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Broadcasters' Public Service
 Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
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Radio and television broadcasters constantly serve local communities. Stations air lifeline emergency information; support our military; raise millions for cancer research and treatment; collect 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.

Broadcasters Step Up as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Wreak Havoc
Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey landed on the southeast coast of Texas on August 26, dumping more than 50 inches of rain in four days. Harvey dropped 19 trillion gallons of water, killing dozens and sending 30,000 people to emergency shelters. Radio and television stations across Texas and Louisiana provided life-saving emergency information and storm updates, with reporters risking their own safety to provide coverage. Broadcasters provided wall-to-wall coverage, with staff staying at flooded stations, sleeping in hotels and overcoming technical difficulties to stay on air and keep listeners informed.

"NAB salutes Texas and Gulf Coast broadcasters in the path of Hurricane Harvey who are devoting enormous resources to keeping people safe,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. ”Local radio and TV stations play a unique role as first informers during emergency weather situations."

“Broadcasters and other news outlets have also played a critical role in conveying emergency information, and in some cases, even coordinating live, on-air rescues,” said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. “Everyone who is pitching in deserves our gratitude and support. We’re all in this together.”

In an interview with TEGNA’s CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston, Vice President Mike Pence said, “Well, first, let me thank you, and let me thank this station, and all the great local media that has been working, I know, around the clock, to get real time information to those that are struggling in the aftermath of landfall for Hurricane Harvey and now dealing with the historic flooding.”

Less than a week later, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Carribean Islands before hitting Florida's west coast. The storm battered Fort Myers and Tampa, and also affected Jacksonville, Miami and the Florida Keys. Hurricane Irma’s two landfalls on September 10 triggered evacuation orders for 5.6 million people, left more than 5.7 million people without power and caused flooding, plus scores of downed trees and power lines. Florida broadcasters took extensive precautions, including securing reserves of fuel and food, and provided wall-to-wall-coverage.

Broadcasters Provide Lifeline Coverage of Hurricane Harvey

KHOU-TV Houston Reporter Saves Citizen in Distress TEGNA's CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston

TEGNA’s CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston reporter Brandi Smith stayed on air August 26 after the station was evacuated due to flooding. KHOU set up a makeshift studio on the second floor and continued to broadcast live. Smith and photographer Mario Sandoval remained in the field, transmitting live feeds on their own. Smith and Sandoval also alerted authorities to a trapped semi-truck driver, leading to his rescue. Sister station NBC affiliate KUSA-TV Denver quickly sent reporters to help. “Nothing is more valuable than your life and the lives of your family members, those you love, your friends,” Smith said. “We are doing the things we tell you not to do. We do it so that we can show you how bad the conditions are so you do not attempt them.”

Sinclair Sends Crews to Cover Hurricane

Radio Addresses Heroin Crisis

“Our local newsrooms are equipped to respond for our viewers at a moment’s notice, providing images, sounds and most importantly emergency information to bring the story to our viewers, to help keep them aware and safe,” said Sinclair Vice President of News Scott Livingston. Sinclair sent crews to Houston from Amarillo, El Paso, Harlingen, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Pensacola, Mobile, Birmingham, Little Rock, West Palm Beach and Las Vegas.

ABC-owned KTRK-TV Reporter Helps Deliver Baby

KTRK Report Assists in Baby Delivery

ABC-owned KTRK-TV reporter Chauncy Glover assisted a woman in delivering her baby and transported her to Texas Women’s Hospital. KTRK reporter Steven Romo shared his emotional response after reporting live about a 33-year-old mother of two, found dead on a fence.

Radio Provides Wall-to-Wall Hurricane Updates

Radio's Wall-to-Wall CoverageAll Access provided details on wall-to-wall coverage from Houston radio including Cox Media Group’s KGLK-FM, KKBQ-FM, and KTHT-FM; Cumulus’ KBRE-FM; and CBS Radio’s KILT-FM, KHMX-FM and KILT-AM/AM. Univision’s KLTN-FM, KOVE-FM, KAMA-FM and KQBU-FM covered the storm with a simulcast coverage from sister station KXLN-TV.

