Tribune Media’s WREG-TV Memphis, Tenn., received the Service to Community Award for Television – Medium Market at the NAB Leadership Foundation 2019 Service to America Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. WREG received the honor for their continued support of the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital through Go Jim Go!
To support the hospital’s mission to provide care to children in need, WREG meteorologist Jim Jagger bikes 333 miles through the community each fall. Along the way, he and his team collect donations raised by churches, schools and other community organizations. While Jim rides, WREG highlights the lifesaving work performed at LeBonheur. In 2018, the event raised $370,000. Since the inaugural ride, the station has donated $2.9 million.
E.W. Scripps’ CBS affiliate WTVF Nashville has wiped out $4 million in medical debt for more than 1,000 people across Middle Tennessee through its "Medical Debt Rescue" program. WTVF achieved this using a total of $35,000 in donations, $15,000 from WTVF and another $20,000 from viewers. There are no strings attached. Recipients include a grandmother who had $4,852 in medical debt paid following her open heart surgery.
Nexstar’s ABC affiliate WKRN Nashville has recently promoted safety in the community:
In May, WKRN launched “Lock It and Pocket” public service campaign in partnership with the local law enforcement community. News Director Elbert Tucker suggested the campaign after noticed an increase in reported vehicle thefts where the vehicle owners left their keys in their cars. In the 30-second on-air and digital spots, the law enforcement officers ask people to be sure and lock their vehicles and take their keys with them to prevent vehicle thefts.
WKRN and law enforcement raised over $18,000 to benefit the family of Metro Nashville Police Officer John Anderson, who was killed in the line of duty on July 4. Officer Anderson left behind a fiancée and a son.
Scripps’ CBS affiliate WTVF Nashville, along with The Tennessean and Belmont University, held a debate for the leading candidates for Nashville mayor on June 25. The debate is part of their commitment to provide voters with critical news and information on the issues impacting Nashville.
Morris Multimedia’s CBS affiliate WDEF in Chattanooga, Tenn., continued its partnership with the Salvation Army for the 2018 Angel Tree program. As a result of the on-air and online giving campaign, all of the “angels” were adopted in record time. Morris Multimedia employees distributed gifts to more than 4700 children and seniors in total.
Nexstar Media Group is producing and hosting the three-part “Tennessee Governor Debate Series.” ABC affiliate WATN-TV Memphis and the Greater Memphis Chamber produced the first live debate, held April 18, with a focus on business and infrastructure. It aired on Nexstar’s WATN-TV Memphis, ABC affiliate WKRN-TV Nashville, ABC affiliate WATE-TV Knoxville, CBS affiliate WJHL-TV Johnson City, Fox affiliate WJKT-TV Jackson and Fox affiliate WZDX-TV Huntsville. It also aired on Sinclair’s ABC affiliate WTVC-TV Chattanooga, plus radio stations and Spanish language television stations across Tennessee.
Part two of the “Tennessee Governor Debate Series,” held June 20 in Nashville, will focus on legislative and crime issues. The third debate on July 20 in Knoxville will focus on education and health care.
“The Tennessee Governor Debate Series is a unique opportunity for local voters to hear directly from the candidates on the issues that matter most to them before heading to the polls this summer,” said Nexstar President Tim Busch.
Twenty-one Memphis radio stations aired a “roadblock” announcement on April 2 to promote the Mid-South Food Bank’s “Hunger to Hope” campaign, encouraging listeners to donate towards the construction of a new food distribution center. “Food insecurity is a real issue across the Mid-South and this unprecedented effort by our local radio stations and Kroger gives everyone a chance to contribute to help build our new distribution center. We cannot thank them enough,” said Mid-South Food Bank President and CEO Estella Mayhue-Greer.
Meredith’s NBC affiliate WSMV-TV Nashville aired on March 27 an investigation into three women’s accusations of sexual misconduct by State Rep. David Byrd while they were teenagers on the high school basketball team he coached. WSMV obtained a secretly recorded phone conversation in which Byrd apologized to one of his accusers. Two hours before WSMV’s investigation aired, Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell asked Byrd to resign. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has also called for Byrd to resign.
