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Broadcasters' Public Service
September 2015
 

Radio and television broadcasters constantly perfom public service. Stations disseminate lifeline information about weather emergencies; support our troops; raise millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment; collect tons of food, clothes and toys; devote free air time to election coverage; promote education and health; and help nonprofits communicate critical messages.

Send details on your station's public service to Suzie Raven

Roanoke, Broadcast Community Shaken After Journalists Killed On-Air

NAB flies flags at halfmast to honor the victims.

The fatal on-air shootings of Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, of Schurz Communications’ CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV Roanoke, Va. caused shock, anxiety and sadness throughout the industry. The Roanoke community and fellow broadcasters across the country expressed their grief and support. "Every morning we watch these people on TV, it's like they're part of your family," WDBJ viewer Donna Toliver told USA Today.

WDBJ, a station known for its commitment to local news, did not miss a newscast due to the tragedy. “We watched them be absolutely stalwarts on camera, and bawl their eyes out after,” said Schurz Communications Senior Vice President of Broadcasting Marci Burdick. “The resilience of the team remains visible and amazing.”

Parker and Ward’s deaths also brought national attention to the vulnerability of local reporters who deliver essential news every day. Atlanta-based reporter Jaye Watson’s eloquent essay describes why journalists are willing to take risks. “I didn’t know Alison Parker or Adam Ward, but I would bet they entered this business with an idealized, deep desire to make the world a better, more informed place. They wanted to tell good stories. They wanted to be part of the change.”

Following the tragedy, NAB, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences launched the “Alison & Adam Memorial Fund” for the victims' families, for which $40,000 has already been committed. “Our hearts are heavy with grief over this horrifying act of violence against two individuals with a zest for life and a love of broadcasting," said NAB President Gordon Smith. NAB also flew its flags at halfmast at the association's headquarters to honor the victims.

Broadcasters Respond to Disasters
Katrina 10-Year Anniversary is Reminder of Broadcasting's Vital Role

The 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29 served as a reminder of the unique and vital role broadcasters play in times of emergencies. Many stations commemorated the anniversary with special programs. The Houston Chronicle and Britain's BBC praised WWL-AM for staying on-air throughout the storm. Radio World provided technical details on how WWL-AM accomplished this. In reflecting on Katrina, iHeartMedia's Bob Murphy told Inside Radio, “At that point, music, ratings and dollars are out the window. You realize how important your role is in the community. There is one focus: to serve the people that are depending on you.”

Seattle Anchor Delivers Food to Firefighters

Cox Media Group's CBS affiliate KIRO-TV Seattle anchor Jesse Jones delivered a truckload of groceries and supplies on Aug. 24 to a command center in Okanogan, WA, as firefighters battled the largest wildfire in state history. Jones realized that in addition to food, the volunteers needed gas cards for travel and to run generators. On Aug. 27, Jones collected gas cards for residents and volunteer firefighters, many of whom worked for 14 days straight. Jones also teamed with iHeartMedia's KBKS-FM Tacoma personality Bender to raise more than $13,000 for firefighters and evacuees. This powerful video shows how the community benefited from Jones' efforts.

Texas Broadcasters Document Public Service

The Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) surveys its member stations in order to document the public service efforts of broadcasters in Texas. Since 1998, stations that responded to TAB's survey have raised or contributed $4.98 billion to their communities, including $499 million for charities since 2004. They produced more local news than ever, averaging 27 hours per week. TAB proudly reports that 723 children have been saved nationally since 1998 (including 296 from Texas) by the AMBER Alert program, which was created by Dallas broadcasters. TAB shared this video, produced by NBC owned-and-operated KXAS-TV Dallas, highlighting local broadcasters' role in providing lifeline emergency information.

Radio and Televison Care for Children
Tennessee Telethon Raises $1.3 Million

Bahakel Communications' ABC affiliate WBBJ-TV Jackson, Tenn.'s 32nd annual "Circles of Hope" telethon on Aug. 16 raised $1.3 million for The Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Each Carl Perkins Center provides therapy, forensic interviews, parenting groups and community education related to child abuse. In Henderson County, the Perkins Center served about 1,100 children and 1,900 parents in the past year. Therapeutic programming would not be available to many families due to insurance restrictions, but these clinics offer all services free of charge.

