Recap: MAB & CSRegion-ACM Conference & Trade Show

March was a very busy month for the Michigan ACM & it’s members! We started off with the annual Michigan Association of Broadcasters- Great Lakes Broadcasters Conference & Trade Show on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in Lansing, MI; in conjunction with MI-NATOA. Sessions included:

Stay tuned for next year’s MAB with sessions hosted by MI-ACM & MI-NATOA.

A few weeks later MI-ACM members hit the road again and headed to Cincinnati, Oh for the annual Central States Region Conference & Trade Show hosted by the City of Cincinnati. This three day conference was packed with enriching workshops and plenty of time to network. Beth Romeo, the CS-ACM Chair stated, “These conferences wouldn’t happen without your support, so thank you for attending, and thank you to all of our Sponsors, Vendors, and Presenters!”

Sessions included; National Legislation & Public Policy Updates by National ACM President & CEO Mike Wassenaar, Generating New Revenue by CauseImpact, Productions on a Dime by Campbell County Media Central, Make Your Lighting Work For You by TBNK, Kids Summer Camp Productions by Cincinnati Community Media, Sports Productions by ICRC-TV, Independent Filmmaking & Storytelling by Northern Kentucky University and much more!

The Keynote luncheon speaker was Dr. Odell Owens who spoke on the Importance of Teaching our Youth Responsible Communications in the Age of Multimedia Production. And the Roxie L. Cole Leadership Award went to John Wasylko of Brunswick’s channel 22- the BEAT (Brunswick Education Access Television).  The State Chapters even hosted a networking event at Rhinegeist on Wednesday night. And Tightrope Media Services sponsors a Thursday Social event at Taft House for conference participants. Here are a few photos from the Wednesday night social event:

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Huge thanks to all the vendors who attended the Trade Show and sponsor the conference:

That’s a warp for this year’s spring events, but we hope to see you all again in the Fall for our annual Station Tour. Date TBA, but we’ll be heading up north to UpNoth Media Center in Traverse City, MI. And as always stay tuned for more MI-ACM events in 2018.


Action Needed!

National ACM is asking citizens to contact their local congressional offices in the coming month as part of their campaign to protect community media. Will you and your colleagues from your organization take 15 minutes in the next month to make three phone calls? I just called today and the staff in the local offices are very nice and happy to hear from people!

Below is the simple script, but you can modify it for Board members, volunteers and others who will be engaging with phone calls.

Here’s a listing of local office numbers for the Ann Arbor area. (If you need help finding your reps. LOCAL number please email ):

Sample Script for PEG Calls with local offices of Senators and Representatives.Be nice and be direct.  No need to be nervous!  Remember, staff members work for someone who works for you!


Hi, my name is (x) and I live in (y).   I’m calling to express my concern about telecommunications and PEG Access media.   Can I talk with you or someone else on the Congress member’s staff?

With the new Congress, I want to make sure that Public Educational and Government Access media services like we have in (my town or city) are not harmed.   We depend on (name of local organization) for local media coverage, educational training, local government information (and so on.  Talk about what you like about your local service or what you depend upon).

I would like to make sure that Representative (or Senator) (z) will fight to make sure that Congress does not harm PEG Access.   We need it in (your community).

Will the Senator (or Representative) support PEG Access in this Congress?

Thank you for your time.

Thank you in advance from National and Michigan ACM!

-Alysha Schlundt-Bodien

MAB, MPSC & FCC News/Information

Join us for the Michigan ACM/NATOA Joint Luncheon on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
At the end of the day, we will have a joint meeting with Michigan ACM & NATOA members. All events take place at The Lansing Center: 333 E. Michigan Avenue Lansing, MI  48933

Attendance including lunch and admission to the Trade Show is $40 before early bird deadline of 2/19, then it goes to $50, and then $55 for onsite registrations. Sign up through the Great Lakes Broadcasters Conference and Expo online. This rate is for members only. All members have been contacted via email. If you wish to become an ACM member please visit the Membership page.

