NAB's Licensed to Serve newsletter provides a sample of noteworthy stories that illustrate the many public service activities broadcasters organize on any given day across the country. From arranging record-breaking toy and food drives to providing free air time for political campaign coverage, broadcasters' continual commitment to their communities is showcased in Licensed to Serve.
Click here to learn more about broadcasters' community service initiatives
and nonprofit partnerships.
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If your station has a great public service campaign that should be
recognized, email Allison Kreutzjans, manager,
Public Service Initiatives
or call (202) 429-5448 with details.
Follow NAB Public Service Initiatives on Twitter:@BroadlyServing.
|This fall, Americans not only chose the 44th president of the United States – they also chose broadcasters as their go-to resource for election information. America's broadcasters played a vital role in the 2012 election, providing viewers with information on candidates and what they could expect at the polls.
From the political conventions to debates to coverage of the returns on election night, television and radio audiences could follow election coverage for free thanks to local broadcasters. More than 37 million Americans turned to broadcast television to watch the results of the 2012 presidential election unfold. And in every local community, viewers turned to their favorite stations to get the results of state and local races.
|Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Broadcasters Host Candidate Debates
Hosts Four Debates for Rhode Island Candidates
Independently-owned WJAR-TV Cranston, Rhode Island hosted three congressional and senatorial debates on Nov. 1. All were held at Rhode Island College and open to the public. The 2nd Congressional District debate featured Rep. Jim Langevin, Republican Mike Riley and Independent Abel Collins. The U.S. Senate debate pitted incumbent Sheldon Whitehouse against Republican challenger Barry Hinkley. The 1st Congressional District debate with Rep. David Cicilline, Republican Brendan Doherty and Independent David Vogel broadcast live on WJAR, C-SPAN and streamed live online.
Washington Hosts Debate for Maryland Voters
Gannett Broadcasting-owned WUSA-TV Washington, DC aired a live broadcast of a 30-minute debate between Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett and challenger John Delaney to reach voters in Maryland's 6th District. The discussion covered controversial issues including gay marriage, the federal government's role in improving the economy and an upcoming ballot question that would allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland schools.
Features Back-to-Back New Hampshire Debates
Hearst Televison's WMUR-TV Manchester, NH and The New Hampshire Union Leader hosted debates on Nov. 1 and 2. The Nov. 1 hour-long debate featured gubernatorial candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Maggie Hassan. On Nov. 2, WMUR-TV aired back-to-back congressional debates. The first featured Rep. Frank Guinta against Carol Shea-Porter, whom Guinta replaced two years ago. In the second hour, Rep. Charlie Bass faced challenger Ann Kuster.
Candidates Engage in WFSB-TV-Hosted Debate
Meredith Communication's WFSB-TV Hartford, Conn., broadcast a senatorial debate between Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon. Moderator Dennis House encouraged social media engagement, pointing voters to WFSB-TV's Facebook page and Twitter handles for himself and the candidates. House told TVSpy, "Even in a small state like Connecticut where the odds are greater that you will meet a candidate, it is still important to see them in action debating the issues."
|Hearst's Massachusetts Station Hosts Congressional Debate |
Hearst Television's WCVB-TV Needham, MA aired a 30-minute congressional debate between Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney and Republican challenger Richard Tisei in late October. The debate covered a range of topics, including gun control, health care and taxes. The candidates exchanged heated words over controversies involving Tierney and his family.
Senate Candidates Debate in Event Hosted by WCSH-TV
Gannett Broadcasting's WCSH-TV Portland, ME hosted a debate between the six senatorial candidates in Maine: Andrew Ian Dodge, Independent; Danny Dalton, Independent; Charlie Summers, Republican; Angus King, Independent; Cynthia Dill, Democrat; and Steve Woods, Independent. The debate was one of the few in which all six candidates participated. The independent candidates said they would remain as such if elected.
2nd District Debate Televised on WLBZ-TV & WCSH-TV
Gannett Broadcasting's WLBZ-TV and WCSH-TV Portland, Maine, hosted the fourth and final debate between the candidates for Maine's 2nd Congressional District on the Tuesday before the election.
During the 30-minute event, Rep. Mike Michaud and Republican challenger Kevin Raye discussed job creation, energy policy, taxes, poverty and sequestration. The Affordable Care Act became a central part of both the economic and health care portions of the debate.
News Truck Helps Power New York Polling Site
Television's WNYW-TV New York stepped up on Election Day. Election
officials set up tents at Public School 180 in Rockaway Park to allow
residents displaced by Sandy to vote. Unfortunately, one of the two
generators that was illuminating the voting tents stopped working.
WNYW-TV offered its satellite truck to provide needed power. This video
shows how an WNYW-TV truck helped to light the make-shift area so
voters could see paper ballots.
|Southern Broadcasters Provide Air Time to Candidates
WTVJ-TV Miami Broadcast Senatorial Debate
NBC-owned WTVJ-TV Miami televised a Florida senatorial debate on October 17, featuring incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Connie Mack. The debate was part of "Decision 2012: Before You Vote" and was produced by the partnership with Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association. All 11 television markets in Florida broadcast the debate live.