Other radio stations that provided extensive coverage include:

  • Liberman Broadcasting‘s KJOJ-FM Freeport, Tex. simulcast from KTJM-FM Port Arthur, Texas.
  • Malkan Interactive‘s KEYS-AM, KZFM-FM and KKBA-FM Corpus Christi
  • American Family Radio’s KKWV-FM Aransas Pass and KAYK-FM Victoria
  • Urban One stations, including KMJQ-FM and KBXX-FM Houston
  • Westwood One News’ Dallas correspondent Alan Scaia did 33 custom live reports for affiliates in Texas and around the country

“Radio is the ultimate connector,” Sarah Frazier of CBS Radio Houston told Radio Ink. “We’re connecting people to information and we’re connecting people to the relief efforts and, most importantly, to each other.”

Univison Utilizes Multiple Platforms for Hurricane Coverage, Relief

Radio's Wall-to-Wall Coverage

The Univision Network and Univision Houston broadcast critical storm news around-the-clock and distributed live reports across radio, digital and social properties. They partnered with the Texas Diaper Bank, which provides diapers and wipes to babies, the elderly and disabled, and Catholic Charities, which supports direct assistance, home repair and health care services. Radio hosts deployed a caravan of donations from around the country.

iHeartMedia Serves Listeners During Storm


iHeartMedia’s KTRH-AM Houston was “one of those stations you simply cannot turn off if you want to know exactly what’s going on in that area and how the local residents are feeling,” wrote Radio Ink. Corpus Christi stations KKTX-AM and KUNO-AM provided wall-to-wall coverage, with KSAB-FM and KMXR-FM, plus WKNN-FM Biloxi, Miss., broadcasting in English and Spanish. All 850 iHeartRadio station websites featured a call to action encouraging donations to the American Red Cross. Austin and San Antonio stations sent a semi-truck full of ice, water and fuel to Houston.

Radio and Television Raise Millions for Harvey Relief

KPRC and Telemundo Houston Raise $4.2 Million

KPRC and Telemundo Houston Raise $4.2 Million

Graham Media Group’s NBC affiliate KPRC-TV and Telemundo Houston raised more than $4.2 million in a fundraiser held August 30-31 for the American Red Cross. Of this total, over $1 million came from individuals calling in pledges and nearly $270,000 came directly from Corporations pledged the rest. In addition, a Walmart representative visited the studio to present the Red Cross with $10 million.

TEGNA Raises $2 Million

TEGNA Raises $2 Million

TEGNA raised $2 million in the first four days of its “Texas Cares” campaign for the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The TEGNA Foundation donated $100,000. All 46 stations participated. “Our stations in Texas are providing important, life-saving information and aid during this catastrophic storm,” said President and CEO Dave Lougee. “I am incredibly proud of the work our stations are doing to keep their communities informed and safe while providing help and relief to those who need it most.”

WCVB Collects $500,000 WCVB Collects $500,000

Hearst’s ABC affiliate WCVB-TV Boston raised more than $500,000 in the “Relief Fund 5: Help for Houston” telethon held August 30 for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts. “When our community rallies to support a worthy cause, the results are always amazing,” said WCVB President and General Manager Bill Fine. “WCVB has always been dedicated to helping those in need, and everyone here at Channel 5 is so proud to have been a part of this telethon to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.”

Hearst, Disney Donate Millions

Hearst Donates $1 Million

Hearst donated $1 million to the Greater Houston Red Cross and pledged to match employee donations up to an additional $1 million.

The Walt Disney Company and ABC-owned KTRK-TV Houston pledged $1 million to the Red Cross and matched employee donations.

Beasley Hosts "Media Thon" FundraiserBeasley Media Group's Florida Stations

Beasley Media Group’s WXKB-FM, WJPT-FM, WWCN-FM, WRXKFM and WRXK-FM Fort Meyers, Fla., raised $31,483 on August 31 for the American Red Cross in a special live “Music Thon.” The event included local artists, hit music and special requests.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Raises $1.4 Million Sinclair Broadcast Group Raises $1.2 Million

Sinclair Broadcast Group and its 173 television stations partnered with the Salvation Army to raise money for Houston relief efforts. Sinclair stations launched a “Standing Strong for Texas” relief effort on September 1, raising $1.4 million. “In a time of crisis, the most important role of local television news is the communication of critical information to an audience in real time,” said President and CEO Chris Ripley. “We recognize how much people rely on their local television stations and that coverage doesn’t end once the storm is over. We are committed to helping these communities rebuild and to living our mission to alert, protect and empower our viewers.”

