What Broadcasters Are Doing
America’s broadcasters are leading the effort to end opioid abuse. Radio and television stations across the country are providing extensive news coverage, donating airtime to programs and public service announcements to educate their audiences and sharing information online, on social and through digital apps. A few examples include:
Rubber City Radio Group’s WAKR-FM, WONE-FM, WQMX-FM, and WNWV-FM, in the greater Cleveland area, have devoted numerous resources to addressing the local and nationwide opioid epidemic. The station group invested a week’s worth of intensive reporting on its news and community talk programs regarding the topic, supported by live broadcasts and a strong web reporting presence that included social media. Also, the “Jasen Sokol Show” conducted a live four-hour program from the local Department of Health, which included a broadcast of a news conference detailing new initiatives to help listeners dispose of outdated prescription drugs safely. The station group also developed a section of their website where listeners can visit for additional information. Access it here.
The Arizona Broadcasters Association worked with stations throughout the state to air an eye-opening documentary, created by the Cronkite School at Arizona State University, on the same date at the same time, often referred to as a “roadblock,” to ensure this important message reached the maximum number of people.
Since 2013, the Sinclair Broadcast Group has organized and aired live town hall meetings across the country featuring public health of cials, drug counselors, law enforcement and drug addicts. Each local station also uses their digital properties to share “Hooked on Heroin,” an investigative report focused on the growing public health crisis.
Midwest Communications launched a live, one-hour special “Heroin in Wisconsin: Save Our Families,” where morning show hosts engaged listeners in a conversation about opioids and provided in-depth coverage on Wisconsin’s growing addiction problem. The stations also raised money for heroin and opioid treatment facilities.
CBS has aired more than $11 million worth of anti- opioid PSAs. The network’s “60 Minutes” also aired an in-depth feature on “The Heroin Epidemic.”
In the last few years, ABC-owned stations and affiliates have been on the front lines reporting on the opioid epidemic. In March, ABC News’ “World News Tonight” anchor and “20/20” co-anchor David Muir aired a special report, “Breaking Point: Heroin in America.”
FOX Television Stations produced dozens of special news reports covering the opioid epidemic, in addition to the station group's ongoing news reporting that airs as part of its local news coverage in markets across America.
Univision has devoted enormous resources to covering the opioid crisis, including programming on its highly-rated KMEX-TV in Los Angeles and a multi-part documentary detailing abuse in Chicago that aired on the Fusion network.
NBC Nightly News has taken multiple in-depth looks at the nation’s growing heroin addiction crisis. In addition, NBC-owned stations have devoted enormous resources to the issue. WCAU-TV Philadelphia won an Emmy for its half-hour special “Generation Addicted.”
“Inside the Triangle,” a six-week investigation by TEGNA NBC affiliate WXIA in Atlanta, dove into the heroin crisis in the city’s suburbs. This was followed by numerous broadcast reports and social conversation by the station and its viewers.
Hearst’s WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., took an in-depth look at the heroin epidemic with a special town hall meeting. A panel of experts heard from people on the front lines, including family members, addicts, emergency responders and doctors.
In the last year, ABC-owned TV stations, CBS Television Network and iHeartMedia have devoted more than $15 million in airtime to sharing public service announcements on the opioid epidemic.
Graham Media’s KSAT-TV in San Antonio took a deep dive into the opioid epidemic in South Texas with a series of stories and links to resources airing both on air and online.
K-LOVE aired “Dependence On Rx Painkillers” as a special addition of its national “Closer Look” show. On-air personality Kenny Noble Cortes spoke with a recovering prescription opioid addict and the vice president of admissions for a detox center during the program. Listen to the :60 spot promoting the show below.
Check out the many other ways local broadcasters have helped bring awareness to prescription drug abuse.
Find further information on helping those in your community battle opioid abuse.
» Graham Media Group launches ’Opioid Nation: An American Epidemic’
» Graham Media Group Launches ’Opioid Nation: An American Epidemic’ (
» WRAL Heroin Documentary Gets Personal
» WBAL-TV Continues to Fight Opioid Epidemic
» WCVB Airs Hour-Long Addiction Special
» WBAL-TV Airs Special on Opioid Epidemic
For more recent stories, visit NAB's Broadcast Public Service website.
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Broadcasters around the country are fighting opioid abuse. Tell us what your station is doing.