Holston Valley Broadcasting’s WVEK-FM, WTFM-FM, WRZK-FM and WKPT-FM Johnson City, Tenn., raised $395,000 for the only children’s hospital in the region during their sixth annual Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon, held February 26 - 27. Since its inception six years ago, the radiothon has raised more than $1,400,000.
“Our radio stations are always looking for ways to give back to our community,” said Holston Valley Broadcasting President David Widener. Since its beginning, the radiothon has raised more than $1,400,000.”
Cumulus Media Inc.’s WIVK-FM Knoxville raised $307,319 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through their two-day “Country Cares for St. Jude Kids” radiothon. Radio professionals from stations WIVK-FM, WNML-FM and WOKI-FM offered support, answering phones and recording donations throughout the radiothon.
FOX’s WHBQ-TV Memphis employees presented to Hillcrest High School Journalism Class students about television career paths. Representatives from the station’s engineering, sales and news teams shared their education and career paths with students, followed by a lively question and answer session.
Cox Media Group’s Fox affiliate WHBQ-TV Memphis has held several events in the community. In July, WHBQ collected school supplies for Communities in Schools, Teacher Toolbox and United Way. Through the supplies collected, more than 35,000 Mid-South students will receive necessary items for the school year. In April, WHBQ’s “Family Focus” collected non-perishable food items for the Mid-South Food Bank, serving more than 16,000 people.
Salem Media Group’s WFFH-FM Nashville hosts monthly “You Matter Saturday” events. “You Matter” events are hope-filled events which provide
free food distribution, health screenings, dental care, extended health care,
financial counsel and live music to the area’s economically challenged.
These service events include a coalition of partners brought together by
94FM the Fish (WFFH), including One Generation Away food distribution ministry, area hospital and medical service providers, dental providers and financial services providers.
iHeartMeda’s WSIX-FM Nashville hosted the “Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots’ Million Dollar Show For St. Jude” on January 9, which raised $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Country music superstars Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, Thomas Rhett Craig Campbell, Lindsay Ell, Sam Hunt, Rascal Flatts, Caitlyn Smith and The Band Perry performed at the event.
Cumulus Media’s WIVK-FM Knoxville raised $815,000 on December 5, in the 18-hour on-air and online #SmokyMtnStrong Radiothon benefiting victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires. All funds stayed in East Tennessee to support areas affected by the fires.
Cumulus Media’s Nashville stations WKDF-FM, WGFX-FM, WQQK-FM, WWTN-FM and WSM-FM brought the community together on December 6 to create a "Toy Field" at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium. The stations collected thousands of gifts during the 9th annual event, benefitting The Salvation Army’s “Forgotten Angel” program, which reached almost 9,000 people.
Raycom Media’s NBC affiliate WMC-TV Memphis held its annual “Holiday Food Drive” benefitting Mid-South Food Bank on December 7. The station collected enough food and money to provide 200,000 meals across the viewing area.
Tribune’s CBS affiliate WREG-TV Memphis aired “Scam Alert: Government Grant Scam Picks Up Across Mid-South.” The station discovered more than 1,300 reports of people receiving calls claiming they were eligible for a free government grant.
Raycom’s NBC affiliate WMC-TV Memphis partnered with the Memphis Police Department (MPD) to support the family of Police Officer Verdell Smith, who was killed in the line of duty on June 4. In 12 hours on June 7, WMC and MPD staff members raised $43,000 in front of the WMC studio.
Scripps’ CBS affiliate WTVF Nashville raised a record $2.7 million on June 5 in its Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Telethon. Funds support research, equipment and patient programs at Vanderbilt’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. WTVF features interviews with patients, families, faculty and staff.
Raycom Media’s WMC-TV Memphis held its eighth annual “St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway” to support the hospital’s pediatric cancer research and treatment efforts. The station sold all of its giveaway tickets and raised $1.3 million for St. Jude.
The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters recently provided great examples of how the state’s local radio and television stations serve their communities.
