Broadcast Public Service

May 2020

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Radio and television broadcasters serve local communities every day. Submit your station's stories to Suzie Raven.

Local Broadcasters Support Communities During Pandemic

In times of emergency, Americans turn to their local radio and television stations for the most trusted and reliable information. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Despite facing tremendous economic challenges, broadcasters are committed to providing critical information, comfort and entertainment for those at home. Beyond the many examples featured below of local stations supporting their communities, additional stories can be found here.

Broadcasters Collect Millions of Meals

Graham Stations Provide Thousands of Meals

Graham Media’s NBC affiliate WDIV-TV Detroit provided 13,000 meals for hospital workers, service industry employee and those on the frontline of the pandemic. The ongoing “Food4Frontline” campaign has also provided grocery gift cards to those working in support roles at hospitals.

Graham-owned WJXT-TV Jacksonville, Fla., also launched a "Food4Frontline" campaign. WJXT is engaging the community and local restaurants in an effort to provide meals for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beasley Supports PHL COVID-19 FUND

Beasley’s WMMR-FM, WMGK-FM, WBEN-FM, WXTU-FM, and WPEN-FM unveiled on April 20 a line of ‘Philly Stands Together” merchandise to benefit the PHL COVID-19 FUND, a joint venture between Philadelphia Foundation and The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. The Fund provides grants to local organizations to serve the most vulnerable in the community. The effort is part of Beasley’s "Community of Caring" initiative.

In addition, WXTU-FM launched the "Superstar Mini Concert Series" on April 21 featuring Big Machine National Recording Artist Lady Antebellum. The mini concert series will continue exclusively on air on Tuesdays and Fridays at 4 p.m. with a concert replay at 8 p.m.

KCCI Raises $560,000 for Food Bank

Hearst’s CBS affiliate KCCI Des Moines raised more than $560,000 – enough for two million meals – for the Food Bank of Iowa on April 15. The “KCCI Project CommUNITY Half-Million-Meals Challenge” far exceeded the station’s original goal of half a million meals.

"One KC: A Digital Day of Giving" Raises $2 Million

E.W. Scripps’ NBC affiliate KSHB-TV Kansas City and Scripps’ independent station KMCI-TV Lawrence, Kan., joined a group of television and radio stations for “One KC: A Digital Day of Giving” on April 16. The event raised $2 million for the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which provides housing assistance, food, medical help and other critical services.

Bonneville Denver Hosts Virtual Food Drive

Bonneville’s KYGO-FM, KOSI-FM and KKFB-FM partnered with TEGNA’s NBC affiliate KUSA-TV Denver to raise money for the Food Bank of the Rockies throughout April, raising over $425,000 for the cause. Food Bank of the Rockies has seen increased need due to the global pandemic.

Sinclair Stations Raise Almost $700,000 for Salvation Army

Sinclair Broadcast Group raised almost $700,000 as of May 4 nationally for its “Sinclair Cares and Salvation Army: Your Neighbor Needs You” donation drive to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Sinclair matched the first $100,000 of community donations.

KETV Raises $118,000 for Food Bank for the Heartland

Hearst’s ABC affiliate KETV Omaha, Neb., raised $118,000 for Food Bank of the Heartland on April 1 as a part of their virtual fundraising campaign, “Giving Wednesday.” Viewers were encouraged to donate by phone, through the nonprofit’s website or by a Facebook fundraiser.

More stories

Local Stations Support Frontline Workers

Broadcasters Donate $90.5 Million in Airtime to Fight COVID-19

Broadcasters have donated over $90.5 million worth of airtime to NAB-produced COVID-19 spots in the first six weeks after NAB launched a public service announcements campaign. The more than 411,000 PSA airings help educate on preventing the spread of the virus. Many radio and TV stations have also developed and aired their own PSAs featuring on-air talent.

Hubbard’s KNUC-FM Seattle Donates 3,000 Masks to Hospitals

Hubbard’s KNUC-FM Seattle donated 3,000 medical masks on April 6 to Virginia Mason Hospitals, Evergreen Health, Cottesmore Life Care, PacMed and Seattle Children’s to help nurses and doctors on the frontlines of COVID-19.

iHeart Distributes Masks to COVID-19 First Responders

iHeart Media’s East Hartford, Conn., stations distributed N95 face masks to firefighters and police officer on April 28, and provide additional face masks and meals to the public. In the two weeks, stations have helped local partners provide more than 21,000 pounds of food to those in need each day.

More stories

Broadcasters Keep Virtual School in Session

Neuhoff Media Connects Teachers and Students

Neuhoff Media announced on April 9 an initiative designed to connect Central Illinois students, teachers and parents, as schools are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Louise Neuhoff Educational Access Project will provide educators daily access to local radio stations. Specific time periods each day will be available for teachers to present lessons and read books on air. For example, WDNL-FM Danville, Ill., will air a 30-minute daily program, “Radio Teaching Time,” featuring lessons on reading, music and art.

KNOE Broadcasts Lessons for Students

Gray Television's CBS/ABC affiliate KNOE-TV Monroe, La., is partnering with Monroe City Schools to bring at-home learning and access to educational resources to local students. Beginning April 20, the daily broadcast schedule includes activities and resources for preschool through sixth grade, with lessons focused on English, math, science and social studies.