WDBJ7 Airs Special on Child Abuse

Schurz Communications' CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV Roanoke, Va. aired “Childhood Lost,” a one-hour special on child abuse, on Aug. 17. WDBJ encouraged viewers to submit questions for experts to answer. Guests included representatives from Blue Ridge Parenting, Family Service of Roanoke, Child Protective Services and an attorney and guardian for children. Since abused children often have trouble discussing their experiences, WDBJ featured "Forgotten Victims," a program to help kids communicate using books, storytelling and crafts. WDBJ's website provides links to resources and videos, including this interview with a survivor.

$3 Million Raised in WEEI's Radiothon for Jimmy Fund

Entercom Communications' WEEI-AM/FM and the New England Sports Network (NESN) raised $3.3 million in its annual radiothon for the Jimmy Fund, held Aug. 18-19. In 14 years, the event has raised more than $40 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for research and care. Click here for more information, including audio and video clips.

Univision VP Honored for Work With St. Jude

Univision Radio's Vice President of Marketing, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Monica Rabassa was honored for her work with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by MegaFest on Aug. 23. Rabassa is instrumental to Univision's partnership with St. Jude. Univision has raised $52 million for St. Jude since 2006. Rassa is also founder and chairperson of the St. Jude Hispanic Advisory Council, which includes Spanish-language radio stations and other Latin entertainment industry groups.

WYKZ-FM, WTKS-FM Savannah Raise $77K

iHeartMedia's WYKZ-FM and WTKS-FM Savannah, Ga., raised more than $77,000 in the third annual "River Cares for Kids" radiothon for The Children's Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center, held Aug. 20-21. The radiothon featured stories from local families, including Hunter Stanfield, who was diagnosed with cancer three days before his 13th birthday. The radiothon is critical in ensuring that the doctors at the region's only childrens hospital have access to specialized equipment designed to treat kids.

Conn. Children's Radiothon Raises $120,000

Connoisseur Media's WPLR-FM and WDRC-FM Hartford, Conn. raised nearly $120,000 on Aug. 13 in the "Connecticut Children's Radiothon." On-air personalities Chaz and AJ broadcast live beginning at 5:30 a.m. from the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. The radiothon, which has raised $2 million in 12 years, included inspiring stories and interviews with patients, families and staff. Click here to watch video.

Local Stations Support Education

KRGV Raises $327K for 'Teach the Children'

Manship Station's ABC affiliate KRGV-TV Welasco, Texas raised more than $327,000 during its 32nd annual "Teach the Children" telethon on July 26. "Teach the Children" raises funds for school supplies and clothing for economically disadvantaged children entering the first grade. In KRGV-TV's neighborhood, more than 85 percent of children qualify for this type of programs.

WANE Collects 650 Pounds of School Supplies

Media General's CBS affiliate WANE-TV Ft. Wayne, Ind., collected more than 20,000 supplies, weighing 640 pounds, and almost $10,000 for The Salvation Army during its "Tools for School" drive in June and July. The 36-day school supply drive collected items at eight “Pack the RV” stops and from collection bins placed at several local businesses and Salvation Army locations. The supplies have been distributed to needy children who attend Fort Wayne and Allen County public schools.

Univision Hosts Local, National Education Campaigns

Univision Communications launched "¡Avanzamos, Conectados!" (Connected, We Advance!) on August 10 to help supply Hispanic students with access to broadband technology. More than 24,000 families have accessed information about affordable broadband, Internet training and guidelines for supervising Internet usage at home via the website Clave al Éxito. In Houston, Univision participated in the mayor's "5th Annual Back 2 School Fest" on August 15. Roughly 20,000 people attended the event, which provided school supplies, backpacks, clothes, health screenings, immunizations and social service resources.

WJXT Provides 800 Kids With New Kicks

Graham Media Group's owned-and-operated WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., provided over 800 Jacksonville students with a new pair of shoes through its "Kicks for the Kids" event. Click here to watch a video that shows how the event helped local children prepare for a new school year.

