Broadcasters' Public Service
  June 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 Address Heroin Crisis

Radio Takes on Heroin

Radio Addresses Heroin Crisis

Midwest Communications' WTAQ-AM Green Bay, WHBL-AM/FM Sheboygan and WSAU-AM Wausau partnered on "Heroin in Wisconsin: Save Our Families," a live, five-hour special that aired from 6 – 11 a.m. on May 6. Morning hosts engaged listeners in a conversation about opioid use and provided in-depth coverage on Wisconsin's growing addiction problem. The stations also worked with state and local law enforcement to raise money for addiction treatment facilities. Al Peterson of NTS Media said it is "a great example of local radio using its resources and airwaves to address a major issue facing their listeners and communities."

WFLD-TV Chicago Simulcast Show on Opioids

WFLD-TV Chicago Simulcast Show on Opioids

Fox-owned WFLD-TV Chicago simulcast "Rockin' Recovery" onair and online on May 16 as part of its ongoing investigative reporting on Chicago's growing heroin and opioid epidemic. "Rockin' Recovery" airs every Monday on Harvard Community Radio's WHIW-LP Harvard, Ill. Show hosts Mike Young and Jason Beaty are recovering heroin addicts who now work for A Man In Recovery Foundation. They were also featured in a December story on the growing number of fatal overdoses in Chicago. "We are grateful to be able to give voice to the issue and an important resource to listeners everywhere," said WHIW President Sarah Flashing.

WFMZ-TV Awarded for Program on Heroin Addiction

WFMZ-TV Awarded for Program on Heroin Addiction

MBC Grand Broadcasting's WFMZ-TV Allentown, Pa., anchor Chandi Lowry was recognized by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters for the 30-minute special "Hooked on Heroin: Chasing the High," which aired last fall. Lowry received the award in the Outstanding Television Public Affairs Program category at the 2016 Awards Luncheon May 16.

CBS Evening News Debuts New Series on Heroin Addiction

CBS Evening News Debuts New Series on Heroin Addiction

CBS Evening News debuted a new series on America's heroin epidemic on May 16. "In the Shadow of Death: Jason's Journey" follows 30-year-old Jason Amaral, who has been addicted to heroin for 10 years, overdosed eight times and done countless detox programs. In part one, Amaral does heroin the day before entering rehab and discusses his daily usage. "This series aims to allow people to see, in real time, what heroin addiction really looks like," Executive Producer Steve Campus told TV Spy. "It may also help someone in the throes of addiction to get help, as our main character seeks life-saving assistance."

WFIE-TV Investigates: Heroin in Henderson

WFIE-TV Investigates: Heroin in Henderson

Raycom Media's NBC affiliate WFIE-TV Evansville, Ind., aired a report, "14 News Investigates: Heroin in Henderson," on May 23. In the first of a three-part series, reporter Hillary Simon investigates the heroin epidemic among teenagers and young adults in Henderson County, Ky. Local police are making more arrests in an effort to get teen users into rehab before they fatally overdose. In part two, which aired May 24, Simon interviewed a young heroin addict who is now on the path to recovery after repeated relapses. In part three, which aired May 25, two Henderson County mothers shared their stories on how their sons got addicted to the drug at a young age.

WSAW Investigates Opioid Abuse

WSAW Investigates Opioid Abuse

Gray Television's CBS affiliate WSAW-TV, Wausau, Wis., aired a three-part series, "News Channel 7 Investigates: Northern Wisconsin Opiate Oppression," which began May 23. Reporter Matthew Simon examined the opioid crisis across north central Wisconsin. New information shows that despite pill drop-off sites, Marathon County residents believe that the opioid epidemic is still entrenched in the state.

