Broadcasters' Public Service
  May 2016
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Radio and television broadcasters constantly serve local communities. Stations air lifeline emergency information; support our troops; raise millions for cancer research and treatment; collect tons of food, clothes and toys; devote free air time to election coverage; and promote education and health.

Submit your station's public service to Suzie Raven.

Houston Turns to Local TV, Radio During Record Flooding

KPRC Raises $670,000 for Flood Relief

KPRC Raises $670,000 for Flood Relief Graham Media Group's NBC affiliate KPRC-TV Houston extensively covered the historic flooding that hit the Houston metro area on April 18. In addition to the live broadcast, the station utilized Facebook Live, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and its website to get critical information to viewers on mandatory evacuations, traffic, property damage, relief efforts and casualties. KPRC also raised $670,000 during a phone bank for the American Red Cross hosted inside the station's studios on April 19 – 20. KPRC partnered with Kroger grocery stores to continue accepting donations for the Red Cross. "It is our pleasure and our privilege to serve our community," said Promotions Director Mariah Gardner.

Radio Serves Houston During Floods

Radio Serves Houston During Floods

Local radio stations aired in-depth coverage and supported the Red Cross as 240 billion gallons of rain flooded Houston on April 18. Six people died in their cars and 1,200 people required rescuing. All Access reports that these stations included CBS Radio Houston, iHeartMedia's KQBT-FM, Cumulus' KRBE-FM and Cox Media's KKBQ-FM and KGLK-FM. "We've been in 'taking care of our listeners' mode for the last two mornings, and our team is meeting throughout the day today to plan a longer-term response to serve Houston as the city recovers," said Ty McFarland of independently-owned KSBJ-FM.

KTRK Reporter Saves Man From Flooded Car

KTRK Reporter Saves Man From Flooded Car

Broadcast television stations that shared video of their reports on the Houston floods with TVNewsCheck included TEGNA's CBS affiliate KHOU-TV, Fox-owned KRIV, ABC-owned KTRK-TV, and Graham Media Group's NBC affiliate KPRC-TV. KTRK Houston reporter Steve Campion helped a man to safety during the floods that submerged much of the Houston area. Campion was about to go live on-air when he noticed a car slowly sinking nearby and a man crawling out of the door. He helped the man to safety seconds before the car became fully submerged. View video of the rescue.

WIBW-AM Helps Local Ranches Following Wildfire

WIBW-AM Helps Local Ranches Following Wildfire  Alpha Media's WIBW-AM Topeka, Kan., delivered 1,100 pounds of milk to a wildfire relief center four hours from its studio, following a devastating wildfire that started March 23 in northwest Oklahoma. Winds in excess of 40 mph pushed the fire into two Kansas counties, devastating 500 sq. miles of grazing land and injuring and killing cattle. Some of the calves' mothers died or could not be found, causing an urgent need for milk. "These ranchers have been through a lot," said Alpha Media Market Manager Larry Riggins. "Helping those in need is part of our DNA at Alpha Media, and it was the right thing to do."

Radio and TV Stations Showcase Investigative Reporting

KCBS-AM Exposes Archdiocese for Unholy Water

Variety TelethonCBS Radio's KCBS-AM San Francisco won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Investigative Reporting in Radio for the five-part series "Unholy Water." Reporter Doug Sovern exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese for installing an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary's Cathedral, which poured water on homeless people at night (despite historic droughts) to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways. Sovern's investigation resulted in action from city building officials and the Archdiocese, who transferred the Bishop to another parish and created new programs for the homeless. The LA Times, Washington Post, BBC and Al Jazeera picked up the story. "We have a sacred trust from the public, and a powerful platform with which to fulfill that trust," Sovern told Radio Ink. "We were able to shine the spotlight on wrongdoing and get it stopped. That is always the best reward of all."

WKYC "See the Possible" Story Brings About Law Change

WKYC 'See the Possible' Story Brings About Law Change

TEGNA's NBC affiliate WKYC-TV Cleveland reporter Dawn Kendrick received a 2016 Broadcast Media Award from the Ohio Pharmacists Association for her story "See the Possible." The series on Kevin Houdeshell's family's fight for access to life-saving drugs led to a law change that allows pharmacists to extend emergency supplies of life-saving drugs.

WBAL-TV Airs "Baltimore Rising" Special


Hearst's NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore aired a one-hour special, "Baltimore Rising," on April 27, to mark the one-year anniversary of the day that protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent. The program explores how far the city has come over the past year and examines Baltimore's future.

