WASHINGTON, DC -- The NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) announced the winners of the annual Service to America Awards today. Winners will be honored at the Celebration of Service to America Awards dinner on Monday, June 11, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The celebration recognizes outstanding community service by local broadcasters.
"Local broadcasters' public service efforts reach local communities in ways that other media entities cannot replicate," said NABEF President Marcellus Alexander. "The NAB Education Foundation proudly honors the recipients of this year's Service to America Awards for their unwavering commitment to enhancing the communities they serve."
Deborah Norville, host of the nation's top-rated syndicated newsmagazine "Inside Edition," will serve as master of ceremonies. The two-time Emmy Award-winner is considered one of the most recognizable personalities on television today. Also an author and philanthropist, Norville has been the National Celebrity Spokesperson for the Mother's March of Dimes, a director for the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, a board member of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and served on the Steering Committee for the Rita Hayworth (Alzheimer's) Gala.
This year's Service to America Awards will honor the following broadcasters:
SERVICE TO AMERICA TELEVISION AWARD
This award recognizes a television station for the totality of its efforts and its commitment to excellence in serving its community.
KRGV-TV Weslaco, Texas
Owner: Manship Family
KRGV Channel 5 has focused its efforts on the Rio Grande Valley people, where many live without streets, sewers, electricity or drinkable water. As part of its year-long effort, KRGV Channel 5 has sought to bring relief to the community and encourage education and positive change through dedicated air-time, shows and PSAs. To improve the health of Hispanic women, KRGV created the Breaking the Barriers initiative aimed at raising awareness about and access to breast cancer early detection screenings. To provide school children with supplies, KRGV participated in the Shareable Wearable clothing drive for school children and also administered a charity called Teach the Children, which provided over 8,000 first grade students with new clothes and school supplies. To fight hunger and cold, KRGV hosted a canned goods drive that assembled 3,000 baskets of food for families. During the drive, KRGV also collected coats for those in need. Other efforts also included six initiatives aimed at highlighting positive role models in the Rio Grande school communities and giving students the tools and resources to succeed. For example, during a 10-week period, KRGV recognized a different Student of the Week, awarding each with a $1,000 scholarship.
SERVICE TO CHILDREN AWARDS
These awards spotlight television and radio stations for outstanding programs, campaigns and public service announcements produced for the benefit of children.
WBHJ-FM Birmingham, Ala.
Owner: Cox Media Group
WBHJ has put the spotlight on Birmingham's youth, making it their mission to promote education and community involvement, and answer to children in need. Through on-air promotions, liners and live and recorded breaks, WBHJ supported a plethora of initiatives such as the annual Back to School Rally, which supplies disadvantaged children with school supplies, and Diploma Day, in partnership with The Maranathan Academy, to encourage high school drop-outs to enroll in programs to obtain their GEDs. At the holidays, through Project Santa, WBHJ provided children in need with Christmas gifts. WBHJ also played a role in prevention, with on-air personalities visiting schools to speak about the importance of education and libraries to read to children as part of the summer Jamz Reading Program. In addition, WBHJ put an emphasis on creativity and community involvement by featuring sports teams, inviting youth to take over the JAMZ station for one night and through a Fall Festival for children and families.
KWTV/KOTV Oklahoma City, Okla.
Owner: Griffin Communications, L.L.C.
The Griffin Communications Food for Kids Initiative, in partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, launched in April 2011 to help fight childhood hunger. At its inception, 25% of Oklahoma's children were suffering from hunger while hardly any community awareness existed about the issue. Griffin Communications decided to step in and change that by raising awareness and much-needed relief funds. To achieve their goals, over the course of the year, Griffin Communications and its television stations aired numerous PSAs, a minimum of two stories per month, posted on social media and dedicated website pages and put on promotional events such as Oklahoma's Own Ride Against Childhood Hunger and the Dine Out, Help Out initiative. Griffin's own employees embraced the cause, volunteering at food banks and donating over $10,000. Their anchors became spokespeople, providing a personal and passionate platform to sustain the Food for Kids Initiative. Since its launch, The Food for Kids Initiative raised more than $334,495, 100% of which has been donated to the Food Banks. In addition, due to public awareness, Food Banks saw a 60% increase in donations, which translates into a $1.1 million increase.
SERVICE TO COMMUNITY AWARDS
This category honors radio and television broadcasters for individual campaigns, projects or programs that serve the public good or otherwise provide exemplary service to their local communities.
WBLS-FM New York, N.Y.
Owner: ICBC Broadcasting Holdings
A lack of awareness and education about health has negatively affected the African American community. WBLS has strived to turn this around by creating a Community Health Initiative to bring health-related issues into the public eye. To raise awareness, WBLS provided listeners with a Health Minute covering such topics as high blood pressure, diabetes and sickle cell anemia. WBLS also placed calls to action, partnering with the Red Cross and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. to hold blood drives and raise awareness around blood shortages. Together, they collected enough blood to save over 3,000 lives. Other initiatives, such as the bone marrow drive, resulted in 400 donor registrations. WBLS, in partnership with the Harlem Chamber of Commerce, helped raise community awareness through the 5k Walk/Run for Health and also partnered with NBC 4 and New York Nonstop to host a Nonstop Day of Giving, raising close to $195,000 for City Harvest, equivalent to 720,000 pounds of food for those in need.
In 1999, tragedy struck Columbine High School when a young man shot and killed several of his classmates. Among those killed was Rachel Joy Scott, whose beliefs and story is at the heart of Rachel's Challenge, a non-profit organization begun by her family based on her desires to promote kindness and compassion. Belo responded to Rachel's call to service and began its involvement several years ago in Boise, Idaho. Since then, all television stations in Belo's fifteen markets have joined the cause. In these cities, Rachel's Challenge has reached 348 schools and nearly 383,000 people through awareness raised by dedicated air time, promotions and over 2,300 PSAs. In 2011, all participating stations devoted three minutes of content to Rachel's Challenge each week highlighting stories of suicide prevention and an end to bullying. In addition, local anchors emceed and covered with live reports year-end rallies, while many stations ran 30-minute specials featuring stories about the many positive impacts of Rachel's challenge. Through persistent and impassioned involvement, Belo has helped deliver a long-lasting message of non-violence and compassion to communities across America.
As previously announced, multiple award-winning actress Glenn Close will receive the 2012 Service to America Leadership Award, NABEF's highest honor, for her mental illness advocacy work. State Farm will receive the Corporate Leadership Award for their extraordinary focus on community service and corporate social responsibility.
About The Celebration of Service to America Awards
The Celebration of Service to America Awards are sponsored and produced by NABEF with major support from Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., Bonneville International Corporation and the National Association of Broadcasters. In recent years, Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges, entertainment industry icon Quincy Jones, legendary rock star Sir Elton John, former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Laura Bush, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and others have been presented with the Celebration of Service to America Leadership Award at the event. Details about the Celebration of Service to America Awards are available here.
The NAB Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinforcing the future of broadcasting through a commitment to education and to advancing excellence in the diversity and community service efforts of our industry. Learn more at www.nabef.org.