Radio and Television Support Veterans

WTMJ Raises $250,000 to Fly Vets to DC

WTMJ Raises $250,000 to Fly Vets to DC

Scripps' WTMJ-AM Milwaukee sponsored two "Stars and Stripes Honor Flights" that flew 140 veterans from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. in May. During WTMJ's "Operation Parallel," afternoon host John Mercure talked with veterans about what visiting their war memorial would mean to them. WTMJ held two radiothons and raised $250,000 to fund the flights. "We are humbled by the absolutely incredible support of WTMJ Radio," said Stars and Stripes Honor Flight Vice President, Public Relations Karyn Roelke. "Many of our veterans have already told us that, aside from their wedding day and the birth of their children, their Honor Flight day was the best day they have ever had."

KARE-TV Report on VA Prompts Congressional Action

KARE-TV Report on VA Prompts Congressional Action

TEGNA's NBC affiliate KARE-TV Minneapolis aired a report that led Rep. Tim Walz (MN-1) to call for a nationwide investigation into improper brain injury exams done by Veterans Affairs. Unqualified doctors in Minneapolis had examined 300 veterans, causing many to be denied benefits. Only one of 21 medical professionals conducting initial exams from 2010 - 2014 at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center was qualified according to the VA's own policy.

WRAL Investigates Program to Cut VA Wait Times

WRAL Investigates Program to Cut VA Wait Times

Capitol Broadcasting's NBC affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh aired an investigation on May 25 into a program designed to cut health care wait times for veterans by allowing them to utilize doctors outside the Veterans Affairs system. Reporter Cullen Browder interviewed local veterans who are still dealing with the same delays the program was supposed to fix. WRAL's special also explored the causes of the program's pitfalls.

Local Stations Promote Education and Healthy Communities

Cromwell Radio Earns Outstanding Media Group Award Cromwell Radio Earns Outstanding Media Group Award

Cromwell Radio's WMCI-FM, WWGO-FM and KZTP-FM Mattoon, Ill., will receive the "2016 Special Olympics Illinois Statewide Outstanding Media Sponsor" award on June 10. Cromwell Radio has supported the Special Olympics for more than a decade, with stations airing countless PSAs and on-air personalities acting as emcee at events. KZTP's Polar Plunge team raised $5,000 for the organization this year. Cromwell Radio also provides remote broadcasting support and markets events benefiting the Special Olympics. "Undoubtedly, the Cromwell Radio Group of Mattoon deserves the recognition of Outstanding Media Support for Special Olympics Illinois and much more, as it truly is a company that cares about its community," said Jessica Duncan of Special Olympics Illinois.

WBAB-FM and WBLI-FM Work With Ronald McDonald House

WBAB and WBLI Work with Ronald McDonald House

Cox Media's WBAB-FM and WBLI-FM Long Island staff visited the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park, N.Y., to tour the facility and learn about their mission and fundraising initiatives. As a result, WBAB and WBLI are working with the Ronald McDonald House on several events, including the "Walk of Love" and their annual Gala. Ronald McDonald House will also be the beneficiary of WBAB and WBLI's "Touch-A-Truck" event, where listeners will be encouraged to donate non-perishable food and household goods.

WWL Is "Taking a Stand" Against Violence

WWL is “Taking a Stand” Against Violence

TEGNA's CBS affiliate WWL New Orleans launched "Taking a Stand" to tackle violence in New Orleans, which has one of the country's highest crime rates. It explores causes and solutions and spotlights people making a difference. "The violence issue is key to our future," said News Director Keith Esparros. "We feel it's crucial to understand the causes and effects of violence, to look at those who are making a difference, and to try to change the conversation on an issue that will help determine the direction of our region."

WLTV Honors Outstanding Local High School Students WLTV Honors Outstanding Local High School Students

Univision-owned WLTV Miami honored 10 local high school seniors with its 19th annual "Orgullo de Nuestra Juventud" (Pride of our Youth) award, presented at a lunch on May 5. Six students received awards for academic excellence and community service, while the other four were recognized for academic growth. The students received college scholarships and gift cards to help with expenses.

