Broadcasters Serve as Lifelines for Communities Hit by Hurricane Irene|
Hurricane Irene swept up the east coast in late August, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to communities along the Atlantic Seaboard. Throughout the storm, broadcasters served as lifelines for their communities, pre-empting programming to deliver round-the-clock coverage of the severe weather. Many states, including Vermont and New Jersey, were impacted by record flooding in the storm's wake. Rushing water destroyed neighborhoods, in some instances washing out roads, businesses and homes in its path. Broadcasters witnessed the damage and responded to the call for help in numerous ways: providing viewers and listeners information about where they could obtain support and shelter, organizing radio and telethons and hosting clean-up projects in their communities. The National Association of Broadcasters created a short video about broadcasters' role as 'first informers' during Hurricane Irene, which can be viewed here.
According to a survey by Marshall Marketing, the primary source of information during hurricane Irene was local broadcast television. The study, which was commissioned by Hearst Television, showed that local television was the first source of information in many cities including Boston, Baltimore and the Burlington-Plattsburgh market. Among those respondents, a large percentage said that "while they were without power, they turned to the radio for information."
Below is a sample of stories NAB Public Service received that highlight stations' work in the aftermath of Irene.
While residents in Providence, R.I. waited for the electricity to be restored in their homes after Irene cut off power to many in the state, Media General's WJAR-TV Providence simulcast the audio portion of its newscast on Clear Channel's WHJJ-AM Providence. The arrangement allowed locals to receive the TV stations' round-the-clock coverage on battery-operated radio. According to WJAR-TV's General Manager, Craig Jahelka, "This was yet another instance of local broadcasters working together to serve the public interest, protect lives and deliver emergency information in a time of life-threatening conditions."
Further north in Vermont, Radio Vermont's WDEV-AM/FM Waterbury was a lifeline for listeners as historic flooding threatened thousands. With the station running solely on backup generators, WDEV Radio's News Director Eric Michaels gave his personal cell phone number to listeners, encouraging them to call or text in information about those who needed help. For more than 24 hours, Michaels and his team pre-empted regular programming to connect those in need with relief supplies and emergency information.
In Connecticut, Cox Media Group's stations WPLR-FM New Haven, WEZN-FM Bridgeport, WSTC-AM Stanford and WNLK-AM Norwalk simulcast a program called "IRENE Aftermath," in which station talent joined together to interview local officials about the storm, answer listeners' questions and provide important information in the hurricane's wake. Guests on the program included Senator Joe Lieberman, Governer Malloy, several Connecticut mayors and state representatives, among others.
Following the storm, eight Double O radio stations in Upstate New York simulcast a radiothon to raise money for the victims through the United Way of Delaware and Otsego County Disaster Relief fund. Double O listeners pledged $36,000 in donations, a huge success which George Wells, Double O's regional manager says he has never seen before in his 30 years working in radio. Money raised during the radiothons is being used for food, shelter, prescription medications and back-to-school supplies by those impacted.
In North Carolina, Gray Television's WITN-TV Greenville hosted a fundraiser in partnership with Inner Banks Media and the Red Cross to raise money for hurricane victims in the Greenville-New Bern-Washington region. With its partners, along with a generous donation from Wachovia/Wells Fargo, WITN-TV raised over $320,000 for North Carolina families.
WGNA-FM Albany Morning Team quickly raised $30,000 for Irene victims. Townsquare Media's WGNA-FM Albany morning hosts Sean McMaster and Richie Phillips held a 24 hour radiothon at a local mall in addition to collecting donations online. Despite a lack of corporate matching dollars, they raised more than $30,000, tripling the original goal, with contributions ranging in size from $1 to $2,500. WGNA-FM donated the money to the Red Cross of Northeastern New York to aid their effort in providing relief to victims of Hurricane Irene.
