Topic: Neighbors in Need
When fire claimed the homes and all of the belongings of two local families, KZEN-FM in Columbus, Neb., spearheaded drives to help the families get back on their feet. The station’s "Community Comes Together" event first helped a family in May by teaming up with the local American Red Cross and local churches to encourage donations. Announcements asking listeners to help the family aired several times a day. In addition, a six-hour broadcast event, which required 40 staff hours, successfully raised $7,500 in goods and immediate financial support. In December, the community came together again right before the Christmas holiday, when another family was devastated by a house fire. Similar to the previous effort, KZEN broadcast daily messages asking Nebraskans to help, and then held two three-hour on-air drives. This time the station partnered with American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Listener contributions added up to $6,000 in funds and merchandise, and with this help, the family was able to still have Christmas. KZEN was a National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Award Finalist in 2008.
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