Broadcasters' Public Service
Licensed to Serve – May 2014
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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.

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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.
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on Twitter: @BroadlyServing.

When deadly tornadoes ripped through parts of the South and the Midwest in late April, broadcasters stepped into their important lifeline roles as first informers. As severe weather moved across Nebraska and Oklahoma, and down through Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi, many broadcasters stopped the music and interrupted regularly scheduled programing to provide live, wall-to-wall storm coverage. Meteorologists and on-air talent followed the storms and encouraged viewers and listeners to seek shelter or evacuate as severe weather approached their communities.

As TVNewsCheck noted, "broadcasters supplemented their more traditional on-air, real-time forecasting and weather radar images with warnings on social media sites, station websites and even robotic telephone calls." Below are just a few examples of broadcasters' extraordinary efforts throughout the recent storms. In the coming weeks, broadcasters will continue to serve their communities by assisting in the recovery efforts and fundraising for tornado victims.

Broadcasters Recognized for Their 'First Informer' Role, Saving Lives During Recent Tornadoes
Senator Pryor Applauds Broadcasters' Lifeline Coverage
Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas noted in a recent floor speech, "One of the underappreciated groups I want to mention--they probably don't get enough notoriety, even though this may sound kind of silly--is the TV weather people. As soon as the storms were in the area, they broke from their normal broadcasting and they went with wall-to-wall coverage. I talked to so many folks in Mayflower, Vilonia, and other areas [of Arkansas] who said, 'Hey, we watched on TV, and we could see exactly where that storm was, and that is what saved us because we knew it was coming.'"
Teacher Thanks God and Meteorologist After Surviving Storm
A Brandon Elementary School teacher, Alicia Jenkins, thanked both God and her meteorologist friend, Derek Beasley, of Sinclair-owned WPMI-TV Mobile, Ala., for supporting her through the recent tornado in Brandon, Miss. "Those were the two who helped me through it," she said. "I'm just thankful I'm here." WPMI-TV's chief meteorologist told The Clarion-Ledger he is also grateful. "He sees his purpose as warning people about the threat of bad weather." Click here to watch a clip of Jenkins' remarks.
NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith Recognizes Broadcasters' Commitment to 'First Informer' Role
In response to comments from Senator Pryor and other officials, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith stated, "I join with public safety officials, elected representatives and countless Americans in thanking local radio and television broadcasters in the South for their remarkable efforts to keep citizens informed and safe during the killer tornadoes and devastating rains this [past] week. As we've seen time and again, broadcasters take seriously our role as 'first informers' during emergency situations and are committed to using all our resources at our fingertips to keep people safe from harm."
Arkansas Woman Praises Broadcasters for Saving Lives
A Perryville, Ark., resident, Evelyn Freeman, wrote in a letter to the editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "I would like to commend all of our local television and radio stations for their news and weather-team broadcasters and for their care and concern for the residents of Arkansas during this last deadly tornado and thunderstorm outbreak. They had great concern in telling residents in the path of the tornado when to take cover, and I truly feel their actions helped save lives. May God bless all of you."
Mississippi Meteorologist Credited With Saving Many Lives
The Clarion-Ledger reports, "Many tornado-weary Tupelo [Miss.] residents credit their survival of the April 28 twister to Spain Family's WTVA-TV Tupelo, Miss. Chief Meteorologist Matt Laubhan, whose urgent evacuation of the studio prompted many to take shelter at home, and which since has become a viral video on the Internet." The clip has been viewed over 1.2 million times. The newspaper quotes one resident who said, "Everyone is like, 'Matt Laubhan saved my life.' Considering the severity of the damage, and the fact there was just one death, that's a testament right there of the weather guy getting people prepared."
WAFF-TV Partners With Kroger to Collect Relief Funds
Raycom Media's NBC affiliate WAFF-TV Huntsville, Ala., has teamed up with Kroger and the American Red Cross to help victims of the recent storm in northern Alabama. WAFF-TV is encouraging viewers to make monetary donations for the tornado relief efforts at the checkout counter at any local Kroger grocery store through May 10. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. Click here to watch a sample promotional piece.
WEAR-TV to Collect Money for Victims of Recent Storms
Sinclair’s ABC affiliate WEAR-TV Pensacola, Fla., is teaming up with the United Way and several local radio partners to raise money to help the victims of the recent storms. WEAR-TV’s staff will broadcast live from two local malls from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. on May 9 to collect monetary donations from viewers and listeners. All the proceeds will be donated to the United Way. Click here to learn more about the effort.
Broadcasters Keep Electorate Informed With Live Debates and Campaign Coverage
WRBL-TV Holds Debate for Candidates in GA U.S. Senate Race
Media General's CBS affiliate WRBL-TV Columbus, Ga., held a debate on April 23 for Democratic candidates running for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat. WRBL-TV broadcast the debate, which included discussions around the Affordable Care Act, bipartisanship, the national debt, privacy vs. security and the student loan crisis. Watch the debate here.