Bobby Bones Show Raises $150,000

Bobby Bones Show Raises $150,000

The Bobby Bones Show raised over $150,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts through the sale of #PimpinJoy apparel and more than $50,000 for St. Jude's during its fourth annual "Joy Week," which began August 28.

Tribune Raises $400,000

WWL is “Tribune Raises $400,000

The Tribune Media Company Charitable Foundation donated $100,000 to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Tribune stations collectively raised nearly $400,000 through grassroots fundraising in local markets, with many stations hosting phone banks and donation drives.

WBAL-TV’s “Telethon for Texas” Raises $484,000

WNBC and WNJU Host 40,000 People at Free Health Expo

Hearst’s NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore raised $484,000 in a telethon, held August 28-31, to raise money for American Red Cross relief efforts. “The results of our telethon have been overwhelming. WBAL-TV has been pleased to offer our viewers an outlet to help in the relief efforts aimed at Texas and the Gulf Coast,” said WBAL President and General Manager Dan Joerres.

Meredith Stations Raise Over $1 Million

Univision Breaks Ground on Media Centers at Middle Schools

Meredith’s CBS affiliate KPHO-TV and Meredith-owned KTVK-TV Phoenix raised $1 million in a donation drive for the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Meredith's CBS affiliate WFSB-TV Hartford, Conn., raised $53,000. The company's CBS affiliate KMOV-TV St. Louis raised more than $100,000 in its fundraising efforts.

Broadcasters Nationwide Partner to Support Relief Efforts Stations Host Supply Drives and Promote Donations

The United Media of Indianapolis Network held a “Hoosiers Helping Houston” supply drive September 7 – 9. The group includes Radio One Indianapolis, Entercom, Cumulus, Emmis, iHeartMedia, WFYI Public Media, Tribune Broadcasting, ABC, NBC, Gannett, Sarkes Tarzian, Lesea Broadcasting Network, Nextstar, Continental Broadcast Group, and The Indianapolis Business Journal.

Beasley Media Group’s six Charlotte stations - WSOC-FM, WNKS-FM, WKQC-FM, WPEG-FM, WBAV-FM, WBCN-FM - broadcast live on September 6 at a local Circle K to collect supplies for Hurricane Harvey relief. Supplies collected during "Truckloads for Texas" included bottled water, batteries, first aid supplies, formula, mosquito repellent, towels and toiletries.

Cox-owned Atlanta stations - WSB-AM/FM, WSRV-FM, WALR-FM, ABC affiliate WSB-TV - and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution filled 10 semi-trucks with 500,000 of bottles of water during the “Convoy of Care” initiative.

Over 30 Chicago stations simultaneously aired a :60 second spot in English and Spanish to promote the American Red Cross on August 30 at 4:29 p.m. “The Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland are proud to unite as a group to help the people of Houston impacted by the devastating floods,” said Matt Scarano of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

Scripps’ WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM Milwaukee raised $69,000 on August 28 during a telethon for the American Red Cross.

KRIS-TV and Cordillera Launch Relief Effort

KRIS-TV and Cordillera Launch Relief Effort

Cordillera Communications' NBC affiliate KRIS-TV Corpus Christi matched the first $50,000 raised in the “Give to The Gulf” drive, launched on August 31 for the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group and the American Red Cross of Coastal Bend. The company raised $338,000. KRIS-TV received assistance from Cordillera’s NBC affiliate KVOA-TV Tucson, ABC affiliate KATC-TV Lafayette, La., NBC affiliate WLEX-TV Lexington, Ky., NBC affiliate KOAA Colorado Springs, NBC affiliate KSBY San Luis Obispo, and the company’s Montana Television Network stations. “At KRIS Communications, we care about our communities and strive to serve them every way we can, so we want to help our neighbors recover from this massive disaster,” said President and General Manager Greg McAlister.

