Broadcasters' Public Service
May 2015
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NAB's Licensed to Serve presents a sample of public service activities regularly organized by radio and television broadcasters across America. Local stations constantly show a commitment to their communities in many ways. They disseminate vital information during winter storms and weather emergencies, host record-breaking food, clothing and toy drives, provide free air time for political campaign coverage, support our troops and host events to promote education and health.

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Broadcasters Expand Coverage in Wake of Baltimore Situation

Local TV stations were praised for providing the most complete news coverage, in addition to covering the clean-up and restoration efforts following protests and civil unrest that overcame Baltimore last week. Hearst Television’s NBC-affiliate WBAL-TV reporter Barry Simms provided all-day coverage from the same block he was raised. “Our anchors have a unique investment in seeing Baltimore heal. When outside reporters roll out of the city, they’ll still be here, listening to the stories of those who call it home,” stated Stacia L. Brown in a Washington Post op-ed.

Meanwhile, All Access and Radio Ink articles highlighted the expanded news coverage Baltimore radio stations provided local residents. Hearst Television's WBAL-AM and its sister NBC affiliate WBAL-TV shared resources and offered continuous coverage. President and General Manager Cary L. Pahigian said, "Our goal is to keep the community up to the minute and provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL talk hosts in a responsible manner."

iHeartMedia's WPOC-FM and WCAO-AM hosts Laurie Deyoung and Lee Michaels hosted a segment on promoting peace, which you can listen to here. The stations also interviewed local community leaders in an effort to disseminate vital information.

Radio One Program Director Al Payne told All Access, "Our focus has been twofold; number one has been to touch our youth and hopefully let them see that they matter. Number two is helping to clean up these neighborhoods. When the riots first started we stopped the music and went wall-to-wall coverage on our stations and just let listeners call and express themselves.”

Stations Provide Original Reporting and Live Coverage
WDIV-TV Reveals Cub Scout Embezzler

Graham Media Group’s NBC affiliate WDIV-TV Detroit reporter Karen Drew tracked down the main suspect in a Cub Scout embezzlement case, and ultimately got her to confess on camera. Six thousand dollars was stolen from Waterford Cub Scout Pack 182. The money, which was raised through popcorn sales, was intended to assist with camp costs. After the news segment aired, a local dental center donated $6,000 to the Cub Scouts.

WCMH-TV Receives Genesis Award from Humane Society of the United States

Media General’s NBC affiliate WCMH-TV Columbus, Ohio, received the Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for its investigation and coverage of the slaughter of champion horses. The story, “Track to Table: The Tragic Trail of Horses,” focuses on Ohio’s role in supplying international demand for horse meat.

WTVF's 'NewsChannel 5 Investigates' to Receive Hillman Prize

Scripps CBS affiliate WTVF-TV Nashville “NewsChannel 5 Investigates” will receive the 2015 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism for its four-year investigation “Policing for Profit.” The investigation follows actions of Tennessee law enforcement officers and agencies, revealing unethical practices and civil rights violations. The investigation prompted legislative reform in Tennessee and across the nation. The award will be presented at a banquet in New York City on May 5.

KFOR Provides Live Tornado Coverage

Tribune Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate KFOR-TV Oklahoma City, Okla., meteorologists and chopper pilot risked personal safety to provide coverage of a tornado that developed during a live broadcast on March 25. The tornado caused electrical explosions, destroyed homes, flipped semis and ripped the roof off an elementary school.

KTVI Airs Mental Health Special

Tribune Broadcasting Company’s FOX affiliate KTVI-TV St. Louis aired “Seeking Help,” a mental health awareness special, on April 27. The special, which focused on issues regarding mental health for patients and their families, also advised viewers on where to find assistance in the local area. Personnel from the National Alliance of Mental Illness St. Louis participated in a crisis call center that operated in conjunction with the broadcast.

KOKC-AM Perseveres Through Tornado

Tyler Media’s KOKC-AM Oklahoma City was directly affected by a tornado in late March. The tornado tore down two of its radio towers and ripped the top off the third. After a few hours of being off the air, station engineers were successful in redirecting the signal to nearby KEBC-AM and KOMO-HD3. The third tower was secured after a few days and began broadcasting again at 10 watts. A temporary tower is currently in use, as the station plans to rebuild all three towers.

KWWL Receives 11 Iowa News Awards

Quincy Newspaper’s NBC affiliate KWWL-TV Waterloo, Iowa, was honored with 11 awards at the Iowa Broadcast News Association 2015 Conference. Examples of segments that received awards include: “Brothers in Arms,” which chronicled a veteran’s war experience and trip with Honor Flight; “Fight or Flight,” which provided an in-depth look at how schools prepare for the possibility of armed intruders; and “The Bully Test,” which examined the implications of bullying, and why so many students choose not to confront the issue.

KNBC Airs Investigative Special in Primetime

NBC owned and operated KNBC-TV Los Angeles has dedicated a half-hour portion of its primetime broadcast for investigative specials. According to KNBC, the station’s investigative team is the largest in the market with 12 employees. “NBC4’s I-Team is the watchdog of the community, and has had a successful legacy of asking tough questions and helping bring permanent change to benefit viewers,” said KNBC’s vice president of news Todd Mokhtari to TVNewsCheck.