Itinerary for Wednesday, March 8, 2017:
7- 10 a.m. Registration Opens

10-11am Inventory & Member Tracking Management
Developed by NewTV, Isaac was created to help you easily manage the everyday operations of your community media station. With Isaac you can coordinate users, make reservations, track equipment, and schedule projects and classes with ease. Isaac takes the place of your current asset management system and allows you to do so much more. Isaac’s robust reporting capabilities can be accessed from anywhere by using your phone, tablet, or desktop computer allowing you the freedom you need in your busy day-to-day operations.

11:30-12:30 pm How Community Media and Local News Work Together
In this session, you’ll learn some tips and tricks on growing local partnerships from the ground up! Kiran Sood Patel from The Rapidian in Grand Rapids will talk about how the organization has partnered with dozens of nonprofits to create meaningful content and trained individual community journalists through sessions across the city. And Tom Norton from WKTV Journal will talk about how the current transition process from a news website to the new WKTV Story Lab and how every community media center should launch an online site that works across platforms to tell the stories within the community.

12:30 – 2 p.m. Main Luncheon & Michigan Student Broadcast Awards

2:30-3:30pm Volunteer Recruitment Strategies
This round table discussion will go over best practices on how to recruit more volunteer, ways to think outside the box when looking for volunteers and much more. The session will be moderated by Beth Romeo.

3:30-4p.m.  Exhibit Hall Refreshment Break

4-5p.m. MI-ACM & NATOA Joint Meeting

***speakers subject to change

For the full schedule and other info go here:

Speaker Bios:
Tom Norton is Executive Director of WKTV Community Media and Television.  WKTV is one of the oldest and largest community media facilities in the United States serving the communities of Wyoming and Kentwood in the West Michigan area.  Prior to being at WKTV, Tom worked in television sports in Los Angeles and regionally for ESPN.  Since returning to Michigan, Tom has initiated WKTV’s Digital Cinema program and a community based news online service called WKTV Journal which focuses on the stories of the community.  Recently, WKTV Journal has expanded from being on line only to a television magazine format which encouraged community content creators to focus on the visual elements of the story they are trying to tell in addition to the written word.

Kiran Sood Patel is Managing Editor of The Rapidian, the online community journalism platform serving Grand Rapids. The Rapidian is a part of the nonprofit Grand Rapids Community Media Center, which includes WYCE 88.1 fm, GRTV, Wealthy Theatre and an education department. The Community Media Center’s mission is to build community through media. Kiran has been a print and online reporter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and in Illinois. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Masters in Journalism at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors in Journalism. Kiran is passionate about writing, reading, diversity, engaging in communities and photography. She is originally from the suburbs of Chicago.

Michael Sperling has lead the development of Isaac in partnership with Newton TV. He has a degree in Photojournalism from the Rochester Institute of Technology and worked in the newspaper industry including stops at the Times Herald Record in Middletown, NY, The Muskegon Chronicle in Muskegon MI and the Eagle Tribune Publishing Company in North Andover, MA prior to founding Sperling Interactive in 2008. His firm Sperling Interactive, located in Salem Massachusetts works in the digital marketing web design and development.

News on the State Level: 

February 1, 2017
MPSC issues annual video services competition report

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today issued its annualreport on the status of competition for video services in Michigan.  The report is required by the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act (Public Act 480 of 2006), which gives the MPSC the responsibility to handle cable inquiries and complaints.

Highlights of the report include:

·         Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 1087 on Jan. 3, which created a permanent funding solution for the MPSC to resume handling video/cable complaints.

·         Providers have reported a continued increase in competitors entering their franchise areas. Prior to the act, providers reported having one competitor in 76 franchise areas, two competitors in 58 franchise areas, and three competitors in three franchise areas. At the end of 2016, providers reported having one competitor in 599 franchise areas, two competitors in 199 franchise areas and three competitors in five franchise areas.

·         In 2016, Michigan had a total of 38 video/cable providers, compared to 43 in 2015.