Station Hosts Baton Rouge Mayoral Debate
Raycom Media's WAFB-TV Baton Rouge, La. hosted a live debate between the mayoral candidates for East Baton Rouge Parish which was simulcast on Guaranty Broadcasting's WBRP-FM. Incumbent Kip Holden and challengers Gordon Mese, Mike Walker and Steve Myers discussed issues such as crime, traffic, education and Baton Rouge's soaring AIDS rate.
|WESH-TV Orlando Airs Special Political Program in Advance of Election Day
Hearst Broadcasting's WESH-TV Orlando aired a 30-minute daily political program "Commitment 2012: Extra" from Oct. 8 through Election Day. The show included live conversations and debates with local candidates, election news and campaign developments. The program was an extension of Hearst's "Commitment 2012," which offers at least 12 minutes of political news per weekday. "WESH 2 News has always taken our role seriously when it comes to informing and educating our viewers before they head to the ballot box," Bob Longo, WESH news director, told Broadcasting & Cable. "This important election season, we're giving viewers an even greater chance to learn about the candidates asking for their votes and the issues so important to our community."
Wilmington Station Airs Commercial Free Debate
Raycom Media's WECT-TV Wilmington, NC aired a half hour, commercial free debate between the candidates for the 7th Congressional District, Mike McIntyre and David Rouzer. The debate was posted online in its entirety. WECT also hosted several local debates that aired live online, featuring candidates running for school board, county commission, state house and state senate.
Palatka, Florida Holds Candidate Forums
Independently-owned WHIF-FM Palatka, Florida held candidate forums with all the local candidates in the primary and general elections and made the audio available online. The station also hosted discussions to explain various amendments on the ballot.
|WRAL-TV Continues Long Tradition of In-depth Election Coverage
Capitol Broadcasting's WRAL-TV Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, N.C., offered viewers a wide range of news coverage and special programming. The station aired and streamed four statewide debates, two of which were produced by WRAL News; produced and aired 10 election-focused half-hour discussion programs titled "On the Record," dealing solely with the races and candidates important to the North Carolina electorate; and provided innovative, interactive online and mobile tools for voters. On Election Day WRAL.com had 6 million desktop Web views, 1.4 million mobile views, 80,000 video views on Web and mobile, and at one point peaked on the Web at 450,000 page views an hour.
|Midwestern Broadcasters Affect Decision 2012
Debate Earns Strong Ratings for WTMJ-TV
Journal Broadcasting Group's WTMJ-TV Milwaukee aired a senatorial debate between Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin. The one-hour debate averaged a 6.6 rating between 7:00 and 8:00 pm, reaching the equivalent of 62,700 households. About 293,000 households tuned in to an earlier town hall debate on all four Milwaukee affiliates.
House Candidates Clash on Washington Gridlock
Young Broadcasting's KELO-TV Sioux Falls, S.D., televised a debate on Nov. 2 between congressional candidates Rep. Kristi Noem and challenger Matt Varilek. In their fourth and final debate, Noem and Varilek discussed taxes, Medicare, congressional spending, health care and the Farm Bill.
|WBNS-TV Provides Multiplatform Election Coverage for Columbus Voters
Dispatch Broadcasting's WBNS-TV Columbus, in swing state Ohio, conducted inverviews with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan and booked satellite interviews with the campaigns during each presidential debate. The station's "Show You Care & Vote Bus" registered 130 people at local colleges. WBNS-TV produced a one-hour U.S. Senatorial debate between Senator Sherrod Brown and opponent Josh Mandel. Eighteen candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress and local offices taped one-minute responses to a series of questions, which aired during newscasts and online.
KYTV Springfield, MO Hosts Debates and Interviews
Schurz Communications KYTV Springfield, Mo. aired a Republican primary debate with five candidates for Missouri Senate and a debate between U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and challenger Rep. Todd Akin. Reporter Jerry Jacob's interviews with candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor and Treasurer aired during evening newscasts. The extended versions were posted online and on mobile apps. Election Night coverage began at 6:30 pm on Nov. 6, with local cut-ins for five minutes each half hour. Results crawled on-air and were constantly updated online and on mobile.
Schurz Communications Highlights Local Elections in Wichita
Schurz Communications Wichita, Kansas stations KWCH-TV, KBSH-TV, KBSL-TV, KBSD-TV, KSCW and KDCU offered free air time in October for candidates running in the 4th Congressional District. The stations aired two, 30-minute Live Candidate Forums for Sedgwick County Sheriff and District Attorney and a 30-minute Fluoride Special to educate viewers on the ballot issue. The stations tracked and analyzed polling data on the local races and the Fluoride issue. KDCU, a Univision affiliate, aired information in Spanish when possible.
|California Broadcaster Focuses on Candidates
|KION-TV Acts as Election Hub
Cowles California Media Company's KION-TV offered all candidates in national, state and local races, to record one minute of unedited airtime to speak directly to voters. More than 100 candidates' segments appeared during the highest rated prime time newscasts. KION-TV brought in local elections officials to answer viewer questions about voting, in English and Spanish. The station also created a special section of its website for candidates to explain their positions and promoted it heavily on air. Anchors moderated debates using viewer-submitted questions. KION-TV aired more than two dozen in depth reports on election-related topics and provided fact checks of candidate statements based on questions from viewers.