Midwest Communications Media contributed 65 hours in donated airtime and raised collected $900,000 for the American Cancer Society. In Knoxville, Scripps Radio Group’s WWST-FM, WKHT-FM, WCYQ-FM and WNOX-FM raised $251,000 for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
In 2016, Nexstar’s Memphis stations ABC affiliate WATN-TV, CW affiliate WLMT-TV and Fox affiliate WJKT-TV expect to air at least 5,000 hours in investigative journalism, 120,000 hours in news coverage and 100 hours in election coverage. Morris Multimedia’s CBS affiliate WDEF-TV Chattanooga anticipates 200 hours in investigative journalism, 1,400 hours of local news, 200 hours in Emergency Weather coverage and 500 hours dedicated to elections.
Raycom Media’s NBC affiliate WMC-TV Memphis joined with the Memphis Fire Department and Cumulus Radio Group to hold a fundraiser for the family of Lt. Rodney Eddins, who died while fighting a fire. WMC Action News 5 employees and Memphis Firefighters stood in front of the studio from 6:00 a.m. -6:30 p.m. with donation buckets. More than $13,000 was raised for his family.
Raycom Media’s WMC-TV Memphis partnered with the Memphis Redbirds for “First Alert Weather Fest” on April 14. More than 3,000 area students learned about weather and meteorology before attending a free baseball game.
Sinclair’s ABC affiliate WTVC Chattanooga raised $1.2 million in the final telethon for Ronald McDonald House Charities, held March 5. For the past 20 years, the telethon has raised money to help families with critically ill children who are receiving medical treatment.
Nexstar Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate WATN-TV Memphis raised $24,000 for the American Red Cross’ tornado relief efforts, in a telethon held December 30. The money raised will help more than 100 families affected by tornadoes that killed 18 people in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi on December 23. Watch video.
Raycom Media’s WMC-TV Memphis held its eighth annual “St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway” to support the hospital’s pediatric cancer research and treatment efforts. The station sold all of its giveaway tickets and raised $1.3 million for St. Jude.
Raycom Media’s WMC-TV Memphis partnered with the Mid-South Food Bank for the “WMC Action News 5 Holiday Food Drive.” The day-long event collected more than 25,000 pounds of food and more than $60,000, which translates to more than 200,000 meals.
Meredith Corp.’s NBC affiliate WSMV Nashville Chief Meteorologist Lisa Spencer received the National Weather Association’s 2015 NWA Broadcaster of the Year Award, which recognizes broadcasters who contribute significantly to the dissemination of critical weather information. Spencer and WSMV’s weather team regularly travel across Tennessee promoting severe weather preparedness via their "4WARN Weather Alert Tour." Spencer has helped raise thousands of dollars through tornado and flood relief telethons. She also leads "Warm Coats from Warm Hearts," which collects thousands of coats each year, and "Heat Wave Help" to collect air conditioners. (Watch video).
Tennessee Telethon Raises $1.3 Million
Bahakel Communications’ ABC affiliate WBBJ-TV Jackson, Tenn.’s 32nd annual "Circles of Hope" telethon on Aug. 16 raised $1.3 million for The Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Each Carl Perkins Center provides therapy, forensic interviews, parenting groups and community education related to child abuse. In Henderson County, the Perkins Center served about 1,100 children and 1,900 parents in the past year. Therapeutic programming would not be available to many families due to insurance restrictions, but these clinics offer all services free of charge.
"Friends Across the Mountains" 2015 Telethon Raises $202,000
Tegna Media’s NBC affiliate WBIR-TV Knoxville, Tenn., and Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s ABC affiliate WLOS-TV Asheville, N.C., raised $202,000 on Aug. 20 to support the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 21 years, the event has raised more than $3 million. The money will support the rehabilitation of Alum Cave Trail, suppression of invasive species and black bear and elk management.
Ryman Hospitality Properties’ WSM-AM Nashville broadcast live interviews with candidates for mayor on Aug. 4 in advance of the Aug. 6 election. Candidates were invited to visit a local deli, where morning show hosts Bill and Charlie aired the live show Coffee, Country & Cody with the Candidates! <
Three Nashville stations scheduled televised debates in advance of a potential runoff in the mayoral election. The first debate will air Aug. 19 on Meredith Corporation’s NBC affiliate WSMV-TV. On Aug. 24, Scripps’ CBS affiliate WTVF-TV will air another debate. The final debate is set for Sept. 2 on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Fox affiliate WZTV-TV. On May 21, WSMV aired a debate with all seven candidates, who covered topics such as traffic, transportation, preserving Nashville’s history and gentrification.