Raycom Stations Host Multiple Fundraisers Raycom Stations Host Successful Fundraisers

Several Raycom stations held telethons for local Red Cross chapters: NBC affiliate WAVE-TV Louisville raised a total of $186,000 for hurricane relief through a variety of efforts, including on-air promotions, a web banner, PSAs and a telethon. Fox affiliate WXIX-TV Cincinnati raised $110,000 on August 28-29. CBS affiliate WCSC-TV Charleston raised $100,000 on August 31. NBC affiliate KCBD-TV Lubbock, Tx., raised $60,000 in the #WestTexasCares telethon. CBS affiliate KSLA-TV Shreveport, La., collected six truckloads of cleaning supplies and $17,000 on September 6. The Warrior Network, a group of airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base, joined the effort. CBS affiliate KOLD-TV Tucson raised $22,000 on August 28.

Quincy Stations Fundraise for Hurricane Relief Quincy Stations Fundraise for Hurricane Relief

Quincy Media’s NBC affiliates KTIV-TV Sioux City, IA and KXLT-TV Rochester, Minn. raised over $150,000 in telethons for the American Red Cross. NBC affiliates WREX-TV Rockford, Ill., KWWL Waterloo, IA and stations in Peoria, Ill. partnered with the Salvation Army for on-going phone-a-thons to support relief efforts. Several Quincy stations worked with local grocers to drive Red Cross donations. ABC affiliate WKOW-TV Madison, Wis. raised $120,000 in a telethon for the American Red Cross.

“At every turn, multiple times in every newscast, live on the street, at every promotional avail, Quincy Media is leading literally millions to give what they can, and do what they can, for our neighbors in Texas who remain so desperately in need,” said Quincy Media CEO Ralph Oakley.

Hurricane Irma: Broadcasters Serve as First Responders

Radio Groups Ramp Up to Cover Hurricane Irma

Radio Coverage of Irma

Beasley Media Group’s WRBQ-FM, WQYK-FM, WPBB-FM, WYUU-FM and WHFS-AM Tampa provided wall-to-wall coverage, including live cut-ins from Scripps’ ABC affiliate WFTS-TV. WYUU partnered with Telemundo's WRMD-TV to air critical news in Spanish. Beasley’s WXKB-FM, WRXK-FM, WJPT-FM, WRXK-FM, WWCN-FM and WJBX-AM Fort Myers began providing hourly updates days before Irma landed. Coverage increased to every 20 minutes in the 10 hours before Irma landed, and included information on landfall, public shelters, preparedness and advisories from the National Weather Service and Emergency Management. Fort Myers stations partnered with Montclair Communications’ ABC affiliate WZVN-TV and Waterman Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate WBBH-TV.

"Our incredible on-air personalities and production crews made sure that lifelines were there during the most harrowing hours of Irma’s fury," said Beasley Media Group CEO and NAB Joint Board Chair Caroline Beasley.

CBS Radio’s Miami stations, WKIS-FM, WPOW-FM and WQAM-AM, aired live coverage from CBS owned-and-operated WFOR-TV. A CBS spokesperson told Inside Radio that the radio group helped secure an exclusive interview with Vice President Mike Pence.

Entercom's four Miami stations, including WLYF-FM, Spanish Broadcasting Systems in Miami and Key West, and Cox Media Group's Florida stations provided wall-to-wall coverage. WLYF Miami morning host Julie Guy inspired a listener to hand out gift cards at an apartment complex without power and food. iHeartMedia's nationally-syndicated morning hosts Kane and Elvis Duran pre-empted regular programs. Duran joined WHYI-FM hosts in the Miami studio for the hurricane.

WYUU-FM Host Stays On Air for 19 HoursWYUU-FM Host Stays On-Air for 19 Hours

Beasley's WYUU-FM Tampa midday host Nio Fernandez recognized a need for information in Spanish, so he broadcast in Spanish for 19 straight hours. Hundreds of listeners called in to talk about their experiences, such as seeing trees fall on cars, or to share information about stores that had water and supplies still in stock. Listeners who had been evacuated to neighboring states followed Beasley stations using mobile apps. Fernandez said callers told him, “If it wasn’t for you, we’d have no idea what’s going on there.”

