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Stories About Coronavirus


WCIU Supports Local Restaurants With Broadcast Special

Date Posted: 4/6/2020

Weigel Broadcasting’s CW affiliate WCIU-TV Chicago broadcast a half-hour special on April 5 to support local businesses and highlight Chicago’s takeout food scene during the COVID-19 shutdowns. “Chicago Food To Go” featured social media videos of local comedians, radio personalities and station viewers practicing social distancing while getting takeout and delivery. Local restaurants also used the time to highlight their best and most popular menu items.

Gray Television Launches COVID-19 Focused Nightly News Program

Date Posted: 4/6/2020

Gray Television launched a new nightly news program on April 6 to address the continually developing coronavirus pandemic. The program, hosted by Greta Van Susteren and Lee Zurik, will be aired on Gray Television stations in 93 markets and will draw on reporting from Gray’s local newsrooms, with a focus on what public officials, private companies and health providers are doing.

Gray’s Louisiana Stations Offer Virtual COVID-19 Concert Series

Date Posted: 4/5/2020

Gray Television’s Fox affiliate WVUE-TV New Orleans, together with all the Gray-owned stations in Louisiana, began airing on April 5 a series of at-home concerts from Louisiana-based musicians. The concerts are a step to keep viewers entertained while reminding them of the importance of staying at home. The artists will also have an opportunity to promote charitable causes during the broadcast.

“We’re excited to launch this innovative concert series to lift the spirits of so many around the state,” said Ronna Corrente, WVUE’s general manager. “In addition to sharing their talents with Louisianans, these great artists will use their voices and air-time to promote different charitable causes close to their hearts, and viewers will be able to connect with these artists’ social pages to also support the causes of their choice.”

Stations Offer Free Ad Space to Support Local Advertisers

Date Posted: 4/3/2020

Some television stations are offering free or discounted ad space to local advertisers in an effort to support them financially during the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced many businesses to temporarily close. Meredith Local Media’s Fox affiliate WHNS-TV Greenville, S.C., general manager Charlie Henrich says the decision helps his station show advertisers that their relationship isn’t just a financial one.

Broadcasters Turn to Tech Solutions for News

Date Posted: 4/3/2020

ABC, NBC and CBS are trying to find ways to report the news without the control room staff and multiple camera angles that are normal in the business as the networks pursue social distancing strategies in the wake of the current pandemic. Robotic cameras, videoconferencing software and handheld devices are all valuable tools in the effort.

Arizona Broadcasters Hold COVID-19 Town Hall

Date Posted: 4/2/2020

Television and radio broadcasters across Arizona are holding a virtual town hall with Governor Doug Ducey on April 2 to address questions about the COVID-19 crisis. The hour-long event, which broadcast with support from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, aired commercial-free on more than 50 local TV and radio stations statewide. In addition to Governor Ducey, the panel featured Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona National Guard Major General Michael McGuire and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. Participants answered virtual questions from viewers and listeners.

“Basic information about COVID-19 is everywhere, but our goal is to cut through the clutter, eliminate any misinformation and let everyone in Arizona be part of an important conversation with our state leaders,” said Arizona Broadcasters Association President and CEO Chris Kline. “Arizona broadcasters are coming together in these unprecedented times and we hope it’s a model for everyone in Arizona to do the same.”

Detroit Stations Air Governor’s Town Hall

Date Posted: 4/2/2020

All Detroit TV stations have banded together to broadcast “The Governor’s Town Hall” event featuring Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, scheduled to air live from 7 – 8 p.m. on April 2. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other leaders will answer questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include hospital preparedness, unemployment benefits and school closures. It will air on Graham Media Group’s NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, Fox-owned WJBK-TV, CBS-owned WWJ-TV, Scripps’ ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV, Scripps’ MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD-T, CW-owned WKBD-TV, and PBS-owned WTVS-TV. The town hall was offered to all broadcasters in Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters.

WMTV Feeds Families Affected by COVID-19

Date Posted: 4/2/2020

Gray’s NBC affiliate WMTV Madison, Wis., partnered with the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to help those in affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The "Care Box Challenge" is raising funds to provide 100,000 “Care Boxes” to families in need. Each box contains 25-30 pounds of nutritious food. In the first week, the campaign raised more than $250,000. WMTV also launched PSAs to help combat COVID-19.

WJRT-TV Supports Local Businesses

Date Posted: 4/1/2020

Gray’s ABC affiliate WJRT-TV Flint, Mich., has created a “Stand with Local Businesses” promotion to help them get the word out they are still open. Open businesses are also listed on WJRT’s website to keep their brands viable and on consumers’ minds during the crisis.

WMXZ-FM Helps Servers Laid Off Due to COVID-19

Date Posted: 4/1/2020

Saga Communication’s WMXZ-FM Charleston launched a new segment on its morning show in early April to help support people hit hardest by the COVID-19 shutdowns. The station profiles restaurant servers and bar staff laid off due to the coronavirus and then includes information on how to send them money via Venmo. The innovation program helps support the servers and bar staff at listeners’ favorite spots.