Broadcasters Raise Funds for Children's Hospitals
Philadelphia Stations Raise $1.1 Million for Ronald McDonald House

CBS Local Media’s KYW-TV and WPSG-TV's sixth annual “Ronald McDonald House Charities Phone Bank,” a 14-hour on-air fundraiser that aired live on both television stations, raised more than $1.1 million on March 24. This was its largest total to date, upping the funds raised for the charity to more than $ 5.1 million since 2010.

Rhode Island Stations Raise $400,000 for Children's Hospital

Cumulus Media’s WPRO-FM, WWLI-FM, WPRO-AM and WWKX-FM Providence, R.I., raised $400,000 during a 15-hour radiothon that benefitted the Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Patients had the opportunity to meet supporters like Miss Rhode Island Ivy DePew and New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski at the event, which was broadcast live. The radiothon has raised more than $6.8 million since it began in 2005.

Townsquare Media Raises $1.4 Million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Townsquare Media stations in Atlantic City, N.J.; Owensboro, Ky.; Rockford, Ill.; and Lubbock, Texas, participated in the second annual “Country Cares” fundraiser March 5-6. St. Jude patients and families shared their stories during more than 26 hours of radio programming, while local listeners made donations. The $1.4 million raised directly benefits the hospital’s efforts to provide care and resources to children fighting cancer and their families.

Rush Limbaugh's 2015 Cure-A-Thon Sets Record

On April 14, Rush Limbaugh hosted the 25th annual “Cure-A-Thon” for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year’s fundraiser raised a record $3.3 million, with donations still being made. In total, the “Cure-A-Thon” has raised over $44 million for cancer research.

Broadcasters Provide Tornado and Earthquake Relief
SRN News Launches Earthquake Relief Campaign

D.C.-based SALEM Radio Network News launched a fundraising campaign to benefit earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. SRN News’s over 1,600 affiliates will partner with Project HOPE to raise funds for much needed food and emergency supplies. To date, the earthquake has taken nearly 5,000 lives.

WGN-AM Launches Tornado Relief Effort

After devastating tornadoes tore through Illinois on April 9, Tribune Broadcasting’s Chicago’s CW affiliate WGN-TV and WGN-AM partnered with the McCormick Foundation, The Chicago Tribune and Hoy, a Spanish language show, to launch the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort 2015. On April 13, the radio station held a fundraiser, where the McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar. All proceeds benefitted nonprofit agencies that work to provide disaster relief and recovery.

KCRA-KQCA Organizes Earthquake Relief Drive

Hearst Television’s NBC affiliate KCRA-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate KQCA-TV Sacramento, in partnership with the Gold Country Region Chapter of the American Red Cross, held a fundraiser on April 29 to benefit those affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled Nepal in late April. The quake left thousands missing, injured or dead and caused immense damage to housing and infrastructure. The station held live cut-ins throughout the day’s programing and donation requests during newscasts.

Broadcasters Support Local Communities
Greater Media Hosts Public Service Campaign on Distracted Driving Awareness

Throughout the month of April, Greater Media stations in Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia participated in a multi-platform public service campaign aimed at promoting the importance of driver safety in conjunction with the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Distracted Driving Awareness Month initiative. Customized PSAs and social media messages stressed the importance of driver safety and not using cell phones while operating a vehicle.

Madison Mayoral Candidate Debate

Morgan Murphy Media owned CBS affiliate WISC-TV Madison, Wis., hosted a debate on March 24 between candidates for Madison mayor Paul Soglin and Scott Resnick. This was the only live televised mayoral debate before the April 7 election.

WOKV Hosts Candidate 'Hob Nob'

Cox Media Group’s WOKV Jacksonville, Fla., held a hob nob where local residents met with candidates running for public office, in addition to learning first-hand where they stood on issues. The station interviewed candidates for mayor and sheriff and aired them on the evening news. Nearly one thousand straw pole votes were cast at the event.

WIBW-TV Raises Funds for Special Olympics

Gray Television’s CBS affiliate WIBW-TV Topeka, Kan., completed a five-week public service campaign in March that promoted the “Polar Plunge & Strut” for Special Olympics Kansas, with events in Topeka, Emporia, Manhattan and Lawrence. The station’s efforts helped to raise over $225,000.

WTTG-TV Surprises Baltimore Birthday Girl

Fox Television's owned and operated WTTG-TV Washington, D.C., surprised nine-year-old Baltimore resident Charlize Mason with a new bike for her birthday. In an interview regarding the late April Baltimore riots, Mason said she wanted a new bike and an end to the violence for her birthday. "I feel like in the midst of all the chaos that was going on, this young girl just wanted to celebrate her birthday," said Alicia Pinkett, a viewer who donated money for the bike.

Univision Los Angeles Holds Prosperity Fair for 9,000

Univision Los Angeles held its “Feri Prosperidad” (Prosperity Fair) on March 21 as part of the station’s Hispanic Entrepreneurship Campaign, in collaboration with the University of Southern California. Nearly 9,000 attendees participated in 30 workshops and two town halls that focused on the topics of small business and college financing, scholarship programs, veteran transitions and immigration consultant fraud.

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