|Broadcast Groups and Networks Cover Elections
|Broadcast Networks Utilized All Platforms on Election Night
Major broadcast networks' election night coverage included multiplatform initiatives and elaborate presentations. NBC turned Rockefeller Center's ice rink into a massive U.S. map with states turning red or blue as results returned. CBS utilized eight TV studios and three state-of-the-art control rooms to produce its coverage, including virtual reality models of the House and Senate. ABC's broadcast from Times Square included a special edition of "World News with Diane Sawyer," panels of political analysts, and historical context from Barbara Walters, who has interviewed every President since Nixon. Fox Broadcasting Company's live coverage included analysis, exit poll data and live reports from the candidate's campaign headquarters and footage from battleground states. Univision highlighted important topics for Hispanic viewers and offered Tu Cámara for users to upload videos and photos from the polls to share online. ABC and Univision also used YouTube's Elections Hub.
|Radio Networks Offer Election Night Specials
Salem Radio Network offered affiliates a live six-hour Election Night 2012 Special beginning at 6:00 pm. Dial Global's syndicated NBC News Radio live broadcast from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. featured anchor Brian Williams and simulcast on NBC-TV. CBS Radio News and America's Radio News Network began extensive live coverage at 7:00 pm and continued into the early morning. Fox News Radio's coverage on three different channels, which included clean feeds of major speeches, aired between 6 p.m. and noon the following day. ABC News Radio's election night live anchored coverage aired from 7 p.m. through 1 a.m. with six Election Coverage Status Reports each hour, ABC News "DecisionDesk" analysis, voter turnout from battleground states Florida and Ohio and reports on congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial races.
Broadcasting's 2012 Election Coverage
Journal Broadcasting's "2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative" provided election news on TV and news-talk radio stations in the 30 days before the election. These stations aired at least 10 minutes of prime time coverage of federal, state and local candidates each weekday, posted election news online and on social media and aired "Get out the Vote" PSAs: KIVI-TV and KNIN-TV Boise; WFTX-TV Fort-Myers, Fl.; WSYM-TV Lansing, Mich.; KTNV-TV Las Vegas; WTMJ-TV and WTMJ-AM Milwaukee; KMTV Omaha; KMIR-TV Palm Springs, Calif.; KTTS-FM and KSGF-AM/FM Springfield, Mo.; KGUN-TV, KWBA-TV and KQTH-FM Tucson; KFAQ-AM Tulsa; and KFDI-FM and KLIO-AM Wichita.
Stations Provide Open Forum
Quincy stations aired 12 debates and produced "Candidates and Issues" segments. Quincy's 11 news stations invited 461 candidates to record a message to voters that aired unedited on-air and online. Of the 461 candidates, 193 (42 percent) chose to participate. These stations aired and/or co-produced live debates for senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial races: WVVA Bluefield, W.V., WREX-TV Rockford, Ill., WGEM-TV (commercial free) WKOW-TV, KTIV Sioux City, Iowa, WXOW-TV La Crosse, Wis., WAOW-TV Wausau, Wis. and KTTC Rochester, Minn. Those stations, plus WSJV South Bend, Ind., KWWL Waterloo, Iowa, and WQOW-TV Eau Claire, Wis., aired "Candidates and Issues" segments.
Television's Commitment 2012
Hearst Television's "Commitment 2012" included a minimum of 12 minutes of daily political coverage discourse in our markets 30 days prior to the primary and general elections. In addition to news coverage, the stations provided local specials and 70 debates in markets across the United States. Stations that aired debates included KCCI-TV, Des Moines, KETV Omaha, KHBS/KHOG Ft. Smith, Ark., KITV Honolulu, KOAT-TV Albuquerque, KOCO-TV Oklahoma City, WCVB-TV Boston, WDSU-TV New Orleans, WESH Orlando, WISN-TV Milwaukee, WGAL-TV Lancaster, Pa., WLKY Louisville, WMTW Portland, Maine, WMUR-TV Manchester, N.H., WPTZ Plattsburgh, N.Y., WTAE-TV Pittsburgh and WXII Winston-Salem, N.C.
Scripps Company's Democracy 2012
E.W. Scripps' "Democracy 2012" included five minutes of free airtime daily to candidates in nearly 200 races, live streams of presidential candidate speeches, 15 debates for state and local races and "Get Out the Vote" PSAs. Scripps' Florida stations and newspapers created an online portal with information on candidate platforms and voter registration. Participating stations were WXYZ-TV Detroit; KMGH-TV Denver; KGTV-TV San Diego; KERO-TV Bakersfield, CA; WCPO-TV Cincinnati; WEWS Cleveland; WRTV Indianapolis; WFTS Tampa; WMAR-TV Baltimore; KNXV Phoenix; WPTV West Palm Beach, Fl.; KSHB-TV Kansas City, Mo., and KJRH Tulsa.