KOSA Provides Educational Content, Food for Families

Date Posted: 4/1/2020

Gray’s CBS affiliate KOSA Odessa, Tx., has been supporting the community during the COVID-19 crisis in several ways, in addition to airing critical news updates. The West Texas Food Bank faced a significant increase in demand at the same that that donations dropped, as local grocery stores no longer had extra food to give. Once KOSA began highlighting the Food Bank, the donation fund increased from $1,400 to almost $20,000 today.

KOSA also produces its “Weather School,” with educational weather lessons for parents and kids that are available every day on CBS7.com and on Facebook.

As soon as layoffs began hitting the region, both due to the Coronavirus and the drastic drop in oil prices, KOSA created a section of CBS7.com called “West Texas Employment.” On this page, people looking for local jobs can access companies looking for employees.

WGNS-AM/FM Airs Wall-to-Wall COVID-19 Coverage

Date Posted: 3/31/2020

The Rutherford Group’s WGNS-AM/FM Murfreesboro, Tenn., has dedicated all of its morning programming (4:00 -11:00 a.m.) to focus on the local impact of COVID-19. This includes daily guest conversations with local parents, area physicians, and elected officials, including Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland, Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron and Murfreesboro Police Chief Michael Bowen. Health experts cover the fluid changes in the types of coronavirus testing recommended by the Rutherford County Health Department. Three to four times each week McFarland has also gone live on WGNS to talk to the city about the changing news.

WGNS continues to emphasize increased handwashing, social distancing and shopping locally. The station also covers how local business owners use "out of the box" thinking to stay open; speaks with lawyers, judges and District Attorney General about how COVID-19 impacts the courts; and airs information on solid waste and spring related issues. In addition to over-the-air coverage, WGNS has seen a 200 percent increase in web traffic.

On April 2, Chief Medical Officer Julian Yang, MD, of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital answered listener questions via phone calls and text messages during a one-hour program. A frightened 30-year old mother sent a text and said she felt she had coronavirus and was isolated from her children, but there have been no results of the test she took on March 9. After the broadcast, WGNS connected her with help.

Indiana Broadcasters Association Shares Ideas

Date Posted: 3/30/2020

The Indiana Broadcasters Association launched a website, BestIdeasinBroadcasting.com, to help radio and television stations across the state are “weathering the storm,” during the COVID-19 crisis. Broadcasters in Indiana are sharing ideas and best practices, with submissions are organized into categories such as Sales Ideas, Community Outreach Ideas, and Promotional Ideas.

KVLY Provides Educational Content During COVID-19 Shutdown

Date Posted: 3/30/2020

Gray Television’s NBC affiliate KVLY-TV Fargo, N.D., began providing weather and science-focused classes in late March related to the COVID-19 school shutdowns. Taught by the station’s meteorologist, Hutch Johnson, each lesson covers a different topic related to meteorology.

“With so many schools canceled and families looking for way to keep their students engaged we were proud to offer this learning opportunity to our community,” said Ike Walker, KVLY’s general manager.

Oklahoma Broadcasters Prepare Virtual Classrooms

Date Posted: 3/30/2020

Oklahoma broadcasters prepared virtual classrooms on March 30 to aid students now engaged in fully distance learning due to COVID-19. The programming, which serves children from in all grades, is available on PBS affiliate OETA-TV and will be broadcast on 17 additional stations across the state.

KSOS-FM Donates 23,000 PB&Js to Families During Coronavirus School Shut Down

Date Posted: 3/29/2020

Faith Communication’s KSOS-FM Las Vegas partnered with a local nonprofit to donate 23,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to families in the Las Vegas area on March 29. The partnership comes at a particularly important time, as many students who rely on free and reduced price school lunches have been moved to distant learning due to COVID-19.

WMC Offers Lessons for Kids

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

Gray’s NBC affiliate WMC-TV Memphis has partnered with Shelby County Schools (SCS) to offer broadcast programming and accompanying digital resources to support continued at-home learning and provide greater access to educational resources. SCS is Tennessee’s largest public school district and among the 25 largest public school districts in the United States. During the school closure, more than 113,000 students are home and many have limited access to technology or internet. For children living in homes without broadband internet service, the lack of schooling cannot simply be replaced by online distant learning substitutes. Watch here.

“As more districts address the potential for long-term school closure, it is essential to find ways to address digital disparities and continue to provide learning opportunities and critical services to our students,” said Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray. “We appreciate WMC for partnering to support distance learning.”

WKXW-FM Hosts Second Town Hall Focused on COVID-19

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton, N.J, hosted a second town hall broadcast on March 26 addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues. Morning news anchor Eric Scott broadcast live from the WKXN-FM studios, while guests called into the station. Guests included an infectious disease specialist and the Division of Geriatrics chief at Hackensack University Medical Center. The town hall was also streamed on the station’s website and social media pages.

KLIF-AM and WBAP-AM Host COVID-19 Town Hall

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM Dallas aired a town hall on March 27 with famous entrepreneur Mark Cuban to discuss ways to help local businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Topics included how can businesses survive; the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package; and how can consumers help their local community businesses.

