Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fined $10-Grand For Telling the Truth

The next WBNI/WBOI pledge drive may seem to have a little more urgency to it, this Notice Of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture from the Federal Communications Commission may have something to do with it. 
The Feds have found that WBNI 94.1 and their parent North East Indiana Public Radio failed to "retain all required documentation for the Public Inspection File", a requirement of the FCC. This file is maintained, usually, at the station's main studio and/of business office and contains many documents pertaining to the operation of the station, including the station license. Apparently the recent license renewal application for WBNI asked a question regarding placing certain specified documents in said Public File. Well, WBNI had not been doing this and answered the question with a truthful "no", setting in motion a bureaucratic flurry resulting in a nasty letter and a $10,000 fine

If you read the entire document you may notice that WBNI is referred to as a commercial station. While WBNI does not accept regular advertising and mimics the underwriting standards of their sister station WBOI 89.1 (which is a non-commercial allocation), WBNI has not ever asked to be reclassified as a non-commercial station, probably because North East Indiana Public Broadcasting, if they ever chose to, could sell the 94.1 license to a commercial broadcaster for a lot more money. 

At any rate, kudos to WBNI for telling the cost them a healthy $10,000.

You can read the entire FCC notification here:  

Monday, October 22, 2012

WOWO's Cut and Paste Journalism

A few days ago, we took Indiana's NewsCenter to task for a cock n' bull story about a $4.2 million dollar budget shortfall at IPFW. We were perplexed that the journalist writing the story did not bother to ask IPFW officials WHY there was such a large miscalculation of the budget.

Well, in the new era of "cut and paste" journalism, WOWO, 1190 (and now on 92.3 FM) presents the same story, and, of course, does not ask the WHY question, either.

WOWO will be quick to note that they have some kind of interlocking relationship with INC, but it would be  helpful if that relationship would be noted somewhere in the news story, so that listeners weren't left with the impressions that they were just common thieves.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Forget Something?

Anyone who has taken a journalism course knows the building blocks of an effective, informative news story. Who, what, where, why and how. Remember?

 As I read an Indiana's NewsCenter story about a $4.2 million budget shortfall at IFPW, something seemed to be missing. Upon a second reading, it was clear. The writer of the story had neglected one of those building blocks, namely, the “why”. Why is there a $4.2 million dollar budget gap? The INC writer goes into detail in describing IPFW’s valiant effort to narrow the budget divide, but nowhere in the story are we told how this trusted institution could be so far off in their budgeting. INC quotes the school’s Vice Chancellor of Financial Affairs, but apparently never felt it necessary to ask the “why” question and the Vice Chancellor didn’t feel a need to explain why.

So, why does IPFW have to cut expenses? Over optimistic enrollment forecasts? Budgetary malfeasance? Only those operating IPFW know for sure, and Indiana’s NewCenter sure isn't asking.

Monday, October 15, 2012

If WFWA Doesn’t Do It….

In the late 1990’s when Conservative politicians first wanted to remove Federal funding for public broadcasting, a smart slogan writer coined the positioning statement “If PBS won’t do it, who will?” The point was that PBS, thanks to federal tax dollars, was in a unique position to produce programming that would otherwise not be successful in the arena of commercial broadcasting. Back then, with very few other media outlets available, the statement made sense.

According to the Indiana Debate Commission, here's where Hoosiers can find tonight's Indiana Senatorial Debate:

Reflecting on that old PBS positioning statement, the Maven is curious as to why WFWA TV 39 has chosen not to carry tonight’s Indiana Senatorial debate live, instead, delaying it and pushing it back to October 26th. One would think that WFWA would want to be at the forefront of fact finding in an effort to help educate the great, ignorant masses that flock to their digital beacon of truth and enlightenment. Uh, guess not. If WFWA won’t do it…apparently, others will.

Observant readers will note that WPTA, aka Indiana’s NewCenter is not carrying the great debate live on their air, either. They are, however, “streaming” the event, in real time, giving viewers a chance to see it on their laptops, tablets and smart phones, without having to wait until October 26th.

Something to keep in mind during the next pledge drive….

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Maven's Mailbag...

Yes, I get feedback. Boy, do I get feedback. Most of it is courteous, some of it unkind, but it's always appreciated. 

