Broadcasters' Public Service
March 2016
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Radio and television broadcasters constantly serve local communities. Stations air lifeline emergency information; support our troops; raise millions for cancer research and treatment; collect tons of 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


Radio and TV Stations Raise Millions for Children

WKDD-FM Collects $452,000 for Children's Hospital

WKDD RadiothoniHeartMedia's WKDD-FM Akron raised $452,000 for Akron Children's Hospital in its 17th annual "Have a Heart, Do Your Part Radiothon," February 11-13. The radiothon featured five-year-old Fiona Smith, who had a kidney removed and endured months of chemotherapy and radiation. Fiona is now in remission. Last year, Fiona turned in 36 pounds of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies as a "Change Bandit," or volunteer who asks family and friends to donate coins.

WBAL-TV and Maryland Special Olympics Raise $2 Million

WBAL Polar Bear PlungeHearst's NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Baltimore helped the Maryland Special Olympics raise $2 million in the "Polar Bear Plunge" with a three-day phone bank before the January 30 event. Anchor Jennifer Franciotti was once again a "Super Plunger" who raised at least $10,000 and jumped into the Chesapeake Bay 24 times in 24 hours. The 6,000 participants also included General Manager Dan Joerres and reporter Omar Jimenez. The money supports training and competition for 169 Special Olympics athletes in Maryland. Watch video.

Alex Lucas Children's HospitalEntravision Raises $2.9 Million for Kids

Alex Lucas of Entravision's syndicated morning show, "El Show de Alex ‘El Genio' Lucas," was awarded Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals' Hispanic Radio Person of the Year on February 24 for his extraordinary support of CMN. Entravision's eighth annual network-wide radiothon raised $2.9 million in 2015, benefiting 95 communities. Of that, KALC-FM Denver raised $1.3 million on February 11-12, bringing its 15-year total to $20.7 million.

WWJ Brings in $1.5 Million for Heating Bills

WWJ THAWCBS Radio's WWJ-AM Detroit raised $1.5 million in the 13th annual "Winter Survival Radiothon" for The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) on February 12. THAW provides emergency energy assistance to families in financial crisis due to job loss or serious illness. THAW's utility partners match every dollar raised.

WWMX-FM Raises $1.1 Million for Children's Hospital

WWMX RadiothonCBS Radio's WWMX-FM Baltimore raised a record $1.1 million for Johns Hopkins Children's Center in its 27th annual radiothon, held February 18. A station representative thanked listeners for helping the station in "impacting the lives of children and their families in our community."

WTCB WIS RadiothonWIS-TV and WTCB-FM Radiothon Funds Playground at Children's Hospital

Raycom's NBC affiliate WIS-TV and Cumulus' WTCB-FM Columbia, S.C., raised $164,000 on February 10 so Palmetto Health Children's Hospital can build a special playground designed for kids with IVs, in wheelchairs and those diagnosed with autism. This helps 150,000 kids who visit the hospital annually. The event featured Eli Adams, a 10-year-old boy with leukemia whose passions include baseball, basketball and kickball.

Alpha Media Nets $64,881 for St. Jude

Alpha Media RadiothonAlpha Media's WXCL-FM Peoria, Ill., raised $64,881 in its 26th annual St. Jude Radiothon, February 4-5. "I can't say enough about the family we are, and the families we strive to help," said Alpha Media Program Director Chris Michaels. "When you think about it, they are all our family, and we have their backs."

Wisconsin Radio Raises $437,000 for St. Jude

WNCY RadiothonMidwest Communications' Wisconsin stations hosted successful radiothons for St. Jude Children's Research hospital. WNCY-FM Oshkosh raised a record $274,000 in its 19th annual fundraiser, held February 11-12. WDEZ-FM Wausau raised a record $163,000 for the children.

Local Communities Rely on Broadcasters

Rep. Frank Pallone Praises Broadcasters' Heroic Work

broadcasters lifeline in emergencyAt the NAB State Leadership Conference on February 23, Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-6) praised broadcasters' "heroic work" in providing lifeline information during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, saying, "Their work — your work — saves countless lives." He specifically praised Greater Media's WRAT-FM Point Pleasant for how quickly the edgy rock station switched to 24-hour news, becoming a vital information source. WRAT connected a listener to a family member who he hadn't heard from for days. "WRAT had the privilege of broadcasting a family reunion that could not have happened without them," Pallone said. "And they did all this at the same time that the storm surge was inching closer to their station….To me that is what broadcasters are all about." Pallone recently proposed the SANDY Act to recognize the important role broadcasters play during emergencies and ensure that they get priority access to fuel for backup generators.

The Cromwell Group Delivers for Flint

Cromwell Group Flint Water Crisis

The Cromwell Group's Decatur, Ill., radio stations – WZUS-FM, WEJT-FM, WYDS-FM, WZNX-FM and WZUS-FM – and the Macon County Sheriff's collected approximately 178,000 bottles of water for Flint on February 5. They filled seven semi-trucks. Watch video.

WDIV Detroit Airs "Failure in Flint: Inside the Water Crisis"

WDIV Flint Water Crisis

Graham Media's NBC affiliate WDIV Detroit aired an hour-long special, "Failure in Flint: Inside the Water Crisis," on February 16. In addition to providing in-depth coverage, WDIV held phone banks and delivered water.

WXYZ Collects 20 Tons of School Supplies

WXYZ Fix My School

E.W. Scripps' ABC affiliate WXYZ Detroit's "Fix My School" Supplies Drive collected more than 20 tons of supplies, filling three semi-trucks, for Detroit Public Schools. The supplies were distributed February 22. "This incredible team effort is a great example of WXYZ's commitment to take action for our viewers and make a difference in our community," said General Manager Mike Murri. The "Fix My School" investigative series has led to corrective action from the city of Detroit.