Cox Atlanta Hosts Food Drive

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

Cox Media Group’s WSB-FM, WSRV-FM and WALR-FM Atlanta held a virtual food drive on March 27 to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the cluster’s "Stronger Together ATL" campaign. Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program.

"Now more than ever our listeners need our help," said Sr. Director of Operations Chris Eagan. "Cox Media Group Atlanta will step up and use our powerful radio brands to do good for the community! I’m proud of the way these teams have worked over the last few weeks and Friday will be another great example of how we are stronger together!"

NBC Releases COVID-19 PSA Series

    View Video
Date Posted: 3/27/2020

NBCUniversal released a series of new public service announcements on March 27 for affiliate station use featuring station personalities and celebrities. The PSAs are aimed to calm nerves amid the COVID-19 pandemic and remind viewers of the steps they can take to prevent the spread of the virus. Watch one PSA focused on caring for your mental health during the pandemic.

Radio Works to Provide the New Normal During Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

Radio stations around the United States are working to determine the new normal amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. In addition to increasing news coverage and keeping people informed about outbreaks in their local communities, stations are working with each other to determine what works best and how to best serve the public. Read more stories about changing conditions at allaccess.com.

WGBH Broadcasts Education Service for Students at Home

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

PBS and PBS’s WGBH-TV Boston have joined together to broadcast a daily five-hour learning service serving starting on March 30. The programming will offer science, history and language arts lessons for students from grades six to twelve. Other educational resources will be available on PBS LearningMedia and PBS KIDS.

“With [our] channel available free over the air, these educational programs can reach all families, including those who do not have internet access or computers at home,” said Liz Cheng, general manager of television at WGBH. “We are proud to work with PBS stations across the country to make this service widely available.”

KIRO Launches Podcast and Joins With Hubbard During Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/27/2020

Bonneville’s KIRO-FM Seattle launched on March 24 “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast” to provide daily updates for Washington state residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this project,” said KIRO Radio Program Director Bryan Buckalew. “I think [on air personality] Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”

KIRO-FM has also partnered with Hubbard Radio’s KQMV-FM, KWRM-FM and KNUC-FM Seattle to offer expanded news coverage. KIRO broadcasts an hourly news update regarding COVID-19 on the each of Hubbard stations and encourages listeners to listen to music programming as a mental break from news coverage during a stressful time.

Georgia Broadcasters Air Town Hall with Governor

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

Radio and television broadcasters across Georgia aired the one-hour “The Governor’s Statewide Town Hall.” on March 26 with the Governor of Georgia and members of his COVID-19 Task Force. The program originated from Cox’s ABC affiliate WSB-TV Atlanta with Governor Kemp. Members of the task force appeared on Meredith’s CBS affiliate WGCL-TV, TEGNA’s NBC affiliate WXIA-TV, Fox-owned WAGA-TV, Univision’s WUVG-TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting. General John King answered questions in Spanish on Univision Atlanta. More than 250 stations, including several Spanish language broadcasters, streamed the program the program. The Georgia Association of Broadcasters spearhead much of the coordination efforts for broadcast and streaming.

WRAL-TV Raleigh Raises $275,000 to Support Local Restaurants

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

Capitol Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate WRAL-TV Raleigh raised $275,000 during the “Here to Help: Support Local Business” virtual fundraiser held March 26. The funds go to the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, which will provide immediate financial relief to restaurant and hotel workers affected by layoffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. WRAL-TV also encourages viewers to support businesses by purchasing gift cards to getting takeout orders.

WCVB Supports Scholarship During COVID-19 Crisis

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

Hearst’s ABC affiliate WCVB Boston has been supporting the Inner City Scholarship Fund (ICSF) as it plans to celebrate its 30th anniversary dinner gala virtually on April 2nd due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 26, the event had raised $3.3 million and was up 11 percent compared to last year.

ICSF benefits the Catholic Schools Foundation, which helps local urban students. WCVB supports ICSF year-round by airing PSAs (about $100,000 in donated airtime in 2019). When ICSF could no longer hold an onsite event, WCVB Anchor and four-time gala emcee Ben Simmoneau recorded an introduction and voice overs from WCVB studios. ICSF will use these recordings to virtually introduce program guests.

ICSF was started 30 years ago by then WCVB President and General Manager Jim Coppersmith, Vice President of Programs Paul LaCamera, and Public Affairs Director Donna Latson Gittens. WCVB continues to support ICSF as the media sponsor for its gala. Current WCVB President General Manager Bill Fine serves on the 30th anniversary dinner committee.

KRRL-FM Hotline Helps Families in Need

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

iHeartMedia’s KRRL-FM Los Angeles is connecting those in need of services and supplies due to the COVID-19 pandemic with local businesses, non-profits and individuals able to help. The service, set up as a hotline number for people to call, provides essentials like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, medical supplies and even crisis counseling.

"The Cruz Show has recruited some amazing people for our on and off-air efforts, from doctors and therapists to comedians to lift spirits, we are using our airtime to inform, educate and uplift our listeners through this highly disruptive crisis," said Executive Producer Jeff Garcia.