WNBC and WNJU Host 40,000 People at Free Health Expo

WNBC and WNJU Host 40,000 People at Free Health Expo

NBC-owned WNBC-TV and Telemundo's WNJU New York City hosted 40,000 people at the Health and Fitness Expo, May 14-15 at MetLife Stadium. Free screenings tested cholesterol, vitamin D, kidney function and blood sugar levels. Attendees kicked field goals, visited the Giants' locker room and met on-air personalities, former NFL Super Bowl champions and Gold Medal Olympians. "The Expo is not only unique, fun-filled and free to attend, but it provides visitors with the tools they need to live a healthier, more active lifestyle," said WNJU General Manager Cristina Schwarz.

Univision Breaks Ground on Media Centers at Middle Schools

Univision Breaks Ground on Media Centers at Middle Schools

Univision Communications Inc. broke ground on April 29 at five new Univision Media Centers at middle schools in Austin, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Oakland. All five ceremonies broadcast live on Univision's morning show "Despierta América" and marked the culmination of Yo Soy Univision Contigo (I Am Univision Contigo), the national employee week of service. At the Media Centers, Univision staff members provide students with experience in media production and editing. Univision broke ground on its first Media Center in the Bronx earlier this year.

Broadcasters Raise Millions of Dollars for Non-Profit Organizations

Alpha Media Fredericksburg Surpasses $1.2 Million for Charity Alpha Media Fredericksburg Surpasses $1.2 Million for Charity

Alpha Media's WFLS-FM, WNTX-AM/FM, WVBX-FM and WWUZ-FM Fredericksburg, Va., raised $1.2 million in a radiothon held May 5 – 6. The event benefits the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, which distributes the funds to local charities.

WLBT Raises $900,000 for St. Jude

WLBT Raises $900,000 for St. Jude Raycom's NBC affiliate WLBT-TV Jackson, Miss., raised $900,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in its "St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway," held April 17. Viewers purchased tickets for a chance to win prizes, including a new car, shopping spree, gift cards and the dream home, which is valued at $500,000.

KKJO-FM Helps Kids With Cancer Attend Camp

KKJO-FM Helps Kids with Cancer Attend Camp  Eagle Communication’s KKJO-FM St. Joseph, Mo., raised $12,200 in the 11th annual Radio-A-Thon for Camp Quality on May 27. Camp Quality offers a week-long summer camp for kids with cancer and year-round support for their families. It costs $1,300 per child, so the Radio-A-Thon benefits many local families. In total, KKJO has raised over $210,000 for Camp Quality.

KUSA-TV Shred-A-Thon Sets Records KUSA-TV Shred-A-Thon Sets Records

TEGNA's NBC affiliate KUSA-TV Denver raised $94,000 for Metro-Denver Crime Stoppers in the 9th annual "Shred-a-Thon," held May 14 at six locations throughout the metro area. Metro-Denver Crime Stoppers supports local law enforcement agencies by offering cash rewards for tips that help solve crimes. The Shred-A-Thon is Crime Stoppers' biggest fundraiser. In addition, hundreds of thousands of pounds of sensitive documents were shredded at the event. Last year, KUSA raised $75,000.

WIS-TV Raises $1.6 Million for Local Non-Profits

WIS-TV Raises $1.6 Million for Local Non-Profits

Raycom's NBC affiliate WIS-TV Columbia, S.C., raised $1.6 million during the "Midlands Gives" radiothon on May 3. The Central Carolina Community Foundation dispenses the funds to local non-profit organizations.

Radio Raises $280,000 for Children's Hospitals

Radio Raises $280,000 for Children’s Hospitals

iHeartMedia's WGY-AM/FM and WRVE-FM Albany, N.Y., raised $280,000 for the Bernard & Millie Duke Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center in the 18th annual "Cares for Kids Radiothon," held May 5 – 6.

KVAL CanDo! Food Drive Breaks Record KVAL CanDo! Food Drive Breaks Record

Sinclair's CBS affiliate KVAL-TV Eugene, Ore., collected more than 33,500 meals in the 8th annual KVAL "CanDo! Food Drive" on April 13. "KVAL's commitment to the CanDo! Food Drive is fabulous and really helps us bring in healthy, non-perishable foods at a time when our food supplies begin to decrease over the summer," said Beverlee Potter, Food For Lane County Executive Director. "Thank you for your commitment to feeding people throughout Lane County."