Fort Myers Stations Provide Refuge Fort Myers Stations Provide Refuge

Montclair Communications’ ABC affiliate WZVN-TV Naples, Fla., and Waterman Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate WBBH-TV Fort Myers, Fla., provided 65 hours of continuous coverage, with the combined newsroom staffs of 110 people, including eight meteorologists, working 12 hours on and 12 hours off. They became a refuge for staff members’ families and pets, serving hundreds of meals to the 236 people, 26 dogs, plus cats, reptiles and a Macaw. The guests, who ranged in age from 87 years old to two weeks, slept in mechanical rooms, the conference room and hallways. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over both the studios and their transmitter site, breaking a water main and crashing a tree onto a parked car. Both stations suffered minor service outages, but simulcasting ensured uninterrupted local coverage. The stations’ over-the-air signals served as a lifeline, as millions lost cable and satellite TV service. Station websites received nearly three million page views per day.

Radio and Television Rally to Support Hurricane Relief Efforts

Networks Broadcast Telethon, Raise $14 Million

Hurricane Telethon Raises $14 Million

The star-studded “Hand in Hand” telethon, held September 12 in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and San Antonio, raised $14 million for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief through organizations such as the United Way and Save the Children. ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Univision carried the program, which was also streamed online. Cumulus/Westwood One broadcast a full simulcast of the audio. Network morning personalities Matt Lauer, Norah O'Donnell and Michael Strahan stood before a satellite image of Irma to describe the devastation. An additional $30 million was donated during the hours that followed, bringing the total to $55 million.

Participating celebrities included Stevie Wonder, Usher, Blake Shelton, Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Al Pacino, Dave Matthews, George Strait, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert and Lyle Lovett. Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato and Cece Winans sang the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." Jay Leno, Beyoncé, Will Smith and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sent in taped pleas for support during the event.

Detroit’s WDIV Raises $430,000 for Hurricane Relief

Detroit’s WDIV Raises $430,000 For Hurricane Relief

Graham Media Group’s WDIV-TV Detroit raised almost $430,000 in a telethon on September 12 to benefit the American Red Cross relief efforts for Texas and Florida. “Television has the power to show in vivid images just how destructive a hurricane can be,” said General Manager Marla Drut.

Hubbard Station Collects Much-Needed Diapers

Hubbard Station Collects Diapers

Hubbard’s KTMY-FM Minneapolis donated 215,000 diapers, blankets, baby clothes, and cash for the people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The drive, held September 11 – 12, filled a 26-foot truck for the Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio and the Miami Diaper Bank.

Radio Stations Provide Caring Support for Hurricane Victims

Radio Stations Support Irma Relief

Radio stations across the country supported Hurricane Irma and Harvey relief efforts. iHeartMedia's KODA-FM Houston morning host Dana Tyson hosted displaced families in her home. Cox Media Group, iHeartMedia San Diego and Spanish Broadcasting System all collected supplies. Beasley's WRBQ-FM Tampa boosted morale by sending an ice cream truck with supplies and treats. Fundraisers include Entercom’s "Neighbors 4 Neighbors," Beasley’s "Community Of Caring." The "iHeartRadio Presents: Support for Victims of the Hurricanes" aired on stations in 150 markets, featured interviews with flood victims and first responders, and encouraged listeners to donate to the American Red Cross.

WIS-TV Raises $40,000

WIS-TV Raises $40,000

Raycom’s NBC affiliate WIS-TV Columbia, S.C., raised $40,000 for the American Red Cross in a telethon held September 13 in partnership with Alpha Radio.

TEGNA Hosts Supply Drive

TEGNA Hosts Supply Drive

TEGNA announced on September 14 an expansive hurricane relief initiative to support those in need of assistance following Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. Between September 15 – 30, 13 TEGNA stations across the U.S. are organizing supply collection events in their communities.