Broadcasters Help Commemorate 10th Anniversary of September 11
With the 10th anniversary of September 11 this year, broadcasters recognized the event with a variety of tributes, charitable events and fundraisers. Below are just a few of these remembrances.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) joined nonprofit organizations MyGoodDeed and the HandsOn Network, Clear Channel Radio and a host of other media organizations to promote the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, striving to create the single largest day of charitable service in U.S. history. NAB helped to distribute the campaign's public service announcements (PSAs) to its member broadcasters, while Clear Channel and other stations donated an estimated $15 million worth of free airtime for the spots. The PSAs encouraged viewers and listeners to spend the September 11th anniversary volunteering, reflecting and giving back to their communities.
Hoosiers Show Their Big Hearts with Donations to September 11 Memorial
In response, WTHR-TV held a donation drive in the station's parking lot from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, September 9. WTHR-TV's anchors shot live cut-ins from the lot at the top of each hour, as station staff from every department took shifts collecting donations throughout the day. When the drive concluded, WTHR-TV had raised nearly $39,000 in 13 hours, filling the gap in needed funding for the memorial.Greater Media Remembers "Those That Bravely Walk Into Harm's Way"
Greater Media stations recognized the anniversary of September 11 with on-air remembrances of the victims and a salute to law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and "the brave Americans who made a difference when it mattered and continue to make a difference on a daily basis." In an Op-Ed in Radio Ink Magazine, Greater Media Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth noted, "We know that everyday men and women from every state in our country bear the scars and wounds of 9/11, some visible, many hidden from view. The least we can do is remember, honor them and continue to support those that bravely walk into harm's way on a daily basis." The group's websites also included links to local 9/11 tributes and regional charities.
In addition to hosting national remembrances and responding to regional natural disasters, broadcasters have been hard at work in their local communities answering the needs of their neighbors.Emmis Stations Raised Over $25K for Fire Victims
News Radio KLBJ-FM also provided live continuous media coverage of the wildfires that tore through central Texas. KLBJ's listeners called in throughout the night with firsthand accounts, which provided local residents with invaluable information regarding the fire's path, damage, and relief efforts.
KPYN-AM Helps Victims of Texas Wild Fires
Three Dozen North Dakota Stations Raised $2 Million for Families Affected by Flooding
Across North Dakota, over thirty radio and television stations recently partnered to host the "Bring Back the Magic" radio and telethon. The statewide fundraiser benefitted flood victims in Minot who lost their homes and possessions when the Souris River overflowed its banks. Together the broadcast stations raised nearly $2 million in donations from listeners and viewers, local, small businesses and corporations.
In another event, KFGO-AM Fargo, owned by Jim Ingstad, and Clear Channel affiliates KFYR-AM Bismarck and KCJB-AM Minot, auctioned off 10 tickets to the Black Eyed Peas concert at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds. The auction raised more than $6,300 for the Minot Area Recovery Fund to benefit the 11,000 flood victims.Beasley's WXKB-FM Collects School Supplies for Fort Myers' Kids
Broadcasters Foundation Golf Tournament Raised Over $150,000
WOGL-FM Airs 10th Annual Loves Our Kids Radiothon
This year's radiothon broadcasted live from Ryan Seacrest's "The Voice" studios located in the Colket Atrium of Children's Hospital. Special activities for kids included tie dying socks, crafts to decorate their hospital rooms and making crowns with local Miss America title holders. WOGL-FM's Breakfast Club host Ross Brittain and co-host Valerie Knight anchored the radiothon, with special appearances from the entire WOGL air-staff and CBS 3's Nicole Brewer. Other guest appearances included Bob Kelly, Pat Ciarrocchi, Jim Donovan, Stephanie Stahl and Natasha Brown.102.9 WMGK Hosts the Rock and Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive
Entercom Launches Campaign to Support Navy SEAL Families
On August 6, thirty American service members died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Most of the victims were elite Navy SEALs, including several members of SEAL Team Six, the elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden. It was the largest single loss of U.S. life since the beginning of the 2001 Afghan War and is the largest single loss ever suffered by the SEAL community.
