A TEGNA Media TV station in Atlanta and a Graham Media Group VHFer in Detroit have been honored with two top honors by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF).
The foundation on Thursday (4/13) revealed the winners of the 2017 Celebration of Service to America Awards, recognizing outstanding community service by local broadcasters.
Taking the “President’s Special Award,” which recognizes historic and extraordinary achievement by an individual broadcast station or group, is NBC affiliate WXIA-11 in Atlanta, owned by TEGNA Media.
WXIA is being singled out for “Charlie Foxtrot” — which began as an investigation of a military policy that strips service members of their benefits and veteran status, even after serving in war zones. WXIA’s coverage focused on the “Fairness for Veterans Act,” a piece of proposed legislation which would require mental health conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to be considered in the discharge review process. WXIA hosted an online petition that saw more than 12,000 viewers show their support of the act.
The “Charlie Foxtrot” reports also aired on TEGNA-owned stations in 38 other U.S. cities, culminating with a screening at the U.S. Capitol.
Three days after the screening, backed by 44 veteran service organizations, Congress passed the “Fairness for Veterans Act” as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill was signed into law on Dec. 23, 2016, giving tens of thousands of former service members access to life-saving medical treatment.
“I am incredibly proud of the work being done by our Atticus Team and our journalists across the country that brings awareness to causes and important issues impacting our communities,” said TEGNA Media president Dave Lougee. “What our journalists do everyday matters and it is more important than ever that we be an advocate for those in need. Quality, empowering and innovative journalism, like ‘Charlie Foxtrot’, makes a difference. Congratulations to our Atticus Team on this well-deserved honor.”
The 2017 Service to America Television Award, which recognizes a television station for the totality of its efforts and its commitment to excellence in serving its community, is being given to Graham’s NBC-affiliated WDIV-4 in Detroit.
In honoring WDIV, NABEF said, “Through news coverage, philanthropy, and community service, WDIV puts the needs of viewers first. When the city of Flint found itself in crisis, WDIV hosted a telethon, raising more than $1.13 million. WDIV also provided extensive coverage of the Flint water crisis, airing a prime-time special and traveling to Washington, D.C., to cover developments on Capitol Hill.”
NABEF also addressed the nationwide opioid epidemic by running numerous PSAs and providing “significant news coverage to keep the conversation on drug addiction front and center.”
With Detroit having the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S., WDIV created the “Arab in America” news series, which showed viewers personal stories of Arab Americans in their local community.
In partnership with Bookstock, WDIV also raised over $1.4 million for literacy and education programs in its community.
The station’s commitment to education continued with its renovations of a school in the Detroit Public School Community District.
Category Finalists include Raycom Media’s WAFB-TV Baton Rouge, Hearst Television’s WCVB-TV in Boston, Cox Media Group’s WSB-TV in Atlanta, and another Graham-owned station: WKMG-TV in Orlando.
“America’s broadcasters play a unique role serving local communities with quality news, the most popular entertainment and lifeline information in times of emergency,” said NABEF President Marcellus Alexander. “The collective efforts of this year’s STA winners reflect a remarkable commitment to addressing public health crises, investigative journalism and community service.”
‘JAMZ’ EARNS HONORS FOR KIDS CARE
The lone commercially licensed radio station to be feted by NABEF is Cox Media Group’s Urban WEDR-FM “99 Jamz” in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood market. WEDR is the recipient of the 2017 NABEF Service to Children Award, which spotlights both radio and TV stations for outstanding programs, campaigns and PSAs produced for the benefit of minors.
The recipient of this award in the TV category is Hearst Television‘s WMUR-9 in Manchester, N.H. Category Finalists include Hubbard’s WNYT-13 in Albany, N.Y., and Gray Television’s KWTX-TV in Waco, Tex.
In honoring 99 JAMZ, NABEF cited its four-week “Back to School Backpack Tour.” In 2016, WEDR partnered with several local organizations to provide 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for underprivileged children in Kindergarten through eighth grade. The station also provides an after-school program called “Fore-Life,” which teaches children to golf, as well as disciplinary and math skills.
Through the “99 JAMZ Student of the Week” contest, WEDR encourages students to perform well academically. Students with a GPA of 3.5 and above were eligible to enter the student of the week contest. The winner gets to co-host the Wednesday night show’s “Top [email protected] Countdown” and also receives $100 and 99 JAMZ gear.
The category finalist was Bonneville International Corp.’s “Arizona Sports” KTAR-AM & KMVP-FM in Phoenix.
At WMUR, its “New Hampshire Chronicle” since 2014 has featured “Home at Last,” a recurring series of segments with the goal of finding permanent adoptive homes for the more than 700 children in New Hampshire living in out-of-home placement. In 2016, WMUR profiled five children in “Home at Last” segments. At the end of the year the station produced its first hour-long update program, featuring the children in their new adoptive homes, called “Home at Last…for the Holidays”. As a result, Wendy’s ran two coupon campaigns in conjunction with “Home at Last,” which raised nearly $50,000 for the New Hampshire Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
Lastly, the radio Service to Community Award is being awarded to Educational Media Foundation‘s KLOVE and Air1 affiliate KZLV-FM in San Antonio. The KZLV “Share the Love” campaign engaged listeners in thanking and assisting those who serve in their community, as well as increasing their own levels of service. Category finalists include the Illinois Broadcast Association; iHeartMedia‘s KGBX-FM in Springfield, Mo., and WTAM-AM in Cleveland; Emmis Communications’ KSHE-FM in St. Louis; Faith Communications’ KSOS-FM in Las Vegas; and Cox Media Group’s WFEZ-FM “Easy 93.1” in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood.
The television Service to Community Award is being handed to Capitol Broadcasting Co.’s WRAL-TV in Raleigh.
The rising tensions in the relationship between police departments and African American communities in Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville inspired WRAL’s “Black and Blue” documentary. The program became part of an unprecedented two-hour community conversation on air, online and on social media. The critical conversation took place following the Dallas shootings. Moderated by a community leader, WRAL featured the discussion between law enforcement, faith leaders and members of the African American community. Live and online, the documentary reached nearly 110,000 people and also generated 500,000 impressions on social media.
Category finalists include Gray’s WAFB, Hearst’s WBAL-11 in Baltimore, TEGNA’s WXIA and two Raycom Media stations: KTUU-2 in Anchorage, Ak., and KGMB-5 in Honolulu.
Winners will be honored at the Celebration of Service to America dinner, held Tuesday, June 20, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Presenting sponsors are Bonneville International and Hearst Television.
The National Association of Broadcasters 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.