The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters (TAB), Tennessee Department of Education and Vanderbilt Peabody College collaborated on the documentary "Saving Lives: Safe and Supportive Schools in Tennessee" for television and radio stations to air in February and March. Students and teachers at four high schools, including Taylor Swift’s alma mater, discussed their school’s programs aimed at reducing violence and increasing academic performance. At Hendersonville High, students watched the music video for Swift’s "Mean" before launching into a discussion on bullying with their classmates.
iHeartMedia’s WUSY-FM Chattanooga, Ten. raised $147,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research hospital with their “No Shave November” fundraiser. During the annual “Beard Bash,” individuals and teams were recognized for their fundraising efforts. Amongst those that were recognized, KRWQ-FM Medford, Tenn. won the award for largest radio fundraising team with more than $15,000 collected.
Cumulus Radio’s Nashville stations WNFN-FM, WKDF-FM, WSM-FM, WGFX-FM, WWTN-FM and WQQK-FM collected 5,000 toys for the Salvation Army’s Forgotten Angel Program. On Dec. 9, the stations formed a "field of toys" at LP Field. The Salvation Army in Nashville reached more than 9,000 "angels" during the 2014 holiday season.
iHeartMedia’s Memphis, Tenn. stations, WHRK-FM, KJMS-FM, WHAL-FM and WDIA-AM, raised $201,000 to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during their annual two-day radio broadcast in October. This year’s event nearly doubled the amount the stations raised in 2013.
Journal Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate WTVF-TV Nashville received a Peabody Award for its year-long investigation into the outsourcing of government projects within Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s administration. WTVF-TV presented more than three dozen reports that outlined questionable government activities described as "cronyism." The "Questions of Influence" series has led to a state audit, a review of several state contracts and hearings within the Tennessee legislature.
Cumulus-owned WGKX-FM Memphis hosted the station’s 25th anniversary Country Cares Radiothon to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospitals. The event raised more than $308,000 to support pediatric cancer research. Over the past 25 years, WGKX-FM has raised more than $4.6 million for St Jude.
Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM Nashville hosted the Hunger to Hope Radiothon to support the Nashville Rescue Mission which provides food, clothing and shelter to Nashville’s poor and homeless. WWTN-FM broadcast commercial-free for 14 hours outside the Rescue Mission, challenging listeners to donate to those in need. In total, the radiothon raised more than $111,000.
Thunderbolt Broadcasting’s WCMT-AM/FM Martin, Tenn., hosts Chris Brinkley and Paul Tinkle of the "Good Times in the Morning" program held a four-hour radiothon for the local St. John’s Community Development Services Center. The event raised $17,000 for St. John’s CDS, which serves approximately 100 special needs adults and provides opportunities for them to perform skills that allow them to remain productive in society. An additional $3,200 was mailed or delivered to the radio station. The total campaign raised more than $20,000.
Gannett-owned WBIR-TV Knoxville, Tenn., and Sinclair’s WLOS-TV Asheville, N.C., broadcast the 19th annual "Friends Across the Mountains Telethon" to benefit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which houses a half-million acres of wilderness between the North Carolina-Tennessee border. The telethon raised more than $201,000 for the park. Since 1995, the event has raised $2.9 million.
Clear Channel-owned WRVW-FM Nashville hosted the "Star Party," a concert featuring Ed Sheeran, that benefited Musicians on Call (MOC), an organization that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in medical centers. The event raised $22,500 for the local MOC chapter, enough money to fund one bedside performance program for a full year.
Raycom Stations Raise More Than $100,000 and Collect Truckloads of Supplies
Several Raycom Media-owned television stations conducted relief efforts following the tornado. Stations donating to the American Red Cross include WSFA-TV Montgomery, Ala. ($50,232); WMC-TV Memphis ($36,000); WCSC-TV Charleston, S.C. ($10,000); WWBT Richmond, Va. (over $7,000); and KAIT-TV Jonesboro, Ark., organized a statewide telethon. WAFB-TV Birmingham, Ala., collected several storage unit’s full of supplies for the Salvation Army in its one day donation drive. WBRC-TV Birmingham collected 200,000 pounds of water for the Salvation Army. KOLD-TV Tucson, Ariz., filled two semi-trucks with supplies, to be distributed by World Care.