D.C. Broadcasters Help Educate Students During School Shutdown

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

MyNetworkTV owned and operated WDCA-TV Washington, D.C., will begin broadcasting public school lessons to assist children receiving remote and online education due to COVID-19. The grade-specific lessons are intended to help offset education access disparities, as roughly 30 percent of students in D.C. lack home wifi access. TEGNA’s CBS affiliate WUSA-TV is also promoting the initiative on their 9 a.m. morning program.

"Helping our community’s children to keep learning is one of the greatest public services we can provide during this trying time," said Richard Dyer, president and general manager of WUSA. "We’re glad to partner in this effort to make sure D.C. students have access to various avenues for learning."

L.A. Radio Provides Information and Connection

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

L.A. radio stations provide continuous information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Listeners also turn to their favorite local stations to feel connected to their communities, as people are working from home and schools are closed.

“What people are looking for even more than music to comfort them is connection, and that’s what they get from the voices and the personalities they know,” said Judy McAlpine, president of USC-owned KUSC-FM.

“Our station motto is ‘Live and Local,’ and that’s what we’re doing,” said Isabel Gonzalez, content and brand director for the Meruelo Group’s KLLI-FM Los Angeles.

Read More

KPHO Hosts Virtual Job Fair

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

Meredith Corporation’s CBS affiliate KPHO-TV Phoenix partnered with more than 20 local businesses to host “Get That Gig Virtual Job Fair” on March 26. The station worked to connect job seekers with over 9000 immediately available positions, including many work from home jobs, to help alleviate the financial stress experienced due to coronavirus-related job loss.

Emotional Call to WIRK-FM Helps One Family Business

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

An emotional call to Hubbard Broadcasting’s WIRK-FM Palm Beach County, Fla., shone a spotlight on March 26 on one struggling local business experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus. Amanda, the daughter of the owner of Morgan’s Country Kitchen, called the show to let listeners know they were still open for business and shared her worries that her mother would lose the restaurant.

The next day, the owner called in with a heartwarming update. “I can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing for everyone,” Patty said to the hosts. Listen here.

North Country Radio Launches Gift Card Challenge to Support Local Businesses

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

North Country Radio’s WSLP-FM, WRGR-FM, WNBZ-AM and WLPW-FM Placid, N.Y., launched a public service campaign to encourage listeners to purchase gift cards from local businesses. “The Gift Card Challenge” PSA is available for use at radio stations across the country.

“We’ve been hearing from many of our listeners that they want to do something, anything to help out. Our on-air staff has been talking about buying gift cards already,” said WSLP Vice President Jim Williams. “The Gift Card Challenge PSA is a positive message that sums up the idea in a creative 60 second message.”

Listen to the spot here.

WGHP Hosts Home Concert Series During Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

Nexstar Media Group’s FOX affiliate WGHP-TV Greensboro, N.C., hosted an hourlong broadcast concert with country music duo The Dryes as a part of the station’s “Home Concert Series.” The concert helps to entertain audiences stuck at home and to support local musicians who are not able to perform gigs due to coronavirus. In addition to the concert, the station features small businesses local individuals can patron and highlights heroes, including medical professionals and emergency responders, who are continuing to work and serve the public during shutdowns.

“We are doing a lot of positive stories to balance out the gloom and doom,” said Stephanie Doyle, WGHP’s executive producer of digital media.

Broadcaster Creativity on Display for COVID-19 Coverage

Date Posted: 3/26/2020

Broadcasters have always been creative in figuring out ways to get the word out during challenging times. But the flexibility on display by the nation’s broadcasters during the COVID-19 outbreak has been nothing short of extraordinary. Broadcast engineers and technologists are "MacGyver’ing" solutions to ensure that the public is protected, informed, and in this environment of social distancing, comforted.

Read More

WOFL Raises $80,000 for Florida Families Impacted by COVID-19

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

Fox owned and operated WOFL-TV Orlando, Fla., raised $80,000 for a local food bank to help families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Feeding Families in Crisis” fundraiser helps Second Harvest Food Bank, which collects and redistributes food donates throughout central Florida. The station highlighted the importance of donating, especially after schools were closed due to the virus, and aired interviews from food bank staff to encourage donations.

iHeart, Fox Announce Concert for America

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

iHeartMedia and Fox raised $8 million during “The iHeart Living Room Concert For America,” a music event to provide entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The concert aired commercial free on March 29 across all iHeartMedia radio stations and on Fox, during the iHeartRadio Music Awards’ original broadcast timeslot. Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, and Tim McGraw and others. The performances will be filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras and audio equipment. The event will pay tribute to the health professionals and first responders fighting the spread of the virus. It also will encourage viewers to support Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Radio One Commits to Donate 10,000 PSAs

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

Radio One Indianapolis has committed to airing 10,000 PSAs to help local citizens and community organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. PSAs must be community driven, diverse in nature, and contain resources that serve the public.

“Radio One has the most diverse listening audience in central Indiana. Our overall goal is to make sure our wide range of listeners have the necessary information and tools they’ll need to help navigate this crisis,” said Radio One Regional Vice President Deon Levingston.