Broadcasters Host Debates; Encourage Voter Registration

Univision Draws 100,000 to Voter Registration Drives

Univision Draws 100,000 to Voter Registration Drives Univision has drawn 100,000 people to 145 citizenship workshops, forums and voter registration drives across the U.S. as it aims to register three million new Latino voters this election season. Univision launched a PSA campaign in English and Spanish on its 126 television and radio stations. Its election-based texting tool has 130,000 subscribers from all 50 states.

WRAL Hosts Debate for U.S. House Hopefuls

WRAL Hosts Debate for U.S. House Hopefuls  Capitol Broadcasting's NBC affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh hosted an hour-long debate May 19 for U.S. House candidates. Incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers, Rep. George Holding (his area recently moved in redistricting), and Dr. Greg Brannon discussed N.C.'s controversial LGBTQ legislation, presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, immigration and the Affordable Care Act.

Local Stations Provide Lifeline Tornado Coverage

Alpha Radio Helps Families Following Tornado KVAL CanDo! Food Drive Breaks Record

Alpha Media’s KSAL-AM/FM, KYEZ-FM, KSAJ-FM, KBLS-FM and KABI-AM Salina, Kan., organized a donation drive when a tornado leveled six houses and damaged 20 others on May 25. The stations contributed 50 insulated coolers and 50 bags of ice to residents without power, asking listeners to donate bottled water, coolers, ice and money. A local company provided 2,000 pounds of dry ice and 200 pairs of leather gloves. The relief effort “reinforced Alpha Media’s mission statement of why being live and local is important to our community,” said Alpha Media’s Promotions Director Danielle Norwood.

Oklahoma Broadcasters Provide Lifeline Tornado Coverage Oklahoma Broadcasters Provide Lifeline Tornado Coverage

Local stations provided lifeline emergency weather coverage as tornadoes touched down near Oklahoma City on May 9. The E4 tornadoes, with winds at 166 – 200 miles per hour, killed at least two people and destroyed homes, barns and other structures. Here is a sample of broadcasters' coverage:

  • Griffin's CBS affiliate KWTV Oklahoma City provided critical updates as the tornado touched down, forming multiple vortices and spitting tennis ball-sized hail.
  • Tribune's NBC affiliate KFOR-TV Oklahoma City produced a live blog as the tornado approached, encouraging viewers to "take your tornado precautions now."
  • Hearst's ABC affiliate KOCO-TV Oklahoma City aired two live videos. Reporter Chris Sanner saw the tornado from a half mile away, allowing meteorologist Damon Lane to warn viewers.
  • Gray Television's CBS affiliate KXII-TV Ardmore captured footage of horses going airborne as the tornadoes spun through Murray County on May 10. The storm wiped out two horse ranches, both operated by the same family for more than 30 years.

Broadcasters Expose Corruption

WLUK-TV Investigates Tax Dollars Spent on Lambeau Field WLUK-TV Investigates Tax Dollars Spent on Lambeau Field

Sinclair's Fox affiliate WLUK-TV Green Bay aired "Excess Lambeau Sales Tax" on May 10, showing that Brown County municipalities are not spending the $17.4 million in encumbered tax dollars left over from the Lambeau Field renovation. The money is meant to support local communities, but WLUK found that only 11 of 25 local governments have spent or allocated the money.

WSB Finds Inmates Remain in Prison, Despite DNA Evidence WSB Finds Georgia Inmates Remain in Prison, Despite DNA Evidence

Cox Media Group's ABC affiliate WSB-TV Atlanta aired "Georgia Keeps Inmates in Prisons, Despite DNA Results That Could Clear Them" on May 18. WSB looks into the statement of a former legislator who crafted Georgia's DNA statute for the criminal justice system. The law allows for DNA testing of old evidence years after a conviction, but a new trial is not guaranteed.

