Broadcasters' Public Service
  August 2016
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Radio and television broadcasters constantly serve local communities. Stations air lifeline emergency information; support our military; raise millions for cancer research and treatment; collect food, clothes and toys; devote free air time to election coverage; and promote education and health.

Submit your station's public service to Suzie Raven.

Broadcasters Cover Racial Tensions
Police Officers Killed in Dallas

On July 7, a sniper opened fire at a protest in Dallas against police violence, killing five officers and wounding seven others. This shooting came days after African American men were killed by white police officers in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, sparking protests in the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Local broadcasters immediately provided wall-to-wall coverage of the situation and forums for solace and discussion in the weeks that followed.

  • iHeartMedia Dallas' digital platforms were dominated by #DallasStrong.
  • Cumulus Media's WBAP and KILF-AM went commercial-free and pulled all contesting, jingles and promotions. Radio Ink interviewed Program Director Tyler Cox about the station's approach to coverage.
  • CBS Radio's KRLD-AM Dallas aired a special edition of "Weekend Roundup" entirely devoted to the Dallas shootings and the recent police shootings of African American men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.
  • ABC aired "America in Crisis: Ambush in Dallas" and a special edition of "20/20."
  • CBS devoted "48 Hours" to the issue and aired a special, "Bringing A Nation Together."
  • A CBS journalist filed a report while lying down, almost on his stomach. Another was so close to the site where a bomb detonated early on July 8 that viewers could hear the explosion. "It was a pretty harrowing experience but we got solid coverage," CBS Dallas President and General Manager Gary Schneider told Broadcasting & Cable.
  • Watch video here from CBS News Dallas correspondent Manuel Bojorquez, who was a short distance away when the gunman opened fire.

Stations Provide Solace Following Shootings

Television Stations Hold Town Halls on Police Violence

Television stations nationwide addressed racial tensions. Programs and events include:

  • TEGNA's ABC affiliate WFAA-TV Dallas hosted a "Stand United" town hall and raised $716,000 for the fallen officers.
  • Cox Media Group's CBS affiliate KIRO-TV Seattle hosted, aired and streamed a one-hour conversation.
  • TEGNA's ABC affiliate KVUE Austin posted a video on Facebook in rememberance of the fallen officers. It got almost two million views.
  • Raycom's Fox affiliate WXIX Cincinnati aired special reports and programming on July 15, including an hour-long special, "Black, White and Blue: A Community Conversation." City leaders and former law enforcement officers came to the station to discuss how the issues affect Cincinnati.
  • Scripps' ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV aired "Detroit 2020: Unify Detroit."
  • Raycom's CBS affiliate WAFB Baton Rouge held a town hall: "Where Do We Go From Here?"
  • TEGNA's CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston hosted a town hall, "Courageous Conversation." It was scheduled to last an hour and a half, but continued for four hours.
  • Manship Station's ABC affiliate WBRZ Baton Rouge raised $185,000 in the "Unite for Our Heroes Telethon" to benefit the families of the affected officers. "During this tragic time for our community, we were just trying to find a way, like so many others, that we could help," said Director Jake Manship.
  • TEGNA's NBC affiliate WGRZ-TV Buffalo aired a half-hour special and moderated a city-wide unity rally on July 18.
  • ABC-owned KGO-TV San Francisco hosted a two-hour live town hall, "A Bay Area Conversation."
  • Hearst's ABC affiliate WCVB Boston aired "5 On: Race in Boston."
  • TEGNA's ABC affiliate WZZM-TV Grand Rapids, Mich. launched a project called "LOVE/Hate."
  • Bounce TV and one of its founders, Martin Luther King III, launched an on-air and online initiative asking the Justice Department to require that local law enforcement be trained in de-escalating incidents with African Americans.
  • TEGNA's CBS affiliate WUSA Washington aired "Race: An Honest Conversation" for viewers to discuss the shootings. They used the hashtag #9TalksRace.