CBS Releases PSA for Affiliate Stations

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

CBS released a public service announcement on March 17 for affiliate station use featuring station personalities and celebrities from network programming. The PSA is aimed to calm nerves amid the COVID-19 pandemic and remind viewers we will deal with the pandemic together. Watch one version of the PSA from Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s FOX/CBS affiliate station WSBT-TV South Bend, Ind.

Nexstar Broadcasting Hosts Virtual Town Hall with West Virginia Governor

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

Nexstar Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate WOWK-TV Charleston, W.V., hosted a virtual town hall on March 19 with Governor Jim Justice regarding the state’s response to COVID-19. Hosted by WOWK anchor Mark Curtis, the virtual town hall posed questions to the governor and other state officials. The town hall was broadcast on independent station WDVM-TV, CBS affiliate WTRF-TV, NBC affiliate WBOY-TV and CBS affiliate WVNS-TV.

iHeartMedia Connects Community to Coronavirus Resources

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

iHeartMedia Charlotte launched an initiative to help the local community by highlighting local organizations and services available to those in need during the pandemic crisis. iHeartMedia Charlotte stations will promote the campaign on station websites and on-air every hour. The campaign will also highlight businesses operating on limited hours and restaurants offering delivery, pickup or gift cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

D.C. Broadcasters Fill Food Banks During Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

D.C. sports broadcasters began exchanging video shout outs for donations to fill area food banks during the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. Proceeds from each personalized shout-out video, which are made on the app Cameo, benefit the Capital Area Food Bank, D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table.

“It’s something that we can do that would be fun for people out there who probably need a smile, and at the same time raise money for the people who need it the most,” said John Walton, the radio voice of the Washington Capitals. “There are a lot of people in this town who are doing hero’s work. We want to help give them the tools to keep doing that.”

Local News Programs Adapt to Social Distancing Rules

Date Posted: 3/25/2020

Journalists and local news stations are altering their routines to abide by social distancing rules and shelter-in-place orders to help halt the spread of the coronavirus, sometimes filming segments in makeshift studios -- often in their own homes. While reporting from home poses challenges, local stations are able to keep viewers informed and calm during uncertain times.

“The most amazing thing is the viewer response,” said Joey Miller, weather producer at NBC’s WMAQ-TV Chicago. “People talking about how refreshing it is to see someone, that calming voice being there, when we’re in what feels like dire times or a weird situation that none of us have really experienced before.”

Broadcasters Demonstrate Social Distancing

Date Posted: 3/24/2020

TEGNA’s ABC affiliate WHAS-TV Louisville, Ky., implemented changes in mid-March to inform and educate local audiences on how to best protect themselves during the coronavirus outbreak. One such changes includes using overhead cameras so viewers can see social distancing in action. Other steps taken include limiting interviews to medical and health professionals and adding a daily 4 p.m. broadcast.

"This is what we do. We keep the community informed and thank goodness we had a plan in place," said WHAS Anchor Doug Proffitt. "I can say what we are experiencing reminds me of anchoring during September 11th or the tornado, snowstorm and ice storms that we’ve covered in the past, but they all eventually melted away. This feels very different."

Radio Broadcasters Spread Optimism, Solidarity in Crisis

Date Posted: 3/24/2020

The number of people turning to local radio stations for information, comfort and distraction is increasing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world. Stations are, in turn, responding with messages of optimism and solidarity as they adapt to the crisis and work to keep the public informed. Read stories of radio stations online at Radio Ink and All Access, and additional stories of service on TVNewsCheck.

Entercom Connects Listeners to Mental Health Resources

Date Posted: 3/24/2020

Entercom launched on March 18 a multiplatform, live daily show focused on mental health in the midst of the COVID-19 global health pandemic. “I’m Listening; Stay Connected” is part of Entercom’s yearlong mental health initiative and provides a resource to support those struggling with mental health or feel overwhelmed by outbreak of COVID-19.

"I’m Listening: Stay Connected” will provide our millions of listeners across the country access to information and professionals in the medical field, encouraging healthy dialogue throughout this time of great uncertainty," said Pam Russo, senior vice president and general manager of Entercom’s RADIO.COM.

Scripps Supports Local Businesses With PSA Campaign

Date Posted: 3/24/2020

The E.W. Scripps Company launched on March 24 “We’re Open,” a public service campaign to support local businesses and their employees shuttered by coronavirus. Through the multiplatform campaign in Scripps’ 42 local media markets, the campaign celebrates the value local businesses bring to their communities. As part of the campaign, stations are promoting #TakeoutTuesday to encourage delivery and takeout throughout the shutdown.

Iowa Broadcasters Support Community

Date Posted: 3/24/2020

Keokuk Broadcasting’s WCEZ-FM and KOKX-AM Keokuk, IA, created a special section on its website for local businesses to advertise their current availability. The section highlighting local bars and restaurants contains current information, hours, phone number and modes of contact along with their menus for carry out and delivery. Information is also being shared on social media. The stations are offering free on-air ads and live reads to local businesses.

Pandemic Brings Viewers to Local News

Date Posted: 3/23/2020

People of all ages are turning to local news for information regarding the coronavirus and increasing television watching while staying home.