KXAN Austin Investigates Racial Profiling

KXAN Racial Profiling WhitewashMedia General's NBC affiliate KXAN-TV Austin reporter Brian Collister's investigation, titled "Racial Profiling Whitewash," looked into Texas state troopers traffic tickets. When Collister reviewed 16 million traffic citations issued by Texas state troopers in a five-year period, he uncovered that state troopers routinely ticketed Hispanic drivers, but reported to the state that the drivers were white to avoid accusations of racial profiling. The investigation began in response to the Sandra Bland case. Bland, a black woman, was pulled over for a routine traffic stop that ended in a violent confrontation and her arrest. Police found her hanged to death in her jail cell three days later.

WNBC Promises Response to Every Call, E-mail

WNBC Consumer Reports

NBC-owned WNBC-TV New York City's Consumer Investigative Center promises to answer every call and e-mail with a response in English or Spanish on WNBC and Telemundo affiliate WNJU. The center is led by consumer reporter Lynda Baquero and the investigative team. Since 2013, they have recovered more than $700,000 for consumers. "One of the most powerful benefits of local TV news is as an advocate for consumers — exposing bad business practices, scams, rip-offs, deadbeat deals and government waste and corruption," wrote TVNewsCheck reporter Paul Greeley.

WDIV Investigates Man's Death in Jail

WDIV It's A Hard Thing To Watch A Man Die

Graham Media Group's NBC affiliate WDIV Detroit won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage for "It's a Hard Thing to Watch a Man Die." WDIV's investigators examined 240 hours of video that showed that while David Stojcevski spent 16 days in jail for a traffic ticket, he suffered from serious drug withdrawal and lost 50 pounds before dying on the floor of his cell. The FBI is now looking into the case. "We are honored that our news team continues to make a difference, and effect positive change in our community," said General Manager Marla Drutz.

WMAR Airs Special About Sexual Assault in Maryland

WMAR Violence Against Women

Scripps' ABC affiliate WMAR-TV Baltimore broadcast "Community in Crisis: Violence Against Women," a 30-minute special about sexual assault and sexual assault prevention. The WMAR original special, which aired and live streamed April 14, also addresses how Maryland's first responders, hospitals and schools are fighting the problem. "Once again we've built a show that is designed to start a conversation at home," said News Director Kelly Groft. "The show is designed to educate, provide resources and be a starting point for meaningful dinner table conversations." Earlier this year, WMAR's "Community in Crisis: Chasing the High" reported on Maryland's growing heroin epidemic.

African-American Reporter Interviews KKK Members

WWBT Chris Thomas KKKRaycom's NBC affiliate WWBT Richmond, Va., aired a series on hate groups after seeing KKK recruitment flyers in mailboxes. African-American reporter Chris Thomas met with the Imperial Wizard for the Rebel Brigade of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the Jefferson National Forest. During the interview, Klan members wore shirts that said "Original Boys from the Hood." The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimates there are 32 active hate groups in Virginia.

WRAL Documentary Examines Teachers' Pay

WRAL teacher payCapitol Broadcasting's NBC affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh aired "Grading Teacher Pay," a documentary examining the relationship of low teacher pay to educational quality, on April 26. WRAL's website featured statistics on how teacher pay in North Carolina compares to other states, plus a history of changes in the last 15 years. The documentary shows how plummeting salaries have contributed to teacher turnover, shortages and low morale.

Telemundo Expands Consumer Investigations

Telemundo Responde consumer investigationsTelemundo launched "Telemundo Responde" (Telemundo Responds) on KTAZ Phoenix and KHRR Tucson on April 18. The initiative's consumer advocacy team answers inquiries from local residents who are victims of identity fraud or theft, received fraudulent charges or whose employers refused to pay for their work. "Telemundo Responde will give a voice to the voiceless," said investigative reporter Victor Hugo. "With the expansion of Telemundo Responde to Arizona, our communities will now have an opportunity to get real answers to the consumer problems they face every day."

Local Stations Raise Millions to Fight Cancer

Univision Local Media Raises $4 Million for St. Jude

Univision Raises $4 Million for St. JudeUnivision Local Media's annual "Promesa y Esperanza" (Promise and Hope) radio event, held
April 7 – 8, raised $4 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Millions of Hispanic listeners tuned in as Univision Radio raised awareness for St. Jude's life-saving childhood cancer research and treatment. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

WEHT-TV Raises $1 Million in Easter Seals Telethon

WEHT-TV Raises $1 million in Easter Seals Telethon Nexstar's ABC affiliate WEHT-TV Evansville, Ind., raised more than $1 million in its 39th annual Easter Seals Telethon, held April 10. The Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center offers therapy services to children and adults with disabilities who cannot otherwise afford services. Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke joined the WEHT news crew on-air and proclaimed April 10 "Easter Seals Day" in Evansville.