WOAP-AM Provides Virtual Graduation for Local Students

Cano Broadcasting’s WOAP-AM Owosso, Mich., is partnering with Owosso High School to provide graduating seniors with a virtual ceremony in late May amid COVID-19 shutdowns and limitations on gatherings. The school will host a drive-in ceremony, and the station will broadcast speeches, music and the names of the graduating students over the air.

WGMT-FM Creates Quests for Local Students

Vermont Broadcast Associate’s WGMT-FM in St. Johnsbury, Vt., is teaming up with local schools to give kids "quests" to do while out of school due to COVID-19. Station owner Bruce James channeled his inner Mr. Rogers and showed kids what a radio station looks like and what it’s like to be a DJ to help them with their first quest, which was to become guest DJs and record their own intros. The students’ recordings went live on WGMT on Monday, May 4.

WALA-TV Mobile Educates Kids During COVID-19

Meredith’s Fox affiliate WALA-TV Mobile, Ala., is partnering with Mobile County Public Schools to provide live lessons for students in grades pre-k through 11 starting April 13. Students can watch the classroom programs produced by the school district over the air and through streaming services.

Covering the Story While Social Distancing

Nexstar Stations Air Town Halls With Elected Officials

Nexstar Broadcasting-owned stations across the country are teaming up to air informative and timely virtual town halls with state, federal and local government leaders. The town halls include U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, Governors and other officials alongside trusted broadcasters from local stations, and typically include question-and-answer sessions from viewers.

Read about town halls meetings in Virginia, New York, Arkansas, Texas, West Virginia and more.

WSLS Airs "Coronavirus: A Community Conversation"

Graham Media Group’s NBC affiliate WSLS-TV Roanoke partnered with broadcasters across western Virginia on "Coronavirus: A Community Conversation,” which aired on April 6. The hour-long prime time event featured a panel discussion with clinicians from the Virginia Department of Health, Carilion Clinic, LewisGale Medical Center and the Salem VA Medical Center. The panelists answered questions from the public and covered topics such as a situational brief for the region and health systems, what citizens can do and how community groups can help. In addition to WSLS, the program aired on Gray Television's CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV, Nexstar’s Fox affiliate WFXR-TV, Sinclair’s ABC affiliate WSET-TV, Mel Wheeler Inc.’s WFIR-FM, NPR’s WVTF-FM and on streaming services.

WCVB Raises $3 Million for the Greater Boston Food Bank

Hearst’s ABC affiliate WVCB Boston raised $3 million for The Greater Boston Food Bank during the “Project CommUNITY: 5 X 5 Food Drive,” held the week of April 27. This will provide the equivalent of more than 9 million meals for communities struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic. During the first day of the telethon, April 27, the campaign collected nearly $1.6 million, initiated by a $250,000 grant from the Hearst Foundations. WVCB promoted the campaign through PSAs, news stories, digital and social media engagement and crawl messaging.

ABA Announces COVID-19 Radio News Service

The Alabama Broadcasters Association (ABA) partnered with the University of Alabama’s WBHM-FM Birmingham to provide two daily newscasts to Alabama radio stations. The content provided by WBHM produces content that the ABA distributes to stations. In addition to these two newscasts, WBHM-FM will periodically make longer news features available.

Gray’s InvestigateTV Creates COVID-19 Tracker

InvestigateTV released in early April an interactive, innovative COVID-19 Tracker for monitoring coronavirus cases. It allows users to see cases, hospitalizations, deaths, hospital beds, and other relevant data on a county-by-county basis. For example, the COVID-19 Tracker allowed InvestigateTV to break the news that New Orleans had emerged as a national hotspot for the deadly virus in early March before any national news outlets.

WMTW Produces COVID Resource Guide

Hearst’s ABC affiliate WMTW Portland, Maine, developed a COVID-19 resource guide. The guide includes messages from local businesses, advice on tax preparation, a job posting board, stay at home and fitness activities, and home improvement advice.

Broadcasters Cover Severe Weather

Tennessee Broadcasters Provide Lifeline Tornado Coverage

Radio and television stations provided lifeline coverage of a tornado that touched down in Chattanooga on April 12. The EF-3 tornado reached winds of 145 miles an hour, killing two and causing significant damage to homes and businesses. Members of the community expressed their appreciation to broadcasters for their potentially lifesaving coverage. Watch video from the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters here.

Gray’s KAIT-TV Saves Lives With Tornado Coverage

Gray Television’s ABC/NBC/CW affiliate KAIT-TV Jonesboro, Ark., provided live coverage of a March 28 tornado is credited with saving lives. The station captured the tornado touch down as it happened from a roof camera and predicted the path. This allowed weather anchors to warn viewers who had not yet received tornado watches or warnings in their areas to get to safety.

Gray Television announced on April 8 that it would donate $10,000 to recovery efforts.

Telemundo Airs "Climate Change" Documentary

Telemundo-owned KXTX Dallas produced a 30-minute, Spanish language documentary, “Climate Change / Cambio Climatico” that aired across Telemundo stations on Earth Day, April 22. Shot in Anchorage, Santa Monica, Miami, New York City, Houston and Ontario, Canada, the documentary delivers a scientific presentation about the effects of climate change in communities. This is also the first time Telemundo stations used augmented reality in a documentary. Telemundo’s KXTX, KVEA Los Angeles, WSCV Miami, WNJU New York and KTMD Houston contributed. Read more here.

NAB Coronavirus Toolkit