Nielsen reported that Americans are expected to watch as much as 60 percent more television during periods of restrictive shutdowns. CBS news program "60 Minutes" received the highest viewership on March 22 since December 2019.

Viewership for news in the leading 25 markets saw the largest increase in viewers under the age of 17 during the week starting on March 9, Nielsen reports. Read more.

Univision Creates PSA to Address COVID-19

Date Posted: 3/23/2020

Univision released a COVID-19 PSA featuring the network’s chief medical correspondent and has ramped up coverage in response to the virus. Additional steps to protect the public include airing a network-wide special each day, providing hourly vignettes to keep people informed and offering online resources through email, Univision apps and digital platforms.

Local TV Spreads Messages of Hope During COVID-19 Crisis

Date Posted: 3/23/2020

As people turn to local TV news for information they can trust about the global COVID-19 crisis, stations are responding with messages of hope and optimism, togetherness and kindness. TVNewsCheck featured a few messages here from these stations:

  • Cox’s ABC affiliate WFTV Orlando
  • TEGNA’s NBC affiliate WTHR Indianapolis
  • KAKE, Lockwood Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate KAKE Wichita, Kan
  • Lilly Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate KITV Honolulu
  • Nexstar’s NBC affiliate WCMH Columbus, Ohio
  • Circle City Broadcasting’s CW affiliate WISH Indianapolis
  • Weigel Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate WBND South Bend, Ind.
  • Nexstar’s Fox affiliate WXIN Indianapolis
  • TEGNA’s CBS affiliate WTSP Tampa

“We feel it is important to share messages of hope during these difficult times,” said Dan Meyers, marketing director at TEGNA’s NBC affiliate WGRZ Buffalo. “We want people to feel that we will get through this, and we will do it together.”

Americans Turn to Broadcasters for COVID-19 Coverage

Date Posted: 3/22/2020

The Pew Research Center has found that Americans are turning to, and trusting, broadcasters to keep them informed about the outbreak of COVID-19. The majority of Americans feel news media has covered the outbreak well, and the level coverage provided has helped individuals make informed decisions about their health.

WNNX-FM Stays On-Air Amid Coronavirus Shut Down

Date Posted: 3/20/2020

Cumulus’ WNNX-FM Atlanta took extraordinary measures in mid-March to stay on the air and keep listeners informed after the station was closed to protect employees from coronavirus. The team behind WNNX-FM’s morning show, “Bailey and Southside,” broadcast live from host Jason Bailey’s living room. The team has kept broadcast the show from the remote location since March 16 and plans to continue.

“We will remain broadcasting remotely,” said WNNX Program Director Axel Lowe. “At the moment, it looks like this is the new normal.”

KING-TV Pivots Programming to Increase Coverage of COVID-19

Date Posted: 3/20/2020

TEGNA’s NBC affiliate KING-TV Seattle has changed a weekday 4 p.m. lifestyle program to news coverage, in response to growing need for information regarding novel coronavirus. The station also dedicated their website to promoting “Facts Not Fear” about the virus starting on March 11.

“There is a certain set of expectations when KING[-TV] is on the air,” said KING President and General Manager Jim Rose.

NBC Stations Expand Local Newscasts Due to Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/20/2020

NBC owned and operated stations in various markets implemented new local newscasts on March 16 to increase coverage of the COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus. WNBC-TV New York, KNBC-TV Los Angeles, KNTV San Francisco, WTVJ-TV Miami and WVIT-TV Hartford, Conn., began airing new, half-hour local newscasts at 7 p.m. on weekdays. WBTS-TV Boston, WCAU-TV Philadelphia, KXAS-TV Dallas and KNSD-TV San Diego also expanded their 11 p.m. programming to a full hour.

KOMO Hosts TV Townhall to Help Seattle Plan in Pandemic

Date Posted: 3/20/2020

Sinclair Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate KOMO-TV Seattle aired on March 15 a one-hour special to help people plan, not panic, during the coronavirus pandemic. The program, hosted by weeknight anchor Preston Phillips, included medical experts, patients and family members impact by the virus. The townhall also provided information about testing, social distancing and preventing the spread of coronavirus.

ABC Replaces Afternoon Talk Show with COVID-19 News Program

Date Posted: 3/20/2020

ABC began airing a novel coronavirus focused news program on March 18, temporarily replacing a midday talk show. “Pandemic: What You Need to Know” is led by ABC’s 20/20 co-anchor Amy Robach and guided by Jennifer Ashton, chief medical correspondent at ABC News. The program will focus on developing news surrounding the novel coronavirus and adjustments for living during a global pandemic.

Nexstar Hosts Town Hall with Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Date Posted: 3/20/2020

Nexstar Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate KXAN-TV Austin hosted a virtual town hall with Governor Greg Abbott on March 19 to discuss the state’s response to novel coronavirus and the resulting disease, COVID-19. The governor was joined by top state government officials from the departments of health, infectious diseases, education and emergency management. The town hall was additionally broadcast on Nexstar’s ABC affiliate KMID-TV; CBS affiliate KLBK-TV; CW affiliates KIAH-TV and KDAF-TV; FOX affiliate KWKT-TV; and NBC affiliates KXAN-TV, KRBC-TV, KAMR-TV, KVEO-TV, KTSM-TV, KSAN-TV, KTAL-TV, KETK-TV and KFDX-TV.