KHOU Houston Collects Tons of Supplies

Tegna Media's CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston collected more than 22,000 items in its first “Supplies for Success” drive, held August 3-16 for DePelchin Children's Center. The Center provides foster care, adoption and mental health services for 1,500 local children. Watch KHOU's “Surprise Squad” video.

KKNU Helps Crow High School Replace Stolen Equipment

McKenzie River Broadcasting's KKNU-FM Eugene, Ore. raised $5,400 in less than two hours on August 17 to help Crow High School replace stolen football equipment. The school had about $3,500 worth of equipment stolen shortly before the season started. Radio host Bill Barrett said, “this kind of crime is tragic,” noting that $4,000 is a lot of money for a small school district like Crow.

First Lady Joins “We Day” Broadcast

ABC stations aired the “We Day” program commercial-free on August 21. “We Day” aimed to encourage families to discuss issues such as bullying, body image, the environment, violence and literacy. First Lady Michelle Obama encourages American youth to make a difference in their communities this school year.The cast also included Selena Gomez, Jennifer Hudson, Common, Tyrese Gibson, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Aniston, The Band Perry, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Paul Rudd, Colbie Caillat, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Macklemore and Lupe Fiasco.

WBAL Health Event Features Dr. Oz

Hearst Television's NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore hosted Dr. Oz's “The Good Life” presentation on August 29 at a local mall. The presentation provided information on how Americans can achieve long term positive health results. Dr. Oz acknowledged that it's easy to eat fast food, ignore symptoms or self-medicate, but these actions are not best for the body. He also talked about healthy school lunches and snacks at a Back to School event. Click here to watch video of Dr. Oz rapping to promote healthy lifestyles.

Las Vegas Station Collects More Than $22,000 for School Supplies

Meredith Corporation's Fox affiliate KVVU-TV Las Vegas collected more than $22,000 in its "Supply Our Students Drive (SOS)," held August 12-14. This year, KVVU added a new way to give: a $15 donation provided a junior high school student with a backpack filled with school supplies, while a $20 donation does the same for an elementary school student. The Salvation Army distributed school supplies to 2,000 kids last year, but the Clark County School District identified 9,000 homeless students in the 2013-14 school year. “This partnership with FOX5 is about changing reality for people in our community,” said Maj. Kelly Pontsler of The Salvation Army Clark County. “For some, it might look like just a pack of pencils or a backpack, but to those we serve, it's new hope for having a successful school year.”

Radio and Television Positively Impact Communities

WBT Collects 3,000 Pounds of Peanut Butter

Greater Media's WBT-AM Charlotte, N.C., partnered with Harris Teeter and Jif on "Peanut Butter ‘N' July" to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Peanut butter is one of the most valuable commodities for a food bank due to high levels of protein. Each Saturday in July, WBT hosts visited participating Harris Teeter stores to help collect peanut butter and promote the drive. Click here to watch the recap. This year, WBT collected 3,099 pounds of peanut butter, which is almost 5,000 jars.

Entercom Raises $300K for Local Hospital

Entercom’s Greenville, S.C., clustered raised $300,000 for the Greenville Health System, in a radiothon held Aug. 27-28. Participating stations included WFBC-FM, WTPT-FM, WROQ-FM, WYRD-FM, WYRD-AM and WSPA-FM. Live audio from WTPT-FM's broadcast can be found at the minute markers indicated in the following links: 2:25, 13:41, 19:58, 21:43.

"Friends Across the Mountains" 2015 Telethon Raises $202,000

Tegna Media's NBC affiliate WBIR-TV Knoxville, Tenn., and Sinclair Broadcasting Group's ABC affiliate WLOS-TV Asheville, N.C., raised $202,000 on Aug. 20 to support the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 21 years, the event has raised more than $3 million. The money will support the rehabilitation of Alum Cave Trail, suppression of invasive species and black bear and elk management.