Today, I'd like to answer a couple of Tweets that piled up during my absence this past week. There is nothing more refreshing than returning home to Fort Wayne following a grueling client photo shoot in a sunny and sandy location complete with tasty margaritas and surfeit of tanned, glistening scenery on constant parade. I love expense accounts. 

Our first Tweet comes from Zach. Zach, as you can see from his Tweet, is concerned because he, like the Maven, is a former employee of Federated Media, operator of a number of radio stations in town. Apparently, some of young Zach's friends believe him to be masquerading as the FW Media Maven. 

To put your friend's minds at ease, Zach, let me state for the record that I am not you, and you are not me. While we both did work at 2915 Maples Road, more than 35 years separated us. When I drew a paycheck there, US 27 was a 2-lane road, only 2 house trailers (pre-fab buildings) were attached to the brick 1380 transmitter building and only 2 stations operated form there, 1380 and 97.3. I worked with names like Elliot, Latz, Maurer, and some new guy named Spangler. The rock 'n roll was on 1380, the Bonneville beautiful music was on 97.3. Dark ages to most in the business now. 
Hope that helps, Zach. Good luck in the future. 

Our second Tweet comes from Dave Wheaton. Dave's question poses a quandary because the Maven can not discern if the question is literal or rhetorical. 

Why don't I use my real name on the blog that I write? Actually, I don't use any name at all. If you want a name, I'll give you one, but it's not one you would recognize. I would ask you, Dave, as a powerful and influential member of the media, what do you and your newsroom-mates at WOWO really care about what some blowhard blogger has to say about your news operations performance? Unless, of course, there is some truth in my critiques? Either way, it's nice to have you along as a reader on Twitter and the blog.

Contact the FW Media Maven at or on Twitter, of course.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Too Much Time On Their Hands

After firing 12 employees recently, one would think that the remaining workers at the Federated Media stations would be rather busy little bees. Guess not. Seems that four FedMed employees are able to take time from their busy broadcast day to enjoy the time-wasting activity of responding to snarky and cryptic Tweets from the Maven. 

During the rein of Gregg 'hacksaw' Henson, Fed Med employees were forbidden from responding to any public criticism, preferring to let management handle those issues, if at all. For all his warts and foibles, Henson had it right. His point was to never stoop to respond to any criticism, because it just might be coming from your biggest competitor, a cranky advertiser....or some high school kid with too much time on his hands and a bad acne problem. That policy has either changed, or the management at Federated Media has totally no idea what their overworked, and marginally paid, employees are doing on company time. 

One more thing, what the hell is a 'Heather Cruise"? Never heard of her. With the 100,000 listeners she claims, she should be a household easily recognizable as Preparation H. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Case of the Illegible Ineligible Player

There was a time when newspapers where celebrated as a standard for grammar and spelling. Those days, apparently, have come and gone.

In a story published today, the Journal Gazette’s sports editor Greg Jones tells us the Warsaw High School soccer team will have to forfeit seven games for using a player that was not eligible to play. However, Mr. Jones, most likely a product of public education, confuses the word “ineligible” with similar, yet totally unrelated word “illegible”. 

For those of you who may have been classmates of Mr. Jones, “ineligible” is defined as: not eligible: as
a : not qualified for an office or position
b : not permitted under football rules to catch a forward pass<an ineligible receiver>

illegible” is defined as: not legible : INDECIPHERABLE <illegible writing>

I’m sure that eliminating all those editors and fact checkers seemed like a good idea at the time.

Monday, October 1, 2012

WOWO News Written by Meth-Heads?

The good news is, someone at WOWO has figured out how to make their on-line stories big enough to be read without the aid of an electron microscope.

The bad news is, the news writing is still crap. Too cute, too informal, too ... crappy.

While the general premise of the story is sound, the good news/bad news vehicle is old and tired....just like the Maven.

The one question that sticks in the Maven's craw is this: while most reasonable people will agree that it is GOOD news that no one was injured in the it really BAD news that the police stopped someone for making, or preparing to make, meth? Since when did the media cheer for the bad guys? Wouldn't this be a good news/good news story? Oh, that's right, it has to be cute or no one will listen....either that or WOWO's news copy is written by meth-heads .... and that could explain a lot.