WFSB Three Hour Town Hall Covers Coronavirus in Connecticut

Date Posted: 3/19/2020

Meredith Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate WFSB-TV Hartford, Conn., aired on March 19 a three-hour special on COVID-19 in the state. U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, Governor Ned Lamont, and local and state health officials participated in the evening using video conference calls. WFSB focused the event on covering topics relevant to the local community, including a question-and-answer session on access to food, supplies and medical assistance; what to do when experiencing symptoms; and the state’s overall response to the pandemic.

“Our news stations are a part of the communities they serve, and right now it’s important that we support those communities,” said Gary Brown, Meredith’s senior vice president of content.

WMCI-FM Collects Blood for Red Cross

Date Posted: 3/19/2020

The Cromwell Group’s WMCI-FM Mattoon, Ill., collected 51 units of blood in a drive held March 19. They far surpassed the goal of 30 units and have not collected that much blood since 2008.

Fox Corporation Offers All Viewers Free Access to National and Local News

Date Posted: 3/18/2020

Fox Corporation announced on March 18 that it is offering unlimited access to FOX Television Stations and FOX News Channel to ensure that all Americans can access the latest national and local news regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic. FOX Television Stations and FOX News Media also collaborated to launch a nightly three-minute prime time live report.

Breaking news, live stream updates, and exclusive interviews with health officials are available on CoronavirusNOW.com. Content from FOX’s 29 owned and operated television stations are available for free on FOX.com and the FOX NOW app.

“Our highest duty as a company is to provide the individuals and communities we serve with information and analysis to help educate and protect them during dangerous times,” said Executive Chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

“In our dedicated mission to inform the public, FOX News Channel and FOX Television Stations are proud to provide Americans with free access to extensive urgent national and local news on the pandemic, serving as a critical resource during this unprecedented crisis,” said FOX News Media Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Scott and FOX Television Stations Chief Executive Officer Jack Abernethy.

WMMR-FM Hosts ’March Sadness’ Amid Coronavirus

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Date Posted: 3/18/2020

Beasley Media Group’s WMMR-FM Philadelphia kept sports alive after the cancellation of March Madness due to COVID-19 with a social distancing safe free throw competition on March 17. Dubbed “March Sadness,” station personalities Preston and Steve used a multi-person video conference call to connect with four participants, who matched up and shot free throws from their separate locations. WMMR-FM streamed the competition live on Facebook.

“I had a great time today in the [basketball] tournament,” said Anthony, the winner. “In light of everything that is going on in the world right now, it was really great to laugh and participate in the event.”

Beasley Boston Supports Local Restaurants Shuttered by Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/18/2020

Beasley Media Group’s Boston cluster is helping local businesses impacted by novel coronavirus by encouraging listeners to purchase gift cards from local restaurants. As a part of the “Operation Gift Card: New England” campaign, WBZ-FM, WROR-FM, WBQT-FM, WKLB-FM and WBOS-FM are advertising local restaurants and their online gift card options for free with on-air promotion, on social media and on station’s websites.

“With local restaurants and small businesses experiencing a number of restrictions, including restaurants moving towards a take-out/delivery only model by March 17, we wanted to show our support during these challenging times,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Vice President and Market Manager Mary Menna.

KELO Lights Up 200-Foot Beacon of Hope

Date Posted: 3/17/2020

Nexstar’s dual CBS / MyNetworkTV affiliate KELO-TV Sioux Falls, S.D., turned on the decorative lights to its 200-foot tall tower, known as the “KELOLAND Holideck Tower,” as a tribute to everyone working to curb the spread of COVID-19. Normally used during the holidays, KELO will leave the lights on 24 hours a day as a sign of hope for the community.

Nexstar Launches Daily COVID-19 Stream

Date Posted: 3/16/2020

Nexstar launched in early March a daily coronavirus stream that is available on the websites for its 115 stations and on social media. Nexstar’s MyNetworkTV affiliate KRON-TV San Francisco organizes the stream, with daily contributions from NBC affiliate WFLA Tampa, Fox affiliate KTVI St. Louis, and its Washington, D.C. bureau. A resource page made available to stations includes CDC data, a timeline, and a video module with the latest clips on international news. Here are examples from stations:

CBS affiliate KELO Sioux Falls, S.D.
NBC affiliate WAVY-TV Norfolk, Va.
NBC affiliate KARK Little Rock
NBC affiliate WFLA Tampa

“We launched the daily stream earlier this week as an additional resource for people to get the latest headlines on the virus from trusted, local news sources,” said Austin Kellerman, Nexstar’s director of digital content. “With all the misinformation out there, this is a way to get trusted information.”