KPRC Houston Investigates City Corruption KPRC Houston Investigates City Corruption

Graham Media Group's KPRC-TV Houston exposed a consumer scam involving a businessman with ties to Mayor Sylvester Turner. The City Council awarded Ricardo Gonzalez's company, USA Auto Collision Center, a contract to tow vehicles involved in accidents. The city allows companies to charge $155.50 per tow, but Gonzalez charges $3,000. Gonzalez, who donated $10,000 to the Mayor's campaign, allegedly has customers unknowingly consent to additional charges, in a scam commonly referred to as flipping.

Television Stations Investigate Health Issues

WEWS-TV Investigates Breakdowns in Cleveland's 911 System WEWS-TV Investigated Breakdowns in Cleveland’s 911 System

E.W. Scripps' ABC affiliate WEWS-TV Cleveland aired an investigation on May 21, "How Serious Breakdowns in Cleveland's 911 System Put Your Safety at Risk." Reporter Sarah Buduson had been reporting for months on delays and failures in connecting emergency calls in Cleveland. In this new report, emergency dispatchers expressed their concerns. They say 911 callers are often placed on hold, lost, and subject to a heavy volume of system malfunctions that leave callers without timely assistance.

WJLA Exposes Hospital Hacking

WJLA Exposes Hospital Hacking

Sinclair's ABC affiliate WJLA-TV Washington, D.C., aired a report on May 19 showing the hacking vulnerability of hospital equipment such as MRI machines, CT scans, infant incubators and drug infusion pumps. WJLA examined why manufacturers do little to correct the issue, despite FDA advisories. The report shows that cybersecurity expert Billy Rios has a sophisticated x-ray machine that is typically used during surgery to maneuver around a sedated patient. He uses it to determine how easily a criminal could install malware or control the machine remotely via Wi-Fi, allowing them to debilitate it or deliver fatal doses of radiation.

WFXT-TV Investigates Mental Health Services

WFXT-TV Investigates Mental Health Services

Cox Media Group's Fox affiliate WFXT-TV Boston aired on May 12, "Fox25 Investigates: Massachusetts Gets an 'F' in Mental Health Services." Massachusetts is one of only four states without laws addressing outpatient mental health services, leading one advocacy group to give the state an "F." WFXT included the story of a mentally ill man who recently went on a stabbing spree, killing two and injuring five. Advocates say he should not have left the hospital without support in place. In other states, judges can order outpatient mental health treatment for patients who are a danger to themselves and others.

WSOC-TV Inspires Legislation Against Anti-Depression Drug WSOC-TV Inspires legislation Against Anti-Depression Drug

Cox Media Group's ABC affiliate WSOC-TV Charlotte aired a story that inspired Sen. Tom McGinnis to file legislation against the herb Kratom. WSOC talked to Lauren Eden, whose son John killed himself in May 2015. John's Kratom usage skyrocketed after he took it to treat depression. Supporters say that Kratom, which is advertised on billboards, treats diabetes, pain, depression and addiction. The FDA says it poses a public health risk with the potential for abuse. North Carolina would be the sixth state to ban it.

WSAZ-TV Charleston, W.V. Investigates E.R. Wait Times

KPHO-TV Wins Murrow Award for Digging into Toxic Mine Issue

Gray Television's NBC affiliate WSAZ-TV Charleston, W.V., aired "WSAZ Investigates: E.R. Gridlock" on May 17. Reporter Nathan Takitch found that some patients transported by ambulance are waiting up to four hours in Kanawha County's four emergency rooms. Due to the wait times, EMTs regularly test and treat patients in the ambulance while waiting in the parking lot.

KPHO-TV Wins Murrow Award for Digging into Toxic Mine Issue

WJXT Event Provides Free Dental Treatment to 2,900 People

Meredith's CBS affiliate KPHO-TV Phoenix won a regional Murrow award for their report "Abandoned Mine Pollution." No regulatory agency knows how many of Arizona's 100,000 abandoned mines leak toxic metals. The KPHO team hiked six miles into the mountains to collect samples of uranium, lead, silver and copper. "Viewers rely on them to speak for those who have no voice for seeking justice and exposing wrongdoing," said General Manager Ed Munson.