Michigan Almanac: February 2010 Archives

Will HD power boost be boon or bust?



column written by Mike Austerman

Last week's news that the FCC is going to allow FM stations to increase their output power from 1% of their analog output to up to 10% prompted lots of coverage. It's a polarizing issue between those that continue to promote HD as the next big thing for free FM radio and those that think the idea continues to be a horrible mistake that just keeps getting worse.

Truth be told I don't know where I stand, as I can see both sides. I guess I tend to lean toward the technology -- at least for FM -- hoping that the addition of programming can help fill broadcast holes that wouldn't otherwise be served. A quick example: In Angola, Indiana pop WLKI FM 100.3 has recently added HD2 and HD3 programming, providing the area with a sports format (ESPN Radio) and a rock format. Maybe even more intriguing, both formats are also available to analog listeners via FM translators that were recently purchased and moved to Angola. If it weren't for HD, listeners wouldn't have those extra options.

The biggest argument against HD appears to be concerns over interference. If it turns the FM dial into the mess AM has become since HD has come online, this position will be validated. My guess is that many of the protests come from owners of 'rimshot' stations that rely on listeners from nearby larger markets to help keep their stations afloat. If listeners they have today get blocked by IBOC stations, it could very well impact whether or not some of these stations survive. Is this really what the FCC wants -- fewer voices on the airwaves?

In Detroit, the situation could be even worse should HD-caused interference affect stations from nearby southwestern Ontario, which has recently added a number of FMs. Most are just two clicks away on the dial from powerful Detroit FM's that could very well increase digital power and create much more interference in Canada. It'll be interesting to see what happens if/when the juice gets turned up on local HDs.

One thing I can say without hesitation though - if all of this is going to wind up being worth it, a lot more effort is going to be needed in programming the HD2 and HD3 stations to entice listeners to upgrade their radios.


Phlash and ClydeOn a personal note, I pheel compelled to mention a recent loss to the radio phamily. Listeners to Phlash Phelps' morning show (6am - noon ET) on SiriusXM's 60's on 6 understand the connection he had with his beloved beagle Clyde, who was probably one of the best traveled dogs of all time. Phlash and Clyde were best buds phor over 14 years and stuck together through numerous radio gigs and together got the chance to visit 48 states, 5 provinces of Canada, 2 U.S. territories, and Washington D.C. Unfortunately, Clyde didn't make it to see his 15th birthday which would have been in June as he died on Saturday.

Phlash intends to take Clyde's ashes to both Alaska and Hawaii to complete the 50 state tour.

Listeners to the Phlash Phelps Phunny Pharm grew used to hearing Clyde's bark and amazing ability to phind nearly any song request listeners might make. While much of satellite radio can be impersonal, Phlash's program is a refreshing difference. I'm certainly proud to be a Phan and send my condolences to Phlash.

If you feel compelled, reach out to Phlash c/o XM Satellite Radio, 1500 Eckington Place NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Mike Austerman


Michigan Almanac: Feb. 12, 2010



Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame adds five

The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, owners, photographers, broadcasters, educators and others who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Since 1985 the Journalism Hall of Fame has continued the tradition of honoring journalists begun in 1952 by the Michigan Newspaper Hall of Fame.

The class of 2010 includes:

  • Bill Bonds- iconic TV anchor at WXYZ-TV 7 and WJBK-TV 2 in Detroit
  • Ron Dzwonkowski- Detroit Free Press associate editor and columnist
  • Dawn Hertz - Media Lawyer with the firm Butzel-Long
  • Jerry Hodak- Detroit TV reporter and anchor since 1965; currently the chief meteorologist at WXYZ-TV
  • James Pooler- Detroit Free Press reporter

The Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for Sunday, April 18, 2010, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Contact Michigan State University's School of Journalism at 517-353-6430 for more information.



MLive.com / Associated Press:

Ernie Harwell will receive the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting. The Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers will receive the award on May 5 in New York. The 92-year-old Harwell was the voice of the Tigers from 1960-02. He said last September he has inoperable cancer, a month after surgery for an obstructed bile duct. He was honored with a tribute during a game at Comerica Park on Sept. 16. Harwell's 55-year career began in Atlanta in 1946. He moved two years later to the Brooklyn Dodgers. After stints with the New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles, he started his long association with the Tigers. Harwell was voted the 1981 Ford Frick Award for major contributions to baseball by the Hall of Fame. The Scully award is named for the longtime Dodgers broadcaster, who won the Frick Award in 1982. Scully helped form Fordham's radio station WFUV, which is the award's sponsor, and joined the Dodgers broadcast crew in 1950. Tigers' Ernie Harwell to receive Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award for broadcasting (Thu, 2/11)


Media Conference Looks to the Future



Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo Slated for March 2 & 3 at The Lansing Center in Lansing

Working towards a profitable multi-media future will be the focus at the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) annual Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC).