Radio Holds Town Halls and Fundraisers

Radio Stations Hold Town Halls on Police Violence

Radio stations held town hall meetings, community gatherings and fundraisers to address racial tensions. Programs and events include:

  • Alpha Media's KMKT-FM Dallas organized a #PrayForDallas vigil on July 8, attended by more than 200 members of the community. "We're proud of [on-air personality] Zac [Grantham]'s initiative to bring the Texoma community together and thank everyone for their participation in this important statement of concern and sorrow for our fallen heroes and their loved ones," said Market Manager David Smith. "We live here, too."
  • Cox Media Group Atlanta hosted a live roundtable discussion about it and other recent related events, with political figures, community leaders and listeners that aired July 8 on WALR-FM and WSB-AM/FM.
  • Davis Broadcasting in Columbus, Ga., hosted a "Stop the Music, Stop the Violence" community conversation at its headquarters on July 8 and a forum on July 15. The program aired on WFXE-FM, WOKS-AM, WKZJ-FM, WIOL-FM and WEAM-FM. "The purpose is to open up the phone lines to have a real conversation with the listeners and the citizens of Columbus, Georgia, to give them an outlet to express any of their feelings as to whether the things happening nationally are impacting them locally," said Business Manager Geniece Granville.
  • Alpha Media's KXL-FM Portland, Ore., personality Lars Lawson held a fundraiser for law enforcement on July 15 to benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. "We are extremely excited about hosting this event and letting law enforcement officers know that there are many people who truly support them and sincerely appreciate the job they do each day," said Operations Manager Bruce Collins.
  • Summit Media's WBHK-FM Birmingham hosted a "Silence the Violence Rally" on July 14.
Broadcasters Help Neighbors in Need

WNBC's Lynda Baquero Recovers Over $1 Million for Viewers

WNBC's Lynda Baquero Recovers Over $1 Million for Viewers

NBC owned-and-operated WNBC New York City reporter Lynda Baquero hosts the "Better Get Baquero" investigative series, which has helped recover more than $1 million from scammers. "With something like this our audience can reach out to us with a specific problem and we can help them individually — at the same time we're also passing along consumer information that can impact a larger audience," Baquero said. Viewers who have benefitted from the show include a man who had been overcharged $2,400 by a student loan company, a woman who was denied cancer treatment by her insurance company and a man who lost $4,000 to E-ZPass because he did not know about a residential discount. The show also helped a woman who received a $67,000 bill by her insurance company for an emergency medical helicopter transport because it had not been pre-approved in the moments before she collapsed and nearly died. A similar segment at Telemundo's WNJU has recovered almost $1.5 million for consumers.

KXL-FM Listener Helps Police Recover Stolen Van

KXL-FM Listener Helps Police Recover Stolen Van

Alpha Media's KXL-FM Portland, Ore., aired a story on July 21 about a Los Angeles firefighter and his family, who were vacationing in the area when their camper van, filled with their clothing and belongings, had been stolen. After the family called in to KXL's Lars Larson Show to tell their story, a listener saw the camper parked nearby and notified the police. Listen to audio here.

KLAL-FM Collects More Than 300,000 Boxes of Cereal

KLAL-FM Collects More than 300,000 Boxes of Cereal

Cumulus' KLAL-FM Wrightsville, Ark., collected more than 300,000 boxes of cereal in July for the Arkansas Food Bank in the "Summer Cereal Drive." KLAL-FM staff members spent nearly a month traveling from town to town collecting cereal and non-perishable, kid-friendly breakfast items. In 15 years, KLAL has collected over 2.1 million boxes of cereal.

Univision Arizona Empowers Community to Speak Up Against Violence

Univision Arizona Empowers Community to Speak Up Against Violence

Univision Arizona partnered with Councilman Valenzuela and Silent Witness to produce a special live call-in show to encourage community involvement following the recent wave of crimes in the Maryvale area of Phoenix. The two-hour special, titled "Voces de Maryvale" (Voices of Maryvale), aired July 22. It featured a panel discussion with Councilman Valenzuela, Phoenix Police Commander for the Maryvale Estrella Mountain Precinct Sean Patrick Connolly, and local area residents, followed by questions from a live audience.