WRAL-TV Hosts Debate for N.C.'s U.S. Senate Seat
Capitol Broadcasting's CBS affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh, N.C., hosted a debate for the leading Republican candidates running for one of North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seats. During the event, WRAL-TV's Multimedia Investigative Reporter Mark Binker engaged viewers in an online chat. After the debate, WRAL-TV news anchor and debate moderator David Crabtree, Binker and Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie provided post-debate analysis.
WLBT-TV Devotes Primetime Hours to Inform Voters Prior to Special Election
Raycom Media's FOX affiliate WLBT-TV Jackson, Miss., worked quickly to educate voters after the untimely death of the city's mayor. The station partnered with the Jackson Chamber of Commerce to host a live debate for the mayoral candidates at Jackson State University. WLBT-TV devoted two hours of weeknight primetime for the event, which was also streamed live on the station's website. WLBT-TV's digital content director also live-blogged the debate. The station held a text poll that asked viewers to vote on the candidate of their choice. The poll generated more than 30,000 votes, in a city of just 173,000 people. In the end, voters had their first substantive impression of the candidates who were waging short, 30-day campaigns leading up to the special election.
WGAL-TV Airs Pennsylvania Democratic Gubernatorial Debate
Hearst Television's NBC affiliate WGAL-TV Lancaster, Penn. produced and broadcast a debate between the Democratic candidates running for Pennsylvania Governor on May 1. The 90-minute gubernatorial debate was hosted at Franklin & Marshall College and was broadcast twice on WGAL-TV. The station's Government Reporter Pete Muntean was among the panel of reporters that posed questions to the candidates. The debate was part of WGAL-TV's "Commitment 2014" political coverage. Click here to watch coverage of the debate.
WRC-TV Airs First Maryland Gubernatorial Debate
NBC-owned WRC-TV Washington hosted a debate between the Democratic candidates running for Maryland governor on May 7. The debate was held at the University of Maryland, College Park, and was moderated by "Meet the Press" host David Gregory. Nextstar Broadcasting's NBC affiliate WHAG-TV Hagerstown, Md. also broadcast the debate. A second debate will be co-produced by Hearst Television's NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore and Maryland Public Television. The live debate will air on June 2.
WPRI-TV to Host Two Rhode Island Gubernatorial Debates
LIN Media's CBS affiliate WPRI-TV East Providence, R.I., and The Providence Journal will jointly produce two televised debates this June for the candidates running in Rhode Island's gubernatorial race. The Democratic candidates will debate live on June 10, while the Republicans will meet on June 17. Both events will be moderated by WPRI-TV's Tim White.
WTSP-TV to Host Florida Gubernatorial Debate on Oct. 7
Gannett's CBS affiliate WTSP-TV St. Petersburg, Fla., announced it has partnered with the Tampa Bay Times and the University of South Florida (USF) to present a statewide, televised gubernatorial debate on October 7. The debate will broadcast live on CBS stations across Florida, and Gannett's NBC affiliate WTLV-TV in Jacksonville. The event will be held in the USF Music Concert Hall before an audience of 500 guests.
WFOR-TV to Hold Florida Gubernatorial Debate on Oct. 15
CBS Television's WFOR-TV Miami announced it will produce and broadcast a statewide televised debate for the major candidates running in the Florida governor's race later this fall. The hour-long debate is slated to air from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on October 15, and will be held at Broward College's Davie Campus. The debate will be broadcast on 10 other stations across the state, including Hearst's ABC affiliate WPBF-TV.
Stations Rally Audiences to Support One Another and Their Communities
WTNH-TV Helps Keep Connecticut Kids in the Game
LIN Media-owned ABC affiliate WTNH-TV New Haven, Conn., teamed with the Connecticut chapter of the Boys and Girls Club, New England Subaru dealerships and Connecticut high schools for the first annual SportsEdge Sports Equipment Drive. SportsEdge is WTNH-TV's sports website for local Connecticut fans that is dedicated to youth athletics. Mark Higgins, vice president and general manager of WTNH-TV, said, "We want to make sure that all kids have the opportunity to be active and play sports in Connecticut." More than 30 boxes of equipment, sneakers and clothing were collected, and all the items were given to the Connecticut Boys and Girls Club.
WPOW-FM Gives Bullied Boy the Royal Treatment
Beasley Broadcasting Group's WPOW-FM Miami recently held an anti-bullying rally for a local nine-year-old boy after learning of his struggles at school. WPOW-FM staff reached out to local sponsors to give the student, Osmany Franco, the royal treatment on his way into school. He drove in a convertible to Redland Elementary School and was joined by WPOW-FM's morning show host "Big Al," the Miami Marlins team van, and a police escort. Osmany, who suffers from developmental issues, will also receive VIP seats to a future Miami Heat game, and will participate in the halftime free throw contest.