KUSA Has a Heart for Homeless Pets, Raises $375,000

KUSA Have a Heart for Homeless Pets

TEGNA's NBC affiliate KUSA-TV Denver raised $375,000 in its "Have a Heart for Homeless Pets" telethon for the Dumb Friends League on February 11. The telethon will help the Dumb Friends League care for sick, injured and homeless animals. It also led to the adoption of 63 pets. Watch video.

WRWM Delivers 1,000 Valentine's Cards

WRWM Valentine

Cumulus' WRWM-FM Indianapolis' "JC in the Morning" show collected more than 1,000 homemade Valentine's Day cards, which they delivered to kids at Riley Hospital for Children during a party that the station hosted at the hospital on February 12.

Stations Provide Critical Investigative Reporting and Local News

WSET Investigates Defective Guardrails

WSET Investigates Guardrails

Sinclair's ABC affiliate WSET-TV Lynchburg, Va., uncovered failures in testing guardrails on state highways that could have left thousands of faulty guardrails on the road. The guardrails could impale drivers on impact, but Virginia is now removing them. Citing WSET's investigation, Virginia's senators have sought an investigation into guardrails on federal highways nationwide.

KUED Documentary on Native American Boarding Schools

KUED Unspoken: America's Native American Boarding Schools

The University of Utah's PBS affiliate KUED Salt Lake City aired "Unspoken: America's Native American Boarding Schools" on February 16. The documentary, produced by KUED Executive Director John Howe, explores how Native American boarding schools were instruments of the U.S. government's plan to eradicate native culture and languages in the late 1800s.

KFVS Investigates School Bus Safety

KFVS Belts on the Bus

Raycom's CBS affiliate KFVS-TV Cape Giradeau, Mo., launched an investigation called "Belts on the Bus." Even though children must legally wear seatbelts in cars, school buses do not feature seatbelts. KFVS' story also features the parents of a child who was killed in a bus accident. Watch video.

KPHO-TV Phoenix Reporter Finds Mexican Cartel Scout in Desert

KPHO Mexican Cartels

Meredith's CBS affiliate KPHO-TV Phoenix discovered observation posts where Mexican drug cartels watch law enforcement. While riding through the desert, investigative reporter Morgan Lowe and Detective Eddie Castro saw distinctive water bottles and trash. The next day, Lowe and his producer pretended to be hikers. After meeting a man dressed in camouflage who had a cell phone, two-way radio and police scanner, they found the observation point. Lowe risked his life to photograph supplies stashed between boulders, including solar panels for charging electronics and a cooking area.

WHAG-TV Announces $1 Million Local News Expansion

WHAG Local News

Nexstar's NBC affiliate WHAG-TV Hagerstown, Md., announced a $1 million expansion of its local news, sports, weather and community programming. WHAG will add field offices, hire a dozen news personnel, develop new on-air graphics and purchase new weather technology and traffic equipment. On July 1, WHAG will add 20 hours of local news each week, bringing the total to more than 50 hours. The investment "highlights the company's organization-wide commitment to broadcasting excellence and enhanced service to local communities," Nexstar said in a press release. Watch video.

No Power, No Problem for KDVR Denver

KDVR No Power, No Problem

Tribune's Fox affiliate KDVR Denver did not let a power outage caused by high winds knock them off air shortly before the 5 p.m. newscast on February 18. The Denver Post said, "KDVR went old-school, just short of candelabras on the anchor desk." They posted photos and videos of the dark studio on social media, including one of Meteorologist Jennifer Broome holding a giant white board to substitute for digital graphics. "Power? Who needs power?" said one tweet.

Radio and Television Stations Air Debates, Election Coverage

Chicago Stations Host Debates

ABC 7 WGBO Debates

ABC-owned WLS-TV, Univision's WGBO-TV Chicago and the League of Women Voters of Illinois hosted and streamed hour-long, commercial-free, prime time debates with candidates for U.S. Senate on February 19 and Cook County State's Attorney, February 26. WGBO aired each debate two days later.

WRAL Debate Features Senatorial Candidates

WRAL Debates

Capitol Broadcasting's NBC affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh hosted a half-hour debate on February 25, featuring the four Democratic candidates for the N.C. Senate: Kevin Griffin, Ernest Reeves, Chris Rey and Deborah Ross.

Univision Launches "Vote For Your America"

Univision Vote for Your America

Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) launched "Vote for Your America," a multi-platform campaign encouraging voter participation among Hispanic millennials. UCI is leveraging its broadcast and digital platforms, including Univision Network, UniMás, Galavisión, Univision Deportes Network and Local Media. The campaign includes local nonpartisan events, a bilingual text messaging tool, a digital election guide and PSAs. It is part of UCI's in-depth election coverage campaign, "Destino 2016" (Destiny 2016).

Broadcasters Celebrate Black History Month

LA Station Airs "Life Connected: Black History Month"

KNBC Black History Month

NBC's KNBC-TV Los Angeles aired "Life Connected: Black History Month" on February 13, featuring lesser-known aspects of black history, a Compton-born rapper who teaches kids to read and the story of the first African-American rocket scientist. KNBC also produced public service announcements (PSAs) on Black History Month.

WESH Celebrates Black History Month

WESH Black History Month

Hearst's NBC affiliate WESH Orlando highlighted and honored local black Central Floridians who have made significant contributions to the community.