Broadcasters' Public Service
June 2017

Radio and television broadcasters constantly serve local communities. Stations air lifeline emergency information; support our military; raise millions for hospitals and cancer research; collect food, clothes and toys; devote free air time to election coverage; and promote education.

Submit your station's public service to Suzie Raven.

Local Stations Conduct Critical Investigations

WJLA Explores Link Between Breast Implants and Cancer

WJLA Explores Link Between Breast Implants and Cancer  Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC affiliate WJLA-TV Washington, D.C., investigated a potential link between textured breast implants and a rare form of lymphoma. Headed by WJLA’s Kimberly Suiters, the investigation was born from a previous story where Suiters discovered that women with breast implants had higher suicide rates than women who did not.

In 2016, the World Health Organization classified breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) as a new type of cancer. However, Suiters reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not explicitly stated the implants cause lymphoma, even though the organization warned of an association in 2011 and 2016.

The station submitted a FOIA request to the FDA and discovered 441 related cases and at least 12 confirmed deaths.

The investigation featured Raylene Hollrah, a breast cancer survivor who had received the implants during reconstructive surgery. “I did everything to keep cancer away,” said Hollrah. “Yet I put a device in my body that caused cancer.”

Trudy Lieberman profiled WJLA’s investigative series and noted their history of watchdog journalism in this “Columbia Journalism Review” article.

KSHB Investigation Leads to Introduced Legislation

KSHB Investigation Leads to Proposed Child Abuse Legislation

Scripps' NBC affiliate KSHB-TV Kansas City conducted a three-part investigation into the death of seven-year-old Adrian Jones. The station uncovered footage from inside the boy’s home showing his mother and stepfather repeatedly abused him until his eventual death. Adrian is believed to have died in September or October, but his body was found in November in the family’s livestock pen. In response, Kansas state Rep. Louis Ruiz introduced “Adrian’s Act” to strengthen child abuse laws. The parents now face life in prison.

KNX-TV Reveals Fraud in Advocacy Group

KNX-TV Reveals Fraud in Advocacy Group

Scripps’ ABC affiliate KNX-TV Phoenix received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for its investigative series “Cash for Compliance.” Reporters produced more than two dozen stories that highlighted how non-profit Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities exploited a civil rights law to make money. As a direct result of the series, the Arizona Attorney General’s office intervened, and the state is now pursuing fraud allegations against the group. “'Cash for Compliance' is an example of how journalism continues to be a society watchdog,” said KNX-TV News Director Chris Kline. “Every story the ABC15 Investigators produce reflects our commitment to make Arizona a better place to live.”

Stations Raise Funds for Sick Children and Non-profits

WIIL-FM Raises Funds to Fight Cancer

KINK Raises Over $130,000 for World Concern

Alpha Media’s WIIL-FM Waukegan-Kenosha, Wis., raised $127,385 in an event benefitting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on March 4. The volunteer-powered organization is one of the nation's top providers of childhood cancer research grants. Tom Kief, co-host of WIIL’s “The Tom and Emily Morning Show,” personally raised nearly $34,000. “95 WIIL ROCK is proud to continue the St. Baldrick's partnership, and I'm personally proud of Tom for his commitment to making a great event,” said Alpha Media Waukegan-Kenosha Market Manager Karl Wertzler.

Univision Helps Raise $4.2 Million for Children Battling Cancer

Univision Helps Raise $4.2 Million for Children Battling Cancer

Univision joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to host the annual “Promesa y Esperanza” (Promise and Hope) radio event April 6-7 that raised $4.2 million. Coverage of the initiative extended across several Univision platforms to reach Hispanic consumers from coast to coast via its radio network, television affiliates, network programs, websites and social media. St. Jude content included more than 30 hours of radio programming and featured several patient family stories.

KINK Raises Over $130,000 for World Concern    KINK Raises Over $130,000 for World Concern

Alpha Media’s KINK-FM Portland raised $134,000 during the “One Village Transformed” radiothon on May 3. The humanitarian organization World Concern used the funds to send much-needed supplies to the nearly 2,000 people living in the town of Abongo in South Sudan. The radiothon concluded with 112 donors, which exceeded the initial goal of 102. “KINK was just the loud speaker used to amplify a worthy message. Thank you KINK listeners for caring. We are all connecting. Something good was created,” said KINK Program Director Sean Demery.