WFAA-TV Collects Thousands of Wedding Dresses to Make Angel Gowns for Babies
Gannett's ABC affiliate WFAA-TV Dallas reporter Janet St. James recently reported on a local nonprofit, NICU Helping Hands, whose mission is to take donated wedding gowns and turn them in to beautiful Angel Gowns. These gowns serve as burial and baptismal gowns for babies who do not make it home from the hospital. After posting the story on WFAA-TV's Facebook page, the outpouring of viewers who wanted to donate their dresses led to a one-week, wedding dress donation drive at the station. Over 1,000 wedding dresses were donated locally, and since the story went viral, over 3,000 wedding dresses have been donated from across the country. Each donated dress will make approximately 12 Angel Gowns. NICU Helping Hands volunteers estimate their warehouse now holds enough wedding dresses to make over 40,000 Angel Gowns. Click here to watch video of the dress drive.
NRG Media's Omaha Stations Raise $94,000 for St. Jude
Three NRG Media radio stations in Omaha – KQKQ-FM, KOPW-FM, and KMMQ-AM – raised more than $94,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during a two-day radiothon in early April. The three stations broadcast extensive live, local coverage from 7 am to 7 p.m. each day. This year's total exceeded last year's by more than $7,000.
KOIL-AM Host Takes the Plunge to Fight Cancer
NRG Media-owned KOIL-AM Omaha's Talk Host Tom Becka took the "plunge" in mid-April as part of a fundraiser for Landon Shaw, a Missouri boy with cancer who has inspired several fundraising challenges. In addition to Becka, NRG Radio Hosts Crash Davis (KOOO-FM), Jenny Olive (KQKQ-FM) and local politicians also took the dive into 50 degree water to fight cancer.
WTOP-FM Hosts Contest for Washington Nonprofits
Hubbard's WTOP-FM Washington sponsored an online contest called "Click for a Cause," in which nonprofit organizations in the D.C. metro area could win money or PSA prizes. Listeners were invited to vote for a week in late April, and the winners received up to $10,000 dollars or $5,000 in PSA donations. WTOP-FM Director of Marketing Mary Kay Lemay told All Access, "'Click for a Cause' provides an opportunity for all sizes of organizations to fundraise in a fun and easy way, and the social aspect allows for grassroots marketing and exposure. We at WTOP are happy to use our megaphone as a catalyst for helping some great causes." Click here to view the winners.
WLTV-TV Promotes Univision Education Campaign
Univision's WLTV-TV Miami has visited more than 18 schools and participated at several events as part of the Pequeños y Valiosos (Young and Valuable) campaign, which raises awareness among parents about the importance of actively interacting with their children every day, from birth through the pre-school years, in order to help them learn. During these school visits, education reporter Maria Fernanda Lopez has read to the children and facilitated workshops for their parents. The campaign invites parents and families to make a pledge to engage with their kids for at least 15 minutes each day, without interruption.
Entravision Launches Website for Moms and Moms-to-Be
Entravision recently launched Todobebé, a website focused on motherhood issues for Latinos in the U.S. and Latin America. Todobebé informs, educates and entertains Latino moms and moms-to-be as they celebrate and explore the joys and challenges of pregnancy through early childhood. Additionally, Vanessa Bernal, a reporter at Univision's KCEC-TV Denver, will be the brand ambassador of Todobebé. Bernal will host special segments during Univision's morning television show, "Despierta America," which will be featured on Entravision's local television and radio newscasts.
Radio One Helps Raise $1.3 Million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Radio One's network of stations partnered with other inspirational music stations to raise more than $1.3 million for kids fighting cancer, sickle cell and other deadly diseases at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during the seventh annual Radio Cares for St. Jude Kids radiothon. "Gospel music's message of faith and inspiration go hand-in-hand with the lifesaving work of St. Jude in providing help and hope to some of the world's sickest children fighting for their lives," said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of St. Jude. "Thank you to Radio One, all of the volunteers, celebrity supporters and loyal listeners across the country for their continued support. Because of them, we are truly making a difference in the lives of kids everywhere."
WXYZ-TV Wages War on Regional Pothole Problem
Scripps Media's ABC Affiliate WXYZ-TV Southfield, Mich., has launched an unprecedented regional war on potholes in the community, with the "Channel 7 Pothole Pledge." Local mayors and city managers in more than 10 cities have signed the pledge, established pothole hotlines for residents to call and report a problem and vowed to fill all potholes reported by citizens in 48-72 hours. Residents can check on progress in their community by following the campaign on Twitter at #7potholepledge.