Limbaugh's Cure-A-Thon Raises $3.3 Million Limbaugh's "Cure-A-Thon" Raises $3.3 Million

Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh's 26th annual EIB Network Leukemia & Lymphoma Society "Cure-A-Thon," held April 8, raised more than $3.3 million. This represents an increase of 15 percent over 2015. Limbaugh and his wife, Kathryn, personally donated $650,000. Limbaugh and his staff also paid tribute to the show's long-time Chief of Staff Christopher "Kit" Carson, who succumbed to cancer a little more than a year ago.

KOSA Telethon Raises $1.1 Million

KOSA Telethon Raises $1.1 Million

Gray's CBS affiliate KOSA-TV Odessa, Texas, raised $1.1 million in a telethon held April 23-24 for the Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center. The Center provides a variety of multidisciplinary services to children and adults in the community.

Townsquare Media Raises $1.4 Million for St. Jude

Townsquare Media Raises $1.4 Million for St. Jude

Townsquare Media, Inc. raised $1.4 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during the group's third national Country Cares radiothon, March 3-4. Townsquare stations in 16 markets, including Albany, N.Y.; Owensboro, Ky.; Lafayette, La.; and Tyler, TX participated to support St. Jude.

KNXV-TV Raises $540,000 for Children's Hospital

KNXV-TV Raised $540,000 for Children's Hospital

Scripps' ABC affiliate KNXV-TV Phoenix raised $540,000 for Phoenix Children's Hospital in a telethon held April 12. All donations from the telethon go directly to patient care. As Arizona's only licensed children's hospital, Phoenix Children's will treat one in four Arizona children within a five-year period.

CBS Dallas Raises $265,000 to Wipe Out Kids' Cancer

CBS Dallas Raises $265,000 to Wipe Out Kids Cancer

CBS-owned KTVT and KTXA raised $265,000 for Wipe Out Kids' Cancer (WOKC) during a telethon held April 12. During the broadcast, the stations aired special segments on the research funded by WOKC and introduced viewers to some of WOKC's Ambassador Families who are battling childhood cancer.

Radiothon Raises $436,000 for Hasbro Children's Hospital

Radiothon Raises $436,000 for Hasbro Children's Hospital

Cumulus' WPRO-AM/FM, WWKX-FM and WWLI-FM Providence, R.I., raised $436,000 for Hasbro Children's Hospital in its 11th annual radiothon, held April 7. In the past 11 years, the event has brought in more than $7 million.

Broadcasters Encourage Health and Education

KRGV’s Heart of the Valley Addresses Diabetes Epidemic

KRGV’s Heart of the Valley Addresses Diabetes Epidemic

Manship Station's ABC affiliate KRGV-TV Weslaco, Texas, dedicated its full resources to address the impact of diabetes during its two-week "Heart of the Valley" initiative, which aired from March 28 - April 10. KRGV aired 23 stories at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., examining the roots of the diabetes epidemic and how to address it. All reports also aired in Spanish and are available online in both languages. KRGV hosted 10 hour-long Facebook Livestream sessions with a local doctor or expert addressing different aspects of diabetes and answering questions. The Facebook sessions reached 56,000 people and generated 1,000 comments, 2,300 reactions and 300 shares. During the two-week initiative, 6,500 free diabetes screenings were completed. Viewers shared that "the stories empowered them to speak out for their own health and realize they aren't alone in battling the disease," said General Manager John Kittleman. "We are proud of the effort."

WNGY-FM Host Ran 102 Miles to Protect Kids

WNGY-FM Host to Run 102 Miles to Protect Kids

Alpha Media's WNGY-FM Peoria, Ill., host Chris Stewart ran 102 miles in 102 hours to create awareness for child abuse. The run took place April 25 - 29. WNGY-FM staff distributed stickers with the child abuse blue ribbon along the course. "An event like this could only happen in such a strong community like the one we have here in Peoria," Stewart said. "We are excited to get out on the streets and spread the message that it shouldn't hurt to be a child."

