Broadcasters' Public Service
February 2017
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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.

Local Stations Promote Health and Literacy

Arizona Opioid Documentary Airs State-Wide

Arizona Broadcasters Fight Opioid Abuse

Radio and television stations across Arizona aired a 30-minute, commercial-free investigative report, "Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction," on January 10 in prime time. All television stations and 97 radio stations in Arizona aired the program to educate their communities on the dangers of prescribed opioids. It is the follow-up to "Hooked: Tracking Heroin's Hold on Arizona," which reached one million viewers in 2015 and won a Rocky Mountain Emmy, an Alfred I. du Pont - Columbia University Award and an NABEF Service to America Award.

Opioid Abuse Program to Air in Several States

Opioid Abuse Documentary Planned in Maryland

More than a dozen mid-Atlantic TV stations will air the hour-long "Breaking Heroin's Grip: Road to Recovery" on February 11 in prime time. A 40-minute commercial-free documentary featuring three Maryland opioid users and their path to recovery will be followed by a live 20-minute broadcast from a phone bank staffed by crisis counselors. It will be streamed at Maryland Public Television produced the program in partnership with Maryland state health departments.

Scripps' Delivers 40,000 Children's Books

Scripps Delivers 40,000 Children's Books

E.W. Scripps employees around the country delivered 40,000 children's books to local markets and read with kids to celebrate "National Reading Day" on January 23, through the Scripps Howard Foundation's "If You Give a Child a Book…" campaign. Monetary donations reached $143,000. "This campaign is helping to make the Scripps vision of creating a better informed world accessible to even the most disadvantaged children in our communities," said Scripps Howard Foundation President and CEO Liz Carter. Participating ABC affiliates included:

  • KERO-TV Bakersfield, Calif., employees participated in story time at Frank West Elementary School. Kids received their own book and played with a live Clifford the Big Red Dog.
  • WRTV Indianapolis worked with School on Wheels, an organizationt through which volunteers tutor children experiencing homelessness.
  • ABC affiliate WFTS Tampa partnered with the Junior League of Tampa to give books to local schools.
  • KNXV Phoenix partnered with the Arizona's Children Association to give books to kids as they enter foster care.
  • WMAR-TV Baltimore helped the Maryland Book Bank, a mobile library through which children can select up to five books to keep.

Bones Raises $2 Million for St. Jude

PBones Raises $2 Million for St. Judes

iHeartMeda's WSIX-FM Nashville hosted the "Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots' Million Dollar Show For St. Jude" on January 9, which raised $2 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Country music superstars Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, Thomas Rhett, Craig Campbell, Lindsay Ell, Sam Hunt, Rascal Flatts, Caitlyn Smith and The Band Perry performed at the event.

KFVS Collects 628 Pints of Blood

KFVS Collects 628 Pints of Blood

Raycom's CBS affiliate KFVS Cape Girardeau, Mo., collected 628 pints of blood during the 22nd annual "Heartland Blood Drive," held January 11-14 at seven locations in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. The event launched January 11 with a private drive in the KFVS studio. It was a success despite the ice storm that caused most collection locations to shut down for part of the campaign.

WBVR-FM Raises $92,000 for St. Jude

WBVR-FM Raises $92,000 for St. Jude

Forever Communication's WBVR-FM Bowling Green, Ky., raised $92,000 in its 25th annual "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" radiothon, held January 26-27. In the radiothon's 24-year history, WBVR has raised more than $2 million to fight childhood cancer.

Broadcasters Produce Award-Winning Journalism
Todd Ulrich of WFTV is Consumer Champion

Todd Ulrich of WFTV is Consumer Champion

The Orlando Sentinel recently profiled Todd Ulrich, a well-respected, long-time consumer investigative reporter with Cox Media's ABC affiliate WFTV Orlando. "Todd Ulrich is a champion for trust," said Holly Salmons, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Central Florida. "We appreciate his love for transparency and ethics. His tenacity has helped countless consumers and has helped to drive a larger divide between the good guys and the bad guys in business."

Other recent stories have included local grocery stores with poor inspection histories, a new automobile scam on Facebook and a local man who lost $28,000 in a social media scam. Viewer Kevin Nowak had trouble with his refrigerator from Sears Home Services for more than a year. Within a month of Ulrich's contact with the corporate office, Nowak received a replacement. Some business people hurl insults at Ulrich when he confronts them. "You're the biggest piece of garbage, and I'm sure that will be edited out," said one. Ulrich does not let this bother him. "I consider myself a consumer advocate along with being a consumer investigator," he said.