Radio Executives Respond to the Coronavirus Crisis

Date Posted: 3/14/2020

Independent and small radio stations are taking steps to protect their staff during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak while continuing to serve the public, station executives say. Jeff McCarthy, Midwest Communications’ vice president of programming, says keeping listeners informed by presenting accurate, factual information is radio stations’ top priority. Full Story: Radio Ink

TEGNA’s ‘Facts Not Fear’ Approach to Coronavirus

Date Posted: 3/9/2020

TEGNA stations are committed to a “Facts Not Fear” approach to reporting on the coronavirus outbreak, with a focus on providing context and perspective, while not downplaying the severity of the situation. TEGNA is paying close attention to the graphics stations use and encourages reporters to take the time needed to ensure they report accurate information. National and local fact-checking teams at TEGNA’s project Verify are focused on coronavirus misinformation and are creating accurate reports.

NBC affiliate KPNX Phoenix aired a segment addressing rumors about how coronavirus might spread on international flights.

NBC affiliate KUSA Denver produced an 80-second video mission statement promising viewers that it will not “play on our fears and yours” with click-bait headlines. It also pledged not to “guess or speculate or assume,” but instead seek out multiple experts and vetted sources.

NBC affiliate KSDK St. Louis also aired a segment about TEGNA’s “Facts Not Fear” approach. The station offered a phone number so viewers can text questions about the coronavirus and receive answers from medical professionals.

“Our journalists and our news leaders are handling this with such care and such a commitment to help their communities,” said TEGNA VP of News Ellen Crooke. “They have a great sense of this is a duty to our country, to do this well and to do this properly.”

NBC News Launches Coronavirus Effort

Date Posted: 3/4/2020

NBC News launched on February 28 a new network-wide initiative to address the coronavirus as infections hit more than 80,000 cases across six continents. The initiative includes a 24/7 live-blog with extensive video and the latest updates every few minutes. A dedicated morning news takeover — Morning Rundown Special Edition: Coronavirus Crisis — started March 2. Read more here.

ABC Provides Extensive TV and Radio COVID-19 Coverage

Date Posted: 3/2/2020

ABC News is producing extensive, daily coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak (also known as coronavirus) across all platforms. On March 6, ABC News created a daily program called “COVID-19: What You Need To Know” on its streaming channel ABC News Live. The show airs at noon on weekdays and is simulcast on ABC News Radio, with anchor Aaron Katersky providing radio-specific content.

Katersky also hosts ABC Audio’s daily podcast, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know.” ABC Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answers questions from social media. “Nightline” will also focus exclusively on the coronavirus.

“In times of global crisis, we as journalists have a public service to give our viewers the essential information they need to stay informed and help them make any decisions for their own and their family’s well-being,” said Nightline Executive Producer Steven Baker. “This type of in-depth daily coverage is in the show’s DNA.”

KPNX Addresses Coronavirus Rumors with Facts

Date Posted: 3/2/2020

TEGNA’s NBC affiliate KPNX-TV Phoenix aired a segment addressing rumors about how coronavirus might spread on international flights on March 2. TEGNA stations are committed to a “Facts Not Fear” approach to reporting on the coronavirus outbreak, with a focus on providing context and perspective, while not downplaying the severity of the situation.

Entercom Stations Address COVID-19

Date Posted: 3/1/2020

Entercom stations across the country are dedicating significant over-the-air and digital inventory to covering the COVID-19 global pandemic. On March 16, Entercom launched a podcast called “Coronavirus Daily.” Radio Ink spoke with Entercom’s Senior Vice President of Programming and personnel from WINS-AM New York City, WCBS-AM New York City, KNX-AM Los Angeles, WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM Chicago, and KHTP-FM Seattle about their coverage. KNX-AM is providing around-the-clock coverage on-air. Read more here.

“It comes down to trust and credibility,” said WINS-AM Brand Manager Ben Mevorach. “As millions of people in our area seek to find news that informs and doesn’t hype, they come to 1010 WINS. The same place they have come to during major crises for decades. Our entire staff is focused on bringing information, providing answers, and connecting the community.”

“This is our story. We live and work here,” said WCBS-AM Brand Manager Tim Scheld. “As members of the community ourselves, we at WCBS 880 are committed to covering this story for our neighbors, friend and family.”

Beasley Addresses COVID-19

Date Posted: 3/1/2020

Beasley Media Group implemented a companywide COVID-19 coverage and prevention policy. All stations are committed to providing timely, accurate updates over the air, while Beasley websites include up-to-the-minute information under the “Community of Caring” campaign umbrella. Beasley has also cancelled and postponed events and implemented telework and no work travel policies.

“The challenges we face are extraordinary, but the moment is not unique,” said Beasley Media Group Chief Executive Officer, Caroline At our core, our company exists to serve our employees, advertisers and our communities and keep them safe and informed during times exactly like this. Broadcasters are at our best during uncertain times.”

Townsquare Hosts COVID-19 Town Hall

Date Posted: 3/1/2020

Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton, N.J. aired a special Town Hall on March 12 to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The broadcast, hosted by Special Projects Director and Morning News Anchor Eric Scott, featured Dr. Ed Lifshitz, medical director of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Communicable Disease Service; Dr. Lincoln Miller, infectious disease specialist with RWJ Barnabas Health; Ken Kamen, president of Princeton-based Mercadien Asset Management; and a representative from the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. It also streamed on Facebook Live.