WJXT Event Provides Free Dental Treatment to 2,900 People

WJXT Event Provides Free Dental Treatment to 2,900 People

Graham Media Group's WJXT Jacksonville, Fla., partnered with the Florida Dental Association on a free clinic that provided over 5,000 dental procedures to 2,900 patients on April 22 – 23. The services, valued at $2.7 million, included fillings, examinations, extractions, root canal therapy, children's care and cleanings. People began to line up two days prior to the event. "The ability of WJXT to get the word out and reach the dentally underserved was absolutely astonishing as witnessed by the tremendous turnout of dental patients on both days," said Dr. Roger Robinson, an event organizer.

KCNC Encourages Girls' Interest in Science and Math

KCNC Encourages Girls' Interest in Science and Math

CBS-owned KCNC-TV Denver hosted 11,000 young girls and their families at a "Girls and Science" expo, held March 5 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The fair featured nearly 30 "science clubhouses," where visitors could meet women with careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). KCNC meteorologist Lauren Whitney hosted the popular "Lauren's Weather Lab," where kids lined up to see themselves on TV monitors in front of a weather map and learn about clouds and rain. Since statistics show girls are just as interested in math and science as boys until middle school, CBS-owned stations around the country are fostering that interest by hosting "Girls and Science" events at local museums or convention centers. "The power of television for good was on display," wrote Denver Post reporter Joanne Ostrow.

Radio and Television Stations Air Debates, Election Coverage

WTAE Pittsburgh Airs Debate for U.S. Senate

WTAE Pittsburgh Airs Debate for U.S. Senate

Hearst's ABC affiliate WTAE-TV Pittsburgh hosted and aired a debate on April 5 with candidates for U.S. Senate, Joe Sestak, Katie McGinty and John Fetterman. WTAE President and General Manager Charles W. Wolfertz III spoke about the event on-air in the days leading up to the debate.

WFYI Indianapolis Hosts Debate for U.S. Senate Candidates

WFYI Indianapolis Hosts Debate for U.S. Senate Candidates

PBS-owned WFYI Indianapolis hosted an hour-long debate on April 18 between Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young. A live feed of the telecast was made available to television stations statewide. Voters also had the opportunity to submit questions for consideration.

WLTV Launches Sunday Public Affairs Show

WLTV Launches Sunday Public Affairs Show

Univision-owned WLTV Miami debuted a new Sunday morning public affairs show, "Al Punto Florida," on April 24. The hour-long program features politicians, newsmakers and celebrities discussing issues that affect the Hispanic community in Central and South Florida. The show's premiere featured an exclusive interview with former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio; a segment on the impact of the Hispanic vote in Florida; and analysis of the 2016 Miami-Dade County mayoral race.

Three Televised Mayoral Debates Planned in San Diego

San Diego Mayor Debates

Three debates for San Diego mayoral candidates have been planned for incumbent Kevin Faulconer, Democrat Ed Harris and Independent Lori Saldaña. The debates are scheduled for April 12 on Univision's KBNT, May 23 on McKinnon Broadcasting-owned KUSI-TV, and June 3 on NBC-owned KNSD.

WBAL-AM/TV Airs Baltimore Mayoral Debate

WBAL-AM/TV Airs Baltimore Mayoral Debate

Hearst's WBAL-AM and NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore simulcasted an hour-long debate on April 12 between six Democratic mayoral candidates. The debate was also streamed live. "WBAL-TV is committed to making sure our viewers are able to make an informed decision at the polls during this important election year," said General Manager Dan Joerres.

Radio and Television Stations Collect Food for Neighbors in Need

WTNH Collects 13,000 Meals for Food Bank

WTNH Collects 13,000 Meals for Food Bank

Media General's ABC affiliate WTNH New Haven, Conn., collected 2,542 pounds of food and $5,504 for the Connecticut Food Bank on April 1, amounting to 13,126 meals. "With one in seven households struggling to put food on the table in Connecticut, we believe strongly in rolling up our sleeves to help fight hunger in our state," said General Manager Mark Higgins.

Eagle Radio Raises $42,000 for "Kans 4 Kids"

Eagle Radio Raises $42,000 for Kans 4 Kids

Eagle Radio's KHOK-FM Great Bend, Kan., raised $42,000 in its sixth annual "Kans 4 Kids Fighting Cancer Radiothon" on April 1. Kans 4 Kids started when a couple of children collected cans to raise money for their baby cousin who was battling cancer and continues to raise money for local families. The KHOK team spent hundreds of hours interviewing families and Kans 4 Kids ambassadors.