The Navy SEAL Foundation provides support in times of adversity and recognizes the achievements of U.S. Navy SEALs.
News Gets Personal for KXAS Reporter
The series examined kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation from the emotional perspective of a daughter who witnessed her mother taking dialysis three times per week. In addition to the on-air series, Kristi's Gift has its own page on the NBC 5 website with kidney disease resources and the stories of others who are awaiting transplants. Kristi's Gift aired on KXAS newscasts in three parts and was produced by NBC 5's Emmy Award winning team.
WEEI-AM's Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon Featuring Ex-Sox Mo Vaughn, John Valentin Raised $3.3 Million
As two of the Jimmy Fund's biggest supporters, Vaughn and Valentin's appearance made a strong impression on the pediatric patients and their families. Emotional patient stories and interviews with doctors and researchers were intertwined with appearances from prominent Boston sports figures, including several members of the Red Sox. Featured personalities included Glee's Mike O'Malley, Boston Bruins Charlie Jacobs, Celtics' Stephen Pagliuca, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Red Sox players included Tim Wakefield, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Adrian Gonzalez.
"Miles For Smiles" Telethon Raises Over 1.7 Million Frequent Flier Miles to Help Children
KATC-FM Concert Raises $20K at Concert for the Rocky Mountain Childhood Cancer Foundation
Cape Cod Broadcast Helps Troops
"We were thrilled with the response of our listeners and of the concert-goers that brought items the night of the concert," said promotions director Kim Lucas. "The highlight of the night for all of us was seeing some of the active military that were at the event to help with the food drive get to meet and pose for photos with Trace Adkins. A great event with an overwhelming community response, we were thrilled to make a significant contribution and bring much needed exposure to this deserving organization serving our communities military and families."
Infinity's WXRK-FM and Local Salon Team Up for Breast Cancer Awareness
Infinity Broadcasting's WXRK-FM New York, 92.3 NOW, teamed up with Riccardo Maggiore Salon to raise money and awareness for breast cancer during the 11-day San Gennaro Feast in Manhattan's Little Italy. At the 92.3 NOW booth, salon artists applied pink feather hair extensions for a $5 donation. Proceeds went to the Libby Ross Foundation, which offers unique support and wellness programs for women affected by breast cancer.
"Green, White, Red and Pink are a great color combination," said 92.3 NOW morning show host Nick Cannon. "It's an honor to team with the Libby Ross Foundation, a charity that is making a huge difference in the fight against breast cancer."
Clear Channel's Fresno, Calif. soft rock station KSOF-FM and country station KHGE-FM collected celebrity autographed bras for an auction held on October 21. The station has already collected autographed bras from Maroon 5, Bret Michaels, and Michael Buble and more. The auction will benefit the Susan G Komen Foundation, an organization which supports education and research related to breast cancer.
WBTU-FM Organizes Scholarship Fund
10 Years of Support: WSBT Radio and Coaches vs. Cancer
WSBT-AM held Coach Brey's annual two-day radiothon. WSBT-AM personalities provided live remote broadcasts at partner locations throughout the community to raise funds through onsite donations, donations via text and the sale of t-shirts.
A new event, the Coaches Versus Cancer Night of Lights, also debuted this year. This event featured live music, ice cream and an honor ceremony. Luminaries were lit along a walkway decorated in honor of victims of cancer.
WSBT-AM yielded the largest totals in the event's history, raising nearly $3,000 for the American Cancer Society and Coaches Versus Cancer.
92.3 NOW's Nick Cannon Delivers Nearly 2,000 Toys to New York Children
"Regardless of the failed attempt, I am thrilled to do my part to put smiles on the faces of children who need it most," said Cannon. "Thanks to everyone for coming out and to Paper Jamz for donating thousands of dollars in toys. This was a great event and I look forward to making another world record try in the future."
Emmis Communications Paints Two Rooms at Indianapolis Public School
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