The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Leadership Foundation on Saturday revealed the winners of the 2021 Celebration of Service to America Awards, recognizing outstanding community service by local broadcasters. Winners were announced during a televised Celebration of Service to America Awards program, sponsored in part by Streamline Publishing’s Radio Ink and the Radio + Television Business Report.
“America’s local radio and television broadcasters demonstrated unparalleled devotion to helping families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” commented NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke. “We are pleased to honor the winners and celebrate broadcasters nationwide for their commitment to public service.”
The 2021 Service to America Award winners are:
Service to Community Award for Radio – Ownership Group
Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, “Miracles for Kids Radiothon”
For the Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group team, the annual Children’s Miracle Network radiothon is personal. Raising money and awareness for MU’s Children’s Hospital to help sick kids is the main reason “why we do the radiothon,” but this radiothon also happens because many staff members have needed this hospital for their own children at some point. As the self-proclaimed “crown jewel event for the company,” this radiothon showcases the power of radio and love for local communities. The 14th annual 2020 Miracle for Kids radiothon raised over $248,000 and awareness for the phenomenal work of the doctors, nurses and staff every single day at the local Children’s Hospital.
Service to Community Award for Television – Ownership Group
The E.W. Scripps Company, “The Rebound”
In an effort to help guide communities through the COVID-19 crisis, Scripps Local Media launched “The Rebound.” This initiative provided resources to help Americans get back to work and make ends meet. Over nine months, all 61 television stations highlighted creative ways businesses stayed open and showed how communities rallied around them week after week. From the investigative teams helping people across the country get unemployment benefits to the education experts helping students get back to school safely, the Scripps Local Media team helped people manage the pressure and anxiety with advice and resources. Every day for nearly a year, this group told stories that impacted our communities and gave people hope with the help of medical experts, data analysts and more than 100 town halls and specials.
Service to Community Award for Radio – Major Market
KTMY-FM Saint Paul, Minnesota, “KTMY Rebuilds the Neighborhoods”
Minority-owned businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul that were already disproportionately affected by COVID-19 restrictions were dealt a brutal blow during the uprising that took place in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. During the civil unrest across the cities, many of these places were vandalized, looted and burned to the ground. In partnership with the Neighborhood Development Center, KTMY launched “10 Stories in 10 Days” to tell the stories of these local businesses hurting and inspire the community to lend a hand. Their show hosts turned their mics over to these business owners, many of whom came to this country chasing the American dream, so they could share their stories with the audience. As a result of this partnership and campaign, KTMY raised over $145,000 for these businesses to rebuild and highlighted the local community’s power and small business owners’ resilience.
Service to Community Award for Television – Large Market
WISN-TV Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “WISN Feeds the Hungry”
Hearst Television, Inc.
Within two weeks of the “stay-at-home order,” WISN knew they needed to find a way to feed the struggling members of their community. As people were being laid off, kids were also home from school without school lunches and there was limited food pantry access for the elderly due to the order. The team at WISN stepped up to the “plate” to help provide hunger relief. In partnership with the Hunger Task Force, WISN held two large fundraisers to feed their communities and help local businesses. With the April Milk Buyback and Thanksgiving Virtual Fundraisers, this local station raised more than $1 million for Hunger Task Force due to WISN 12’s efforts and partnership.
Service to Community Award for Radio – Medium Market
WYCT-FM Pensacola, Florida, Hurricane Sally Relief Efforts
In September 2020, Hurricane Sally meandered into the Gulf of Mexico and 36 hours out, this slow-moving storm was forecast to make landfall 200 miles away from Pensacola. Instead, it took a slow right turn and became the first direct hit for Pensacola in 16 years. Following the devastation of this hurricane, the team at WYCT-FM wanted to do something to help the community rebuild and recover from the storm. In partnership with United Way of West Florida and their TV partner WEAR-TV, this local station launched “Mission Restore Hope” to raise over $300,000 to help local organizations fund rebuilding efforts and help the community feel at home again.
Service to Community Award for Television – Medium Market
WMC-TV Memphis, Tennessee, “WMC Puts School on TV”
Memphis is home to Tennessee’s largest school district, Shelby County Schools (SCS). It serves more than 113,000 students, ranking among the top 25 largest public-school districts in the country. Many families living in Shelby County are below the poverty line; distance learning poses a difficult challenge considering many homes do not have computers or internet access. When the team at WMC learned about the shift to virtual learning, the leadership team partnered with the SCS superintendent to offer school on TV. Offering more than 23 hours of programming each week, the WMC team worked with their education partners to ensure that students still had the chance to receive an education without worrying about having the proper equipment.
Service to Community Award for Radio – Small Market
KNDE-FM College Station, Texas, “136 Charities, $794,573, One Day and the KNDE Team”
Bryan Broadcasting Corporation
Amid canceled events and poorly attended virtual fundraisers, many local nonprofits found themselves on the brink of extinction. In partnership with the Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley, the KNDE team decided it was time to showcase local radio’s power. During the 18-hour virtual giving event held on October 27, 2020, this local station educated its audience on the work of 136 charities and solicited donations to help keep the community members afloat. In one day, this team raised $794,573 and proved that local broadcasting does matter.
Service to Community Award for Television – Small Market
KTVB-TV Boise, Idaho, “7Cares Idaho Shares”
With the holiday season approaching, the team at KTVB wanted to do something to help feed the hungry and homeless in the local community because no one should go hungry during the holidays. With the launch of “7Cares Idaho Shares,” this local radio station held a two-week virtual campaign to solicit cash and food donations to help local nonprofits feed the hungry. Due to an outpouring of support from individuals and local businesses, KTVB raised more than 49,890 pounds of food and $950,000 to equal almost 2.9 million meals.
The Celebration of Service to America Awards highlight and honor the exceptional community service exhibited by local radio and television stations across the U.S. Produced by the NAB Leadership Foundation, the 2021 program was presented as a televised program and is available for airing by local stations through August 14.