March 2019

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NAB Licensed to Serve

Radio and television broadcasters serve local communities every day. Stations provide lifeline emergency information, support our military, raise millions for hospitals and cancer research, collect food, clothes and toys, devote air time to election coverage, and promote education. Submit your station's stories to Suzie Raven.


Broadcasters Provide Critical Tornado Warnings

Radio and television broadcasters across Alabama provided lifeline coverage of the tornado that touched down on March 3. The mile-wide EF-4 tornado devastated Lee County, sustaining 170 mph winds and killing at least 23 people. A Washington Post story highlights outstanding coverage from Gray's NBC affiliate WSFA Montgomery.

Alabama Broadcasters Support Tornado Relief

Stations across Alabama partnered with the Alabama Broadcasters Association on a day-long roadblock on March 6 to support tornado relief efforts. Stations raised money for the charity of their choice, including the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Community Foundation of East Alabama, and Bo Bikes Bama (builds storm shelters).

Relief Efforts for Southern Tornadoes

Initial calculations on March 7 show that stations raised hundreds of thousands of dollars during tornado relief fundraisers held March 6. Relief efforts are on-going. Participating stations include:

  • Gray Television stations ($323,500 raised)
  • Hearst's NBC affiliate WVTM-TV Birmingham ($169,000 raised)
  • Nexstar's CBS affiliate WKRG Mobile ($29,000 raised)
  • Tribune's CBS affiliate WHNT-TV Huntsville ($27,000 raised)
  • iHeartMedia Alabama radio stations
  • Marble City Media's WFXO-FM Stewartville, WYEA-FM Sylacauga, WRFS-FM Rockford and WAUA-FM Waverly
  • Little Engine Broadcasting radio stations

The Georgia Association of Broadcasters also encouraged stations to raise money for tornado relief efforts. Raycom's ABC affiliate WTVM Columbus held a telethon on March 6 and Nexstar's CBS affiliate WRBL and PMB Broadcasting in Columbus held fundraisers on March 7.

First Informers Video: Hurricanes Florence, Michael

NAB and the Broadcast Education Association presented the sixth installment in a powerful video series demonstrating the indispensable role that local radio and television broadcasters serve as "first informers" during times of emergency. The latest film focuses on broadcasters' heroic response to Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, which devasted the Carolinas, Florida Panhandle and other parts of the southeastern United States in September and October 2018. View the video here.


WTTG Inspires Probe of Missing School Funds

Fox-owned WTTG Washington, D.C., aired an investigation on January 31 exposing missing money and possible fraud inside the Prince George's County Public School system. The next day, the school system announced that they would be "referring all cases of missing funds and alleged fraud dating back to 2015 to the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office for review and possible prosecution."

WXIA Atlanta Investigation Prompts School Bus Law

TEGNA's NBC affiliate WXIA Atlanta published a story on February 17 explaining that Georgia's governor signed legislation to fix a school bus safety law that unintentionally allowed drivers on some roads to pass school buses that were stopped to load and unload kids. WXIA's investigation revealed more than 100 instances where local school bus drivers were caught on camera unintentionally putting kids in harm's way. Violations occurred across multiple counties between May 2014 and January 2019.

WJXT Keeps Searching for Missing Girl

Graham Media's WJXT Jacksonville, Fla., aired special reports and podcasts in hopes of generating new leads into the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings, who vanished 10 years ago at age five. The three-minute on-air reports and 22-minute podcasts discussed facts and theories about her disappearance. WJXT aims to bring some attention to this case because it's still unsolved," said Digital Executive Producer Garrett Pelican. "The hope is somebody will have some helpful information and come forward."

WLBT and Mississippi Today Produce Investigative Journalism

Gray's NBC affiliate WLBT Jackson, Miss., collaborated with newspaper Mississippi Today on a series of investigative reports. A grant from the Knight Foundation brought the two organizations together. In February 2019, the organizations exposed doctors accused of sexual misconduct. A report last September examined a housing program that trapped low income residents in a cycle of evictions.

WECT Investigates Food Safety

Gray Television's NBC affiliate WECT Wilmington, N.C., aired an investigative report on February 25 showing that 40 percent of inspected food service establishments did not meet new state requirements on food refrigeration. North Carolina's 2012 law lowering the food storage temperature from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees went into effect in 2019. Storing food above 41 degrees can promote harmful bacteria growth.

WPIX Creates "Only in New York" Series

Tribune's CW affiliate WPIX New York created a four-part documentary series, "Only in New York," that will air weekly beginning March 8. The series showcases highly controversial moments in New York City history, including a racially-charged subway shooting, the crack epidemic, two high-profile domestic abuse trials and the assassination of a rising political star. "Only in New York" features rare footage from the WPIX archives, expert analysts and new interviews.


KALC-FM Raises $1.35 Million for St. Jude Children's Hospital

Entercom's KALC-FM Denver raised $1.35 million during the "Alice Cares for Kids Radiothon," held February 13 - 14 to benefit the Children's Miracle Network at Children's Hospital Colorado. KALC has raised more than $24 million in 18 years.

Zimmer Radio Raises $253,000 for Children's Hospital

Zimmer Radio Group's KTXY-FM, KSSZ-FM, KCLR-FM and KATI-FM Columbia, Mo., raised $253,000 during the 13th annual "Miracles for Kids" radiothon, held February 21 - 22 for MU Women's and Children's Hospital. On-air personalities and staffers shared personal stories and spoke with families and hospital staff to encourage listener donations.

KFGE-FM Lincoln Supports St. Jude

NRG Media's KFGE-FM Lincoln, Neb., raised $91,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during its 17th annual radiothon held February 7 - 8. The record-breaking event featured inspiring stories from families who never have to pay to receive pediatric cancer treatment.

Jonesboro Radio Group Raises $374,000 for Make-A-Wish

Saga Communications-owned KDXY-FM in Jonesboro, Ark., partnered with Gray Television's ABC/NBC affiliate KAIT-TV to raise over $374,000 for Make-A-Wish on February 15th. Saga's six-station Jonesboro Radio Group cluster encouraged listeners to donate at any of Saga's 17 designated outdoor roadblocks, give to a school fundraiser, or call in a pledge during the 13-hour event. KDXY has raised over $6 million for Make-A-Wish over the last 21 years.

WBWN-FM Supports St. Jude

Cumulus Media's WBWN-FM, WJBC-AM, and WBNQ-FM Bloomington, Ill., raised $103,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during the 11th annual "Country Cares for St. Jude" radiothon on February 14- 15.