Media General stations that held telethons to raise money for the American Red Cross relief efforts included WBTW-TV Myrtle Beach, S.C.; WCMH-TV Columbus, Ohio ($27,000 raised); WFLA-TV Tampa, Fla. ($28,000 raised); WJBF-TV and WAGT-TV Augusta, Ga. ($15,000 raised); WJHL-TV Johnson City, Tenn. ($25,000 raised); WSAV-TV Savannah, Ga.; and WSPA-TV Spartanburg, S.C. WSAV-TV also ran a ticker promoting Red Cross donations throughout newscasts. WJAR-TV Providence, R.I., dedicated a 7 p.m. newscast to Sandy’s aftermath. The station replayed top stories that many viewers missed due to power outages and also fielded calls from viewers who wanted to volunteer or donate money to relief efforts.
Cumulus’ WWTN-FM Nashville raised $120,000 for the local Rescue Mission during its 6th annual "Hunger to Hope Radiothon." Market Manager Mike Carpenter said, "Our gracious listeners and clients helped raise over $20,000 above and beyond our original goal [of $100,000]. We are very proud to be a part of this effort to support the community through the Nashville Rescue Mission." Contributions from 1,100 donors will provide 53,100 meals.
The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters (TAB) joined the National Association of Program Television Executives (NAPTE), in bringing the free Student Career Workshop, Job Fair and Station Tour to the campus of Tennessee State University. During the event, a panel of TAB’s top radio and television broadcasters presented their experiences and career pathway, along with tips for getting an internship, summer job or early start in the job search process. Recruiters from 15 broadcast groups, representing over 40 stations, spent time with the students to network and discuss job openings.
Sarkes Tarzian’s WRCB-TV Chattanooga served as the official media partner for the Arts Education Partnership’s "Fall 2012 National Forum: Arts Learning without Borders." The two-day event drew arts educators from around the nation. WRCB-TVs news anchor David Carroll moderated a panel at the Forum that addressed social issues like bullying through arts and literacy. Carroll’s stories on the tragedy of a local student who committed suicide after being bullied have drawn national attention and were featured in the 2012 feature film documentary "Bully." WRCB-TV also offered free live streaming of the event through wrcbtv.com and produced and aired a heavy schedule of PSAs for the Forum.
Sarkes Tarzian-owned WRCB-TV Chatanooga co-sponsored a debate with the Chattanooga Times Free Press on May 21 for the candidates running for Tennessee’s third Congressional District seat. The debate, which was held on the campus of The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, featured the GOP incumbent, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and two of his three challengers, Weston Wamp and Ron Bhalla. The event was streamed live on both the station’s website and the newspaper’s website. WRCB will co-sponsor a future debate featuring the Democratic candidates.
Allbritton Communications-owned WSET-TV partnered with Lynchburg’s Minor League Baseball team, the Hillcats, for the Swing For A Cure fundraiser at City Stadium. The event benefited the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to help raise awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer. The stadium was packed with fans wearing pink, while the field had Hillcats players in pink jerseys and useing pink Louisville Slugger bats. WSET-TV has participated for the last several years in coverage of the annual event. The station provided extensive promotion and aired stories about the event before and after the game. Through ticket sales, sponsor donations and a silent auction, WSET-TV raised $7,455. Donations increased significantly from 2011 when the Hillcats collected over $4,800.
WRCB-TV Battles Bullying in Chattanooga
Sarkes Tarzian’s WRCB-TV Chattanooga, Tenn. recently launched a six-part series on bullying awareness and prevention, which culminated in a one-hour forum featuring a panel of local experts. The "The Bully Battle" forum aired on WRCB-TV on Saturday, May 19 and was rebroadcast the next day on Chattanooga’s PBS affiliate. The entire program is now available online. WRCB-TV has been dedicated to running stories on the issue over the past years, in an effort to reduce the number of children affected by bullying. To learn more about WRCB-TV’s "The Bully Battle" click here.