Univision Expands 'En Boca de León' Radio Program to National Audience

Univision Expands “En Boca de León” Radio Program to National Audience

Univision announced the nationwide expansion of the radio magazine show “En Boca de León” (In León’s Mouth), a one-hour program that airs live weekdays at 7 p.m. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist León Krauze, the show deliverss thought-provoking discussions, provides exclusive coverage of current events and features conversations with callers on politics, current events, pop culture and sports. “En Boca de León” will air on KTNQ-AM Los Angeles, WADO-AM New York, WQBA-AM Miami, WRTO-AM Chicago, KFLC-AM Dallas, KLAT-AM Houston, KCOR-AM San Antonio, KLSQ-AM Las Vegas and KGBT-AM McAllen, Texas.

KLTV's '7 Investigates' Uncovers Critical Issues, Evokes Action

KLTV’s “7 Investigates” Uncovers Critical Issues

Raycom's ABC affiliate KLTV Tyler, Texas, has has affected positive results from its "7 Investigates" initiative. This includes exposing water problems in Tyler and prompting the city to respond; launching an investigation that led to new state and (pending) federal legislation on 911 call with Kari's Law; and uncovering unethical actions by Judge Joel Baker. "KLTV's 7 Investigates is constantly working for the people in East Texas," said a station representative. "Through this initiative, we've helped empower citizens with knowledge, and we vigilantly work to make East Texas a better, more transparent place to live."

RTDNF Announces 2017 First Amendment Award Honorees

RTDNF Announces 2017 First Amendment Award Honorees

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) announced the 2017 First Amendment Award recipients. "At a time when freedom of the press is facing unprecedented challenges, our honorees stand up for values that are critically important to democracy," said RTDNF chair Kathy Walker. Awards will be presented March 14.

  • Bill Whitaker of CBS News won the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award. He has covered the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2008, George W. Bush in 2000 and Michael Dukakis in 1988, Nelson Mandela's funeral, the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Tiananmen Square uprising.
  • Steve Jones, Vice President and General Manager of ABC News Radio, won the First Amendment Service Award. Under Jones' leadership, ABC News Radio has received more than a dozen Edward R. Murrow Awards and 10 International Radio Festival Awards. Jones has covered major events including the Iran-Contra affair and the first Gulf War.
  • Stanley S. Hubbard, President and Chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting, won the First Amendment Leadership Award. He oversaw the building of the first successful UHF television station in a VHF market, created the world's first satellite news gathering organization and established United States Satellite Broadcasting. He is an inductee in the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and NAB Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Broadcasters Provide Critical Connections
WALB Provides Critical Tornado Updates

WALB Provides Life-Saving Tornado Updates, Participates in Relief Efforts

Raycom's NBC affiliate WALB-TV Albany, Ga., provided critical emergency information as eight tornadoes and two severe wind events hit seven South Georgia counties on January 2. The station also raised $187,000 for relief efforts in the "Rise Up for Recovery – Give for South Georgia Tornado Relief" telethon, held January 25. Winds reached 85 miles per hour, killing four people and felling at least 25,000 trees and 1,000 electric poles. Before the tornadoes hit, WALB's "First Alert Weather Day" promos urged viewers to test generators, review emergency plans with their families and stock up on food, water and batteries. WALB staffers worked overtime, but still wanted to do more. Two shifts of volunteers spent the day helping clean yards, then returned to the station to complete their nightly news assignments.

About 38,000 people were without power and turned to WALB digital reports for days. WALB had 232,080 total video views the week of January 2, compared to 66,953 the week before. Many viewers thanked WALB for providing alerts in time for them to get into their safe room. WALB also received hundreds of phone calls seeking information. Some said they had trouble reaching city officials, but knew they could connect with newsroom staff. Examples of the storm coverage include these photos and this video.

Photojournalist Saves Woman After Car Flips

Photojournalist Saves Woman After Car Flips

Tribune's Fox affiliate WXIN Indianapolis photojournalist Greg Dunn pulled a woman to safety after her car spun into a nearby canal on January 11. The car flipped upside down in the water, with the woman trapped inside. In this video, Dunn describes how he climbed down the side of the canal as the woman screamed for help.

WBAL Honors MLK, Local Leader

WBAL Honors MLK, Local Leader

Hearst's NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore President and General Manager Dan Joerres produced a tribute honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jeff Pitts, founding father of the Baltimore Westsiders. The programs aired January 16, MLK Day. Founded in 1962, The Westsiders are the first and oldest community marching band and have provided thousands of youth with a structured, safe environment and the opportunity to travel.

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