled out listener diaries in the Spring 2007 Audience Survey and will be releasing revised rating information for the Traverse City/Petoskey market on Monday, October 22nd, 2007. The revisions will primarily affect reported listening levels on 106.7 WSRT. It is important to note that this had no affect on the gains made by WKLT/WKLZ or The FOX FM. After performing our own due diligence, we concluded that the household of two of our employees had indeed filled out diaries which were subsequently used in the tabulation of the Spring ratings. On Thursday, October 18th, 2007, I asked for and received both of their resignations effective immediately.

"Whether one or both were involved, we cannot tolerate any cloud of suspicion over the integrity of our company, ownership or management. I offer my humble and sincere apologies to both our competitors and Arbitron for the actions of one or two of our employees and this unnecessary, as well as embarrassing turn of events. It is also our hope that our advertisers and agency partners will understand that Northern Broadcasting believes in a fair and unbiased ratings system and that we will be doing everything in our power to re-earn your trust."


AllAccess.com reports that it has received a letter from Glenda Lee, who claims she is responsible for the three diaries in question:

"I am the wife (although maybe not for long) of the programmer involved with the station," she wrote. "He knew absolutely nothing about diaries until we were approached by our GM last week.

 

AllAccess.com:

Arbitron Diary Invitation Issues Surface Again:
Remember the recent story about two WSRT/TRAVERSE CITY, MI employees resigning over participating in an ARBITRON survey (NET NEWS 10/22)? Well, it's happened again -- almost -- in the same cluster. WSRT, WKLT and WFCX GM CHARLIE FERGUSON told ALL ACCESS, "For the third time now, some of our employees were invited to participate in the ARBITRON FALL 2007 survey. One was WKLT afternoon talent J.J., then Chief Engineer DENNIS MURRAY got one, and the third came this week addressed to "Resident" at the station's address."

"I've suggested to ARBITRON's DAVE WILLINSKI, through our rep DAVID RICE, that they should send stations access to a database to list our employee addresses and phone numbers. DAVID's response was: 'You expect us to do this?' My response was, 'Yes -- we're paying you a ton of money to get this right."

"If my staff has gotten three separate invitations to fill out diaries, how many of my competitors have received them as well? What if they didn't turn down the opportunity? We can't be the only stations whose staff is being contacted, can we? ARBITRON has a real responsibility to insure the integrity of the ratings and that radio station/company employees don't participate in the survey, but the opposite would appear to be happening."

FERGUSON goes on to say, "ARBITRON's troubles don't stop there. The Small Market Initiative is a disaster in progress. The idea is to average two books to 'control the bounce' in Condensed Markets. We found a huge problem with their secondary providers like SmartPlus that use 'Summary Data.' Buyers at agencies are used to pulling two-book averages for Standard Markets. When they get to Condensed Markets they continue to pull two-book reports when the single book option in the software is already averaged. The result is double-counting the oldest sample -- and rounding the numbers twice! This caused several of our competitors to show a full rating point higher and cost us literally thousands of dollars in lost business."

ARBITRON has been contacted for comment. (Tue, 11/13)

 

AllAccess.com:

Ferguson Reignites Diary Flap In Traverse City
NORTHERN BROADCASTING AC WSRT, Rock WKLT and Classic Hits WFCX/TRAVERSE CITY, MI, GM CHARLIE FERGUSON has taken issue with ARBITRON's efforts to downplay the sampling and improper distribution of diaries in the market.

FERGUSON told ALL ACCESS that "ARBITRON Sr. VP THOM MOCARSKY's comments about the issues we've had with ARBITRON in NORTHERN MICHIGAN [were] pure double-speak. ARBITRON has a responsibility to insure the purity of its data sample and provide software that works properly. ... The addition of a database for employee addresses and phone numbers would not be an undue burden and since employee names would be omitted the privacy issue would be non-existent. ... ARBITRON's current system of outsourced telemarketers asking if people work in the media has, regrettably, proven to be insufficient.

"Mr. MOCARSKY's statement that 'the sampling rate is so high in TRAVERSE CITY' is truly laughable," FERGUSON continued. "When three diaries were thrown out and the book reissued in TRAVERSE CITY, WSRT/WSRJ went from a .6 rating in Persons 12+ to a .4 rating -- a drop of 33%! In our Female target demos, the ratings dropped over 21%. When ratings-driven revenue accounts for 40 to 45% of a stations total sales, the value of three little diaries in our size market is overwhelming. The remarkable honesty of the majority of media people is outweighed by ARBITRON's obligation to provide reliable ratings data that both buyers and sellers can use with confidence."

FERGUSON conluded by noting, "The 'warning on the front page' of Summary Data software is nothing more than a legal disclaimer and has little or no effect on its use. Averaging the averages yields incorrect data -- period. ARBITRON did issue a 'Service Advisory' to help make agencies aware of the problem. As you might imagine, when we brought it to buyers' attention, the reactions ranged from minor irritation to 'don't tell me how to do my job!' Since 2005, 'averaging the averages' has cost our company nearly as much as we have paid ARBITRON -- and it was business we deserved had the software functioned properly. This is happening to someone in every Condensed Market and it's just plain wrong." (Fri, 11/17)

 

AllAccess.com:

Luke Spencer To Leave WKHQ:
After almost 10 years on the job, MACDONALD GARBER BROADCASTING Top 40/Mainstream WKHQ/TRAVERSE CITY, MI OM/PD/afternoons LUKE SPENCER (HAGELBERG) is resigning. His last day is FRIDAY, DEC. 21st. SPENCER is heading to CALIFORNIA to find greener, not to mention, warmer, pastures. (Tue, 12/18)

 

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