Broadcasters Expand Local News, Win Awards
Houston’s ABC and Univision Stations to Live Stream Mayoral Debate

Univision Communication’s owned-and-operated KXLN-TV and ABC owned-and-operated KTRK-TV Houston will co-host the Houston Mayoral Debate on Sept. 10, and will live stream the event exclusively on the KTRK and KXLN websites. Univision will also include a simultaneous Spanish-language translation. ABC-13 will telecast the debate that same night at 10:35 p.m. Viewers are encouraged to submit questions in English or Spanish on Twitter using #HOUSTONVOTE. The mayoral candidates include Chris Bell, Stephen Costello, Adrian Garcia, Ben Hall, Bill King, Marty McVey and Sylvester Turner. KTRK aired this profile of Chris Bell in advance of the debate. “We are thrilled with our partnership with ABC-13. By co-hosting this mayoral forum, we are providing a great service to our community. The top mayoral candidates will have an opportunity to convey their respective visions and plans for the city of Houston,” said David Loving, general manager of Univision Houston Local Media.

KXAS Awarded for Story on Veterans

NBC owned-and-operated KXAS-TV Ft. Worth and The Dallas Morning News won the 2015 Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Journalism, recognizing the creative use of digital tools. Their entry, “Injured Heroes, Broken Promises,” investigated the Army's "Warrior Transition Units.” The units should help service members with physical and psychological wounds adjust to civilian life, but the journalists found allegations of harassment in documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. After seeing the reports, U.S. Senator John Cornyn wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Army, calling the issues raised by the series "highly disturbing." Within nine days, the Army ordered training to address the matter.

WALA Expands News Programs

Meredith Corporation's Fox affiliate WALA-TV Mobile, Ala., introduced new Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts on Aug. 8. Reporter Candace Murphy and meteorologist Matt Barrentine anchor the newscasts. On Aug. 24, WALA extended its weekday late newscast to 90 minutes, to broadcast from 9-10:30 p.m. “We are committed to being the place Gulf Coast residents turn to for local news, weather and information — all day, every day,” said News Director Scott Flannigan. “Expanding our 9 p.m. news presence gives us the chance to do more investigations, more weather coverage and be of more service to our viewers.”

WKMG to Add 4 p.m. Newscast

Graham Media Group's CBS affiliate WKMG-TV Orlando will offer a 4 p.m. newscast starting Sept. 7. The station announced the additional newscast on social media and during regular newscasts. It will feature anchors Julie Broughton, Matt Austin, Lisa Bell and Ginger Gadsden and Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells.

WWSB Tampa to Launch 7 p.m. Newscast

Calkins Media's ABC affiliate WWSB-TV Tampa will launch "ABC 7 News at 7:00" on Sept. 14 to focus on investigative reporting and discussions with local newsmakers. It will be anchored by Emmy award-winning journalist Alan Cohn, who also won a George Foster Peabody award in 2007 for a story on defective parts installed on Black Hawk helicopters. “We... believe strongly in localism and have expanded our commitment to providing quality news and local programming,” said General Manager Jeff Benninghoff. “We believe that this 7 p.m. newscast will provide the perfect forum for more in-depth reporting — and debate — on important issues and stories in the Suncoast community.”

Telemundo Boston Adds Local News

Telemundo owned-and-operated WNEU-TV Boston began airing local newcasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. in August. "Noticiero Telemundo Boston" is the latest in a series of efforts to bolster local news coverage at Telemundo stations nationwide. The newscasts broadcast from a state-of-the-art newsroom and feature on-screen graphics and visuals that complement WNEU's digital properties. “We are ecstatic that Telemundo Boston will debut its first-ever live and locally produced weekday newscasts to help fill the void for Spanish-language viewers that has existed in our market for far too long,” General Manager Mike St. Peter said in a statement.

RTDNA Announces Winners of the 2015 Personal Finance Reporting Awards

Nexstar Broadcasting's CBS affiliate KLAS-TV Las Vegas and North Texas Public Broadcasting's KERA-FM Dallas won the 2015 RTDNA/NEFE Award for Personal Finance Reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). KLAS-TV's Emmy Award-winning journalist Michelle Mortensen and photojournalist Sarita Kichok were honored for the "8 On Your Side Consumer Series." Mortensen launched the "Debt Destroyer" program in 2015 to help viewers become financially stable. On the radio side, KERA-FM's award-winning reporter Courtney Collins was honored for "One Crisis Away: Inside a Neighborhood."

 
August 2015 Licensed to Serve