Young Broadcasting Inc.’s WKRN-TV Nashville donated its news set to Summit High School’s media production program. Members of the WKRN-TV’s team visited the set, answered students’ questions and offered advice on entering the media field.
"I don’t know that the enormity of News 2’s generosity can be fully realized," said Summit Principal Dr. Charles Farmer. "To provide us with their ’retired’ set is like icing on the cake to an already amazing media production setup. Our kids are appreciative of the opportunities afforded them by organizations like News 2."
Cumulus Radio’s five Nashville stations, WWTN-FM, WQQK-FM, WSM-FM, WRQQ-FM and WNFN-FM, hosted their fourth annual radiothon to raise money for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Each Cumulus station went commercial-free from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 16, with the goal of raising enough money to provide 56,000 meals to Nashville’s homeless. Throughout the day listeners dropped off donations and called in pledges. By the end of the radiothon, Cumulus successfully surpassed its goal. Mark Sullivan, senior vice president and general manager of Cumulus Nashville said, "We are proud to have been a part of something amazing and issuing a call to action that will make a real impact on the Nashville community." Nashville Rescue Mission’s President and CEO Don Worrell was quick to thank the stations. "We are grateful for Cumulus Broadcasting’s efforts on behalf of the poor and hurting of our community. The outpouring of generosity from this year’s event will provide over fifty-thousand meals to hungry men, women and children arriving at our doors seeking help."
Journal Broadcast Group-owned WWST-FM Knoxville, Tenn., held a radiothon recently for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The event was hosted by the station’s morning show, "Mac and Kim and Frank in the Morning," and aired live from the local West Town Mall from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. In just 12 hours, WWST-FM raised $227,226 in funds that will be used to purchase equipment to help Children’s Hospital care for its patients.
Santa Claus is coming to town and WIVK in Knoxville, Tenn., is responsible for it. For more than 30 years, the station has hosted the WIVK Christmas Parade, which ends with Old Saint Nick riding into downtown Knoxville on his sleigh. This community event marks the beginning of the holiday season and has become a local tradition. High school bands, dancers, area celebrities and jingling floats wind their way throughout the city. This past December, 40,000 residents lined the streets to watch. In addition to organizing the annual event, station staff participated in the festivities: WIVK’s Colleen Addair sang carols from Santa’s side, deejay “Gunner” rode a horse, on-air personality Jack Ryan broadcast live, and morning show hosts Andy and Alison joined WBIR-TV for a live telecast. The Christmas Parade is just one of the many ways WIVK reaches out to its community. The station is a four-time recipient of the NAB Marconi Station of the Year Award.
When dozens of viewers’ homes were hit by a tornado in February 2008, WMC-TV in Memphis, Tenn., stepped up to help the families recover from the storm. The morning after the catastrophic weather, WMC launched the "Action News 5 Helping Neighbors" fundraiser in partnership with the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross. The campaign kicked off with a day-long event at two locations close to the damaged area with live cut-ins at the top and bottom of each hour. At the event, the station also provided free weather radio programming to protect viewers from future storms, a service WMC offers to local residents year-round at the station. News coverage and public service announcements helped raise awareness about the effort and directed the community to the Red Cross phone bank to make pledges. The effort raised thousands of dollars for local victims. A short four months later, when tornadoes hit the towns of Earle, Arkansas and New Albany, Mississippi, WMC-TV quickly organized efforts again, this time holding a one-hour telethon. The live special brought viewers the very personal and human side of the story, providing firsthand accounts of the destruction and interviews with the Red Cross about what was needed for recovery. Viewers were once again directly to the Red Cross phone bank where they generously gave to their neighbors.
When tornados ripped through Macon County and killed 13 people in 2007, WEEN-AM and WLCT-FM of Lafayette, Tenn., quickly got back on the air and immediately began broadcasting emergency information that was instrumental in helping police, emergency officials and families in need of assistance. Because of the devastation, 90 people in the area were still unaccounted for three days after the tornados hit. At 8 a.m., the stations began reading the names of those missing, and two hours later, 80 were reunited with their families and friends. By 1 p.m., all 90 people had been found, saving emergency rescue crews and officials countless hours that could now be redirected toward recovery and other aid efforts. The quick work by the stations also saved the families from incredible stress and worry. According to Jill Green from the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, "this wonderful effort by one of our long standing member stations makes us proud."