MAB"GLBC is the hot spot for broadcasting innovation and a move toward a brighter outlook for the broadcast industry," said MAB President and CEO Karole White. "Michigan broadcasters are retooling and reaching out to new forms of media to secure their place in the future."

This year's GLBC will spotlight embracing the changes that have come to the broadcasting industry and working with emerging social media to reach broadcast audiences in a whole new way. This year's event includes: seminars with nationally renowned speakers; an interactive exhibit hall which will feature numerous exhibitors with the latest industry technology and programs; and a career fair for up and coming broadcast professionals.

GLBC features over 20 national caliber speakers and offers one of the biggest networking opportunities in the Midwest broadcasting industry. Exhibit Only registration is always free. Full information is available on the MAB web site at www.michmab.com.

Other GLBC conference highlights include:

  • The Broadcast Excellence Awards Presentation, which recognizes outstanding news, programming and public service performances by Michigan radio and television stations (Separate registration required).
  • The MAB Foundation Broadcast Media Career & Networking Fair, which will allow students interested in the industry to meet and obtain advice from broadcasters.
  • The MAB Foundation's Michigan High School & College Broadcast Awards, which recognizes the talents of Michigan high school and college broadcast media students.

Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo
Tuesday, March 2 & Wednesday, March 3
The Lansing Center, Lansing
Registration & Conference Information: www.michmab.com


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is sad to report the passing of MAB Past President, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, MAB Foundation Honorary Board Member and former WOOD Grand Rapids executive Willard "Bill" Schroeder. Schroeder passed away Tuesday, February 23 at his home in East Grand Rapids. He was 96.

Schroeder's Michigan connection began in 1950, when the new WOOD Radio/Grand Rapids owner Harry Bitner hired him as general manager of the station. At that point, WOOD Radio was making plans to add a television station and on October 15, 1951, WOOD-TV went on the air with the first "live" programming in West Michigan. In 1962, WOOD-FM signed on. Under Bill's guidance, WOOD Broadcasting introduced area residents to everything from color television to personalities such as Bruce Grant, Frank Slaymaker and Buck Matthews. Upon retirement as general manager of the TV station, Schroeder remained active as president of WOOD Broadcasting until 1984 when the stations were sold.

Through his broadcasting work in West Michigan, Schroeder was elected president of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 1963 and in June of 1964, he was elected chairman of the board of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). He assumed the job would be traditionally honorary; but after NAB president LeRoy Collins resigned to join the Johnson administration, the NAB decided to create a two-man team to head the association. Schroeder became a working chairman, assigned to Washington in partnership with NAB president Vince Wasilewski. For the balance of his term, he juggled two hats and occupied two desks, one in Washington and the other in Grand Rapids.

During his life, Bill was named "Man of the Year" by both the United Fund and the Advertising Club of Grand Rapids. He served on the boards of the YMCA, Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Way, St. Mary's Hospital, Aquinas College, West Michigan Public Broadcasting and Kendall School of Design.

Bill Schroeder was honored by his fellow broadcasters with the MAB's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also a member of the MAB Foundation Founders Club which provides scholarships to deserving broadcast media students in Michigan. Those desiring to make contributions to a scholarship fund in Bill's honor may do so by clicking this link to donate online or contacting Julie Sochay at mabf@michmab.com.

Schroeder was born June 6, 1913 in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in journalism school at the University of Missouri. Upon graduation in 1934, Bill was recruited by Hearst Corporation, and at age 23, became a radio advertising sales person at the Hearst station in Pittsburgh, WCAE. He later rose to the position of sales manager of the station and then was transferred and promoted to the general manager position at the company's New York City station. While in New York, Bill met his future wife Barbara, who was teaching radio at Briarcliff College. He and Barbara eventually would have three daughters, Gail, Sally and Christine, and one son, David.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. March 6 at the Kent Country Club in Grand Rapids.







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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Michigan Almanac category from February 2010.

Michigan Almanac: January 2010 is the previous archive.

Michigan Almanac: March 2010 is the next archive.

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