Broadcasters' Public Service
Election 2016
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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.

Broadcasters Inform Voters During Critical Election Cycle

During the 2016 election season, radio and television broadcasters across the country donated thousands of hours in free airtime to provide voters with critical information about the candidates and issues on the ballot. Stations aired and streamed numerous debates and provided news coverage of races for local, state and federal offices, in order to help viewers and listeners make informed choices at the polls. On election night, radio stations, television affiliates and networks replaced regular programming with wall-to-wall coverage of national, local and state-wide races.

"Broadcasters did an exceptional job of encouraging civic engagement and equipping voters with the tools necessary to cast informed votes during a particularly contentious election," said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. "Local radio and TV coverage of this election exemplifies broadcasters' deep commitment to delivering news in a credible, non-partisan fashion."

Below is a sample of the many ways local radio and television stations informed their communities this election cycle.

Networks Reach Latinos on Multiple Platforms

Univision Attracts Big Audiences for Presidential Debates

Univision Attracts Big Audiences for Presidential Debates

Univision News provided all-platform coverage of the three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on September 26, October 4 and October 19. Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas hosted the broadcasts, which included post-debate commentary and analysis. The first debate reached 6.3 million viewers, and the final reached 6.4 million total viewers. All three debates aired live with simultaneous Spanish translation on Univision Network,, the Univision and Univision Noticias apps,ítica, UnivisionNOW, YouTube, Periscope and Snapchat Live.

Telemundo Airs Multi-Platform Presidential Debate Coverage

 Telemundo Airs Multi-Platform Presidential Debate Coverage

Telemundo's September 26 presidential debate coverage included a pre-debate show, a simultaneous Spanish translation of the debate and post-event analysis. It also aired live online and on the network's mobile app, Facebook and YouTube pages. Telemundo has devoted 275 hours of airtime to the election and hosted registration drives in 15 markets under its #YODECIDO initiative. “Telemundo has been in hyper-drive during this election cycle,” Anchor José Díaz-Balart told S&P Global Market Intelligence. “It's our job to present the news with passion and compassion... Latinos have a hunger for information.”

Local Stations Collaborate on U.S. Senate Debates
Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation Sponsors U.S. Senate Debate

Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation Sponsors U.S. Senate Debate

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation (WBAF) sponsored a debate between incumbent U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold on October 14. The hour-long debate, produced by Sinclair's Fox affiliate WLUK-TV Green Bay, aired on 84 radio and TV stations across the state. “The WBA Foundation is honored to continue our more than 25-year tradition of these important debates as part of the civic and political process,” said WBAF President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind.

E.W. Scripps Stations Air Senatorial Debate Across Ohio

E.W. Scripps Partners to Air Senatorial Debate Across Ohio

E.W. Scripps' ABC affiliates WEWS Cleveland and WCPO Cincinnati partnered on an October 20 U.S. Senate debate between Republican incumbent Rob Portman and Democratic challenger Ted Strickland. The debate also streamed live and aired on stations in Youngstown, Lima and Columbus.

WJZ-TV and WAMU-FM Host Senate Candidates

WJZ-TV and WAMU-FM D.C. Senate Candidates

American University's WAMU-FM Washington, D.C., hosted an October 7 debate between Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Republican nominee Kathy Szeliga, candidates for Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat. CBS-owned WJZ-TV Baltimore hosted the candidates on October 26.

KLAS and KINC Las Vegas Partner on Senate Debate

KLAS and KINC Las Vegas Partner on Senate

Nexstar's CBS affiliate KLAS-TV and Univision's KINC Las Vegas hosted an hour-long, prime-time debate on October 14 between Rep. Joe Heck and Catherine Cortez Masto, candidates for the seat of retiring Sen. Harry Reid. KLAS also aired a live post-debate special. To ensure state-wide coverage, the debate was simulcast live on Sarkes Tarzian's CBS affiliate KTVN Reno and re-aired October 16 on Univision's KINC and KREN-TV Reno. "We are thrilled our local team at 8 News Now, in partnership with Noticias Univision, will moderate this event as candidates tackle the issues important to Nevadans,” said KLAS Vice President and General Manager Lisa Howfield before the event.

Iowa Stations Air Debate Featuring Sen. Grassley Race

Iowa Stations Air Debate Featuring Senator Grassley Race

Quincy's NBC affiliates KTIV-TV Sioux City, KWWL-TV Cedar Rapids, KTTC-TV Rochester, Minn., and WGEM-TV Quincy, Ill., hosted a debate on October 19 between incumbent Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic challenger Patty Judge. The debate also streamed live online.

WUNC-TV Hosts Senate Debate

WUNC-TV Hosts Senate Debate

The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation hosted a U.S. Senatorial debate between incumbent Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Representative Deborah Ross on October 13. ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl moderated the debate at the UNC-TV studios.

KION Promotes National Drug Take Back Day

Raycom Media Hosts Six U.S. Senate Candidates

Raycom produced a one-hour debate for Louisiana's U.S. Senate candidates on November 2 that aired live in prime time on CBS affiliate WAFB Baton Rouge, Fox affiliate WVUE New Orleans, NBC affiliate KPLC-TV Lake Charles and CBS affiliate KSLA-TV Shreveport. All six candidates - John Kennedy, Foster Campbell, Caroline Fayard, Charles Boustany, John Fleming and David Duke - participated. “We are committed to producing a program that is fair and informative for Louisiana to choose their next U.S. senator,” said Raycom Media Regional News Director Vicki Zimmerman.

Broadcasters Host Congressional Debates; Provide Election Coverage

WETM Hosts Congressional Debate

WETM Hosts Congressional Debate

Nexstar's NBC affiliate WETM-TV Elmira, N.Y., hosted a debate on October 28 between incumbent Tom Reed and Democratic challenger John Plumb. Plumb and Reed are vying for New York's 23rd Congressional District seat.

ABC News Radio Publishes Daily Political Podcast

ABC News Radio Publishes Daily Political Podcast   ABC News Radio's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast, which launched in February, aired daily from November 1 through Election Day. Hosts Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein discussed the latest poll numbers and developments on the campaign trail.

Broadcasters Hold Debates for N.Y.’s 24th Congressional District

Broadcasters Hold Debates for New York's 24th Congressional District

Three radio and television debates took place for the New York 24th Congressional District race between incumbent John Katko and Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon:

  • October 23: State University of New York's WRVO-FM
  • November 3: Sinclair's NBC affiliate WSTM-TV and Granite Broadcasting's CBS affiliate WTVH-TV Syracuse
  • November 6: Nexstar's ABC affiliate WSYR-TV Syracuse

KOBI Hosts Gubernatorial Debate

KOBI Hosts Gubernatorial Debate

California Oregon Broadcasting's NBC affiliate KOBI Medford, Ore., hosted a gubernatorial debate on October 13 between Democrat Kate Brown and Republican Bud Pierce.

Westwood One News Provides Extensive Election Coverage

Westwood One News Provides Extensive Election Coverage

Westwood One will air continuous, live coverage and special reports every 15 minutes starting at 7 p.m. ET on election night. Westwood One plans to air special reports four times per hour throughout the morning drive on November 9.

WNKY Encourages Diverse Community to Vote

WNKY Encourages Diverse Community to Vote

Max Media's NBC affiliate WNKY Bowling Green, Ky., aired “Get Out the Vote” PSAs in multiple languages. The spots ran at least once an hour on a rotating basis in the 10 days leading up to the election. View PSAs in English, Bosnian and Spanish.