·         There are 2,045 franchise agreements in Michigan, an increase of six from 2015.

·         During 2016, a total of 2,172,891 video/cable customers were reported for Michigan, a decrease of 178,080 customers compared to the number reported in 2015.

·         The MPSC received 393 video/cable customer complaints and inquiries from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2016. The most frequent complaint categories were: billing charges, cable line issues, equipment service problem and other issues.

·         Twenty-five of the 38 video/cable providers reported investing over $120 million in the Michigan video/cable market during 2016 and over $3.1 billion since the act took effect.

·         Video/cable providers reported creating 240 new jobs in Michigan during 2016.

The MPSC made three recommendations to the Michigan legislature: extending the due date of the MPSC’s annual report to March 1 from Feb. 1 to provide survey respondents more time to provide information to the MPSC; requiring providers to provide certain contact information to the MPSC; and requiring a provider to notify the MPSC if it changes its name, goes out of business, or merges with another company.

The entire report is available on the MPSC’s website.

For more information on filing a video/cable complaint, see the MPSC’s Consumer Tips sheets on the subject.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.


News on the National Level: One of the first items on FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s agenda appears to be taking the FCC’s responsibility to expand broadband deployment to question local franchising.
He is calling for a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee.  Here’s text from his statement this morning about the mission of the BDAC:

“Issues the Committee will tackle include further reforms to the FCC’s pole attachment rules; identifying unreasonable regulatory barriers to broadband deployment; ways to encourage local governments to adopt deployment-friendly policies; and other reforms within the scope of the Commission’s authority.

“In particular, one of the Committee’s first tasks will be drafting a model code covering local franchising,    zoning, permitting, and rights-of-way regulations.  Many localities may not currently have or be able to develop policies conducive to deployment.  With a model code approved by the FCC, any city could build  a better regulatory environment for deployment, and any provider would have a better case for installing infrastructure.”

Information about the committee is located at

National ACM  will be working with our local government partners to put forward candidates that will protect and promote PEG on the committee and ACM will put forward at least one nominee for our communities.

2017 Save the Dates!

With a new year mean new opportunities for networking and education! The National & Michigan ACM offer many events for you to do just that! Here’s a quick list of events you can add to your calendar:

Save the dates and we hope to see you there!

2016 Station Tour Recap

The 2016 Fall Station Tour included a small group of people, but lots of great ideas! We saw everything from a massive studio where they shoot car commercials, a fully functioning HD governmental studio and a live news broadcast in Detroit.

Huge thanks to Doris Hage from Specs Howard School of Media Arts for setting up the tour of their newly renovated Farmington Hills location. We had a great time meeting with staff and getting to know more about the three different Media Arts Programs offered at Specs Howard. The classrooms are roomy, bright and full of technology. We also learned that Mr. Specs Howard is 90 years old and still comes to work daily!

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Next, we headed to City of Warren’s TV Warren to say farewell, and congratulations, to the former Communication Director Tracey Perry. Friday was her last day, so we were excited to be able to spend it with her. We toured their spacious HD studios. That’s right, they have two! Their studios are split by one control room, but their HD truck can be hooked up to act as another control room. Meaning they have two fully functioning HD studios with really impressive sets and camera! We got to meet most of their staff because they were getting ready to go produce a Friday night football game. Great staff and facility! Thanks for having us TV Warren, Tracey and crew!

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Our last stop was WDIV Channel 4 in the heart of downtown Detroit. Our tour guide was Photographer John Pompeo whom is a HOMTV alumni. We saw everything from master control to set design ideas and even got to meet Reporters Jason Colthorp & Kimberly Gill on set during their live broadcast! Thanks John for showing us the VIP behind the scenes view during the live 5pm news coverage!

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Thanks again to everyone who came to the 2016 station tour and a very special thanks to Specs Howard, TV Warren & WDIV Channel 4 for letting us tour their facilities! If you’re station would like to be part of the 2017 station tour please email

Supporting PEG Access, Michigan communities and free speech!

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