WXIX Raises $490,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital      WXIX Raises $490,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Raycom Media’s Fox affiliate WXIX-TV Cincinnati held a day-long “Dream Home Sell-A-Thon” that raised a total of $490,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event aired at 5 a.m. and continued through the station’s 10 p.m. newscast. Proceeds from the Sell-a-Thon went to fund childhood cancer research and treatment efforts.

KVAL Helps Raise Funds for New Humane Society  KVAL Helps Raise Funds for New Humane Society

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s CBS affiliate KVAL-TV Eugene, Ore., helped the local Greenhill Humane Society launch a campaign to fund the construction of a new facility. The day-long “KVAL Pet Project Tail-a-Thon” raised $65,000.

iHeartMedia New York Stations Raise Money for Sick Children  iHeartMedia New York Stations Raise Money for Children's Hospital

iHeartMedia’s WGY-AM and WRVE-FM Latham, N.Y., held the “19th Annual Cares for Kids Radiothon” May 4-5. The five-hour live radio broadcast raised a total of $265,000 for sick and injured children at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at the Albany Medical Center. “I’m proud of News Radio 810 & 103.1 WGY and 99.5 The River for joining our listeners to help local children and families seeking treatment at the hospital, which is an invaluable resource for the community,” said iHeartMedia Albany President Kristen Delaney.

Broadcasters Continue to Address Opioid Crisis

WOIO Fights Ohio’s Heroin Epidemic

WOIO Fights Against Ohio’s Heroin Epidemic

Raycom Media’s CBS affiliate WOIO-TV Cleveland aired “Know the Risks,” a 30-minute, commercial-free documentary on April 6 regarding the heroin epidemic. Each year, heroin overdoses claim more lives in the state of Ohio than homicides, suicides, or car accidents. The program included segments on how the gateway to addiction often starts with the abuse of common prescription medications, the impact of social media on the epidemic, informative facts and trends, and how two local women recovered from addiction. Media partners set up a phone bank to answer live questions, which was promoted during the broadcast.

WBAL-TV Airs Special on Opioid Epidemic

WBAL-TV Airs Special on Opioid Epidemic

Hearst’s NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore aired “State of Addiction” on April 26. The special report focused on Maryland’s critical heroin and opioid crisis and featured Gov. Larry Hogan. A phone line staffed by addiction experts ran for two hours following the broadcast.

Broadcasters Awarded for Journalism and Philanthropy
RTDNA Announces Winners of the 2017 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

RTDNA Announces 2017 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award Winners

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced winners of the 2017 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards on April 25. The awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and digital news organizations around the world. This year, RTDNA awarded 751 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in 16 categories and received nearly 4,300 entries. Examples of the winners include:

  • TEGNA's NBC affiliate KUSA-TV Denver was the top winner at the regional level, winning 12 awards in Large Market Television, including newscast, excellence in video, sound and writing, sports and overall excellence

  • Raycom Media's Fox affiliate WVUE-TV New Orleans came in second with a total of 11 awards. TEGNA's NBC affiliate KARE-TV in Minneapolis took home 10 regional Murrows

  • In Small Market Television, three stations won nine awards each: Raycom Media's CBS affiliate WAFB-TV Baton Rouge; TEGNA's NBC affiliate WBIR Knoxville; and Sinclair's CBS affiliate WGME Portland, Maine

  • "Remarkable journalism is being done every day in newsrooms across this country," said RTDNA Chair Vincent Duffy. "We're proud to recognize the most outstanding ways journalists are keeping the public informed, holding the powerful accountable and enhancing the quality of life in their communities."

    A complete list of the 2017 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards winners is available here.

    WTHR Awarded Two Peabody Awards

    WTHR Awarded Two Peabody Awards

    Dispatch Broadcast Group’s NBC affiliate WTHR-TV Indianapolis became the first local television station to be honored with two separate Peabody Awards in the same year. The station was honored at an event on April 25 for “Charity Caught on Camera,” an undercover investigation that exposed mismanagement at an Indiana charity, and “Dangerous Exposure,” which discovered lax oversight by environmental regulators. The investigations are WTHR’s fourth and fifth Peabody Awards.

    WWBT-TV Honored by American Red Cross

    WWBT-TV Honored by American Red Cross

    Raycom Media’s NBC affiliate WWBT-TV Richmond, Va. was honored with the American Red Cross’s Good Neighbor Award on April 20. The station partners with the aid organization whenever emergencies strike the state. Also, American Red Cross employees often staff the station’s call center, making it possible for viewers to make donations. "It was humbling to meet and hear the stories of so many wonderful volunteers and people who truly care about our community. It was an honor to accept on the behalf of NBC12," said WWBT Marketing Director Brandon Seier.