When freezing temperatures cause the mercury to dip, thousands of children stay warm with outerwear they received from the "Coats for Kids" campaign organized by WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, Tenn. For more than two decades, the station has asked its viewers to donate new or gently used coats, which are then cleaned by local drycleaners and distributed to various agencies, schools and individual families who contact the station. WTVC places posters at drop-off locations, and airs public service announcements and daily news coverage throughout the campaign. In addition, special guests make appearances and appeals for donations on WTVC’s "This-N-That" show. "Coats for Kids" has resulted in more than 22,000 coats over the last three years. In a letter to WTVC, Charles Hughes, executive director of Chattanooga Community Kitchen wrote, "Thanks to you we are able to offer coats to the many homeless children we serve."
As the main media sponsor, WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tenn., helped make the 2007 Tri-Cities March for Babies a success. The walk raised $198,000 dollars for the March of Dimes to help further its goal of making sure every baby is born healthy. The station produced and aired public service announcements to inspire community members to walk for a good cause. In addition, the director of the March of Dimes was interviewed on the station’s morning show, and Sarah Diamond, WJHL’s medical reporter and anchor, served as emcee for the event. "We have a long history of both corporate and personal support from the personnel of WJHL," said Suzzi Cocklin, senior community director of the Appalachia Division of the March of Dimes. "Volunteers and community involvement are the backbone of the success of the March of Dimes, and WJHL is the essential resource necessary to provide heightened visibility within our local community."
WSNA-FM in Germantown, Tenn., partnered with the Memphis RiverKings hockey team to collect donations for troops from the Mid-South currently serving overseas. The station’s "Military Salute" event was held at a RiverKings match, where listeners brought $1,000 worth of goods for "Project Package," an organization that sends troops comforts from home each month. The station got the word out about the drive with more than 125 live and recorded announcements, an email blast to its "Snap Pack" club and event information on the station Web site. WSNA was live at the event, broadcasting for two hours before the gates opened for the game and then appearing on the ice to pay tribute to local troops. WSNA was a National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Award Finalist in 2008.
To support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, WRVW-FM in Nashville, Tenn., organizes two annual community events: the Taste of Music City and Music City Brewers Festival. Fifteen percent of ticket sales from both events go to the food bank. In addition to raising more than $12,000 to help provide meals for the area’s hungry last year, the events brought the community together for two festive days featuring live music and food and drinks from local vendors. The great turnout at both events can be attributed to hundreds of live and recorded announcements, email blasts sent to 18,000 listeners, weeks of exposure on the station’s Web site and more than 100 hours of hard work by station staff. WRVW was on location broadcasting live from both events. WRVW was a National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Award Finalist in 2008.
When pets are lost, WCMT-AM in Martin, Tenn., works to make sure they are found. As one of the few places in the county without a humane society, the community relies on the "WCMT’s Pet Patrol," a one-minute segment that airs five times a day with the latest information on lost and found pets in the area. The station also lists all of the information on its Web site. So far, more than 50 pets and their families have been reunited. The "Pet Patrol" also coordinates with a group of animal-loving residents who care for unwanted and stray animals at their own homes until they are adopted. WCMT provides airtime and a Web site presence to help find homes for these animals. WCMT was a National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Award finalist in 2008.
The annual campaign video WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tenn., produces for its local United Way is shown to 800 companies and results in millions of dollars worth of contributions each year. It’s a project the station has taken on for more than 25 years and is only one of the many ways WBIR supports the organization. From August to November, the station runs public service announcements to help with United Way’s fundraising goals. Weekly updates on the success of the campaign include feature stories about the 50 local agencies the United Way serves. As funds come in, the station posts a "meter of success" on its Web site. And rather than just asking viewers to contribute, the station leads by example. WBIR employees and the station’s owner, the Gannett Co., contributed $75,000 to the United Way campaign in 2007. Year-round support includes news segments featuring United Way representatives and station talent emceeing events and speaking at engagements. "We could not manage without the good folks at WBIR," said President and CEO of United Way of Greater Knoxville Ben Landers. "For at least half of our 86 year history, WBIR has played a role."