WUSA Journalists Find Missing Baby

WUSA Journalists Find Missing Baby

TEGNA's CBS affiliate WUSA Washington, D.C., reporter Andrea McCarren and photojournalist Dave Satchell helped find a missing baby after an Amber Alert was issued for six-week-old Liz Khatun on July 13. Fairfax County Police said Liz's mother, Flora Khatun, fled a family services office in Annandale, Virginia after being informed Child Protective Services would take her daughter. After speaking to several of Khatun's neighbors, McCarren and Satchell met one person who said he thought he knew where Khatun was with her baby. The man was afraid of going to the police himself, so McCarren made the call to authorities before she and Satchell drove to the address. Once they arrived, they saw the tags on the van matched. Shortly thereafter, agents emerged from an apartment with the missing baby. "We've never had an experience like this," McCarren said.

WVUE New Orleans Exposes Corruption at Retirement Center

WVUE New Orleans Exposes Corruption at Retirement Center

Raycom's Fox affiliate WVUE New Orleans has earned, for the sixth consecutive year, the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). WVUE won the "News Series" category for reporter Lee Zurik's "Swiped: Financial Mismanagement." Zurik exposed a Louisiana retirement system executive director who spent recklessly on personal trips and meals while squandering nearly $150 million in retiree benefits. The series led to the executive director's resignation and sweeping institutional changes. WVUE was also recognized in the "Use of Video" category for the weekly "Heart of Louisiana" series produced by Dave McNamara. The winning story in the series featured a nature photographer, the birds at Grand Isle and a behind-the-scenes look at a Cajun bakery.

Radio Promotes Healthy Communities

Alpha Media Supports Blood Drive Alpha Media Supports Blood Drive

Alpha Media's KGNC-FM, KGNC-AM and KXGL-FM Amarillo, Texas, partnered with Coffee Memorial Blood Center for the "Boots vs. Badges Blood Drive" on June 24. The event collected 332 units of blood from 390 donors. Local law enforcement and first responders provided tours of emergency vehicles and cooked at the event. "It makes all the difference in the world having a partner who takes ownership of the event and invests in the success of our organization," said Suzanne Talley, director of Marketing and Public Relations for Coffee Memorial.

Local Radio Raises $260,000 to Fight Childhood Cancer

Local Radio Raises $260,000 to Fight Childhood Cancer

The Cromwell Group's WMCI-FM, WCBH-FM and WWGO-FM Mattoon, Ill., raised $260,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They raised $135,000 in a 150-mile walk from Mattoon to Peoria in late July and $125,000 in a radiothon. "Our WMCI-FM, WCBH-FM, and WWGO-FM make a difference every day, as do broadcasters across the country," said Cromwell Group President Bud Walters. "We can all be proud."

Bobby Bones Raises $20,000 for Equipment for Wounded Marine

Bobby Bones Raises $20,000 for Equipment for Wounded Marine

The Bobby Bones Show raised $20,000 in July through "America Strong" t-shirts sales, in order to purchase an all-terrain tracked wheel chair for former U.S. Marine Sgt. Kirstie Ennis. On the morning show, Ennis had shared the story of how she lost her leg serving as a helicopter door gunner in the military. Click here to listen to audio from July 18, when Ennis returned to the show to celebrate.

Television Stations Encourage Education

Univision News Offers Naturalization Exam Tool Univision News Offers Naturalization Exam Tool

Univision News has launched an interactive digital tool to help U.S. residents prepare for the official citizenship examination required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The free, user-friendly Citizenship Exam Tool provides a practice test featuring the 100 questions that appear on the test. Users can take the test as many times as they want, in English or Spanish, and can review their answers to learn the correct responses. The tool can be accessed on computers and mobile devices via the "Examen de Ciudadanía" (Citizenship Exam) button on and

KOBI Inspires Students

KOBI Inspires Students

California Oregon Broadcasting's NBC affiliate KOBI Medford, Ore., staff members attended a career day at a local middle school on June 28. They spoke to students about broadcasting jobs and brought professional camera equipment for demonstrations. The kids loved being able to act like reporters.