    The Society of Professional Journalists Announces 2016 Sigma Delta Chi Awards

    The Society of Professional Journalists Announces 2016 Sigma Delta Chi Awards

    The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) recently announced the recipients of the 2016 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism. Judges chose the winners from entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online. Winning radio and television stations provided reports of national events, including the Pulse night club shooting and protests at Standing Rock, in addition to topics such as cases of black lung in Appalachia, voting rights of felons and domestic violence. View all the winners here.

    Cox Media Group Texas Recognized for Outstanding Public Service

    Cox Media Group Texas Recognized for Outstanding Public Service

    The Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) is awarding Cox Media Group with the Bonner McLane Public Service Award for Outstanding Public Service in the Large Market Radio Category. The station cluster (KGLK-FM, KHPT-FM, KKBQ-FM, and KTHT-FM) is being recognized for its 2016 “Care for Kids" radiothon. The two-day event helped raise $655,329 to benefit the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “I don’t know of another industry that consistently does more for their communities than local broadcasters,” said Cox Media Group Houston Vice President and Market Manager Mark Krieschen.

    Local Stations Support Communities and Strengthen Newscasts

    CBS Radio Helps Rebuild Disabled Veteran’s Home CBS Radio Helps Rebuild Disabled Veteran’s Home

    CBS Radio’s WIP-FM, KYW-AM, WPHT-AM, WXTU-FM, WTDY-FM and WOGL-FM partnered with the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) for “Hero’s Home,” a home renovation initiative benefitting veterans. The new home for U.S. Army veteran Jack MacIntosh, who was injured in the line of duty during the Gulf War, was officially unveiled on April 25. Each April and November, the Travis Manion Foundation organizes “Operation Legacy,” which unites communities for a common cause through volunteer-led service opportunities. Under this umbrella, CBS Radio and TMF joined forces to unite home improvement partners to donate their services in renovating the MacIntosh home.

    KHKS Helps Host Prom for Area Students

    KHKS Helps Host Prom for Area Students

    After six tornadoes hit the town of Canton, Texas, the students of Edgewood High School were left without a prom venue. Once a replacement was secured, iHeartMedia’s KHKS-FM Dallas-Ft. Worth assisted with transportation and supplied a photo booth. Big Al and Jenna from “The Kidd and Kraddick Morning Show” emceed the event.

    KAIT Provides Continuous Coverage of Storms and Flooding

    KAIT Provides Continuous Coverage of Storms and Flooding

    Raycom Media’s ABC affiliate KAIT-TV Jonesboro, Ark., provided in-depth coverage of severe storms and subsequent flooding that hit the area in early May. The station continued its weather coverage late into the evening, logging peak viewership at 1 a.m. A station representative commented “Hopefully we will not experience any severe storms in the future, but if we do, KAIT will be here for you. It’s the most important work we do."

    Univision Launches New Midday Local News

    Univision Launches New Midday Newscast

    On April 17, Univision Communications Inc. launched local versions of “Edición Digital” (Digital Edition), the first newscast conceived, designed and produced for simulcast on digital platforms and live broadcast television. The new 30-minute midday newscasts take a hyper-localized approach to covering a wide range of topics, such as current events, lifestyle and trending stories on social media. “Edición Digital” is currently available in California, Dallas, Miami, and New York on local Univision stations and websites.

    Montana Television Network Hosts Congressional Debate

    Montana Television Network Hosts Congressional Debate

    Montana Television Network (MTN) held a live debate on April 27 between candidates running to fill former Rep. Ryan Zinke's U.S. House seat. Zinke was tapped by the Trump Administration to serve as Interior Secretary. The debate featured Democrat Rob Quist, Republican Greg Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks. The debate was streamed on all MTN station websites.

    Texas Stations Raise Over $200,000 for Victims of Severe Weather

    Alpha Media East Texas Raises Over $200,000 for Victims of Severe Weather

    Alpha Media East Texas partnered with TEGNA's CBS affiliate KYTX-TV and the “Tyler Morning Telegraph” to raise $211,660 for victims of severe storms that ravaged the area in late April. The “Texas Cares” initiative ensured every dollar collected went directly to the local Salvation Army. Alpha Media East Texas Market Manager Cary Camp commented, “We would like to thank all of our listeners who made this disaster relief fund drive a success. Helping those in need in our community is what radio is all about.”

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