WBRZ "Stuffs the Bus" With $40,000 in School Supplies

WBRZ “Stuffs the Bus” With $40,000 in School Supplies

Manship Station's ABC affiliate WBRZ Baton Rouge filled four school buses with $40,000 worth of school supplies in its ninth annual "Stuff the Bus" campaign, July 13. During distribution, parents and youth received information regarding school assignments, health, nutrition, safety, school lunch programs and after-school programs.

Broadcasters Expose Corruption and Investigate Critical Issues

ABC Radio Wins Awards for Breaking News

ABC Radio Wins Awards for Breaking News

Cumulus' WABC-AM New York City was recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) with 2016 Edward R. Murrow Awards for "Overall Excellence," "Breaking News" and "Hard News." WABC won the "Breaking News" category for its coverage of the San Bernardino Shootings and the "Hard News" category with its report "Attacks in Paris: One Week Later." Winning entries can be heard here.

WFPL-FM Louisville Investigates Wrongful Jail Sentence

WFPL-FM Louisville Investigates Wrongful Jail Sentence

Louisville Public Media's WFPL-FM Louisville won a 2016 Society of Professional Journalism Award for "Kentucky Man Banished to Florida Sues Police, Alleges Harrowing Ordeal." Local police had been ordered by a judge to transport Adam Horine, who has a history of mental illness, to a state hospital for treatment. After Horine was sent to Florida instead, the police chief and one of his officers were indicted.

KOB-TV Exposes City for Ignoring Code Violations in New Homes KOB-TV Exposes City for Ignoring Code Violations in New Homes

Hubbard Broadcasting's NBC affiliate KOB-TV Albuquerque aired a story on June 28, "4 Investigates: Whistleblower Says City Ignores Code Violations in New Home Construction," after a whistleblower alerted KOB to a problem that potentially affects thousands of new home buyers in Albuquerque. Structural engineer Brian Seylar, who worked for the city's code enforcement department, said too many homes that are not up to code pass inspection. Subcontractors fail to account for critical pieces of wood and nails that help distribute the weight of the roof, eventually leading to cracks and leaks. Seylar was fired after he shared his concerns with his superiors at city hall.

KARE-TV Investigates Hospitals That Refuse Veterans

KARE-TV Investigates Hospitals who Refuse Veterans

TEGNA's NBC affiliate KARE-TV Minneapolis aired on July 6 "KARE 11 Investigates: MN Hospitals Turn Away Veterans Because VA Fails to Pay Bills." KARE found evidence that hospitals in Minnesota and across the nation are refusing to participate in the existing $10 billion VA "Choice" program because the VA does not pay its bills. An independent commission has since called for "urgent reforms" in medical care for veterans, including more options for private health care outside of traditional VA hospitals.

WYFF-TV Discovers Inmates Live Streaming From Prison

WYFF-TV Discovers Inmates Live Stream from Prison

Hearst's NBC affiliate WYFF-TV Greenville, S.C., aired on July 1 "South Carolina Inmates Caught on Camera Live Streaming From Inside Prison." WYFF discovered that hundreds of inmates in South Carolina prisons are using cell phones to access social media sites online, and have set up accounts to interact with family, friends and the general public.

WSOC-TV Exposes Home Owner and DMV Scams WSOC-TV Exposes Home-Owner and DMV Scams

Cox Media Group's ABC affiliate WSOC-TV Charlotte aired on July 8 "Action 9 Investigates Scammers Renting Out Homes They Don't Own." Con artists in Charlotte are renting homes that they do not own, leaving renters homeless and out of thousands of dollars. Some of these scammers even have keys to the homes, making them more convincing. Charlene Sherrill said that when she responded to an ad for a home on Craigslist, the scammer met her at the home three times to show her inside. She gave him the required six months worth of rent, or $7,000, up front. Sherrill moved in with her family, which includes four children and one on the way. Twelve days later, the real owner and police arrived to tell them to leave.

WSOC also aired "9 Investigates DMV Making Millions Selling Personal Information." The Department of Motor Vehicles is making millions selling personal information. WSOC questioned the Department of Transportation to find out if private data, including license numbers, could end up in the wrong hands. WSOC investigated companies across the country that pay big money for sensitive information.